Death-registering delays ‘rise by 70%’


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Matt Cardy

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A total of 516,345 deaths were registered in England and Wales in 2015/16, with one in three of these after the five-day legal limit, the figures show

Bereaved families in England and Wales are struggling to register relatives’ deaths within official time limits, figures reveal.

In 2015/16, 187,605 deaths were registered after the five-day legal limit, a 70% rise on 2011/12, General Register Office (GRO) figures show.

Cuts to council budgets are among the reasons, the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) said.

The Local Government Association (LGA) said councils were tackling the delays.

An individual who intentionally fails to inform, or refuses to provide information to a registrar about a death can be fined £200.

But under the law, this would be avoided if delays in registering the death were caused by a council or because the medical certificate was issued late by a doctor or coroner.

Grieving families who have experienced problems say the delays have caused further stress and heartache.

“After my mother died it was horrendous. I had to wait a fortnight before I could get an appointment with the council to register the death,” said Graham Morgan, from Cinderford, Gloucestershire.

“We’d arranged my mother’s funeral not expecting it would take so long to register the death. Without the registration certificate I began to panic that I’d have to cancel the funeral.

“I was already feeling incredibly low because of the sense of loss and then to have all the added stress of trying to register the death put me in a right state.”

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BBC News

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Graham Morgan was told by his local council it would be a fortnight before he could register the death of his mother

The figures, obtained from the GRO by the BBC in a Freedom of Information request, also show the total number of deaths registered increased by 6% between 2011/12 and 2015/16.

They indicate there were 110,664 delayed registrations in 2011/12.

The increase in delayed registrations is affected by councils making cuts to administrative staff, along with the conclusion of post-mortem examinations and inquests taking longer to be reached, the NAFD said.

The NAFD said its own research showed that in some areas it can now take up to three weeks to officially register a death.

“There are councils who have cut the number of registrars they have available to register a death,” Alison Crake, president of NAFD, said.

“And whilst there are some families delaying the registration process out of personal choice, we are finding that overall the registration process is taking longer.”

Analysing the GRO data, BBC News also found 97% of councils in England and Wales saw an increase in the number of deaths being registered over the five day limit, between 2011/12 and 2015/16.

‘Coroner’s paperwork’

Overall, one in every three deaths was registered over the five day limit in 2015/16.

Councillor Ian Gillies, the LGA’s bereavement services lead, said: “Various external factors have increasingly contributed to delays in registering deaths.

“These include increased demand in appointments, deaths referred to coroners which include those subject to post-mortems and delays in obtaining the necessary paperwork from the certifying doctor or coroner.

“Councils are working with the General Register Office to reduce delays.”


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Anger over Waterloo station reopening delays ‘mess’


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South Western Railway said there would be delays of at least 10 minutes

Train delays at the UK’s busiest railway station were expected to last until the end of the day following its reopening after engineering works.

Ten of the platforms at London’s Waterloo were shut for almost a month for an £800m project to boost capacity.

The platforms came back into use on Tuesday but Network Rail testing then identified a signalling issue.

One of the companies affected, South Western Railway, said there would be delays of at least 10 minutes.

Buses were replacing trains on the Shepperton, Hampton Court and Chessington South branches and between Weybridge and Virginia Water.

Compensation and other questions

Some stations on routes to Waterloo were closed this morning and there were more problems caused by a broken-down freight train between Eastleigh and Southampton, while a broken-down train between Leatherhead and Effingham Junction in Surrey blocked lines.

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Network Rail

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The first day of the upgrade project saw the platforms being demolished

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Network Rail

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The last day saw 10 platforms extended

Network Rail said Waterloo had fully reopened following one of the “largest and most complex” upgrades in the station’s history.

A spokeswoman said a 1,000-strong team of engineers and trackside staff had been working 24 hours a day for the past three-and-a-half weeks to complete the work, which would boost capacity at the station by 30% by December 2018, providing space for another 45,000 passengers at morning and evening peaks.

