The Latest: Austrian bishop refuses border fence on his land

AP News
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Posted: Apr 21, 2016 1:29 PM
The Latest: Austrian bishop refuses border fence on his land

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

8:25 p.m.

An Austrian Roman Catholic bishop says a planned fence along a stretch of Austria's border with Hungary is going to have at least two gaps — on property owned by his church.

The 9-kilometer (5.4-mile) barrier in Austria's eastern Burgenland province is planned by the government to tighten its border against migrants trying to avoid controls at authorized crossings. But owners of property along the fence must agree to allow it on their land.

Diocesan Bishop Aegidius Zsifkovics, who has church authority in the region, said Thursday that erecting a fence on the property to keep out those seeking help is contrary to the spirit of the Gospel. In a statement published by the Austria Press Agency, he says fences do not solve Europe's refugee problem.

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8:20 p.m.

Britain says it will resettle up to 3,000 child refugees from Syria by 2020.

Immigration Minister James Brokenshire says the British government "is committed to providing life-saving support and assistance to the vulnerable children who have been unjustly impacted by this ongoing humanitarian crisis."

But opposition politicians say the government must do more and accept unaccompanied refugee children who are already in Europe.

Labour immigration spokeswoman Yvette Cooper said Thursday that Britain "cannot turn our backs on the thousands of children who are going missing in Europe because children's homes in Italy and Greece are full, and other countries can't cope with this crisis alone."

Britain has already committed to accept 20,000 Syrians from refugee camps in the region by 2020, but the government is under pressure to do more.

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3:55 p.m.

Spain's interior minister has said his country will take in 182 asylum seekers from Greece and Italy in the coming weeks.

Speaking to reporters in Luxembourg Thursday, Jorge Fernandez Diaz said Spain would accept 150 asylum seekers from Greece and 32 from Italy once they had been security vetted. He said they would arrive between the end of this month and the beginning of May.

Spain, Fernandez Diaz said, will also take in 385 Syrian refugees returned to Turkey. He gave no details as to when.

The minister said Spanish authorities were doing all they could to speed up taking in refugees after the country came in for criticism on the issue.

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2 p.m.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said efforts to stem the tide of migrants seeking the shores of Europe are working.

Speaking at a news conference Thursday with Turkish Foreign Affairs Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Ankara, the Turkish capital, Stoltenberg said the collective effort is "making a difference" and that the number of migrants crossing the Aegean Sea is "going significantly down."

Under an EU-Turkey deal signed last month, migrants arriving on Greek islands from the Turkish coast from March 20 onwards face deportation to Turkey unless they successfully apply for asylum in Greece.

The International Organization for Migration says Greece has seen fewer than 70 arrivals per day in the past 10 days, down from nearly 1,500 of arrivals per day before the deal was struck.

Stoltenberg also said Turkey, based on information that NATO provides, is "taking action to help break the business model of traffickers."