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BC-AP--Europe News Digest, AP

August 4, 2014

TOP STORIES FROM EUROPE AT 1100 GMT

UKRAINE

MOSCOW — A Russian border security official says more than 400 Ukrainian soldiers have crossed into Russia, according to a local news agency report. It wasn’t immediately clear why the soldiers went into Russia, with both sides giving conflicting accounts. The Russian official says the soldiers deserted the Kiev government and the Russian side opened a safe corridor, while Ukraine said the soldiers, without giving a number, were forced into Russian territory by rebel fire. By Laura Mills. SENT: 400 words, photos; more developments shortly.

WWI REMEMBRANCE

LIEGE, Belgium — Former enemies during World War I unite for ceremonies surrounding the 100th anniversary of the start of the conflict, with Belgium, France, Germany and Britain standing together at an Allied memorial to commemorate one of the great early battles. By Virginia Mayo and Raf Casert. SENT: 400 words, photos; more developments shortly.

ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS-DIPLOMACY

PARIS — France’s foreign minister is calling on the international community to impose a solution on Israel and Hamas, saying the warring sides have shown themselves unable to negotiate. In an unusually strong statement, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Israel’s right to security “does not justify the killing of children and the massacre of civilians.” France is closely allied with Israel, and Fabius’ statement was a rare direct criticism. SENT: 130 words.

SWITZERLAND-SHIP ACCIDENT

BERLIN — Swiss authorities say two passenger ships have collided with a cargo vessel that had gotten into difficulty on the Rhine river in the city of Basel. Basel’s justice and security department said no one was injured or missing following the accident. Passengers were evacuated from the ships.

BUSINESS & FINANCE:

PORTUGAL-TROUBLED BANK

LISBON, Portugal —A new Portuguese bank has appeared, born from the ruins of a collapsed business empire, and declared on its website that it was now “stronger and safer.” Investors rattled by the eurozone’s latest financial drama will need more reassurances, however. Portugal’s biggest banking scandal, which compelled authorities to put up 4.9 billion euros ($6.6 billion) to prevent the collapse of ailing Banco Espirito Santo, raised key questions about how regulators were apparently hoodwinked and focused minds on European banking system stress tests whose results are due in November. By Barry Hatton. SENT: 480 words, photos. UPCOMING: 700 words by 1400 GMT.

BRITAIN-EARNS-HSBC

LONDON — HSBC, one of the world’s largest banks, has warned that fragile growth in the global economy and rising geopolitical tensions will keep it from taking on greater investment risks. In its earnings update, HSBC said its net income fell 5.4 percent to $9.46 billion in the first half of the year. By Danica Kirka. SENT: 350 words.

GERMANY-RUSSIA-DEFENSE-DEAL

BERLIN — The German government said it has revoked permission for the delivery of a field exercise simulator to the Russian military, blocking a deal it had already put on hold and going beyond a European Union arms embargo that allows existing contracts to be fulfilled. By Geir Moulson. SENT: 310 words, photos.

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