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BC-AP--Europe News Digest, AP

March 7, 2014

TOP STORIES FROM EUROPE AT 0830 GMT

UKRAINE

SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine — Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, occupied by Russian troops, begins preparations for a referendum on joining Russia. In Kiev, Ukraine’s acting president denounces the referendum as illegitimate and says he will seek to have the Crimean regional parliament dissolved. By Yuras Karmanau. UPCOMING: 450 words by 1000GMT, video, photos.

UKRAINE-OLIGARCHS TO THE RESCUE

KIEV, Ukraine — In a surprising move after Russia flexed its military might in the Crimean Peninsula, Ukraine’s new leadership has reached out to oligarchs for help — appointing them as governors in eastern regions where loyalties to Moscow are strong. With their wealth, influence and self-interest in preventing further conflict, the oligarchs could be the key to calming tensions and maintaining Ukraine’s control in areas where pro-Russian activists have stoked separatist tensions. By Maria Danilova. UPCOMING: 1,000 words by 1000 GMT, photos.

INTERNATIONAL COURT-CONGO

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The International Criminal Court delivers its verdict in the trial of alleged Congolese warlord Germain Katanga on charges including murder, rape and using child soldiers. By Mike Corder. UPCOMING: 300 words, photos by 1200 GMT.

BRITAIN-UNEARTHING WWI

GOSPORT, England — Two lines of trenches face off across No Man’s Land. A soldier marches, rifle in hand, along a ditch. These are instantly familiar images of World War I — but this is Britain, a century on and an English Channel away from the battlefields of the Western Front. This overgrown and oddly corrugated patch of heathland on England’s south coast was once a practice battlefield, complete with trenches, weapons and barbed wire. Thousands of troops trained here to take on the German army. After the 1918 victory — which cost 1 million Britons their lives — the site was forgotten, until it was recently rediscovered by a local official with an interest in military history. By Jill Lawless. SENT: 780 words, photos.

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