GlobalPost delivers stories that inform and entertain, taking people to far flung places around the globe most will never visit but where events are shaping all of our lives.


BERLIN, Germany — It’s not just morons throwing bananas on the field.

Far-right political parties are gaining ground in France and the Netherlands. Most of Germany’s soccer hooligans are now neo-Nazis. And this spring, Switzerland voted to curb immigration, defying the spirit of laws that allow citizens freedom of movement across the European Union.

But amid all the bad blood, has anyone thought about how sending immigrants packing would affect the teams playing the world’s greatest game? Broadly defining “foreigner” as anyone with at least one foreign-born parent, Switzerland would lose two-thirds of its players. France and the Netherlands might be knocked out of contention. And Algeria, Ghana, Turkey or even Suriname could win it all.

Here’s how the world’s best would stack up in a World Cup with no first-generation immigrants.

Here’s what World Cup teams would look like if immigrants weren’t allowed to play

Graphics by Simran Khosla/GlobalPost

“Nazi-inspired bullyboys, far-left firebrands, anti-immigration and anti-EU nationalists, old-style Communist diehards, and a Polish monarchist who wants to deny women the vote: They will all have a home in the new European Parliament.”

Senior Correspondent Paul Ames on the consequences of Sunday’s European Parliament elections

KYIV, Ukraine — The comment would probably have provoked widespread fury only weeks earlier.

“The main task of the Maidan has been achieved, we were saved from dictatorship,” former boxing champ Vitali Klitschko told reporters on Monday, referring to Independence Square, the nerve center of the months-long pro-European protests. “The barricades have fulfilled their function and must now be removed.”

But there was little commentary from Kyiv’s chattering classes, who were busy following the chaos in eastern Ukraine, where the government’s “anti-terrorist” operation against armed, pro-Russian separatists was underway.

The relative silence may indicate that after months of turmoil, at least some Ukrainians are asking themselves whether it’s finally time for activists on the Maidan to pack up and call it a day.

After Ukraine’s election, the end may be near for Kyiv’s Maidan

Photo by AFP/Getty Images


Generation TBD: Despair and opportunity for millennials in an uncertain global economy

By Emily Judem

They are the young Brits who told researchers at Prince Charles’ Trust last year they “had nothing to live for” and had contemplated suicide because they’ve been unemployed for so long.

They are the young Brazilians who mobilized to boycott the World Cup, accusing the government of using precious funds to host the world rather than create sufficient opportunities for the country’s residents.

They are the young Spaniards known by the Spanish-language shorthand “NiNis” because they’re neither working nor in school in a country with a youth unemployment rate above 50 percent.

They are the young Nigerians who felt like a “kidnapped generation” long before Boko Haram abducted 270 schoolgirls in April before a nonchalant government was shamed on the world stage by the #BringBackOurGirls campaign.

They are generation TBD — a group of millennials for whom the prospects of a sustainable future — a career, a home, perhaps a family — are “to be determined.”

Read more.

HENIN-BEAUMONT, France — The ultra-nationalist National Front swept to a landslide victory in Henin-Beaumont during municipal elections, ending decades of left-wing rule.

Now the party is hoping to repeat that success at a national level by harnessing voters’ anger with the political mainstream to become France’s biggest political party in this week’s elections for the European Parliament.

"They promised us prosperity, we got recession," party leader Marine Le Pen told supporters at a rally last week. "They promised us strength, we got dependence and humiliation. They promised us security at Europe’s borders, we got Romani camps and out-of-control immigration."

That kind of rhetoric is striking a chord across France.

The scary return of a radical, far-right Europe and what it means

And how it could give Putin a boost while dealing a blow to trans-Atlantic trade

Photos by AFP/Getty Images

UKRAINE — It’s easy to grab the world’s attention by taking entire cities hostage as the armed rebels in eastern Ukraine have, roaming with virtual impunity in balaclavas and with automatic weapons.

That’s why anyone reading the headlines from Ukraine’s separatist crisis would be tempted to see it as a popular uprising, much like the pro-Europe protests last winter that toppled President Viktor Yanukovych.

But it’s becoming increasingly clear that only a minority in Ukraine’s rebellious east actually supports the separatists, despite their claim that a referendum in two eastern regions on Sunday showed overwhelming support for independence.

