SPOTLIGHT: FRENCH CONSOLATION
France needed this win badly. It has been a grim 18 months, with major terrorist attacks, a crippled economy and record floods, and the country yearned for the kind of unifying victory that sports can provide. And so an edgy kind of optimism reigned ahead of kickoff at the European Soccer Championship final â€" at the same Stade de France venue that was among the ISIS targets last Nov. 13 when three terrorists triggered suicide vests during a friendly game against Germany.
But victory on the pitch was not to be last night. Portugal beat host country France 1-0, claiming its first ever European soccer title with an overtime goal, even after star Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo was forced out early with an injury.
Still, there is consolation and counsel in defeat. Although clashes outside the stadium and near the Eiffel Tower marred the victory for the large community of French citizens of Portuguese descent, the championship as a whole was not marked by death, rampant violence or terror attacks. Indeed, sporting competition has long been a way for neighboring families, towns and nations to openly express pride and identity that is hard-fought but not life-or-death. For a taste of true fraternité, check out this heartwarming video of a tearful French supporter being consoled by a young Portuguese fan.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY
- Dallas administrative buildings reopen, while other parts still shut off as part of an active shooting scene.
- Naadam festival opens in Mongolia. The traditional games involve Mongolian wrestling, horse racing, and archery.
- The Republican Party Platform Committee's meetings kick off, ahead of upcoming convention in Cleveland.
N. KOREA THREATS OVER MISSILE SYSTEM
In a statement published today on Pyongyangâ€™s official news agency KCNA, North Korea has threatened to â€œtake a physical counter-actionâ€ after the U.S. and South Korea announced the deployment of their joint Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD), designed to keep Kim Jong-un in check.
AUSTRALIAâ€™S TURNBULL CLAIMS VICTORY
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull claimed victory of the countryâ€™s extremely tight federal election, whose final result comes out more than a week after voting took place, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.
â€" ON THIS DAY
From Bobby Fischer to Yul Brynner, hereâ€™s your 57-second shot of History!
UNCONTESTED THERESA MAY
Andrea Leadsom has pulled out of the Conservative party race, paving the way for Home Secretary Theresa May to replace David Cameron as British prime minister. According to The Guardianâ€™s live blog, the passing of the baton could happen by the end of the week â€" if not sooner.
CLASHES IN SOUTH SUDAN
Renewed clashes between soldiers loyal to South Sudanâ€™s President Salva Kiir and Vice-President Riek Machar erupted in Juba yesterday. According to the BBC, more than 200 people have died from gunfire and explosions in the area since Friday, when the violence began after Machar and Kiir met, rekindling fears of instability in the region in spite of a peace deal signed last year.
ABE TO FOCUS ON ECONOMY AFTER VICTORY
In Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abeâ€™s Liberal Democratic Party with its partner, the Komeito Party, has won 70 out of the 121 seats up for election in a 242-seat upper house. With a two-thirds majority now, Abe is expected to pass economic reform, including a stimulus package, and constitutional revisions, according to The Japan News. This was the first election since the lowering of the voting age from 20 to 18, allowing 2.4 million youths into the electorate.
The Swiss Amish in the United States are keeping alive a vocal art passed down from their ancestors in Switzerland and eastern France. Both a symbol of identity and entertainment, yodeling was also a source of inspiration for American country music. For Swiss daily Le Temps (Switzerland being itself quite familiar with yodeling), Xavier Filliez went to Indiana to meet some of them: â€œHilty learned how to yodel when he was little, alongside his brothers and sisters, by listening to their older siblings. The Amish usually yodel amongst themselves, away from the curious glances of foreigners. â€˜You canâ€™t really learn how to yodel,â€™ he explains. â€˜You listen and try to reproduce what you've heard.â€™ ... â€˜You know, I'm 69,â€™ he says. â€˜Iâ€™ve survived one heart attack. I don't practice yodeling very often now, though I try to teach it to my two grandchildren.â€™â€
Read the full article, In American Heartland, Swiss Amish Carry On Yodeling Tradition.
VENEZUELANS CROSS INTO COLOMBIA FOR SUPPLIES
The economic and food crisis in Venezuela prompted some 500 Venezuelan women to break through border controls into Colombia over the past week. In response, Venezuela opened their common border for 12 hours on Sunday. This allowed 35,000 people access to food and medicine in Colombia, according to Colombian officials.
MY GRAND-PEREâ€™S WORLD
Waiting For The Rice To Dry â€" Bandung, 1991
A strict curfew was imposed today in the Indian region of Kashmir, after at least 17 people, including a police officer, were killed and hundreds injured in weekend clashes between protesters and Indian police, the Times of India reports.
SUPER TYPHOON STILL KILLS IN CHINA
Super typhoon Nepartak swept through southeastern China this weekend causing over 900 million yuan ($134.6 million) in damages. Nine people have been killed and 18 are still missing. According to Xinhua News, 3,600 homes were destroyed and 34,324 residents were evacuated. Another 1,000 people were trapped under the rubble. Rescue and relief efforts are still ongoing.
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- Algae, The Food That Could Save Humanity â€" Le Monde
- Military Ceremony â€" A Video Quote
- Is It Possible To Be Muslim and Democratic? â€" Cumhuriyet
RED HOT METALLICA
Rockers have had plenty of run-ins over the years at airport customs offices around the world. But when the Red Hot Chili Peppers were summoned by customs police in Belarus, it was just a friendly request for autographs. Just one problem, reports Chili Peppers bassist Flea: "They asked us to sign a bunch of Metallica cd's and photos," Flea wrote on Instagram next to a photo of him signing pictures of Metallica. Read more from Rolling Stone magazine.
With Halloween arriving, we have dug up the would-be ghosts of documented evil and bloodshed from the past.
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
The ruins of Shahr-e Gholghola, the City of Screams, in Afghanistan
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.
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
Old Belchite, Spain
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
Gur Emir (Tomb of Timur) in Samarkand, Uzbekistan
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
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
Port Arthur Prison Settlement, Tasmania, Australia
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
Poveglia Island, Italy
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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