At least 25,000 stranded in Greece as border reopens intermittently

THESSALONIKI, Greece -- Macedonia intermittently opened its border with Greece to a tiny trickle of Syrian and Iraqi refugees Wednesday, leaving about 10,000 more people camped on the Greek side, with more arriving daily.

See Full Article

The border bottleneck has left at least 25,000 people stranded in Greece, the first European country that migrants reach in smuggling boats from Turkey. As the prosperous but divided continent flails in search of a workable solution, individual countries led by Austria have imposed immigration caps that have caused a domino effect down the Balkan immigration corridor, which has been traversed by a million people over the past year.

Greek police say Macedonian police opened the Idomeni crossing three times Wednesday, each time for a few hours. They admitted a total of 240 people from Syria and Iraq -- the only nationalities allowed to continue north.

Hundreds, including many families with small children, arrive daily at Idomeni in northern Greece, where two official camps are so full that thousands have set up tents in fields all around.

Greece has asked for 480 million euros ($522 million) in emergency aid from the European Union to deal with the crisis.

EU Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Christos Stylianides said Wednesday he wants to swiftly push through a proposal to earmark 700 million euros ($760 million) in humanitarian aid to deal with the refugee crisis over the next three years. He said 300 million euros ($325 million) would be earmarked for this year and be used "where it is most needed," alluding to Greece and the nations along the Balkan trail.

Macedonia says it will only allow in as many refugees as Serbia, its northern neighbour, accepts each day.

Slovakia's prime minister, Robert Fico, visited the Macedonian side of the border Wednesday and stressed the importance of bilateral co-operation in addressing the migration crisis.

"We all believe that we need to adopt European solutions, but sometimes it seems to us that European solutions do not work," he said. "So, probably, also bilateral co-operation, co-operation among countries, countries like Macedonia, are very, very important."

A field official with the United Nations refugee agency on the Macedonian side of the crossing said authorities will soon send a train with about 500 people from the nearby town of Gevgelija to the Serbian border. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media.

Jasmin Rexhepi, head of the aid group Legis, told The Associated Press that a group of about 50 Pakistanis remain trapped for a fourth day on the Macedonian side of the border between two razor-wire fences. He said Macedonian authorities are trying to send them back to Greece because the group crossed the border illegally.

Rexhepi also said that about 1,000 refugees -- 750 Afghans and 250 Iraqis -- are stuck at Macedonia's border with Serbia, which has refused them entry.

In Greece, arrivals by smuggling boats from Turkey on the eastern Aegean Sea islands continue at a rate of nearly 2,000 a day. More than 120,000 have landed so far this year, on top of 850,000 in 2015. A string of hastily thrown-up transit camps on the mainland has rapidly filled up, and hundreds are sleeping rough in a central Athens square.

Authorities have restricted the flow of migrants from the islands to Athens' port of Piraeus, where about 1,000 people still arrived by ferry by midday Wednesday.

Testorides reported from Skopje, Macedonia. Nicholas Paphitis in Athens contributed.


Latest Canada & World News

  • Liberals move to let judges waive victim surcharge for those who can't pay

    Canada News CTV News
    OTTAWA -- The Liberal government is moving to once again allow judges to waive a victim surcharge imposed on offenders if they cannot afford to pay it. The change is among promised reforms to the criminal justice system -- expected to include an overhaul of the tough-on-crime agenda championed by the Conservatives -- that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has asked Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould to bring in. Source
  • Trick-or-treat: N.B. city grapples with unusual Halloween curfew bylaw

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    BATHURST, N.B. — Older teens hoping to take to the streets of a northern New Brunswick community on Halloween may find an unusual bylaw blocking their pursuit of sugary loot. The City of Bathurst has a long-standing, but little-known rule on the books that forbids trick-or-treating or wearing a face covering after 7 p.m. Source
  • Calais camp dismantling to start next week

    World News CTV News
    PARIS -- French authorities say the closure of the slum-like camp in Calais will start on Monday and will last approximately a week in what they describe as a "humanitarian" operation. According to officials at France's Interior ministry, all of the 6,486 migrants they have counted in the camp -- where refugees have been living in appalling conditions for years -- will be offered relocation, either in reception centres across the country or abroad. Source
  • Peanut butter vandal mistakes gathering for Trump rally

    World News CTV News
    AMHERST, Wis. -- Disorderly conduct charges are pending against a woman who authorities say smeared peanut butter on 30 vehicles outside a gathering in central Wisconsin that she mistakenly thought was a Donald Trump rally. Source
  • Child porn accuser drops lawsuit against ex-Subway pitchman

    World News Toronto Sun
    INDIANAPOLIS — The family of a girl who accused Jared Fogle in a child pornography case that led to the former Subway pitchman’s imprisonment is dropping a lawsuit against him. A motion filed Thursday in federal court in Indianapolis requested that the lawsuit be dismissed with prejudice, meaning it cannot be brought back to court. Source
  • Kumbuka the gorilla escaped last week and spent his freedom guzzling fruit syrup

    World News Toronto Sun
    London Zoo officials are trying to reassure the public that stories about one of its gorillas escaping from an enclosure last week were exaggerated. Reports that Kumbuka had left his secure pen at the London Zoo last Thursday sent visitors into a frenzy. Source
  • Inflation rate up 1.3% last month says Statistics Canada

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says its consumer price index was up 1.3 per cent in September compared with a year ago. That indicates slightly higher inflation compared with August when the index was up 1.1 per cent. Source
  • Pakistan is going to execute man with schizophrenia, rights group says

    World News CBC News
    An international rights group and a defence lawyer say Pakistan's Supreme Court has paved the way for execution of a mentally ill death-row prisoner by ruling that schizophrenia does not qualify as a mental disorder. Sara Bilal, a lawyer at Justice Project Pakistan, said Friday the court made this observation Thursday while releasing a detailed order about an earlier rejection of the final appeal from Imdad Ali. Source
  • Family violence stats 'staggering': Canada's top doctor

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    TORONTO — Canada’s top doctor has released a report on family violence across the country — and he says the statistics are staggering. Chief medical health officer Dr. Gregory Taylor says family violence is not just about physical abuse, but includes sexual, emotional and financial abuse, as well as neglect. Source
  • A portrait of John Podesta, based entirely on his hacked emails

    World News Toronto Sun
    John Podesta is constantly being asked to lunch. John Podesta receives a cascade of boring news briefs. John Podesta is a one-man suggestion box for people who have ideas about the campaign. John Podesta and his wife, Mary, have a typical marriage-on-the-go. Source