Europe’s Fragile Center Takes New Blows

ROME—Europe’s months of electoral showdowns between mainstream and populist parties have ended with the establishment weakened in Germany and defeated in Italy—and trouble brewing for both countries.

A new bipartisan governing pact sealed Sunday in Germany could further fuel voter discontent with longtime incumbents in the European Union’s most important country, potentially sapping Chancellor Angela Merkel’s authority in what is expected to be her final term.

Germany’s center-left Social Democrats said rank-and-file members had approved joining a coalition led by Ms. Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats. The country is expected to have a new government by mid-March, ending an unprecedented political paralysis since September’s national elections, when a fragmented vote exposed a decline in support for traditional parties.

Meanwhile antiestablishment, EU-skeptic parties won about half the vote in Sunday’s parliamentary elections in Italy, leaving the shape of the next government murky. Backlashes against immigration, the euro’s fiscal constraints and politicians decried as corrupt boosted support for populists such as the antiestablishment 5 Star Movement and the right-wing Lega.

A populist-led government appeared possible, albeit politically challenging, given the 5 Star’s strong performance. Lengthy wrangling is expected.

The weekend’s events capped a year of elections in which the EU’s broadly centrist governing establishment faced its strongest-ever challenges from insurgent movements, ranging from far-right nationalists to far-left anticapitalists. The outcome: The center’s hold is slipping, and its enemies are here to stay.

At stake is the survival of Europe’s order since the end of the Cold War, based on steadily deeper economic and political integration among liberal democracies ruled by pragmatic, postideological elites. That model faces challenges from the U.K.’s decision to leave the EU, along with authoritarian tendencies in some of the EU’s eastern members such as Hungary and Poland. The assumption of power by nationalists and other populists in the EU’s founder countries in Western Europe would greatly increase those centrifugal pressures.

Whether Europe’s insurgents grow stronger in coming years, and how much pressure they put on the EU’s cohesion, depends in large part on whether mainstream politicians can win back ordinary Europeans’ trust. That would require tackling issues such as economic inequality and the stifled opportunities for young people, barely controlled immigration that is spreading fears about security and cultural identity, and a pervasive perception that technocratic elites are offering voters little choice, hollowing out democracy.

The battle also hinges on how well Europe heals from the economic and migration crises of recent years, which did much to inflame popular discontent. A belated but spreading economic recovery is one source of hope for the establishment. So, too, are stronger efforts to tighten immigration policies. Mainstream conservatives in countries such as Austria, the Netherlands and Germany have sought to stem the influx of people from Europe’s poor and war-ravaged neighboring continents that was proving politically destabilizing.


“The center is shifting right in response to non-European immigration. The nation-state will take back some of its powers from the EU, notably control over borders,” said Josef Joffe, a senior fellow at Stanford University and publisher of German weekly newspaper Die Zeit. “As Europe shifts rightward, populism will be absorbed and contained.”

Others aren’t so sure. “Our mainstream politicians aren’t learning,” said Cas Mudde, a specialist on populism at the University of Georgia. Some think economic growth alone will save them, while others are betting on copying populists’ messages, he said.

Italian populist parties won close to 50% of the vote in Sunday’s elections according to exit polls. In 2008 elections, antiestablishment parties won barely 15%. Italy’s adherence to unpopular EU rules, including its curbs on budget deficits and on government aid for small savers when banks fail, could come under increasing pressure.

Whether Italy benefits or suffers more from the euro has become contested in this once staunchly pro-EU country, even though populist parties have lately backed away from demanding a referendum on the euro.

Those populist parties might be able to form a governing majority in Italy’s new parliament, depending on the final seat count. In practice, though, it is unclear whether the 5 Star Movement would be sufficiently willing to share power to entice others to cooperate.

Italy shows how populists can drive the national debate even in opposition. “They don’t need to win to force the mainstream onto the back foot, making them reactive,” said Wolf Piccoli of political risk consultancy Teneo Intelligence in London.

Germany’s bipartisan coalition between Ms. Merkel’s conservatives and the Social Democrats, or SPD, will be the third such pactsince 2005. Back then, the two long-dominant parties had around 70% of voters’ support. Now it has declined to barely 50% in recent opinion polls. Many people in both parties have strong reservations about the new governing pact because they fear it will strengthen the far-right Alternative for Germany, or AfD, now Germany’s largest opposition party.

SPD members approved the coalition pact partly because they feared new elections would decimate the party, which is suffering a long-term decline along with many other moderate-left parties in Europe.

