Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
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Man who tried to smuggle child refugee into UK: 'I'd never do it again. Well ... ' - Rob Lawrie, arrested at the Calais border when officers found an Afghan girl in his van, explains how his life has changed (Guardian, link):
"A former soldier who narrowly avoided jail for trying to smuggle a child refugee into Britain has said he would attempt to get a minor to safety again if he thought he could get away with it...."
New Italian government seeks migration crackdown (DW, link):
"Italy's leaders have launched a push to increase ID checks, deportations, and the construction of detention centers. The tough migration stance is the first major policy departure for new Prime Minister Gentiloni.
Italy has decided to ramp up checks on migrants and increase deportations in 2017, national media reported on Saturday. According to several of the country's leading dailies, police chief Franco Gabrielli sent a memorandum to Italian police stations calling on them to be extra vigilant in the new year.
Gabrielli is the director of public safety for a special Italian police unit called the Protezione Civil, which handles security for "exceptional" circumstances. In his directive, he reminds local officers of the importance of making routine checks "in the current crisis considering the increasing pressures of migration in an international context characterized by instability and which require maximum effort to keep our territory 'under control.'"
Lost at sea: The search for missing refugees (aljazeera.com, link)
"Thousands of people remain unaccounted for after attempting the deadly Mediterranean Sea crossing.
Thousands of refugees still brave the dangerous sea voyage to Europe across the Aegean Sea each year, but for every refugee that reaches Greece successfully, there are others who are never heard from again. Many are thought to be dead, with some buried in unmarked graves. The process to identify them is mired in bureaucratic and logistical hurdles, leaving their families in limbo.
According to Maria Landri - a coordinator for the tracing services department of the Hellenic Red Cross, a department that aims to assist these families - there are currently 900 cases open, while 114 cases have been solved since 2014. This represents only a fraction of the more than 4,400 missing persons, according to the International Organization for Migration's Missing Migrants Project."
USA: 450 churches prepare to act as Trump-era underground railroad for undocumented immigrants (Raw Story, link):
"A network of 450 houses of worship across the country are stepping up to act as a kind of underground railroad for undocumented immigrants under the nascent Donald Trump administration.
The New York Times said that these churches, synagogues and mosques are all part of the Sanctuary Movement an interfaith movement that began in the 1960s, but which has undergone a revival in recent years as the U.S. has stepped up deportation of undocumented immigrants."
Migrants storm border fence in Spanish enclave of Ceuta (BBC News, link):
"Fifty Moroccan and five Spanish border guards were injured when 1,100 African migrants attempted to storm a border fence. The migrants were attempting to reach Spain's North African enclave of Ceuta.
Only two were successful, but both were injured scaling the six-metre (20 ft) fence and needed hospital treatment. One guard lost an eye, officials said. The attempt comes after more than 400 migrants succeeded in breaching Ceuta's fence in December."
Over 100 migrant arrivals recorded on Greek islands in 24 hours (ekathimerini.com, link):
"A total of 112 migrants and refugees landed on Greek shores in the first 24 hours of the new year, with 46 arriving on the eastern Aegean island of Chios and another 66 on Samos."
Greece: Nearly 11,000 refugees, migrants stranded on northern Aegean islands (ekathimerini.com, link):
"The number of refugees and migrants stranded on northern Aegean islands reached 10,938 people on Saturday, according to figures released by Greek police on the same day, state news agency ANA-MPA reported.... The data released showed 5,551 migrants and refugees were stranded on Lesvos, 3,517 on Chios and 1,870 on Samos."
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