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What Albania has in common with Thailand

TIRANA, Albania — Earlier this month, European Union Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele canceled a trip to Algeria to dine with Albania’s Prime Minister Sali Berisha and Socialist Party leader Edi Rama at the posh Crocodile restaurant in Strasbourg. But this was no social repast. Fuele hoped to talk down the two Albanian leaders from the war of words that has gridlocked the country since Berisha’s Democratic Party narrowly won parliamentary elections held on June 28, 2009.

Car bomb kills 6, injures 40 near volatile Russian region

A car exploded in the center of Stravropol, a southern Russian city neighboring the volatile North Caucasus, killing six people and injuring around 40. The car was parked outside a cafe near the city's cultural center, and exploded at 6:45 Wednesday — 15 minutes before the night's peformance by a Chechen dance troupe was set to begin. Most of the injured have suffered shrapnel wounds.

My father, my lover: Priests struggle with celibacy

ROME, Italy — They are used to secrecy, to hiding their feelings, to waiting in the shadows for their men. But now a group of women who have had intimate relationships with Catholic priests has decided to speak up against celibacy.

Dutch put Somali pirate suspects on trial

The international naval operation off the east African coast seems to have little trouble capturing suspected pirates. European Union forces rounded up 275 of them in March and April alone. Putting them on trial is more of a problem. Of the 275 people picked up by EU warships, 235 were sent home after their weapons were destroyed.

Opinion: Conservatives eye Big Brother

BOSTON — This is not going to be your grandfather’s Conservative Party in Britain anymore.

In Poland, floods threaten political consequences

WARSAW, Poland — Bridges across the Vistula River, which runs through the heart of Warsaw, were packed Saturday with sightseers coming to get a look at the most serious flood in more than a century, part of a widespread natural disaster that has inundated parts of the south of Poland and is now moving north. “I feel safe up here watching the river, but it does make me worried for the city,” said one student who had bicycled to Warsaw’s Siekierkowski suspension bridge to watch the roiling waters.

Police block Facebook fans

French police block Facebook party

PARIS, France — It was the giant cocktail party that wasn’t. Police barricades and bag checks greeted revelers arriving at what was supposed to be France's largest boozy Facebook gathering to date. 

Latest threat to Russia: J-Lo

I promise not to turn this into a Hollywood gossip blog, but I can't let this one slide.

Supersize me: cigarette round

PARIS, France — It only takes a short walk in the narrow streets of Paris to understand that smoking is an essential part of French culture, where it is tradition to light up while sitting outside a cafe. The word "cigarette" is even French in origin.
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