Six years ago Syrian refugee Anas Modamani took a selfie with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.It captured a symbolic moment. It was 2015 – the height of Europe’s migrant crisis..."I took the selfie and this selfie has a huge meaning for me. For me it's a symbol for all refugees and lives up to my expectations of all that I was hoping for.”Modamani had just arrived in Germany along with close to 800,000 other Syrians who fled the war at home welcomed by Merkel who had opened Germany's borders and famously told Germans, "we can do it," as the country welcomed in hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers.More than any other topic the refugee crisis dominated Merkel's third term. Now – six years later – and after 16 years at the helm of Europe's strongest economy Merkel is preparing to step down as Chancellor.Modamani, now 24 and living in Berlin, is still Merkel's biggest fan."For me, Merkel is the heroine who saved my life. She is the strongest woman in Europe and she gave me everything that I wished for. And the most important thing, that I could stay here. She is a hero to me!" "Mrs Merkel made it possible for me to be given a chance here and to stay here and if I think about this picture, then it gets me remembering again and makes me very happy. The picture hangs on the wall in my home and has many meanings for me. It is more than just a picture for me, it has become a symbol." By the end of 2015, 890,000 asylum seekers had entered Germany, fueling unrest from some local communities and contributing to a surge in support for the far-right Alternative for Germany – or AfD - party.Despite the relatively new presence of a populist party on the political scene, many Syrians now see Germany as their home and remain grateful to Merkel personally for making her decision.Hutaf Qassas has adapted completely to life in Berlin working for a job and language centre helping refugees."I was in Turkey in 2014/2015 as a refugee and I had nothing! This decision of Mrs Merkel played a massive role in our lives. It's not easy to save people's lives. The consequences of this decision were hugely important for us. Me personally, and most of the Syrians I know, are grateful to Mrs Merkel. She made the decision and then somehow then had to carry it for Europe."Germany's scramble to evacuate thousands of local helpers from Afghanistan has turned immigration into a big issue in the election campaign as voters worry about a possible repeat of Europe's 2015 migrant crisis.Modamani is still waiting to qualify for citizenship.With Merkel soon leaving office, Syrians like Modamani fear that the AfD could capitalize on Germans' angst about Afghan migrants' influx to boost its share of the vote."I am worried now about the refugee policies and many other topics. To see what will now change and whether things get better or worse. We don't know, it is a matter of time and I hope that Mrs Merkel decides to stay. But she doesn't want to."
Wall Street ended a choppy week Friday with a broad sell-off. Rising Treasury yields drove investors to unload tech stocks. Yields briefly edged up to their highest level since mid-July ahead of a key Federal Reserve meeting next week where investors will look for signs of any shift in the central bank’s timeline for tapering bond purchases. Also weighing on investor sentiment: corporate tax hikes and the spread of the Delta variant. Mercadien Asset Management’s Ken Kamen says the markets held up rather well this week despite the setback. “All eyes have to be on Washington next week and that tends to make very nervous investors jumpy with pulling the trigger on profit taking. So I think the market’s actually doing pretty well here.”The Dow lost a half percent Friday. The S&P and Nasdaq pulled back nearly 1%, with the S&P closing below a key technical level widely watched by traders. For the week as well, the indexes lost ground. U.S. Steel shares slid 8% after the company announced a $3 billion investment plan. Also falling: drug makers Pfizer and Moderna. U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisers voted against approving a booster dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for those over 16. They then approved it for older Americans. Robinhood shares rose 1%. Star stock picker Cathie Wood of ARK Invest bought nearly $15 million worth of shares in the operator of the platform that’s popular for trading “meme” stocks.
