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BC-AP--AP European News Digest at 1200 GMT, AP

January 23, 2015

TOP STORIES FOR FRIDAY, JANUARY 23, 2015

UKRAINE

DONETSK, Ukraine —Signs emerged Friday pointing to a major offensive in eastern Ukraine by rebels fighting to break off from the rest of the country. A rebel leader said they will continue to fight and won’t join further peace talks — but left unclear whether they would respect this week’s agreement to pull back heavy weapons from the front line. SENT: 400 words.

BELGIUM-JEWISH MUSEUM ATTACK

BRUSSELS — Belgian authorities are looking for a man who was seen together with the chief suspect after the May terror attack at the Jewish Museum in Brussels that left four people dead. A Belgian judicial official said Friday they want to speak to a bald-headed man with a sports bag seen together with the suspect four days after the May 24 shooting. SENT: 230 words. By Raf Casert.

RUSSIA-ECONOMY

DAVOS, Switzerland — A top Russian official says the country’s economic crisis will worsen and is likely to be longer than the last one in 2008-2009. During a debate Friday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, first deputy prime minister Igor Shuvalov said, however, that the Russian people still support President Vladimir Putin, and would even be prepared to eat less if needed. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: 400 words by 1400 GMT. By Nataliya Vasilyeva and Carlo Piovano.

BC-EU_DAVOS-AP DEBATE

DAVOS, Switzerland — The risks of geopolitical conflicts for the economy will be the topic of a high-level debate hosted by The Associated Press during the World Economic Forum in this Swiss ski resort. Speakers include the foreign ministers of Iran and South Korea as well as Germany’s defense minister. UPCOMING: 500 words by 1800 GMT. By John Heilprin.

REL--VATICAN-FAMILIES

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis is urging families to put aside their iPhones and Twitter feeds and learn to talk to one another again. In his annual message for the church’s World Day of Communications, released Friday, Francis says media can both help or hinder family communication — helping far-flung members stay in touch but also enabling others to avoid one another. SENT: 270 words.

DENMARK-SYRIA

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Denmark’s foreign minister says the West should start talking to Syrian President Bashar Assad but “it has to be an absolute condition that Assad must not be part of Syria’s future.” Martin Lidegaard says that stopping the nearly four-year-old civil war requires that “we then must talk with the present regime.” SENT: 130 words.

BRITAIN-OPPENHEIMER

LONDON — Suddenly, scientists are sexy. With Benedict Cumberbatch winning gongs as Alan Turing and Eddie Redmayne turning heads as Stephen Hawking, young British actors playing scientific geniuses are all the rage this awards season. So it’s good timing for the Royal Shakespeare Company, which is swapping the Bard for the Bomb with a new play featuring rising star John Heffernan as American nuclear scientist Robert Oppenheimer. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 1500GMT. By Jill Lawless.

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