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Sweden’s trains to and from Denmark will be canceled starting with January 4, 2016, over ID checks.

The state-owned train operator SJ will stop services because it cannot carry out ID checks demanded by the government to stem the influx of refugees.

Under a new Swedish law, transport companies will be fined if travelers to Sweden do not have valid photo ID.

SJ said it would not have time to check people traveling between Copenhagen and Malmo over the Oresund bridge.

Sweden has already received about 150,000 asylum applications in 2015.

The government has secured a temporary exemption from the EU’s open-border Schengen agreement, in order to impose border controls.Sweden trains Oresund bridge

About 18,000 people commute to work daily across the Oresund bridge, Radio Sweden reports.

SJ said all services between Denmark and Sweden would be suspended from January 4 when the new law comes into force.

“Our planning of the introduction of ID border checks in Copenhagen before the departure of SJ trains bound for Sweden has shown that we are currently unable to carry out ID checks in accordance with the requirements of the new law in the amount of time allowed,” the company said on its website.

SJ added it had chosen to “cancel its departures until there is a working solution in place”.

Oresundstag, another train operator which runs a Sweden-Denmark commuter service, said it would remain in operation after January 4, but scale back rush-hour traffic to allow time for the checks, according to reports.

One million migrants have arrived in Europe by land or sea in 2015, the International Organization for Migration says.

Along with Germany, Sweden is one of the main destinations of choice – with some 150,000 applying for asylum in 2015.

In contrast, Denmark expects to receive about 20,000 asylum seekers in 2015.

Last week a Danish government proposal to seize asylum seekers’ valuables to make them pay for their stay drew sharp criticism in international media.


Dozens of Democrats joined Republicans as the House of Representatives has passed a bill that tightens restrictions on the resettlement of Syrian and Iraqi refugees, amid security concerns.

The House passed the measure 289-137, in a rebuke to the White House.

President Barack Obama has said he will veto the legislation.

The bill follows the ISIS-led attacks in Paris that left 129 people dead.

Seven of the perpetrators died in the attacks, and one of them is thought to have been a Syrian who entered Europe via Greece with migrants.

The bill still needs to pass the Senate before hitting Barack Obama’s desk.

Photo AP

Photo AP

It would require the head of the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Director of National Intelligence to sign off on each refugee as being “not a threat to the security of the United States,” following an FBI background check.

Calling the Paris attacks “a game changer”, Rep Brad Ashford, a Democrat from Nebraska, said: “I cannot sit back and ignore the concerns of my constituents and the American public.”

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said he supported the bill because “it is against the values of our nation and the values of a free society to give terrorists the opening they are looking for”.

Others urged compassion for those fleeing the war-torn regions.

“Defeating terrorism should not mean slamming the door in the faces of those fleeing the terrorists,” said Rep Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat from New York.

“We might as well take down the Statue of Liberty.”

Republicans do not have the votes to override Barack Obama’s veto, but say that their affirmative vote in symbolic.

Rand Paul, a senator from Kentucky who is currently running for president, has highlighted a 2011 case in his home state of two Iraqi refugees who schemed to send rifles, missiles and money to al-Qaeda against US troops in Iraqi. They are now imprisoned.

The White House has said that 2,174 Syrians have been admitted to the US since the attacks in September 2001, and noted that none of them has been arrested or deported for terror offences.

Millions of Syrians have fled to neighboring countries and to Europe since the Syrian conflict began about four years ago.

The Obama administration announced in September that it wanted to resettle about 10,000 Syrian refugees in the US by the same time in 2016.


Roanoke Mayor David Bowers has come under criticism in Virginia after he appeared to endorse the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.

In a letter, Mayor David Bowers wrote that Syrian refugees should not be resettled in his city, citing security concerns.

To highlight the point, David Bowers, a Democrat, compared the concern over the refugees to the 1940s internment of Japanese Americans.

The internment camps – now considered illegal – are widely considered to be an embarrassing period in US history.

“I’m reminded that President Franklin D. Roosevelt felt compelled to sequester Japanese foreign nationals after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and it appears that threat of harm to America from [ISIS] now is just as real and serious as that from our enemies then,” David Bowers wrote.

Photo Washington Post

Photo Washington Post

More than 30 US governors have said they do not want Syria refugees resettled in their states after recent attacks in Paris tied to ISIS killed 129 people.

Although the governors do not have the legal authority to do so, they can complicate the resettlement process. President Barack Obama called their response “hysterical”.

Virginia Republicans sought to distance themselves from David Bowers’ remarks.

“Comparing the prudent step of pausing to evaluate a vetting processes to the unconstitutional internment of American citizens proves that Democrats simply don’t understand national security,” John Whitbeck, the chairman of the Virginia Republican Party, said in a statement.

