The Latest: Italy missions recover 16 bodies, save 2K lives
ATHENS, Greece — The Latest on the flow of migrants into Europe (all times local):
10:30 p.m. Italy’s coast guard says it recovered the bodies of 16 people during a day of migrant rescues in the Mediterranean that saved another 2,200 lives. The coast guard said it coordinated 21 different rescue missions Monday for migrants found floating in 18 rubber dinghies and three smaller boats.
Vessels from the European Union’s migrant rescue force took part in the operations, as well as a fishing boat and four cargo ships. Most of the rescued boats had departed from Libya, the launch typical launching point for people being smuggled across the Mediterranean and into Europe. The rescues came as Italy is demanding that the European Union do more to help it bear the burden of rescuing migrants at sea — and returning those who don’t qualify for asylum.
8:40 p.m. The head of Austria’s right-wing party is calling German Chancellor Angela Merkel “the most dangerous woman in Europe” for her early liberal migrant policies and is warning of possible civil war if the influx of migrants is not stopped. Heinz-Christian Strache’s comments Monday to supporters of his Freedom Party reflected the party’s anti-migrant stance and were in stark contrast to more moderate positions being expressed by Norbert Hofer, the party’s candidate for Austria’s presidency.
Hofer is seeking to appeal to Austrians who do not normally vote for the Freedom Party ahead of Dec.
4 elections for the presidency. Traditional support for the party ranges from those disenchanted with traditional parties all the way to the neo-Nazi fringe. Strache said “the biggest mass migration in centuries” makes “civil war not unlikely.”
4:15 p.m. French authorities have begun a complex operation to shut down a makeshift migrant camp in the port town of Calais known as “the jungle.” Closely watched by more than 1,200 police, the first of hundreds of buses transferred migrants on Monday from the camp to reception centers around France where people can apply for asylum.
The process is uprooting thousands of people who made treacherous journeys to escape wars, dictators or grinding poverty and dreamed of building new lives in Britain. The camp will then be leveled in a weeklong operation. Hotels and even castles are among the hundreds of buildings officials have been converting to migrant housing.
Authorities say the camp holds nearly 6,500 migrants, down from more than 10,000. Aid groups say there are more than 8,300. ___
4:05 p.m. Slovenia’s prime minister says his country has been strengthening border controls — including beefing up metal fences — to prepare for a potential new wave of migration into Europe. Miro Cerar says an increase in numbers of migrants trying to reach the European Union remains a “realistic possibility and we have to be ready for that scenario.”
Cerar said Monday in Serbia migration could swell if an EU deal with Turkey falters or the 28-nation bloc fails to hammer out a united policy on the issue. He insists: “Europe must remain open and humane for people fleeing grave human rights violations … but we must also prevent illegal migration.” Countries on the migration route closed borders in March after over 1 million people came in 2015.
1:30 p.m. Greek police say dozens of residents in an island camp for refugees and other migrants have set fire to part of the facility that handles asylum applications, during a protest over delays in the asylum process. Nobody was injured in Monday’s riot at the Moria camp on the eastern Aegean island of Lesbos, but three prefabricated cabins used as offices by asylum officials were severely damaged.
Police said about 70 migrants, mainly Pakistani and Bangladeshi nationals, threw stones at the cabins and then set them on fire with burning blankets. Riot police detained 22 suspected rioters. More than 60,000 refugees and other migrants hoping to move deeper into Europe are trapped in Greece following a series of Balkan border closures.
Some 15,000 of these are on the eastern islands. Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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