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Preview: Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Europe Europe News from the Associated Press


With French camp razed, moved migrants try to adapt again

Thu, 27 Oct 2016 19:26:26 UT

CALAIS, France (AP) — Thousands of migrants dispersed this week from the now-torched camp they had called home in Calais are struggling to adapt to unfamiliar surroundings in towns and villages throughout France. [...] after fires set by some departing residents hastened the camp's closure, some confused children and adults were left sleeping rough on its fringes. Aid workers scrambling to find a solution were given permission Thursday to take about 100 minors and adults to a small makeshift school in what was once the camp's southern sector, which was razed by the state in March. Word that a former retirement home there would be used to shelter relocated migrants sparked angry demonstrations last week. Like others, Ibrahim — who did not want his last name used because of concerns about his legal status — has been given temporary housing while he pursues an asylum claim in France. During his camp stay, Wali emerged as one of a number of community leaders who met regularly with French officials preparing for the mass evacuation that began Monday. Prefect Fabienne Buccio said they were coming from other parts of France and even Germany to try to take advantage of France's operation to shelter migrants. Many migrants waited until Wednesday, the last day of the three-day evacuation, to decide whether to take a bus to one of the 450 special centers around France, increasing the chaos. Barbet denied claims that authorities had refused to register minors once the 1,500 beds in special heated containers reserved for children and teenagers, all were taken.

Spain: Rajoy pushed to 2nd vote in bid to form govt

Thu, 27 Oct 2016 18:31:47 UT

MADRID (AP) — Spanish lawmakers Thursday rejected conservative leader Mariano Rajoy's bid to form a minority government and end a 10-month political impasse, a move that pushes the decision on making him prime minister to a second round of voting later this week. The result was expected as Rajoy, who has served as acting prime minister since December, lacked the support to win the absolute majority of votes in the 350-seat chamber needed in the first round. Rajoy's party won the most seats both times, but fell short of a majority and could not reach agreement with other parties to form a coalition government.

Putin rejects claims of Russian interference in US election

Thu, 27 Oct 2016 17:52:26 UT

MOSCOW (AP) — President Vladimir Putin on Thursday dismissed claims that Russia is interfering in the U.S. presidential election, saying the allegations are designed to distract the public from real issues. Speaking to international foreign policy experts in Sochi, Putin dismissed "the hysteria about Russia's influence on the U.S. presidential election." Putin called the claim that Russia favors Republican contender Donald Trump in the race as "sheer nonsense" that has served as a campaign tool. Putin added that it's not clear what stance the next U.S. president will take toward Russia, but added that Moscow welcomes campaign statements about normalizing ties. Putin also asserted Thursday that the rise of popularity of nationalist parties in Europe was rooted in a widening gap between elites and the regular citizens, not the influence of Russian propaganda as many in the West have suggested. Putin said Thursday that he backed a Finnish proposal for both Russian and NATO aircraft to have their transponders switched on while flying over the Baltics, but added that the alliance turned it down earlier this year. Putin defended Russia's support for the Syrian army's siege of the rebel-held eastern districts of the city of Aleppo, saying it's necessary to crush the militants there.

Italy quakes take out buildings standing after August jolt

Thu, 27 Oct 2016 17:21:00 UT

CAMERINO, Italy (AP) — The red brick Amatrice city hall resisted the devastating Aug. 24 quake that collapsed buildings all around it, only to crumble under the one-two punch of lesser jolts Wednesday night. [...] they revealed structural weakness in the mountainous quake-prone zone straddling the Marche and Umbria regions, and added more psychological stress to already traumatized inhabitants. In Visso, the mayor estimated that two-thirds of the town's 1,500 houses had sustained some damage while the remaining residents preferred not to return home until checks were made to ensure safety. Camerino Mayor Gianluca Pasqui said the town's historic bell tower of the Santa Maria in Via church, dating from the Crusades, had collapsed, but emphasized that reconstruction work after a 6.1 -magnitude quake in 1997, including on the church and tower, appeared to have contributed to the absence of serious injury. Because otherwise, we would be speaking of something else, Pasqui told Sky TG24.

