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Joanna Kakissis

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Andrassy Avenue in the Hungarian capital of Budapest is lined with neo-Renaissance mansions and luxury boutiques representing the finest names in Europe.

One name stands out: Ghraoui. It's the name of a premier chocolatier from Syria.

Inside, there are hand-engraved orange trees on the walls and frescoes of apricot trees on the ceiling. There are glass cases, as if you're in a gallery or a jewelry store.

The new year has barely begun but it's already been deadly for migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Europe.

On Friday, a raft reportedly carrying 120 migrants, many from West Africa, sank in the rough, wintry sea.

The Italian Navy spotted bodies floating near three survivors, two Sudanese and a Gambian, who are being treated for severe hypothermia and trauma at a hospital on the Italian island of Lampedusa.

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Updated at 7:33 p.m. ET

Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, a darling of Europe's far right, has tightened his grip on power in ways that have shocked the European Union.

His ultranationalist Fidesz party has gamed the electoral system, shut down most independent media, forced out an American university and even created new administrative courts that will be directly controlled by the government.

The men and women from eight African countries packed into a rubber raft late last month and set off from the Libyan city of Sabratha in the hope of crossing the Mediterranean to reach Italy.

But powerful sea winds blew them off course. They drifted at sea for 10 days before their boat ended up back in Libyan waters and capsized off the coast of Misrata.

At least 12 died. Libyan authorities managed to rescue 10.

George Sarelakos emerges from the sea lugging a giant tire. Another two divers surface — with a shopping cart and a netted bag bulging with a cassette player, cans and lots of plastic.

It takes six more people to heave this all onto the main pier of the Greek island of Poros.

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The European Union wants to ban single-use plastics, like straws and plastic bags, by 2021. They often end up in the sea, especially in Greece, which has the longest coastline in the EU. Joanna Kakissis reports.

UNIDENTIFIED DIVERS: (Speaking Greek).

Liliana Czegledi devoted herself to keeping her daughter, Ioana, alive.

The girl had been born with a compromised immune system, a damaged heart and muscles that wouldn't work. She wasn't expected to live past her second birthday. Czegledi gave up her bartending job to care for her.

"I made sure she never caught a cold because the doctor said a cold could kill her," recalls Czegledi, 50, at her home in the village of Sînandrei in western Romania. "I only brought her into the hospital when it was absolutely necessary."

The witch lives in the suburbs of the Romanian capital, Bucharest, in a busy village with a Renaissance palace.

There's a poster of her outside her house in Mogoșoaia: "The most powerful witch from Europe," the poster reads, "Mihaela Minca."

"Welcome, welcome!" she says, emerging through a beaded curtain at the front entrance. She's in a floor-length, black dress with bright flowers. Her hair, also black, is pulled back in a baby-blue headscarf.

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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.

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Aimé Mpane remembers when he first saw the old statues.

It was 1994, and the Congolese visual artist had just moved to Belgium, which once ruled his country. Growing up in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mpane says he had been taught in school that the Congolese were descended from the Gauls — "that they were our kings."

"In our schoolbooks, it was as if the Congolese did not exist without Belgian colonialists," says Mpane, 50. His work explores the memory of colonialism in Congo and Belgium. "I wanted to know what [the Belgians] knew about us."

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Bert Nap has had enough. On a recent night, the longtime Amsterdam resident opened his door to confront a gaggle of young, drunken British men, all dressed as Elvis for a bachelor party, making a tremendous ruckus.

Nap asked them: "Why don't you do that in your own hometown?"

This was hardly the first time he'd been disturbed by late-night revelers. Many are tourists who vomit in his potted plants, urinate in his mailbox, and scream-sing outside his door. "My city is seen as one where anything goes," he says.

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 6:37 a.m. ET Tuesday

At least 50 people died and more than 150 were injured as huge fires fueled by powerful winds burned homes and forests in towns near the Greek capital, Athens, government officials said.

After authorities confirmed at least 24 dead on Monday, Greek Red Cross workers made a gruesome discovery close to a beach not far from the badly-burned village of Mati.

"We've found 26 more bodies," said Nikos Economopoulos, the Greek Red Cross director. "What a terrible day."

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."

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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.

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