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(NEW YORK) — Alexander Van Der Bellen appears to have won the Austrian presidency, defeating Freedom Party candidate Norbert Hofer.

Austria’s presidency is a largely ceremonial post, Hofer had won, he would have become Austria and Western Europe’s first far-right head of state since World War II.

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Taylor Dunn/ABC News(NEW YORK) — Arianna Huffington is no stranger to sleep deprivation. The 66-year-old media mogul, who’s now on a mission to make sure you get enough sleep, had her own personal wake-up call in 2007, when she collapsed from exhaustion. Outwardly, she was the picture of success but while going from MRI to CAT scan to echocardiogram, she says she began to wonder, “Is this really what success feels like?”

From this journey, Thrive was born. In her 2014 book, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder, she challenged the traditional measurements of success and investigated the “epidemic of burnout” and negative impact of stress. One of the most pertinent points she discusses is the importance of sleep as a gateway to improving well-being.

She further investigated that idea in her latest book, The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time, in which she proclaims, “We are in the midst of a sleep deprivation crisis … and this has profound consequences — on our health, our job performance, our relationships and our happiness.”

Huffington’s quest for a better quality of life has culminated in her latest venture, Thrive Global, which launched on Nov. 30, 2016.

“The reason why I became such an evangelist of this new way of living, that we call ‘thriving,’ is because I now know that we can actually get to that place where we are achieving and creating and getting things done without burning out,” Huffington told ABC’s Rebecca Jarvis in an interview for Jarvis’s new podcast. “In fact we can get there much faster.”

With Thrive Global, Huffington is hoping to change the way we work and the way we live by offering “science-based solutions” to combat stress and burnout in order to enhance well-being and productivity.

“I want to and stop using the term ‘work-life balance’ because it is not based on science,” Huffington said. “It’s not like we have to balance work and life. The truth is very different that when we prioritize our life …our work gets better.”

Thrive Global is also offering a variety of apps to help “set boundaries” with technology. Two of Huffington’s favorites are called “Thrive Away” and “Silo.”

Going on vacation and don’t want a clogged inbox when you return? Thrive Away might just be the app for you.

“This app that we’ve created makes it possible for you to send an e-mail when you are on vacation, which says … if this is urgent, please contact so and so, if it is not, email after my return date [because] this email will be deleted,” Huffington explained.

Want to disconnect but not entirely? Huffington suggests the app Silo.

“Another app is called Silo and it turns your smartphone into a dumb phone for a specified period of time.”

As our cultural attitude toward sleep and work ethic continues to evolve, so does Huffington, who never dreamed that she would be launching a new company at this point in her career.

She told Jarvis, “I thought the Huffington Post was going to be my last chapter but then Thrive and The Sleep Revolution … became more and more important to me and there’s so much we can do here to change the way we work and live. I’m so excited to have just embarked on this journey.”

Arianna Huffington’s full interview with Rebecca Jarvis will be released in January 2017 on Jarvis’s new ABC News podcast.

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Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit Pearl Harbor with President Obama later this month.

Abe will become the first sitting Japanese leader to visit the site of Japan’s 1941 attack on the U.S. Naval base that prompted the United States to join World War II 75 years ago.

“The President will … accompany Prime Minister Abe to the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor to honor those killed,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest announced Monday. “The two leaders’ visit will showcase the power of reconciliation that has turned former adversaries into the closest of allies, united by common interests and shared values.”

Abe’s historic visit comes after President Obama earlier this year visited Hiroshima, the site of the U.S. atomic bombing on Japan in 1945, in another first.

Abe’s visit to Hawaii is planned for Dec. 27.

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iStock/Thinkstock(PITTSBURGH) — Pittsburgh-based PNC Financial Services Group has tracked the cost of the gifts mentioned in the “Twelve Days of Christmas” for the last 33 years as a way to keep a whimsical eye on inflation.

The cost of two turtle doves jumped from $290 to $375 this year, but nine of the other 12 gifts listed in the carol stayed the same price — or became cheaper.

You’ll still pay a pretty penny, however: more than $34,000 for ever item on the seasonal list. PNC says the cost of this year’s gifts increased $233 to $34,363, up 0.7 percent from last year.

Eleven pipers piping and 12 drummers drumming were also slightly more expensive this year.

At slightly more than $5,500, nine lords a-leaping are a downright bargain, considering the prices Hamilton tickets are fetching.

In case you still need to do some Christmas shopping, here’s the full list, as PNC found from brick-and-mortar businesses — not online:

– Partridge, $20; last year: $25
– Pear tree, $190; last year: same
– Two turtle doves, $375; last year: $290
– Three French hens, $182; last year: same
– Four calling birds (canaries), $600; last year: same
– Five gold rings, $750; last year: same
– Six geese-a-laying, $360; last year: same
– Seven swans a-swimming, $13,125; last year: same
– Eight maids a-milking, $58; last year: same
– Nine ladies dancing (per performance), $7,553; last year: same
– 10 lords a-leaping (per performance), $5,509; last year: same
– 11 pipers piping (per performance), $2,708; last year: $2,635
– 12 drummers drumming (per performance), $2,934; last year: $2,855

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A real estate listing for Santa Claus’s home at the North pole has appeared on Zillow, the online real estate database.

