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Executive Summary for August 8th

We review the latest issues related to refugees, as Australia moves to lock in the operator of its offshore detention centers, Greece sees a spike in traffickers and a Syrian swimmer wins a heat at the Olympics.

Published on Aug. 8, 2016 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Australia Locks In Operator of Offshore Detention Centers

The Australian government has locked in the company running its Pacific island detention centers. Broadspectrum, the Australian firm servicing the centers, cannot quit them before October 2017.

Broadspectrum was acquired in April by Spanish infrastructure company Ferrovial, which signaled its intention to withdraw from managing the facilities on Nauru and Manus Island in February.

Ferrovial has faced pressure from rights groups to cease operations at the offshore detention center for asylum seekers.

“We have to fulfill those immigration contracts,” Ferrovial’s chief financial officer, Ernesto López Mozo, told analysts in Spain. The Spanish firm said an option to extend the existing contracts had been exercised by the Australian government to the end of October next year.

Greece Sees Spike in Trafficking on Northern Border

Greek police say there has been a spike in the numbers and sophistication of people smugglers on its northern borders. Tougher controls have prompted gangs to attempt new methods.

Traffickers are using motorcycle spotters, maps of border surveillance “blind spots” and even police informants, senior officials told the Associated Press.

The E.U. law enforcement agency, Europol, reported that migrants and refugees were now being charged as much to cross each border as it previously cost to complete the entire journey from Syria. The journey that once took weeks is now taking months, it added.

Meanwhile, there has been a slight uptick in the arrivals of migrants by sea. Some 126 migrants arrived on Samos and Chios in the 24 hours to Monday.

Syrian Swimmer Stars for Refugee Team at Olympics

A heroic Syrian swimmer became the star of the refugees’ team at the Olympics after winning her heat in Rio.

Yusra Mardini, however, did not advance in the 100m butterfly because she was not among the 16 quickest swimmers overall.

She fled Damascus last summer with her sister, also a talented swimmer. The sisters helped other refugees in a hazardous sea crossing from Turkey to Greece by swimming alongside an overcrowded dinghy for more than three hours to stop it sinking.

Mardini, 18, will swim again on Wednesday in the freestyle.

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