42 Refugees Rescued from Truck in Austria; 2 Smugglers Arrested

Migrants set off on foot toward Germany after they were blocked at a train station in Budapest on Friday. (Credit: Bernadett Szabo/Reuters)
Migrants set off on foot toward Germany after they were blocked at a train station in Budapest on Friday. (Credit: Bernadett Szabo/Reuters)

The latest developments as European governments rush to cope with the huge number of people moving across Europe. All times local (CET):

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1:45 p.m.

Austrian police say they have rescued 42 people, including five women and eight children, from a refrigerated truck on a highway near the border with Germany.

Police in Upper Austria province say the migrants were found Sunday morning at a rest stop on the A8 highway at Aistersheim by officers looking for traffickers’ vehicles. They were inside a Finnish-registered truck used to transport flowers.

Police said in a statement that all were in good health and the suspected smugglers, two Iraqis, were arrested.

Last month, 71 people were found dead inside a truck on a highway in eastern Austria. Police say the victims probably suffocated.

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1:20 p.m.

Greek authorities say 10 migrants have drowned at sea off a Greek island when their boat capsized — and there are fears the toll may rise as coast guard officers search the ship.

Another 68 passengers on the boat were rescued at sea early Sunday and 30 more were able to swim to the Greek island of Farmakonissi in the southeastern Aegean Sea.

The victims’ nationalities have not been undetermined. A coast guard spokeswoman told The Associated Press that one child was among them.

The area has been hit by strong winds of more than 50 kph (31 mph).

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1 p.m.

Germany’s vice chancellor is calling for an aid package to help feed, house and educate refugees in camps in countries neighboring Syria — an effort to combat the problems that are causing them to flee to Europe.

The U.N.’s World Food Program has had to cut food distributions at the camps because of funding shortages.

Sigmar Gabriel told German daily Tagesspiegel that Germany and Europe should put up 1.5 billion euros ($1.7 billion) in immediate aid for food, accommodation “and above all schools” in the biggest refugee camps in Lebanon and Jordan. He says the Gulf Arab countries and the United States should each contribute the same amount.

Gabriel said “as long as hardships grow in the refugee camps in Jordan and Lebanon, people will set off for Europe. We must address this, and quickly.”

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10:45 p.m.

Germany’s interior minister is making it clear that migrants wouldn’t get to choose what country they go to under a proposed European Union quota system to share the burden of new arrivals.

Germany, which is a favored destination and has taken the most asylum seekers in the 28-nation EU, wants an agreement on quotas but faces resistance from several other countries.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere was quoted Sunday as telling the Tagesspiegel daily that if refugees get protection in Europe they must accept being distributed around the EU.

He said “there can be no free choice of residence for refugees. That doesn’t exist anywhere in the world.”

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9:25 p.m.

German police say a total of 12,200 migrants came to Munich on Saturday and the flow is continuing into the city, the main point of entry to Germany.

Federal police spokesman Simon Hegewald said more than 700 people fleeing their homelands have arrived at the city’s main station on Sunday morning. Police didn’t immediately have an estimate of how many more might land during the day.

Officials in Munich were putting up tents but say their capacity to house the newcomers arriving from Hungary via Austria is being stretched to the limit. They are calling for more help from other places in Germany.

Hegewald said three special trains from Munich were planned Sunday to move migrants onto other destinations in the country.

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9 a.m.

The flow of migrants into Hungary has hit another record as Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government prepares an unprecedented border clampdown.

Police said 4,330 migrants were detained Saturday, over 700 more than the previous one-day mark. Hungary is rushing to complete a fence on its border with Serbia and starting Tuesday, new rules criminalizing illegal border crossings and speeding up decisions about asylum requests take effect.

Hungarian authorities hope the 4-meter (13-feet) high fence, more police at the border and tighter migration rules should deter migrants from trying to enter the country as they strive to reach Germany or other destinations in Western Europe.

At the least, authorities hope it will bring order to their mandatory registration system — which has crumbled as the number of migrants has grown.

SOURCE: AP

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