After South Lake Tahoe residents cheered on firefighters battling the Caldor Fire in California, the US Forest Service-Pacific Southwest Region returned the love in a Twitter post on September 17, writing, “It’s an honor to defend your community.”South Lake Tahoe residents gathered on several occasions to applaud fire crews after evacuation orders were downgraded.The fire had burned 218,857 acres (about 342 square miles) and was 71 percent contained as of Friday, according to Cal Fire.The state’s national forests reopened on Wednesday, two days earlier than anticipated, according to the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service. Meanwhile, closures in the Los Padres, Angeles, San Bernardino, and Cleveland national forests were extended until midnight on September 22. Credit: US Forest Service-Pacific Southwest Region via Storyful
The mayor of Del Rio, Texas, declared a state of emergency on Friday as an estimated 12,000 migrants, including many Haitians, remained near an international bridge that crosses the Rio Grande into the city.In a video posted to Twitter on September 16, Del Rio mayor Bruno Lozano said the situation at the bridge was “the worst-case scenario of worst-case scenarios,” and warned of security and health risks. This week, migrants were seen wading through the Rio Grande, which separates Del Rio from Ciudad Acuna inside Mexico.Local media reported that food and water have become scarce as temperatures soared, with migrants gathering beneath the bridge for shade.This footage, released by the Office of Texas Congressman Tony Gonzales, shows migrants in Del Rio awaiting processing by American border patrol. Credit: Office of US Congressman Tony Gonzales via Storyful
The Moab City Police Department in eastern Utah have released bodycam footage of 22-year-old Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito and her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, being pulled over on Thursday, August 12.The footage shows a visibly upset Petito talking to a police officer who pulls them over after they hit a curb near the entrance to Arches National Park, Utah. According to reports, the officer had responded to a domestic dispute between the couple.Petito was officially reported missing to the police on Saturday, September 11. According to official reports, Petito has not been in contact with friends or family since August 30 while Laundrie is described as “a person of interest” in the case.The case has reached national interest, involving multiple local police agencies, the National Park Service, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Credit: Moab City Police Department via Storyful
In a likely preview of what is to come next week when world leaders descend upon New York for the United Nation’s annual General Assembly and Climate Week… About 50 climate activists set up shop Friday outside of the NY Headquarters of Bank of America. The protesters, who staged a sit-in outside BofA’s corporate office, said the world isn’t moving fast enough to tackle climate change. They also accused Bank of America and the rest of Wall Street’s biggest banks of continuing to profit from the fossil fuel industry. Extinction Rebellion Acting Coordinator Presleigh Hayashiga:"I would love to see people who are actually talking about the climate crisis realistically and not making, you know, 20-year plans, 30-year plans. We can't talk about 2050 or 2030 anymore. We have to immediately stop fossil fuel investment. And so that's why we're here. We're asking for immediate action from these banks. So we're also targeting today, we've also targeted, Chase Bank and Citibank."The protests were largely peaceful but resulted in some arrests.The demonstration was reminiscent of the Occupy Wall Street movement, which kicked off 10 years ago, but on a much larger scale.
Senior U.S. officers had said the Aug. 29 strike that took place as foreign forces completed the last stages of their withdrawal from Afghanistan targeted an Islamic States suicide bomber who posed an imminent threat to the Kabul airport."At the time of the strike, I was confident that the strike had averted an imminent threat to our forces at the airport," U.S. General Frank McKenzie, the head of U.S. Central Command, told reporters. "Our investigation now concludes that the strike was a tragic mistake."He said he now believed it unlikely that those who died were Islamic State militants or posed a direct threat to U.S. forces. The Pentagon was considering reparations for the civilians killed, McKenzie said.Reports had emerged almost immediately that the drone strike had killed civilians including children. A spokesman for Afghanistan's new Taliban rulers, Zabihullah Mujahid, had said at the time that strike had killed seven people.
Heavy rain caused flash flooding in Alexandria, Virginia on September 16, inundating parts of the George Washington Masonic National Memorial and roads across the city.The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for the area earlier on Thursday, urging people to avoid floodwaters and heed road closures.Later that evening, the NWS said that the rain mostly came to an end, “although a few areas of light showers are possible through the night”.The footage, uploaded to Twitter by Juliet Oscar, shows the roads on the side of the memorial submerged in floodwater, while water runs down its stairs and over its walls. Credit: Juliet Oscar via Storyful
The whale must have been hunting close to the shore at low tide, according to a comment by a ministry representative.The rescuers had to spend several hours in the freezing water near the whale, pouring water on it to keep it alive.The panicking animal could have presented a danger to its rescuers, as it weighed more than 1,100 pounds (500 kilograms).As the high tide came in, the whale was able to swim away and rejoin its mother, accompanied by the cheers of the rescuers.In 2020 killer whales were included in the Russian Red Book of rare and endangered species, following a scandal involving captive whales being bred, which triggered a global outcry.
In an outdoor garden show, models wore silk tulle and taffeta dresses in hot pink, green, yellow, red and coral - some adorned in floral embellishments. There were also pussy bow collars, cropped jackets and trench coats, accessorised with knotted headscarves.The fashion designer was keen to have a physical catwalk instead of a digital one as it fit the way he wants people to enjoy his clothes.Spectators at Aksu's show were thrilled to see Aksu's show in person, with 29-year-old Stella Katterman adding it felt "strangely normal".The UK womenswear market was worth 26.5 billion pounds ($36.49 billion) in 2020, down from 30.6 billion pounds the previous year, according to market research firm Mintel.London Fashion Week runs until Tuesday (September 21).
