Putin brings God — and potential jail time for atheists — to Russia

RUS130621aa001 MOSCOW — When Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin returned to Earth after becoming the first person to travel into outer space in 1961, the then-officially atheist Kremlin heralded his historic journey as “proof” of the non-existence of God.

Fast-forward to today’s Russia and such pro-atheist sentiments could land you behind bars.

Read more at The Washington Times

Greek isle profited from migrant influx, but that may soon end

GRC130306AA001 MYTILINI, Greece — As a main European gateway for migrants flooding in from Turkey, the Aegean island of Lesbos, long known for its olive oil and ouzo, has found a way to turn a potential crisis into a profitable cash flow.

After all, those refugees need food, housing, clothing and other necessities, which has been good for local business.

Read more at USA Today

With terror in mind, Parisians train to be first responders

FRA130204AA001PARIS — Parisians are flocking to first-aid training centers to become qualified first responders as nightmarish thoughts of terrorists grip their minds.

"We’re not trained enough," Web designer Marc Lamard, 26, said after completing his first-aid training at a town hall near the site of terrorist attacks in the city last year."In case of a wave of panic, you need to stay calm and know what to do."

Read more at USA Today

Brussels on: Hunt for suspects, as ISIL sends texts to recruit Belgian Muslims

FRA151501AA004BRUSSELS — Brussels struggled to return to normal one week after suicide bombings, amid concerns that suspects remain at large and the Islamic State is recruiting young Belgian Muslims with text messages.

"My brothers, why not join us in the fight against the Westerners, make good choices in your life," says a French-language message posted on Twitter reportedly sent to young peoples' phones after the terror attacks at the Brussels airport and a busy subway station.

Read more at USA Today

Bombing suspects: 19th century Belgian law allowed to go free

BEL130313AA001BRUSSELS — A 19th-century law has become the latest flashpoint in the finger-pointing over who failed to prevent last week's terror attacks atBrussels Airport and a metro station.

Two suspects, brothers Khalid and Ibrahim El Bakraoui — killed in the airport suicide bombings — had been conditionally released from prison for a previous crime because of the 1888 law. 

Read more at USA Today

French weigh 'right' to disconnect from work emails at home

FRA130226AA001 PARIS — Mathilde Bouvier occasionally leaves her cellphone on the fireplace mantel after work so she can focus on dinner and family.

But her 4- and 6-year-old daughters are slow eaters, so she can't help herself: She checks her inbox — until she can get to her laptop and work again while the children sleep.

Read more at USA Today

Residents don't: Want Brussels to turn into a city of fear

GAZ90714aa002BRUSSELS — Police fired water cannons to disperse hundreds of right-wing protesters who trampled a makeshift memorial to terror victims when chaos broke out Sunday at a "Rally Against Fear." 

Belgian security forces also conducted raids in three cities Sunday and took four people into custody as part of a crackdown on suspected terrorists. 

Read more at USA Today

Brussels airport: Stays closed a seventh day, snarling Easter holiday travel

DEU150401aa001BRUSSELS — Belgium's busiest airport remained closed for a seventh day Monday because of last week's terror attack, snarling travel as passengers returned from a long Easter holiday. "My plans for last week got disrupted in places, but in the end I got to where I was going," said Nicholas White, a consultant who lives near Brussels.

White, a native of Northern Ireland, flew from England to Belgium's smaller regional airport in Antwerp, 35 miles to the north. He said many people opted to stay home rather than risk a difficult trip and further attacks. 

Read more at USA Today

Hotel staff: Jumps into action after Brussels subway attack

BEL151125aa001BRUSSELS — When staffers at the Hotel Thon deal with emergencies, it's usually a guest losing a passport, burning themselves with a curling iron or a room with an unmade bed.

So when terrorists detonated explosives at the nearby Maelbeek subway station on Tuesday, the hotel staff grabbed their first aid kits and jumped in to help. "We have a small 'intervention team,' which is usually for a cook who cuts his finger," hotel manager Hans Van der Biersen said. "It's not for a major event like this."

Read more at USA Today

Pope denounces terrorism in Easter Mass amid tight Vatican security

ITA1303XX03 VATICAN CITY — Amid the tightest security ever for an outdoor Mass at the Vatican, Pope Francis on Easter Sunday lashed out at the “blind and brutal” terrorism afflicting Europe, Africa, the Middle East and beyond.

Five days after Islamic State attacks in Brussels killed 31 people, extraordinary security controls left some faithful waiting in line for hours and forced some to watch the Mass from up to three-quarters of a mile away from St. Peter’s Square. Even so, the ceremony drew as many as 200,000 on a sunny and crisp Easter morning, according to media reports.

Read more at USA Today

eSports athletes cash in big on fast-growing gamer interest

DEU13128aaa001BERLIN — Video games were just a hobby for Martin Larsson until a knee injury at 14 kept him off the soccer field for two years.

These days, he's a star gamer-athlete.

Read more at USA Today

Schaerbeek neighborhood: Brussels terror attack puts spotlight on

BEL160429AA001BRUSSELS — Authorities had been scouring Molenbeek, a North African enclave here, since the Islamic State staged terrorist attacks in Paris last November. Now another immigrant district - Schaerbeek - is in the spotlight.

