BC-AP--Europe News Digest, AP
TOP STORIES FROM EUROPE AT 1105 GMT
SEYNE-LES-ALPES, France — Lufthansa’s chief executive said Wednesday it will take “a long, long time” to understand what led to a deadly crash in the Alps last week — but refused to say what the airline knew about the mental health of the co-pilot suspected of deliberately destroying the plane. Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr and the head of its low-cost airline Germanwings, Thomas Winkelmann, were visiting the crash area Wednesday amid mounting questions about how much the airlines knew about co-pilot Andreas Lubitz’s psychological state and why they haven’t released more information about it. By Lori Hinnant. SENT: 400 words, photos.
RUSSIA-YEAR OF SANCTIONS
MOSCOW — Kansas-born farmer Justus Walker is prospering in Russia — one year after the U.S. and European Union began imposing sanctions against his adopted country over its aggression in Ukraine. Walker, sporting a bushy beard reminiscent of a Russian peasant from past centuries, uses his Siberian dairy smallholding to support his missionary work. By James Ellingworth. SENT: 930 words, photos.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The Palestinian Authority became a member of the International Criminal Court on Wednesday, with a low-key ceremony at the court’s headquarters marking the high-stakes move. Joining the court is part of a broader effort by the Palestinians to put international pressure on Israel and comes at a time when the chances of resuming negotiations on Palestinian statehood are seen as slim following Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent election victory and tough campaign rhetoric. By Mike Corder. SENT: 500 words, photos.
PARIS — Three days after a resounding electoral victory for his conservative party, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy is appearing before investigators probing financing of his failed 2012 re-election bid. The Paris prosecutor’s office says the UMP party leader was being questioned Wednesday by an investigating judge looking into suspected breach of trust. SENT: 130 words, photos.-
BERLIN — The U.N.’s human rights chief said Wednesday his office has received reports that Boko Haram fighters retreating from advancing military forces in Nigeria murdered women and girls they had taken as “wives,” along with other captives. The recapture of parts of northeastern Nigeria in recent weeks “has brought to light gruesome scenes of mass graves and further evident signs of slaughter by Boko Haram,” Zeid Raad al-Hussein told a special session of the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva. SEND: 320 words.
ISTANBUL — A Turkish official says police have overpowered an armed man who stormed the ruling party’s local branch in Istanbul, broke a top-floor window and shouted slogans. Wednesday’s incident occurred a day after two members of a banned leftist group held a prosecutor hostage in an Istanbul courthouse, and all three died in a shootout between the hostage-takers and police. It was not clear if the two incidents were related. SENT: 250 words.
MOSCOW — Crimea’s independent television station ATR went off air at midnight on Tuesday after Russian authorities repeatedly refused to give it a broadcasting license. ATR was established as the first channel dedicated to the Crimean Tatars, a native ethnic group of about 300,000 that was deported from the region by the Soviet authorities in 1944. The TV channel was a rare critical voice during Russia’s annexation of Crimea last year and continued its critical coverage afterward. By Nataliya Vasilyeva. SENT: 250 words.
TIRANA, Albania — Albanian authorities are evacuating residents of a village following an explosion at a Canadian-owned oil well. No injuries were reported. A statement from the Calgary-based Bankers Petroleum Ltd. said an “uncontrolled leak of natural gas occurred during drilling operation” Wednesday in Marinze, 130 kilometers (80 miles) south of the capital Tirana. SEND: 130 words.
BERLIN — A German police officer has been found guilty of murder for killing a man he met in an Internet chat forum devoted to cannibalism.Prosecutors say the Polish-born victim had fantasized about being eaten, but there was no evidence the suspect actually did so. SENT: 130 words.