European Union nations agreed on Thursday to speed up the deportation of failed asylum seekers as they took a harder line toward tackling the worst migration crisis since World War II. Interior ministers from the 28-nation bloc endorsed a dedicated programme to send back those they described as economic migrants -- who are largely from poor African nations -- and not refugees from conflict-torn Middle East countries. After months of tensions over the wave of nearly 600,000 people who have flooded into Europe this year, the EU is now taking a tougher stance by focusing on tightening border controls and reducing the incentive for people to come to the continent in the first place.
Belarussian writer and dissident Svetlana Alexievich won the 2015 Nobel Literature Prize on Thursday for her work chronicling the horrors of war and life under the repressive Soviet regime. The Swedish Academy hailed the 67-year-old for writings that were "a monument to suffering and courage in our time" -- tableaux of World War II, Chernobyl and the war in Afghanistan, crafted through thousands of interviews. Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko congratulated Alexievich for her win, though none of her books is published in her home country amid what the author has described as "a creeping censorship".