VLADIVOSTOK, Russia – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has attended a wreath-laying ceremony at a war memorial near the headquarters of the Russian Navy’s Pacific Fleet as he wrapped up his visit to the Russian Far East following a summit with President Vladimir Putin.
Kim arrived at the memorial in Vladivostok on Friday. He took off his fedora and bowed after laying flowers at the memorial as a Russian military band played North Korea’s national anthem.
Kim and Putin met on Thursday where the North says they held deep discussions to boost “strategic communication and tactical collaboration” over issues surrounding the Korean Peninsula. Pyongyang’s state media did not report on any specific agreement on North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and sanctions against the North.
Source: Fox News World
PRAGUE – Europe’s far-right political leaders campaigned Thursday in Prague, calling migration and Islam major threats to Europe as they sought to rally support ahead of the European Parliament elections next month.
Marine Le Pen, leader of France’s far-right National Rally party and Geert Wilders, founder of the Dutch anti-Islam Party for Freedom, were the main draws for hundreds at downtown Wenceslas Square. Matteo Salvini, Italy’s hard-line interior minister and leader of the anti-migrant League party, sent a video message.
They attended a rally of the Freedom and Direct Democracy party, the Czech member of the Movement for a Europe of Nations and Freedom.
All the far-right politicians denounced migration and Islam, linking them to terror attacks and criticizing the current European Union. They vowed their alliance would seek a radical change in how Europe is run.
“The battle of Europe has begun,” Le Pen announced. “Long live a Europe of sovereign nations.”
She said the EU is to blame for flooding Europe with migrants who threaten to destroy the European nations.
Wilders, meanwhile, called the EU an undemocratic superstate that has been attempting “to erase our nation states.”
“Today, we’re fighting for our existence,” Wilders said.
“Islam is a medieval cult that denies freedom to others,” he said. “Islam and freedom are not compatible.”
“We don’t want Islam here!” the crowd repeatedly chanted.
The rally was disrupted by protesters, who were pushed aside by riot police. Police said 10 people were detained but no one was injured.
Political experts say the May 23-26 elections for the European Parliament, which take place in the EU’s 28 nations, could prove to be a tipping point in post-war European politics. Traditional political powerhouses on both the right and the left are expected to lose support as extremist, populist parties gain more clout.
The Czech populist group is the most anti-migrant, anti-Muslim, anti-EU party in the Czech Republic. It has 22 seats in the country’s 200-seat lower house of Parliament.
The party wants to ban Islam, which it calls an ideology of hate. Its chairman, Tomio Okamura, is currently a deputy speaker of the house.
The Czech Republic has not been hit like other EU nations by migration into Europe and only has a small, moderate Muslim community.
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ANKARA, Turkey – Six former journalists and staff of an opposition newspaper in Turkey have returned to prison to serve their sentences after an appeals court confirmed their conviction on terror charges.
Cartoonist Musa Kart and five other employees of the Cumhuriyet newspaper entered prison in northwest Turkey on Thursday after an appeals court in February upheld their conviction on charges of aiding terror organizations.
The six were sentenced to less than five-year prison terms. Other Cumhuriyet employees, who were sentenced to more than five years in prison, can still appeal the verdicts at Turkey’s Supreme Court.
The paper is one of few newspapers critical of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and their case has increased concerns over press freedom in Turkey.
The Turkish Journalists Syndicate says 133 journalists and media employees are currently in jail.
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TIRANA, Albania – Albanian opposition members have blocked national highways in their latest protest of a government they accuse of being corrupt and linked to organized crime, claims the government denies.
Supporters of the center-right Democratic Party-led opposition blocked five separate crossroads for an hour Thursday, asking that a transitory Cabinet be set up to hold an early parliamentary election.
In protests since February, opposition supporters have tried to enter parliament or government buildings and police have responded with tear gas and water cannon.
Opposition lawmakers have relinquished their seats in the 140-seat parliament where the governing Socialists have 74 seats. Most of the vacant seats have been taken by other opposition candidates.
