The Latest: Poland refuses to take in 10 orphans from Aleppo

VALLETTA, Malta (AP) — The Latest on the flow of migrants into Europe (all times local):

11 p.m.

A Polish radio station is reporting that the conservative government has refused a request made by a northern Polish city to take in 10 orphans from the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo, citing a threat to Poland's security.

p>Radio Tok FM carried an interview Friday with Sopot Mayor Jacek Karnowski, who says his request to take the orphans was refused.

There was no immediate comment from the government yet the radio published the refusal letter from the Interior Ministry. The letter said it was too complicated logistically to bring the Syrian children to Poland & said there were "problems with establishing their identities & eliminating terrorist threats."

The government in mostly Catholic Poland has taken a strong stand against accepting any Muslim refugees.

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Demonstrators use red paint during a rally outside the Migration Ministry in Athens, Friday, Feb. 3, …


7 p.m.

Anti-government protests are taking place in Athens & on the island of Lesbos following a string of winter deaths at migrant camps.

Demonstrators in the Greek capital chanted "give migrants shelter" during a peaceful march in the city center Friday to protest camp conditions, after the deaths of five migrants this winter.

Three of them died in the past week at a deportation camp on Lesbos, & authorities are investigating whether the deaths were caused by fumes from makeshift heaters.

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Demonstrators hold a banner reading ''No more dead refugees'' during a rally outside …

The government said this week it was intensifying efforts to move migrants out of poorly-heated camp facilities during the winter months & place them in hotels & apartments.


5 p.m.

The number of migrants risking their lives to cross the Mediterranean sea has surged as calm waters encouraged smugglers following days waiting for offensive weather to clear, said an NGO operating in the area.

Doctors Without Borders said in a tweet that their rescue boat north of the Libyan coast was operating fully over capacity & holding 720 migrants after five rescues.

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A demonstrator holds a banner during a rally outside the Greek parliament in Athens on Friday, Feb.  …

The Aquarius was receiving assistance from a another vessel operated by Proactiva Open Arms, a Spanish NGO that rescued 222 migrants, including a baby & two toddlers, from two boats on Friday.


10:55 a.m.

A top European Union official says a summit in Malta aims for a deal to better manage migrant flows from Libya across the central Mediterranean Sea toward Italy while still protecting lives.

U.N. & human rights officials have voiced concern that any such deal could include sending migrants, now kept in dangerous, overcrowded conditions in Libyan camps, back to the very dire circumstances they were trying to flee. But EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini says the aim is to "'decrease loss of life at sea & in the desert" of southern Libya along smugglers' routes.

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Migrants gather on a dock of Valletta harbor, Malta, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017. European heads of state …

She told reporters as she arrived at Friday's gathering that the summit would moreover provide "strong support" support to Italy, which has coordinated the rescue of hundreds of thousands of migrants at sea in the past few years.


10:10 a.m.

Human rights concerns are looming over a proposed EU plan to block migrants in Libya.

A one-day EU summit in Malta is discussing how to stop the so-far relentless flow of people fleeing poverty & conflicts in Africa & elsewhere setting out in smugglers' boats launched from Libyan shores. EU leaders want to close down that route across the central Mediterranean, likely through naval & economic assistance to the beleaguered government in Libya.

Advocates for refugees cite inhumane conditions in Libyan detention camps where the migrants are kept.

Doctors Without Borders general director Arjan Hehenkamp says in a statement that "the European Union & its member states need a reality check." The official calls the camps "dangerously overcrowded."

Politics & GovernmentUnrest, Conflicts & War

Source: “Associated Press”

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