$1*/ mo hosting! Get going with us!

Author: Depoworld

Tornadoes Rake 2 Oklahoma Cities, Killing 2 and Injuring 29

A tornado leveled a motel and tore through a mobile home park near Oklahoma City overnight, killing two people and injuring at least 29 others before a second twister raked a suburb of Tulsa more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) away, authorities said Sunday.

The first tornado touched down in El Reno, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) west of Oklahoma City, late Saturday night. It crossed an interstate and walloped the American Budget Value Inn before ripping through the Skyview Estates trailer park, flipping and leveling homes, Mayor Matt White said at a news conference.

“It’s a tragic scene out there,” White said, adding later that, “People have absolutely lost everything.” He said the city established a GoFundMe site, the City of El Reno Tornado Relief Fund, for affected families. Several other businesses were also damaged, though not to the same extent as the motel.

​The two people who were killed were in the mobile home park, White said. He did not provide additional details about them. The 29 people who were injured were taken to hospitals, where some were undergoing surgery. Some of the injuries were deemed critical, he said.

The National Weather Service gave the tornado an EF3 rating, meaning it had wind speeds of 136-165 mph (219-266 kph). Personnel who investigated the damage said the tornado began around 10:28 p.m. Saturday and lasted for four minutes. The tornado was about 75 yards wide at its widest point and was on the ground for 2.2 miles (3.5 kilometers).

The tornado was spawned by a powerful storm system that rolled through the state — the latest in a week of violent storms to hit the flood-weary Plains and Midwest that have been blamed for at least 11 deaths, including the two killed in El Reno.

Early Sunday, another tornado destroyed several buildings and downed trees and power lines in the Tulsa suburb of Sapulpa, which is 110 miles (177 kilometers) northeast of El Reno. Pete Snyder, a hydrometeorological technician with the weather service in Tulsa, said crews were assessing damage to determine the tornado’s rating. The area also experienced damage from strong straight-line winds, he said.

The Sapulpa Police Department said on its Facebook page that it hadn’t heard of any deaths and that only a few minor injuries had been reported. 

Residents wandered around after sunrise to survey the damage, carefully avoiding fallen utility poles that blocked some streets. Among the buildings that were destroyed was a historic railroad building built in the early 1900s that the Farmers Feed Store had been using for storage. A furniture store’s warehouse was also destroyed.

In El Reno, emergency crews sifted through the rubble at the trailer park and motel, where the second story collapsed into a pile of debris strewn about the first floor and parking lot.

​Tweety Garrison, 63, told The Associated Press that she was in her mobile home with her husband, two young grandchildren and a family friend when she heard the storm coming and immediately hit the ground. Moments later, she heard her neighbor’s mobile home slam into hers before it flipped over and landed on her roof.

Garrison said the incident lasted five to 10 minutes and that she received a tornado warning on her phone but the sirens didn’t go off until after the twister hit.

Her 32-year-old son, Elton Garrison, said he heard the wailing tornado sirens and had just laid down at home about a half-mile (1 kilometer) away when his phone rang. He recognized his mother’s number, but there was no voice on the other end when he answered. “I thought, `That’s weird,”’ he said.

Then his mother called back, and delivered a chilling message: “We’re trapped.”

He said when he arrived at his parent’s home, he found it blocked by debris and sitting with another trailer on top of it. He began clearing a path to the home so that he could eventually lift a portion of an outside wall just enough so that all five occupants could slip beneath it and escape.

“My parents were in there and two of my kids, one 9 and the other 12. … My main emotion was fear,” said Elton Garrison, who has lived in El Reno for about 26 years. “I couldn’t get them out of there quick enough.”

He said he wasn’t alarmed by the warning sirens when he first heard them at home.

​”We hear them all the time here, so it didn’t seem like a big deal. … I heard a lot of rain with the wind. But when it kind of got calm all of a sudden, that’s when it didn’t feel right.”

He said his parents had only recently recovered after losing their previous home to a fire a few years ago.

“Now this,” he said, before expressing gratitude that everyone inside his parents’ home had emerged without serious injury.