Greek opposition calls for elections after TV auction fail

Thu, 27 Oct 2016 16:52:34 UT

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece's conservative opposition called Thursday for early elections after a court declared illegal an auction of private television licenses — an embarrassing setback for the country's left-wing government. "The government has embarrassed the country domestically and abroad, projecting an image of a failed administration that has no respect for the democratic institutions," Kyriakos Mitsotakis, leader of the center-right New Democracy party, said in a televised address.

Germany arrests Afghan, 19, suspected of Taliban membership

Thu, 27 Oct 2016 15:41:41 UT

BERLIN (AP) — German authorities say they have arrested a 19-year-old Afghan man suspected of fighting for the Taliban. Federal prosecutors said in a statement that the suspect, identified only as Wajid S., was arrested on Thursday. They gave no further details, and didn't specify when or how he arrived in Germany. He is suspected of membership in a foreign terrorist association. Prosecutors say that he is believed to have joined the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2013 and was repeatedly involved in fighting. The Taliban have been waging war against the Afghan government since 2001.

For UK's Europeans, post-Brexit attacks bring shock and fear

Thu, 27 Oct 2016 15:14:41 UT

Hind was among hundreds of thousands of Poles who seized the opportunity when the EU expanded into eastern Europe in 2004 to move to Britain, regarded as a welcoming country with a flexible labor market and relatively high wages. Britain's vote to quit the bloc — after a "leave" campaign that urged people to "take back control" — is in part a renunciation of that borderless ideal. The support for leaving the EU was swelled by citizens who felt the presence of so many people from other EU countries was making Britain less "British" and making it harder for Britons to find jobs, housing, and medical care. Anti-racism groups say the vote also unleashed a wave of xenophobia that has brought insults, abuse and physical attacks. Official figures back up anecdotal evidence of a rise in hate crime since the referendum. According to the Home Office, police recorded 1,546 racially or religiously aggravated offenses in England and Wales in the two weeks before referendum day, and 2,241 in the two weeks after it. Incidents reported around the country include offensive graffiti daubed on a Polish community center; cards saying "no more Polish vermin" left on cars; a Polish man punched and kicked in Yeovil, southwest England; another Polish man beaten by a gang of teenagers in the northern city of Leeds; and a 21-year-old Polish student stabbed in the neck with a broken bottle in the English Midlands town of Telford. Police said they were investigating the death as a hate crime, and arrested six teens aged 15 and 16. No one is arguing that the referendum introduced prejudice to Britain — earlier groups of immigrants, from Jews 100 years ago to West Indians after World War II, also experienced hostility.

AP Photos: Migrants find shelter in Serbian warehouse

Thu, 27 Oct 2016 15:11:10 UT

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — An abandoned customs warehouse in central Belgrade has become a temporary home for hundreds of migrants trying to reach the European Union from Serbia. More than 200 men have occupied the run-down concrete hall near the bus and train stations in the capital city, seeking shelter from autumn cold and rain.

Slovenia reburies 800 bodies from post-WWII mass grave

Thu, 27 Oct 2016 14:51:30 UT

MARIBOR, Slovenia (AP) — Slovenia on Thursday reburied the remains of some 800 people found in a mass grave containing the bodies of thousands believed killed in the aftermath of World War II by the communist authorities. The remains were laid to rest in a memorial park in Maribor, northeastern Slovenia, alongside other victims of post-WWII summary executions. Pavel Jamnik, a senior policeman working on the excavations, said most of the 800 victims uncovered so far were soldiers but civilians and women also were found in the pit.

German police probe possible DNA blunder in murder case

Thu, 27 Oct 2016 14:46:16 UT

Two weeks ago, prosecutors said genetic material recovered from the site had been connected to Uwe Boehnhardt, a suspected member of the National Socialist Underground, a group that's been linked to 10 killings between 2000 and 2007.

Prince Charles shows his parents a development he envisioned

Thu, 27 Oct 2016 14:39:39 UT

LONDON (AP) — Prince Charles has offered his parents a look at Poundbury, the planned community built using principles for which he advocated and that gives priority to people instead of cars.

Romanian man asks court to recognize his same-sex marriage

Thu, 27 Oct 2016 14:35:43 UT

Adrian Coman, a 45-year-old Romanian gay rights activist, wants the court to rule that his 2010 marriage in Belgium to U.S. citizen Claibourn Robert Hamilton, also 45, is legal in the way it would be if they were a heterosexual couple. Nearly 3 million people have signed a petition demanding a referendum to change the constitution, which currently states that marriage is a consensual act between spouses. President Klaus Iohannis recently voiced his support for same-sex couples and warned of "religious fanaticism."

