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BERLIN (AP) — A 28-year-old German-Russian citizen took out a five-figure loan to bet that Borussia Dortmund shares would drop, then bombed the soccer team’s bus in an attack he tried to disguise as Islamic terrorism in a scheme to net millions, German officials said Friday.

The suspect, identified only as Sergej W. in line with German privacy laws, was arrested by a police tactical team early Friday near the southwestern city of Tuebingen, federal prosecutors said.

“We are working on the assumption that the suspect is responsible for the attack against the team bus of Borussia Dortmund,” prosecutors’ spokeswoman Frauke Koehler told a news conference Friday.

She said the man came to the attention of investigators because he had made “suspicious options purchases” for shares in Borussia Dortmund, the only top-league German club listed on the stock exchange, on the same day as the April 11 attack.

W. had taken out a loan of “several tens of thousands of euros” days before the attack and bought a large number of so-called put options, betting on a drop in Dortmund’s share price, she said.

“A significant share price drop could have been expected if a player had been seriously injured or even killed as a result of the attack,” according to prosecutors, though Koehler said the precise profit W. might have expected was still being calculated.

Ralf Jaeger, the top security official in North Rhine-Westphalia state, said the suspect had hoped to earn millions.

“The man appears to have wanted to commit murder out of greed,” Jaeger said.

Investigators found notes at the scene claiming responsibility on behalf of Islamic extremists, which Germany’s top security official, Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, said was a “particularly perfidious way to toy with people’s fears.”

He said the suspect had been under close surveillance for about a week and that the evidence against him was significant.

“The fact that someone wanted to enrich himself by killing people to influence the stock market is particularly reprehensible,” he said.

The suspect faces charges of attempted murder, causing an explosion and serious bodily harm, and will appear before a judge later Friday to determine if there is enough evidence against him to keep him in custody, Koehler said.

She said investigators believe W. acted alone — there are “no indications of possible helpers” — but would continue to probe the possibility he had accomplices.

Dortmund defender Marc Bartra and a police officer were injured in the triple blasts as the bus was heading to the team’s stadium for a Champions League game. Bartra had to have surgery on his wrist and arm and is out of action for several weeks.

The team’s shares did slide slightly after the attack, but quickly recovered.

Dortmund’s first-leg match against Monaco was postponed and the team lost 3-2 to Monaco the next day. Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel criticized UEFA and top soccer officials for forcing the team to play such a top-level match so quickly after an attack on their team.

Prosecutors said they traced the computer used to purchase the put options to the luxury hotel in Dortmund where the team had been staying. They said W. had also booked a room there and placed three explosives, packed with shrapnel, along the route the bus would take to reach the stadium for their match against Monaco.

“The explosive devices were detonated at the optimum time,” prosecutors said, noting that the team bus was equipped only with security glass and not reinforced glass. The bomb shattered several windows on the bus, wounding Bartra. A police officer accompanying the bus also suffered trauma.

The club thanked authorities in a statement. “The fact that no further people were injured or killed was, as we now know, purely a matter of luck,” it said on Facebook.

Dortmund captain Marcel Schmelzer said the team needed to learn all it could about the attack.

“This information is important to everyone who sat in the bus because it would make it significantly easier to process (what happened),” he was quoted as saying.

After the three identical notes claiming responsibility for the attack were found at the scene, investigators initially considered the possibility that it might have been the work of Islamic extremists.

The notes demanded that Germany withdraw reconnaissance jets assisting the fight against Islamic State group and close the U.S. Ramstein Air Base in Germany. But experts said the letter’s mix of correct, complicated German and obvious mistakes suggested it was a red herring — as were two subsequent claims pointing to left-wing and right-wing extremists.

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David Rising contributed to this report.

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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — An Iranian panel charged with vetting candidates approved the country’s incumbent president and five challengers but disqualified former hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from running in next month’s presidential election, state television reported Thursday.

The decision by the Guardian Council means that President Hassan Rouhani, a relative moderate, will face off against a field that includes two prominent hard-liners: Ebrahim Raisi, who is considered close to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf.

The Guardian Council, a cleric-dominated body that vets candidates, said it had compiled a final list of candidates earlier Thursday and that the Interior Ministry would announce their names by Sunday.

The panel controls elections and must approve all laws passed by parliament. It has never allowed a woman to run for president and routinely rejects political dissidents and others calling for dramatic reform.

