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BC-EU--Europe News Digest, EU

October 30, 2014

UKRAINE-WINTER THREAT

DONETSK, Ukraine — Dark tunnels in the basement of a bombed-out hospital in the eastern city of Donetsk lead to a makeshift shelter. Opening the door hardly alleviates the gloom, for the only lighting inside is the flicker of handmade oil lamps. The inhabitants move around like shadows, eyes dull and faces weary with hardship, dressed in several layers of worn-out sweatshirts, vests and jackets. Their dire situation is about to become much worse as Donetsk, ravaged by a separatist war, braces for winter. In eastern Ukraine, where temperatures typically stay below freezing all winter, damage to critical infrastructure and lack of adequate shelter for the newly homeless could mean death from cold for many. By Nataliya Vasilyeva. SENT 1,000 words, photos.

UKRAINE-RUSSIA GAS

BRUSSELS — Talks to guarantee that Russian gas imports flow into rival Ukraine throughout the winter appear to be at an impasse because of doubts over payments from Kiev. A European Union official says the negotiations, which were supposed to produce an agreement Wednesday, broke up inconclusively early Thursday, with a draft for a ‘common understanding’ sent to Moscow and Kiev for consideration. By Raf Casert. SENT 300 words, photos. Story developing.

TURKEY-MINE-DISASTER

ANKARA, Turkey — A senior government official says hopes are fading for 18 miners trapped in a flooded coal mine in southern Turkey. Rescue workers are using huge pipes to pump water from 350 meters (380 yards) underground, but Energy Minister Taner Yildiz says that the operation is being hampered by mud and damage inside the mine. SENT 130 words, photos. Story developing.

SWEDEN-PALESTINE

STOCKHOLM — Sweden’s new government recognizes a Palestinian state at a time of increased tensions between Arabs and Jews over Israel’s plans to build about 1,000 housing units in east Jerusalem. The EU member country joins only two other Western European countries — Malta and Cyprus — that have officially recognized a Palestinian state. SENT 300 words.

BRITAIN-SPERM BANK

LONDON — Britain opens a National Sperm Bank to help meet rising demand for donors. Officials say it is designed to help single women, men with fertility problems and same-sex couples to build families. SENT 250 words.

BRITAIN-LIBYA

LONDON — A British court says a former Libyan military commander can sue the U.K. government for its alleged role in his detention and rendition. Abdel Hakim Belhaj was arrested in 2004 in Bangkok along with his wife and returned to Moammar Gadhafi’s Libya, where he spent years in prison. SENT 130 words.

GERMANY-AUTOBAHN-SNIPER

BERLIN — A court in Germany has sentenced a trucker to 10 ½ years in prison for shooting at fellow drivers more than 700 times over a five-year period. In one incident a female driver was hit in the neck by a ricochet but survived. SENT 130 words.

NETHERLANDS-EARNS-SHELL

Shell, Europe’s largest oil producer, reports a dip in third quarter profit, but says it has yet to feel the full impact of the recent slide in oil prices. As the company reports a 4.5 percent dip in third-quarter net profit, to $4.46 billion, Chief Financial Officer Simon Henry warns that the period’s figures reflect only a third of the oil price’s slide from above $100 per barrel this summer to around $81 per barrel. By Toby Sterling. SENT 450 words.

BRITAIN-BARCLAYS

LONDON — Barclays, Britain’s second biggest bank by assets, set aside 500 million pounds ($805 million) to cover possible penalties amid international probes into the alleged manipulation of foreign exchange markets. The provision signals ongoing troubles for the bank, which is trying to overhaul its corporate culture after a string of scandals. The provision amount is greater than the 290 million pound fine Barclays paid for its role in rigging the London interbank offered rate, or Libor, a benchmark for consumer interest rates around the world. By Danica Kirka. SENT 330 words.

GERMANY-EARNS-VOLKSWAGEN

FRANKFURT, Germany — Automaker Volkswagen AG says that net profit jumped 56 percent in the third quarter as the company sees continuing sales growth in China and Europe. The company reaffirmed its profit targets for the year but says global auto markets would remain dominated by political and economic uncertainty. SENT 300 words.

GERMANY-ECONOMY

BERLIN — Germany’s unemployment rate falls to 6.3 percent in October as the labor market in Europe’s biggest economy continues to gain steam. The Federal Statistical Office says 2.733 million people were jobless in October, 75,000 fewer than in September, when the unemployment rate was 6.5 percent. SENT 140 words.

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