British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has compared his main rival to Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin as he prepares to officially launch the governing Conservative Party's campaign for the Dec. 12 election.
Johnson, writing in the Daily Telegraph, says Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party would "raise taxes so wantonly" that it would destroy Britain's prosperity.
He says Labour leaders are attacking the rich "with a relish and vindictiveness not seen since Stalin persecuted the kulaks," the wealthier peasants who were targeted by the Soviet regime in the 1930s.
Johnson will meet Queen Elizabeth II on Wednesday to mark the formal dissolution of Parliament in preparation for the election, before kicking off the Conservative Party campaign with a speech later in the day.
Visiting Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok on Monday commended the positive results of Serbia's economic reforms, saying they have been reflected in the trade exchanges with the Netherlands.
At a press conference after the meeting with his Serbian counterpart Ivica Dacic, Blok said reforms in the Serbian economy are reflected on the trade exchange between Serbia and the Netherlands, which is 7 to 10 percent higher than the same period of last year and amounts to about 700 million euros.
The two foreign ministers agreed that the support of the Netherlands is important for Serbia's integration aspirations and that their economic partnership would boost bilateral ties.
In the past eight years, Dacic said, the greatest number of foreign direct investments in Serbia came from the Netherlands, and that Dutch companies employ around 15,000 people.
According to him, Serbia has been implementing reforms to benefit citizens, not just to meet requirements of the European Union (EU).
Blok believes Serbia has "much to offer the EU," voicing the Netherlands' support for its accession.
"We therefore insist that all reforms and all rules are respected. Much has been done in Serbia, and we expect further progress on the rule of law, the fight against corruption and freedom of the media," he said.
Blok arrived in Serbia on Monday and met with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and the Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimovic, discussing the country's integration agenda in more detail.
Reviving decades-old cries of "Death to America," Iran on Monday marked the 40th anniversary of the 1979 student takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and the 444-day hostage crisis that followed as tensions remain high over the country's collapsing nuclear deal with world powers.
Demonstrators gathered in front of the former U.S. Embassy in downtown Tehran as state television aired footage from other cities across the country.
This year's rallies come as Iran's regional allies in Iraq and Lebanon face widespread protests. The Iranian Consulate in Karbala, Iraq, a holy city for Shiites, saw a mob attack it overnight. Associated Press video showed a fire burned its gate as demonstrators threw gasoline bombs and climbed its walls, some waving an Iraqi flag. Iranian media only reported a "protest outside" of the diplomatic post, adding that things had returned to normal.
The main event in Tehran on Monday is rally by hard-liners at the former embassy and an address by Iranian army commander Gen. Abdolrahim Mousavi. Demonstrators at other rallies on Monday also cried: "Death to America!" and "Death to Israel!"
A billboard at Tehran's Vali-e Asr Square, often used by hard-liners to highlight their political views, showed people waving flags from around the world and cheering as an American flag burned. A caption on it read: "We are the superpower."
What exactly led to the 1979 takeover of the embassy remained obscure at the time to Americans who for months could only watch in horror as TV newscasts showed Iranian protests at the embassy. Popular anger against the U.S. was rooted in the 1953 CIA-engineered coup that toppled Iran's elected prime minister and cemented the power of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
The shah, dying from cancer, fled Iran in January 1979, paving the way for the country's Islamic Revolution. But for months, Iran faced widespread unrest, ranging from separatist attacks, worker revolts and internal power struggles. Police reported for work but not for duty, allowing chaos to unfold, including for Marxist students to briefly seize the U.S. Embassy.
In this power vacuum, then-President Jimmy Carter allowed the shah to seek medical treatment in New York. That lit the fuse for the Nov. 4, 1979, takeover by Islamist students, who initially planned a sit-in at the embassy.
But the situation quickly spun out of their control.
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the long-exiled Shiite cleric whose return to Iran sparked the Islamic Revolution, gave his support to the takeover. He would use that popular angle to expand the Islamists' power.
Some hostages would be released as the crisis unfolded, while several others who escaped the embassy and found safety with Canada's ambassador, left Iran via a CIA-planned escape — dramatic moments that were recounted in the 2012 film "Argo."
