Italy’s populist government set on collision course with EU

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Italy’s new anti-establishment government is another headache for fragile Europe. Image: Theophilos Papadopoulos

Article originally published by The Globe Post.

Earlier this year during an electoral campaign, Italy’s populist politicians promised to halt illegal immigration, end crippling austerity measures and railed against the country’s political establishment and Brussels. These leaders are now tasked with forming the government in Italy, smashing the party system and posing a threat to the European integrity.

The president gave the new coalition, consisting of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) and the far-right League, a mandate to form a government. Five days prior, the two populist parties published a coalition deal sending Brussels and the financial world into a panic.

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As memory of Holocaust fades, anti-Semitism is rising in Europe

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Attacks on synagogues or other types of manifestations of anti-Semitist attacks are on the rise in Europe. Whatever the driving force is, the longest persecuted nation in history still sits on the edge. Image: Fabrizio Sciami

Article originally published by The Globe Post.

Mireille Knoll was seven years old when Nazi Germany invaded her home country of France. At the age of nine, the Jewish girl narrowly escaped the notorious Vel’ d’Hiv roundup in Paris, where over 13,000 French Jews were arrested and deported. While Knoll could escape many decades ago, her life is still claimed by anti-Semitism – long after echoes of bombs of the World War II have faded. Six weeks ago, the 85-year-old was stabbed to death and then set on fire in her apartment in Paris. The brutal murder is officially described as an anti-Semitic hate crime by French authorities.

The suspects are Knoll’s 28-year-old neighbor and his 21-year-old friend. The latter told investigators that the older one yelled “Allahu Akbar!” when stabbing the senior citizen to death, but the 28-year-old swears the younger one was the instigator of the crime.

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Armenia’s youth say ‘enough’ as Sargsyan extends his rule

Opposition supporters have held rallies since last week to denounce Sargsyan’s efforts to remain in power as prime minister after a decade as president. Image: European People’s Party

Article originally published by The Globe Post.

“Armenia without Serzh! Armenia without Serzh!” The chant echoes among the tens of thousands of Armenians who have occupied the Republic Square in downtown Yerevan, the capital of the former Soviet republic. Yet, after five days of protests, the parliament voted on Tuesday for longtime former President Serzh Sargsyan to become the country’s prime minister.

In a 76 to 17 vote, the Armenian parliament put Sargsyan back in power just over a week after his decade-long presidency ended. Ever since the ruling Republic Party of Armenia nominated Sargsyan for the post, the country has been shaken by mass demonstrations. Opponents accuse Sargsyan of changing the country’s political system to guarantee his hold on power and say that the 63-year-old switched jobs just to retain rule over Armenia.

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2018 Hungary elections set to extend Viktor Orban’s grip on power

Image: European People's Party

Hungarians are set to extend Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s grip on power in elections on Sunday. No matter what the outcome is, Orban has significantly transformed the country and reshaped bureaucracy in his own mold. Image: European People’s Party

Article originally published by The Globe Post.

Last year, just under 4,000 asylum seekers arrived in Hungary. 85 percent of them were rejected, leaving 517 refugees to settle in the Central European country. This added just 0.005 percent to the Hungarian population of almost 10 million people.

This means that the bulk of the Hungarian population has never seen, met and spoken to these refugees. Yet, migration remains the key issue in the upcoming elections in the country.

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A Macedonian monastery is helping men find recovery from drug addiction

Article originally published by The Fix.

Hidden in the green nature of Macedonia in Eastern Europe, men recovering from addiction to heroin, methadone, and other hard drugs find safety and support behind the centuries-old walls of a monastery. By living as the monks do, over a hundred men a year get their lives back on track.

Sixteen years ago, a Macedonian Police Academy student begins selling illegal weapons. Crossing to the other side of the law is a fall from grace for 22-year-old orphan Milan Labus. It leads to his eventual imprisonment. At the time, Labus believes he has hit rock bottom.

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In Macedonia it takes tourism to raise a dying village

Article published by New Eastern Europe.

Many of the 1,733 villages of rural Macedonia face a grave fate. Over a quarter have fewer than 50 residents. More than 150 have been entirely depopulated, according to official data. As families and the youth move to cities, these areas are destined to become little more than a memory. However, for these dying villages, tourism could breathe new life into them.

The sun is high in the sky while the 74-year-old Petko Tošeski toils away. The thudding of his axe echoes throughout the red-roofed village, punctuated by the odd crack of success. Log after log splits, ready to eventually nestle in the stone hearth indoors. Tošeski is the only sign of life in a place that seems to have been petrified for decades. The village of Bonče in southern Macedonia appears on the verge of abandonment.

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Macedonia’s wage crisis: homework for adults

Article originally published by WSI Magazine.

Living in poverty or having less than eight hours a day to sleep, eat, travel, wash and socialise. This is the choice for many Macedonians, residents of a country that dangles at the bottom of European economic rankings. The Balkan state’s economic situation forces its inhabitants to work excruciating hours or take on a second job.

It is six in the morning when the shrill alarm on the phone of a 44-year-old wakes him from a few hours of sleep. The man, who requested anonymity for fear of political reprisals by criticizing the government, shuffles to the kitchen. He makes himself a cup of Turkish-style coffee, lights a cigarette and then settles in at the makeshift desk and logs into one of his two-hundred Facebook alter-egos. This begins the first hour of his day spamming Facebook pages for his Dutch employer – before his regular working day as a security guard begins.

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