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The Latest: 50 migrants rescued off western Greece

Associated Press Associated Press 5 days ago
A woman sweeps a path among the tents at the Ritsona refugee camp north of Athens, which hosts about 600 refugees and migrants on Monday, Sept. 19, 2016. The European Union's border agency says the number of migrants arriving in the Greek islands has increased significantly over the last month. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris) © The Associated Press A woman sweeps a path among the tents at the Ritsona refugee camp north of Athens, which hosts about 600 refugees and migrants on Monday, Sept. 19, 2016. The European Union's border agency says the number of migrants arriving in the Greek islands has increased significantly over the last month. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

LJUBLJANA, Slovenia — The Latest on Europe's migration crisis (all times local):

9 p.m.

Greek authorities say 50 refugees or other migrants have been rescued off western Greece after issuing a distress call from their crippled sailboat.

The merchant marine ministry says the migrants were picked up by a Turkish-flagged cargo ship off the island of Zakynthos following a search and rescue operation involving four vessels.

The sailboat was abandoned at sea. The migrants, who were reported to be in good health, appeared to have been heading for Italy. Their nationalities were not immediately available.

They were being transferred late Monday to a port on Zakynthos.

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8:40 p.m.

Greek police say a large fire has swept through a big camp for refugees and other migrants on the eastern Aegean island of Lesbos, forcing its evacuation.

None of the more than 4,000 people in the Moria camp was reported injured in Monday's blaze, which damaged tents and prefabricated housing units.

Police were investigating the possibility that some of the residents started the fire. Crowding and long delays in processing of asylum requests have repeatedly caused tension at Moria, often among different ethnic groups.

A total 5,400 migrants and other refugees live on Lesbos, which was the main destination for the more than a million people who reached Greece's eastern islands from Turkey since the beginning of 2015. There is organized accommodation for 3,500.

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6:10 p.m.

Italian Premier Matteo Renzi says there is no basis to link the fight against terrorism to policies on immigration.

Renzi told reporters Monday in New York that "establishing a connection between security and immigration at the moment isn't there in reality in the facts. That's that."

He said terrorists who arrived in Europe "didn't come on boats but in comfortable airplanes." He said the "extreme" outskirts of European cities do see radicalization "but it's not the refugee camp, it's the prison" where radicalization more likely occurs.

Renzi, who has made plain his disappointment with the outcome from last week's EU informal summit in Slovakia, also said: "If Europe continues this way, we'll have to organize ourselves autonomously on immigration."

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3:20 p.m.

Serbia's customs officers have discovered three migrants from Afghanistan hidden in two cargo trucks with Macedonian license plates that were heading toward the European Union.

Customs authorities said the migrants were discovered early Monday at the Serbian border with EU-member Croatia. Two migrants were hiding in a truck bound for Italy, while the third one was in a truck heading to Germany.

Authorities said that the customs officers looked into the trucks after their drivers suspected someone had climbed into them when they stopped earlier at a nearby gas station.

Migrants fleeing war and poverty have been looking for ways to enter the EU countries illegally after countries closed their borders for free entry in March. Thousands remain stuck in the Balkan countries.

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2:10 p.m.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development is urging governments to improve reception conditions for migrants in order to address anti-immigration backlash.

In a report on international migration released on Monday, the Paris-based international organization recommended countries address the local impact of the arrival of migrants.

The OECD said "large and sudden" inflows of migrants are often concentrated in the most disadvantaged areas and that governments should scale up public services in those areas.

The organization is also suggesting that countries step up international cooperation and is urging the international community to "significantly increase its effort in terms of resettlement".

Migration flows increased by 10 percent in 2015 across the OECD area, which is made up of 35 leading industrial countries from all around the world.

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12:55 p.m.

Several dozen refugees have staged a protest in an asylum center in Slovenia, complaining that the EU nation is slow in processing their asylum requests.

The refugees gathered outside the asylum center in the capital Ljubljana on Monday, holding a banner reading "We are Human Beings." They are demanding a meeting with Slovenia's interior minister.

The refugees have also complained over what they described as bad living conditions in the center. One migrant told Slovenia's public broadcaster that "these are not normal conditions."

Hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants passed through Slovenia last year at the height of Europe's migrant crisis. Slovenia and other countries along the route closed their borders for migrants in March.

Slovenian police say 321 refugees and migrants remain in the Alpine country.

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