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The Latest: 217 migrants found in Black Sea seeking Europe

Posted September 9

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

3:40 p.m.

Coast guard forces from Romania and Bulgaria have intercepted 217 migrants in the Black Sea who are suspected of trying to illegally enter Romania.

Romanian border police said Saturday they spotted a tourist ship carrying 97 migrants from Iran and Iraq sailing close to Romanian waters late Friday. The ship, carrying 40 men, 21 women and 36 children, was taken to the port of Mangalia.

Separately, a joint Romanian-Bulgarian effort blocked a fishing vessel carrying 120 migrants in the Black Sea late Friday near the northern Bulgarian town of Shabla. The ship and its passengers were handed over to Turkey.

Romania and Bulgaria are members of the European Union but are not part of Europe's visa-free travel zone. Migrants are increasingly using the Black Sea from Turkey to reach Romania.

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2:20 p.m.

Germany's interior minister is calling for benefits for asylum-seekers to be standardized across the European Union, reducing his country's attractiveness for would-be migrants.

Thomas de Maiziere also called in an interview with Saturday's edition of the daily Rheinische Post for legal procedures surrounding asylum and deportation to be standardized. He said that asylum-seekers rejected in Germany can delay their deportation using various legal channels, "significantly more than elsewhere."

More than 1 million people came to Germany as asylum-seekers in 2015 and 2016. De Maiziere said that "the payments for refugees are quite high by EU standards. That is part of the pull effect to Germany." He said that an effort to standardize benefits could include "purchasing power supplements" for some countries.

Germany holds an election on Sept. 24.

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1:50 p.m.

Denmark's minority center-right government says it wants to make the U.N. refugee quota system "flexible" for the country.

Integration Minister Inger Stoejberg says Denmark has accepted about 500 such refugees every year since 1989.

Stoejberg, considered an immigration hardliner, said Saturday that Denmark "doesn't want to commit ourselves" and "I don't believe we have room for quota refugees this year."

She said Denmark had received about 56,000 spontaneous asylum-seekers since 2012 and many of them are expected to try to bring relatives. She said that those already in Denmark should be integrated first.

The anti-immigration Danish People's Party, which backs the government, supports the law proposal.

Denmark received about 20,000 asylum-seekers in 2015, a small number compared with its Swedish and German neighbors.

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1:15 p.m.

Turkish authorities say 40 Syrian migrants have been stopped from illegally crossing to Greece.

Turkey's coast guard says the migrants, among them 18 children, were stopped Friday morning off the western province of Izmir.

In footage filmed from a coast guard boat, the group is seen in a rubber dinghy. As the coast guard vessel approaches, one man lifts and then briefly lowers a small child toward the sea, while another man raises his arms in prayer. The coast guard then pulls in the dinghy and transfers the migrants to its boat.

Turkey and the European Union signed a deal last year to curb the illegal flow of migrants to Greece. Turkey is host to more than 3 million Syrians who have fled the ongoing civil war in their country.

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