The Latest: Germany OKs some refugee kids bringing families

The Latest on the massive influx of migrants into Europe (all times local):

11:50 a.m.

The German government has agreed to allow unaccompanied child refugees to bring over their families in certain hardship cases.

The Cabinet-level agreement Thursday ends a spat between Angela Merkel's conservative bloc and the center-left Social Democrats that had held up a reform of asylum rules in Germany.

The deal means a halt to all family reunification except when "urgent humanitarian reasons" justify that parents of minors who have applied for asylum in Germany receive protection too.

The government has rushed to introduce a string of measures to slow the influx of refugees to Germany after almost 1.1 million people applied for asylum in the country last year.

The campaign group Deutsches Kinderhilfswerk criticized the agreement, saying it breaches Germany's obligations under the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child.


11:10 a.m.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter says NATO military authorities have been ordered to draw up plans for how the alliance could help shut down illegal migration and people smuggling across the Aegean Sea.

Carter made the announcement at a Thursday press conference after three NATO allies — Turkey, Germany and Greece — requested alliance participation in an international effort to help end Europe's gravest migration crisis since World War II.

The three countries made the request at a NATO defense ministers' meeting in Brussels. NATO ministers "tasked NATO military authorities to provide its advice for options for implementing it," said Carter.

Carter says those recommendations will be reviewed by NATO's Military Committee and submitted to the North Atlantic Council, NATO's chief decision-making body.