b_179_129_16777215_00_images_USA160101aa001.jpegBERLIN — Europe's most populous and economically powerful country can easily afford to spend more on its military defense, as NATO requires and President Trump demands. Yet Germany, still haunted by the horrors of World War II, simply doesn't want to do that.

Even in today's dangerous world, Germany is a largely pacifist nation, security analysts say.

Read more at USA Today

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_DEU150401aa003.jpegBERLIN — Some Berliners say they will still go about their business - with defiance. Others fear more attacks are coming - and vow to alter their routines.

But most agreed that a murderous rampage in Berlin on Monday night has left their lively, fun-loving city shaken to its core, and said they were determined to defend their way of life here in spite of it.

Read more at Aljazeera

CUB13396500193 9496602eac zMiguel Hernandez kneels on the floor of his workspace at the Jose Marti Experimental Studio at the edge of the Avenida del Presidente, central Havana’s main tourist drag, spraying stencils of the Shell Oil logo onto his oil painting of an old-style diver.

“The oils come from my study of art history, and the logos are because I studied advertising,” said the 30-year-old art teacher. “Cuban art is apocalyptic: We gather up those parts of the outside world that wash up on our island, and combine them with our own island identity.”

Read more at The Washington Times

BRA161423003“Our country is living through a very worrisome moment,” said Eudes Raony, an architect in the northeastern city of Joao Pessoa. “Our democracy is becoming more fragile because of the right-leaning opposition that is pushing for the exit of (Rousseff)."

Read more at USA Today
b_179_129_16777215_00_images_130311AA001.jpegRIO DE JANEIRO — Last week's raucous partying to mark the end of Carnival season in this teeming metropolis masked a growing list of troubles that plague Rio and the rest of Brazil.

First it was the collapse of a once-soaring economy, followed by a humiliating World Cup defeat on home soil in 2014. Then a growing corruption scandal enveloping President Dilma Rouseff and fears the country won't be ready to host the Olympic Games this summer.

Read more at USA Today


As the world prepares to wean itself from fossil fuels, many eyes are turning to Brazil with its land mass nearly equal that of Canada, plentiful sunshine, history of sugarcane plantations dating to colonial times, and decades of experience producing and burning ethanol. The South American giant's principal feedstock is considerably more efficient than crops that predominate elsewhere, such as corn in the United States.

Domestic demand for ethanol is expected to double from its current level to 54.5 billion litres by 2022, according to the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA).

Read more at The Globe and Mail 

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_MEX151130aa001.jpegMEXICO CITY — As the hunt for fugitive drug lord Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán intensifies, Mexican authorities recently announced they have confiscated a total of 11 planes, eight vehicles and six houses belonging to the kingpin in the past five months.

That's likely just a fraction of the assets Guzmán has accumulated during his life of crime. The Sinaloa Cartel he oversees traffics billions of dollars worth of narcotics to the United States every year, according to estimates from the U.S. Justice Department and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Read more at USA Today 

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_DEU121121AA001.jpegBERLIN — Thomas Sperveslage remembers the day Victor Onuh came knocking on his door.  Onuh, a 40-year-old Nigerian refugee, had worked odd jobs for around a $1 an hour since arriving in Germany in 2002. In 2012, he decided to he wanted a raise.

"He managed to bypass reception somehow so he could apply for a job with us," said Sperveslage, who works as a personnel manager at a construction company in the former East Germany.

Read more at Occupy.com

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_MOR130531.jpegRABAT, Morocco - Volunteers were knocking on doors in the residential neighbourhood of Agdal in Rabat on Wednesday to drum up votes amid a political malaise that has gripped the country in recent years.

The volunteers were members of the Democratic Leftist Federation, a coalition of groups headed by Nabila Mounib, leader of the Unified Socialist Party, running a campaign called "vivre ensemble", or live together.