Becky Lumlock, route managing director at Network Rail, apologised to passengers for the delay and thanked them for their patience.

She said: “The work we have completed in three-and-a-half weeks this August will benefit passengers for decades to come.

“The longer platforms will create space for longer trains, making journeys more comfortable for passengers, particularly at the busiest times of day.

“Over the next 16 months, we’ll turn our attention to the final stages of the redevelopment of the former international terminal.”

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The £800m station upgrade is to accommodate longer trains and provide space for 30% extra passengers

Passengers have taken to social media to express their frustration at the problems:

Jasper Johns said his journey from Kingston was delayed by up to 40 minutes.

The 35-year-old said: “There was an expectation or doubt that it would be ready, because they’re pretty poor when they do these works anyway.

“But you’ve kind of had enough. Say 10 minutes more in the morning, then another 20 minutes perhaps in the evening, you take that over a week – it’s an extra hour or so you spend commuting. Over three weeks.

“I’ve certainly felt more tired. I’m reasonably young and healthy, but my wife is seven months pregnant, and there’s obviously older and younger people who commute as well, it’s not as easy on them either.”

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Passengers were told in an email that services running across the whole South Western Railway network may be cancelled, delayed or revised.

Anthony Smith, chief executive of the independent watchdog Transport Focus, said: “Passengers will be disappointed that, after all the promises, communications and planning, the Waterloo upgrade slipped. Passengers booked tickets and made travel plans based on the promises made by the industry.

“Clearly the priority is to get things moving again: it is crucial that information is clear and plenty of staff are on hand to help. Then this must be reviewed to make sure the lessons of today are learnt and built into future events.

“In the meantime, every single passenger affected should claim compensation. Send a clear message to the industry and make sure your voice is heard.”

Andy Mellors, managing director for South Western Railway, added: “I’d like to thank our passengers for their patience over the past few weeks.

“It’s clearly been a challenging time but these improvement works will help us deliver the increased capacity needed for the future.”

London Waterloo

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  • It has 19 platforms
  • An average of 270,000 journeys are normally made to and from Waterloo every day
  • More than 99 million passenger journeys were made from Waterloo in 2016
  • South Western Railway operates 1,600 trains a day, carrying 651,000 passengers, making it the busiest commuter operator in Europe

Have you been affected by the delays at Waterloo? Email your stories to

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Newspaper headlines: Private schools and passport delays


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The Daily Mail reports that Metropolitan Police second-in-command, Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey, has suggested that crime victims may not get a visit from the police if they speak good English. According to the Mail, Mr Mackey said they could be refused a visit unless they were considered sufficiently “vulnerable”, including those who have English as a second language.

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The Daily Telegraph goes with the same story, saying Mr Mackey said budget cuts meant the police would have to “triage” victims of crime when deciding whether to send officers. “He said that healthy, middle-aged people such as himself would be less likely to get visits than those who did not speak English as a first language, were elderly or had learning difficulties,” the Telegraph continues.

Times front page

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The Times says private schools are encouraging more pupils to learn a trade as they move away from pushing all students towards university. Analysis by the paper found that the number taking vocational Btec qualifications has doubled in the past four years.

Guardian front page

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The Guardian reports that a deputy head teacher at Eton has left the school amid allegations that he circulated questions from a forthcoming economics exam to other teachers. Staff and pupils have been told that Mo Tanweer is no longer employed there, after an investigation by exam administrator Cambridge International Examinations.

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The i newspaper leads with what it calls “Britain’s airport shambles”. The paper says a furious British Airways turned on the Home Office over “dreadful” UK passport control delays, but ministers hit by back claiming that most people do not have to wait more than 45 minutes.

Express front page

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The bank holiday weekend weather occupies the attention of the Daily Express. The paper says a surge of warm air from Europe will push temperatures back above 27C (80F). “The return of summer is good news for families making the most of the last full week of the school holidays,” comments the Express.

