Far-right National Front riding anti-establishment wave ahead of French elections

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_FRA151130aa001.jpegPARIS — French voters don’t choose their next president until April, but terrorism, immigration and incumbent President Francois Hollande’s dismal approval ratings are already fueling an anti-establishmentarian wave that is once again helping the far-right, anti-immigrant National Front.

Opinion polls show that National Front party leader Marine Le Pen would win 30 percent of the national vote if elections were held today. That would be a big gain from her tally of 18 percent in the 2012 election, which put Socialist Party standard-bearer Mr. Hollande in the Elysee Palace for the first time.

Read more at The Washington Times

Exposure of Swedish columnist reveals reach of Russia’s propaganda wars

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_RUS140804AA001.jpegSTOCKHOLM, Sweden — Until a few weeks ago, Egor Putilov was a parliamentary aide for the far-right Sweden Democrats Party and a well-known anti-immigrant newspaper columnist who regularly blasted the government for granting asylum to Middle Eastern refugees.

“If nothing is done, Sweden’s lax immigration checks could prove very costly,” Mr. Putilov wrote last year in an op-ed for the Aftonbladet daily newspaper, ominously suggesting that Islamic State terrorists were slipping across Sweden’s supposedly porous borders.

Read more at The Washington Times

This Greek grandmother could win the Nobel Peace Prize

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_GRE161616aa001.jpegSKALA SYKAMIAS, Greece — Emilia Kamvysi is not the typical Nobel Peace Prize candidate.

The 86-year-old is not a politician, activist or lawyer. Her days are simple and slow. Like other Greek retirees on the island of Lesbos off the Turkish coast, she cooks for her children and grandchildren, watches the evening news and sits on the bench with her neighbors gazing at the sea.

Read more at USA Today

Kim Kardashian's Paris trauma: What we know

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_KIM161616aa001.jpegPARIS - The charmed life of Kim Kardashian took a disastrous turn late Sunday when she was tied up, threatened with a gun and robbed of an estimated millions in jewelry by armed and masked assailants in Paris where she was attendingParis Fashion Week.

The news rocketed around the world Monday, sending Twitter into a horrified swoon and her husband, Kanye West, rushing from a stage in the middle of a concert in New York to deal with a "family emergency."

Read more at USA Today

Voices: At Oktoberfest, beer mixed with security concerns

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_DEU161616aa001.jpegMUNICH -- Recently, a friend who has lived in Munich for several years told me that she and her friends had pulled off an astounding feat: They were able to secure a table in a tent on Oktoberfest's opening day – without a reservation.

That's usually unheard of, I'm told.

Read more at USA Today

Austrians fed up with endless campaign as misfires force third vote in tight presidential race

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_AUS141122aa001.jpegVIENNA — Austrian voters with a global reputation for tidiness and efficiency are losing faith in the electoral process. The culprit? Envelopes that won’t stay closed.

Red-faced election officials have called off Sunday’s planned presidential vote over fears that someone might tamper with absentee ballots whose envelopes lack enough adhesive to seal, raising the risk of tampering and fraud.

Read more at The Washington Times

Clinton or Trump? World viewers weigh in

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_USA160101aa001.jpegThe first presidential debate drew spirited reaction from viewers around the world, especially when the candidates touched on foreign issues.

Hillary Clinton rebuked Donald Trump for his praise for Russian President Vladimir Putin and failure to admit he supported the Iraq War. It took barely 10 seconds for Trump to mention Mexico and China. Each doubted the other's ability to thwart the Islamic State.

Read more at USA Today

Italy's campaign for more babies called racist, sexist

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_GRC130517aa001.jpegROME — Italy launched a program Thursday aimed at reversing one of the world’s lowest birthrates, but the first “Fertility Day” produced a backlash with charges of sexism, racism and comparisons to wartime dictator Benito Mussolini.

The Ministry of Health campaign focuses on measures to combat sterility, but causing the most uproar was the part encouraging women to think about having children earlier in life.

Read more at USA Today

Obama's half brother is backing Donald Trump

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_USAObama130222AA001.jpegKOGELO, Kenya — In Barack Obama's ancestral home here, excited residents are preparing to go to the polls next month for what has become a tradition every four years since their favorite son became president: a mock election. But not everybody is supporting his choice for a successor.

“I will support Donald Trump because he is a humble and honest guy,” the president's half brother, Malik Obama, told USA TODAY. “He is a guy who can help people. It’s an opportunity for Americans to give Trump a chance to become president."

