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BC-AP--AP European News Digest at 1100 GMT, AP

October 4, 2013



LAMPEDUSA, Italy — Authorities are contending with choppy waters in the search for dozens of migrants believed to have drowned after their rickety boat caught fire and sank off the coast of the southern Italian island of Lampedusa. The scope of the tragedy — with 111 bodies recovered so far and many more missing — has prompted outpourings of grief and demands for a comprehensive immigration policy to deal with migrants fleeing poverty and strife in Africa and the Middle East. SENT: 130 words, photos. UPCOMING: 500 words by 1200 GMT.


ASSISI, Italy — Pope Francis makes a pilgrimage to the hillside town of Assisi and the tomb of his namesake, St. Francis, the 13th-century friar who renounced a wealthy, dissolute lifestyle to embrace a life of poverty and minister to the most destitute. St. Francis was famously told by God to “repair my house.” In word and deed, the first pope to name himself after St. Francis has made clear how he wants to follow that command, with a church that is welcoming to all, but especially the most marginalized, and a church hierarchy that is worthy of its 1.2 billion flock. By Nicole Winfield. SENT: 750 words, photos.


LONDON — Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper will tell you that many things you eat can give you cancer, global warming is probably bunk and the British way of life is under threat from pernicious Eurocrats in Brussels. The Mail is Britain’s most polarizing paper, and one of the most powerful. But many feel the Mail went too far when it angered Ed Miliband, leader of the left-of-center Labour Party, by running a story about Miliband’s late father, a leading socialist intellectual, headlined “the man who hated Britain.” By Jill Lawless. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.


BERLIN — Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives and the opposition Social Democratic Party are holding preliminary talks on forming Germany’s next government. The two parties that make up the conservative Union bloc and the SPD are expected to discuss how much common ground there is to create a “grand coalition” like the one that governed Germany during Merkel’s first term from 2005 to 2009. SENT: 130 words.


ROME — Italy’s Senate meets to vote on whether to kick Silvio Berlusconi, the billionaire media mogul who has been premier three times, out of Parliament following his tax fraud conviction. His fate can influence the fate of Premier Enrico Letta’s government. UPCOMING: 500 words by 1400 GMT.


DUBLIN — Ireland’s voters have begun deciding whether to abolish the country’s Senate in a cost-cutting move backed by the government and many opposition lawmakers. The government’s proposed constitutional amendment to close the 60-senator chamber requires majority voter support in a referendum Friday. SENT: 130 words. Results expected Saturday.


MOSCOW — A Moscow regional court has upheld a lawsuit filed by a prominent cosmonaut against the Russian space training center complaining about wages. Col. Sergei Volkov, who has logged 199 days in space, was contesting a recent government decision to strip retired military men like himself of extra pay for their space experience. SENT: 120 words.

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