Voice of America : Europe (74)

Austrian Election Results Offers Renewed Momentum To Europe’s Right Wing Populists

Europe looks set to have its youngest leader with Austria's 31-year-old Sebastian Kurz scoring a clear victory in Sunday's election. With most results in, the conservative foreign minister appears to have won over 31% of the vote – still well short of a majority, meaning complex coalition talks ...

Spain Jails 2 Top Catalonian Independence Leaders

Spain's high court ordered two top Catalan separatists jailed for alleged sedition while the question of the region's independence remains unclear. Prosecutors accuse Jordi Cuixart of the Omnium Cultural movement and Jordi Sanchez of the Catalan National Assembly of provoking violence against police ...

Three Dead as Tropical Storm Ophelia Batters Ireland

At least three people have been killed as Tropical Storm Ophelia battered Ireland on Monday. One of the most powerful storms ever recorded in the northeastern Atlantic hit every corner of Ireland with wind speeds of 190 kilometers per hour recorded at the southernmost tip of the country. Ophelia ...

EU Imposes New Sanctions on North Korea

The European Union has imposed new sanctions on North Korea aimed at punishing the country for its nuclear and ballistic weapons program. EU foreign ministers agreed Monday to a total ban on EU investment in the communist country, a measure that goes beyond the latest U.N. sanctions. They also ...

At Least 34 Killed in Wildfires Ravaging Portugal, Spain

At least 34 people have died after wildfires ravaged Portugal and Spain’s Galicia region, rescuers said on Monday. In Portugal, at least 31 people died in fires that blazed through forests in the northern and central parts of the country, causing residents to flee towns and villages, and ...

Hurricane Ophelia's Remnants Batter UK, Ireland; 1 killed

The remnants of Hurricane Ophelia battered Ireland on Monday, killing at least one person and causing widespread power outages as the storm headed for Britain.   The first known victim was a woman who was driving near the Irish village of Aglish when a tree fell on her car, authorities said.   ...

French Government Planning New Law Fighting Sexual Violence

The French government is unveiling a draft bill that focuses on sexual harassment on French streets and sexual violence against minors.   Speaking on French radio RTL on Monday, Gender Equality Minister Marlene Schiappa said she has been setting up workshops across France with the aim of eventually ...

Catalonia's President Response on Secession not Acceptable to Madrid

The president of Spain's region of Catalonia has responded to a Monday deadline, failing to clarify whether he will push ahead with efforts for the region to break away from Madrid and signaling that the secession crisis is far from over.   The Spanish government had given Catalonian leader Carles ...

Austria's Sebastian Kurz Tipped to Become World's Youngest Leader

Sebastian Kurz, leader of Austria's conservative People's Party , is set to become the world's youngest leader after declaring his party's victory in Sunday's general election. At 31, Kurz is believed to be younger than North Korea's Kim Jong Un and France's Emmanuel Macron who is approaching 40. ...

France to Strip Movie Mogul Weinstein of Legion of Honor

There is more trouble for disgraced U.S. movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. French President Emmanuel Macron said Sunday he has started the process to strip Weinstein of the Legion of Honor -- the highest honor in France and one of the world's most prestigious awards. France presented Weinstein the honor ...

Innsbruck Won't Bid For 2026 Winter Games After Referendum

Innsbruck no longer plans to bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics after its promise to organize low-cost and sustainable games failed to convince residents.   The province of Tyrol said Sunday it will drop plans to host the games after 53.35 percent of voters had rejected the idea in a referendum. In ...

Ophelia Threatens Ireland With Worst Storm in 50 Years

Ireland dispatched its armed forces to bolster flood defenses on Sunday and warned people against non-essential travel as the remnants of Hurricane Ophelia threatened the country with its worst storm in 50 years. Ophelia, the sixth major hurricane of the Atlantic season, is due to make landfall on ...

