Merkel’s Refugee U-Turn, Jerusalem Clashes, First F-Bomb

Merkel’s Refugee U-Turn, Jerusalem Clashes, First F-Bomb


In an unexpected reversal of Germany refugee policy, the country has introduced temporary controls on its border with Austria and halted all cross-border train traffic with its neighbor. The decision to temporarily exit the Schengen open-border system comes after German regions said they could no longer cope with a record influx that saw at least 63,000 migrants arriving in the southern city of Munich alone since the end of August, Süddeutsche Zeitung reports. And earlier predictions that Germany would welcome 800,000 migrants may be a gross underestimation, as Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said this morning that the figure could in fact reach one million.

  • In an interview with Germany’s state broadcaster ARD, Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière said the measure’s aim was “to limit the current inflows to Germany and to return to orderly procedures when people enter the country,” adding that it was “urgently necessary for security reasons.” He also insisted on the need to know who comes in the country, amid reports that fake Syrian passports are in wide circulation. Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann told reporters the border checks would probably last a few weeks and stressed that “many who are not real refugees are on their way.” An alleged ISIS terrorist from Morocco, posing as a Syrian refugee, was recently arrested in the city of Stuttgart. Read more about Germany’s policy reversal in our Extra! feature.
  • The Czech Republic also announced it would beef up security along the border with Austria, and Vienna said it would send the army to its border with Hungary to bolster checks.
  • EU interior ministers are meeting today in Brussels to discuss the refugee crisis. The Guardian says it could turn into “a bitter showdown” as eastern European countries refuse to accept compulsory quotas. According to AFP, the group decided to take action against boats used to smuggle people across the Mediterranean from Libya, including to destroy them.
  • This comes after another tragic accident in the Mediterranean Sunday, in which 34 people drowned, including four babies and 11 young children, as their boat capsized on the way to Greek islands.
  • France has suspended an honorary consul in the Turkish town of Bodrum, where thousands of people depart to reach Greek islands, after secret footage broadcast on France 2 revealed she was selling inflatable dinghies to migrants. She admitted this was fueling human trafficking but said that if she stopped selling them at her store, then somebody else would.
  • An Iranian woman who was traveling on the same boat as Aylan Kurdi, the 3-year-old Syrian boy whose dead body washed up on Bodrum’s beach almost two weeks ago, claimed on Australian television that the boy’s father was in fact a “people smuggler” and asked her to stay quiet about it. She also said he was responsible for the accident that killed his and her family, saying he had been driving the boat much too fast. The father denied the accusations. Read more from The Daily Telegraph.


Egypt’s security forces have killed 12 people, including Mexican tourists and their Egyptian guides, by mistake during an operation targeting terrorists, Mada Masr reports, citing Interior Ministry sources. The victims were traveling as part of a convoy in the Western Desert when they came under attack. Another 10 people were injured. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto demanded “a thorough investigation.”


Photo: Qin Lang/Xinhua/ZUMA

The world’s No. 1 tennis player Novak Djokovic won his second U.S. Open singles title Sunday â€" and a 10th Grand Slam singles title â€" by defeating Roger Federer 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 in New York.


“It doesn’t have to be unfair. Poverty isn’t inevitable. Things can, and they will, change,” Britain’s new Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn said in a victory speech that highlighted his strong anti-austerity stance. The 66-year-old, who was a 200-1 outsider when the leadership contest began three months ago, was elected with almost 60% of more than 400,000 votes cast by party members, a victory that dwarfs even that of Tony Blair in 1994. Corbyn said his party would re-nationalize railways and energy companies and scrap Britain’s nuclear weapons, prompting Prime Minister David Cameron to call Labour “a threat to our national security, our economic security and your family’s security.”


Hundreds of prisoners who were held in central Afghanistan’s city of Ghazni have escaped after the Taliban raided the facility, killing at least four police guards, Al Jazeera reports. According to the Interior Ministry, 355 of the prison's 436 inmates escaped. Most were charged with crimes against national security.


Grace Kelly, who became Princess Grace when she married Monaco’s Prince Rainier III, died on this day in 1982, after a stroke caused her to crash her car. That and more in today’s shot of history.


Israeli forces and Palestinians clashed for a second day this morning after police stormed Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam, allegedly to remove a group of young Palestinians who attacked security forces and barricaded themselves inside the compound, Haaretz reports. According to the Israeli police, Palestinians were planning to disrupt the commemorations of the Jewish New Year.

879 DAYS

At 57 years old, Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka has become the the world’s most experienced space flier after spending 879 days in orbit. Padalka was greeted by Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev after his descent capsule landed in Kazakhstan Saturday. “You've spent so much time in space, but you look great," the president told Padalka.


California Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency yesterday in Lake and Napa counties after two massive fires burned more than 115,000 acres in Northern California, The Los Angeles Times reports. According to experts, the fire in Lake County was one of the fastest-spreading in recent history, scorching 40,000 acres in fewer than 12 hours.