In the next breath, he added: “Items can be replaced. Lives can’t.”

The storm is the latest to hit the flood-weary central U.S. and dumped yet more rain in the region’s already bloated waterways. In Tulsa, authorities advised residents of some neighborhoods on Sunday to consider leaving for higher ground because the Arkansas River is stressing the city’s old levee system.

Downriver and about 100 miles (161 kilometers) southeast of Tulsa in Arkansas’ second-largest city, Fort Smith, residents were preparing for what meteorologists are predicting will be the worst flooding in recorded history. 

Build a better website in less than an hour. Start for free at us.

Tornadoes Rake 2 Oklahoma Cities, Killing 2 and Injuring 29

A tornado leveled a motel and tore through a mobile home park near Oklahoma City overnight, killing two people and injuring at least 29 others before a second twister raked a suburb of Tulsa more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) away, authorities said Sunday.

The first tornado touched down in El Reno, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) west of Oklahoma City, late Saturday night. It crossed an interstate and walloped the American Budget Value Inn before ripping through the Skyview Estates trailer park, flipping and leveling homes, Mayor Matt White said at a news conference.

“It’s a tragic scene out there,” White said, adding later that, “People have absolutely lost everything.” He said the city established a GoFundMe site, the City of El Reno Tornado Relief Fund, for affected families. Several other businesses were also damaged, though not to the same extent as the motel.

​The two people who were killed were in the mobile home park, White said. He did not provide additional details about them. The 29 people who were injured were taken to hospitals, where some were undergoing surgery. Some of the injuries were deemed critical, he said.

The National Weather Service gave the tornado an EF3 rating, meaning it had wind speeds of 136-165 mph (219-266 kph). Personnel who investigated the damage said the tornado began around 10:28 p.m. Saturday and lasted for four minutes. The tornado was about 75 yards wide at its widest point and was on the ground for 2.2 miles (3.5 kilometers).

The tornado was spawned by a powerful storm system that rolled through the state — the latest in a week of violent storms to hit the flood-weary Plains and Midwest that have been blamed for at least 11 deaths, including the two killed in El Reno.

Early Sunday, another tornado destroyed several buildings and downed trees and power lines in the Tulsa suburb of Sapulpa, which is 110 miles (177 kilometers) northeast of El Reno. Pete Snyder, a hydrometeorological technician with the weather service in Tulsa, said crews were assessing damage to determine the tornado’s rating. The area also experienced damage from strong straight-line winds, he said.

The Sapulpa Police Department said on its Facebook page that it hadn’t heard of any deaths and that only a few minor injuries had been reported. 

Residents wandered around after sunrise to survey the damage, carefully avoiding fallen utility poles that blocked some streets. Among the buildings that were destroyed was a historic railroad building built in the early 1900s that the Farmers Feed Store had been using for storage. A furniture store’s warehouse was also destroyed.

In El Reno, emergency crews sifted through the rubble at the trailer park and motel, where the second story collapsed into a pile of debris strewn about the first floor and parking lot.

​Tweety Garrison, 63, told The Associated Press that she was in her mobile home with her husband, two young grandchildren and a family friend when she heard the storm coming and immediately hit the ground. Moments later, she heard her neighbor’s mobile home slam into hers before it flipped over and landed on her roof.

Garrison said the incident lasted five to 10 minutes and that she received a tornado warning on her phone but the sirens didn’t go off until after the twister hit.

Her 32-year-old son, Elton Garrison, said he heard the wailing tornado sirens and had just laid down at home about a half-mile (1 kilometer) away when his phone rang. He recognized his mother’s number, but there was no voice on the other end when he answered. “I thought, `That’s weird,”’ he said.

Then his mother called back, and delivered a chilling message: “We’re trapped.”

He said when he arrived at his parent’s home, he found it blocked by debris and sitting with another trailer on top of it. He began clearing a path to the home so that he could eventually lift a portion of an outside wall just enough so that all five occupants could slip beneath it and escape.