Other presidential candidates who made the cut, according to an Interior Ministry statement carried by state TV, include moderate Senior Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri, former conservative culture minister Mostafa Mirsalim, and former pro-reform vice president Mostafa Hashemitaba.

Ahmadinejad, who remains a deeply polarizing figure even among Iranian hard-liners, had shocked the country by registering last week. Khamenei had previously urged him not to run.

Ahmadinejad was president from 2005 to 2013, and was best known abroad for his incendiary rhetoric toward Israel, his questioning of the scale of the Holocaust and his efforts to ramp up Iran’s nuclear program.

He said upon registering that he was doing so to support his former Vice President Hamid Baghaei, who also failed to receive approval to run.

“He was an unwanted guest in the election,” Tehran-based political analyst Soroush Farhadi said of Ahmadinejad’s disqualification. He predicted the former president would nonetheless remain politically active during the campaign to create a “quasi-opposition face for himself” for the future.

Ali Akbar Javanfekr, a close ally of Ahmadinejad, downplayed the two candidates’ exclusion, saying on social media that Ahmadinejad and Baghaei had only registered out of “national, religious and revolutionary duty.”

“Thank god, the Guardian Council removed the duty from their shoulders,” he wrote.

More than 1,600 people registered to run for the May 19 election.

Under Iran’s clerically overseen system, the president is subordinate to Khamenei, who is Iran’s top decision-maker and has the final say on all matters of state. Khamenei appoints half the Guardian Council’s members.

Rouhani, 68, is hoping voters will deliver him a second term to see out his promises of greater personal freedoms at home and openness to the wider world as he works to turn around Iran’s sagging economy — a top priority for many voters.

The election will be in many ways a referendum on his administration’s negotiation of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. That agreement gave Iran relief from crippling economic sanctions in exchange for limits to its nuclear program, but has been assailed by hard-liners who believe Iran gave too much away in exchange for too little.

While reliable polling information is not widely available, most political observers see Rouhani as the current front-runner even though he has been unable to significantly turn around Iran’s slumping economy. Every incumbent since Khamenei himself took the presidency in 1981 has won re-election.

Rouhani, though no radical, has the support of many reform-minded Iranians. Khamenei himself also might favor a second term for Rouhani despite his closeness to more hard-line candidates.

“Iranian presidents tend to become much weaker in their second terms, with a key cause being their greater susceptibility to control by the supreme leader and his institutions,” Mehdi Khalaji, an Iran expert at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, wrote this week. “This helps explain Khamenei’s possible abstention from active support for the hard-line candidates.”

Rouhani’s toughest challenge could come from Raisi, 56, a hard-line cleric and professor of Islamic law who has promised to fight poverty and corruption if he’s elected. Many hard-liners have rallied around Raisi, who got a boost last year when Khamenei appointed him head of an Islamic charity that holds extensive business interests in Iran.

He has held several judiciary positions, including serving as attorney general from 2014 to 2016, and is mentioned as a possible successor for Khamenei himself.

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Schreck reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

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PARIS (AP) — The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the attack that killed a Paris police officer. .

An attacker with an automatic weapon opened fire on police on Paris’ iconic Champs-Elysees Thursday night, killing one officer and seriously wounding two others before police shot and killed him.

Paris police spokeswoman Johanna Primevert told The Associated Press that the attacker targeted officers guarding the area near the Franklin Roosevelt subway station at the center of the shopping avenue popular with tourists. She said he appeared to be acting alone.

Police and soldiers sealed off the area, ordering tourists back into their hotels and blocking people from approaching the scene.

The Paris prosecutor’s office said counterterrorism investigators are involved in the probe. Two police officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing investigation, said the attacker had been flagged as an extremist. They had no other details about him.

The attack came three days before the first round of balloting in France’s tense presidential election. Security is high preceding the vote after police said they arrested two men Tuesday in what they described as a thwarted terror attack.

In Thursday’s attack, French Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said on BFM television that a man came out of a car and opened fire on a police vehicle. He said officers were “deliberately” targeted.

Speaking in Washington during a news conference with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, U.S. President Donald Trump said the shooting in Paris “looks like another terrorist attack” and sent condolences to France.

Emergency vehicles blocked the wide avenue lined with shops that cuts across central Paris between the Arc de Triomphe and the Tuileries Gardens, normally packed with cars and tourists. Subway stations were closed off.

