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BC-AP--AP Europe News Digest at 1230 GMT, AP

January 28, 2014



KIEV, Ukraine — In back-to-back moves to try to resolve Ukraine’s political crisis, the prime minister submits his resignation and parliament repeals anti-protest laws that set off violent clashes between protesters and police. But that stopped well short of opposition demands, including the resignation of the president, who sparked two-month protests by accepting a huge bailout package from Russia instead of signing an agreement with the European Union. By Maria Danilova and Jim Heintz. SENT: 340 words, photos. UPCOMING: 750 words by 1900 GMT.


GENEVA — Lakhdar Brahimi has seen faces like these before, barely able to remain in the same room, much less speak to each other. Lebanese, Afghans, Iraqis, now Syrians. Even, two decades ago, Algerians like himself. For a week now, the veteran U.N. mediator has presided over peace talks intended to lead the way out of Syria’s civil war. He brought President Bashar Assad’s government and the opposition face to face for the first time on Saturday, ensuring they avoid contact both when they’re in the room together and when they meet alone with him. He is 80. He is patient. “I am often accused of being too slow,” he says at the end of a long day. “If you run, you may gain one hour and lose one week.” By Zeina Karam and Lori Hinnant. SENT: 850 words, photos.


THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Former Bosnian Serb army commander Gen. Ratko Mladic slammed the United Nations’ Yugoslav war crimes tribunal Tuesday as a “satanic court” and refused to testify as a defense witness for his former political master, Radovan Karadzic. A courtroom reunion of the two alleged chief architects of Serb atrocities during Bosnia’s 1992-95 war lasted only about an hour as Mladic repeatedly told judges he would not answer former Bosnian Serb President Karadzic’s questions, citing ill health and an unwillingness to risk incriminating himself. By Mike Corder. SENT: 650 words.


BERLIN — Nazif Mujic flashes a toothless smile and his entire face lights up when he recalls how he won the best actor award at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2013: “I went up on stage, everybody was cheering, everybody wanted to talk to me — it was like walking on clouds.” Mujic, a gypsy from a small village in Bosnia, won the Silver Bear for his role in a film about his real-life struggle to save his wife’s life. Now, almost a year later, the movie star is back in Germany — this time as an asylum seeker. By Kirsten Grieshaber. MOVED: 750 words, with AP photos.


SOCHI, Russia — An international journalism watchdog on Tuesday criticized Russian authorities for restricting news coverage of preparations for the Sochi Olympics. The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists detailed in a report how Russian and international journalists have been harassed and prevented from covering sensitive stories in Sochi such as the abuse of migrant workers and environmental issues. By Nataliya Vasilyeva. SENT: 300 words, photos.


LONDON — British lawmakers have criticized the financial affairs of Queen Elizabeth II and her household, urging the monarch to bring in more income by opening up Buckingham Palace to visitors more often. The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee said in a report Tuesday that the royal household needed more cash to address a serious maintenance backlog on crumbling palaces. SENT: 130 words.



LONDON — The mood in financial markets turned more upbeat Tuesday, following days of turmoil for stocks and emerging market currencies, despite expectations of a further monetary tightening from the U.S. Federal Reserve. In recent days, investors have fretted about slower economic growth in China, the world’s second-biggest economy, as well as the impact of political problems in countries like Argentina and Turkey. By Pan Pylas. SENT: 450 words.


LONDON — The face of London is about to change. Dozens of buildings of 20 stories or more are slated for construction along the south bank of the River Thames, fueling concern there will soon be a solid wall of apartment blocks just down the river from Big Ben and the majestic dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral. Those who believe glass-and-steel towers don’t mesh with the gothic spires of the Houses of Parliament are worried the city is sacrificing its heritage for the sake of luxury homes. By Danica Kirka. UPCOMING 950 words by 1300 GMT.


LONDON — The British economy grew at its fastest rate in six years during 2013, the latest in a string of indicators showing that the recovery is gaining momentum. Following 0.7 percent quarterly rise in the final three months of the year, the British economy has now grown for four straight quarters, figures from Office for National Statistics showed Tuesday. By Danica Kirka. SENT: 130 words.


BRUSSELS — The International Monetary Fund is urging the 18-nation Eurozone to press ahead with its planned banking union reforms to lay the foundation for fresh growth and job creation. IMF chief Christine Lagarde said Tuesday that the bloc must reinforce its institutions to stabilize its financial market and reduce “the very damaging link” of failing banks dragging down weaker governments’ finances. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING 300 words by 1500 GMT.


AMSTERDAM — Royal Philips NV, the world’s biggest lighting maker, said Tuesday it sees a brighter future in selling lighting “as a service” to businesses rather than individual lamps to customers, as it reported a rise in fourth quarter earnings. Despite an upbeat review of the company’s performance, CEO Frans van Houten said he is “cautious” heading into the new year, given uncertainty in emerging economies. By Toby Sterling. SENT: 400 words, photos.


FRANKFURT, Germany — Industrial equipment maker Siemens AG said quarterly net profit rose 20 percent as the company moved past one-time charges for delays delivering high-speed trains. Net profit rose to 1.46 billion euros ($2 billion) in the fourth quarter of 2013, the company’s fiscal first. That was up from 1.21 billion euros a year ago. By David Mchugh.


BERLIN — Roman Catholic church officials in Germany have agreed to contribute up to 65 million euros ($89 million) to help employees of insolvent bookselling group Weltbild GmbH. Weltbild, whose owners include 12 Roman Catholic dioceses, applied for insolvency Jan. 10. It pointed to declining sales and projections of lower revenue over the next three years. SENT: 130 words.



LONDON — Go ahead — just try to get away with it. If you’re willing to take the risk, you’ll pay the price. That’s the challenge laid down to drug cheats thinking they can dope their way to success at the Winter Olympics in Sochi. By Stephen Wilson. SENT 900 words.


LONDON — Juan Mata is set to make his Manchester United debut as the champions look to revive their faltering Premier League campaign by beating Cardiff. Arsenal will stay in first place with a win at Southampton while Liverpool hosts Everton in the Merseyside derby in a key match in Champions League qualification. 700 words. By Rob Harris. UCPOMING 700 words by 2200 GMT.


JEREZ, Spain — Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes and new Ferrari pilot Kimi Raikkonen all take to the Jerez track on the first day of testing before the 2014 Formula 1 season. Expected by 1900GMT. 500 words. By Joseph Wilson. UPCOMING: 500 words by 1900 GMT.


MADRID — Real Madrid looks to book its spot in the semifinals of the Copa del Rey hosting Espanyol with a 1-0 lead after their opening leg. UPCOMING: 350 words by 2200 GMT.


PARIS — Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia faces Marina Erakovic of New Zealand for a place in the second round of the Open GDF Suez and a match against top-seeded Maria Sharapova of Russia. UPCOMING 250 words by 1600 GMT.

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