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BC-AP--AP Europe News Digest at 1200 GMT, AP

November 14, 2013

TOP STORIES IN EUROPE ON THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2013

EUROPE-ECONOMY-VITAL SIGNS

LONDON — The 17-country eurozone has just emerged from recession. Yet already, its recovery is faltering. Figures Thursday are expected to show the currency union’s economy barely grew last quarter. Record-high unemployment is keeping consumer spending weak, a stronger euro is slowing exports, heavily indebted governments need more support and low inflation is causing concern. At the same time, sharp disparities divide the eurozone’s major nations: Germany, for example, is thriving, in part at the expense of Italy and weaker nations. Here’s a look at the eurozone’s vital signs. By Pan Pylas. 1000 words by 1330 GMT

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EUROPE-ECONOMY

LONDON — The recovery from recession in the 17-country eurozone nearly came to a grinding halt in the third-quarter, raising concerns that the region faces a long slog back from its five-year economic crisis. Barely three months after emerging from its longest-ever recession, the eurozone barely grew at all in the July to September period. By Pan Pylas. 500 words moved. AP Photos.

RUSSIA-PUTIN’S-BLACK-BELT

MOSCOW — The World Taekwondo Federation has awarded an honorary black belt to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Putin received the certificate and a taekwondo uniform at a ceremony in Seoul before wrapping up his visit to South Korea on Wednesday. 120 words moved. AP Photos.

BOSNIA-TRAINS TO NOWHERE

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina — They were seen as a shining example of Bosnia’s rebirth from war: a fleet of high-speed trains built-to-order in the West. Eight years later, they haven’t made a single ride. The reason: They’re just too fast for Bosnia’s 60-year-old rails. By Aida Cerkez. 550 words. AP Photos.

UN-CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

GENEVA — UNICEF goodwill ambassador Mia Farrow described Central African Republic as a failed state on the verge of genocide. Thursday The actress and activist, who has just returned from a weeklong trip to the country, described the government as “useless” and said the world isn’t paying enough attention. She said she believes “the seeds are present for a genocide,” echoing the assessment of U.N. officials. 250 words.

ITALY-VATICAN

ROME — Pope Francis has made his first state visit to the Italian president, a traditionally pomp-filled ceremony that the pontiff defused by declining a presidential guard escort and traveling in his own Ford Focus instead. Francis’ small motorcade pulled up quietly Thursday to the Quirinale Palace without the blaring of sirens that typically accompanies diplomats and politicians cruising through central Rome. Once inside, Francis walked slowly by the side of President Giorgio Napolitano past the honor guard standing at attention. 130 words. AP Photos.

TAIWAN BIRD FLU

LONDON — A strain of bird flu that scientists thought could not infect people has shown up in a Taiwanese woman, a nasty surprise that shows scientists must do more to spot worrisome flu strains before they ignite a global outbreak, doctors say. On a more hopeful front, two pharmaceuticals separately reported encouraging results from human tests of a possible vaccine against a different type of bird flu that has been spreading in China since first being identified last spring, which is feared to have pandemic potential. By Maria Cheng. 580 words. AP Photo.

CZECH-POLITICS

PRAGUE — Former Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas says he won’t cooperate with prosecutors investigating his one-time chief of staff, and mistress, who is suspected of bribery and ordering a military intelligence agency to spy on his estranged wife. Necas admitted having an affair with Jana Nagyova after his government collapsed in June. He has since divorced and married Nagyova. 130 words.

BUSINESS AND FINANCE

IRELAND-FINANCIAL CRISIS

DUBLIN — Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny is expected to say his country will not need more financial aid from the European Union after it emerges from its bailout program next month. By Shawn Pogatchnik

130 words by 1220 GMT, 300 by 1400 GMT

FRANCE-EARNS-EADS

PARIS — Airbus parent company EADS said strong demand for its commercial aircraft helped its third-quarter profits increase by a hefty 45 percent. But the European jet maker warned Thursday that its free cash flow, a measure of cash generated by a business, would be negative 1.5 billion euros ($2 billion) this year because of its investment program into lifting production and development of programs such as the A350 long-range wide body, which is supposed to enter service in the second half of next year. By Greg Keller. 500 words.

WORLD MARKETS

World stocks rose Thursday after comments by the incoming Federal Reserve chief suggested the U.S. central bank won’t reduce its economic stimulus until March or later. Gains in Europe, however, were capped by evidence the recovery there nearly ground to a halt. Janet Yellen, who is slated to replace Ben Bernanke as Fed chairman at the end of January, will testify before the Senate banking committee later Thursday. Analysts said her published introductory remarks were a boost for stock markets that have been propelled higher since the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis by the Fed’s super-low interest rate and bond buying policies. AP Photos. 500 words moved.

BRITAIN-EARNS-BURBERRY

LONDON — Luxury goods maker Burberry saw its six-month revenue exceed 1billion pounds ($1.5 billion) for the first time as it reaps the benefits its digital marketing strategy. Chief executive Angela Ahrendts says the milestone — a 17 percent increase compared with the same six-month period ending in September last year — reflects the strength of the brand. The company expects sustainable profits across its portfolio. 130 words moved.

GREECE-FINANCIAL CRISIS

ATHENS, Greece — Greece’s unemployment rate stood at 27.3 percent in August, unchanged from the previous month. The government described the stabilization as the “first sign of recovery” for the crisis-hit country. The Greek Statistical Authority on Thursday said 88,242 more people were out of work over the year till August, bringing the total number of unemployed to 1.36 million. 130 words moved. AP Photos.

CZECH-ECONOMY

PRAGUE — Official figures show that the Czech economy surprisingly contracted in the third-quarter. The 0.5 percent quarterly fall recorded for the July to September period was wholly unexpected — the consensus in the markets was for an equivalent increase. 130 words moved.

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