Read more at Aljazeera

pope130228AA001VATICAN CITY — The leak of the papal encyclical on the environment three days early highlights a rift in the Catholic Church between those who share Pope Francis' view that mankind should be the guardian of nature and those who think the risks of climate change are exaggerated.

The encyclical will officially be released Thursday and is called "Laudato Sii" — translated from Latin as "Praised Be," a reference to a prayer from the pope's namesake, St. Francis, viewed by Catholics as the patron saint of ecology. But an Italian-language draft of the document was posted Monday by L'Espresso magazine and quickly prompted worldwide attentio

Read more at The Washington Times

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_AFR141002aa001.jpegFREETOWN, Sierra Leone — As infectious Ebola patients in this country's remote northern region were being transferred for treatment, the ambulance moving them overturned on a narrow, dirt road, injuring the driver and patients and exposing the area to the deadly virus.

The eight patients were rushed to a nearby government hospital for treatment after the Oct. 10 accident, but the staff wasn't prepared to deal with Ebola. After cursory first aid, they were placed back in a vehicle to be driven to a treatment center more than 100 miles away.

Read more at USA Today

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_ISR130226AA002.jpegJERUSALEM — More than 50,000 mourners crowded the cemetery where three teenagers were buried Tuesday, in a day of national mourning for the teens who were abducted more than two weeks ago and killed.

As is the custom in Israel after tragedies like bus bombings, local radio stations played somber music throughout the day, and news commentators analyzed what Israel's next move will be in the war against terrorism.

Read more at USA Today


KABUL - An Afghan security guard allegedly shot and killed three Americans at a hospital in Kabul on Thursday. The three killed were doctors, including a visiting father and son.

Another doctor and a U.S. nurse were wounded in the attack.

Read more at USA Today


JOHANNESBURG - Insufficient efforts to combat widespread illegal South Africa mining led to accidents such as the weekend incident that's trapped about 200 men in an abandoned gold mine, analysts say.

"The government leaves it mainly to the mining companies to prevent and minimize illegal mining," said Dirk Bakker, senior lecturer at the School of Mining Engineering of the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. "It is only when there are accidents that rescue organizations and local authorities get involved."

Read more at USA Today

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_EGY130403AA1.jpegCAIRO – Egypt's deposed president Mohammed Morsi shouted angrily at a judge Tuesday from inside a soundproof box and metal cage during the opening of his trial on charges of conspiring with foreign groups in a prison break.

In taped video footage that aired on Egyptian television, Morsi wore a white prison jumpsuit and paced back and forth, at one point furiously yelling at the judge: "Who are you? Tell me!"

Read more at USA Today

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_131108ROMaa001.jpegAMMAN, Jordan - Peace talks in Switzerland to end the Syrian civil war began Wednesday with the United States and Syrian diplomats clashing over a sticking point that has existed for months — whether President Bashar Assad can remain in power.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Assad's violent crackdown on peaceful dissent in a nearly three-year war means he cannot stay.

Read more at USA Today


CAIRO - Egyptians saying "no" to a proposed new constitution were difficult to find Tuesday in a vote that may be a significant turning point for a country in turmoil since a revolution three years ago.

Most people in the capital said they supported the proposed constitution, suggesting broad support but also an indication that those who opposed the charter largely stayed home.

Read more at USA Today

BERLIN - Two girls, hand-in-hand, walking along a railroad track, facing the future together. It's a romantic picture and one that has been embraced by Germany's young girls.

But in their rush to recreate such idyllic images, many overlook the dangers posed by Germany's high-speed train network -- occasionally with deadly results.

"Even if a train were to come, I wouldn't let go of your hand," read the dramatic pledges emblazoned across photos often posted on Facebook or other social media platforms.

German police believe the seemingly innocent trend may have already claimed lives.

Two weeks ago, the bodies of two girls-- aged 14 and 15 -- were discovered by a friend near the tracks outside of Luenen in northwestern Germany. According to local media reports, police have ruled out suicide and a camera was discovered near the bodies.