The listing features pictures and a video tour of the single family house built in 1822, which is said to feature three beds, two baths and 2,500 square feet of living space on a 25-acre lot. The listing indicates the home was last remodeled in 2013 and features a gourmet kitchen, a toy workshop, reindeer stables, a floor-to-ceiling river rock fireplace and a sleigh parking garage.

The house is currently off-market but has an estimated value of $656,957.

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Ian Gavan/Getty Images(PIGEON FORGE, Tenn.) — Dolly Parton is going a step further to help the victims of wildfires in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee where the singer grew up.

The country music star is planning a telethon to support the many who have lost their homes in the devastating blazes.

Parton announced last week that she would donate $1,000 per month to each family that lost their homes to the wildfires that have scorched thousands of acres and burned hundreds of homes and other buildings. She set up the My People Fund for her donations.

Now, a rep for the singer confirmed to ABC News that Parton is planning a telethon on Dec. 13 in Nashville.

All of the proceeds from the telethon will go toward the My People Fund, set up by the singer’s Dollywood companies and the Dollywood Foundation.

“More details coming soon,” the rep added.

Although Parton, 70, has been in Los Angeles filming The Voice, her thoughts have been back in Tennessee. The singer’s Dollywood theme park in Pigeon Forge was barely saved from the wildfires.

Dean Fleener, a spokesperson with the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, told ABC News last week that the flames were “right on the doorstep” of Dollywood, but crews were able to keep the fires away from the park.

“I’ve always believed charity begins at home, and my home is someplace special,” Parton said when she announced the fund. “We want to provide a hand up to those families who have lost everything in the fires. I know it has been a trying time for my people, and this assistance will help get them back on their feet.”

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iStock/Thinkstock(VIENNA) — Austria has elected a former Green Party leader to be its new president.

Alexander Van der Bellen defeated far-right Freedom Party candidate Norbert Hofer, who conceded within minutes of the first results being reported on Sunday, BBC News reports.

Van der Bellen said his victory was a vote for “freedom, equality and solidarity,” and re-affirmed his country’s desire not to close itself off from the rest of Europe.

He said Austria had sent a “signal of hope and change” to “all the capitals of the European Union”.

French President Francois Hollande said Austria had chosen “Europe and openness,” and European Council President Donald Tusk offered his “wholehearted congratulations.” Meanwhile, Marine Le Pen of France’s conservative Front National said the Freedom Party would be victorious in upcoming legislative elections.

The post of president is ceremonial in Austria, but the vote was widely viewed as an indication of how well populist candidates would fare in European elections following this year’s Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump in the United States.

Sunday’s vote was the country’s second attempt to conduct the presidential runoff this year. An earlier vote in May was invalidated after vote irregularities.

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Franco Origlia/Getty Images(ROME) — Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said Sunday he will resign after a referendum defeat.

Italians voted on a proposal that would attempt to streamline Italy’s lawmaking process by reducing the powers of the Senate. Renzi had said the reforms would have cut the country’s bureaucracy, but many saw the vote as a referendum on the prime minister’s centrist government.

Renzi said he would offer his resignation on Monday at a cabinet meeting.

“Good luck to us all,” he said according to BBC.

The Italian prime minister’s resignation mirrors the exit of David Cameron, the former prime minister of United Kingdom, who stepped down when British voters decided in a referendum to leave the European Union. Cameron had heavily campaigned to remain in the EU.

The result of Italy’s referendum also comes amid the rise of anti-establishment sentiment in the world. Donald Trump was elected president of the U.S. nearly a month ago and France’s anti-immigration and anti-European Union National Front Party leader Marine Le Pen is gaining support in her country.

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iStock/Thinkstock(HAVANA) — With the death of Fidel Castro, the father of the Cuban revolution, many questions hang over the future of Cuba. President Raul Castro, Fidel’s 85-year-old brother, has been leading the country since 2008 when Fidel stepped down. With the assistance of the Vatican and Canada, Raul Castro and President Obama announced negotiations toward thawing relations between the U.S. and Cuba in 2014.

But with only a year left in Raul Castro’s presidency, what happens next for the island only 90 miles from the U.S.?


Not much is expected to change immediately for Cuba.

“Raul has been a reformist, pushing pragmatically for slow but steady change — ‘without haste, but without pause,’ as he likes to say,” Peter Kornbluh, a senior analyst at the National Security Archive and expert on Cuba, told ABC News. “There are others in the Communist Party politburo who oppose the range of his efforts to privatize and modernize the economy.”

President-elect Donald Trump looms over whatever the future will look like. Whether he shuts down the island to business again, or allows more openings can play into the hands of Cuba’s reformists or hardliners.

“If Trump pursues an arrogant imperial and threatening policy toward Cuba, the leadership will gravitate toward hardline security officials who will focus on national security,” Kornbluh explains.

