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BC-AP--Europe News Digest, AP

July 30, 2013



MINNEAPOLIS — At least 10 suspected Nazi war criminals ordered deported by the United States never left the country, according to an Associated Press review of Justice Department data — and four are living in the U.S. today. All remained eligible for public benefits such as Social Security until they exhausted appeals, and in one case even beyond. Quiet American legal limbo was the fate of all 10 men uncovered in the AP review. The reason: While the U.S. wanted them out, no other country was willing to take them in. By Amy Forliti and Randy Herschaft.


ROME — Silvio Berlusconi’s political fate is in the hands of Italy’s highest court, which was hearing arguments Tuesday in the former premier’s challenge to a fraud conviction. The tensely awaited decision, which could have an impact on Italy’s fragile, three-month-old coalition government, is expected Wednesday or possibly Thursday, Berlusconi’s defender Franco Coppi told reporters outside the courtroom. Berlusconi’s case is one of eight on the docket, and the last one to be heard. By Frances D’emilio.


WARSAW, Poland — Poland’s first face transplant patient was discharged from the hospital Tuesday, speaking with some effort at a press conference just 11 weeks after the extensive surgery that saved his life. The 33-year-old man said he owes his doctor “everything” following a skin-and-bone transplant on May 15, three weeks after losing his nose, upper jaw and cheeks in an accident at the brick factory where he worked. Doctors say it was the world’s fastest time frame for such an operation.


LONDON — British police say they are investigating a threat of rape and murder made to a lawmaker on Twitter — the latest in a string of violent messages directed at high-profile women on the social networking site. Labour Party legislator Stella Creasy was targeted after she tweeted in support of feminist campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez, who received a torrent of abuse after she campaigned, successfully, for Jane Austen to appear on a British bank note.


RIGA, Latvia — Israeli President Shimon Peres has taken part in the ceremony to open a museum honoring a couple who saved some 50 Jews from extermination in Nazi-occupied Latvia. The museum in downtown Riga, Latvia’s capital, is located next to the property once owned by Zanis Lipke, a port worker who together with his wife hid Jews in an underground pit measuring some 9 square meters (90 square feet).


BERLIN — Authorities say they have recovered the body of the driver of one of two trains that collided on a regional line in western Switzerland. Police in Vaud canton said rescue workers found the body of the man, whose name wasn’t released, in the driver’s cabin early Tuesday after they managed to separate the front of the two trains.



BERLIN — A survey has found that German consumer confidence is continuing to rise on the back of a strong labor market and the prospect of more robust economic growth. The GfK research institute said Tuesday that its forward-looking consumer climate index rose to 7 points for August from 6.8 in July. That’s the highest level since September 2007.


LONDON — British bank Barclays said Tuesday it will sell 5.8 billion pounds ($8.9 billion) in new shares to make up for a big capital shortfall on its balance sheet and satisfy new regulatory requirements meant to prevent a repeat of the 2008 crisis. Shares in the company plunged almost 7 percent on the news. The sale of stock to existing shareholders was announced along with the bank’s earnings statement, and came after the Prudential Regulation Authority told Barclays and other lenders to increase their capital as a buffer against future crises. By Danica Kirka.


MADRID — Spain’s Banco Santander SA said Tuesday that a sharp reduction in write-offs to cover toxic real estate loans helped second-quarter net profit jump to 1.1 billion euros ($1.45 billion) from 123 million euros for the same period last year. Santander, along with many Spanish banks, had to write off huge amounts from the value of loans following a 2008 collapse of Spain’s property market that has led to nearly four years of recession and an unemployment rate of 26. 3 percent.


MADRID — Spain remains in recession but only just. The country’s National Statistics Institute says the Spanish economy contracted in the second quarter by a quarterly rate of 0.1 percent as a result of weak domestic consumer demand. That offset a solid export performance.


MILAN — Italian carmaker Fiat says second-quarter net income more than quadrupled thanks to strong sales by U.S. subsidiary Chrysler. Fiat on Tuesday posted a second-quarter net profit of 142 million euros ($188 million), up from a restated profit of 32 million euros in the same period last year. Without Chrysler, Fiat would have lost 247 million euros, as European sales dropped 5 percent.


ATHENS, Greece — Greeks earning more than 100,000 euros ($132,500) a year will have to pay for their own police protection from potential terrorist and organized crime attacks, under new cost-cutting plans. The Public Order Ministry said Tuesday that wealthy citizens will have to pay 2,000 euros ($2,650) per month for each officer acting as a bodyguard and a daily fee of 50 euros for use of a patrol car.


LONDON — UK oil company BP reported a net profit of $2 billion for the second quarter, up from a loss of $1.5 billion in the same period of last year but missing analyst expectations. BP made more provisions for the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, increasing the total by about $200 million to $42.4 billion. The explosion on the Deepwater Horizon platform killed 11 workers and released millions of gallons of oil into the gulf, wreaking economic and environmental damage across several southern states.


BERLIN — Swiss bank UBS says it plans to buy back a fund set up during the 2008 financial crisis into which it offloaded high-risk assets. UBS AG says it expects to exercise an option to buy the so-called StabFund from the Swiss National Bank in the fourth quarter. It says the move will boost its capital position.


PARIS — Alcatel-Lucent saw its losses more than double in the second quarter as the French-American telecommunications gear maker booked financial charges worth hundreds of millions of euros against the shrinking value of its assets. Paris-based Alcatel-Lucent, which supplies networking equipment to telecom operators such as AT&T and Verizon, said Tuesday it made an 885 million euros ($1.17 billion) loss during the period, compared with the previous year’s equivalent 396 million euros.


PARIS — France’s state controlled nuclear power giant EDF says its net profit rose 3.5 percent in the first half as a result of a cold winter and high electricity prices. The company, which runs all France’s 58 nuclear power plants and has a stake in one of the U.S.’s biggest nuclear power companies, made 2.88 billion euros ($3.8 billion) during the period, up from 2.78 billion euros a year earlier.


BERLIN — Switzerland’s central bank says it lost 7.28 billion francs ($7.8 billion) in this year’s first half because of the falling value of gold. The Swiss National Bank said Tuesday that it lost 13.15 billion francs on its gold holdings. However, the bank benefited from an increase in the value of the U.S. dollar and the euro; it reported a profit of 5.77 billion francs for the January-June period on its foreign currency positions.

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