Speaking to the German regional paper, the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, police spokesmen Volker Stall confirmed that photos have played a role in similar incidents, including the death of two girls in 2011 in Memmingen in Bavaria in the south of Germany.

"Earlier, girls may have had a poster of The Pussy Cat Dolls on their wall and worn similar make-up," said Martin Voigt, a Munich-based linguistic and sociologist, who points to a new "cult of the B.F.F" or Best Friends Forever -- coupled with the power of social media -- for the risky new trend.

"But now girls are almost like little stars themselves and can portray themselves like stars on social media," he said.

He points to media stars like Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie for popularizing the B.F.F. concept when they began incorporating their private relationship into their public personas. According to Voigt, social media platforms give young women the ability to compete with their favorite stars "eye to eye."

He said social media has changed the way young girls interact and has led to young women forming much more emotional and public relationships and posting pledges of friendship on platforms like Facebook, YouTube and other social networks.

According to Voigt, train tracks are often chosen because they are romantic symbols, but many of the young girls are unaware of the dangers lurking on many of Germany's railways.

"We need to tell girls that it's hard to hear a train coming and that you often don't have time to react when a train is coming toward you," he said.

But despite repeated public information campaigns by German police, the deaths in Luenen demonstrate that railways still pose a danger to German adolescents.

Voigt has praised the efforts to inform young girls of the dangers posed by high-speed trains. But he also called of parents to actively involve themselves in their children's online lives.

It's a sentiment echoed by police spokesman Stall, who also called on parents to pay attention to what their children post on social media.

"It's more important that parents observe what their children are doing" said Voigt. "A lot of parents don't have a clue about Facebook or social media. The children are often left on their own."

By Aaron Tilton

BERLIN - The families of fallen German World War II soldiers will travel to Russia on Aug. 3 for the opening of Germany's last big war cemetery on the Eastern Front.

Around 200 people will attend the opening near the Russian town of Smolensk. The remains of five soldiers, representing the 30,000 already re-interred at the site, will be symbolically buried by the German War Graves Commission and its Russian counterpart.



CAIRO — Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood called for fresh protests in Cairo Wednesday as the country's interim cabinet was set to get to work after being sworn in, and as opposing political groups remain at odds over a turbulent political transition.

The new cabinet, comprised of leftists, liberals and technocrats, does not include any members of the Brotherhood or the ultraconservative Nour Party — the nation's two principle Islamist groups that, over the past two years, dominated politics.

Read more at USA Today

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_EGT130712AA004.jpegCAIRO - Not long before sunrise Monday morning, security forces clashed with supporters of former president Mohammed Morsi outside a facility of the Republic Guard.

More than 50 people were killed in the bloody chaos that ensued – days after Morsi, the nation's first democratically elected president, was forced out of power.

Read more at USA Today


Yassin, a Syrian Ph.D. candidate at the University of Edinburgh, had been studying in Scotland since 2007, when what was supposed to be a short visit home led to trouble with the Syrian security forces.

In March 2011, Yassin — his real name is changed to protect his safety — had expressed disgust via Facebook posts at the Syrian regime’s brutal response to early protests of the uprising. Arriving home, he was called in for questioning at the office of the ruling Ba’ath party officials at Damascus University. Soon after, a college dean arranged a meeting that Yassin describes as a trap.

Read more at Al-Fanar


PARIS - François Hollande will bring with him more questions than answers when he is inaugurated later this month.

A virtual unknown on the global stage, Hollande is emerging from a campaign where the main plank of his platform seemed to be “I am not Nicolas Sarkozy,” the outgoing president.

French voters gave the Socialist Party candidate the reins to the second-largest country in the European Union, with the world’s fifth-largest economy, by a 51 percent to 49 percent margin over incumbent Sarkozy, according to the French Interior Ministry.

Read more at The Global Post

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