BC-AP--AP Europe News Digest at 1200 GMT, AP
TOP STORIES IN EUROPE SO FAR ON FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 08, 2013
GENEVA — Four world powers are dispatching their top diplomats to Geneva on Friday to add their weight to negotiations aimed at putting initial limits on Iran’s ability to make atomic weapons. French, British and German foreign ministers are joining U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva, who will be coming “to help narrow differences in negotiations,” according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information. By George Jahn and John Heilprin. Moved 880 words. Developing. AP Photos.
PARIS — American influence in culture, science and education around the world took a high-profile blow Friday after the U.S. automatically lost voting rights at UNESCO, after missing a crucial deadline to repay its debt to the world’s cultural agency. The U.S. hasn’t paid its dues to the Paris-based U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in protest over the decision by world governments to make Palestine a UNESCO member in 2011. Israel suspended its dues at the same time and also lost voting rights on Friday. By Thomas Adamson. Moved 950 words. AP Photos.
LONDON — Rickets, the childhood disease that once caused an epidemic of bowed legs and curved spines during the Victorian era, is making a shocking comeback in 21st-century Britain. Rickets results from a severe deficiency of vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium. Rickets was historically considered to be a disease of poverty among children who toiled in factories during the Industrial Revolution, and some experts have hypothesized it afflicted literary characters like Tiny Tim in Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” By Maria Cheng. Moved 600 words. AP Photo.
COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Denmark says it is willing to help take chemical weapons out of Syria by sea. Defense Minister Nikolai Wammen says the United Nations has unofficially asked whether Denmark could contribute ships to transport the weapons from Syria for destruction. Moved 113 words. AP Photos.
POLAND-COAL AND CLIMATE
WARSAW, Poland — With coal-reliant Poland hosting U.N. climate talks, the fossil fuel industry will get a rare chance to play a more visible role in the global warming debate. But in a move that has infuriated climate activists, the Polish government will also preside over a high-level coal industry event on the sidelines of the two-week climate conference, which starts Monday. By Monika Scislowska. Moved 600 words.
AP Photos WAR150-1202080951, WAR151-0314121223.
BUSINESS AND FINANCE
PARIS — France’s principal credit rating was downgraded again Friday by Standard & Poor’s, which said the country has limited ability to get its public finances in shape and make its economy more competitive. The agency lowered France’s long-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings one notch to AA from AA+. However, the outlook for the rating is ‘stable,’ meaning no further changes are expected in the near term. By Sarah DiLorenzo. Moved 380 words.
FRANKFURT, Germany — The European Central Bank is pushing for the quick setup of an agency that can restructure failing banks, saying the new entity can be set up under the existing European Union treaty. Its stance clashes with that of the EU’s biggest member, Germany, which wants to use a network of national agencies instead while waiting for the treaty to be changed to allow the resolution agency. That could take years. By David Mchugh. Moved 370 words. AP Photos.
BERLIN — Germany’s trade surplus widened in September to a record high in a development that underlines criticism that Europe’s largest economy is not importing enough to boost other economies in Europe. The Federal Statistical Office reported Friday that exports were up 1.7 percent to 92.8 billion euros ($124 billion) in September over August, when adjusted for seasonal and calendar differences. Imports dropped 1.9 percent to 73.9 billion euros. Moved 280 words.
LISBON, Portugal — A strike by government workers is disrupting public services in Portugal as labor groups continue their battle against pay and pension cuts and the loss of entitlements. Many workers, especially those on the public payroll, have endured two years of falling income and higher taxes since Portugal’s 78 billion euros ($105 billion) bailout in 2011. Moved 140 words.
LONDON — International Airlines Group, the parent company of British Airways and Iberia, saw profits soar in the first nine months of the year on the back of an ongoing cost-cutting drive and a pick-up in passenger numbers relative to last year, when the 2012 London Olympics dented traffic. Operating profit before exceptional items for the nine months through September was 657 million euros ($885 million), compared to 17 million euros in 2012. Moved 140 words.
FRANKFURT, Germany — Insurer and investment manager Allianz SE says it’s raising its profit outlook for the year after profit rose 5.4 percent in the third quarter. The company said Friday it will make slightly more than 9.7 billion euros ($13.0 billion) this year. That was previously the upper range of the forecast. Moved 130 words.
MADRID — Spanish telecommunications company Telefonica posted a 21 percent drop in net profit in the third quarter following lower sales and the weakness of Latin American currencies against the euro. Telefonica SA said Friday net profit in the July to September period was 1.09 billion ($1.46 billion) against 1.38 billion euros the year before. For the first nine months, profit dipped 9 percent to 3.15 billion euros. Moved 130 words.