The Latest: Romania honors WWI dead with wreaths

PARIS (AP) — The Latest on commemorations a century after the end of World War I (all times local):

2:15 p.m.

Ambassadors, Romanian army officers and others laid wreaths at a war memorial as Romania marked the end of World War I a century ago.

Nearly 700,000 Romanians died of wounds, disease and famine during the war.

Dozens of British, American and Romanians attended a service Sunday, led by British military priest Rev. Martin Sheldon of the Royal Air Force. The 45-minute ceremony began in mist and ended in bright sunshine at the Commonwealth War Cemetery about 30 kilometers (20 miles) north of Bucharest.

A total of 90 pilots and sailors who died mainly in World War II, and a few in World War I are buried there, mostly British, South African and Canadian servicemen.

Romania entered the war on the side of the Allies in 1916 but then capitulated to the Central powers.

It re-entered the war in 1918, and doubled its territory after the war ended.

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1:45 p.m.

Portraits of soldiers who perished during World War I have been drawn on a number of British beaches and washed into the sea by rising tidewater.

The homage was carried out Sunday on beaches in Blackpool and Cornwall in England, Scotland’s Shetland Islands and other parts of the U.K.

The portraits in the sand were part of the nationwide observances marking 100 years since World War I ended. English filmmaker Danny Boyle chose the late soldiers whose likenesses were etched on the beaches.

The ephemeral gestures of remembrance were meant to appear so people could express gratitude to some of the war’s fallen soldiers before the tide away took their likenesses.

Many worked on the project Artists and volunteers used rakes and stencils to make the images starting early Sunday morning, when the tide was low.

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1:30 p.m.

A senior representative of the German government has for the first time taken part in Britain’s Armistice Day observances.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier laid a wreath at the foot of the Cenotaph monument in central London, just after Prince Charles placed a wreath there on behalf of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II.

Steinmeier also saluted the Cenotaph in a show of respect for Britain’s fallen soldiers during the commemoration on Sunday of the 100th anniversary of World War I’s end.

British officials say the presence of the German president on Sunday was meant to symbolize the friendship between the nations were adversaries in both world wars.

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1:05 p.m.

French President Emmanuel Macron is hosting 130 world leaders and dignitaries for lunch at the presidential Elysee Palace now that the ceremony commemorating the armistice that ended World War I has finished.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin are at the head table near Macron. Other guests at the host’s table include Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Moroccan King Mohammed VI, Spain’s King Felipe VI and United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

The companions of head of states and government were invited to a lunch hosted by France’s first lady, Brigitte Macron, at the Palace of Versailles west of Paris. A private concert by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra is set to follow.

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1:00 p.m.

Pope Francis says World War I should serve as a severe warning to reject a “culture of war.”

But Francis observed that the war’s lessons have been ignored, saying “it seems we never learn” as he addressed faithful in Vatican City’s St. Peter’s Square on Sunday.

The pope, who often decries the arms industry, added: “Let’s invest in peace, not war!”

Francis noted that the bells of St. Peter’s Basilica and of churches worldwide would toll Sunday to mark the 100th anniversary of the war’s end.

He called the 1914-18 war “a severe admonition for everyone to reject the culture of war and search for every legitimate means to end the conflicts still bloodying several regions of the world.”

Francis also quoted the definition of war as “useless slaughter” provided by Benedict XV, who was pope during World War I.”

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12:45 p.m.

Family members of soldiers who were wounded or died during World War I are among the large crowds lining a rain-soaked Champs-Elysees Avenue in Paris for the commemoration of the war’s end a century ago.

Peter Kearsey, a 72-year-old from Australia, recalled the 28 facial reconstruction surgeries his father underwent after having his face blasted with shrapnel in 1917 in Belgium. Kearsey says his father, Bill, survived thanks to a friend who pulled him from a trench.

Kearsey said the rain that fell during the ceremony attended by dozens of world leaders for armistice centenary “is very fitting” since soldiers who fought in trenches during the Great War endured miserable rain and mud.

He added: “It’s raining today, 100 years later.”

The Kearsey family also is touring WWI battlefields during their trip.

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12:30 p.m.

French President Emmanuel Macron is warning against the dangers of nationalism in a speech aimed directly at the rising tide of populism in the United States and Europe.

With U.S. President Donald Trump and other world leaders looking on during an Armistice Day centennial observance in Paris on Sunday, Macron said the “ancient demons” that caused World War I and millions of deaths are growing stronger.

The French leader said: “Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism. Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism. In saying ‘Our interests first, whatever happens to the others,’ you erase the most precious thing a nation can have, that which makes it live, that which causes it to be great and that which is most important: Its moral values.”

Trump has proudly declared himself a nationalist. Macron has set himself up as Europe’s foil to nationalist movements that rail against global approaches, like ones that have taken hold in Hungary and Poland among other countries.

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12:25 p.m.

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II has led a national act of remembrance on the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

The black-clad queen watched from a balcony in central London on Sunday as her son Prince Charles laid a wreath on her behalf at the foot of the Cenotaph, a memorial honoring fallen servicemen and women.

The solemn act marked by two minutes of silence was repeated in dozens of towns, cities and villages throughout Britain.