The gunfire sent scores of tourists fleeing into side streets.

“They were running, running,” said 55-year-old Badi Ftaïti, who lives in the area. “Some were crying. There were tens, maybe even hundreds of them.”

Security forces are more widespread in Paris since deadly Islamic extremist attacks in recent years, and France remains under a state of emergency.

French President Francois Hollande scheduled an emergency meeting Thursday night.

The incident recalled two recent attacks on soldiers providing security at prominent locations around Paris, one at the Louvre museum in February and one at Orly airport last month.

A witness identified only as Ines told French television station BFM that she heard a shooting and saw a man’s body on the ground before police quickly evacuated the area where she works in a shop.

A French television station hosting a televised event with the 11 candidates running for president briefly interrupted its broadcast to report the shootings.

None of the candidates immediately commented.

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Associated Press Writers Lori Hinnant and Raphael Satter contributed to this report.

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CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Two people were shot dead as opponents of President Nicolas Maduro flooded the streets of Caracas and other Venezuelan cities Wednesday, battling security forces in what’s been dubbed the “mother of all marches” against the embattled socialist leader.

Tens of thousands of protesters made an unsuccessful attempt to march to downtown Caracas as security forces fired tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowd. Dozens even had to slide down a concrete embankment and into the Guaire River to escape the noxious fumes.

Carlos Romero, just three days away from his 18th birthday, was walking to play soccer with friends when he bumped into pro-government militias stalking a pocket of protesters, family spokesman Melvin Sojo told The Associated Press, based on the accounts of two people who rushed Romero to the hospital after he was hit by gunfire.

“This was supposed to be a happy moment but instead I came home to see my brother die,” said Sojo, who grew up in the Romero home and returned Tuesday from Ecuador, where he had been living the past year.

There was no immediate confirmation that the militias shot the boy, and some government officials cast doubt on the account, saying Romero was killed during an attempted assault.

In the western city of San Cristobal, a 23-year-old woman identified as Paola Ramirez was shot dead by similar groups, according to Mayor Patricia Gutierrez, who said the groups circled demonstrators on motorcycles as they were heading home from the demonstration.

The two killings bring to seven the death toll since protests began three weeks ago over the Supreme Court’s decision to strip the opposition-controlled congress of its last remaining powers, a move that was later reversed but not before enraging the opposition and causing a storm of international criticism. The charges that Venezuela is moving toward a full-blown dictatorship come against the backdrop of an ever-deepening economic crisis.

As night fell, a few thousand people were still gathered in a plaza in wealthy eastern Caracas as residents in nearby buildings banged pots and pans in a show of support. A group of youths with their faces covered tore down street signs and billboards for makeshift barricades. They then launched rocks and Molotov cocktails against lines of police and national guardsmen who responded with tear gas in cat-and-mouse skirmishes likely to last deep into the night.

The Supreme Court’s decision energized Venezuela’s fractious opposition, which had been struggling to channel growing disgust with Maduro over widespread food shortages, triple-digit inflation and rampant crime. They’ve called for another day of protests Thursday.

“We’ll see each other tomorrow at the same place and same time because our fight for democracy doesn’t end,” former presidential candidate Henrique Capriles, who the government last week barred from running for public office, said at an evening press conference to announce the opposition’s next steps.

Opponents are now pushing for Maduro’s removal through early elections and the release of scores of political prisoners. The government last year abruptly postponed regional elections the opposition was heavily favored to win and cut off a petition drive to force a referendum seeking Maduro’s removal before elections late next year.

Maduro, addressing supporters at a large countermarch, seemed open to some sort of electoral showdown. He said he was “anxious” to see elections take place sometime “soon” and repeated his call for dialogue, saying he had a proposal he wanted to make the opposition.

“Today they attempted to take power by force and we defeated them again,” said Maduro.

Opposition marchers included Liliana Machuca, who earns about $20 a month holding two jobs teaching literature. Although she doesn’t expect change overnight, she said protesting is the only option the opposition has after what she says are scores of abuses committed by the government.

“This is like a chess game and each side is moving whatever pieces they can,” said Machuca, her face covered in a white, sticky substance to protect herself from the noxious effects of tear gas. “We’ll see who tires out first.”