On Wednesday, police discovered explosives, including a nail bomb, other chemicals used to make bombs and the black flag of the Islamic State in a Schaerbeek apartment, according to Belgian media reports. Word of the discovery put the city further on edge.

Read more at USA Today

'Where next?': People question after the Brussels attacks

SWE130531aa002BRUSSELS — It will happen again, soon. That's the sentiment expressed in Belgium and elsewhere in Europe following Tuesday's terror attacks in Brussels that killed 31 people.

People interviewed across Europe by USA TODAY said they had slipped into a grim resignation that future attacks are inevitable, especially in light of revelations of security failures in Belgium.

Read more at USA Today

Tourists flee: Brussels after terror attack

FRA151119AA001BRUSSELS — Restaurants, bars and other venues in the heart of this historic city are usually hopping on Thursday. Not this week.

Patrick Bordigato, 27, a bartender at the restaurant Pin Pon, was standing idly at his counter. “I'm going to put on some music,” he said. “I should do it anyway,” even though there was no one else there to listen. 

Read more at USA Today

Italy pushes: Closer European security cooperation after Brussels attacks

EUR130204AA001BERLIN — Tuesday’s deadly terrorist attacks in Brussels could help pull the fraying European Union closer together. At least that's the idea behind an Italian proposal for closer European security cooperation.

Following the attacks at the Brussels Airport and a metro station that killed at least 31 people and injured 270, Italian Prime MinisterMatteo Renzi called for Europe to work toward a common strategy for security and defense. 

Read more at USA Today

Complaints grow: Belgium bungled security before attacks

FRA141202aa001BRUSSELS — Two days after the worst terror attack on Belgian soil, signs are growing that the Belgian governmentfailed to address security lapses that might have contributed to Tuesday's bombings.

The European Union told Belgian authorities to remedy gaps in their border security weeks before suicide bombers attacked Brussels Airport and a metro station, killing 31 people and wounding 270, according to a report published Thursday.

Read more at USA Today

Belgian Muslims: Fear growing anti-Islam backlash in wake of terror attacks

FRA150111aa001BRUSSELS — It's already been a rough few months for Belgian Muslims in the wake of November's terrorist attacks in Paris and the search for suspects in Belgium: Lockdowns, increased security and raids on homes.

Now, in the wake of the country's deadliest terrorist attacks Tuesday, Muslims who live in Belgium fret more fear, suspicion and harassment is on the way. 

Read more at USA Today

After attacks: Sorrow, union and dignity in Brussels

BEL160428AA001BRUSSELS — Packed with smiling photos of the missing and desperate appeals for information, the Facebook page full of sorrow was set up to help families find loved ones whose fate remained unknown days after the murderous attacks that tore through Brussels' airport and a subway train on Tuesday.

"Still there is no word of him," says a post by Chandrasekar Ganesan, searching for his brother Raghavendran. "We have also tried calling on his mobile, but are simply not able to reach."

Read more at Al Jazeera

Islamic State: Claims responsibility for Brussels attack that killed dozens

SYR130328PT002BRUSSELS — The Islamic State claimed responsibility for brutal attacks that brought blood and chaos to this capital city's airport and downtown metro station Tuesday, killing dozens of people, wounding more than 150 and heightening terror alerts around the world.

As of Tuesday evening, the death toll was 34, the Associated Press said a Belgian security official indicated. Authorities blamed suicide bombers for the attacks, but embarked on manhunt for at least one suspected surviving attacker. 

Read more at USA Today

Terror attacks: 'It could have been us': How countries see Brussels

BEL151125aa001BERLIN — USA TODAY world editors were meeting in Berlin with their foreign correspondents Tuesday when Brussels was struck by terrorist attacks. 

Here are their reports on the reactions and impact in their countries on the latest attacks

Read more at USA Today

'Their faces': Brussels attacks first hand

BEL130313AA001BRUSSELS — Explosions at the Brussels airport and a downtown metro stop rocked the city Tuesday, killing more than 30 people, and wounding dozens.

In the city, all public transportation has been shut down as officials work to piece together what happened. Here's a look at the chaotic scene in Brussels from the people who witnessed the attack and those who are trying to navigate daily life in a city on lockdown.

Read more at USA Today

Terrorist Attacks: Brussels luck runs out

BEL160427AA001BRUSSELS — We knew it was coming. Belgium had never experienced a massive terrorist attack, and no one believed that was because our police and intelligence services were more skilled than those of Spain, France or the U.K. — not for one second.

It never added up. London, Paris, Madrid, but not Brussels, where there’s so much institutional real estate, with the biggest concentration of lobbyists outside Washington, D.C., with NATO headquartered here. We tried not to give in to the fear-mongering, but in our hearts we knew it was just a matter of time. 

Read more at USA Today

Spanish reaction: To the Brussels terror attacks

SPA160426AA001BERLIN — Spanish journalist Belen Diego reacts to the attacks in Brussels today. 

Read more at USA Today

Italian reaction: To the Brussels terror attacks

ITA130315AA004BERLIN — Eric J. Lyman, who covers Italy for USA Today, talks about Rome's reaction to the attacks in Brussels. 

Read more at USA Today

Brussels attacks: What it might mean for 'Brexit'

UK013302BERLIN — USA Today journalist Dominic Hinde talks about the Brussels attacks in the context of Britain's potential exit from the European Union. 

Read more at USA Today

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