In June, Albania expects to hear from the European Union whether full membership negotiations will be launched and will also hold municipal elections.
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NICOSIA, Cyprus – The Latest on the slayings of Filipino women in Cyprus: (all times local):
Two law enforcement officials in Cyprus say a double-homicide suspect told investigators he killed seven people, five women and two girls.
A police official said Thursday that the suspect, a 35-year-old army captain, reversed himself Thursday and admitted killing a 31-year-old Filipino woman who went missing in Cyprus in December 2017.
Police previously said the suspect had admitted killing two other women whose bodies were found in an abandoned mine shaft six days apart.
Authorities have been searching for the 6-year-old daughter of the first victim, also from the Philippines. The police official says investigators now think based on the officer’s statements that the girl is one of his seven victims.
A second police official confirmed the suspect claimed responsibility for seven killings.
Investigators plan to keep interrogating him to determine if he told the truth.
Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss details of the case.
—By Menelaos Hadjiicostis
A Cyprus court has extended for another two days the detention of a man suspected in the killings of two women after police connected him to another woman who disappeared 16 months ago.
The state-run Cyprus News Agency said investigators on Thursday told the court that a witness testified the suspect had photographs of 31-year-old Maricar Valtez Arquiola’s temporary residence permit that were taken the day she disappeared in December 2017.
The suspect, a 35 year-old Cypriot military officer, admitted to investigators under questioning that he met Arquiola the day before she vanished.
Authorities on Thursday continued searching an abandoned, flooded mineshaft where the body of 38-year-old Marry Rose Tiburcio was discovered on April 14. The body of another unidentified Asian woman was found in the mineshaft six days later.
Tiburcio’s 6-year-old daughter remains missing.
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A six-year-old German boy led Spanish police Wednesday to a cave on the Canary island of Tenerife where they found the bodies of his mother and 10-year-old brother after apparently escaping his father and being found by hikers.
Authorities said the boy was spotted on Tuesday alone near the town of Adeje, covered in dirt and crying on the path. It is believed the boy had spent about 5 hours wandering alone before he was spotted, El Pais reported.
The hikers took the boy, who doesn’t speak Spanish and appeared to be in shock, to the Civil Guard station where a local resident helped translate.
The boy, which the Spanish newspaper identified as Jonas, told authorities through a translator that his father had led him and his family to a cave and attacked him. He said he was able to escape after seeing large quantities of blood.
Civil Guard arrested the 43-year-old father, who is also German and identified as Thomas Handrick by El Pais, in an apartment in downtown Adeje, a town of 43,000 residents in southwestern Tenerife.
He reportedly refused to say where the rest of his family was and became violent during the arrest. Handrick reportedly had scratch marks and injuries at the time of his arrest.
On Wednesday, a search party of more than 100 emergency workers and police, aided by helicopters, was sent out to find the boy’s missing son and mother.
The bodies of Shylvia, 39, and her 10-year-old son were located Wednesday afternoon in a cave between two ravines at the base of the Teide volcano, which towers over Tenerife Island.
The bodies had signs of violence, El Pais reported, citing anonymous investigation sources.
The mother and children had traveled from Germany to the Canary island on Monday to visit the father, who was living on there as a cook, according to the newspaper.
A local court that specializes in crimes against women has taken charge of the case and sealed the investigation, the Associated Press reported.
The volcanic Tenerife island in the Atlantic Ocean is a popular holiday destination. Adeje officials declared three days of mourning and maintained a minute of silence at noon on Thursday in tribute to the victims.
Violence against women is a persistent problem in Spain, where more than 990 women have died at the hands of their partners or former partners since 2003, when official Spanish records on such slayings began.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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BERLIN – The Latest on Europe’s response to mass migration (all times local):
The European Union’s statistics agency says more than 300,000 people were granted asylum within the bloc last year, a drop of almost 40 percent from 2017.
Eurostat said Thursday that around 333,400 people were deemed eligible for international protection, most of them Syrians, Afghans or Iraqis fleeing conflict or persecution.
