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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.

Anti-Islam movement reaches Poland

WARSAW, Poland — European anxiety over the presence of Muslims in traditionally Christian societies has arrived in Poland, where the capital has been blanketed in anti-Islamic posters and several hundred protesters recently showed up to denounce the construction of a mosque.

Taking control of Poland's airwaves

WARSAW, Poland — Ex-communists and commie-haters are normally enemies, but in Poland the two groups have formed a bizarre coalition that has taken control of the public media just as the country gears up for an early presidential election. The unusual bed-fellows are the Democratic Left Alliance, the heirs of the communists who ruled Poland for 45 years, and the right-wing opposition Law and Justice party.

NATO contemplates a broader mission

BRUSSELS, Belgium — Eleven years ago, few people other than south-Asia watchers had any idea what the Taliban was, much less could have imagined why more than 100,000 soldiers would be needed to fight it. At that time, the world’s premier military alliance, NATO, had never fought a ground war, operated outside of Europe, or invoked its Article 5 collective-defense clause.  But Sept. 11, 2001 changed everything for the alliance. Well, almost everything.

Macedonian Jews erect world-class Holocaust museum

SKOPJE, Macedonia — The construction cranes, heavy machinery and plumes of dust in Skopje’s city center herald the final chapter in one of the Balkans’ saddest tales. After years of delays, Macedonia’s Jews are building a world-class museum to remember their near-extinction in the Holocaust.

Lech Kaczynski's death boosts his brother's fortunes

WARSAW, Poland — Until recently Jaroslaw Kaczynski was one of the least liked and least trusted political figures in Poland. But following the tragic death of his twin brother, President Lech Kaczynski, and 95 others in a plane crash he has soared in the polls. That could be of enormous help as the former prime minister, 60, has become a candidate to replace his dead brother in snap presidential elections scheduled for June 20.

Students' holocaust tour collides with geological hazards and modern travel

The group of U.S. high school students I wrote about last week who are in Europe learning about the Holocaust had a ring-side seat to contemporary history this weekend.

Leaders miss funeral for Poland's first couple

KRAKOW, Poland — The state funeral for Poland’s President Lech Kaczynski and his wife, Maria, ended up being more of a domestic affair than planned as the plume of ash from Iceland's erupting volcano continue to play havoc with European air travel.

In Europe, forced to take the long way home

SOMEWHERE IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC — It’s 2:30 in the morning as I write these words, my Berlin-bound train rattling through the darkness of the southern reaches of the Czech Republic. I take it we’ve just crossed the Austrian-Czech border because a no-nonsense conductor in a red-trimmed blue uniform just yanked open the door of our compartment, flipped on a blinding overhead light and demanded our tickets in Slavic-accented German.

Warsaw: Mourning and protest

WARSAW, Poland — Poland’s capital has been turned into a funeral home in the week following the air crash in western Russia that killed the country’s president and many other prominent political and military figures. Tens of thousands of people have waited for as long as 12 hours to pay their respects to Lech Kaczynski, Poland’s president, and to his wife Maria, who are lying in state in the presidential palace.
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