3 things everyone should know about Ukraine

Photo by AFP/Getty Images

An Austrian Drag Queen Wins Eurovision



Sally McGrane on Conchita Wurst’s win:

“Though she is Eurovision’s first bearded woman, Wurst is by no means the first gender-bending act to do well in the competition; in 1998, the transgender Israeli singer Dana International won. But, against the current political backdrop, the singer’s resounding victory can be read as a statement about Europe’s commitment to progressive ideals.”

Photograph: Keld Navntoft/EPA/Corbis

SUKHUMI, Georgia — With lush, rugged terrain and a refreshing subtropical breeze, this sunny swath of mountainous territory on the eastern Black Sea coast is an adventure tourist’s paradise.

Welcome to Abkhazia, a breakaway Georgian region just south of Sochi, the Russian resort where the Olympic Games begin on Thursday.

But while Sochi may be bustling with frenetic last-minute preparations for a huge influx of athletes and fans, less than 100 miles away the potholed streets of Abkhazia’s capital city are often deserted.

Many buildings are bombed out and hollow. In the off-season, an eerie silence hangs over rows of palm trees, broken only by the dull murmur of the sea.

Once the Soviet Union’s top vacation spot, Abkhazia’s crumbling seaside resorts provide a unique window into a past that has long since faded.

Meanwhile, just outside Sochi…

Photo by AFP/Getty Images

Activist Dmytro Bulatov went missing around the time that a few other prominent activists were apparently kidnapped during the Ukraine protests.

Bulatov proved more fortunate than one of the activists who was found dead in a forest, but he emerged bruised and bloody, with an account of being tortured and hung up by his wrists.

"My hands… they crucified me, nailed me, cut my ear off, cut my face," Bulatov told Channel 5 television on Friday. “Thank God I am alive.”

"I can’t see well now, because I sat in darkness the whole time," he said, through a swollen face and bruised body, still covered in blood.

Bulatov is a member of the activist Avtomaidan group, which helped ferry protesters and supplies during the ongoing protests in Kyiv.

Missing Ukrainian activist emerges bloody, beaten as tensions continue (VIDEO)

The situation in Ukraine remained tense on Friday, with the army calling on Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to take “urgent steps” to ease the crisis.

US Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to meet Ukraine’s opposition leaders over the weekend in Munich.

The latest from Dan Peleschuk in Kyiv:

Ukraine’s revolution grows radical

The EU’s Ukraine dilemma

7 reasons Russia wants to keep Ukraine all to itself

Photos via AFP/Getty & Dan Peleschuk/GlobalPost

LVIV, Ukraine — For Andriy Sadovyy, last Wednesday was the darkest of days.

The mayor of western Ukraine’s largest city was taking part in a local ceremony commemorating Unity Day when violent clashes broke out in the capital Kyiv between police and protesters, leaving at least two demonstrators dead on the spot.

“I never thought we’d receive news about bloodshed on that very day,” he said.

His pain intensified after a Lviv native who participated in the protests was kidnapped from a state hospital in Kyiv and beaten to death.

He says that prompted him to give his tacit blessing to the occupation of the regional administration building in Lviv.

How western Ukraine is driving a revolution

Photos by Dan Peleschuk

SOFADES, Greece — Dimitris Triantafyllou’s cellphone rings as he drinks Greek coffee at his home in this small, central town.

A local student is on the line asking to talk about an incident on a school bus.

A new driver is refusing to take more than 40 children home from a school for Roma, the traditionally marginalized ethnic community still often described as gypsies.

As president of the local Roma community, Triantafyllou is used to dealing with such incidents. Earlier in the day, he tried to convince the national power company to send a technician to restore electricity to Roma neighborhoods after three days of outages.

"The racism Roma face is not only personal but institutional," he said. "We’ve seen many similar attitudes from the local authorities over the past few months. But we’ve learned to live with the burden and fight for change.”

Prejudice against Roma appears to have been on the rise since October, when police took custody of a blonde, white-skinned 5-year-old named Maria in Farsala — a small town just 24 miles away — because she didn’t resemble the dark-skinned family caring for her.

Roma face mounting discrimination across Europe

Photo by AFP/Getty Images