Many Christian Democrats aren’t happy either, blaming Ms. Merkel’s consensus-oriented, centrist style for alienating conservative voters. The discontent on the party’s right and September’s weak election result are likely to constrain Ms. Merkel’s authority in negotiating overhauls to the EU with France’s President Emmanuel Macron in coming months.

Mr. Macron is pushing for deeper integration and mutual economic support among eurozone countries. He swept France’s elections last year on a centrist, strongly pro-EU platform, defeating a nationalist, EU-skeptic opposition. EU elites greeted the French outcome with relief and enthusiasm.

France increasingly looks like Europe’s exception, however. The fragmented politics of Germany and Italy appear to be Europe’s new norm.

Write to Marcus Walker at

Appeared in the March 5, 2018, print edition as ‘Votes Further Fray Europe’s Center.’

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American in Custody After Severed Head Is Found in Japan

An American man is in custody in Japan after authorities found a severed head in a suitcase left in a lodging facility.

Japanese investigators said the 26-year-old American was seen on security footage with a 27-year-old woman who went missing, The Japan Times reported. Police were investigating the woman’s disappearance when they came upon what appears to be her missing head, still inside a suitcase in an Osaka lodging facility, they said.

Police believe the American man confined the missing woman in another Osaka location he was using as a location rental, the Times reported. Security footage captured the man and woman entering together, according to the report, but the woman was not seen leaving.

The woman was reported missing by her mother on Feb. 17, after she wrote on Instagram was going to “meet Jay,” which is believed to be a reference to the American man she was seen with, the Times reported.

The man was arrested in Nara Prefecture on Thursday, according to the report.

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Disney announces opening date for ‘Toy Story Land’ at Disney World

ORLANDO, Fla. — Woody, Buzz, Jessie and their friends will come to life at Walt Disney World in Florida this summer.

The upcoming Toy Story Land will officially open to guests on June 30, Disney confirmed on Friday.

The upcoming 11-acre land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios will include two new attractions and a new entrance to the existing Toy Story Mania attraction.

Guests will “shrink” to the size of toys while riding the new Slinky Dog Dash roller coaster and try to avoid “the claw” while riding the Alien Swirling Saucers attraction.

Toy Story Land is an important addition to Disney’s Hollywood Studios as they look to add guest capacity ahead of the much-anticipated Star Wars Land opening in 2019.

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Poland and EU officials see improvement in ties

WARSAW, Poland – Poland’s foreign minister and a top European Union official have praised their meeting as helpful in easing an unprecedented dispute over some of Poland’s domestic policies.

Minister Jacek Czaputowicz and EU Commissioner Frans Timmermans met Thursday in Brussels to discuss Poland’s shake-up of the judiciary that has led the EU to trigger, for the first time ever, a sanctioning procedure, Article 7. It could strip Warsaw of its EU voting rights, a move that both sides are trying to avoid.

Czaputowicz told Polish media the meeting showed a “lowering of the temperature of the dispute.” He did not exclude a possibility of “modifications” in the judiciary changes.

Timmermans also praised the meeting, adding he hopes a solution can be found soon.

Czaputowicz invited him to Warsaw for more talks.

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Professional soccer players spotted in San Antonio ahead of Mexico vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina match

Soccer players for the Mexico and Bosnia and Herzegovina teams have been practicing in San Antonio and visiting with locals ahead of their match at the Alamodome Wednesday.

The Mexican National Team has been spotted practicing at UTSA and dropping in at the Children’s Rehabilitation Institute of TeletonUSA. Their opponents have been seen around downtown San Antonio.

According to ESPN reporter Tom Marshall, attendance at the Alamodome is expected to reach 30,000 on Wednesday.

The 8 p.m. game is El Tri’s first of 2018 and the kick-off to their 16th annual U.S. Tour. It is part of the journey to the FIFA World Cup in Russia happening this summer, according to event details online.

See what they soccer stars have been up to while in San Antonio in the gallery above.

Madalyn Mendoza is a digital reporter for Read more of her stories here.| | Twitter: @MaddySkye

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Devils Center, Hingham Native Brian Boyle Making Special Return To Boston

Bruins Face Off Live: New Jersey Devils And Brian Boyle Back In Boston







Bruins Face-Off Live…

Bruins Face-Off Live Panel Breaks Down Devil\’s Lineup


Don Sweeney Addresse…\’s Michaela Vernava details the key points of Don Sweeney\’s press conference today following the NHL Trade Deadline. For More http//…


Tuukka Rask, Jaromir…

Tuukka Rask made 40 saves while Jaromir Jagr scored the lone goal in a 1-0 Bruins win.