A short block away, a sea of red-shirted government supporters marched by calmly, some dancing to a salsa band that tried to provide an air of normalcy to the otherwise tense political standoff that has paralyzed Venezuela the past few weeks.

Many were state workers like Leidy Marquez, who was bused in from Tachira state, on the other side of the country, along with co-workers at state-run oil giant PDVSA.

“The opposition is trying to provoke a conflict but they aren’t going to achieve their goal,” said Marquez, wearing a shirt emblazoned with the eyes of the late Hugo Chavez, a symbol of revolutionary zeal in Venezuela.

The government has responded to the near-daily protests with its own show of force: jailing hundreds of demonstrators, barring Capriles from running for office and standing by as pro-government groups violently attack opposition members of congress.

The president also signed orders on TV late Tuesday activating the “green phase” of enigmatic military plans to defend Venezuela against what he describes as U.S.-backed attempts to sow chaos and overthrow him. He also said authorities in recent hours had rounded up unnamed members of an underground cell of conspirators at Caracas hotels, including some who were allegedly planning to stir up violence at the march.

Maduro didn’t provide evidence to back his claim that a coup attempt was underway, and the opposition rejected his comments as a desperate attempt to intimidate Venezuelans from exercising their constitutional right to protest.

“We’re convinced the country knows who the true coup mongers are and it’s against them we will march,” the opposition said in a Tuesday late-night statement.

Foreign governments are also warning about the increasingly bellicose rhetoric and repressive stance of the government.

Maduro this week said he was dramatically expanding civilian militias created by Chavez and giving each member a gun. There’s also criticism that the government isn’t doing enough to restrain the collectives — motorcycle-driving militants — that have operated like shock troops firing on protesters as security forces stand by.

“We’re a peaceful people, but we’re also armed,” Energy Minister Luis Motta Dominguez told state workers gathering for Wednesday’s rally.

The U.S. State Department said those who commit human rights abuses and undermine Venezuela’s democratic institutions would be held accountable.

“We are concerned that the government of Maduro is violating its own constitution and is not allowing the opposition to have their voices heard, nor allowing them to organize in ways that expresses the views of the Venezuelan people,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters Wednesday.

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Joshua Goodman on Twitter: https://twitter.com/APjoshgoodman

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More Associated Press reporting on Venezuela’s problems can be found at https://www.ap.org/explore/venezuela-undone

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BEIJING (AP) — China is defending its handling of trademark applications from President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her company, saying that all such requests are handled fairly.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Lu Kang was asked about the trademarks Wednesday, a day after a href=’https://www.apnews.com/d9e34f23a64947d99e4a7d757012c509/Ivanka’s-biz-prospers-as-politics-mixes-with-business’The Associated Press reported/a that Ivanka Trump had won provisional approval for at least five marks since her father’s January inauguration. Three of those approvals were granted April 6, the day Ivanka Trump and her husband sat next to Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife for dinner at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

Lu said that China follows the law in granting trademarks and “the principle of giving equal protection to foreign trademark holders.”

Asked about the timing of the April 6 approvals, Lu said: “There are perhaps some media engaging in hyping certain gossip to hint at something undisclosed. I can tell you that they will never succeed.”

Beyond the provisionally approved trademarks, Ivanka Trump Marks LLC has 16 registered trademarks in China and more than 30 pending applications, according to China’s Trademark Office database. They collectively cover a wide range of goods and services, including cosmetics, jewelry, leather handbags, luggage, clothes, shoes, retail, spa and beauty services. Other countries where the company has pending and registered trademarks include Japan, Mexico, Turkey, Israel, Canada and Saudi Arabia.

Sales of Ivanka Trump’s brand, which she no longer manages but still owns, hit record levels in 2017 by some measures despite boycotts and several stores limiting her merchandise. U.S. imports, almost all from China, shot up an estimated 166 percent last year, according to Panjiva Inc., which tracks international imports to the United States.

In a statement Tuesday, a spokesperson for the Ivanka Trump brand said the 2017 Chinese trademarks were filed defensively to prevent counterfeiters or squatters from using her name.

Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, are trusted advisers to the president. Criminal conflict-of-interest law prohibits federal officials from participating in government matters that could impact their own financial interest or that of their spouses. Some argue that the more Ivanka Trump’s business broadens its scope, the more it threatens to encroach on the couple’s ability to deliver credible advice on core issues like trade, intellectual property and the value of the Chinese currency.