Some adults between 45 and 55 years old act more like they're 25 or 30. And at least one sociologist says they may be onto something, Marie-Pierre Genecand writes for Le Temps. “The so-called quincado is a ‘50-year-old teen.’ The French portmanteau designation appeared in 2013 to describe people of a certain age and socio cultural background living with, well, a particular zest,” the journalist writes. “Men have been having midlife crises forever, so this term mostly applies to women. The quincado is a baby boomer who grew up in the 1960s or 1970s and prefers freedom over authority, parties over chores, a chosen profession over suffered labor, improvised trips over organized holidays.”

Read the full article, In Praise Of The "50-Year-Old Teen."


Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras and his most serious opponent for Greece’s top job, New Democracy leader Evangelos Meimarakis, will face each other for a second and final televised debate ahead of next Sunday’s general election. The latest polls show the radical-left and center-right parties in a dead heat.



A British historian has found what he believes to be the earliest recorded use of the F-word in English â€" in court documents from Dec. 8, 1310, referring to a defendant nicknamed “Roger Fuckebythenavele.” “Either this refers to an inexperienced copulator, referring to someone trying to have sex with the navel, or it’s a rather extravagant explanation for a dimwit, someone so stupid they think this that is the way to have sex.” Paul Booth told Mail Online.

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food / travel

The True Horrors Behind 7 Haunted Locations Around The World

With Halloween arriving, we have dug up the would-be ghosts of documented evil and bloodshed from the past.

Inside Poveglia Island's abandoned asylum

Laure Gautherin and Carl-Johan Karlsson

When Hallows Eve was first introduced as a Celtic festival some 2,000 years ago, bonfires and costumes were seen as a legitimate way to ward off ghosts and evil spirits. Today of course, with science and logic being real ghostbusters, spine-chilling tales of haunted forests, abandoned asylums and deserted graveyards have rather become a way to add some mystery and suspense to our lives.

And yet there are still spooky places around the world that have something more than legend attached to them. From Spain to Uzbekistan and Australia, these locations prove that haunting lore is sometimes rooted in very real, and often terrible events.

Shahr-e Gholghola, City of Screams - Afghanistan

photo of  ruins of Shahr-e Gholghola,

The ruins of Shahr-e Gholghola, the City of Screams, in Afghanistan

Dai He/Xinhua via ZUMA Wire

According to locals, ghosts from this ancient royal citadel located in the Valley of Bamyan, 150 miles northwest of Kabul, have been screaming for 800 years. You can hear them from miles away, at twilight, when they relive their massacre.

In the spring 1221, the fortress built by Buddhist Ghorids in the 6th century became the theater of the final battle between Jalal ad-Din Mingburnu, last ruler of the Khwarezmian Empire, and the Mongol Horde led by Genghis Khan. It is said that Khan's beloved grandson, Mutakhan, had been killed on his mission to sack Bamyan. To avenge him, the Mongol leader went himself and ordered to kill every living creature in the city, children included.

The ruins today bear the name of Shahr-e Gholghola, meaning City of Screams or City of Sorrows. The archeological site, rich in Afghan history, is open to the public and though its remaining walls stay quiet during the day, locals say that the night brings the echoes of fear and agony. Others claim the place comes back to life eight centuries ago, and one can hear the bustle of the city and people calling each other.

Gettysburg, Civil War battlefield - U.S.

photo of rocks and trees in Gettysburg

View of the battlefields from Little Round Top, Gettysburg, PA, USA


Even ghosts non-believers agree there is something eerie about Gettysbury. The city in the state of Pennsylvania is now one of the most popular destinations in the U.S. for spirits and paranormal activities sight-seeing; and many visitors report they witness exactly what they came for: sounds of drums and gunshots, spooky encounters and camera malfunctions in one specific spot… just to name a few!

The Battle of Gettysburg, for which President Abraham Lincoln wrote his best known public address, is considered a turning point in the Civil War that led to the Union's victory. It lasted three days, from July 1st to July 3rd, 1863, but it accounts for the worst casualties of the entire conflict, with 23,000 on the Union side (3,100 men killed) and 28,000 for the Confederates (including 3,900 deaths). Thousands of soldiers were buried on the battlefield in mass graves - without proper rites, legend says - before being relocated to the National Military Park Cemetery for the Unionists.

Since then, legend has it, their restless souls wander, unaware the war has ended. You can find them everywhere, on the battlefield or in the town's preserved Inns and hotels turned into field hospitals back then.

Belchite, Civil War massacre - Spain

photo of sunset of old Belchite

Old Belchite, Spain

Belchite Town Council

Shy lost souls wandering and briefly appearing in front of visitors, unexplainable forces attracting some to specific places of the town, recorded noises of planes, gunshots and bombs, like forever echoes of a drama which left an open wound in Spanish history…

That wound, still unhealed, is the Spanish Civil War; and at its height in 1937, Belchite village, located in the Zaragoza Province in the northeast of Spain, represented a strategic objective of the Republican forces to take over the nearby capital city of Zaragoza.