“My parents were in there and two of my kids, one 9 and the other 12. … My main emotion was fear,” said Elton Garrison, who has lived in El Reno for about 26 years. “I couldn’t get them out of there quick enough.”

He said he wasn’t alarmed by the warning sirens when he first heard them at home.

​”We hear them all the time here, so it didn’t seem like a big deal. … I heard a lot of rain with the wind. But when it kind of got calm all of a sudden, that’s when it didn’t feel right.”

He said his parents had only recently recovered after losing their previous home to a fire a few years ago.

“Now this,” he said, before expressing gratitude that everyone inside his parents’ home had emerged without serious injury.

In the next breath, he added: “Items can be replaced. Lives can’t.”

The storm is the latest to hit the flood-weary central U.S. and dumped yet more rain in the region’s already bloated waterways. In Tulsa, authorities advised residents of some neighborhoods on Sunday to consider leaving for higher ground because the Arkansas River is stressing the city’s old levee system.

Downriver and about 100 miles (161 kilometers) southeast of Tulsa in Arkansas’ second-largest city, Fort Smith, residents were preparing for what meteorologists are predicting will be the worst flooding in recorded history. 

Build a better website in less than an hour. Start for free at us.

Trump: Japan-Mediated Iran Talks ‘Would Be Fine’

U.S. President Donald Trump says he would be fine with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe serving as a mediator between the United States and Iran.

“The prime minister has already spoken to me about that,” Trump said in response to a question from VOA.”And I do believe that Iran would like to talk and if they’d like to talk we’d like to talk also. We’ll see what happens. But I know for a fact that the prime minister is very close with the leadership of Iran.”

Trump spoke as he and Abe opened a meeting Monday at the Japanese state guest house.

U.S. – Iran tensions escalated in recent weeks as Trump ended waivers that had allowed some of Iran’s biggest oil buyers to continue making purchases despite new U.S. sanctions, and as he increased the U.S. military presence in the Gulf in response to what he said were Iranian threats.

Trump and Abe are scheduled to hold a news conference Monday afternoon after their talks that were to include military and trade matters.

 

No quick breakthrough on trade is expected although both leaders have expressed a desire for a bilateral trade pact after Trump pulled the United States out of the comprehensive 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Tokyo had spearheaded with Washington under Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama.

Trump said there would be an announcement on trade coming probably in August “that will be very good for both countries,” and reiterated his desire to see a better trade balance between them.

Earlier Monday, Trump became the first foreign leader to meet with Emperor Naruhito, who ascended to the throne May 1.

Trump and first lady Melania Trump took part in an elaborate welcoming ceremony at the Imperial Palace.

The U.S. delegation was greeted at the palace by several dozen elementary schoolchildren waving Japanese and American flags. A military band played the U.S. “Star Spangled Banner” and Kimigayo anthems. 

The emperor is hosting an imperial banquet at the palace Monday night.

On Sunday, Trump and National Security Advisor John Bolton were publicly at odds about the seriousness of the threat currently posed by North Korea.

 

In a Sunday morning tweet from Tokyo, Trump issued a retort to Bolton who the previous day here had told reporters that there was “no doubt” North Korea’s recent test firing of short-range ballistic missiles violated a United Nations resolution.

 

Bolton’s remark was the first by a U.S. official describing the North Korean launches as a violation of U.N. resolutions.

“North Korea fired off some small weapons which disturbed some of my people and others, but not me,” said Trump in his tweet.

Trump’s tweet on North Korea caused confusion and consternation, not only within the administration but also among America’s allies in the region, acknowledged senior White House officials traveling with the president

Some analysts say the missile launches are indeed a concern.  

“It’s pretty clear the missile launch was a violation of U.N. sanctions, whatever the range. The reality is that U.S. forces and civilians in South Korea and Japan are already in range of North Koreans missiles, so accepting shorter or mid-range missiles puts the United States at risk, not to mention our allies Japan and the Republic of Korea,” Kevin Maher, a Washington security consultant and a former head of the State Department’s Office of Japan Affairs, tells VOA. “These realities are inconvenient if the objective is to show a personal relationship with the dictator Kim Jung UN will stop North Korea’s continuing nuclear and missile programs.”