Star front page

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The Express’s stablemate the Daily Star also has its eye on the bank holiday. The paper says Britons are set for a brilliant weekend of “boxing, betting and boozing”.

Financial Times front page

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The FT Weekend says Donald Trump will launch a major push on tax reform next week with a speech in Missouri, as the US president shifts focus to fiscal policy in an effort to secure a badly needed first big legislative victory by the end of the year.

Sun front page

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The Sun reports that a Virgin air hostess was forced to quit her job after describing pop star Rita Ora as a “beautiful oil painting” on Facebook after serving her on a London to LA flight. The Sun says the airline urged her to resign or face the sack for a breach of data protection.

Mirror front page

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The Daily Mirror leads on Loose Women star Lisa Riley who says she has had more than a stone of saggy skin removed by doctors after losing 12st on a diet. She tells the Mirror: “I was revolted by it. Now, I couldn’t be happier.”

The Times says private schools are encouraging more pupils to learn a trade instead of encouraging them to go to university.

It reports that the number of those in the independent sector taking Btec vocational qualifications has doubled in the past four years.

Julian Thomas, master at Wellington College, tells the paper that spiralling university fees have led to “greater questioning of whether or not university is the right route for everyone”.

In an editorial, the paper welcomes the move and says the significant rise in students taking vocational exams instead of A-levels signifies that “change is in the air”.

But it warns that for the country that built the Spitfire, Britain is still a “technical education laggard”.

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Both the Times and the FT Weekend carry reports that British Airways has criticised the Home Office over the long delays faced by some air travellers at passport control in UK airports.

The Times says the airline claimed that at Heathrow’s Terminal 5, two-thirds of the electronic gates that are supposed to speed up passport checks were routinely closed.

The Daily Mirror, which also has the story, sums it up in the headline “borderline farce”.

But a spokesman for the Home Office rejects the criticism, telling the paper: “While we make every effort to to keep delays to a minimum, we make no apology for this important work.”

A former policy chief at Number 10 tells the Daily Telegraph the Tories are “turning hostile” to big business.

George Freeman criticises the party’s failure to champion business and warns that ministers must back “insurgent capitalism” and convince a new generation of its benefits.

In a comment piece, Mr Freeman argues that one of the main problems has been that in so many core markets including banking, energy and transport, an entrenched dominance by a few established players has been allowed to evolve and has done so – to the detriment of customers.

“Eton rocked by scandal of leaked exams,” says the Guardian on its front page.

It reports that a deputy head teacher at the school has left amid allegations that he circulated questions from a forthcoming economics exam to other teachers before a test for sixth-formers.

The paper says the discovery came after an investigation into leaked questions in the exam by Cambridge International Examinations.

In a statement, the school confirms that there has been a breach of exam security by one of its staff and says he has now left the institution.

The Daily Mail reveals that smart bins that text council workers when they are full are set be tested as part of a government scheme to tackle littering.

It says that if bins could be emptied more quickly it would stop rubbish spilling out onto High Streets and curb those who drop litter on the streets because all the bins are full.

The Times reports that ale lovers may well have been crying into their beer this week over the revelation that one London bar is charging £13.40 for one of its premium pints.

It says that the price of Cloudwater’s 8.2% Double IPA is almost four times the UK average.

But if you thought the price would deter thirsty customers, you would be wrong.

When the Sun tried to buy a pint at a London Bridge pub, a barman told their reporter: “You’re too late. It went in no time.”

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Australian government faces uncertain two months after court delays citizenship hearing


SYDNEY (Reuters) – A citizenship crisis will loom over the Australian government for at least another two months after a court said on Thursday it would not begin hearings into the parliamentary eligibility of seven lawmakers until mid-October.

Australia’s parliament has been rocked by the revelation that the seven lawmakers, including the deputy prime minister and two other ministers in the coalition government, are dual citizens, meaning they are potentially ineligible to hold elected office.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s centre-right government holds just a one-seat majority in parliament and its popularity is sitting at six-month lows in opinion polls, meaning its future could rest on the outcome of the citizenship crisis.