The agency says 67,000 of the total 96,100 Syrians determined to be bona fide refugees across the 28-nation EU in 2018 were granted asylum in Germany.
Germany, Italy and France were the EU countries that recognized the most refugees.
Well over 1 million migrants entered the EU in 2015, a relatively small number compared to arrivals in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. However, the influx caused a political crisis and immigration became a hot-button topic. .
EU countries remain deeply divided over the best approach despite the sharp drop in new arrivals.
A survey has found that Germans are increasingly hostile toward asylum-seekers, whereas prejudices toward homeless or gay people have declined.
The Friedrich Ebert Foundation, which commissioned the survey, said Thursday that 54.1% of respondents expressed negative opinions about asylum-seekers, up from 49.5% in 2016 and 44% in 2014.
Germany saw a significant increase in migrant arrivals in 2016, with almost 746,000 people seeking asylum that year. Numbers have since declined again, with about 186,000 asylum requests last year.
The representative telephone survey, which is conducted every two years, involved 1,890 respondents and took place between September and February.
The study also examined for the first time how receptive Germans are to conspiracy theories. It found that about 46% of respondents believed secret organizations influence political decision-making.
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Slovakia’s first female president-elect is an unapologetic liberal who will soon take power in a region increasingly consumed by right-wing populism and anti-European Union sentiment.
Last month, Zuzana Caputova, an accomplished lawyer with no previous political experience, secured 58 percent of the vote in a second round run-off against European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic. She will assume office on June 15, becoming the first woman to hold the presidency, as well as the youngest at 45. Although Slovakia’s president is mostly ceremonial and political power rests with the prime minister, they do have the power to appoint judges and act as commander-in-chief of the armed forces.
Prior to her electoral victory, Caputova was an activist and anti-corruption lawyer who was well known for fighting against a landfill site in her hometown of Pezinok for more than 10 years.
In a combative presidential election, Caputova campaigned on fighting corruption and restoring civility in Slovak politics, refusing to engage her opponents in political smears, preferring to stay above the fray and focused on the issues she believed most affected voters.
One of the biggest issues facing Slovaks is deeply entrenched public corruption, especially in light of the February 2018 assassination of Jan Kuciak, a journalist who was reporting on graft and links to organized crime at the highest levels of power. The murder prompted mass protests against the government and led to the resignation of Prime Minister Robert Fico.
The Kuciak murder inspired Caputova to run on a platform of transparency and tackling powerful corrupt elites.
Also top of her agenda is promoting progressive values, which are currently under assault from conservative nationalists in Eastern Europe.
Caputova defends LGBTQ rights, abortion rights, women’s equality, and supports same-sex unions in a country where same-sex marriage is still illegal.
She has positioned herself as a positive voice while also capitalizing on the anti-establishment mood that is prevalent across the democratic world.
“Caputova’s election happened at a time when voters across Europe are protesting their traditional leaders and supporting political newcomers. Some of them are right-wing and nationalist, which makes them ideologically different from Caputova, but Caputova shares with them the anti-establishment element,” Adriano Bosoni, Senior Europe Analyst at Stratfor, told Fox News.
Even the ruling center-left Smer party has drifted rightward in recent years and has tried to increase its electoral base by appealing to Christian voters.
Caputova’s win is even more shocking given the strong tide of right-wing populism and nationalism that has dominated European politics over the last several years, particularly in Eastern Europe following the 2015-2016 refugee crisis.
The likes of Viktor Orban in Hungary and other leaders around Central Europe have exploited the migrant crisis and stoked anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim sentiment to stir up their base of support. Caputova, meanwhile, is unafraid of defending her liberal views and represented a sober and rationally based perspective on public policy matters.
Populists championing conservative values such as Orban’s Fidesz Party and Poland under the Law and Justice Party have experienced significant democratic backsliding, with nationalist leaders undermining the rule of law, independent media and civil society organizations, and assaulting the judiciary, while railing against Brussels and E.U. institutions.
