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BC-AP--Europe News Digest, AP

January 29, 2015



LONDON — Health officials are now focused on ending the biggest-ever Ebola outbreak rather than just slowing the deadly virus’ spread. The World Health Organization says the three most affected countries — Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia — have reported fewer than 100 cases in the past week, for the first time since June. By Maria Cheng. SENT: 310 words, photos.


ROME — Lawmakers cast ballots for a new Italian president in a vote that will test Premier Matteo Renzi’s ability to rally his divided party behind a single candidate who is also agreeable to ex-Premier Silvio Berlusconi’s allies. The polling is expected to last at least until Friday or Saturday, since the threshold slips from a two-thirds majority to a simple majority after three rounds of voting. UPCOMING: 300 words by 1400 GMT, when voting begins.


ATHENS, Greece — The European Parliament’s president is to be the first European official to visit Athens, a day after announcements by Greece’s nascent radical left government on rolling back a series of key budget commitments sent the country’s stock market plummeting. SENT: 140 words. Developing.


BERLIN — The United Nations is appealing for $3.1 billion to reach 62 million children at risk in humanitarian crises worldwide, including those living in Ukraine, Syria and other conflict zones and in areas affected by the Ebola epidemic. The U.N. children’s agency UNICEF says the largest portion, $903 million, would be targeted to help children with immunizations, safe water, sanitation and education in and around Syria. SENT: 130 words.


STRASBOURG, France — Russia has extended its walkout from Europe’s human rights watchdog after again losing its right to vote over the conflict in eastern Ukraine. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on Wednesday voted to renew sanctions against Russia, which includes stripping its voting rights, over the conflict in eastern Ukraine. SENT: 280 words.

With RUSSIA-GORBACHEV: Ex-president fears new Cold War could turn hot.


WARSAW, Poland — The head of Rome’s Jewish community and four others were questioned by police after triggering an alarm at the visitor’s center at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum. Riccardo Pacifici, whose grandparents were murdered at Auschwitz, and the others were questioned for several hours at a police station before being released. By Vanessa Gera. SENT: 290 words, photos.


STOCKHOLM — Stig Bergling, a former Swedish security officer who spied for the Soviet Union during the Cold War, has died. He was 77. The Swedish tax authority, which records deaths, confirmed he died in January. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: 400 words by 1400 GMT.


BUCHAREST, Romania — Prosecutors have indicted Elena Udrea, a former presidential candidate who was one of Romania’s most influential politicians in recent years, on suspicion of money-laundering and making false statements about money received from her husband. SENT: 130 words.


PARIS — The head of France’s air force says the crash of a NATO jet in Spain that left 11 people dead, including nine French airmen, came after the Greek crew tried to eject from the plane during a failed takeoff. Gen. Denis Mercier said Thursday the crash was entirely accidental and no additional measures could have prevented it. SENT: 110 words.


LONDON — Dippy the dinosaur is being retired from London’s Natural History Museum — and his fans aren’t happy. The London museum announced Thursday that the 85-foot (26-meter) plaster skeleton, which has been on display for more than a century, is to be replaced in the main hall by the skeleton of a blue whale. SENT: 130 words, photos.

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