Turnbull’s government had asked for an expedited ruling on the eligibility of the lawmakers, but Australia’s High Court said on Thursday it would not begin the three-day hearing until Oct. 11.

The delay means the crisis threatens to further erode support for Turnbull. The next national election is not due until 2019 but political analysts say prolonged poor poll results could encourage a leadership challenge.

“Turnbull needs to urgently remove the doubt around the credibility of his government, which has already caused him great harm,” said Haydon Manning, a political science professor at Flinders University in South Australia.

The High Court ruling also threatens to create a parliamentary impasse for Turnbull if his deputy, Barnaby Joyce, is disqualified. Joyce, the leader of the rural-based Nationals, the junior partner in the ruling coalition, has said he was a joint New Zealand citizen when he was elected last year.

If Joyce is disqualified by the court over the citizenship rules, Turnbull would have to rely on the support of the often fractious independents in parliament to have any hope of passing legislation.

The possible deadlock also threatens consumer sentiment, analysts said, a bad sign for Australia’s somewhat sluggish economy.

Turnbull brushed away any suggestions that the court could deliver a ruling that would doom his government.

“We are very, very confident that our members who have been caught up in this will be held by the court to be eligible to sit in the parliament and therefore eligible to be ministers,” Turnbull told reporters in the rural town of Albury, 555 km (345 miles) south of Sydney.

A 116-year-old law demands an elected lawmaker only have Australian citizenship, but some have discovered they hold dual citizenship by descent of a father being born in another country, such as neighbouring New Zealand, or Britain or Italy.

Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Paul Tait


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Typhoon Hato delays stock trading in Hong Kong


A powerful typhoon has delayed stock trading in Hong Kong early Wednesday, and forced businesses and schools to close.

In addition, more than 400 flights in and out of Hong Kong have been canceled.

Hong Kong has issued typhoon signal No. 10 for Typhoon Hato, the highest level, Reuters reported.

Sea levels could rise by up to 15 feet in some places, the report said.

The typhoon was about 37 miles south of Hong Kong and moving toward mainland China’s Pearl River Delta.

Weather authorities said Hato had sustained winds of 103 mph with severe gusts.

A direct hit on Hong Kong was not expected.

This story includes reporting from the Associated Press.


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Katy Perry apologizes for tour postponement, blames ‘production delays’


Katy Perry apologized to her fans after announced she’s pushing back the start of her new tour due to “unavoidable production delays.”

The pop star’s “Witness: The Tour” will now begin Sept. 19 in Montreal.

Perry wrote on Instagram Thursday that “major elements of my tour stage design could not be available for me to rehearse on until this week.”

The tour was originally planned to kick off Sept. 7 in Columbus, Ohio.

“I’m sorry for any inconvenience this causes, but hope everyone who sees the show will agree it was worth the wait,” she wrote.

Tickets purchased for the original concert dates will be honored at its new date. Refunds are also available at point of purchase.

The singer also announced that Carly Rae Jepsen, Noah Cyrus and Purity Ring will open for her on the road.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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Stansted Airport delays over ‘hole in runway’


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Travellers at London Stansted Airport have been hit by delays after the runway was closed for emergency repairs.

Passengers were told by crew members there was a hole on the landing strip.

The airport said its runway was closed between 17:30 and 18:10 BST on Sunday.

A total of 11 incoming flights were diverted to other hubs including Luton and East Midlands. The runway has since reopened and “flight operations are back to normal”, the airport says.

Images posted on social media showed a packed out departure lounge as hundreds queued to board their flights.

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BBC business journalist Joe Lynam wrote on Twitter: “There’s a ‘hole’ in the runway at Stansted airport according to the pilot of my Ryanair flight from Italy which had to divert to Luton.”

In a statement, Stansted Airport said the closure was “deemed necessary for safety reasons” but “some flights may be delayed or cancelled”.

The airport said minor repairs were carried out.


