BC-AP--Europe News Digest, AP
TOP STORIES FROM EUROPE AT 1100 GMT
TURKEY-KURDISH PEACE TALKS
DIYARBAKIR, Turkey — The peace process to end decades of violent strife between Turkey and Kurdish rebels has been one of Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s signature achievements. But with key parliamentary elections looming in June, the president has hit the brakes on peace talks — and exposed a rare rift within his own party. By Desmond Butler and Suzan Fraser. SENT: 840 words, photos.
ANKARA, Turkey — A Dutch journalist has gone on trial in Turkey on charges of engaging in propaganda on behalf of the banned Kurdish rebel group on social media. Freelance journalist Frederike Geerdink Geerdink said on Twitter that the prosecutor recommended her acquittal at the opening hearing of her trial in the mainly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir on Wednesday. SENT: 130 words.
FRANCE-AIR TRAFFIC STRIKE
PARIS — French air traffic controllers went on strike Wednesday, prompting the cancellation of 40 percent of flights across France. The powerful SNCTA union called the two-day strike in a quarrel over working and retirement conditions, saying in a statement that “disruption is expected over the whole country.” SENT: 150 words.
MOSCOW — Dmitry Kovtun, one of the main suspects in the poisoning of ex-Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko, says he will be willing to testify at an inquiry into the death if he is given “core participant” status. The inquiry in London is paused until July 27 when Kovtun could testify via videolink provided he meets certain conditions. SENT: 130 words.
MADRID — Police in northeastern Spain say they have arrested 10 people for suspected links to jihadi terror activity and the Islamic State armed group. A Catalan regional police statement said the arrests took place Wednesday in five northeastern towns, including the regional capital of Catalonia, Barcelona. SENT: 130 words.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Royal Dutch Shell has agreed to buy British gas producer BG Group for 47 billion pounds ($69.7 billion) in cash and stock, the companies announced Wednesday. The move gives oil giant Shell a greater stake in natural gas markets in the wake of tumbling oil prices. Consolidations through takeovers and mergers are among the ways energy companies are seeking to reduce costs and become more efficient as oil prices have slumped. By Mike Corder. SENT: 310 words, photos.
ATHENS, Greece — Authorities say two policemen were injured and nine people were arrested during a night of clashes between rioting youths and police in central Athens after a demonstration by hundreds of anarchists calling for the closure of a maximum-security prison. Police said Wednesday the arrests were made on charges including attempted grievous bodily harm, arson and vandalism. A further 21 people were temporarily detained. SENT: 130 words, photos.
FRANKFURT, Germany — Luxury car maker Mercedes-Benz saw its highest monthly sales ever in March. The brand owned by Daimler AG got a boost from a recovering auto market in Europe and a big increase in China. SENT: 140 words.
TALLINN, Estonia — The leaders of three Estonian political parties have signed a deal to form a center-right coalition government, with Prime Minister Taavi Roivas remaining in his post. Roivas, of the pro-market Reform Party, was forced to seek a new coalition partner after his alliance with the Social Democrats lost its parliamentary majority in elections last month. SENT: 130 words.