Attacks against the E.U. and west have become commonplace for extremist forces that have risen in Eastern Europe. Caputova, on the other hand, has made it clear she supports the E.U., NATO, and western values and considers Slovakia an integral component of the rules-based international order.
Although anti-E.U. parties espousing similar xenophobic and anti-institutionalist rhetoric are expected to win in the upcoming E.U. elections in May, Caputova’s surprise victory is proof that far-right populism based on fear and hate does not have to be the paradigm in Eastern Europe.
“The notable thing about Caputova’s victory is that it shows that moderate candidates can win an election, and that voters will not always turn to far-right or anti-immigration candidates to show their dissatisfaction with the mainstream political parties,” Bosoni said.
Source: Fox News World
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina – Thousands of people in Bosnia have attended the funeral of a prominent businessman and government critic who was gunned down this week in a mafia-style ambush.
Slavisa Krunic, who owned several businesses including a private security firm, Sector Security, was buried Thursday in his home village outside the northern Bosnian city of Banja Luka. Krunic was slain Monday in a late-night ambush outside his family home by men believed to have been hired assassins.
Krunic’s bodyguard and one of the attackers were also killed in the execution, which sparked a shootout. After the attack, critics of the ruling Bosnian Serb nationalist party and its hard-line leader, Milorad Dodik, have voiced fears that they too might be targeted.
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The climate change activists who have disrupted transportation around London in recent weeks continued to their outlandish demonstrations by gluing themselves to the London Stock Exchange building on what is supposedly their “last day” of protests.
The group – who call themselves Extinction Rebellion – also climbed onto the roof of a train in Canary Wharf as part of the latest wave of protests on Thursday. They said the demonstrations targeted the financial section “to demand they tell the truth about the devastating impact the industry has on our planet.”
“The global financial industry is currently enabling climate and ecological destruction on an almost unimaginable level, and a considerable proportion of this money flows through London. ‘Business as usual,’ especially through the toxic finance system, will kill all life on this planet,” the group said in a statement.
The self-described “rebels” made headlines in recent weeks by snarling traffic and public transit in the British capital through a series of blockades. Members also stripped down to their underwear in the public gallery at the House of Commons earlier this month.
The demonstrations on Thursday – which began when two men and five women glued themselves to a wall and to each other at the London Stock Exchange at around 6:45 a.m. – come a day after the group said they were packing up and heading home.
“We will leave the physical locations and but a space for truth-telling has been opened up in the world,” Extinction Rebellion said in a statement. “We know we have disrupted your lives. We do not do this lightly. We only do this because this is an emergency.”
The group threatened more small “actions” across the financial district on Thursday including demonstrations outside banks like Goldman Sachs, the Bank of England and Deutsche Bank.
On Thursday, five other members climbed aboard a Docklands Light Railway (DLR) train in Canary Wharf in London, holding signs saying “business as usual = death” and “don’t jail the canaries.”
British Transport Police officers used ropes, harnesses, and ladders to remove the demonstrators, which included an 83-year-old, Sky News reported. All five were arrested on suspicion of obstructing the railway.
One woman glued herself to the train.
“It’s bizarre we have to do this in order for governments to listen to scientists,” Diana Warner, 60, told Sky News.
More than 1,000 protesters have been arrested since the disruptive demonstrations began more than a week ago. Only about 70 are currently facing charges, the Associated Press reported.
At the height of the protests, London’s busy Waterloo Bridge was closed for days and rail travel was temporarily delayed after demonstrators glued themselves to the sides of train cars.
Among those supporting the protesters was Oscar-winning actress Emma Thompson, who flew from Los Angeles to London to join in on the demonstrations last week.
Speaking to a crowd in Oxford Circus, Thompson, according to the Associated Press, remarked that “it makes me so happy to be able to join you all and to add my voice to the young people here who have inspired a whole new movement.”
Then, while in conversation with reporters, she admitted that “unfortunately sometimes I have to fly but I don’t fly nearly as much as I did, because of my carbon footprint and I plant a lot of trees.”
Fox News’ Greg Norman contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News World