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Usain Bolt: Delays blamed for injury at World Championships – Yohan Blake


Analysis: How Bolt’s career ended in heartbreak

Usain Bolt “was really cold” before pulling up with injury in his last championship final, according to his Jamaican relay team-mates.

Bolt’s London finale ended in disappointment as he suffered a muscle cramp before the end of the 4x100m relay final, which was won by Great Britain.

Yohan Blake, who ran the third leg, said: “The race was 10 minutes late, we were kept 40 minutes. It was crazy.

“They were holding us too long.”

Bolt had hoped to bring an end to his career with another two gold medals in London but leaves with only a bronze from last weekend’s 100m.

And, seconds after taking the baton for Jamaica’s anchor leg, he pulled up and tumbled to the floor with Dr Kevin Jones, Jamaica’s team doctor, confirming Bolt had cramp in his left hamstring.

“It was 40 minutes and two medal presentations before our run,” added 2011 world 100m champion Blake.

“We keep warming up and waiting, then warming up and waiting. I think it got the better of us.

“It hurts to see a true legend, a true champion go out there and struggle like that.”

Usain Bolt ends his career with 11 world championship gold medals

Omar McLeod, the 110m hurdle champion who led out the Jamaican team, echoed the criticism of delays at the start of the final.

Mo Farah’s lap of honour after his second place in the 5,000m final seemed to delay the schedule, with the event’s medal ceremony also taking place before the relay final.

“It’s heart-wrenching,” he said. “I gave it my all and I really wanted Usain to leave golden, or even if it was just a medal.

“It was ridiculous, man. We waited a really long time. I drank two bottles of water.

“But Usain Bolt’s name will always live on.”

GB win gold as Bolt pulls up in 4x100m relay

Justin Gatlin, the 100m champion, called Bolt “still the best in the world” after taking silver with the United States, and also felt that the weather may have played a part in Bolt’s injury.

“I think it was the elements,” he said. “I’m sorry he got this injury.

“This is farewell time, I am sentimental about it already now. In the warm-up area, we give ourselves respect and greeted each other. Usain Bolt is a great athlete.”

Usain Bolt’s medal haul
2007 World Championships Silver (200m), Silver (4x100m relay)
2008 Olympics Gold (100m), Gold (200m)
2009 World Championships Gold (100m), Gold (200m), Gold (4x100m relay)
2011 World Championships Gold (200m), Gold (4x100m relay)
2012 Olympics Gold (100m), Gold (200m), Gold (4x100m relay)
2013 World Championships Gold (100m), Gold (200m), Gold (4x100m relay)
2015 World Championships Gold (100m), Gold (200m), Gold (4x100m relay)
2016 Olympics Gold (100m), Gold (200m), Gold (4x100m relay)
2017 World Championships Bronze (100m)

‘One season too many’

“I think it was just one season too many,” said four-time Olympic champion and BBC Sport pundit Michael Johnson of Bolt.

“I think Bolt was prepared to not win but I don’t think he would have expected his last race to end like that. He would have wanted to cross the finish line.

“Even if he was just closing on the guys ahead – he wanted to give this crowd a show so they can say “I saw Usain Bolt run down the finishing straight.”

“That was disappointing to see. We saw him in a way we have never seen before. In the 100m straining to try to finish and now we see him limping.”

‘How do you replace him?’

Darren Campbell, who won 4x100m Olympic relay gold with Britain in 2004, believes that Bolt’s impact off the track is almost as hard to replace as his skill and records on it.

Bolt’s charisma, charm and character have made him one of the most recognisable and marketable people on the planet.

Usain Bolt last failed to win gold at the 2007 World Championships

“Any stadium that Usain Bolt decides to grace ends up being full, that tells you all you need to know,” Campbell said.

“What we are witnessing is so powerful, so inspirational, he can’t be replaced. How do you replace him – as a sports star and a human being?

“Usain Bolt treats you the same whether you are a dignitary or the poorest man in the world. That’s a unique skill.

