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BC-AP--Europe News Digest, AP

October 16, 2014



MILAN — Russian leader Vladimir Putin is mounting a diplomatic blitz on the sidelines of a summit of European and Asian leaders in a bid to escape the worst crisis with the West since the Cold War. Putin will discuss Ukraine during a working breakfast with Ukrainian leader President Petro Poroshenko and key European leaders on the sidelines of the 10th ASEM summit, which opens Thursday. He may also meet privately with Poroshenko. By Colleen Barry and Vladimir Isachenkov. SENT: 130 words, photos. UPCOMING: 300 words by 1200 GMT.


BELGRADE, Serbia — Serbian police say they have found the drone that flew an Albanian nationalist banner over a soccer stadium in Belgrade, igniting a brawl on the field and fueling simmering political tensions between Balkan rivals Serbia and Albania. SENT: 130 words, photos.


WARSAW, Poland — They were both Holocaust survivors from Poland who suffered through unspeakable tragedies. But when director Roman Polanski and producer Gene Gutowski teamed up in the 1960s they never spoke of the war, preferring to focus on life by making movies and partying hard. Even when the two reunited decades later for the 2002 Holocaust film the “The Pianist,” they didn’t talk about the horrors they had seen. By Vanessa Gera. SENT: 800 words, photos.


PARIS — Married in a lion’s cage, the 103-year-old Madame Rosa remains the matriarch of a famous Paris circus. By Thomas Adamson. SENT: 900 words, photos.


GENEVA — U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad al-Hussein drew comparisons between the Ebola outbreak and the Islamic State group, labeling them “twin plagues” upon the world that were allowed to gain strength because of widespread neglect and misunderstanding. At his first news conference since becoming the U.N.’s top human rights official last month, Zeid focused on the “two monumental crises” that he said would inevitably cost nations many billions to overcome. By John Heilprin. SENT: 275 words.


PRAGUE — An official says two workers are missing following a series of explosions at a military ammunition dump in eastern Czech Republic. Libor Netopil, spokesman for the regional firefighters, says rescuers are not immediately able to enter the facility because of a threat of further explosions. SENT: 100 words.


BERLIN — German prosecutors say a German man who spent nearly a year in Syria has been arrested on suspicion of membership in an al-Qaida branch there, the Nusra Front. Federal prosecutors said the 27-year-old, identified only as Soufiane K. in line with German privacy rules, was arrested in Frankfurt on Wednesday. SENT: 130 words.


DUBLIN — Negotiations to bolster Northern Ireland’s power-sharing government are opening in Belfast as the 7-year-old alliance of British Protestants and Irish Catholics faces its toughest political test. The U.K. government is overseeing the talks at Stormont House involving local leaders, who have grown increasingly divided over a growing list of issues. The diplomatic push is expected to run twice-weekly alongside the continuing operation of Northern Ireland’s five-party administration. By Shawn Pogatchnik. SENT: 300 words.


WARSAW, Poland — Polish officials say a high-ranking army officer and a civilian have been detained on suspicion that they spied for a hostile foreign intelligence service. Polish media reported that the two are suspected of spying for Russia, but prosecutors have refused to identify the country in question. SENT: 130 words.



LONDON — The global sell-off in stock markets deepened, with European indexes in particular suffering heavy losses amid growing concerns about Greece’s financial stability. After being stable on the open, the German DAX stock index was down 1.8 percent by midday in Europe. France’s CAC 40 shed 2.3 percent and Britain’s FTSE 100 lost 1.8 percent. SENT: 300 words, photos. UPCOMING: 400 words by 1200 GMT.


BERLIN — German Chancellor Angela Merkel says there can be no exceptions to European Union rules on national deficit targets. Her comments in a speech to Parliament were a clear message to France. SENT: 380 words, photos.


GENEVA — Nestle S.A., the world’s biggest food and drink company, reported a 3-percent drop in group sales for the first nine months of the year, impacted by weakness in currencies against the Swiss franc and other costs. The Vevey, Switzerland-based company said it had sales of 66.2 billion francs, down from 68.35 billion francs in the same period a year ago, which also reflects weak consumer spending. But Nestle said it had 4.5 percent organic sales growth, which does not reflect acquisitions and currency fluctuations. By John Heilprin. SENT: 200 words.


GENEVA — Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding AG posted flat sales for the first nine months of 2014, but said the results show strong demand for its cancer drugs and emerging new products. The Basel, Switzerland-based company’s group sales were reported at 34.8 billion Swiss francs, nearly unchanged from 34.9 billion francs in the same period last year. But when measured in constant exchange rates, sales rose 5 percent over the first three quarters of the year. By John Heilprin. SENT: 290 words.


AMSTERDAM — KLM says Pieter Elbers is replacing Camiel Eurlings as president and chief executive officer of the Dutch airline with immediate effect. In a statement released Wednesday night, KLM said Eurlings and the KLM board “decided that he would step down immediately as president and pave the way for his successor.” SENT: 130 words


LONDON — Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway has reduced its stake in British retailer Tesco to under 3 percent, offering a fresh slap to the struggling company. Buffett’s move, revealed in a regulatory filing Thursday, was not unexpected. He told CNBC this month that his investment in the supermarket giant was “a huge mistake by me.” SENT: 130 words.


PARIS — Russian chess master and political activist Garry Kasparov says a Kazakh dissident banker is in danger if a court rules he should be extradited from France. The case of Mukhtar Ablyazov has been tangled up in courts in at least five countries since he fled Kazakhstan amid the nationalization of BTA Bank, which he had led. Ablyazov is jailed in France as Russia and Ukraine seek his extradition over billions missing from the bank. He was arrested in France on an international warrant. SENT: 130 words.

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