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Thu Oct 17, 2019, 10:07 PM

Five Stories from Europe You May Have Missed

(Sorry for not having posted in a while, Typhoon Hagibis kept us all pretty busy and didn't give me time to look for new stories)

1. First Flag: Kosovo's Would-Be PM Takes Serbian Heat For Favoring Albanian Banner

When Albin Kurti and his Self-Determination (Vetevendosje) party declared victory in Kosovo's snap elections earlier this month, it was unclear how the dramatic rise in Pristina of a 44-year-old Albanian nationalist might affect Kosovo's biggest international challenges.

Primary among them are stalled negotiations on normalizing relations with neighboring Serbia, whose resolution could boost Kosovo's decade-long pursuit of full recognition in the United Nations and eventual membership of major European institutions.


Then there was a reminder of Kurti's insistence on displaying Albanian national symbols and his repeated calls in the past for a referendum on Kosovo's unification with Albania.


2. Orban says would have to 'use force' if Turkey 'opens gates' to refugees

Hungary would "use force" at its southern border with Serbia to protect the European Union's frontier if Turkey follows through on its threat to open the gates to Europe to refugees, Hungary's Viktor Orban said.

The Hungarian prime minister put up a fence on the country's border with Serbia to block the Balkan route of migration, where hundreds of thousands of people marched through from the Middle East to western Europe at the peak of the crisis in 2015.


"If Turkey sets off further hundreds of thousands on top of this, then we will need to use force to protect the Hungarian border and the Serbian-Hungarian frontier and I do not wish for anyone that we should need to resort to that," he said.


(Sounds like he's planning on using force against refugees, not Turkey)

3. Dutch police arrest father of family held in farm basement

Dutch police have arrested the father of a family kept for nearly a decade in a farmhouse, saying they were investigating whether a “certain belief in faith” was behind the case.

The 67-year-old was suspected of depriving people of their liberty, harming the health of others and money laundering following the discovery of the family in the northern village of Ruinerwold, police said.

He is the second person to be arrested. The 58-year-old tenant of the farmhouse, an Austrian man, appeared before an examining judge on Thursday on similar charges and was ordered to be detained for two weeks.


4. Bulgarian National Radio Chief Sacked In Free Speech Row

Bulgaria's broadcast regulator has sacked the chief of Bulgarian National Radio (BNR) for taking the channel off the air for several hours last month in a row with a presenter known for covering the country’s corruption-prone judicial system.

The five members of the Council for Electronic Media on October 17 voted to oust Svetoslav Kostov as BNR general director, saying that briefly suspending a live talk show for five hours represented a “grave violation” of Bulgarians' right to information.


The September 13 shutdown occurred after BNR the previous day decided to suspend journalist Silvia Velikova from her job, claiming she had violated her contract by urging listeners while on air to join a protest over the appointment of Bulgaria's next chief prosecutor.


5. Eurostar enjoys busiest August as passengers seek alternative to flying

Eurostar has reported its busiest August ever, with more than a million passengers travelling on the cross-Channel train service in that month.

The service appears to have benefited from increasing demand for an alternative to flying - a trend highlighted in Eurostar’s advertising campaign.


“We have seen positive momentum over the summer, with strong growth in the number of North American passengers choosing to travel by high-speed rail,” he said.


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