The Latest: Sicilian prosecutor questions order on migrants

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The Latest: Sicilian prosecutor questions order on migrants

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The Latest: Health concerns get more migrants off Italy ship Pinellas County Sheriff's Corporal James R. Miller, a 16-year veteran of the force, was fired after a DUI arrest Saturday. [Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
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Migrants aboard the Italian Coast Guard ship Diciotti gather on the deck as they await decisions in the port of Catania, Italy, Friday, Aug. 24 2018. An Italian lawmaker says rescued migrants stuck aboard an Italian coast guard ship are starting a hunger strike. Rescued on Aug. 16 in the Mediterranean Sea, 150 migrants are still on the ship after minors and the sick were allowed off in recent days. (Orietta Scardino/ANSA via AP) Migrants aboard the Italian Coast Guard ship Diciotti gather on the deck as they await decisions in the port o f Catania, Italy, Friday, Aug. 24 2018. An Italian lawmaker says rescued migrants stuck aboard an Italian coast guard ship are starting a hunger strike. Rescued on Aug. 16 in the Mediterranean Sea, 150 migrants are still on the ship after minors and the sick were allowed off in recent days. (Orietta Scardino/ANSA via AP), The Associated Press Migrants aboard the Italian Coast Guard ship Diciotti sit as they await decisions in the port of Catania, Italy, Friday, Aug. 24 2018. An Italian lawmaker says rescued migrants stuck aboard an Italian coast guard ship are starting a hunger strike. Rescued on Aug. 16 in the Mediterranean Sea, 150 migrants are still on the ship after minors and the sick were allowed off in recent days. (Orietta Scardino/ANSA via AP) Migrants aboard the Italian Coast Guard ship Diciotti gather as they await decisions in the port of Catania, Italy, Friday, Aug. 24 2018. An Italian lawmaker says rescued migrants stuck aboard an Italian coast guard ship are starting a hunger strike. Rescued on Aug. 16 in the Mediterranean Sea, 150 migrants are still on the ship after minors and the sick were allowed off in recent days. (Orietta Scardino/ANSA via AP) Migrants aboard the Italian Coast Guard ship Diciotti talk as they await decisions in the port of Catania, Italy, Friday, Aug. 24 2018. An Italian lawmaker says rescued migrants stuck aboard an Italian coast guard ship are starting a hunger strike. Rescued on Aug. 16 in the Mediterranean Sea, 150 migrants are still on the ship after minors and the sick were allowed off in recent days. (Orietta Scardino/ANSA via AP)

ROME (AP) — The Latest on Europe's response to mass migration (all times local):

3:15 p.m.

Italian media are reporting that 16 more migrants have been authorized for health reasons to leave the coast guard ship that rescued them on Aug. 16 and has been docked in Sicily for several days.

Red Cross officials said Italy's health minister ordered a Saturday inspection of the hygiene conditions on the Italian coast guard ship Diciotti.

Sky TG24 said the 11 remaining women on board and five of the rescued men were expected to get off the ship later in the day. Among them were two passengers suspected of having tuberculosis.

Forty others, including children and p eople already identified as ill, previously left the ship.

Red Cross official Stefano Principato told reporters on the dock in Catania, Sicily that beyond medical concerns, there is worry about the psychological well-being of the 150 migrants the vessel's crew rescued.

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2:15 p.m.

A prosecutor in Sicily is questioning lower-level officials from Italy's Interior Ministry about orders to block 150 migrants from getting off the Italian coast guard vessel that rescued them.

Italy's RAI state TV said Prosecutor Luigi Patronaggio began the questioning in Rome on Saturday.

Interior Minister Matteo Salvini won't let the migrants off the coast guard ship unless other European Union nations pledge to take the asylum-seekers. The ship has been docked in Catania, Sicily for several days.

The crew of the Diciotti rescued the migrants in the Mediterranean Aug. 16. About 40 of the passengers, including minors and ailing adults, have been allowed to leave the ship in the past days.

Most of those still aboard are young men from Eritrea.

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1:30 p.m.

Health officials and Red Cross personnel are inspecting an Italian coast guard ship that has been docked in Sicily for days with 150 migrants on board.

Italian news channel Sky TG24 TV said on Saturday that health experts wanted to check hygiene conditions on the Diciotti, whose crew rescued the migrants on Aug. 16. The ship docked in Catania's harbor earlier in the week.

On Saturday, an ambulance delivered health supplies to be taken aboard.

Some 600,000 asylum-seekers were brought to Italy after being rescued at sea over the last few years. Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has insisted the migrants on the coast guard ship won't be allowed into the country until other European Union nations agree to take them.

So far, none has offered.

A large majority of m igrants aboard the Diciotti are Eritrean men. Minors and ailing passengers were allowed off the ship in recent days.

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11:00 a.m.

A top member of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's party is suggesting Germany could introduce a one-year national service of some kind for refugees and asylum-seekers, which she says would help integration and increase Germans' acceptance.

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the general secretary of Merkel's Christian Democrats, made the suggestion in an interview Saturday with the Funke newspaper group.

It's an extension of a discussion she launched this month on introducing a vaguely defined "general service obligation" for Germans, civilian or military, as a possible future policy. Germany scrapped military conscription in 2011.

Kramp-Karrenbauer said it's worth discussing whether refugees also should spend a year performing some kind of service to the state. She said th at "if refugees do such a year, voluntary or compulsory, that serves their integration into the state and society."

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10:45 a.m.

The United Nations' refugee agency is imploring European Union countries to take responsibility for 150 migrants stranded aboard an Italian coast guard ship and urging Italy to let the migrants off the ship immediately.

The Diciotti rescued the migrants from a trafficker's boat on Aug. 16. The ship has been docked in Sicily for days, and Italy's government is refusing to let it disembark passengers unless other EU nations pledge to take them.

U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi urged European countries in a statement Saturday "to do the right thing and offer places of asylum for people rescued from the Mediterranean Sea in their time of need."

Grandi said from Geneva that it's time to end "a race to the bottom on who can take the least respon sibility for people rescued at sea."

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