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The Latest: UN says up to 146 may have died in shipwreck

Associated Press logo Associated Press 29/03/2017

ROME — The Latest on the large number of migrants from the Middle East and Africa trying to reach Europe (all times local):

6:40 p.m.

The United Nations refugee agency says as many as 146 people may have been killed in a migrant shipwreck in the Mediterranean Sea.

A U.N. team interviewed a 16-year-old who is believed to be the lone survivor of the wreck on Wednesday. A Spanish ship rescued the teen.

Volker Türk, the refugee agency's assistant high commissioner for protection, says the teen reported that the boat left Sabratha, Libya two days ago with 147 people on board. The passengers included five children and several pregnant women.

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees says some 23,085 migrants have arrived in Italy so far this year after making the risky Mediterranean crossing from Libya.

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5 p.m.

Cyprus authorities say a small fishing boat carrying 91 people who are believed to be Syrian migrants landed on the east Mediterranean island's northwestern coast after being battered in rough seas.

Police spokesman Nikos Tsappis told the Associated Press on Wednesday that authorities suspect the boat set sail from the southern coast of Turkey.

The passengers included 42 children and 20 women. They all were reported to be in good health and will be transferred to reception centers for asylum-seekers.

Cyprus' Joint Rescue Coordination Center says it was alerted to a boat in danger because of rough seas early Wednesday afternoon.

The boat managed to make it to shore near the northwestern village of Pomos before a rescue operation was launched.

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2:33 p.m.

Italy's parliament has given final approval to a law outlining comprehensive standards of care for unaccompanied migrant children arriving in Italy, including a strict prohibition of turning them away at the border.

The U.N. children's agency and Save the Children praised the law's passage Wednesday saying it was the first of its kind in Europe. The law covers all aspects of care for minors arriving in Italy alone, reducing the amount of time they can spend in preliminary welcome centers, setting a 10-day window to confirm their identities and guaranteeing access to health care.

Save the Children says more than 25,800 unaccompanied minors arrived in Italy by sea last year, more than twice as many as 2015. At least 3,000 unaccompanied minors have arrived so far this year.

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