The Latest: 2 Iraqi boys drown near Greek refugee shelter

AP News
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Posted: Jun 01, 2016 12:41 PM
The Latest: 2 Iraqi boys drown near Greek refugee shelter

BERLIN (AP) — The Latest on Europe's migration crisis (all times local):

6:40 p.m.

Greek police say two Iraqi boys have drowned in an irrigation reservoir near a government shelter for refugees in northern Greece where they had been staying.

The bodies of the children, who were aged about 12, were found Wednesday inside the fenced-off reservoir near the northern town of Katerini.

About 1,100 people are living in the open shelter — all members of the Yazidi community from Sinjar in Iraq.

They are among the more than 52,000 refugees and migrants trapped in Greece since a series of border closures put a stop to the Balkan immigration corridor, which was used by more than 1 million people.

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5:40 p.m.

Police in Hungary say hundreds of migrants at a closed reception center in the southern city of Kiskunhalas are protesting conditions at the site and the slow bureaucracy dealing with their cases, but no violence has been reported.

Police spokesman Zoltan Hurkecz said Wednesday that a "significant" number of officers have been deployed to the center as a preventive measure, "but there are absolutely no disturbances, for now they are just being loud."

Hurkecz wouldn't confirm a report in state media claiming hundreds of officers were at the reception center.

Police estimate that 300 of the 484 detainees are taking part in the protest, including a Syrian man who handed over a petition to authorities and called on the detainees to head toward Budapest.

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2:25 p.m.

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere says the number of migrants being returned home is on the rise and expects up to 100,000 deportations or voluntary departures this year.

Germany registered 1.1 million migrants last year and has been trying to streamline the asylum process for those who will be allowed to stay, and send home more quickly those whose asylum is rejected.

De Maiziere said at current trends, between 90,000 and 100,000 will return home in 2016, which is "good but not yet good enough."

Last year Germany registered about 21,000 deportations and 37,000 voluntary returns.

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12:30 p.m.

Denmark's immigration minister says the European Union's executive arm is allowing five countries to keep border controls in place for six more months to help manage the flow of migrants.

Inger Stoejberg says the European Commission has permitted Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Austria and France to keep checks at borders "for another six months."

Stoejberg said Wednesday that "we have to take care of our own borders until a joint solution within the EU has been found."

The five countries requested the extension because Greece still isn't able to properly manage its border with Turkey, which prompted the five to reintroduce ID checks.

More than 1 million people arrived in Europe last year seeking sanctuary or jobs. Many entered Greece from Turkey but made their way north.

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11:55 a.m.

The German government says the European Union's anti-migrant smuggling operation in the Mediterranean sea has intercepted and destroyed 103 boats in its first year of operation.

In a reply to parliament, the Foreign Ministry said ships that make up the Operation Sophia mission have seized 85 rubber boats and 18 wooden boats, the dpa news agency reported Wednesday. A total of 69 smugglers have also been charged since the operation started in May 2015.

Though the fleet's official mission is to confront smugglers and deter illegal immigration to Europe, in practice the effort has become one of the 28-nation bloc's biggest rescue missions in history, saving more than 10,000 migrants in the past year.