Hello, operator: Kosovo wants its own calling code

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_DEU131128aa001.jpegPRISTINA, Kosovo — As Europe's newest nation, Kosovo has most of the symbols of other sovereign countries, such as a flag and a national anthem.

What it still doesn't have is its own international calling code, a political — and economic —- insult that infuriates people in this tiny nation of 1.8 million.

Read more at USA Today

Craft beer: Movement clashes with 500-year-old German purity laws

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_DEU130312AA001.jpegPBERLIN — It’s a law that has been on the books more than twice as long as the United States has been a country, protecting Germany’s dedicated quaffers from the dangers of inferior brews.

Frothy mugs of beer were clinking across the land over the weekend as Germans toasted the 500th anniversary of the country’s famous beer purity law, or Reinheitsgebot, which mandates that German beer may contain only malt, water, hops and yeast.

Read more at The Washington Times

German court: Asked to ban political party agitated by refugees

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_DEU151501AA002.jpegBERLIN — Amid a refugee crisis and a surge of violence targeting foreigners, Germany’s highest court is weighing a move it has taken only twice since the fall of the Nazis: banning a political party.

The Federal Constitutional Court has agreed to hear a contentious petition to outlaw the far-right National Democratic Party on grounds that it “foments hate.” Just over a decade ago, the court dismissed a similar attempt to ban the 52-year-old ultranationalist party.

Read more at The Washington Times

Officers try: To stop Muslim youth from radicalizing

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_EUR130204AA001.jpegBRUSSELS — When towns across Belgium started seeing alarming rates of young men leaving to fight in Syria, lawmakers offered a very Belgian solution — put a public servant on it.

Since Belgium had become the European Union country sending the most fighters to Syria per capita, local officials freed up close to $2.3 million in U.S. money to help recruit fighters.

Read more at USA Today

icolae Ceausescu’s: Legacy reconsidered amid nostalgia for communism in Romania

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_ROM160416aa001.jpegBUCHAREST, Romania — The last time Alexandru Socol saw Nicolae Ceausescu was in 1989, when the communist dictator visited Mr. Socol’s factory to inspect the components it produced for hydroelectric and nuclear power plants just as Europe’s old divisions were about to be blown apart.

At the time, Mr. Socol didn’t dare complain to Ceausescu about the cold and hunger his family was enduring as Romania’s state-controlled economy was collapsing. Instead, he cursed Ceausescu in private, knowing the Securitate, or secret police, operated among the factory’s workers.

Read more at The Washington Times

Brazil turmoil: After Rousseff impeachment vote

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_BRA161423003.jpegSÃO PAULO — Impeachment proceedings against Brazil's embattled President Dilma Rousseff now move to the Senate, which could vote to remove the leader from office and throw this country into further turmoil before it hosts the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Brazil's lower house of Congress voted 367-137 late Sunday for impeachment — well above the 342 votes needed to approve the measure. The vote was a tense, wild ride, with lawmakers fighting, throwing confetti and even spitting as the tally proceeded.

Read more at USA Today

Lawmakers vote: To impeach Brazil's president

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_BRA160423002.jpegSÃO PAULO — Lawmakers in Brazil handed embattled President Dilma Rousseff a sobering defeat late Sunday, voting overwhelmingly to impeach her.

After more than five hours of sometimes loud deliberations, the leader of the Workers Party in the lower Chamber of Deputies conceded defeat, Reuters reported, saying her allies couldn't keep Rousseff from facing trial in the Senate on charges of manipulating budget accounts.

Read more at USA Today

Pope brings: 3 Muslim refugee families to Rome

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_ITA130401AA001.jpegLESBOS, Greece — In an emotional visit to a fenced-in refugee center on this Greek island, Pope Francis told hundreds of displaced families Saturday that "you are not alone" — and underscored his message by taking three families of Syrian Muslim refugees back to Rome with him.

The 12 refugees, including six children, joined the pope on his plane after a five-hour visit to the Moria detention center. The pope also asked European leaders to do more to help the thousands of refugees stuck in camps.

Read more at USA Today

Bernie Sanders: Attacks capitalism abuses during trip to Vatican

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_USA160423001.jpegVATICAN CITY — Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders took a break from campaigning Friday to travel to the Vatican and issue a scathing attack on the abuses of capitalism.

He also greeted small, enthusiastic crowds of both U.S. expats and Italians here.

Read more at USA Today

French Prosecutors Target Journalist Over November Paris Terror Attack Coverage

ARA.pngFrench Prosecutors Target Journalist Over November Paris Terror Attack Coverage

Berlin—We at Associated Reporters Abroad (ARA) are outraged over French prosecutors' attempts to criminalize the conduct of our colleague, reporter and photographer, Maya Vidon-White, for doing her job covering the Paris terror attacks Nov. 13, 2015 for American news outlets USA Today and United Press International (UPI).