 

The U.S. president also expressed confidence the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, “will keep his promise to me” in moving towards denuclearization.

Trump said Monday there is “good respect” between the United States and North Korea, and he thinks “lots of good things will come.”

Trump and Kim have held two summits – in Singapore and Hanoi. Neither has led to any significant breakthroughs although the meetings were seen as reducing tensions between the two countries which have no diplomatic relations and their leaders had never met before.

The United States and North Korea were belligerents in a three-year war in the early 1950’s which devastated the Korean peninsula. It ended with an armistice, but no peace treaty has ever been signed. 

 

Bolton, who 13 months ago replaced retired Army General H.R. McMaster as the president’s national security adviser, is known as a hardliner who distrusts Pyongyang’s intentions.

 

North Korea has a long track record of violating international agreements and has repeatedly defied U.N. sanctions against its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.

Before Trump departs Japan on Tuesday, he is to visit the naval base at Yokosuka to tour a Japanese helicopter carrier and address American service personnel in conjunction with the U.S. Memorial Day holiday (observed on Monday).

Build a better website in less than an hour. Start for free at us.

Trump: Japan-Mediated Iran Talks ‘Would Be Fine’

U.S. President Donald Trump says he would be fine with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe serving as a mediator between the United States and Iran.

“The prime minister has already spoken to me about that,” Trump said in response to a question from VOA.”And I do believe that Iran would like to talk and if they’d like to talk we’d like to talk also. We’ll see what happens. But I know for a fact that the prime minister is very close with the leadership of Iran.”

Trump spoke as he and Abe opened a meeting Monday at the Japanese state guest house.

U.S. – Iran tensions escalated in recent weeks as Trump ended waivers that had allowed some of Iran’s biggest oil buyers to continue making purchases despite new U.S. sanctions, and as he increased the U.S. military presence in the Gulf in response to what he said were Iranian threats.

Trump and Abe are scheduled to hold a news conference Monday afternoon after their talks that were to include military and trade matters.

 

No quick breakthrough on trade is expected although both leaders have expressed a desire for a bilateral trade pact after Trump pulled the United States out of the comprehensive 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Tokyo had spearheaded with Washington under Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama.

Trump said there would be an announcement on trade coming probably in August “that will be very good for both countries,” and reiterated his desire to see a better trade balance between them.

Earlier Monday, Trump became the first foreign leader to meet with Emperor Naruhito, who ascended to the throne May 1.

Trump and first lady Melania Trump took part in an elaborate welcoming ceremony at the Imperial Palace.

The U.S. delegation was greeted at the palace by several dozen elementary schoolchildren waving Japanese and American flags. A military band played the U.S. “Star Spangled Banner” and Kimigayo anthems. 

The emperor is hosting an imperial banquet at the palace Monday night.

On Sunday, Trump and National Security Advisor John Bolton were publicly at odds about the seriousness of the threat currently posed by North Korea.

 

In a Sunday morning tweet from Tokyo, Trump issued a retort to Bolton who the previous day here had told reporters that there was “no doubt” North Korea’s recent test firing of short-range ballistic missiles violated a United Nations resolution.

 

Bolton’s remark was the first by a U.S. official describing the North Korean launches as a violation of U.N. resolutions.

“North Korea fired off some small weapons which disturbed some of my people and others, but not me,” said Trump in his tweet.

Trump’s tweet on North Korea caused confusion and consternation, not only within the administration but also among America’s allies in the region, acknowledged senior White House officials traveling with the president

Some analysts say the missile launches are indeed a concern.  

“It’s pretty clear the missile launch was a violation of U.N. sanctions, whatever the range. The reality is that U.S. forces and civilians in South Korea and Japan are already in range of North Koreans missiles, so accepting shorter or mid-range missiles puts the United States at risk, not to mention our allies Japan and the Republic of Korea,” Kevin Maher, a Washington security consultant and a former head of the State Department’s Office of Japan Affairs, tells VOA. “These realities are inconvenient if the objective is to show a personal relationship with the dictator Kim Jung UN will stop North Korea’s continuing nuclear and missile programs.”

