Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

World Briefs

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

World Briefs

Article excerpt

Pro-EU candidate wins Austrian presidency

A pro-European Union candidate eked out a victory Monday over a right-wing, anti-migrant rival to become Austria's next president, in a tight contest viewed Europe-wide as a proxy fight pitting the continent's political center against its growing populist and anti- establishment movements.

European mainstream parties joined Austrian supporters of Alexander Van der Bellen in congratulating him on his victory over Norbert Hofer. But with less than a percentage point separating the two, Hofer's Freedom Party and its allies across Europe also had reason to celebrate what they cast as a major political surge by one of their own.

Hofer had been narrowly ahead of Van der Bellen, a Greens politician running as an independent, after the counting of votes directly cast on Sunday. But around 700,000 absentee ballots still remained to be tallied Monday, and those numbers swung the victory to Van der Bellen.

Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka said Van der Bellen collected 50.3 percent of the votes compared with 49.7 percent for Hofer of the Freedom Party. Only a little more than 31,000 votes separated the two, out of more than 4.6 million ballots cast.

Humanitarian summit aims high * An ambitious summit to revamp humanitarian aid and global responses to modern-day crises opened in Turkey on Monday with lofty goals overshadowed by concerns that key participants are violating refugee rights and humanitarian law.

The first World Humanitarian Summit was convened in Istanbul in an attempt to tackle what the United Nations has described as the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II. About 125 million people worldwide require humanitarian assistance, among them 60 million displaced from their homes by conflict, natural disasters and climate change.

The two-day gathering was conceived four years ago by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. In preparation, 23,000 people were consulted in over 150 countries, according to U.N. officials.

"We are here to shape a different future," said Ban at the opening of the summit. …

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