Journalist on trial in Turkey for alleged pro-PKK tweets

Thu, 27 Oct 2016 14:28:53 UT

Hamza Aktan, former news director for pro-Kurdish IMC-TV, faces up to five years in prison for posting 17 tweets or re-tweets that Turkish prosecutors deemed to be propaganda on behalf of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK. Aktan joins a long list of journalists and human rights defenders who have been prosecuted under Turkey's broad anti-terrorism laws.

Belgian deal clears way for EU-Canada free trade pact

Thu, 27 Oct 2016 14:27:34 UT

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union and Canada are on the cusp of sealing a landmark free trade deal after the Belgian government on Thursday overcame an impasse with its regional authorities, which had been seeking more protections from multinationals. Politicians in Wallonia argued that the proposed accord would have undermined labor, environment and consumer standards. Proponents say it would yield billions in added trade through customs and tariff cuts and other measures to lower barriers to commerce. Magnette said Wallonia's insistence on a better deal would set a precedent for other trade talks between Europe and trading partners like the United States or Japan.

2 Yazidi women who escaped IS group win human rights prize

Thu, 27 Oct 2016 14:08:50 UT

BRUSSELS (AP) — Two Yazidi women who escaped sexual enslavement by the Islamic State group and went on to become advocates for others have won the European Union's Sakharov Prize for human rights. Guy Verhofstadt, the leader of the European Parliament's liberal ALDE group, said Thursday that Nadia Murad Basee and Lamiya Aji Bashar are inspirational women who have shown incredible bravery and humanity in the face of despicable brutality. The award, named after Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov, was created in 1988 to honor individuals or groups who defend human rights and fundamental freedoms.

NATO allies advance plans for east Europe troop deployment

Thu, 27 Oct 2016 13:59:42 UT

In recent weeks alone, Russia has moved battleships toward the Mediterranean and Baltic Seas, shifted nuclear-capable missile-launchers into its Kaliningrad enclave neighboring Poland and continued flying bombers down the western European coast. Britain is to send typhoon fighter jets to the Black Sea area, while a battalion of troops, tanks and light armor will deploy in Estonia in the spring, backed by French and Danish troops. On Wednesday, Spain came under pressure for offering to resupply a flotilla of Russian warships suspected to be bound for the eastern Mediterranean to help ramp up Russian and Syrian regime airstrikes. "What we are observing is Russian military practice that diverges widely from NATO practice in scale, scope, content, purpose, and transparency," NATO's top military commander, U.S. General Curtis Scaparrotti, told the ministers.

The Latest: NATO sending planes, ships to back EU migrant op

Thu, 27 Oct 2016 13:55:36 UT

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says the military alliance has agreed to back the European Union's anti-migrant smuggling operation in the Mediterranean Sea. The decision came during a two-day meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels. Work intensified on Thursday to remove the tents and shelters, shops and restaurants at the site, until recently a sprawling temporary home to thousands of people trying to go to Britain.

Austrian police seize 47 puppies in car at Hungarian border

Thu, 27 Oct 2016 13:25:48 UT

The driver was headed for France, where authorities suspect he planned to pass off the animals as French-born. Police in Burgenland province say they found the puppies in the trunk and back seat of the 33-year-old Romanian's car during a routine check on Wednesday.

Volkswagen raises earnings outlook as it returns to profit

Thu, 27 Oct 2016 13:06:12 UT

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Volkswagen raised its sales and earnings outlook Thursday after bouncing back to a profit of 2.34 billion euros ($2.55 billion) in the third quarter from a large loss a year earlier, when it took a big charge from its car emissions scandal. [...] the German company took a 6.7 billion euro charge in anticipation of looming costs for recalls, fixes and buybacks of diesel cars that it had fitted with software that enabled them to cheat on emission tests. [...] quarter sales revenue rose 1 percent to 52.0 billion euros.

Dutch court convicts 5 men for mosque arson attack

Thu, 27 Oct 2016 12:43:15 UT

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — A Dutch court has convicted five right-wing extremists and sentenced them to four years' imprisonment for throwing Molotov cocktails at a mosque, saying the attack had "terrorist characteristics."