Read more at USA Today

Setback for German Chancellor Angela Merkel's party in Berlin state election

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_DEU130906aa002.jpegBERLIN — Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party suffered another setback Sunday in German state elections as an upstart, anti-immigration party rides a wave of anger at the leader's open-door refugee policy, election results show.

The Social Democrats and Merkel’s Christian Democratic Party emerged from the Berlin state election Sunday as the strongest two parties, but both lost enough support that they likely won’t be able to continue a coalition government next year.

Read more at USA Today

Britain’s new prime minister faces tough tests, comparisons to Margaret Thatcher

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_UK313131AA001.jpegLONDON — For a while, the Thatcher comparisons wouldn’t stop coming.
In the first days of Prime Minister Theresa May’s unexpected tenure, she was repeatedly measured against Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s first female prime minister and an iconic figure in the Conservative Party.

Anger over Europe is a theme in both of the Tory premierships. As did Thatcher, the 59-year-old Mrs. May faces an enormous challenge to stem Britain’s seemingly diminishing role on the world stage and address what appears to be a crisis of confidence and direction at home.

Read more at The Washington Times

Putin’s ruling party takes early lead in Russia election

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_RUS140804AA001.jpegMOSCOW — The ruling United Russia party was leading in early results Sunday in national elections, poised to retain control of parliament despite a deep economic recession and Russia’s worst relations with the West since the Cold War.

With more than 10 percent of the ballots counted, United Russia was recording 46 percent of the vote for party-list seats and was running far ahead in single-district contests. Few surprises were expected in the carefully managed elections, with President Vladimir Putin’s ruling United Russia party predicted to easily maintain its majority in parliament despite a slump in popularity.

Read more at The Washington Times

Germany’s open door for refugees to hit Merkel’s coalition in Berlin elections

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_DEU130906aa002.jpegBERLIN — The U.S. isn’t the only major Western democracy where the fallout from the global war on terrorism is being felt at the ballot box. German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s long-dominant Christian Democrats are bracing for another hit in local elections Sunday.

The chancellor has come under even more pressure over her open-door refugee policy as the campaign for Germany’s federal elections next year begins to take shape. It is a remarkable comedown from barely a year ago when Ms. Merkel’s popularity seemed unassailable.

Read more at The Washington Times

Wall going up at Calais migrants' 'Jungle'

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_FRA161616aa001.jpegCALAIS, France — The French government is finally forcing Ali Lalmamad's hand. The migrant camp nicknamed "The Jungle" that has been his home the past five months will be dismantled by the end of the year.

On top of that, his hopes of making it to the United Kingdom are fading, now that France and the U.K. are building a 13-foot-high wall to block the camp's 9,000 migrants from reaching a nearby highway or ferry port to hitch a ride across the English Channel.

Read more at USA Today

Mother Teresa declared a saint by Pope Francis

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_ITA130401AA001.jpegPARIS — A bloody day in the heart of the City of Light left some of France’s best-known journalists dead and police tracking down the native Islamist terrorists suspected of carrying out the murders to avenge what they said were insults to the founder of their faith. One suspect surrendered and two others were missing.

The well-coordinated early-morning attack on the editorial offices of the Charlie Hebdo targeted the editor of the bitingly satiric weekly, Stephane Charbonnier, nine colleagues and a security guard, all murdered in cold blood by masked assailants who reportedly called out the names of their victims as they were shot.

Read more at USA Today

Chancellor Merkel's party suffers loss in home state over migrant policy

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_DEU121121AA001.jpegSCHWERIN, Germany — An anti-immigration party made a strong showing at the expense of Chancellor Angela Merkel's party in her home district Sunday, a repudiation of her open-door policy for migrants.

Official results showed the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) came in second with 20.8% of the vote, ahead of Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) at 19%, the party's worst showing since German reunification a quarter-century ago.

Read more at USA Today

Albanians celebrate Balkan nation's ties to 'Saint' Teresa

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_DEU131025AA003.jpegTIRANA, Albania — Sitting on the steps outside St. Marie’s church after mass in this capital city, 12-year-old Tereza Njebza notes that she was born on Oct. 19, 2003, the day that Mother Teresa — who has Albanian roots — was beatified as Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.

Her father named her after Mother Teresa, who officially becomes Saint Teresa of Calcutta on Sunday. When Tereza was younger, some use to call her Mother Teresa.

