The Latest: Charity worried EU will duplicate Turkey plan

AP News
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Posted: Jul 07, 2016 10:55 AM
The Latest: Charity worried EU will duplicate Turkey plan

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

4:50 p.m.

The head of the medical charity Doctors Without Borders is concerned that the European Union's migrant pact with Turkey might serve as a model for the EU's dealings with African countries.

The group said Joanne Liu complained about the deal at a meeting Thursday with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, a month after Doctors Without Borders announced it would no longer seek EU funding for its operations.

It said she called for urgent protection and care for all asylum-seekers and that Juncker promised to follow up.

Turkey has agreed to stop refugees entering Europe and take back thousands in exchange for funds and other incentives.

EU funding to Doctors Without Borders totaled around 46 million euros ($51 million) in 2015, about eight percent of its budget.

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3:50 p.m.

Italy's interior minister says an Italian man, described as a local soccer hooligan, has been held in the fatal bludgeoning of a Nigerian asylum-seeker who had fled the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram.

Emmanuel Chidi Namdi was killed Tuesday in the town of Fermo. On Thursday, Interior Minister Angelino Alfano visited the town and said Thursday that Italy welcomes migrants.

A priest who shelters asylum-seekers says the hooligan used a racial slur against the man's wife and was dragging her. The victim was beaten, apparently after trying to defend his wife, and ended up in a coma. He died Wednesday.

The victim, and his later-to-be-wife, both Christians, fled after Boko Haram attacked their village church, eventually sailing on a smuggler's boat from Libya, and arriving in Italy eight months ago. The couple later married.

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3:30 p.m.

A Serbian official has accused Hungary of breaching international laws by forcing migrants back over the border to Serbia.

Government minister Aleksandar Vulin says that while implementing new restrictions against migrants, Hungarian authorities are trying to send them back to Serbia instead of a transit border zone formally part of Hungary.

Vulin says he has called for a meeting of top security officials because of a surge of migrants into Serbia despite the closure of the Balkan route in March.

Vulin says Serbia needs to "protect its territory and citizens."

He said Thursday that 334 migrants arrived overnight from Bulgaria and 158 from Macedonia, adding that more are likely to have arrived unrecorded.

More than 1 million migrants used the Balkan route to reach Western Europe last year.

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2:40 p.m.

Official data shows that Hungary's new border policy has practically eliminated the number of migrants who can file asylum claims in the country and then usually continue their journey west.

The U.N. refugee agency and other rights groups say that the decision to take back to the other side of the border fence migrants and refugees caught by police within eight kilometers (five miles) of the border denies asylum-seekers the opportunity to file their claims.

According to police and government data released Thursday, around 130 migrants a day had been detained by police near the Serbian border over the 10 days before Monday. Most of them were expected to seek asylum in Hungary, be taken to open reception centers and then head further west before their claims were settled.

On Tuesday, however, when the new border policies went into effect, no migrants were detained but 190 were "escorted back" to the no-man's land on the Serbian side of the border fence.

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10:45 a.m.

Italian navy officials say they have recovered 217 bodies from the hull of a migrant ship that sank off Libya last year in a tragedy that sparked the EU to beef up Mediterranean rescue operations.

Italian authorities raised the ship from the seabed last week and have been working to remove and identify the bodies ever since. In a statement Thursday, the navy said 52 autopsies had been performed on the 217 bodies pulled out so far.

Some of the 28 survivors of the April 18, 2015 wreck had said as many as 700-800 people were aboard, leading officials to label it one of the worst known tragedies of the Mediterranean migrant crisis.

Around 200 bodies were initially recovered; after officials saw the ship's dimensions, they suggested about 300 remained.