WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Joanna Kakissis

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Updated at 3:20 a.m. Monday

The United Kingdom is trying to defuse an escalating standoff with Iran just days before Britain's ruling Conservative Party announces the successor to Theresa May, who is resigning.

Some 160,000 members of the Tory Party have until today to return their ballots selecting a new leader. The winner, to be announced on Tuesday, is expected to be Boris Johnson.

Updated at 11:20 a.m. ET

Greeks elected a conservative party led by the scion of a powerful political dynasty in national elections on Sunday, a rejection of the country's left-wing government seen as being too slow in improving the economy after a long financial crisis.

Five years ago this month, Danisch Farooqi dropped off his daughter, Aaliya, at her mother's house in the German port city of Hamburg.

He remembers walking the girl, then almost 4, to his ex-wife's front door and hugging her.

"And I said, 'I'll see you next week,' " he recalls.

A few days later, he received a call from an unknown number in Turkey. It was his ex-wife's new husband. He told Farooqi he was in Turkey, recovering from injuries sustained while fighting in Syria. He'd brought the whole family to Turkey, including Aaliya.

In Germany, the European Union's biggest cheerleader, the upcoming elections for the European Parliament are supposed to inspire unity.

Instead, nationalism is unraveling European unity. Populist parties that rail against immigration, globalist elites and the EU itself are expected to gain seats in the elections. The United Kingdom already voted on Thursday; Germany and most other EU states will vote on Sunday.

Updated at 5:45 p.m. ET

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban visited the White House on Monday, his first formal meeting with a U.S. president in more than 20 years.

Then-President Bill Clinton received Orban, now one of Europe's most prominent nationalists, in 1998, back when the Hungarian leader was a 35-year-old reformist who had earned his pro-democracy street cred as an anti-Soviet activist. Orban had helped his country transition out of communism.

Just three years ago, the daily Dunantuli Naplo was considered a reliable source of news in southern Hungary wine country.

Its name means Trans-Danube Journal. Based in Pecs, a cobblestoned university city that once thrived on coal mining, the newspaper's journalists were known for digging into important local issues and holding politicians accountable.

The race to build the next generation of super-fast mobile-data networks has begun in Germany, which started auctioning off its spectrum licenses for 5G on Tuesday.

But this highly technical event has become the center of a geopolitical storm between the U.S. and China, with Europe caught in the middle.

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Tomorrow, Germany begins auctioning frequencies to build 5G mobile networks. It is both a highly technical event and the center of a geopolitical storm. Like much of Europe, Germany is squeezed between its economic ties to China and its longtime alliance with the U.S. NPR's Joanna Kakissis reports from Berlin.

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The European Union has largely tolerated Hungary's nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban, despite his government's crackdown on civil society and virulently anti-migrant rhetoric.

Then came the billboards depicting two elderly men who appear to be cackling. One is the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker. The other is Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros, who Orban loyalists falsely claim is plotting to flood Europe with Muslim migrants.

"You have the right to know what Brussels is planning," the billboard reads.

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Nearly 75 years ago, Hungarian police forced Rozsa Heisler onto a train, along with thousands of other Hungarian Jews.

"We were crammed together for five days without food or water," she recalls. "We didn't know where we were going. Then we reached Auschwitz."

Heisler's mother and grandfather were murdered at the concentration camp. She and her sister, sent on to a labor camp, survived on leftover potato peels.

Andrassy Avenue in the Hungarian capital of Budapest is lined with neo-Renaissance mansions and luxury boutiques representing the finest names in Europe.

One name stands out: Ghraoui. It's the name of a premier chocolatier from Syria.

Inside, there are hand-engraved orange trees on the walls and frescoes of apricot trees on the ceiling. There are glass cases, as if you're in a gallery or a jewelry store.

The men and women from eight African countries packed into a rubber raft late last month and set off from the Libyan city of Sabratha in the hope of crossing the Mediterranean to reach Italy.

But powerful sea winds blew them off course. They drifted at sea for 10 days before their boat ended up back in Libyan waters and capsized off the coast of Misrata.

At least 12 died. Libyan authorities managed to rescue 10.

George Sarelakos emerges from the sea lugging a giant tire. Another two divers surface — with a shopping cart and a netted bag bulging with a cassette player, cans and lots of plastic.

It takes six more people to heave this all onto the main pier of the Greek island of Poros.

Liliana Czegledi devoted herself to keeping her daughter, Ioana, alive.

The girl had been born with a compromised immune system, a damaged heart and muscles that wouldn't work. She wasn't expected to live past her second birthday. Czegledi gave up her bartending job to care for her.

"I made sure she never caught a cold because the doctor said a cold could kill her," recalls Czegledi, 50, at her home in the village of Sînandrei in western Romania. "I only brought her into the hospital when it was absolutely necessary."

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For decades, whenever stevedore Giorgos Nouchoutidis arrived for work at the port of Piraeus, he would breathe in the fresh, briny sea breeze and feel a surge of pride.

Like many churchgoers in Romania, retired engineer Marius Tufis opposes same-sex marriage.

"I don't like man with man and woman with woman," he said, frowning in the sun after Sunday's service. "Our religion does not accept this."

Same-sex marriage is already banned in Romanian civil code, but that's not enough for Tufis. He worries that the European Union, which he sees as divided between the liberal West and the conservative East, will force Romania to change the law.

Social conservatives may have lost their fight against same-sex marriage in the United States. But in Eastern Europe, they appear to be winning.

Romania is one of several Eastern European nations that already ban both same-sex marriage and same-sex unions in civil law. Now it's trying to ban it in the constitution. The government is spending millions holding a two-day referendum this weekend so voters can approve the change.

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Aimé Mpane remembers when he first saw the old statues.

It was 1994, and the Congolese visual artist had just moved to Belgium, which once ruled his country. Growing up in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mpane says he had been taught in school that the Congolese were descended from the Gauls — "that they were our kings."

"In our schoolbooks, it was as if the Congolese did not exist without Belgian colonialists," says Mpane, 50. His work explores the memory of colonialism in Congo and Belgium. "I wanted to know what [the Belgians] knew about us."

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Bert Nap has had enough. On a recent night, the longtime Amsterdam resident opened his door to confront a gaggle of young, drunken British men, all dressed as Elvis for a bachelor party, making a tremendous ruckus.

Nap asked them: "Why don't you do that in your own hometown?"

This was hardly the first time he'd been disturbed by late-night revelers. Many are tourists who vomit in his potted plants, urinate in his mailbox, and scream-sing outside his door. "My city is seen as one where anything goes," he says.

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Updated at 4:30 p.m. ET

Fire officials in Greece say at least 74 people have died from surprisingly fast-moving wildfires that struck near Athens on Monday, with the death toll tripling in what has become a national tragedy. The fires have sent people scrambling to escape and have put intense pressure on fire and rescue agencies.

Updated at 5:35 p.m. ET Sunday

The last time Matthew Caruana Galizia saw his mother alive, she was going to the bank.

A government minister had gotten the courts to freeze her bank accounts. She intended to fight for access to her funds.

"If someone tried to shut her up, if someone tried to stop her, she'd just fight back even harder," the son says. "That was her spirit."

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