 

The U.S. president also expressed confidence the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, “will keep his promise to me” in moving towards denuclearization.

Trump said Monday there is “good respect” between the United States and North Korea, and he thinks “lots of good things will come.”

Trump and Kim have held two summits – in Singapore and Hanoi. Neither has led to any significant breakthroughs although the meetings were seen as reducing tensions between the two countries which have no diplomatic relations and their leaders had never met before.

The United States and North Korea were belligerents in a three-year war in the early 1950’s which devastated the Korean peninsula. It ended with an armistice, but no peace treaty has ever been signed. 

 

Bolton, who 13 months ago replaced retired Army General H.R. McMaster as the president’s national security adviser, is known as a hardliner who distrusts Pyongyang’s intentions.

 

North Korea has a long track record of violating international agreements and has repeatedly defied U.N. sanctions against its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.

Before Trump departs Japan on Tuesday, he is to visit the naval base at Yokosuka to tour a Japanese helicopter carrier and address American service personnel in conjunction with the U.S. Memorial Day holiday (observed on Monday).

Build a better website in less than an hour. Start for free at us.

American Football Legend Bart Starr Dies at 85

Former U.S. football superstar Bart Starr, who led his Green Bay Packers to victory in the first two Super Bowls, has died at 85.

The Packers gave no cause of death, but Starr had not fully recovered from two strokes and a heart attack five years ago.

Starr arrived in Green Bay in 1956 after playing college football for the University of Alabama.

He was a solid but unremarkable player until legendary coach Vince Lombardi took over the Packers in 1959.

Starr’s name became synonymous with football greatness in the 1960s.

Starr and Lombardi led Green Bay to five NFL championships, including wins in Super Bowls I and II.

The 1967 Super Bowl will be forever known as the Ice Bowl, with wind chills as low as minus 56 degrees Celsius at one point.

Despite the miserable conditions and with just minutes to go, Starr completed five consecutive passes and ran the ball into the end zone himself, to come from behind and beat the Dallas Cowboys, 21-17.

Starr retired from playing in 1971 and later coached the Packers. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977.

Starr co-founded a ranch for troubled boys and the NFL’s annual Bart Starr Award goes to the player who shows outstanding charitable traits.

 

Build a better website in less than an hour. Start for free at us.

American Football Legend Bart Starr Dies at 85

Former U.S. football superstar Bart Starr, who led his Green Bay Packers to victory in the first two Super Bowls, has died at 85.

The Packers gave no cause of death, but Starr had not fully recovered from two strokes and a heart attack five years ago.

Starr arrived in Green Bay in 1956 after playing college football for the University of Alabama.

He was a solid but unremarkable player until legendary coach Vince Lombardi took over the Packers in 1959.

Starr’s name became synonymous with football greatness in the 1960s.

Starr and Lombardi led Green Bay to five NFL championships, including wins in Super Bowls I and II.

The 1967 Super Bowl will be forever known as the Ice Bowl, with wind chills as low as minus 56 degrees Celsius at one point.

Despite the miserable conditions and with just minutes to go, Starr completed five consecutive passes and ran the ball into the end zone himself, to come from behind and beat the Dallas Cowboys, 21-17.

Starr retired from playing in 1971 and later coached the Packers. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977.

Starr co-founded a ranch for troubled boys and the NFL’s annual Bart Starr Award goes to the player who shows outstanding charitable traits.

 

Build a better website in less than an hour. Start for free at us.

Smaller Pro-EU Parties Surge in European Elections; Centrists Lose Seats

Smaller European parties saw a surge of support in continent-wide elections for the European Parliament in what politicians and analysts agree will likely be seen as the most consequential since 1979, when European Union voters first began casting ballots for the bloc’s legislature.

Early results Sunday suggested the 751-seat parliament will be more fragmented than ever before. Smaller parties, both euroskeptic and pro-EU ones, fared well at the expense of their more established and bigger center-right and center-left rivals.

