The Latest: German Cabinet OKs crackdown on alien criminals

The Latest on the continuing influx of asylum-seekers and migrants in Europe: All times local:

12:20 p.m.

The German Cabinet has approved measures meant to make it easier to deport foreign criminal — a package that ministers drew up amid outrage over New Year's Eve assaults in Cologne.

Justice Minister Heiko Maas said the measures approved Wednesday, which must still be passed by Parliament, are also in the interest of hundreds of thousands of migrants in Germany. He said that "they do not deserve to be lumped together with criminals."

The changes mean that even a suspended prison sentence would be grounds for deportation if someone is found guilty of certain crimes. These include homicide, bodily harm, sexual assault, violent theft and serial shoplifting. Youth sentences would be covered too.

The Cologne assaults have been blamed largely on foreigners, heightening tension over Germany's migrant influx.


11:50 a.m.

Greek authorities say a total of seven bodies, including those of two children, have been recovered from the sea off the eastern Aegean island of Kos after a boat carrying migrants or refugees sank early Wednesday.

Rescue crews recovered the bodies of three men, two women, a boy and a girl. There were two survivors — a man and a woman.

A search and rescue operation in the area by vessels from the Greek coast guard and the European border patrol agency Frontex, a helicopter and Greek rescue volunteers was called off after all on board the boat were accounted for.