The letter drew also ridicule on social media with celebrities condemning David Bowers.

Actor and Japanese-American George Takei wrote on Facebook: “Mayor Bowers, there are a few key points of history you seem to have missed.”

“The internment [not a “sequester”] was not of Japanese “foreign nationals,” but of Japanese Americans, two-thirds of whom were US citizens,” George Takei wrote.

“I was one of them, and my family and I spent four years in prison camps because we happened to look like the people who bombed Pearl Harbour. It is my life’s mission to never let such a thing happen again in America.”


United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said he is “shocked” after Hungarian riot police used tear gas and water cannon against refugees at Serbian border.

According to Ban Ki-moon, such treatment of asylum seekers was “unacceptable”.

Hundreds of refugees were involved in clashes at the Hungary-Serbia border on September 16, trying to breach a razor-wire fence.

More than 5,000 refugees have entered Croatia so far – avoiding Hungary – police say, and another 7,266 entered Germany on September 16.

German police said this was more than double the number that crossed the previous day, adding that most were picked up on the border with Austria.

Germany is the final goal of many refugees, as the EU remains divided over how to deal with the crisis.

Hungary defended its action, saying that 20 police officers were injured as refugees tried to break through a gate, and a spokesman accused migrants of using children as “human shields”.

At least two refugees were also injured, Hungarian and Serbian officials said.Hungary police fire at refugees

Hungary closed its entire border with Serbia on September 15 after making it illegal to enter the country or damage the border fence. The Hungarian courts have started fast-track trials of arrested refugees.

More than 200,000 people have already crossed into Hungary this year to enter the EU’s Schengen zone, which normally allows people to travel between member countries without restrictions.

Many are now heading for the Croatian border. Croatian police said 5,650 had crossed into the country.

Interior Minister Ranko Ostojic told national TV that the police were currently in control of the situation but if refugees continued to arrive in large numbers the authorities would have to think about taking a different approach.

On September 16, the Croatian officials said the country would allow migrants to travel to northern Europe.

Several hundred left the border by train, but thousands more have gathered to wait for further trains.

On September 16, there were chaotic scenes near the town of Horgos, with fires burning and police vehicles and ambulances arriving on the Serbian side of the border, across from massed ranks of riot police on the other side.

Some refugees threw missiles, including stones and water bottles.

The firing of tear gas and water cannon created a stampede of refugees away from the border.

Several people received treatment from the Serbian ambulance service, some suffering the effects of tear gas.

Serbian PM Aleksandar Vucic accused Hungary of being “brutal and “non-European”.

Serbia has said it will send additional police to its border with Hungary.


Thousands of migrants have arrived in Austria, after Hungary’s surprise move to take them by bus to the border.

For days, Hungary had blocked them from travelling by train to northern and Western Europe.

On September 5, about 4,000 people crossed the Austrian border. They were received by the Red Cross and are now moving on towards Vienna and Germany.

Austria says the migrants, many of whom had initially fled Syria, can claim asylum there or carry on to Germany.

The move comes as EU countries are struggling to agree on how to deal with an unprecedented surge of asylum seekers.

The Hungarian government eased restrictions on transit after many frustrated migrants overwhelmed police cordons and set off towards the border on foot on September 4.

Buses began picking up migrants from Keleti train station in central Budapest, where thousands had been camped.

Vehicles were also sent to take those who had decided to walk along a motorway to Austria.Hungary migrants at Austrian border

On September 5, Hungarian government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs said there would be no more buses or trains to take the migrants on to Austria.

He said the transport had been arranged as a one-off, because of fears for the migrants’ safety.

As the migrants crossed the border on foot, some Austrians displayed welcome signs.

Austrian Red Cross workers at a makeshift centre greeted them with blankets and tea.

The migrants are now being taken by train and bus from the Austrian border town of Nickelsdorf to the capital Vienna.

Many hope to travel on to Germany, which says it expects 6,000 people to arrive over the weekend.

The German government has said Syrians can apply for asylum.

Germany has said it expects to take in 800,000 people this year.

Austria’s Chancellor Werner Faymann said that after talks with his German counterpart Angela Merkel, the two countries would allow in the migrants due to the “emergency situation” in Hungary.

However, he said he expected Hungary to respect any EU quotas for asylum seekers – something Hungary, along with the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia, has rejected.

Hungary has become a major transit nation for people fleeing the Middle East and Africa, and seeking to reach north and west Europe.

The Hungarian parliament on September 4 approved tougher border controls and penalties for migrants, underlining divisions within the EU on how to tackle the crisis.

Hungary’s PM Viktor Orban has said the surge in arrivals was “Germany’s problem”, since that was where most people wanted to go.

However, Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for refugees to be fairly divided among EU members.