“Whether he was a successful sports person or not, I think he would still have that flamboyant character. How do you teach that? I don’t think you can.”


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Asylum seekers at Canada border tents unfazed by delays, uncertainty


CHAMPLAIN, N.Y. (Reuters) – Asylum seekers, mainly from Haiti, clambering over a gully from upstate New York into Canada on Friday were undeterred by the prospect of days in border tents, months of uncertainty and signs of a right-wing backlash in Quebec.

More than 200 people a day are illegally walking across the U.S. border into Quebec to seek asylum, government officials said. Army tents have been erected near the border to house up to 500 people as they undergo security screenings.

Over 4,000 asylum seekers have walked into Canada in the first half of this year, with some citing U.S. President Donald Trump’s tougher stance on immigration.

The cars carrying the latest asylum seekers begin arriving at dawn in Champlain, New York, across from the Canadian border. On Friday, the first groups included two young Haitian men, a family of five from Yemen and a Haitian family with young twins.

“We have no house. We have no family. If we return we have nowhere to sleep, no money to eat,” said a Haitian mother of a 2-year-old boy, who declined to give her name.

Each family pauses a moment when a Royal Canadian Mounted police officer warns them they will be arrested if they cross the border illegally, before walking a well-trodden path across the narrow gully into Canada.

Asylum seekers are crossing the border illegally because a loophole in a U.S. pact allows anyone who manages to enter Canada to file an asylum claim and stay in Canada while they await their application outcome. Because the pact requires refugees to claim asylum in whatever country they first arrive, they would be turned back to the United States at legal border crossings.

They Haitian family is arrested immediately and bussed to the makeshift camp. Border agents led a line of about two dozen asylum seekers on Friday into a government building at Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle to be processed.

The Red Cross is providing food, hygiene items and telephone access, spokesman Carl Boisvert said. He estimated the fenced-off camp, which has been separated into sections for families and single migrants, is about half full. 

Border staff and settlement agencies are straining to accommodate the influx, which has been partly spurred by false rumours of guaranteed residency permits.

A family that stated they are from Haiti walk to the US-Canada border to cross into Canada from Champlain, New York, U.S. August 11, 2017.Christinne Muschi

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said the government was enforcing all immigration laws.

“Canadians consider our country to be a very generous country and I’m proud of that. But we’re also a rules-based country … and it’s important for (Canadians) to know that our rules are being enforced,” she told reporters in Edmonton.

Canada is on track for the highest refugee claims this year in almost a decade. More than 4,300 of the 18,500 people who filed claims in the first half of 2017 crossed the border illegally. 

The majority of illegal border crossers have been arriving in Quebec. The mainly French-speaking province got more asylum claims in the first six months of 2017 than it did for all of 2016, according to provincial government figures, and the influx is prompting a backlash.

Francois Legault, leader of Quebec’s right-wing opposition party Coalition Avenir Quebec, called for a harder line on asylum seekers in a Facebook post, accusing the government of issuing “an invitation to stampede toward the Quebec border without going through customs.”

Once processed, asylum seekers are bussed to Montreal, which has opened its Olympic Stadium, a former hospital, a school and other places to provide temporary housing.

Asylum seekers face a long wait and an uncertain future: Delays for refugee hearings are the longest they have been in years and time spent in the United States can count against applicants claims.

Canada ended its ban on deportations to Haiti last year and the success rate for Haitian asylum seekers has been mixed.

Edmond Clervoir and his family spent three days at the Quebec border and have been in Montreal’s Olympic stadium a week, sleeping on cots among the 2,400 people housed in the arena.

“There are many steps to go through,” said Clervoir, who had worked in a Boston hotel for a year before packing up. “But we’ll go through those steps.”

Reporting by Anna Mehler Paperny; Editing by Chris Reese and Leslie Adler


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EU airport delays warning issued by airlines


Barcelona AirportImage copyright
Eduard Vallory

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There were queues at Barcelona Airport on Tuesday, where strike action is taking place

British Airways, Easyjet and Ryanair are warning British holidaymakers of delays at EU border controls.