Asked about Ivanka Trump’s role in U.S.-China relations, Lu said: “We always think highly of the people who are committed to promoting China-U.S. friendship and cooperation, whether they are from the government or society, and we commend their efforts.”

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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s top aides will huddle Tuesday to discuss whether or not the U.S. should remain part of the Paris Climate accord — a global effort to cut down on climate-warming carbon emissions.

Officials will be discussing their options, with the goal of providing a recommendation to the president about the path forward, according to an administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity, despite the president’s criticism of the use of anonymous sources.



The non-binding international agreement was forged in Paris in December 2015 and allowed rich and poor countries to set their own goals to reduce carbon dioxide. It went into effect last November after it was ratified by countries, including the U.S. and China.

Trump’s top advisers are currently divided on the issue, with some, including Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt, eager for the U.S. to leave the deal.

“Paris is something that we need to really look at closely, because it’s something we need to exit, in my opinion,” Pruitt said in an interview with Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends” last week. “It’s a bad deal for America. It was an America second, third or fourth kind of approach.”

Trump pledged during his campaign to pull out of the Paris accord, but has wavered on the issue since he won the presidency.

He told the editorial board of The New York Times in an interview last year that he was, “looking at it very closely…. I have an open mind to it. We’re going to look very carefully.”

Under the agreement, the U.S. pledged to reduce its annual greenhouse gas emissions in 2025 by 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels, which would be a reduction of about 1.6 billion tons of annual emissions. Besides continuing Obama’s efforts to reduce U.S. heat-trapping gases, Trump has two general options.

One option is to pull the United States out of the non-binding agreement, which Obama enacted without U.S. Senate ratification. It typically takes countries four years to pull out of new international treaties, but because Obama enacted the accord as part of the 1992 Rio de Janeiro treaty, Trump could pull out of the older, broader treaty in one year.

Another option is to just do nothing. Trump could publicly badmouth the treaty, but not formally withdraw from it. If the U.S. stays part of the agreement, which 125 nations or groups of nations have already ratified, and fails to reach its goal, technically nothing happens. There is no climate court, no enforcement action.

And because the agreement already went into force, nothing the United States can do — even pulling out — can nullify the accord. It is in effect.

Nonetheless, a withdrawal or public announcement that the U.S. is abandoning its efforts to fight man-made climate change could spark repercussions individually from other nations, said Nigel Purvis, who was the top U.S. State Department environmental diplomat when George W. Bush pulled out of the 1997 Kyoto climate treaty.

“Any sign that the administration would not be serious will provoke an international reaction that would undermine the administration’s foreign policy,” said Purvis, an international attorney who served in Democratic and Republican administrations. Other countries, he said, take climate change seriously and could retaliate in trade deals or tariffs or balk on negotiations over international security costs.

Trump has already reversed some of former President Obama’s efforts to scale back carbon emissions to try to halt climate change, including restrictions on coal plants and drilling.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer has said the president will make up his mind on the Paris agreement before a summit of the Group of Seven leading industrial nations in Taormina, Italy in late May.

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Follow Colvin and Borenstein on Twitter at https://twitter.com/colvinj and https://twitter.com/borenbears

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PARIS (AP) — Security concerns shook France’s presidential campaign Tuesday as authorities announced arrests in a thwarted attack on the eve of the vote, and candidates urged tougher counterterrorism efforts for a country already under a state of emergency.

Security has already been a strong campaign theme, and far-right candidate Marine Le Pen hardened her tone Tuesday on foreign extremists and border controls while centrist Emmanuel Macron called for national unity and stronger intelligence.



Polls show Le Pen and Macron among four leading candidates with a chance of coming out on top of Sunday’s first round and reaching the May 7 runoff, in an unpredictable vote seen as a bellwether for global populist sentiment.

With security ramped up for the campaign, French police arrested two suspected radicals Tuesday in the southern port city of Marseille and thwarted an attack planned for the coming days, “on the eve of the French presidential election,” the interior minister said.

He gave no details, and it is unclear whether the attack could have targeted a campaign event.

Before the thwarted attack was announced, Le Pen said on RTL radio Tuesday that she would expel foreign extremists and draft army reservists to close France’s borders as soon as she takes office.

“We cannot fight the terrorism that weighs on our country without controlling our borders,” Le Pen said.