Tuukka Rask, Jaromir…

Tuukka Rask made 40 saves, as Jaromir Jagr scored the lone goal in his debut in a 1-0 Bruins win.


Bruins Must Make Jar…

Don\’t let the Devils spoil the night.


\’Nate the Great\’ H…

Nathan Horton\’s late third period goal leads Bruins to another victory in the shootout.


Devils Making Themse…

The Devils were looking to invade the TD Garden on Tuesday, with their fans\’ help.


Bruins Facing Challe…

The Bruins take on New Jersey in their first back to back of the season.


David Krejci’s Hat T…

This feels like it could be a big deal.


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Bruins Face Off Live New Jersey Devils And Brian Boyle Back In Boston

The New Jersey Devils are at TD Garden to face off against the Boston Bruins on Tuesday, and the game means a little something extra for Devils fourth-line center Brian Boyle.

Boyle, who is from Hingham, Mass., is making his first trip back to Boston since he was diagnosed and treated for Leukemia.

For more on Boyle and Tuesday’s matchup, check out the “Bruins Face-Off Live” video above, presented by EchoStor Technologies.

Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images.

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Eight Tips To Consider While Searching For A San Antonio Rental

Locating apartments for rent can be a endeavor. There are numerous recommendations that produce the look for a location fun and also could relieve the annoyances.

Be Particular

Be certain you find out in which it is fine to compromise and which attributes are a necessity, when flat searching. It lacks the lawn, although when there’s a bedroom at a fantastic place, it can be time. Decide what’s necessary and adhere with it, but strive to stay realistic.

Find the Contained Utilities Out

If you are searching for a location this is another. Rentals incorporate several utilities, but there are hidden charges to keep an eye out for this as water or crap expenses. These costs can accumulate fast, if not contained. There might be additional fees for a safety system or parking.

Ask About

Requesting friends of their household for landlord referrals can be useful, although this might appear obvious. If anything, it is going to help weed from landlords and that the inattentive. Who knows, a friend may know.

Take Measurements

Based on what furniture one offers, this could be an significant part house searching. Having the ability to walk around seats in the living area or making certain the mattress matches in a bedroom that is smaller is imperative to a comfy atmosphere.

Avoid Scams

When it seems too good to be true, it likely is, although most of us know of classified websites which offer prices. Be certain that the list contains photographs and a telephone that is local. Be certain when the purchase price sounds like too great of a bargain to look at the rental costs in the region, it is. There may be a grab to like parking, a place or renovations that are poor.

Assess the Pet Policy

If a furry friend is vital, double check for prices like a deposit in the rental. There can be strain restrictions, amount, and weight. It is well worth asking, although some listings may not cite a coverage. Some landlords make it possible for pets onto a case-by-case foundation.

Bring a Buddy

Always have some tag together when looking to rent. It pays to have an view that is additional, and they could have the ability to point out. It is going to also be helpful to have one person ask questions while another takes dimensions and photographs.

Create a List

This might not be ordinary, however it is a fantastic idea. Getting caught up in the excitement of this hunt may make you forget about inquiring about matters like the average bill price or when the washer and dryer are all all included. In addition, it makes them look in charge of the new landlord, although possessing a list produces a individual ready.

Maintaining this advice an individual can make certain to discover a amazing location that is new to create a home.

Cheap Apartments That Are Worth Renting

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Renting an apartment that is cheap is obviously the desire of every tenant. Even better is an apartment that is both cheap and meets the right preferences of the tenant involved. But, the problem with some apartments San Antonio is that they may not be good enough, and they may not be located in areas that meet your personal preferences. This is the reason you should look out for cheap apartments that are worth renting. In general, the following attributes are supposed to be associated with the cheap apartments that are worth renting. Try by all means to look for the following general attributes to avoid renting an apartment that is cheap but does not meet your personal preferences.

A cheap apartment that is worth renting must be located in an area that is associated with a low cost of living. There are some people who do not realize this and end up into serious problems. When you rent a cheap apartment that is located in an area that is associated with a high cost of living, you will not be doing anything special. The funds that you will save from rentals will all be channeled to meeting your daily needs such as food and water. You may also spend more money on meeting other personal costs such as transport and electricity. If the area you are living in is associated with a high cost of living, you will actually be spending more money on meeting your living costs than you would have been spending if you were living in a low-cost area. Based on this, you can do well to look for a cheap apartment that is located in a low-cost area.