Pro-EU Liberals and Greens will hold the balance of power in the new parliament, which will sit for five years. Philippe Lamberts, leader of the Greens group, said: “To make a stable majority in this parliament, the Greens are now indispensable.”

The rise of new parties appears to have smashed the duopoly of control of the parliament traditionally enjoyed by the center-right European People’s Party (EPP) and the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D).

National populist parties

As the results came in, nationalist populists were on course to win just under a quarter of the seats in the parliament, but they had set their sights on snatching a third of them. In France, President Emmanuel Macron’s La Republique En Marche was defeated, coming in second to Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally. Le Pen welcomed the win, saying it had delivered a serious blow to the authority of the French president.

In Italy, too, nationalist populists led by Matteo Salvini, the deputy prime minister, made important gains. And eurosceptic hard-right parties topped the polls in Britain, Poland and Hungary.

But the bigger takeaway from the election was how well pro-EU Greens and Liberals did. In several countries Green parties saw their support jump from five years ago. In Germany, the Greens made major gains at the expense of country’s left-wing Social Democrats, making a historic breakthrough by securing more than 20% of the vote.

Carsten Schneider, a German Social Democrats lawmaker, acknowledged it was a “bitter result, a defeat for us.”

“I think the main issue was climate change and we didn’t succeed in putting that front and center, alongside the big social issues,” he added.

In Ireland, too, Greens were celebrating, clinching three of Ireland’s 13 seats. The sudden crest in support for the Greens comes amid rising anxiety across Europe over the impact of climate change and biodiversity loss.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Eric Varadkar tweeted: “I want to congratulate the Greens on a very good election. It’s a very clear message from the public that they want us to do more on climate action — and we’ve got that message.”

Voters in 21 countries went to the polls Sunday. In seven other nations, including Britain, voters cast their ballots last week with the results being held back until all countries had completed the balloting.

Bloc gaining power

The European Parliament has become more powerful in recent years — for much of its existence it was just a talking shop (an unproductive bureaucratic agency). Now it helps pick the president of the European Commission and contributes to the shaping of trade and digital regulations. Seats are allocated under a form of proportional representation.

For years, the center-right EPP and the center-left S&D, both pro-EU parties, have together commanded an absolute majority in the parliament and its leaders have more often than not been able to settle disagreements in behind-the-scenes meetings.

In Britain, in an election that wasn’t meant to have been — the country was due to have left the EU by now — the newly formed Brexit Party of Nigel Farage trounced both of Britain’s two main established parties, the Conservatives and Labour, signaling it will likely be a threat to the pair in a general election, which many observers think will have to be called this year.

Both the Conservatives and Labour had been braced for a backlash from voters over Brexit, with the Brexit Party and pro-EU Liberal Democrats expected to do well. The predictions turned out to be right, with the ruling Conservatives recording their worst election performance in their history. The turnout in Britain was higher than previous European polls — as it was across all of the bloc where it averaged 50%, the highest rate since 1994.

British Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan blamed British Prime Minister Theresa May’s reluctance to resign from office for the defeat. On Twitter, he said: “Had the PM announced her resignation even 24 hours earlier, something might have been salvaged.”

Still a strong pro-EU majority

The reduction in the power of establishment parties could potentially make it more difficult for the bloc to agree on collective action when it comes to economic, trade and foreign policies, but EU officials were breathing a sigh of relief Sunday night when it became clear there would still be a strong pro-EU majority in the parliament.

The center-right EPP will likely hold on to 173 seats in the EU parliament, down from 221 in 2014, while the Socialist group will fall from 191 to 147 seats. The Liberals were expected to rise from 67 seats to more than 100; the Greens increased from 50 to 71.

Socialists looked set to top the poll in Spain. And traditional left parties fared better than had been predicted in Italy and the Netherlands.

 

Build a better website in less than an hour. Start for free at us.

Smaller Pro-EU Parties Surge in European Elections; Centrists Lose Seats

Smaller European parties saw a surge of support in continent-wide elections for the European Parliament in what politicians and analysts agree will likely be seen as the most consequential since 1979, when European Union voters first began casting ballots for the bloc’s legislature.

