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Death and desperation on Europe’s African frontier

A fleck of Spanish territory on the northern coast of Africa this week became the latest deadly flashpoint in Europe’s battle to stem migration flows from less fortunate regions of the world wracked by conflict, poverty, and other miseries.

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After beaches in Greece, Italy and elsewhere, a fleck of Spanish territory on the northern coast of Africa this week became the latest deadly flashpoint in Europe’s battle to stem migration flows from less fortunate regions of the world wracked by conflict, poverty and other miseries.

In an unprecedented 48-hour siege that quickly overwhelmed Spanish authorities, more than 8,000 people clambered around border fences and swam from Morocco to the Spanish-governed enclave of Ceuta.

A young man wore red-and-white-soled sneakers for what proved to be his fatal final journey. The shoes were still on his feet when Spanish rescue workers fished his inert body from the waves of the Mediterranean and wrapped it in foil, like a macabre gift.

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They piled pebbles on the fringes to stop the shiny golden covering from blowing away. Two burly men in white coveralls then arrived with a plastic coffin. Their boots scrunched on the shingle as they carried the corpse away: yet another body, picked up off yet another European shore.

Death and desperation on Europe’s African frontier

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