If an apartment finder San Antonio found you a cheap apartment that is located in an area that is very far from most of the industries, you are obviously very lucky. There are certain heavily industrialized areas that are home to some of the most dominant producers of pollutants in the world. You should try by all means to shun such apartments. There is no need to risk the lives of your family members as well as your life because of a cheap apartment that is located in an area that is heavily industrialized. The major pollutants that often affect people are induced into the human body through the water and air. If you are living in an area that is home to factories whose effluents can pollute both water and air, you may be at risk of suffering from certain medical conditions.

In cases where the Texas apartments you want to rent are located near your place of work, you can do well to go for that apartment. Such a cheap apartment would be perfect to rent. When you are living nearby your place of work, you will be reaching early for work, and you will be able to arrive home early without getting tired or being stressed.

Factors Worth Bearing in Mind When Searching for Fully Furnished Apartments


Over the years, fully furnished apartments have proven to be quite reliable compared to the other kinds if apartments that are in existence today. There are numerous reasons that may account for this. In particular, it is mainly because of the convenience that is associated with renting such apartments. Tenants are not required to buy their household goods. Rather, the landlord handles buying all the necessary household goods for the apartment. This explains why these apartments often attract more tenants compared to the other apartments that are in existence today. But, you need to bear in mind a good number of factors before you can decide to move into an apartment that is fully furnished.

To start with, you must be fully aware of the fact that the apartments San Antonio that are fully furnished are usually expensive to rent. You cannot compare the cost of renting an apartment that is fully furnished to an apartment that is not furnished. If you do not have sufficient funds to rent a fully furnished apartment, you need to think twice about renting such an apartment. It is usually advisable to ensure that the cost of renting the apartment you are looking for is as low as possible. In the case of fully furnished apartments, you should ensure that the cost of renting such an apartment is almost half or three times less than the amount of money that you can make within a month. This is one way in which you can ensure financial stability.

You also need to consider the quality of the furniture products that are present in the apartment. It is usually advisable to take your time to inspect the apartment before you can move into it. If you are hiring an apartment finder San Antonio, you should also advise the finder to look for fully furnished apartments that are home to high-quality household furniture products. The cost of renting an apartment that is fully furnished is directly proportional to the quality of the household goods that are present in the apartment. For this reason, you should try by all means to search for Texas apartments that are home to high-quality furniture products. To avoid renting an apartment that is fully furnished but contains household goods that are of low quality, you should compare the household goods that are contained in several fully furnished apartments.

Be careful not to rent apartments that are not located near a reliable medical and shopping facility. In the case of a medical facility, it may not be that important depending on how often you get sick. But, it is important to ensure that the apartment you are about to rent is located nearby a reliable shopping facility. This is the only way you can save yourself from driving for long hours in a bid to come across a reliable shopping center where you can buy a variety of commodities.

Three Things You Must Remember When Searching for Vacant Apartments


Every search for an apartment can prove to be very challenging. Different people have reported a variety of challenges that they had encountered during the search for Texas apartments to rent. It is for this reason that the search for a vacant apartment is supposed to be done in a perfect manner to avoid encountering certain challenges that are avoidable. In general, there are certain things that you have to remember when searching for an apartment to rent. At least three things must be borne in mind when searching for an apartment to rent.

You may not find an apartment finder San Antonio that may find you an apartment to rent as soon as you have started searching for one. This is something that you should always bear in mind. There are numerous reasons that may account for this. Sometimes it may be because the apartment you are looking for has been occupied by another person prior to the time your search began. This accounts for the many cases of prospectus tenants who have ended up being disappointed during the search process. You may also end up being disappointed if you began searching for an apartment that has been taken already. In most cases, prospectus tenants tend to come across advertisements for vacant apartments late. This explains why most of them may have difficulties coming across the vacant apartments that have just been advertised. You need to be wary of the fact that you may never come across apartments to rent as soon as you have started to search for one.

Another issue that you have to bear in mind is the fact that you are not the only person searching for an apartment to rent. This is what most people who are in search for an apartment to rent often forget. When you have started searching for an apartment to rent, you have to be wary of the fact that other people are also searching for the same apartment that you are looking for. Granted, the apartment that may have been advertised may not have attracted so many people at the time it was advertised. On the other hand, not many people may have the advertisement before you did. But, this does not mean that it will be vacant by the time you will declare an interest in inspecting. It is possible that the apartment may be taken by the time you will see the need to inspect it. For this reason, it is always advisable to respond to advertisements as soon as you have heard about them.

Sometimes you must remember that the apartments San Antonio you are looking for may not be located in the area of your preference. If you are in dire need of an apartment to rent, you may have to look out for an apartment that is located in another area. Otherwise, you will need to wait until the apartment that is located in the area of your choice has been found.