Refugees and migrants take part in a protest demanding the authorities to let them go to Athens and continue their trip towards Northern Europe, at the port of Mytilene, on the northeastern Greek island of Lesbos, on Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015. Earlier many of them confronted the police as they attempted to get onboard a ship bound to Athens’ port of Piraeus. (Santi Palacios/Associated Press)
By Associated Press September 6 at 6:32 AM
BERLIN — The latest news as countries across Europe cope with the arrival of thousands of migrants and refugees. All times local (CET):
Pope Francis is asking faithful throughout Europe to shelter refugees fleeing “death from war and hunger.”
Francis said Sunday that the Vatican’s two parishes are taking in two families of refugees. He gave no details as he addressed tens of thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square.
Francis said it’s not enough to say, “Have courage, hang in there,” to the hundreds of thousands of refugees who are on the march toward what he called “life’s hope.”
He called on every Catholic parish, convent, monastery and sanctuary in Europe to shelter a family, and asked bishops throughout Europe to urge their dioceses to do the same.
Israel’s prime minister says his country is not indifferent to the plight of migrants and refugees flooding Europe, but that Israel is too vulnerable to absorb them.
Benjamin Netanyahu bemoaned the “human tragedy” of the victims of Syria’s civil war and said Israel has aided them in various ways. But he added that Israel is too small a country, both geographically and demographically, to provide a haven for a large influx of migrants.
Israel runs a field hospital on its border with Syria and has taken in wounded Syrians, but has stopped short of opening the borders to its longtime enemy.
Israel’s opposition leader Isaac Herzog says the country should take in a limited number of Syrian asylum seekers amid the current refugee crisis in Europe.
Authorities in Cyprus say they have rescued 114 people believed to be refugees fleeing war-torn Syria after their fishing boat issued a distress call some 46 miles (74 kilometers) off the east Mediterranean island nation’s southern coast.
Cyprus police said Sunday that all 114 people, including Palestinians from Syria, are in good health. They include 19 women, 30 children, 5 infants and 60 men.
A merchant vessel notified Cyprus’ Search and Rescue Center late Saturday that the refugees’ 60-foot (18-meter) fishing boat was in trouble.
The refugees were transferred to the southern port of Larnaca for health and identity checks.
Police said three men, including a 28-year-old believed to be the boat’s captain, have been arrested and are being questioned.
French mayors are offering to house refugees amid increasing concern for Syrians and others fleeing war and seeking haven in Europe.
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said in a statement Sunday that several dozen mayors have offered to help in recent days, and convened a national meeting to organize refugee housing on Sept. 12.
France is trying to speed up the process for seeking asylum and to better welcome refugees, as the numbers coming to Europe this year have soared. Many asylum seekers in France have no place to live and sleep in make-shift camps, from Paris to Calais.
A grassroots French group arranging private housing for refugees has also seen a spike in offers in recent days, after the widely viewed photo of a drowned Syrian boy helped raise public awareness.
On the Greek island of Lesbos, police have used batons to beat back a demonstration by some 300 migrants chanting “Athena, Athena” as they tried to come out of the port area. Several of the protesters were injured in the clash, with one taken away unconscious by an ambulance.
The migrants, mostly Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans, say that local authorities on the Aegean island are not processing them quickly enough so they can continue their journey to western Europe. They also complain that authorities on Lesbos are not offering them any help and that they are fast running out of money.
The clashes early Sunday were the third in as many days between migrants and police. The demonstration on Sunday was led by Afghans.
Thousands of migrants and refugees have arrived by train and bus in cities across Germany overnight.
Police say a special train with 570 people on board arrived in the Thuringian town of Saalfeld late Saturday. More than half of them were taken onward to Dresden, where a school for German army officers has been cleared to provide temporary shelter for 350 newcomers.
Trains also took migrants to Hamburg in the north and Dortmund in the west of the country, while buses brought more than 300 people to the capital Berlin.
Thousands more people, mainly Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans fleeing war and persecution, are expected to arrive in Germany and Austria from Hungary on Sunday.
The refugees were allowed to leave Hungary Saturday after the country opened its borders with Austria.
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