The White House stepped up pressure on Congress Friday, calling on lawmakers to extend the nation's debt limit, warning that any delay could plunge the economy into a recession.In a new fact sheet given out, the White House warned "economic growth would falter, unemployment would rise, and the labor market could lose millions of jobs."The White House has been trying to get Republicans to agree to raise the $28.5 trillion federal borrowing limit.Raising the nation's debt limit is normally a routine bipartisan thing, but this year, Republicans - who lost control of the White House and don't hold a majority in the House or the Senate - are dragging their feet.If the debt ceiling isn't raised by an October deadline, the Federal government won't be able to pay its bills, which could led to cuts in critical services funded through Washington.Earlier this week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, told Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on a call that Democrats will have to raise the debt ceiling on their own.White House economic advisor Brian Deese told MSNBC Friday that it would be "absolutely unspeakable, unthinkable that we would allow the federal government to default on the obligations it has already made."The administration warned that if Republicans don't get on board - America could face another financial crisis.
The porcupette, nicknamed 'Herbie', was born to porcupine parents Hettie and Henning on August 2.Video released by ZSL London on Friday (September 17) showed the nocturnal youngster over a six-week period, exploring it's surroundings alongside its parents.Baby porcupines are born with a full set of soft quills and weight less than a pound, the zoo said.Zookeepers will discover the sex of the porcupette after its first health check when one of its quills is sent for DNA testing.
Peru welcomed the birth of eight Humboldt penguinsLocation: Huachipa Zoo, LimaThe chicks spend their days resting in their nestsand being fed by their parentsHumboldt penguins are considered a vulnerable speciesand have undergone extreme population size fluctuationsThey are found in the wild in coastal Chile and Peru
This is the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics' motto:'Together for a Shared Future'(SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) DIRECTOR GENERAL OF THE CULTURE AND CEREMONIES DEPARTMENT AT THE BEIJING 2022 0RGANISING COMMITTEE (BOCOG), CHEN NING, SAYING: "This motto embodies the olympic spirit, the Chinese way of revealing the Olympic spirit. That's because "together" embodies a type of unity, cohesion and way of overcoming difficulties. At the same time, it is able to show how we will unite together under the Olympic banner."The Games will be held from February 4-20thBeijing is the first city to host both Winter and Summer Olympicsafter staging the 2008 Summer edition
The streaming wars are heating up. HBO Max is going on the offensive after leaving Amazon’s Prime Video channels. AT&T’s WarnerMedia said Friday it’s halving its subscription fees for HBO Max to $7.49 a month for up to six months. That makes it 17% cheaper than Prime’s video membership. The offer will be available to users who accessed HBO via Prime and for new and returning HBO Max subscribers. HBO is home to hit shows like “Game of Thrones” and “Succession.” WarnerMedia stopped HBO subscriptions on Amazon’s service so it can establish a direct relationship with subscribers. But in doing so, a source said it stands to lose about 5 million customers. But that hasn’t held the company back from raising its forecast for global HBO Max subscribers for this year.
A 24-year-old, 880-pound Syrian brown bear at a New York wildlife center that specializes in caring for the giant animals enjoyed a round of bedtime belly scratches, recent footage posted on YouTube shows.The Orphaned Wildlife Center in Otisville, New York, nurtures orphaned animals in the hope they can be returned to the wild.The center often releases videos and updates about the animals in its care to its YouTube channel and Facebook page.This video shows bear Leo give one of his carers playful nibbles as he receives a prolonged belly scratch.Kerry Clair, who helps run the center alongside Jim and Susan Kowalczik regularly shares footage of bears such as Jenny to the center’s YouTube channel and Facebook page. Credit: Kerry Clair via Storyful
A sign for the building was covered by a replacement in a mixture of Dari and Arabic, reading "Ministries of Prayer and Guidance and the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice" on Friday (September 17), according to photographs and Reuters witnesses.Female employees said they had been trying to come to work for several weeks only to be told to return to their homes, according to videos filmed outside the building seen by Reuters.The gates of the building were finally locked on Thursday, one of the women said."I am the only breadwinner in my family," said a second woman, who also said she worked in the department. "When there is no ministry, what should an Afghan woman do?"Taliban spokesmen did not respond to requests for comment on Friday.During 1996-2001, when the Taliban was last in power, its Ministry for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice became known as the group's moral police, enforcing its interpretation of sharia that included a strict dress code and public executions and floggings.
