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Austria closes seven mosques, expels 40 imams

The Austrian government is closing down seven mosques because they allegedly “lack a positive mindset” towards Austria. Citing a 2015 law that prevents religious communities from receiving funding from abroad, the government also plans to expel 40 imams employed by ATIB, a group that oversees Turkish mosques in Austria. “Even if there were mistakes, even if these mosque communities have …

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Euro area unemployment rate lowest since 2008

Unemployment in the Euro area is at its lowest level since 2008 according to Eurostat. The rate fell to 8.5% in April from an upwardly revised 8.6% in March. Greece, Spain and Italy recorded the highest rates of unemployment while the Czech Republic, Malta and Germany recorded the lowest. The eurozone consists of 19 members who are EU members and use the euro. …

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Denmark bans full-face veils in public

Denmark has joined several other European countries in banning the full-face veil worn by some Muslim women in public spaces. In a 75 to 30 vote on Thursday, Danish legislators passed the law presented by Denmark’s centre-right governing coalition. The law was also backed by the Social Democrats and the far-right Danish People’s Party.  “Anyone who wears a garment that …

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Angela Merkel leads memorial of Solingen racist attack victims

German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with political leaders, including Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, on the 25th anniversary of a neo-Nazi arson attack that killed five members of a Turkish-German family. German leaders gathered in Düsseldorf on Tuesday to honour the victims of the arson attack in the nearby community of Solingen on May 29, 1993, when right-wing extremists set …

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Malian child rescuer joins Paris fire brigade as he awaits French citizenship 

Mamoudou Gassama, the 22-year-old Malian “Spiderman” celebrated for saving a child hanging from a balcony, took his first step towards French citizenship Tuesday and joined the fire brigade as accolades continued to pour in over his daring rescue. Video footage of Gassama scaling four storeys of the building with his bare hands has catapulted the young man to global fame, …

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Far-right AfD protesters massively outnumbered in Berlin

An estimated 5,000 supporters of Germany’s far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party demonstrated in Berlin on Sunday “for the future of Germany” in the party’s largest gathering since it became Germany’s top opposition party. AfD supporters shouting “Merkel must go” were largely outnumbered by rival demonstrations, gathering about 20,000 people, according to police estimates, however. Excerpts of  Jefferson Chase’s report …

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Macron rewards undocumented Malian who rescued child from Paris balcony

French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday hailed the young Malian migrant who saved a 4-year-old child hanging from a fourth-floor Paris balcony, saying his act of bravery opened the door to French citizenship. At a meeting in the Elysée presidential palace Monday, Macron praised Mamoudou Gassama, an undocumented migrant from Mali, for his “exceptional act” and added: “We’re going to …

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Ireland overturns abortion ban in historic vote

Ireland has voted overwhelmingly to repeal its ban on abortion in a referendum the Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar described as a “quiet revolution.” The result was a landslide 66.4% ‘yes’ vote against 33.6% who voted ‘no’. Voters were asked if they wished to scrap the eighth amendment, which gives an unborn child equal rights to life as a pregnant …

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Record number of Britons granted German citizenship

Britons are rushing to become German citizens before their country leaves the European Union. More than 10 times as many Britons became German citizens in 2017 than in 2015. For the second year running, a record number of Britons became German citizens, the German Federal Statistical Office reported on Wednesday. The consecutive records have been linked to Britain’s upcoming departure from …

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The top 5 places to live in Germany

Public broadcaster ZDF has ranked every town in Germany based on three categories: work and living, free time and nature, health and security. Of the top five, three are in Bavaria, reports Elizabeth Schumacher. MUNICH The capital of Bavaria was chosen for its sprawling English Garden park, museums, cultural events like Oktoberfest, and proximity to the mountains. It ranked No. …

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Europe without borders: What you should know about Schengen

The Schengen area comprises of European countries that have abolished passport and all other types of border control at their mutual borders. The area mostly functions as a single jurisdiction for international travel purposes, with a common visa policy. The Schengen Agreement, which seeks to create a single European territory devoid of internal borders, was signed by five European Union …

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EU visa database reform targets undocumented migrants

The European Commission is proposing to upgrade the Visa Information System (VIS), the database containing information on persons applying for Schengen visas, in order to better respond to evolving security and migratory challenges. A proposal by the European Commission on Wednesday to upgrade the Visa Information System (VIS) aims to make it easier for police to identify people not permitted …

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What you should know about the EU Blue Card

The Blue Card, Europe’s answer to the US Green Card, is a work permit allowing high-skilled non-EU citizens to work and live in any country within the European Union, excluding Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom, which are not party to the scheme. Kai Dambach/InfoMigrants explains how it works. The EU Blue Card is a residence permit issued to highly …

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WhatsApp bans under-16 users in EU

Popular messaging service WhatsApp, owned by Facebook, has raised the minimum age of users in the European Union from 13 to 16. The move comes ahead of before the new EU-wide General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into effect on May 25. The new age limit only applies to those living in the EU. “We had to make a trade-off …

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German Social Democrats elect first female leader

There’s a first time for everything – even in a 155-year-old organization like Germany’s Social Democrats. They just voted in their first-ever female leader, Andrea Nahles. Germany’s centre-left Social Democrats on Sunday elected Andrea Nahles, a combative and outspoken former labour minister, as the first woman leader of the 155-year-old party. A decades-long SPD stalwart known for her lectern-thumping speeches, …

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Berlin streets to be renamed after African heroes

After more than ten years of agitations, new names for streets in Berlin’s African Quarter linked to the brutal German colonial past in Africa have been found. The representatives of the three major parties on the district council of Wedding (Greens, SPD and Left) have agreed to rename Petersallee, Lüderitzstraße and Nachtigalplatz in honour of African liberation fighters. Lüderitzstraße was …

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Thousands rally in Berlin over rising housing rents

Berliners are calling on the city government to address skyrocketing housing costs as lawmakers dispute recent reports that the German capital has had the biggest price hikes in the world. Elizabeth Schumacher reports. Thousands of people defied the rain in the German capital, Berlin, on Saturday to protest the rising cost of housing amid rampant gentrification. Berlin has the fastest-rising property …

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Germany: Residence permit of anti-Semitic migrants could be withdrawn, says Interior Ministry

Germany’s Interior Ministry supports the Central Council of Jews, whose chairman said those who disrespect German values should be stripped of their right of abode. It comes as Germany grapples with rising anti-Semitism. The chairman of Germany’s Central Council of Jews, Josef Schuster, told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper that fines and reprimands were not enough when tackling anti-Semitism and …

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