BC-AP--Europe News Digest, AP
TOP STORIES FROM EUROPE AT 1125 GMT
KIEV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s president promises to introduce a bill as early as next week that would offer greater autonomy to rebellious regions in the pro-Russia east, where separatists have been battling government troops for almost five months. But President Petro Poroshenko said the regions would remain part of Ukraine and rejected the idea of federalization, something both Russia and the Russian-backed separatists are still pushing for even after a cease-fire that began Friday. By Laura Mills. SENT: 550 words, photos.
LONDON — In for a penny, in for a pound. There’ll be no going back if Scotland votes for independence from the United Kingdom on Sept. 18. The fate of the pound, which is also known as sterling and is one of the most tangible links of the union, will be front and center in any separation proceedings, as it has been during the campaign. By Pan Pylas. SENT: 1000 words, photos.
LONDON — Prime Minister David Cameron is urging Scottish voters not to break up the British “family” in an independence referendum next week. With polls pointing to a tight race, Cameron and leaders of two other major parties have gone to Scotland to plead with voters to reject independence. By Jill Lawless. SENT: 130 words, photos. UPCOMING: 300 words by 1200 GMT.
MADRID — Spanish banking magnate Emilio Botin, who built the country’s Banco Santander into a global financial giant and was widely seen as the nation’s most influential business leader, has died of a heart attack. He was 79. By Cristina Fuentes-Cantillana and Alan Clendenning. SENT: 340 words, photos.
BERLIN — Germany’s startup factory Rocket Internet AG says it plans a public listing on the Frankfurt stock exchange this year. The privately held company has launched dozens of online businesses around the world, often copying successful rivals. SENT: 300 words.
BERLIN — Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski has commemorated the outbreak of World War II in a speech to the Germany parliament. Komorowski spoke at a ceremony Wednesday marking 75 years since Germany’s attack on Poland on Sept. 1, 1939. SENT: 130 words, photos.
BERLIN — Police in northwestern Germany say they have yet to determine what caused a massive explosion that seriously injured one person at a chemical processing company. Police spokesman Marcus Neumann said Wednesday that investigators had arrived at the site in Ritterhude, near Bremen, but were unable to enter because firefighters were still working to douse the embers. SENT: 130 words, photos.
PARIS — France has revised down its growth forecasts and says it will miss its deficit target for another three years, confirmation that Europe’s second-largest economy will emerge only slowly from its stagnation. Finance Minister Michel Sapin said Wednesday the budget deficit would be around 4.3 percent of GDP in 2015 and would not dip under the 3 percent target for European Union countries until 2017, a decade after the last time France hit the target By Sylvie Corbet. SENT: 240 words, photos.
LISBON, Portugal — Lisbon subway staff have walked off the job during the morning rush hour in a protest against pay cuts and the company’s possible privatization. The Metropolitano de Lisboa carries on average about 370,000 passengers a day, and Wednesday’s strike by most of its 1,450 employees shut down services. The stoppage brought misery for commuters who faced long queues for buses in the rain. SENT: 130 words.
BRUSSELS — Former Danish Economy Minister Margrethe Vestager will be taking over as the European Union’s powerful antitrust chief in November. The EU said Wednesday the 46-year-old will take over from incumbent Joaquin Almunia when the 28-nation bloc’s new executive Commission takes office. SENT: 130 words.
PARIS — A Paris court has thrown out a legal case against nine activists who bared their breasts in a rowdy protest inside Notre Dame Cathedral, ruling that there was insufficient evidence of any material damage. Prosecutors had sought thousands of dollars in fines against the activists from feminist group Femen who pounded a huge church bell in the landmark Paris cathedral in February last year to express anger at the Roman Catholic Church’s opposition to gay marriage. They also staged a mock celebration of the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. SENT: 130 words.