The Latest: UK: No new restrictions on refugees after Paris

AP News
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Posted: Nov 17, 2015 2:50 PM
The Latest: UK: No new restrictions on refugees after Paris

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — The latest news as hundreds of thousands make their way across Europe in search of safety and a better life. All times local.

8:50 p.m.

Britain's international development secretary is signaling that her country will not impose new restrictions on refugee admissions in the wake of the Paris attacks.

Justine Greening told reporters Tuesday says "we're confident that the checks we've put in place are the right ones." She noted that the security checks are done on refugees before they arrive in Britain.

She spoke shortly after a plane carrying around 100 Syrian refugees touched down in Scotland, the first of several special flights to arrive in Britain as part of a program to resettle 20,000 refugees from camps surrounding Syria.

Greening spoke after chairing a meeting of the U.N. Security Council.

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5:45 p.m.

A plane carrying around 100 Syrian refugees has touched down in Scotland's Glasgow Airport, the first of several special flights to arrive in Britain as part of a program to resettle 20,000 people from camps surrounding Syria.

Some refugees have already been arriving in Britain since the plan was announced in September, but Tuesday saw the arrival of the first charter flight.

Britain has said it would take in 20,000 refugees by 2020.

In the wake of concerns about refugees after the Paris attacks — one of the attackers reportedly entered Europe through Greece — Home Secretary Theresa May has said those arriving will be thoroughly screened to ensure they don't pose a security threat.

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5:25 p.m.

German federal police say the number of crimes against refugee shelters this year has passed 700.

Germany has seen a sharp rise in arsons, assaults, graffiti, incitement and other crimes against properties housing asylum seekers this year. It comes amid an unprecedented influx to the country of migrants seeking refuge from war, persecution and poverty.

Figures provided to The Associated Press on Tuesday show the number of crimes had reached 715 crimes by Nov. 16, compared with 199 in all of last year.

In 640 cases, a far-right motive has been confirmed. There were 56 cases of arson and eight cases of attempted arson.

Germany's interior minister said Monday that authorities are keeping a closer watch on both Islamic and far-right extremists in the wake of Friday's Paris attacks.

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5 p.m.

The U.N. secretary-general says the world must come together to defeat "terrorist groups," but he warns against reprisals and further discrimination against Muslims — especially refugees and migrants — after the attacks in Paris and elsewhere.

"This would just exacerbate the alienation on which terrorists feed," Ban Ki-moon told the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday.

He says the world must be bold in supporting Syria's neighbors, who currently host millions of refugees from the country.

"There is a growing global call for a recovery plan for the region, perhaps akin to the Marshall Plan in scale," Ban says. "I urge you to give this idea due consideration when the day arrives, as I know we hope it will soon."

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4 p.m.

Croatia's police chief says the country will close its borders to migrants if Germany shuts its door as well.

Interior Minister Ranko Ostojic said Tuesday that for now Germany is accepting about 6,500 people a day, which makes the flow across the Balkans fairly calm.

There are fears in the Balkans that Austria and Slovenia may restrict the flow in the wake of the Paris attacks last week, which could leave tens of thousands of people stranded in the region. Most of the migrants just want to pass through and reach Germany.

Fears of the closure of the EU borders have risen since French investigators determined that one of the Paris suicide bombers passed the Balkan corridor in October.

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3:30 p.m.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees is warning against blaming refugees for terrorism after one of the Paris suicide bombers apparently came to Europe along with the thousands fleeing war and poverty.

Antonio Guterres on Tuesday urged united European action to create "more legal forms" of entry so refugees can undergo proper screening and security checks before being allowed in.

Guterres, who spoke at a refugee camp in Serbia, says "there was very probably one person that passed here that was part of the terrorist operation."

But he says "there's every day 5,000-7,000 people here, women and children fleeing violence ... it would be totally unfair to blame refugees" for terrorist activities in the world.

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3:20 p.m.

The U.N. refugee agency says refugees mustn't be made scapegoats following the attacks in France.

One suicide bomber who blew himself up outside the French national soccer stadium in Paris was found with a Syrian passport, and prosecutors say his fingerprints match those of someone who passed through Greece in October.

Some European and American politicians have called for a halt to migrants coming due to security fears. But U.N. spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said Tuesday her agency was "deeply disturbed by language that demonizes refugees as a group."

She said in Geneva that many of the migrants "are fleeing extremism and terrorism from the very people associated with the Paris attacks" and called for improved registration and vetting procedures to address security concerns.

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1:05 p.m.

Poland's new interior minister has lashed out at the head of the European Parliament, calling Martin Schulz's words about Poland's migrant policies "another example of German arrogance."

Mariusz Blaszczak, interior minister in the right-wing Law and Justice government that was sworn in Monday, also brought up the fact that Germany destroyed Warsaw during World War II. Polish rhetoric stressing Poland's historical grievances against Germany became a hallmark of Law and Justice's last government, from 2005 to 2007. It was language that caused political tensions between the two neighbors.

Blaszczak spoke on Tuesday in reaction to recent criticism by Schulz, adding he "is detached from reality."

Schulz had criticized the wavering resolve of Poland after the Paris attacks to take 7,000 refugees as part of an EU plan.

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10:45 a.m.

Hungary's justice minister says the country will sue the European Union regarding a mandatory plan to distribute refugees among members of the bloc.

Laszlo Trocsanyi said that the lawsuit would be filed in December, after parliament approved a bill Tuesday morning compelling the government to launch the legal challenge.

Trocsanyi said the EU quota plan went against the will of the majority of Europe's citizens and violated Hungary's sovereignty because each state should be allowed to decide who it allows into the country. He also expects other countries which oppose the quotas to join Hungary's legal action.

Trocsanyi said that while Hungary, with nearly 10 million people, would get 2,000 refugees based on the current plan, that figure could increase as the number of refugees arriving in Europe grows.

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8:30 a.m.

Greek authorities say at least nine people, including four children, have died in the eastern Aegean Sea when a plastic boat carrying refugees or economic migrants overturned near the island of Kos.

The coast guard said it had rescued seven people and had located nine bodies, two of which were still trapped inside the overturned vessel. Crews were searching for between two and four more people listed as missing.

The dead were four children, four women and one man.

It was not immediately clear how the boat overturned on Tuesday, or what the passengers' nationality was.

Europe faces a massive refugee crisis. More than 600,000 people have made their way through Greece so far this year, fleeing war and poverty at home.