John Kavulich, president of the U.S. Cuba Trade and Economic Council, a private, not-for-profit, membership-based corporation, said it is “delusional thinking” that everything will immediately change with the death of Fidel Castro.

“The next months will be focused upon confirming for the 11.3 million citizens of Cuba that the ‘Revolution’ was not because of one man or only endured with that one man,” he said. “It is the fabric that wraps the country and there will be no holes in that fabric.”

Possible Election

The real change is expected come February 24, 2018 — the day a Castro will no longer be running Cuba.

Raul Castro announced in 2013 that it would be his last five-year term as president. Come February 2018, it will be the first time since the revolution that a Castro will not be in power.

“President-elect Trump is focusing upon the requirements of the Libertad Act of 1996, which created conditions for the resumption of full commercial, economic and political relations with Cuba,” Kavulich said. “President-elect Trump is sharing that he desires a ‘better deal.’ He may get one — on 24 February 2018 when President Raul Castro retires and he will be the first United States president in 59 years to welcome a ‘post-Castro Cuba’ and preside during a ‘post-Castro Cuba.’ A provision of the Libertad Act requires that neither Fidel Castro nor Raul Castro be in government.”

The Libertad Act is also known as Helms-Burton Act, which states the embargo can be removed when Cuba holds “free and fair” elections and a Castro is not in power.

The expected successor is current vice-president Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, 56, appointed by Raul Castro in 2013. He is the highest ranking Cuban politician born after the revolution. Díaz-Canel is an engineer by training and according to Americas Quarterly has spoken for an open press and more Internet access.

“Today, news from all sides —- good or bad, manipulated and true -— gets to people. They know [what’s going on],” Díaz-Canel told a higher education conference, according to Americas Quarterly. “And what is worse, then? Silence?”

He would become the first civilian leader of Cuba since the revolution, but how he will come to power is still a question.

“Leadership has never been put to the people in Cuba. I’d be very surprised if that were to change,” Ted Piccone, a senior fellow in the Project on International Order and Strategy and Latin America Initiative in the Foreign Policy program at Brookings Institute told ABC News. “We’d certainly not see elections as anything we would recognize. There would be a formal appointment coming out of the national assembly.”

The Cuban government has taken steps toward more open elections, such as allowing two independents to run in the last election, and promises to decentralize the government and has an electoral law reform pending, Piccone said.

“Key question is his legitimacy and his platform. We’ve had the Castro regime had the revolution to empower them all these years,” he said. “When the Castros are gone that generation is gone. What is their legitimacy? He’d have to deliver of economic quality of life reforms. That’s what they are going to be judged on by the Cuban people because they weren’t fighting in the mountains for the revolution … he was born after the revolution.”


What the future will hold for Cuba is dependent on whether Trump allows the relaxation and easing of relations to continue, according to Piccone.

“Whether or not you like the Castros or not, the Cubans are very proud, nationalist people and they will survive,” Piccone said. “Trump is taking a completely backward approach. He’d just provoke them and hardliners in Cuba to repress people rather than open up.”

It will also depend on whether Raul Castro will fully remove himself from power.

While he will step down as president, the question remains if he will exit entirely from government.

“They’ve talked about separating the roles of party leader and government leader so would have Raul in theory, as head of the party and Diaz-Canal as head of government for the more day to day activities of running the government,” Piccone explained. “With Fidel gone and Raul in the background I think you have much more burden on the new generation to move ahead with reforms because the current status quo program is not going to lead them to economic growth.

“If they position Diaz-Canal as the face of the Cuban government to the world and the people and if Raul has been playing the role Fidel has the past eight years (a monthly column or photo opp with a visiting dignitary), if Raul steps back as far as Fidel has stepped back then I would say it’s the end of the Castro era.”

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State of Indiana(NEW YORK) — President-elect Trump’s phone call with the president of Taiwan was “nothing more than taking a courtesy call,” according to Vice President-elect Mike Pence.

“Its’ a little mystifying to me that President Obama can reach out to a murdering dictator in Cuba in the last year and be hailed as a hero for doing it and President-elect Donald Trump takes a courtesy call from the democratically-elected leader of Taiwan, and it’s become something of a controversy,” Pence told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos on This Week on Sunday morning.

When asked whether the Trump administration would continue the “one China” foreign policy of the U.S. since 1979, Pence said, “We’ll deal with policy after January 20.”

Trump’s phone conversation Friday with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen broke nearly four decades of sensitive U.S. policy toward China.

Although Taiwan has held that it is an independent nation since it split from the Chinese mainland in a 1949 civil war, the U.S. established diplomatic relations with Beijing in 1979, and has since not recognized Taiwan as its own country but rather as a part of China.

Since 1979, no phone calls between a U.S. president-elect and a Taiwanese leader have been publicly reported, according to Center for Strategic and International Studies China expert Bonnie Glaser.

Pence told Stephanopoulos that Taiwan’s leader called Trump. “They reached out to offer congratulations as leaders around the world have,” he said. “He took the call, accepted her congratulations and good wishes.”

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