Jun 18, 2018

Hundreds of migrants arrive in Spain after Italy, Malta shun them

Migrants who were rescued by Spanish authorities. Photo: Carlos Gil/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

More than 600 migrants who were rescued from the Mediterranean Sea off the Libyan coast arrived in Spain Sunday on three ships — a week after Italy’s new populist, right-wing government and Malta blocked the vessels from docking on their shores.

Why it matters: The refusal by both countries to aid the asylum seekers and Italy's insinuation that the group was an "army of fake refugees" have exacerbated Europe’s latest battle over immigration, triggering strong reactions from humanitarian aid groups and other European countries.

What's happening: The migrants will be granted a special humanitarian permit to stay in Spain for 45 days, while Spanish authorities review their cases to determine who may qualify for asylum status, the AP reports. Authorities reportedly say dozens are minors who traveled without parents. The migrants were from 31 different nationalities — some are from Sudan, Algeria, Eritrea and Nigeria.

The backdrop: The influx of refugees and migrants fleeing from war- and poverty-ravaged countries to Europe has heightened pressure on German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who said this weekend the migration crisis needs a 'European solution.'

  • Merkel is reportedly calling for a special summit on refugee policy ahead of this month’s European Council as some officials are pressing her to propose a compromise that would prohibit some refugees from crossing the German border, a policy measure her party is against, Politico EU reports.

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Netanyahu says July 1 deadline for West Bank annexation won't change

Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday at a Likud Party faction meeting at the Knesset, Israel's parliament, that his July 1 deadline for starting the process of annexation in the West Bank will not change, according to people in attendance.

Why it matters: The White House and the State Department have stressed over the last few weeks that the deadline set by Netanyahu is "not sacred" to the Trump administration — and that any discussion of annexation needs to be in the context of renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina if capacity reduced

President Trump on stage during the 2016 Republican National Convention in Ohio. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images

President Trump threatened in a series of Monday tweets to move this summer's Republican National Convention from Charlotte if North Carolina's Democratic governor, Roy Cooper, doesn't allow the event to be held at full capacity.

The state of play: Mandy Cohen, the state's health and human services secretary, said last week that the GOP should "plan for the worst" as mass gatherings will be a "very big challenge" if the number of coronavirus cases in the state continues to increase, per NPR.

The wreckage of summer

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

We usually think of Memorial Day as the start of the summer, with all of the fun and relaxation that goes with it — but this one is just going to remind us of all of the plans that have been ruined by the coronavirus.

Why it matters: If you thought it was stressful to be locked down during the spring, just wait until everyone realizes that all the traditional summer activities we've been looking forward to are largely off-limits this year.