top pictures of the day

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Tears and tributes at Virginia memorial for Heather Heyer

Hundreds of purple-clad residents have packed a historic American theatre to remember the 32-year-old woman killed when a suspected white nationalist crashed his car into anti-racist demonstrators.

Heather Heyer, a paralegal whom colleagues said was dedicated to social justice, was killed in Charlottesville, Virginia, after clashes on Saturday between white nationalists attending a “Unite the Right” gathering and counter-protesters.

“We are absolutely in awe at this outpouring of affection,” Elwood Shrader, Heyer’s grandfather, told the service at the city’s 1930s era Paramount Theater, near where she died. “She wanted respect for everybody. In our family, all lives matter.”

In the crowd were Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, US Senator Tim Kane and Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer. Many of those attending wore purple, Heyer’s favourite colour, at the request of her family.

“I came here today and I was overwhelmed by the rainbow of colours in this room,” said Heyer’s father, Mark Heyer, his voice cracking with emotion. “That’s how Heather was … for that, I am truly proud of my daughter.”

Fallout from Heyer’s death and the street fights among protesters has become President Donald Trump’s biggest domestic challenge. Trump was assailed from across the political spectrum over his initial response blaming “many sides” for the violence.

On Monday, the Republican president bowed to political pressure and denounced neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan by name, but on Tuesday he again inflamed tensions by insisting counter-protesters were also to blame. In a tweet on Wednesday morning, in a first mention, Trump described Heyer as “beautiful and incredible … a truly special young woman. She will be long remembered by all!”

Residents of the usually quiet, liberal-leaning Virginia city were horrified by the weekend violence they said was brought by outsiders. Amid concerns trouble could erupt outside Wednesday’s memorial, a small group of anti-racist protesters wearing pink helmets and carrying baseball bats and purple shields stood quietly near the theatre. One of the group, who declined to be identified, said they brought weapons to defend themselves in case the white supremacists returned.

“The cops didn’t protect us on Saturday and we don’t trust them to do so today,” the group member said. Also outside the theatre, artist Sam Welty was chalking a large portrait of Heyer on a memorial wall where many tributes to the slain woman have been written. “The way she lost her life, doing what she did, really stood for Charlottesville. It makes me wish that I knew her,” said Welty, 42. (AP)

Photo credits: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images (2), Andrew Shurtleff/Getty Images, Evan Vucci/AP (2)

Read:  At service for Charlottesville victim Heather Heyer, a call for ‘righteous action’  »

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i have 0 excuses okay i just saw @joliemariella‘s tags on my silly drunk Pap animation and 

look at all those friends

c’mon Sans, gotta carry ‘em for SCIENCE (and friendship)

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Venezuela’s symphony of protests

Protesters play violins, flutes and guitars as they take to the streets of Caracas in demonstrations against President Nicolas Maduro. Venezuela’s opposition renewed nationwide protests to pressure the president into holding elections and improving a collapsing economy. (Reuters)

Photo credits: Marco Bello/Reuters, Ivan Alvarado/Reuters, Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters (2)

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Rainbow painted pad on sale

A rainbow home that looks just like a painting has been listed for $499,000. The home at 556 South Vista Oro in Palm Springs, Calif., is unique to say the least. The eccentric 1937 Spanish home belongs to Carl Tookey and Gregg Featherston, who purchased the property when it was painted plain white.

Adding more than a splash of color, the creative couple took inspiration from their worldwide travels including Buckingham Palace. The colorful cottage comes with three bedrooms and two bathrooms covering 1,664 square feet, according to Curbed.com. And the 0.12-acre grounds include a pool and stone courtyard. (Caters)

Photography by Robert Gentry/Caters News

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Rebuilding Aleppo’s Old City

Aleppo’s Old City, shelled, burned and shot up during years of fighting in Syria’s civil war, can be rebuilt, the local representative of the United Nations cultural body UNESCO said.

“Our vision is to rebuild the Old City exactly as it was before the war, with the same stones where we can,” said Mazen Samman, UNESCO’s associate program coordinator in Aleppo.

There are detailed plans for the Old City’s great medieval mosques, souks, bathhouses and citadel from an earlier restoration that should allow exact reconstruction, he said.

