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Europe News Digest at 1200 GMT

April 17, 2014

LONDON (AP) — TOP STORIES THURSDAY FROM EUROPE AT 1200 GMT

UKRAINE

KIEV, Ukraine — Ukrainian authorities say three pro-Russian protesters were killed and 13 injured during an attempted overnight raid on a Ukrainian National Guard base in the Black Sea port of Mariupol. The Interior Ministry said a mob of around 300 people armed with stun grenades and firebombs were involved in the bloodiest episode to date in the confrontation pitting Ukraine’s new government in Kiev against an eastern insurgency tacitly supported by Moscow. By Nataliya Vasilyeva. SENT: 702 words. With photos, video. Will be updated.

UKRAINE-DIPLOMACY

GENEVA — Ukraine is hoping to placate Russia and calm hostilities with its neighbor even as the U.S. prepares a new round of sanctions to punish Moscow for what it regards as fomenting unrest. The carrot-stick strategy has emerged as diplomats from Ukraine, the U.S., the European Union and Russia prepare to meet for the first time over the burgeoning crisis that threatens to roil the new government in Kiev. SENT: 1,080 words. With photos, video. UPCOMING: Update by 1300 GMT.

RUSSIA-PUTIN

MOSCOW — Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has rejected claims that Russian special forces are fomenting unrest in eastern Ukraine, but recognized for the first time that the troops in unmarked uniforms who had overtaken Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula before its annexation by Moscow were Russian soldiers. Speaking in a televised call-in show with the nation, Putin harshly criticized the West for trying to pull Ukraine into its orbit. By Vladimir Isachenkov. SENT: 756 words. UPCOMING: 900 words by 1500 GMT.

FRANCE-SMALL NUCLEAR REACTORS

PARIS - Small underground nuclear plants could be the wave of the future for an energy industry that has come under intense scrutiny since the Fukushima disaster. The incoming head of the Nuclear Energy Agency talks to The Associated Press about new technology, safety, and how he hopes to counter concerns about nuclear energy. William Magwood says the industry is intensely hopeful about small modular nuclear reactors, which can be shipped in on truck or train, take up less space and produce less energy. The U.S. is accepting design bids for late 2014. By Lori Hinnant. UPCOMING: 1,000 words by 1300 GMT.

IRAN-NUCLEAR

VIENNA — The U.N. atomic agency says Iran has converted most of a nuclear stockpile that it could have turned quickly into weapons-grade uranium into less volatile forms as part of a deal with six world powers. The development leaves Iran with substantially less of the 20-percent enriched uranium that it would need for a nuclear warhead. Thursday By George Jahn. SENT: 417 words. With photos.

NETHERLANDS-HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS TAXED

AMSTERDAM — Dutch Jews who made it through World War II alive in hiding, or by surviving near-impossible odds in German concentration camps, found they had one more challenge to face when they got home: Amsterdam city bureaucrats. According to a still-unpublished report drawn up by the Netherlands’ Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, the city demanded retroactive taxes and late payment fines for 217 homes that the Jews had been forced to flee. By Toby Sterling. UPCOMING: 700 words, with photos, by 1500 GMT.

ALGERIA-ELECTIONS

ALGIERS, Algeria — Algerians have started trickling into voting booths to elect the president of this oil-rich North African nation in an election expected to be dominated by the ailing incumbent running for a fourth term. Despite suffering from a stroke and being entirely absent from the three-week election campaign, 77-year-old Abdelaziz Bouteflika is backed by the powerful institutions of the state and represents stability for Algerians. But many of the 23 million registered voters, especially younger ones, are not expected to turn out to vote. By Paul Schemm. SENT: 384 words, with photos. UPCOMING: 700 words after polls close.

MOLDOVA-US

CHISINAU, Moldova — U.S senators say they will support Moldova politically and financially as it moves toward the European Union, as Russian President Vladimir Putin urged Ukraine to end a blockade of a separatist region in Moldova. UPCOMING: 130 words by 1200 GMT.

SPORTS:

OLY-UKRAINE-LVIV IN LIMBO

LONDON — With the crisis in Ukraine escalating by the day, the prospect of the Winter Olympics going to the former Soviet republic seems hard to imagine. Yet, the western Ukrainian city of Lviv hasn’t given up on its bid for the 2022 Games. By Stephen Wilson. SENT: 700 words, with photos.

SOC-ENGLISH PREVIEW

MANCHESTER, England — A run of 10 straight victories has propelled Liverpool to the top of the Premier League and into the unfamiliar position of title favorite. And few would bet on that winning streak ending this weekend. By Steve Douglas. SENT: 900 words.

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