Another 52 American hostages would be held for 444 days until the inauguration of President Ronald Reagan, when they were freed.
Germany's governing coalition has delayed a decision on a pension reform that has become a central ideological battleground, adding to questions over how long the government will last.
Chancellor Angela Merkel's center-right Union bloc leads a bad-tempered coalition with the center-left Social Democrats.
The two sides are struggling to find a compromise on a project to top up the pensions of low-paid people who have worked for at least 35 years. The Social Democrats say such payments should be made without means-testing, which the Union insists on.
A meeting scheduled for Monday to seal a compromise was delayed until Sunday. Social Democrat secretary-general Lars Klingbeil told ZDF television the coalition must agree on the project imminently and indicated that keeping the coalition going will otherwise be "a great deal more difficult."
Sister Brigitte Queisser walks slowly along the decaying remains of the Berlin Wall, its rusty rebar reinforcement exposed where the concrete has crumbled away. The 77-year-old pauses to catch her breath, opens a gate and steps from the former democratic West Berlin into what used to be the communist East.
What is a simple step today was a monumental feat for those who tried to escape Soviet-controlled East Berlin during the nearly three decades that the wall divided that part of the city from its free, western side. Some attempts were meticulously planned for months, others brazen and spontaneous.
Many succeeded flawlessly. But as a deaconess of the Lutheran Lazarus Order, Sister Brigitte witnessed first-hand the consequences for those who weren't able to pull it off quite so smoothly.
Directly across the street from the wall, on Bernauer Strasse, her order ran a clinic that provided immediate help to those who were injured trying to get through the barrier, with its watch towers and armed soldiers. The sisters also took care of burying those who died seeking freedom.
"Families were torn apart, people couldn't move freely from one neighborhood to the other anymore, many died trying to run away to the West," she said. As she thought back to those hard times, Sister Brigitte touched the silver cross dangling from a long necklace over her dark-blue habit.
"It was a nightmare," she said.
As Germany prepares to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall next month, it also commemorates those who were arrested, injured or died as they sought to escape by tunneling under the wall, swimming past it, and climbing or flying over it. At least 140 people died trying, according to the latest academic research.
The first iteration of the Berlin Wall was built in 1961, billed by East German leader Walter Ulbricht as an "anti-fascist protective wall" intended to keep his country secure. In reality, it was built to keep its citizens from fleeing to the West.
It stood for 28 years, until Nov. 9, 1989, a sinister presence that was seen as the front line and a symbol of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union.
The Lazarus deaconesses were at the heart of it, their residence and clinic on Bernauer Strasse cut off from the order's cemetery by the wall itself.
"We took care of everybody in our first-aid station who was somehow injured," remembers 84-year-old Sister Christa Huebner. "Dead or alive, cut open, fractured, everything — we made sure they received first aid and also checked whether they had to be hospitalized."
Many of the sisters worked as nurses in the hospital. From its windows overlooking the wall, they witnessed daredevil escapes.
"I saw young men jumping from the roofs on the other side into the nets of the West Berlin firefighters; other men roped down on clothes lines and came to us with their hands all bloody," Sister Christa said as she reminisced about those turbulent years while sitting with a handful of other retired women from her order in the mother house, which is still in the same complex where the clinic used to be.
"One time I saw how a manhole cover on the street opened from below and two people climbed out — they'd escaped underground through the canalization."
"But there were also those who weren't so lucky," she added. "We took care of those who died as well."
Cut off from the order's own graveyard, the sisters had to find a different burial place.
"Our graves were part of the death strip," said Sister Brigitte. "We couldn't take care of the graves any longer, police were patrolling there day and night."
Today, the deaconesses can again access their own cemetery and visit the graves of their sisters.
Standing under an old linden tree, Sister Brigitte looks at the marble gravestones marking the resting spots of her late companions. The faint sounds of school and tourist groups visiting where the wall used to stand tall drift over from Bernauer Strasse, now a major tourist attraction.
"I often thought, 'God, can you please take away this wall,'" Sister Brigitte says. "When it finally happened, it was like a fulfillment — but at the same time it was also beyond comprehension."
She added: "It was a miracle."