WHILE YOU SLEPT

UK Votes To Leave EU, Cameron To Resign, FARC Peace

Cameron at 10 Downing Street Friday, announcing he would step down
Cameron at 10 Downing Street Friday, announcing he would step down

SPOTLIGHT: BREXIT WINS, CAMERON’S BAD BET

No one ever forced David Cameron to call the referendum to decide whether the UK should stay in the European Union or not. But the British Prime Minister’s calculation was clear: Popular sentiment against the EU (particularly among his fellow Conservative Party members) was strong enough to make a vote necessary to settle the question â€" but not strong enough to actually pull out of the bloc. Well, Mr. Cameron made the miscalculation of his political career. By early this morning, the result was in: The British voted 52% to 48% in favor of having the island nation split with its continental partners, a historic decision with powerful economic, political and cultural ramifications. Cameron, himself, quickly announced that he will resign. The rest of the fallout will come in the coming hours, weeks … and years.

  • CLEAR VICTORY, HUGE TURNOUT Voter turnout was remarkably strong. At nearly 72%, it was the highest in a referendum since 1991. The UK’s various parts were split by the vote, with 53.4% of voters in England and 52.5% in Wales backing Britain’s exit. But both Scotland and Northern Ireland were in favor of the UK remaining in the bloc, according to results published by the BBC.
  • CAMERON RESIGNS The Prime Minister, who has been in office since 2010, wasted little time in announcing his decision, saying he wasn’t the right person to lead the country as it separates from the EU. Showing poise and restraint as he spoke at Downing Street, Cameron reiterated that he believed Britain was better off as part of the EU, but respected the will of the British people. He said he will hold his post for three months to support the transition to a new leader, who will take over by the time of a Conservative party conference in October. Watch Cameron’s speech expand=1] here.
  • MARKETS BATTERED, POUND PLUNGES The British currency plunged to a 30-year low in early trading after the Brexit victory, with the euro sliding as well. Meanwhile stock prices have taken a huge hit in trading from Asia to Europe, with European bank shares leading the losses. Read more from Reuters.
  • DOMINO EFFECT? The rest of the world is wondering whether the UK vote is just the first step toward total disintegration of the EU. The leader of France’s far-right National Front party Marine Le Pen has already applauded Britain’s decision to leave, and called for a similar referendum to take place in France, Le Monde reports. “Frexit” anyone? Should Brexit really trigger a domino effect, Quartz has thankfully provided us with a list of possible names for all EU exits.
  • MESSY DIVORCE Uncertainty now reigns on the status of European residents in the UK and British citizens in the EU. Other questions include who will fill Cameron’s shoes, the impact of the vote on Britain’s borders and the direction of negotiations between the UK and its trade partners. Still, much of the change will not be immediate, with the parties having two years to negotiate the terms of the British departure from European institutions and agreements.


WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY (& WEEKEND)

  • Iceland presidential election on Saturday.
  • Panama Canal expansion opens Sunday.
  • The New York City Gay Pride Parade on Sunday.


FARC AGREEMENT

After more than 50 years of conflict that killed about 220,000 people and displaced millions, the FARC guerrilla group finally agreed to lay down their arms. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC commander Rodrigo "Timochenko" Londono signed an agreement in Cuba yesterday during a ceremony attended by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and other dignitaries. See how Colombian daily El Espectador featured the peace deal on its front page today.


â€" ON THIS DAY

From Australia to China to South Africa, here’s your 57-second shot of History!


GERMAN MOVIE THEATER ATTACK

The masked man who was shot dead by police after storming a movie theater in Viernheim near Frankfurt was carrying fake weapons, German prosecutors said this morning. According to German daily Die Welt, no movie-goers were hurt by the man, who was identified as a 19-year-old German national. His motives remain unclear.


STAIRWAY OUT OF PLAGIARISM

A California jury ruled in favor of Led Zeppelin in a long-running plagiarism case. The U.S. band Spirit had accused the group of generously borrowing from their 1968 song “Taurus” to create the rock anthem “Stairway To Heaven.” The case has been plaguing the band for years and rock lovers can finally rest in peace after the verdict.


â€" WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

Ever since the financial crisis, casinos have been losing money. To survive, Jürgen Schmieder writes for Die Welt, Las Vegas must lose its reputation as a place good only for gambling, boozing and prostitution: “Las Vegas has changed over the last 50 years. It has even changed over the last 10 years. This incomprehensible entity in the middle of the desert in Nevada, this American dream of spectacular decadence, this place for magicians, musicians and showgirls, has become an economic nightmare. If you want to know how the U.S. is doing, take a look at Las Vegas.

2007 was the last year when casinos on the strip generated a profit ($709.4 million in total.) At the time, the rules were easy to understand: The house always wins. What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas â€" and since everything that happens there has something to do with money, the money stays in Vegas, too.”

Read the full article, Las Vegas, How Global Finances Are Burning Sin City.


MY GRAND-PERE’S WORLD

Former Member â€" Edinburgh, 1978


CHINA WEATHER KILLS SCORES

A tornado and hailstorm killed at least 98 people and injured 800 others in the east Chinese province of Jiangsu yesterday, the South China Morning Post reports.


â€" MORE STORIES, EXCLUSIVELY IN ENGLISH BY WORLDCRUNCH

HOW PECULIAR

Another unforeseen consequence of Brexit? Houston-based KHOU 11 News reports on the case of a woman from Texas who woke up from surgery with a British accent, in a rare occurrence of so-called Foreign Accent Syndrome.

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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

Unsplash/@nemo23


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

Unsplash/@hkblind


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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