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The Latest: Group says 34 migrants feared dead off Morocco

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

3:30 p.m.

A Spanish nonprofit group says 32 adult migrants and two children are feared dead in waters off the Moroccan coast after waiting to be rescued from a semi-sunken boat for more than 36 hours.

Walking Borders founder Helena Maleno said 26 survivors were taken ashore to the Moroccan town of Nador on Monday afternoon.

Maleno says they told her that 34 people had died or disappeared in the Mediterranean Sea.

The Morocco-based Spanish activist says the migrants first contacted her early Sunday and that she alerted Spanish authorities with the boat’s approximate location.

Spain’s Maritime Safety and Rescue Agency says the information was conveyed to Moroccan authorities since the location Maleno provided was within the African country’s jurisdiction.

Moroccan authorities weren’t immediately available for comment.

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9:30 a.m.

The mayor of a small town in southern Italy who has become a symbol for welcoming migrants to Italy has been placed under house arrest for allegedly aiding illegal immigration.

Italian financial police arrested the mayor of the Calabrian town of Riace, Domenico Lucano, early Tuesday as part of an investigation that news agency ANSA reports was spurred by the allocation of government funds for refugees and asylum-seekers. SKY TG24 said accusations include organizing marriages of convenience so immigrants could remain in Italy legally.

Lucano gained fame for welcoming migrants, hundreds of whom have settled in the small town of fewer than 2,000 inhabitants. TV presenter Gad Lerner called the arrest “a slap in the face to those who practice the duty of welcoming.”

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