BC-AP--Europe News Digest, AP
TOP STORIES FROM EUROPE AT 1145 GMT
SLOVYANSK, Ukraine — A pro-Russian insurgency leader in eastern Ukraine said Saturday that foreign military observers detained as suspected NATO spies could be released in exchange for jailed pro-Russian activists. Outside Slovyansk, a city some 150 kilometers (90miles) west of Russia, Ukraine government forces continued operations to form a security cordon as it attempts to quell unrest threatening to derail planned elections. By Peter Leonard. SENT: 640 words, photos.
VATICAN CITY — When Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio almost became pope in 2005, he told a confidant that — had he been elected — he would have named himself after the pope he so admired: John XXIII. When he did become pope in 2013, his first public words echoed what John Paul II had said upon his election — that cardinals had searched far, to the “ends of the Earth,” to find a new leader. By Nicole Winfield and Daniela Petroff. SENT: 1,480 words, photos.
With VATICAN-POPES-SAINTS on spot developments.
VIENNA — Austrian police say at least six people have been injured after a building in Vienna partially collapsed following a reported explosion. Police spokeswoman Adina Mircioane says rescuers are trying to reach one injured person inside the residential building in Vienna’s 15th district. Five other people are being treated for minor injuries. SENT: 100 words.
LJUBLJANA, Slovenia — Slovenia’s government is facing likely collapse after Prime Minister Alenka Bratusek, whose government saved the small European Union state from an international bailout, lost her party leadership on Saturday. Bratusek said before the vote at the party congress that she could not lead the government if she was not party leader. By Ali Zerdin. SENT: 330 words.
AMSTERDAM — The Dutch are donning crazy orange-colored outfits and celebrating their first ever “King’s Day” — a national holiday held in honor of the Netherlands’ newly installed monarch, King Willem Alexander. The festival began Friday evening for hard core partiers and climaxes Saturday, with open-air markets and concerts around the country. More than a million people are expected to attend in Amsterdam alone.
LONDON — In April 1912, Esther Hart wrote home about her journey to a new life. “The sailors say we have had a wonderful passage up to now,” said Hart, a passenger on the Titanic. Hour later the ship struck an iceberg and sank, killing more than 1,500 people. SENT: 130 words. Will be updated.