The Latest: UK judge sends 2 people-smugglers to prison

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

2:00 p.m.

A British judge imposed prison sentences on two men who tried to smuggle 18 Albanians into Britain on a boat that broke down in the English Channel.

Judge Jeremy Carey, presiding in Maidstone Crown Court south of London, sentenced the men to more than four years each in prison. He said "a tragedy was averted by a whisker" because of the actions of rescuers.

Mark Stribling and Robert Stilwell admitted transporting 15 men, a woman and two children from France in a rigid inflatable boat.

British coast guards came to the rescue after the boat lost power and began to take on water on May 28.

Prosecutors said 35-year-old Stribling and 33-year-old Stilwell " a former European judo champion " were to be paid 2,000 pounds ($2,600) each.

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1:40 p.m.

Serbian authorities say that a group of migrants protesting against the closure of EU borders for most people fleeing war and poverty have agreed to end a days-long hunger strike.

Ivan Miskovic from Serbia's government refugee agency said Friday the authorities will seek to move the 100 or so migrants from the border zone with Hungary to his country's asylum centers.

The migrants set off a week ago on a protest march toward the border from the Serbian capital, Belgrade, , in a bid to draw attention to the plight of several thousand people stuck in various Balkan countries after the official refugee route closed in March.

At the border, the migrants also went on hunger strike and several people were hospitalized for exhaustion.

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11:40 a.m.

The International Organization for Migration says more than 3,000 people have died trying to cross the Mediterranean this year, nearly a 60-percent increase from this time in 2015.

The group said Friday that the discovery of 39 bodies on Libyan shores this week raised to 3,034 the number of migrants and refugees who have died trying the crossing in 2016.

It's the third straight year in which more than 3,000 people have died in such attempts.

IOM says more than a quarter-million migrants and refugees entered Europe, mostly to Greece and Italy, by sea this year. It noted in particular a "sharp increase in the number of Nigerian women arriving in Italy this year.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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