Rare North Atlantic Hurricane Threatens Azores, Ireland

Hurricane Ophelia, a rare storm for the North Atlantic, was expected to bring high winds and rough seas to five western counties of Ireland this weekend. Ophelia, strengthening offshore near the Azores Islands, was a   Category 3 storm, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. It had top ...

Vatican Trial Traces Money That Feathered Cardinal’s Retirement Nest

The Vatican trial over $500,000 in donations to the pope’s pediatric hospital that were diverted to renovate a cardinal’s penthouse is reaching its conclusion, with neither the cardinal who benefited nor the contractor who was apparently paid twice for the work facing trial.   ...

US Conspiracy Fears Grow in Turkey With Looming Court Case

The current diplomatic crisis between Turkey and the United States, sparked by the arrest of local U.S. employee Metin Topuz at a diplomatic mission, is underscored by growing fears in Ankara that Washington is conspiring against it. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in a speech Friday, warned ...

Amnesty Marks 100 Days of Detention for Turkey Staff, as Ankara's Rift With West Grows

Human rights group Amnesty International has held events to mark 100 days since several of its Turkish staff were detained in Istanbul. Prosecutors filed terror charges against the activists this week, the latest trials in a widespread crackdown that has soured relations between Ankara and its ...

Russia's Lavrov to US Tillerson: Moscow Readies Lawsuits Over Seized Property

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Thursday that Russia was preparing lawsuits to reclaim what Moscow says was illegally seized property in the United States, Russia's foreign ministry said. Lavrov, in a telephone conversation with Tillerson, also ...

Quick Facts about UNESCO

Full Name: The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Created: 1945. Mission: To build a culture of peace, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue through education, the sciences, culture, communication and information. How does it work? UNESCO's primary ...

Hungary, Ukraine Clash Over Kyiv's New Language Law

The foreign ministers of Hungary and Ukraine clashed on Thursday over Ukraine’s new law banning teaching in minority languages, with Budapest threatening to retaliate by blocking Ukraine’s aspirations to integration in the European Union. Hungary said on Tuesday it would ask the EU to ...

US Calls for Evidence in Turkey's Detention of US Citizens, US-hired Staff

The United States is asking the Turkish government to present evidence to back up its accusations used to justify the detention of locally-employed U.S. consulate members and several American citizens, including jailed American pastor Andrew Brunson. "We would call upon the government of Turkey to ...

Czechs Pin Hopes on Billionaire Babis to Fix Their Country

The traffic jams and road construction that snarl the 200-kilometer main highway from Prague to the southeast are a symbol of how many Czechs feel their government is broken — and how they are looking for a new champion to fix it. A ring road around Prague is not close to completion after ...

Kosovo PM: Army Will be Created by Amending Constitution

Kosovo's prime minister has confirmed that the government will try to transform the nation's security forces into a regular army through constitutional changes to satisfy the country's international partners.   Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj said during a visit to Kosovo Security Force ...

World Cup Bribery Case Opened Against PSG President, Valcke

The Qatari president of one of Europe's most glamorous soccer clubs, Paris Saint-Germain, is under investigation by Swiss prosecutors for suspected bribery of a top FIFA executive to get World Cup broadcasting rights.   Criminal proceedings against Nasser Al-Khelaifi, PSG president and CEO of ...

Berlin Probe: Christmas Market Attacker Could Have Been Thwarted

The Tunisian man who carried out last year's deadly truck rampage at a Christmas market in Berlin could have been detained and possibly deported months before the attack, a special investigator said Thursday. Anis Amri, a failed asylum-seeker, killed 12 people when he hijacked a truck and drove it ...

Migrant Deaths in The Sahara Likely Twice Mediterranean Toll: UN

West African migrants trying to reach Europe are dying in far greater numbers in the Sahara than in the Mediterranean but efforts to dissuade them may cause new routes to open up, the United Nations migration agency said on Thursday. So far this year 2,569 migrant deaths have been recorded in the ...

