89.1 WEMU

Joanna Kakissis

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

For decades, whenever stevedore Giorgos Nouchoutidis arrived for work at the port of Piraeus, he would breathe in the fresh, briny sea breeze and feel a surge of pride.

Like many churchgoers in Romania, retired engineer Marius Tufis opposes same-sex marriage.

"I don't like man with man and woman with woman," he said, frowning in the sun after Sunday's service. "Our religion does not accept this."

Same-sex marriage is already banned in Romanian civil code, but that's not enough for Tufis. He worries that the European Union, which he sees as divided between the liberal West and the conservative East, will force Romania to change the law.

Social conservatives may have lost their fight against same-sex marriage in the United States. But in Eastern Europe, they appear to be winning.

Romania is one of several Eastern European nations that already ban both same-sex marriage and same-sex unions in civil law. Now it's trying to ban it in the constitution. The government is spending millions holding a two-day referendum this weekend so voters can approve the change.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Updated at 4:30 p.m. ET

Fire officials in Greece say at least 74 people have died from surprisingly fast-moving wildfires that struck near Athens on Monday, with the death toll tripling in what has become a national tragedy. The fires have sent people scrambling to escape and have put intense pressure on fire and rescue agencies.

Updated at 5:35 p.m. ET Sunday

The last time Matthew Caruana Galizia saw his mother alive, she was going to the bank.

A government minister had gotten the courts to freeze her bank accounts. She intended to fight for access to her funds.

"If someone tried to shut her up, if someone tried to stop her, she'd just fight back even harder," the son says. "That was her spirit."

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Santa Maria Addolorata Cemetery sits on a hilltop in Malta, a tiny island nation of sand-hued fortresses in the Mediterranean Sea between Italy and North Africa.

Birds perch on elaborate Roman Catholic crypts and tombstones chiseled with the names of loved ones — John, Ariadne, Carmello, Ouzeppa.

Our series "Take A Number" looks at problems around the world — and the people trying to solve them — through the lens of a single number. Today's number: 10 — that's the percentage of Hungarians who feel "totally comfortable" having an immigrant as a friend.

Every day at noon, Ibrar Hussein Mirzai hears the cathedral bells as he leaves his intensive Hungarian-language class in the small, leafy town of Fót, just north of Hungary's capital Budapest.

In April 1968, the United States was grieving. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated by a white nationalist. Cities burned with riots.

Across the Atlantic, Britain was debating the Race Relations Act, which made it illegal to deny a person employment, housing or public services based on race or national origin.

Eighteen-year-old Israel "Izzy" Ogunsola loved soccer and studied computer programming. On Wednesday, he cycled away from his home in Hackney, northeast London. At 8 p.m., he was stabbed. He staggered toward police officers but bled to death near a railway bridge as the police, paramedics and a trauma doctor tried to save him.

Police later arrested two 17-year-old boys on suspicion of murder.

Sana and Violetta, both middle-aged moms with grown children, spend their days embroidering traditional Albanian shirts and scarves.

Under the buzzy flicker of malfunctioning fluorescent lights, they stitch in the drafty classrooms at the Center for Promotion of Women's Rights in the Drenas municipality in central Kosovo.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Today, British Prime Minister Theresa May ordered the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats from the UK. This is in response to the poisoning of a Russian double agent and his daughter in western England.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Rasha al-Ahmed imagined Europe would be a clean, generous place — not a makeshift tent in an olive grove where the mud is mixed with human waste and rotting food.

"A safe life with a house and enough food," she said, shuddering as she wiped fetid mud from her 1-year-old daughter's cheeks. "That's what I hoped for when I crossed the sea from Turkey to Greece."

Hysni Rexha, a cheerful 51-year-old farmer in western Kosovo, loves the United States unconditionally.

"Because of America, my country exists," he declares, walking through what he calls his "wildlife garden" of caged peacocks, doves, exotic chickens and a sad hawk.

"So when Donald Trump was elected America's president, I named my favorite wolf after him."

The wolf is one of four Rexha says he found as puppies and domesticated.

To an outsider, this most Balkan of conflicts looks absurd: two countries fighting over a name and a historical icon who lived 25 centuries ago.

But the 26-year-old dispute between two southeastern European neighbors — Greece and Macedonia, over who owns the name "Macedonia" — is seen by both sides as existential and essential to national identity.

Greece, which prizes its ancient history above everything else, is especially sensitive.

Pages