Massive floods kill 30
The heaviest rains in more than a century have sparked floods across the country, Serbia and Croatia, claiming at least 30 lives and leading to the evacuation so far of more than 16,000 from flooded villages, officials said on Saturday. “More than 20 corpses have so far been brought to the city’s morgue,” Doboj Mayor Obren Petrovic told FTV public broadcaster. Another victim drowned in the town of Samac, police chief Gojko Vasic was quoted by Fena news agency as saying. And the bodies of two elderly women were found in the town of Maglaj after the waters withdrew, the civil protection chief there told reporters. Four flood victims had been found in Bosnia and three in Serbia on Friday. And the death toll could rise.
Country goes to polls
Long lines formed yesterday outside polling stations for a presidential run-off in a key test for a fragile state plagued by powerful cocaine cartels and upended in a military coup two years ago. Already mired in poverty, the west African nation has been stagnating since 2012 under the rule of a transitional government backed by its all-powerful military, with the economy anemic and drug trafficking fueling corruption. “I would like every Bissau-Guinean to get up very early to go vote massively to show that Guinea-Bissau is capable of turning the page definitively on instability,” election commission chairman Augusto Mendes said on Saturday. Former finance minister Jose Mario Vaz won the first round on April 13 — but failed to get an outright majority and faces runner-up Nuno Gomes Nabiam in the run-off.
Strauss-Kahn film premieres
It was the talk of the town. Abel Ferrara’s highly-anticipated movie inspired by the sordid sex scandal that brought down former IMF managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn got its world premiere on Saturday in Cannes. Far from being shown in one of the big, plush theaters in the festival hall, Weclome to New York, starring Gerard Depardieu as a man with striking similarities to Strauss-Kahn, whose alleged 2011 sexual assault on a New York hotel maid shook the world, was screened in a small, local cinema. The premiere of the film by US director Ferrara during the Cannes Film Festival had caused a scrum among film buffs and journalists alike, all keen to get hold of one of the 500 seats available.
Human zoo challenges image
Displaying 80 people in a human zoo in Oslo’s most elegant park, two artists hope their “Congo Village” display will help erase what they say is the public’s collective amnesia about racism. Re-enacting a similar display from 1914, Lars Cuznor and Mohamed Ali Fadlabi say the country, one of the richest nations in the world, with a reputation for tolerance, has only suppressed its intolerance, especially around the time of Saturday’s national day. The Congo Village — which 100 years ago displayed African tribes, attracting 1.4 million visitors over four months — will this time exhibit volunteers taking turns living on show in makeshift huts, resembling a traditional sub-Saharan village. “Norwegians have been propagating this self-image of a post-racial society and it’s been internalized that it’s a good, tolerant society,” Swedish-Canadian Cuznor said on Friday. “It’s great branding and it’s self perpetuating, but it’s a false image.”