BA has sent text alerts asking travellers to arrive early, as it expects longer queues due to “enhanced immigration checks” across Europe.

The airline has already sent texts to customers flying back from Lyon, Madrid, Barcelona and Milan.

Ryanair is also advising customers to arrive at least three hours before their departure time.

Easyjet is urging people to check its website for updates and allow plenty of time to get through the airport.

The airline has also warned of strike action due at Barcelona airport every Friday, Sunday and Monday from 4 August throughout the summer.

A spokesman for Airlines for Europe (A4E), the airline lobby group, told the BBC: “It seems the governments – especially in France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Belgium – underestimated the situation of many passengers going through tighter passport checks and have not provided a sufficient amount of border control officers.”

He said passengers should expect delays at airports in Majorca, Malaga, Lisbon, Lyon, Brussels, Milan and Paris Orly.

‘Abusive’ security staff

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Kate Meeks said she and fellow passengers “begged” to go on the plane but were sent away

Passenger Kate Meeks says she was one of 22 people who missed her flight from Barcelona to Birmingham.

She had arrived three hours early at Barcelona Airport, where there is also strike action among security staff, but was only told about the extra passport control half an hour before take-off.

“Little did we know we had to go through an extra passport control where there were 1,000 people trying to get four flights at the same time,” she told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme.

Ms Meeks said two men due to take the Birmingham flight tried to get to the front of the queue, but were told to join the back or be removed from the airport.

“It was absolutely horrendous,” she said. “Twenty-two of us begged to go on the plane, and they said that they couldn’t let us on… But it took them half an hour to get our luggage off.”

She said she spent £500 on booking a hotel room for the night and missing a day’s work, adding that staff at passport control were “rude and very abusive”.

“This has caused an absolute nightmare for all of us through missed flight connections, financial cost, mental cost,” she said.

The warning comes as airports prepare for one of the busiest weekends of the summer.

Sean Tipton, from the Association of British Travel Agents, said a record 2.4 million people had already set off in one weekend at the beginning of the school holidays.

He said: “In most cases people are getting through passport control fairly swiftly, but I think there might be an issue with certain airports where they haven’t actually considered just dealing with the fact that: record numbers, August, plus these new requirements – they may be understaffed.”

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The aviation minister has promised to urge his EU counterparts to “do all they can”

A spokesman for Ryanair also blamed the delays on European border control authorities, claiming that the airline’s operations are “running as normal”.

He said the delays are a matter for the European regulators to resolve, not the airlines.

Easyjet advised passengers to check the latest travel information pages on its website, adding that it “strongly recommends” customers to allow extra time to get through the airport to the gate on time.

The UK’s aviation minister, Lord Callanan, has said he will urge his counterparts in Portugal, Spain and Italy to “do all they can to reduce queues and allow travellers to get on with their holidays”.

Thomas Reynaert, managing director of A4E, told the BBC that the French and Spanish governments have promised extra staff, but so far “we haven’t seen any concrete improvement”.

‘Devastated passengers’

The European Commission said the delays were “the price of security”.

Rule changes brought in after recent terror attacks in Paris and Brussels mean people entering and leaving the Schengen area, which allows passport-free movement across much of the EU, face more security checks.

Under the new measures, details of passengers from non-Schengen countries, such as the UK, are run through databases to alert authorities if they are known to pose a threat.

But A4E said that some passengers are facing delays of up to four hours, claiming that some European airports are producing “shameful pictures of devastated passengers in front of immigration booths”.

Mr Reynaert said member states “must take responsibility for this”.

He warned the regulations have not yet been fully implemented across all member states, which “may lead to even more disruption during the next few weeks”.

The member states have until 7 October to put the new rules in place.

Has your flight been delayed due to “enhanced immigration checks”? Have you received text message alerts from British Airways, Easyjet or Ryanair? Let us know about your experiences. Email with your stories.

Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways:


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