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SPOTLIGHT: EUROPE'S FATE, FROM ROME TO LONDON

Italy's 5-Star Movement won the mayoral races in Rome and Turin, where Virginia Raggi and Chiara Appendino will become the two major cities' first female mayors. For Italian pundits, their victories, particularly Raggi's landslide triumph in the Eternal City, is a major blow to center-left Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. But the reverberations may be felt well beyond Italy's borders.


The electoral success of yet another anti-establishment Eurosceptic party comes just four days ahead of what may be the EU's biggest test in memory. The British will vote Thursday in a referendum on whether to remain in the European Union. And with three days to go, both sides are still neck-and-neck. The brutal murder of pro-EU member of Parliament Jo Cox last week seems to have shifted the momentum in Remain's favor, though all polls show that the number of undecided voters is still high enough to sway the vote in either direction.


But there is a third option, hypothesized by Financial Times reporter David Allen Green, namely that the British government could simply ignore a Brexit victory. But the consequences of such a move would only give more grist to the mills of anti-EU parties, and even xenophobic populists, who already point out that Brussels is too far removed from the people who pay its bills. There is a lesson that goes back a decade to referendums on the European Constitution in the Netherlands and France: in a democracy, the voters don't ever go away.



WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY



VERBATIM

"I don't think Britain at the end is a quitter, I think we stay and we fight," David Cameron told a BBC audience yesterday evening, as he was grilled by voters ahead of the referendum on EU membership on Thursday. The PM drew comparisons between his fight to keep Britain in the EU and Winston Churchill's fight against Hitler. "He didn't quit on democracy, he didn't quit on freedom," Cameron said. Writing in The Daily Telegraph, Cameron's rival Boris Johnson urges Brits to "Please vote Leave on Thursday, because we'll never get this chance again."


— ON THIS DAY

Jaws meet the Beach Boys — only on your 57-second shot of History!


65.3 MILLION

The number of people displaced reached an all-time high in 2015 with 65.3 million compared to 60 million the previous year, according to the UN refugee agency's latest report. More than half of all refugees came from three countries: Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia.


MEXICO TEACHERS PROTESTS TURN DEADLY

Violent clashes erupted in several cities of the Mexican state of Oaxaca between police and radical teacher union groups, during protests against education reforms, El Universal reports. The violence was particularly high in Nochixtlan, where six people died and more than 100 were injured. More in English from AP.


— WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

Neymar, Roger Federer, Cristiano Ronaldo … All geniuses?

For Brazilian daily Folha de S. Paulo, Carolina Muniz and Philippe Watanabe marvel at top athletes' brains — data banks where all the moves they've learned during their careers are stored: "Try to picture the brain as a supermarket. An elite athlete knows the exact location of the items he wants to buy. He can go to the right aisle and the right shelf directly, without looking around. An amateur might know in which aisle to look, but it's going to take him some time until he finds the exact spot. And he'll waste more energy."

Read the full article, The Greatest Athletes' Secret Weapon? Their Brains.


RUSSIA BOAT TRAGEDY

Fourteen children died in a storm on a lake in northwestern Russia after their boat capsized Saturday. Four people in charge of the organization of the boating trip were detained yesterday for ignoring weather warnings, AP reports.


KABUL ATTACK

At least 14 foreign security guards have been killed early this morning in the Afghan capital of Kabul after a suicide bomber hit a minibus. Al Jazeera reports that the Taliban have claimed responsibility for the attack.


CLASHES AFTER TURKEY LGBT MARCH BANNED

The Turkish police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at a group of about 150 LGBT demonstrators who defied a ban to march in Istanbul, Reuters reports.


MY GRAND-PERE'S WORLD

Herculean Skewer — Mykenes, 1981


CLEVELAND WINS NBA CHAMPIONSHIP

The Cleveland Cavaliers have made history by overturning a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Golden State Warriors in Game 7 of the NBA finals. Led by MVP LeBron James, the Cavaliers have earned Cleveland's first major sports championship since 1964.


RIO DECLARES "STATE OF CALAMITY" AHEAD OF OLYMPICS

With less than 50 days to go before the start of the Rio Olympics, the local government has declared a state of public calamity, with the city badly hit by the economic crisis plaguing Brazil, Folha de S. Pauloreports.


RUSSIA'S OWN RIO DISASTER

Meanwhile, Russia is still reeling over last week's confirmation that its track and field team has been banned from the Olympics over alleged systematic state-sponsored doping. For Russian-daily Kommersant, the decision could have "catastrophic consequences for the entire Russian sports." Olympic officials are still deciding if other Russian teams should be banned from the Games.


— MORE STORIES, EXCLUSIVELY IN ENGLISH BY WORLDCRUNCH

RACCOON TEAMWORK

On a lighter note, this video of raccoons teaming expand=1] up to save the family's li'll one is everything.

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War In Ukraine, Day 279: New Kherson Horrors More Than Two Weeks After Russian Withdrawal

Shelling in Kherson

Anna Akage, Bertrand Hauger and Emma Albright

While retreating from Kherson, Russian troops forcibly removed more than 2,500 Ukrainians from prison colonies and pre-trial detention centers in the southern region. Those removed included prisoners as well as a large number of civilians who had been held in prisons during the occupation, according to the Ukrainian human rights organization Alliance of Ukrainian Unity.

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The NGO said it has evidence that these Ukrainians were first transferred to Crimea and then distributed to different prisons in Russia. During the transfer of the prisoners, Russian soldiers also reportedly stole valuables and food and mined the building of colony #61.

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