German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that she will give up the leadership of her conservative Christian Democratic Union in December and won't stand for a fifth term as chancellor - signaling the beginning of the end at the helm for the woman many had labeled the "leader of the free world."

That's a title she herself objected to, saying leadership is never up to one person or country. But she has been a stalwart face of Western democracy through turbulent times, including the European debt crisis, the migrant influx of 2015, Britain's decision to leave the EU and escalating trade tensions with the United States. Merkel, 64, has led the CDU since 2000 and Germany since 2005. She announced her decision the day after voters punished both her CDU and the Social Democrats in an election in the central state of Hesse. It came two weeks after a similar debacle for the CSU and Social Democrats in neighboring Bavaria.

Her announcement comes amid growing concerns about far-right nationalist parties making inroads in Europe, including Germany.

An Indonesian airliner crashed into the sea with 189 people on board. The Boeing 737, owned by the low-cost airline Lion Air, went down after taking off from the capital Jakarta. Flight JT 610 was headed for the western city of Pangkal Pinang. Rescuers have recovered some bodies and personal items, including baby shoes. There is no sign of survivors. The cause of the crash, which involved a brand new plane that had been in operation since August, remains unclear.

The incident is reported to be the first major accident involving a Boeing 737 Max - an updated version of the 737. Flight JT 610 took off from Jakarta at 06:20 on Monday (23:30 GMT on Sunday). It was due to arrive at Depati Amir airport in Pangkal Pinang an hour later but 13 minutes into the flight, authorities lost contact. The pilot had asked to return to Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta airport, officials say.

Sri Lanka was plunged into a constitutional crisis with two men claiming to be its lawful prime minister, one of them the strongman former president Mahinda Rajapaksa. This is after the current president, Maithripala Sirisena, dramatically sacked the serving prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, and replaced him with Rajapaksa, whose 10-year reign as president was marred by allegations of forced disappearances, brutality and creeping authoritarianism. Sirisena also suspended parliament until mid-November, stopping Wickremesinghe calling an emergency vote to challenge the decision.

The shock firing of Wickremesinghe - on what appears to be an uncertain legal basis - is the culmination of months of open hostility between the two men, who come from opposing parties and have governed in coalition since 2015.

American witnessed a week of hate fuelled by increasingly tribal politics and pure old-fashioned racism. First a string of crudely assembled 'pipe bombs' turning up in mailboxes addressed to prominent opponents and critics of Donald Trump. The perpetrator was a crazed fan of the president who lived in a van that left little room for doubt as to his political leanings. Just as he was caught and the liberal media in the US pored over his profile, 11 people were killed and six others, including four law enforcement officers, were wounded during an anti-Semite attack at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighborhood, a haven for Jews in the area.

The White House rejected suggestions that President Trump's rhetoric could be to blame for the mass shooting at the Pittsburgh synagogue. Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said it was "outrageous" to suggest that Mr Trump was at all responsible for the 11 deaths.

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