Instead of being a simple step in their operation, it became the field of an intense battle opposing the loyalist army and that of General Francisco Franco's. Between August 24 and September 6, more than 5,000 people were killed, including half of Belchite's population. The town was left in rubble. As a way to illustrate the Republicans' violence, Franco decided to leave the old town in ruins and build a new Belchite nearby. All the survivors were relocated there, but they had to wait 15 years for it to be complete.

If nothing particular happens in new Belchite, home to around 1,500 residents, the remains of old Belchite offer their share of chilling ghost stories. Some visitors say they felt a presence, someone watching them, sudden change of temperatures and strange sounds. The ruins of the old village have been used as a film set for Terry Gilliam's The Adventures of Baron Munchausen - with the crew reporting the apparition of two women dressed in period costumes - and Guillermo del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth. And in October 1986, members of the television program "Cuarta Dimensión" (the 4th dimension) spent a night in Belchite and came back with some spooky recordings of war sounds.

Gur Emir, a conquerer’s mausoleum - Uzbekistan

photo of Gur Emir (Tomb of Timur) i

Gur Emir (Tomb of Timur) in Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Chris Bradley/Design Pics via ZUMA Wire

The news echoed through the streets and bazaars of Samarkand: "The Russian expedition will open the tomb of Tamerlane the Great. It will be our curse!" It was June 1941, and a small team of Soviet researchers began excavations in the Gur-Emir mausoleum in southeastern Uzbekistan.

The aim was to prove that the remains in the tomb did in fact belong to Tamerlane — the infamous 14th-century conqueror and first ruler of the Timurid dynasty who some historians say massacred 1% of the world's population in 1360.

Still, on June 20, despite protests from local residents and Muslim clergy, Tamerlame's tomb was cracked open — marked with the inscription: "When I Rise From the Dead, The World Shall Tremble."

Only two days later, Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union, with the people of Samarkand linking it to the disturbing of Tamerlane's peace. Amid local protests, the excavation was immediately wrapped up and the remains of the Turkish/Mongol conqueror were sent to Moscow. The turning point in the war came with the victory in the Battle of Stalingrad — only a month after a superstitious Stalin ordered the return of Tamerlane's remains to Samarkand where the former emperor was re-buried with full honors.

Gamla Stan, a royal massacre - Sweden

a photo of The red house of Gamla Stan, Stockholm, Sweden

The red house of Gamla Stan, Stockholm, Sweden


After Danish King Kristian II successfully invaded Sweden and was anointed King in November 1520, the new ruler called Swedish leaders to join for festivities at the royal palace in Stockholm. At dusk, after three days of wine, beer and spectacles, Danish soldiers carrying lanterns and torches entered the great hall and imprisoned the gathered nobles who were considered potential opponents of the Danish king. In the days that followed, 92 people were swiftly sentenced to death, and either hanged or beheaded on Stortorget, the main square in Gamla Stan (Old Town).

Until this day, the Stockholm Bloodbath is considered one of the most brutal events in Scandinavian history, and some people have reported visions of blood flowing across the cobblestoned square in early November. A little over a century later, a red house on the square was rebuilt as a monument for the executed — fitted with 92 white stones for each slain man. Legend has it that should one of the stones be removed, the ghost of the represented will rise from the dead and haunt the streets of Stockholm for all eternity.

Port Arthur, gruesome prison - Australia

a photo of ort Arthur Prison Settlement, Tasmania, Australia

Port Arthur Prison Settlement, Tasmania, Australia

Flickr/Eli Duke

During its 47-year history as a penal settlement, Port Arthur in southern Tasmania earned a reputation as one of the most notorious prisons in the British Empire. The institution — known for a brutal slavery system and punishment of the most hardened criminals sent from the motherland— claimed the lives of more than 1,000 inmates until its closure in 1877.

Since then, documented stories have spanned the paranormal gamut: poltergeist prisoners terrorizing visitors, weeping children roaming the port and tourists running into a weeping 'lady in blue' (apparently the spirit of a woman who died in childbirth). The museum even has an 'incidence form' ready for anyone wanting to report an otherworldly event.

Poveglia Island, plague victims - Italy

a photo of Poveglia Island, Italy

Poveglia Island, Italy

Mirco Toniolo/ROPI via ZUMA Press

Located off the coast of Venice and Lido, Poveglia sadly reunites all the classical elements of a horror movie: plagues, mass burial ground and mental institute (from the 1920's).

During the bubonic plague and other subsequent pandemics, the island served as a quarantine station for the sick and anyone showing any signs of what could be Black Death contamination. Some 160,000 victims are thought to have died there and the seven acres of land became a mass burial ground so full that it is said that human ash makes up more than 50% of Poveglia's soil.

In 1922 a retirement home for the elderly — used as a clandestine mental institution— opened on the island and with it a fair amount of rumors involving torture of patients. The hospital and consequently the whole island was closed in 1968, leaving all the dead trapped off-land.

Poveglia's terrifying past earned it the nickname of 'Island of Ghosts'. Despite being strictly off-limits to visitors, the site has been attracting paranormal activity hunters looking for the apparition of lost and angry souls. The island would be so evil that some locals say that when an evil person dies, he wakes up in Poveglia, another kind of hell.

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