Paris Hopes to Ban Gas-powered Cars in City by 2030

In the future, the noise of car engines revving around the streets of Paris might become just a memory.   In its latest initiative to reduce air pollution, Paris City Hall wants gasoline-powered cars off the roads by 2030. The controversial move announced Thursday follows Mayor Anne Hidalgo's plan ...

US Announces UNESCO Pullout Amid Palestinian Tensions

The United States says it is withdrawing from UNESCO, accusing the organization of "anti-Israel" bias. "This decision was not taken lightly, and reflects U.S. concerns with mounting arrears at UNESCO, the need for fundamental reform in the organization, and continuing anti-Israel bias at UNESCO," ...

Spain's Prime Minister Issues Warning, Ultimatum to Catalonia

Spain is holding its annual national day celebration Thursday under the cloud of the country's biggest political crisis since a failed coup four decades ago. Spaniards lined the streets of Madrid carrying national flags as unionists used the holiday military parade to show unity in the face of moves ...

Ankara Calls for Resolution to Turkey-US Tensions

Turkey is calling for a normalization of relations with the United States following rising diplomatic tensions between the NATO allies. “Our wish is that relations between the two allies get back to normal soon. We, as Turkey, will not give up on common sense at a time when regional and global ...

Russia's Security Agency Detains 6 Crimean Tatar Activists

Russia's domestic security agency said Wednesday it detained six people in Crimea accused of involvement in an extremist organization, a move described by one of the suspects' lawyer as part of Moscow's crackdown on the Crimean Tatars. Emil Kurbedinov, a lawyer for one of the six detainees, said ...

Four Outbreaks of Highly Pathogenic H5N8 Avian Flu Hit Italy This Month

There have been four outbreaks of highly pathogenic H5N8 avian flu in farms in central and northern Italy since the start of the month and about 865,000 chickens, ducks and turkeys will be culled, officials said on Wednesday. The biggest outbreak was at a large egg producing farm in the province of ...

Danish Government Proposes Defense Budget Hike to Deter Russia

The Danish government wants to increase its defense budget by 20 percent over the next five years in response to Russia stepping up military activity in eastern and northern Europe. Much of the West has been troubled by Russia's actions since its 2014 annexation of Ukraine's Black Sea peninsula ...

In Brexit Poker, Clock Narrows Transition Options

Nerves are fraying in the Brexit talks, negotiators are trying to work out if the other side is bluffing about walking away, and a ticking clock is fast narrowing British options come March 2019. Philip Hammond, Britain's finance minister, echoed recent EU assertions when he said that a transition ...

Europe Scrambles to Save Iran Nuclear Deal

European countries are scrambling to cobble together a package of measures they hope will keep the Iran nuclear deal on track if U.S. President Donald Trump ignores their pleas and decertifies the landmark 2015 agreement this week. The package would include a strong statement backing the deal by ...

Pooch-loving Putin Presented With Puppy

He may strike fear in the hearts of dissidents and foreign leaders, but Russian President Vladimir Putin lost his heart Wednesday to a fluffy white puppy with black and brown markings. Putin received a belated birthday gift from Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov — an  alabai, a ...

US Congressman Urges Closer Ties With Serbia

The U.S. needs to have a strong relationship with Serbia and must find ways to promote a partnership in order to help the stability of the broader Balkan region, U.S. Representative Ted Poe of Texas said while visiting Serbia earlier this week. Poe, co-chairman of the Serbian Caucus, recently signed ...

Italy's Government Wins Confidence Votes on Contested Electoral Law

The Italian government on Wednesday won two confidence votes on a fiercely contested electoral law that is likely to penalize the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement in next year's national election. The proposed voting system is backed by three of the country's four largest parties, with the ...

Turkish Court Remands German Journalist in Custody Over Terrorism Charges

A German journalist went on trial for terrorism charges in Turkey on Wednesday, saying she was innocent and demanding her immediate release, in a case that has damaged already sour relations with Berlin. Mesale Tolu was detained in April, accused of being a member of a terrorist organization and ...

