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The Latest: Flow of Refugees Stemmed by Ferry Strike

The Latest: Flow of Refugees Stemmed by Ferry Strike

Thursday, 05 November 2015 06:14 AM

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — The latest as tens of thousands of people flood into Europe in search of a new life. All times local.

12:55 p.m.

Greek authorities say the flow of refugees and other migrants heading north across the country's border with Macedonia has slowed to a comparative trickle as a ferry strike now in its fourth day traps thousands of people on eastern Aegean islands.

Police in the Idomeni border area said 850 people had crossed between Wednesday morning and Thursday morning. The numbers usually range from 4,000 to 8,000 people per day.

An estimated 25,000 people are on the islands where they arrived from the nearby Turkish coast, awaiting the end of the ferry strike to make their way to the mainland.

The seamen's union, which called the strike that began Monday to protest austerity measures that are part of Greece's bailout, has come under pressure to allow exceptions for ferries carrying refugees.

12:50 p.m.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras says he witnessed migrants and refugees reaching Lesbos by dinghy shortly after landing on the island to inaugurate a fast-track registration center.

Tsipras, traveling with European Parliament President Martin Schulz Thursday, said the dinghy reached the shore as his motorcade was traveling from Lesbos airport to the new registration facility.

"We saw firsthand a makeshift boat arriving, full of refugees. And, indeed, we realized that is a criminal process being carried out by the smugglers who cram refugees onto vessels that are not boats, but makeshift inflatables," he said. "What's happening in the Aegean Sea is a crime and it has to stop."

Tsipras inaugurated a migrant processing center, known as a "hotspot" and run by the European Union border protection agency, Frontex — the first of five planned in Greece.

12 p.m.

The European Union is predicting that 3 million more migrants could arrive in the 28-nation bloc by the end of next year.

More than 700,000 people have come to Europe seeking sanctuary or jobs so far this year, overwhelming reception centers and border authorities.

EU autumn economic forecasts released on Thursday say that based on current migrant entries and a "technical assumption" about future flows, arrival rates are unlikely to slow before 2017.

The EU's executive Commission said that "overall, an additional 3 million persons is assumed to arrive in the EU over the forecast period."

The Commission says the refugee crisis has resulted in additional government spending but that it could have a small, positive impact on European economies within a few years.

10:50 a.m.

Greek ferries are tied up in port for a fourth day, stranding tens of thousands of residents of small islands, preventing agricultural produce from reaching mainland markets and trapping thousands of refugees on eastern Aegean islands.

The anti-austerity strike, which began Monday, was to continue until Friday morning. Pressure has mounted on the seamen's union to allow exceptions for ferries chartered to transport the refugees and other migrants who reach Greek islands from the nearby Turkish coast.

So far more than 600,000 people have reached Greece from Turkey this year, with the vast majority aiming to move on to more prosperous countries in the European Union's north. After receiving registration papers on the islands, the refugees take ferries to the mainland, from where they head to the northern border.

10:35 a.m.

Greece's coast guard says its crews are searching for the body of a 6-year-old boy and have recovered the body of another child after the boat they were on with another 14 people sank near the Greek island of Kos.

The coast guard said Thursday that one of the survivors of the overnight sinking told rescuers he had let go of the body of his young son to save his remaining family members. Ten people were rescued from the water, while a further four managed to swim to shore.

The sinking is the latest in a series of deadly shipwrecks as refugees and migrants attempt to cross from Turkey to nearby Greek islands. More than 600,000 people have reached Greece so far this year.

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The latest as tens of thousands of people flood into Europe in search of a new life. All times local.12:55 p.m.Greek authorities say the flow of refugees and other migrants heading north across the country's border with Macedonia has slowed to a comparative trickle as a...
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2015-14-05
Thursday, 05 November 2015 06:14 AM
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