Prince William and Prince Harry also laid wreaths at the Cenotaph, as did other senior members of the royal family.

A wreath also was placed on behalf of the queen’s 97-year-old husband Prince Philip, who did not attend.

Prime Minister Theresa May and other leading national figures also placed wreaths at the memorial in central London.

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12:20 p.m.

Eight teenagers born in the 20th century are reading excerpts from people bearing witness to the end of World War I.

French and British soldiers, a Chinese worker, a French woman — all are represented in the excerpts , punctuated by closing music by a Togolese singer.

“As soon as I realize how happy I am, I think of my brother and sister, both victims of the war, and my eyes mist over,” wrote a French soldier, Alfred Roumiguieres. 

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11:45 a.m.

The feminist activist group Femen has claimed responsibility for topless protesters who disrupted U.S. President Donald Trump’s motorcade on its way to a ceremony commemorating the end of World War I.

One woman easily breached tight security along the Champs-Elysees avenue, walking on the midst of the motorcade and shouting “fake peace maker” as the cars passed.

Officers seized her afterward.

At least one other topless protester also made it into the avenue, but was unable to reach the cars.

Femen’s topless protesters have repeatedly breached security around world leaders and major events, usually topless.

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11:10 a.m.

World leaders walked side by side to commemorate the end of World War I in a somber, rain-soaked line as bells finished tolling.

Arriving a few minutes late, they missed the exact moment to commemorate the armistice that ended World War I. Fighter jets passed overhead as the leaders walked to the Arc de Triomphe.

At 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918, the devastating war came to a close.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin were expected to arrive separately for the commemorations.

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11 a.m.

World leaders have missed the exact moment to commemorate the armistice that ended World War I.

As bells rang across Europe’s Western Front, U.S. President Donald Trump headed toward the Arc de Triomphe as did buses filled with world leaders, but they were running late.

Many of the leaders, holding black umbrellas, stood in a line short of the monument.

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10:55 a.m.

U.S. President Donald Trump is headed to the Arc de Triomphe on the Champs-Elysees. World leaders were following several minutes later in commemorations to mark 100 years since the moment World War I drew to an end.

Presidents and other dignitaries left the French presidential palace in buses, just a few minutes before the ceremony was supposed to begin at the Arc de Triomphe.

Trump headed separately to the memorial for security reasons, as did Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The war ended at precisely 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918 and Sunday’s ceremonies were intended to drive home the disaster that would befall the world should it stumble into another global war.

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10:35 a.m.

European Council head Donald Tusk, a former Polish prime minister, is celebrating the 100th anniversary of Poland’s independence by laying wreaths at monuments to key figures in rebuilding the country’s statehood after World War I.

Tusk placed flowers at the monument to the first state and armed forces leader, Marshal Jozef Pilsudski, by the Belvedere Palace where Pilsudski resided.

Tusk, an opponent of Poland’s right-wing government, said the political disputes about Poland’s future are “sometime too strong” but stressed that “our bond is much stronger and much more important, because it is you, Poland.”

He will also take part at a noon state ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

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9:50 a.m.

French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte are welcoming dozens of world leaders at the French presidential palace before a ceremony in Paris marking Armistice Day.

Among dignitaries arriving are Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Most of the heads of states and government will take a bus together to the nearby Arc de Triomphe to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

Others will go to the monument on their own for security reasons, including U.S. President Donald Trump.

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9:30 a.m.

Nothing is left to chance in the seating of world leaders at the Arc de Triomphe commemoration of the end of World War I.

French President Emmanuel Macron will be seated between his wife and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Russian President Vladimir Putin will sit to the left of Brigitte Macron, while President Donald Trump and his wife will be next to Merkel.

Among others facing them Sunday will be the French prime minister, the president of France’s legislative body, and Spanish King Felipe VI.

Rain threatens, but all the leaders will be beneath a canopy as they commemorate the moment 100 years ago when the slaughter of World War I finally stopped.

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9 a.m.

Poland is celebrating the 100th anniversary of its rebirth as an independent state with a multitude of events across the country, including marches and the national hymn being sung publicly in more than 600 towns.

Poland regained its independence at the end of World War I in 1918, reborn from the ashes of three defeated powers that had partitioned and ruled the Central European nation for 123 years.

The ceremonies in Poland coincide with world leaders gathering in Paris on Sunday to mark the armistice of what was then called the Great War.

Poland’s regained independence fulfilled the dreams of generations of patriots who had kept the language and culture alive despite foreign rule and repression. Yet Poland was to be invaded and occupied yet again in the 20th century

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8:50 a.m.

Commemorations are underway around the world to mark the moment 100 years ago when the slaughter of World War I finally stopped.

France, the epicenter of the first global conflict, was hosting the main international commemoration, pressing home the point that the world mustn’t stumble into war again, as it did so quickly and catastrophically with World War II

The more than 60 world leaders scheduled to gather at precisely 11 a.m., a century after the cease-fire, included those with the power to destroy humanity if it ever stumbled into the folly of a World War III.

The U.S. and Russian presidents were being joined by an array of leaders whose geographical spread showed how the “war to end all wars” left few corners of the globe untouched.

Categories: International News