Pope: Catholic Guide Needs Updating on Death Penalty Issue

Pope Francis marked the 25th anniversary of a landmark compilation of Catholic teaching by saying Wednesday it should be changed to address an issue close to his heart: the death penalty. During an anniversary ceremony at the Vatican, Francis repeated his insistence that capital punishment is ...

Council of Europe Presses Italy on Libyan Migrant Returns

The Council of Europe is asking Italy to explain what its naval ships are doing off Libya's coast amid concerns that Europe-bound migrants who are sent back to Libya face "a real risk" of torture or inhuman treatment. In a Sept. 28 letter published Wednesday, the council's human rights commissioner, ...

Turkish Leader Erdogan Visits Mostly Muslim Serbia Region

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan received a rousing welcome on Wednesday as he visited a predominantly Muslim region in southwestern Serbia. Thousands of people waving Turkish and Serbian flags lined the streets of Novi Pazar, in the Sandzak region, where Erdogan arrived with Serbian President ...

US/Turkey Visa Spat Deals Temporary Setback, Uncertainty to Turkish Economy

Financial markets in Istanbul were pummeled this week as the tit-for-tat visa spat between the Unites States and Turkey escalated. Turkish stocks and currency values fell on Monday before rebounding in Tuesday’s trading. The Oct. 8 decision by the United States to place the NATO ally on the ...

US Diplomatic Row with Turkey Deepens Over Detained Consulate Staffers

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan appears to be escalating a diplomatic clash with the United States, saying the U.S. should immediately withdraw its outgoing Ambassador John Bass if he failed to consult with his superiors over a decision to suspend visa services. The U.S. State Department is ...

Catalonia-Spain Crisis: What Happens Next?

The standoff between Spain and Catalonia entered a new phase on Tuesday as Catalonia's leader delayed by several weeks a formal declaration of independence from Spain. The current political crisis could now take several paths.    Government response Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has called an ...

US: Turkey's Arrest of US Consulate Staffers 'Deeply Disturbing'

The United States says it is "very disappointed" by the Turkish government's arrest of two local staffers of the American Consulate, as diplomatic tensions between the two countries ramp up following the bilateral suspension of all nonimmigrant visa services. Last week, for the second time this ...

EU Aims to Reopen Embassy in Libya

The European Union is seeking to reopen its embassy in Libya pending security conditions, officials said on Tuesday, offering further political support for the Tripoli government struggling to establish control. EU leaders will announce at their summit in Brussels on Oct. 19-20 that they "encourage ...

From Kitchen to Soccer Pitch, Catalonia Crisis Opens Old Spanish Wounds

Dinner at the Barcelona home of Catalonia-born Montserrat Armisen, an independence supporter, can be a tense affair. “He criticizes us and doesn't let us eat in peace,” said Armisen of her husband, Gustavo Gomez, a Colombian who favors keeping the Spanish state intact, and their children, ...

Russia Accuses US of Pretending to Fight Islamic State in Syria, Iraq

Russia accused the United States on Tuesday of pretending to fight Islamic State and of deliberately reducing its airstrikes in Iraq to allow the group's militants to stream into Syria to slow the Russian-backed advance of the Syrian army. The Pentagon strongly denied the accusations, saying that ...

Turkey's Erdogan Pledges Gas, Trade and Support for Serbia

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan pledged gas, investment and support for the Balkans on Tuesday, in an apparent bid to expand influence in a region frustrated by the slow pace of EU accession. His two-day trip to Serbia — a mainly Orthodox Christian country at fierce odds with Turkey during ...

EU's Tusk Sees Next Brexit Step in December, Not This Month

European Union Council President Donald Tusk said Tuesday that Brexit negotiations will not move to the next stage focused on trade relations before December at the earliest — not later this month, as Britain was hoping. Tusk bemoaned the slow pace of divorce negotiations with London and said ...