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World: Channel deaths fuel UK-France tensions over migrant boats

Volunteer migrant rescuers on trial in Greece

  Volunteer migrant rescuers on trial in Greece LESBOS, Greece (AP) — A group of 24 volunteers who took part in migrant rescue operations went on trial Thursday on the Greek island of Lesbos on smuggling-related charges in a case that has been strongly criticized by international human rights groups. The Greek and international volunteers include the Syrian-born competitive swimmer Sara Mardini, whose sister Ysra Mardini, was part of the refugee swimming team at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and Tokyo earlier this year.

LONDON (AP) — The deaths of at least 27 people in the English Channel is fueling tensions between the U.K. and France over how to stop migrants from crossing the world’s busiest waterway in small boats.

A group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover, England by the RNLI, following a small boat incident in the English Channel, Thursday Nov. 25, 2021. On Wednesday around 30 migrants bound for Britain died when their boat sank in the English Channel, in what France’s interior minister called the biggest migration tragedy on the dangerous crossing to date. (Gareth Fuller/PA via AP): Migration Britain France © Provided by Associated Press Migration Britain France

Despite a pledge from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron that they would “do everything possible” to stop people smugglers from endangering lives, politicians on both sides of the channel are already blaming their counterparts for failing to prevent Wednesday's tragedy.

A group of people thought to be migrants wait in a holding area after being brought in to Dover, Kent, England, Thursday, Nov. 25, 2021. On Wednesday around 30 migrants bound for Britain died when their boat sank in the English Channel, in what France’s interior minister called the biggest migration tragedy on the dangerous crossing to date. (Gareth Fuller/PA via AP) © Provided by Associated Press A group of people thought to be migrants wait in a holding area after being brought in to Dover, Kent, England, Thursday, Nov. 25, 2021. On Wednesday around 30 migrants bound for Britain died when their boat sank in the English Channel, in what France’s interior minister called the biggest migration tragedy on the dangerous crossing to date. (Gareth Fuller/PA via AP)

U.K. officials criticize France for rejecting their offer of British police and border officers to conduct joint patrols along the channel coast with French police. French authorities say Britain is stoking the crisis because it is too easy for migrants to remain in the country and work if they manage to cross the channel.

Kurds, others converge in French camp, seeking to reach UK

  Kurds, others converge in French camp, seeking to reach UK PARIS (AP) — At least 1,500 migrants are living in tents on a muddy lot in northern France as growing numbers of people fleeing Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries seek to traverse the English Channel and reach the U.K., according to aid workers. In Grande-Synthe, a town east of the port city of Calais, the migrants - including some families with young children - have converged on the site of a former industrial complex. Local authorities have warned of dire sanitary conditions and overcrowding in the area, risks associated with the fast approaching winter and deepening tensions between migrants and traffickers that often turn violent.

A group of people thought to be migrants wait on a holding bus after being brought in to Dover, Kent, England, Thursday, Nov. 25, 2021. On Wednesday around 30 migrants bound for Britain died when their boat sank in the English Channel, in what France’s interior minister called the biggest migration tragedy on the dangerous crossing to date. (Gareth Fuller/PA via AP) © Provided by Associated Press A group of people thought to be migrants wait on a holding bus after being brought in to Dover, Kent, England, Thursday, Nov. 25, 2021. On Wednesday around 30 migrants bound for Britain died when their boat sank in the English Channel, in what France’s interior minister called the biggest migration tragedy on the dangerous crossing to date. (Gareth Fuller/PA via AP)

Amid the finger pointing, British lawmakers on Thursday will debate the soaring number of migrants who are crossing the channel in small boats. Macron is scheduled to discuss the issue with European Union officials.

Meanwhile, migrants are continuing to brave frigid weather in small boats.

“This tragedy was completely predictable, indeed it was predicted and it was completely preventable,” Zoe Gardner, of the Joint Council of Welfare for Immigrants, told the BBC. “This has to be a time for our government to mark a turning point.''

In the cold sea, migrants cast off for England from a French beach

  In the cold sea, migrants cast off for England from a French beach In the cold sea, migrants cast off for England from a French beachWIMEREUX, France (Reuters) - Bundled from the cold in black woolly hats and puffy coats, some in red life jackets, they hauled the rubber dinghy on their shoulders and heads under a steely November sky, over the dunes towards the beach.

"We need to offer people alternatives to the smuggling boats.”

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France Takes Steps to Curb Smuggling Across Channel After 27 Migrants Die Trying to Reach U.K. .
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said justice officials and staff from the finance and foreign affairs ministries will join the agency to bolster it.Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said justice officials and staff from the finance and foreign affairs ministries will join the agency to bolster it, giving it "more muscle, not to say revolutionize it." The office currently has 123 members, according to the Associated Press.

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