But while that may be true of the most treasured monuments, whole districts of less celebrated alleyways and traditional houses that gave the Old City its character are also now rubble.

Reviving the Old City is important for Syrian President Bashar Assad both as a symbol of the returning power of his state, but also because of Aleppo’s economic importance.

The fighting in Aleppo ended in December when the Syrian army drove out rebels, but they still hold swaths of the country, and Assad’s government is hobbled by Western sanctions.

Now gradual efforts are being made to revive the city, one of the oldest in the Middle East.

The United Nations and international cultural agencies say they are committed to preserving and restoring Syrian heritage, but it will ultimately rely on local effort.

Local government will need to ensure work fits the character of the Old City, both architecturally and in how land is divided between shops, houses and public spaces.

Reconstruction depends on the Old City’s 100,000 former residents choosing to return to their homes and businesses, many of which are now piles of stones and concrete.

But it also requires the skills of Aleppo craftsmen, many of whom left the city during the war, some killed, others departing with the rebels or starting new lives as refugees abroad. (Reuters)

Photo credits: Ali Hashisho/Reuters, Abdalrhman Ismail/Reuters, Omar Sanadiki/Reuters

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The houses on social media

(Based on people in my friend group)

Gryffindor:
- will post any picture of themselves
- leaves you on read
- screenshots
- barely ever online
- always draws on top of pictures

Hufflepuff:
- either replies in seconds, or you wait days
- pictures with thumbs up
- ?!???!??!!!
- like eight filters at once
- first comment on instagram
- still uses facebook
- uses the group chat all the time

Ravenclaw:
- pictures of anything but their face
- always inspirational
- uses the pinky/purple filter on boomerangs
- types long paragraphs
- constantly films the weather
- is pushy about keeping the streak
- messages at the weirdest times

Slytherin:
- mirror selfies
- pictures of food/work
- tlk lyk ths 4 irny
- never get replies
- send random things during important conversations
- backs out of plans last minute
- mutes the ravenclaws

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Faith, history and community in Bosnia

Bosnia’s religious leaders say politicians are standing in the way of peaceful coexistence between Muslim, Jewish and Christian communities trying to forgive and forget after the atrocities of a devastating 1990s war.

Hundreds of churches, mosques and synagogues bear witness to more than five centuries of Bosnia’s pluralistic past, and the capital Sarajevo is known locally as a “small Jerusalem” with its main ethnic groups — Orthodox Serbs, Catholic Croats and Muslim Bosniaks — all worshipping within yards of each other. But Mufti Husein Kavazovic, head of the Islamic community in Bosnia, says people of faith cannot achieve peace alone.

“It is up to political elites to do more. For a start, it would be good that they stop their ideological manipulation of religion for their own political goals. It is up to us, of course, not to allow them to do that,” he said.

Even though nationalists from all three ethnic groups still insist on exclusivity for their own groups, religious leaders are keen to heal rifts after the 1992 – 1995 war in which about 100,000 civilians were killed and millions displaced. Friar Zeljko Brkic at Kraljeva Sutjeska — among the oldest Franciscan monasteries in Bosnia and dating from 1385 — said: “Bosnia can only survive as a multi-ethnic state, no matter how much politicians try to convince us that this is not possible.”

His Orthodox Christian, Jewish and Muslim peers agree. “It is very important that we have here different cultures and religions, and that based on that we can easily build and verify our own identities,” said Nektarije, a deacon at the Orthodox monastery Zitomislici in what is now the Catholic Croat-dominated southern part of the country.

Jakob Finci, the president of the Jewish community in Bosnia, gives Sarajevo as an example of close cooperation, citing Muslims there helping Jews to hide during World War II and Jews providing food for people of all faiths in the three-year siege by Bosnian Serb forces.

“Sarajevo is the best proof that living together is possible and that it represents the only way of life for us,” he said. This week, about 120 leaders from 27 countries arrived in Sarajevo to take part in a meeting of the youth-led Muslim-Jewish Conference, founded by Ilja Sichrovski in Vienna in 2010.

“We feel at home here,” Sichrovski said. (Reuters)

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