Early results Sunday suggested the 751-seat parliament will be more fragmented than ever before. Smaller parties, both euroskeptic and pro-EU ones, fared well at the expense of their more established and bigger center-right and center-left rivals.

Pro-EU Liberals and Greens will hold the balance of power in the new parliament, which will sit for five years. Philippe Lamberts, leader of the Greens group, said: “To make a stable majority in this parliament, the Greens are now indispensable.”

The rise of new parties appears to have smashed the duopoly of control of the parliament traditionally enjoyed by the center-right European People’s Party (EPP) and the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D).

National populist parties

As the results came in, nationalist populists were on course to win just under a quarter of the seats in the parliament, but they had set their sights on snatching a third of them. In France, President Emmanuel Macron’s La Republique En Marche was defeated, coming in second to Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally. Le Pen welcomed the win, saying it had delivered a serious blow to the authority of the French president.

In Italy, too, nationalist populists led by Matteo Salvini, the deputy prime minister, made important gains. And eurosceptic hard-right parties topped the polls in Britain, Poland and Hungary.

But the bigger takeaway from the election was how well pro-EU Greens and Liberals did. In several countries Green parties saw their support jump from five years ago. In Germany, the Greens made major gains at the expense of country’s left-wing Social Democrats, making a historic breakthrough by securing more than 20% of the vote.

Carsten Schneider, a German Social Democrats lawmaker, acknowledged it was a “bitter result, a defeat for us.”

“I think the main issue was climate change and we didn’t succeed in putting that front and center, alongside the big social issues,” he added.

In Ireland, too, Greens were celebrating, clinching three of Ireland’s 13 seats. The sudden crest in support for the Greens comes amid rising anxiety across Europe over the impact of climate change and biodiversity loss.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Eric Varadkar tweeted: “I want to congratulate the Greens on a very good election. It’s a very clear message from the public that they want us to do more on climate action — and we’ve got that message.”

Voters in 21 countries went to the polls Sunday. In seven other nations, including Britain, voters cast their ballots last week with the results being held back until all countries had completed the balloting.

Bloc gaining power

The European Parliament has become more powerful in recent years — for much of its existence it was just a talking shop (an unproductive bureaucratic agency). Now it helps pick the president of the European Commission and contributes to the shaping of trade and digital regulations. Seats are allocated under a form of proportional representation.

For years, the center-right EPP and the center-left S&D, both pro-EU parties, have together commanded an absolute majority in the parliament and its leaders have more often than not been able to settle disagreements in behind-the-scenes meetings.

In Britain, in an election that wasn’t meant to have been — the country was due to have left the EU by now — the newly formed Brexit Party of Nigel Farage trounced both of Britain’s two main established parties, the Conservatives and Labour, signaling it will likely be a threat to the pair in a general election, which many observers think will have to be called this year.

Both the Conservatives and Labour had been braced for a backlash from voters over Brexit, with the Brexit Party and pro-EU Liberal Democrats expected to do well. The predictions turned out to be right, with the ruling Conservatives recording their worst election performance in their history. The turnout in Britain was higher than previous European polls — as it was across all of the bloc where it averaged 50%, the highest rate since 1994.

British Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan blamed British Prime Minister Theresa May’s reluctance to resign from office for the defeat. On Twitter, he said: “Had the PM announced her resignation even 24 hours earlier, something might have been salvaged.”

Still a strong pro-EU majority

The reduction in the power of establishment parties could potentially make it more difficult for the bloc to agree on collective action when it comes to economic, trade and foreign policies, but EU officials were breathing a sigh of relief Sunday night when it became clear there would still be a strong pro-EU majority in the parliament.

The center-right EPP will likely hold on to 173 seats in the EU parliament, down from 221 in 2014, while the Socialist group will fall from 191 to 147 seats. The Liberals were expected to rise from 67 seats to more than 100; the Greens increased from 50 to 71.

Socialists looked set to top the poll in Spain. And traditional left parties fared better than had been predicted in Italy and the Netherlands.

 

Build a better website in less than an hour. Start for free at us.