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Aug 16, 2:09 PM EDT

The Latest: French city opens toilets, showers for migrants


MADRID (AP) -- The Latest on Europe's migration crisis (all times local):

6:55 p.m.

Migrants in Calais, France are getting access to toilets and showers, despite the city's determination to keep them away.

The top government official for the region, Prefect Fabien Sudry, said in a statement Wednesday that 10 toilets and seven water stations have been set up at an aid distribution site. He says more will be available by Monday.

The prefecture says the facilities will remain mobile to ensure Calais does not again become a magnet for "an uncontrolled influx of migrants." A slum-like camp in the city, which sits on the French side of the English Channel, was razed last year.

Calais' mayor had threatened to defy a ruling ordering the government to help the hundreds of migrants gathered there, most hoping to reach Britain. The ruling said local authorities refusing migrants shelter and water was inhumane.

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2:15 p.m.

Austrian officials say 70 soldiers are being sent to the border with Italy to help police stop the entry of illegal migrants over Austria's southwestern flank.

Senior police official Helmut Tomac and Herbert Bauer of the Austrian army say the move is in response to increased instances of migrants trying to hitch rides over the border under the carriages of freight wagons.

Austrian border controls are a sensitive issue in Rome. The Brenner Pass connecting the two countries is one of the principal routes connecting Italy with northern Europe and is particularly heavily used during the summer vacation season.

Austrian officials have said they are ready to deploy armored vehicles there to prevent migrants reaching Austria. But Tomac said Wednesday no such moves are being planned.

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12:45

Spain's maritime rescue service says it has picked up 339 migrants from seven boats trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea from Morocco.

The rescue service says the migrants were taken by three maritime rescue ships to Spain's southern town of Tarifa, located across the Strait of Gibraltar from Morocco. The migrant boats were intercepted separately early Wednesday.

The service said one boat had 34 migrants from sub-Saharan African countries. It said the rest of the migrants were from the Maghreb countries of northwest Africa.

Tens of thousands of migrants from Africa attempt the perilous crossing to Europe in smugglers' boats each year and thousands drown along the way.

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