Macron struck a tough but conciliatory tone.

He called the arrests a reminder that “the terrorist threat remains very high” especially during the election campaign, and reiterated calls for pressure on internet companies to better police extremism online.

But he added that “terrorism … is a challenge that calls upon us more than anything else to come together, because the terrorists wish nothing more than our division.”

Macron and conservative Francois Fillon have pledged more robust counterterrorism efforts but remain committed to Europe’s open borders.

Le Pen also said she would issue an order to freeze long-term visas for a two-week period so the government can verify, among other things, that the recipients aren’t taking jobs away from French citizens.

Le Pen, who has campaigned against immigration and Europe’s open borders, also wants to impose a 10-percent tax on labor contracts that go to foreigners.

The economy is front and center for the candidates, and Macron again pledged Tuesday to redesign famously complex work laws he said are holding back employment.

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PARIS (AP) — The impossible is now possible, French far right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen said in celebration the morning after Donald Trump won the U.S. presidency. But the Trump effect may not bring Le Pen the boost she had once expected.

That’s in part because Trump has not turned out to be the soul mate Le Pen was counting on. Trump bombed Syria and abandoned support for President Bashar Assad, whom Le Pen backs. He alienated Russia even as Le Pen consolidated her alliance with Vladimir Putin. And Trump’s administration has been fraught with internal troubles.

French voters have learned at least one thing from Trump’s surprising victory and Britain’s surprising vote to leave the European Union: They need to be ready for a surprise.

With only six days left before Sunday’s first-round vote, polls show the four leading French candidates are so close in popularity that there’s no clear front-runner. The top two candidates advance to a May 7 runoff.

Le Pen, campaigning against immigration and Europe’s open borders, has a good chance of reaching the runoff but little chance of winning it — at least according to pollsters, who have suffered their own Trump effect after failing to predict his presidency.

Populists elsewhere in Europe have had mixed success in elections since November. Dutch voters rejected firebrand Geert Wilders, favoring the status quo. Bulgarians chose nationalists, and Italians voted against the establishment, while Austrian voters rejected a far right presidential contender.

In France, Trump’s victory has given new focus to Le Pen’s rivals.

Independent centrist Emmanuel Macron is framing himself as a bulwark against the nationalism and protectionism of Trump’s America and Putin’s Russia. He wants to reform the EU from within, he said last week, because “many foreign leaders openly want a weakening of Europe: Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, as well as the main authoritarian leaders of the Middle East.”

Other candidates are warning that Le Pen’s dreams of leaving the EU and the euro would wipe out voters’ savings and devastate the economy. French media pressured Le Pen last week for questioning whether the French state was really responsible for deporting tens of thousands of Jews to death in World War II during the Nazi occupation.

Le Pen enjoyed a boost from the Trump phenomenon — the rise of anti-establishment sentiment, especially from working classes who lost out from the globalization that transformed the world over the past generation. Le Pen has courted that electorate for years and saw Trump’s election as vindication of that strategy.

Hours after Trump was elected, Le Pen said, “What happened tonight is not the end of the world, it’s the end of a (certain) world.” She called his victory and the Brexit vote “democratic choices that bury the ancient order and are as many stones to build the world of tomorrow.”

She also plays to security fears after a string of deadly Islamic extremist attacks on France.

But the Trump presidency has shown that implementing populist promises isn’t as easy as it seems. And Trump’s own reversals have frustrated Le Pen.

“We have seen that Trump’s latest positions are so contrary to what Marine Le Pen had hoped,” said Thierry de Montbrial, president of the French Institute of International Relations. Nationalist candidates “no longer recognize themselves” in Trump anymore.

Le Pen distanced herself from Trump after the U.S. missile strikes on Syria earlier this month, angry that he is trying to be “the world’s policeman.”

Trump’s reversal on NATO — which he once called obsolete — also frustrates Le Pen. She wants to pull France out of its command structure and sees the alliance as an unnecessary threat to Russia now that the Soviet Union is defunct.

“If there is a Trump effect on the campaign, it is that in many minds, it’s assumed that anything is possible,” said Emmanuel Riviere, director of Kantar Public’s polling in France. “It’s not unreasonable to have a victory of a candidate who is improbably excessive, and unexpected.”

Le Pen’s electorate is not an exact mirror of Trump’s, though they both attract support from “white people whose social standing has fallen,” Riviere said.