Read more at USA Today

25th anniversary of Soviet coup met with hostility, indifference in Russia

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_RUS140804AA001.jpegMOSCOW — Russian pro-democracy activists gathered this weekend in central Moscow to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the defeat of a coup attempt by communist hard-liners enraged at Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s reforms. But the anniversary of the failed coup, and the tribute to the three young protesters who died preventing it, was met by hostility from the authorities and widespread indifference — or even ignorance — by ordinary Russians.

“We are gathered here today to remember those who died defending democracy 25 years ago,” Lev Ponomaryov, a Soviet-era dissident and human rights activist, told a crowd of several hundred people Saturday evening as riot police looked on. “These young men died for our hopes.”

Read more at The Washington Times

Pilgrims crowd church where Mother Teresa once prayed

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_DEU130308AA002.jpegLETNICA, Kosovo (RNS) The thousands of pilgrims who flocked to the bright white Church of the Black Madonna this year were hoping to receive the gift of grace that one of its most famous parishioners once experienced.

A formerly thriving Croat village reduced to only 300 people since the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s, Letnica is an important pilgrimage destination for thousands of Catholics, Orthodox Christians and even Muslims during a nine-day period that ended with the Feast of the Assumption on Monday (Aug. 15).

Read more at Religion News Service

Overseas travel warnings about USA mount

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_USA130629AA002.jpegBERLIN — Government travel advisories are common for war-torn, disease-ravaged nations, but a growing number of countries are warning their citizens about taking trips to the United States.

The United Arab Emirates, Bahamas, France, United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand and Germany are among those urging caution to U.S.-bound travelers. The concerns include mass shootings, police violence, anti-Muslim and anti-LGBT attitudes and the Zika virus.

Read more at USA Today

Gay U.S. ambassador is a reality TV star in Denmark

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_USAObama130222AA001.jpegCOPENHAGEN — American ambassadors abroad tend to be low-profile diplomats who host cocktail parties and try not to make waves in their host countries. Not here.

Ambassador Rufus Gifford is an A-list celebrity — and even a reality TV star — in this nation of 5.7 million people. On the streets of the capital, the average person knows his name.

Read more at USA Today

Greece: the fishermen of Lesbos saving refugee lives

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_AFR150315aa001.jpegLesbos, Greece - Before sunrise, 45-year-old fisherman Kostas Pinteris launches his small boat eastwards with a plan to drop his nets near the Greece-Turkey border in the Mediterranean.

As he leaves the port, he looks right and left, worried. Just a few hours ago, the attempted coup had kicked off in Turkey. Talk on the island was that the violence could lead to a new surge in refugees embarking for Lesbos.

Read more at Aljazeera

Syrian refugees sent back to peril in hands of Islamic State

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_131108ROMaa001.jpegLESBOS, Greece — Faruk Maliki fled to Europe when the Islamic State group attempted to recruit him in Turkey, where he had sought safety from the civil war in his native Syria. But now he is living in terror once again, fearful of being swept up in the European Union’s agreement with Ankara to deport refugees that could send him back to his violent homeland.

“They’ll send me straight back to ISIS,” said Mr. Maliki, a former oil company technician in his mid-40s from Damascus, Syria, using one of the names by which the terrorist group is known.

Read more at The Washington Times

American brewers hop into Europe's craft-beer heartland

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_DEU161616aa001.jpegBRUSSELS — In a land where the love of local beers is deeply ingrained in the national character, the idea of quaffing imported American suds can leave a bitter taste.

“When you say 'American beers,' I think inferior beers,” said psychologist Bram Mombers-Schepers, quenching his thirst at Cafe Au Laboureur, a popular watering hole whose treats include ales crafted by monks according to centuries-old recipes and cherry-flavored brews that are a summer favorite in the Belgian capital.

Read more at USA Today

Asylum seekers bear brunt of Europe's tilt towards the right wing

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_SYR151515aa001.jpegIn a beautiful olive grove dusted with poppies and daisies stands Kamran Kishwer, a 33-year-old father of three from Sargodha in Punjab province. He wears a look of exhaustion and calm as he eats from a plastic cup half filled with rice. There’s a boiled egg on top. Every day, Kishwer and 300 other Pakistani asylum seekers and migrants are provided this meal for lunch by a group of volunteers running Better Days for Moria (BDFM), a makeshift camp providing essential services next to the Moria Registration Camp on the Greek island of Lesbos.

Kishwer smiles while talking about the volunteers that have helped him and the others, the majority of whom are escaping conflict and extreme poverty. But his uncertain future—especially the lack of information from authorities—has left him in despair.

Read more at Newsweek

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