Refugees on Foot Crowd Out Cars on Austrian Highway




Refugees on Foot Crowd Out Cars on Austrian Highway

With rail links to Austria’s capital still suspended, thousands of migrants are hiking to Vienna from the border with Hungary in their quest for asylum.


Austrian officials halted cross-border train service with HungaryThursday because of "massive overcrowding," saying they no longer have the capacity to deal with the throngs of people wanting to board trains for the 60-kilometer journey.

Austria's A4 highway was shut to cars Friday, making room for the long lines of refugees trekking toward Vienna to seek asylum in Austria or farther on in Germany. Other weary migrants awaited buses at Nickelsdorf, Austria, just across the border with Hungary.


Migrants wait to board buses after crossing the Hungarian-Austrian border in Nickelsdorf, 70 kilometers (43 miles) southeast of Vienna, Sept. 11, 2015. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
Migrants wait to board buses after crossing the Hungarian-Austrian border in Nickelsdorf, 70 kilometers (43 miles) southeast of Vienna, Sept. 11, 2015. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)

Meanwhile, Hungarian police have launched an investigation after an online video surfaced, purportedly showing police at a refugee camp wearing surgical masks as they throw packs of sandwiches into a crowd of migrants.

Hungary has been widely criticized for its treatment of the refugees, compared to the warmer response from Germany and Austria. With its position on the eastern edge of the European Union, Hungary is the first stop for many refugees from war-torn areas seeking a better life in the peaceful, more prosperous nations of Western Europe.

Foreign ministers meeting

In Prague Friday, the foreign ministers of Germany and Luxembourg were meeting with their counterparts from four eastern European Union nations to try to persuade them to accept the European Commission's plan for distributing 160,000 refugees among EU nations.

Germany’s Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Luxembourg's Jean Asselborn have failed to convince the top diplomats from Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia – all of which have indicated they oppose the plan.

U.S. to accept more Syrians

On Thursday, the United States increased the number of Syrian migrants it plans to accept to 10,000 over the coming year, and also said it will increase its humanitarian assistance to Syrians fleeing violence at home.

The country has taken in about 1,500 refugees from Syria since its civil war broke out more than four years ago.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the president approved accepting more of the refugees beginning in October.

The White House promised "robust" background checks on the new arrivals to ensure that national security is not endangered. U.S. intelligence chief James Clapper said this week that he feared Islamic State militants might infiltrate the refugees escaping conflict in the Mideast as they head to other countries.

But at least one humanitarian aid group, the International Rescue Committee, has called the 10,000 number "cold comfort" to victims of Syria's conflict.  It wants the United States to take in more of the migrants.

Emotional appeal

The White House has faced mounting pressure to step up its response to the crisis in Europe, parts of which have been overwhelmed by tens of thousands of migrants fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and northern Africa.

Click here for report from VOA Serbia correspondent Rade Rankovic on the Serbia-Hungary border

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US to Bolster Sinai Peacekeeping Mission
WASHINGTON—
The United States is sending an additional 75 U.S. troops and other assets to Egypt's Sinai Peninsula to bolster the security of international peacekeepers, who have come under attack from militants in recent days, the Pentagon said Thursday.

Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said the deployment included a light infantry platoon and forward surgical teams, as well equipment and vehicles.

"Our concern right now, our top priority, is the safety and security of those U.S. personnel there," Cook said.

The announcement came a week after bomb attacks wounded six soldiers, including four Americans, who were assigned to the Multinational Force and Observer peacekeeping mission.

Cook said planning began before that incident.

The MFO was created as a result of the 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel and is based in Sinai, the peninsula that lies between Israel, the Gaza Strip and the Suez Canal.

There are more than 700 U.S. troops currently based in Sinai, the majority of whom are in the southern part of the peninsula, said Pentagon spokesman Major Roger Cabiness.

Israel has called on Egypt to crack down on growing lawlessness in the Sinai, which has become a hideout for jihadi groups opposed to Israel.

Islamist militants were suspected of killing 16 border guards last month in North Sinai, prompting Egypt to send armored vehicles and hundreds of troops in the biggest buildup in the demilitarized zone since Egypt's 1973 war with Israel.

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Refugees on Foot Crowd Out Cars on Austrian Highway Refugees on Foot Crowd Out Cars on Austrian Highway Reviewed by Ajit Kumar on 7:09 PM Rating: 5

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