French prosecutors are targeting Vidon-White under the provisions of a French law that criminalizes publishing a photo of a survivor of a terror attack. Without going into the problematic nature of that law for reasons of press freedoms, we believe that Vidon-White has broken no laws: She took a photo of a victim of the attack who later died as part of her reporting; she did not publish the photo in France; she did not sell the photo to a French outlet – she sold it as part of a series to UPI in the United States. Afterward, she had no control over its resale or its publication.

We believe that French prosecutors are being overzealous and trying to make an example of Vidon-White to show to the grieving public – and the family of the victim – that they are taking action regarding the terror attacks, and twisting French law to do so.

We are calling for prosecutors to drop their case against Vidon-White and to refrain from using this law in the future to prosecute journalists doing their jobs. 

"We unfortunately are all too familiar with covering terror attacks and have tremendous sympathy for the victims of these murderous rampages including those who died on Nov. 13 in Paris," said Jabeen Bhatti, managing editor of ARA, who worked on the Paris coverage with Vidon-White. "But this is witch hunt by French prosecutors. What's next: prosecuting reporters for interviewing victims?"


Maya Vidon-White, a reporter, photographer and French national, was covering the Paris attacks Nov. 13, 2015 for USA Today (print), and United Press International (UPI) (photo) as a freelancer. 

On the night of Nov. 13, she took a photo of a victim of the massacre at the Bataclan concert hall at a square near the venue where emergency services set up a base: Cedric Gomet, who was attending the concert, later died of injuries sustained during the attack.

The photo she took was one of a series sold to UPI in the United States for whom Vidon-White is officially accredited. They in turn sold it to French photo agency MAXPPP to then sold it to French magazine VSD who published it on Nov. 17. 

Two months later, she was informed by the Paris prosecutor's office she had broken the law: She was charged with being an accomplice to the publication of an image showing Cedric Gomet which seriously "violates his human dignity," according to prosecutors.

The law allegedly violated is known as the Guigou law, passed in the wake of the terror attacks on Saint Michel metro station in 1995. It forbids the publication of the image of any survivor of a terror attack on the grounds that such photos violate their right to human dignity. Only Vidon-White and VSD were charged in this case.

Vidon-White is to be tried April 15, and if convicted, subject to fine of as high as 15,000 euros ($17,000).

Contacts in the case:

--French prosecutors' office: +33144329449 (Francois Molins)

--Attorney representing Maya Vidon-White: Vincent Toledano +33156 810319 /+33674849079; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

--Attorney for VSD magazine: Me Jose Michel Garcia +336032106 60 / 33144297720 

Maya Vidon-White is a Paris-based reporter and photojournalist who has reported from Africa, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Jerusalem and elsewhere. Before becoming a freelancer for Bloomberg News, the Financial Times, USA Today and UPI, she was a photo editor and staff photographer at the Associated Press and Agence France-Presse.

About ARA: Associated Reporters Abroad (ARA) is an American international journalism non-profit that serves media outlets around the world with reporting from the ground via a collective of 100+ freelancers.

Jabeen Bhatti
+491728122363 (cell)

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Donald Trump: Says Scotland golf course fight prepared him for presidency

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_USA160101aa001.jpegABERDEEN, Scotland — He has called his American media critics “disgusting” and “dishonest,” but across the Atlantic, Donald Trump has had no problem getting his views across in the press, thanks to a small local newspaper in the Scottish Highlands.

Eschewing more illustrious British outlets, the billionaire developer and Republican front-runner made his debut as a columnist Monday in The Press and Journal of this fishing and oil city on the North Sea coastline, where Mr. Trump has invested in a slew of luxury golf properties.

Read more at The Washington Times

Pope has: Good news for divorced, but not for gays

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_ITA130326AA002.jpegROME — Pope Francis released a document Friday that paves the way for new integration into the Roman Catholic Church for divorced Catholics, but does little to soften the church’s strict views on hot-button topics like gay marriage, abortion and contraception.

While the 256-page apostolic exhortation called “Amoris Laetitia,” Latin for “The Joy of Love,” makes no change to church doctrine it establishes that the pope sees individual conscience as the most important principle for Catholics trying to navigate difficult issues surrounding sex, marriage and family life.

Read more at USA Today

Panama papers: The story behind the massive leak

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_ARG140724AA001.jpegBERLIN — It started with an email in early 2015: "Hello, this is John Doe. Interested in data?"

"We are very interested," replied a journalist in Munich.

The exchange resulted in internal documents from Mossack Fonseca — a Panama law firm that creates anonymous offshore companies around the world — being sent to staff at the Süddeutsche Zeitung, a large German daily. The newspaper had been involved in tax-haven investigations before.

Read more at USA Today

Halt to: Migrant flood ends good times for smugglers

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_AFR150315aa002.jpegISTANBUL — Abu Sami, an Iraqi living in Europe, made a good living smuggling Syrians and other refugees from Greece to Germany.

But his good fortune at the expense of desperate migrants fleeing war and poverty is coming to an end now that Turkey has agreed to stop them from flooding into Europe. "Business has decreased by more than 70%," he said.

Read more at USA Today

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

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