She doesn’t have a powerful party machine like that of Trump’s Republicans, and has less support from older generations who supported Trump. But Le Pen enjoys more support from youth.

Riviere said any lingering Trump effect on the French campaign could also favor other candidates, such as far-left Jean-Luc Melenchon, who rails against free trade. Or conservative Francois Fillon, who has adopted Trump-style criticism of the media and a justice system he said is conspiring against him.

“We are in a very unprecedented moment in French politics,” Riviere said. “This presidential term will be something we have never seen before.”

 

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VATICAN CITY (AP) — On Christianity’s most joyful day, Pope Francis lamented the horrors generated by war and hatred, delivering an Easter Sunday message that also decried the “latest vile” attack on civilians in Syria.

Both in his impromptu homily during Mass in St. Peter’s Square and later in his formal “Urbi et Orbi” Easter message delivered from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica, Francis reflected on a litany of suffering in the world, including wars, oppressive regimes, human trafficking, corruption, famine and domestic violence.

He encouraged people to hold fast in their “fearful hearts” to faith, acknowledging that many people wonder where God is amid so much evil and suffering in the world.

Some 60,000 people, including multi-national throngs of pilgrims and tourists, endured tight anti-terrorism security checks — and, later, a brief downpour — to hear Francis and receive his blessing.

The crowd size, cited by the Vatican security forces, was smaller in comparison to some other Easters, when about 100,000 turned out for the occasion.

After Mass, Francis toured the square in his open-topped, white popemobile and waved back to well-wishers.

In his balcony address, Francis prayed that God would sustain those working to comfort and help the civilian population in Syria, “prey to a war that continues to sow horror and death.”

He cited the explosion Saturday that ripped through a bus depot in the Aleppo area where evacuees were awaiting transfer, killing at least 100 people.

“Yesterday saw the latest vile attack on fleeing refugees,” the pope said, also praying for peace in the Holy Land, Iraq and Yemen.

Separately, in a letter he sent to the bishop of Assisi, the birthplace of St. Francis, whose name he chose for his papacy, the pope decried the “scandalous reality of a world still marked by the divide between the endless number of indigent” and the “tiny portion of those who possess the majority of riches and presume to decide the fates of humanity.”

Francis has repeatedly championed the dignity of migrants fleeing war, persecution or poverty. On Sunday he recalled “all those forced to leave their homelands as a result of armed conflicts, terrorist attacks, famine and oppressive regimes.”

The church’s first pontiff from Latin America voiced concern over the “political and social tensions” in the world as well as the “scourge of corruption” on his home continent. Francis also mentioned hostilities and famine plaguing parts of Africa.

Speaking of Europe’s problems, Francis cited the continued conflict and bloodshed in Ukraine and prayed for hope for those struggling with high unemployment, especially young people.

Traditionally, the pope gives no homily during the late-morning Easter Mass, saving his reflections for the “Urbi et Orbi” message at noon.

But Francis broke with that tradition, giving an off-the-cuff homily during Mass about what he described as a nagging question for many faithful: Why are there so many tragedies and wars if Jesus has risen from the dead, a belief that Christians celebrate each Easter?

“The Church never ceases to say, faced with our defeats, our closed and fearful hearts, ‘stop, the Lord is risen.’ But if the Lord is risen, how come these things happen?” Francis asked.

He gestured toward the potted hyacinths, tulips and daffodils, which came from the Netherlands, and which were arranged in neat rows on the steps leading to the church.

Easter “isn’t a party with lots of flowers. This is pretty, but it’s not this, it’s more than this,” Francis said.

He said having faith on Easter gives sense in the middle of “so many calamities: the sense of looking beyond, the sense of saying, look, there isn’t a wall, there’s a horizon, there’s life, there’s joy.”

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Frances D’Emilio is on twitter at www.twitter.com/fdemilio

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LONDON (AP) — British police are investigating an acid attack at a London club that led to a mass evacuation.

Police said Monday 12 people were treated in hospitals for burns. None of the injuries was said to be life-threatening. Two men in their 20s were in serious but stable condition.

Police say the problem at the Mangle nightclub in east London started with a dispute between two groups of people that escalated when a male suspect sprayed a “noxious substance” directly at two men.

Roads in the area were closed and a hazardous material response team rushed to the scene.

The substance hasn’t yet been identified.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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