Floodwaters swamped Alexandria, Virginia – just south of Washington, DC – on September 16, following heavy downpours.This video posted that day shows cars driving through flooded streets in Alexandria.The National Weather Service warned of potential flash flooding in the city until 8:30 pm, urging people to avoid floodwaters and heed road closures.Later that evening, the service said that most rain had come to an end, “although a few areas of light showers are possible through the night." Credit: William Bolan via Storyful
Heavy rain and hail caused severe flooding and power outages in the municipality of L’Alcora, in eastern Spain, on September 16, according to local reports.This footage, released by the Provincial Council of Castellon, shows one car almost completely submerged in water, another vehicle turned over, floodwater rising from sewer grates, and a tree down after storms hit the area. Credit: Diputació de Castelló via Storyful
A hybrid London Fashion Week kicked off on Friday, September 17, with a mix of digital presentations and its first in-person catwalk shows in a year.Following a completely virtual event in February when Britain was under national lockdown, this fashion week sees the return of international press and buyers after the easing of travel restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.The line up features 79 physical events - including shows, appointments and presentations - and 82 digital productions showcasing womenswear and menswear. Only a handful of designers held in-person catwalk shows last September.Though smaller in size compared to fellow fashion capitals New York, Milan and Paris, London is known for its cutting edge designs and emerging talent.London Fashion Week runs until Tuesday.
This year's mussels harvest for Greek fisherman Stefanos Sougioultzis may be the worst he has had in the last 25 years. After a summer of scorching heat and warming waters, he says it was "as if they boiled in their own environment"."We don't have much hope. When people were saying 'what a nice warm sea we have', we were living through a nightmare, and are still living through it."Local authorities say about 50% of this year's production was destroyed as the country faced its worst heatwave in decades. About 90% of the baby mussel seed that would grow into next year's production also died.Temperatures rose above 113°F in July. In high temperature, mussels suffer heat stress, according to an expert who specializes in the impact of global warming on marine life. One scientist identified a thick white mass covering clusters grown over the last 18 months as a kind of tube worm - a marine worm that clings onto the mussels in high temperatures and gradually kills them. Konstantinos Vervitis, president of the local shellfishing association Poseidon: "It is the first time I witness such a phenomenon. We don't even know how to handle it. There has never been this kind of damage in the Thermaic Gulf. Any damage we had in the past was manageable. This year it looks like climate change is here. The climate crisis is here, and you can see the result yourselves." One of the world's main producers of the shellfish, Greece harvested over 25,000 tons of farmed mussels in 2020, according to official data. But it suffered a hit as the global health crisis hurt tourism and demand from its main markets Italy and Spain, a regional governor told Reuters. Restaurants across Greece felt the pinch.\\Some even took mussels off the menu in August because of short supply. Eleftherios Stouraitis, who owns a restaurant his grandfather opened in 1947, says no one would ever expect a shortage in mussels here and it proves that climate change is quote "knocking on our door."
The first of over a dozen court trials have begun regarding an Austrian party town -- known as the "Ibiza of the Alps" -- that became a massive COVID superspreader early in the pandemic.It's believed that thousands of foreign tourists were infected in the town of Ischgl, known for its nightlife, music concerts, sun, and snow.It's in those packed venues where the disease took hold.The first lawsuit in Vienna is being brought against the Austrian government by the family of a man who died of COVID after vacationing in Ischgl.They allege that the government bungled its response early in the pandemic, acting too slowly and then inappropriately, including a quarantine of the resort that led to massive exodus instead. The first COVID case was detected in Ischgl in early March 2020, but it was days after infections in Iceland were already traced there.It also came 11 days after Austria reported its own first infections.Regional authorities say they did act appropriately, given what was known of the disease at the time. The family is seeking $118,000 in damages and is backed by an Austrian consumer group.
Migrants crossed the Rio Grande river into Del Rio, Texas, on September 13, days before the city’s mayor said more than 10,000 people had gathered below the Del Rio International Bridge, footage here shows.Mayor Bruno Lozano said on September 16 that the situation in Del Rio was “the worst-case scenario of worst-case scenarios,” he warned of potential for a terrorist attack and the spread of COVID-19. He said that the people under the bridge were predominantly migrants from Haiti. He also stated that, in addition to those waiting under the bridge, there are approximately 2,000-3,000 in detention with border patrol services.KTRK-TV Houston reported that food and water have become scarce as temperatures soared, with migrants gathering beneath the bridge for shade. Credit: Auden Cabello via Storyful
Police in Kent, England, released footage on September 17 of a high-speed pursuit that was streamed live by one of four men sentenced in connection with a robbery and subsequent car chase.Police said two men robbed a man at knife-point on January 15 in Dartford, before a getaway driver drove them from the scene.Salah Ibrahim livestreamed video from the car during the chase, and can be heard saying “help us block off the feds” while swerving through traffic and driving on the wrong side of the road.Officers eventually brought the suspects’ car to a controlled stop on the A2 near Gravesend, and an additional offender was arrested elsewhere in Dartford the same afternoon.Over nine years imprisonment was imposed collectively on the men during their sentencing on September 7. Credit: Kent Police via Storyful