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BC-AP--Europe News Digest, AP

June 18, 2014

TOP STORIES FROM EUROPE AT 1115 GMT

KIEV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s president says he is ready to call a unilateral cease-fire to allow pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country a chance to lay down weapons or leave the country, a potential major development to bring peace to the country. Petro Poroshenko’s plan, announced following conversations with Russian and German leaders, aims to end two months of fighting in eastern provinces that form the nation’s industrial heartland. By David McHugh. SENT: 500 words. UPCOMING: 650 words by 1200 GMT.

UKRAINE-PIPELINE BLAST

MOSCOW — An explosion at a key pipeline in Ukraine has not disrupted the flow of gas to Europe, Russian gas monopoly Gazprom said on Wednesday. The blast, which occurred Tuesday far from where government troops are fighting pro-Russia separatists, came a day after Russia cut gas supplies to Ukraine in a dispute over price and overdue payments. By Nataliya Vasilyeva. SENT: 250 words, photos.

ALBANIA-MARIJUANA

LAZARAT, Albania — Plumes of pungent smoke rise above the small but prosperous southern Albanian village of Lazarat, while gunfire and the occasional rocket-propelled grenade or even mortar greet the police advance. This time, the country’s authorities have vowed not to leave until the job is done: ridding Lazarat of drug gangs that have turned the village into Europe’s largest illegal marijuana producer. Until 10 years ago, Lazarat was a regular farming community; now it rakes in billions of euros every year from the plants openly cultivated in fields and house gardens. By Hektor Pustina and Llazar Semini. SENT: 930 words, photos.

TURKEY-COUP-LEADERS

ANKARA, Turkey — A Turkish court has sentenced the two surviving leaders of the country’s 1980 military coup to life in prison. The court found 97-year-old Kenan Evren and 89-year-old Tahsin Sahinkaya — who both were too ill to testify in court — guilty of crimes against the state. SENT: 210 words.

TURKEY-IRAQ

ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey’s Foreign Ministry says its embassy in Baghdad is looking into reports that Islamic militants in Iraq have abducted 60 foreign construction workers, including some 15 Turks, near the city of Kirkuk. The private Dogan news agency said Wednesday militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant seized the group near Kirkuk, where they were building a hospital. It said others abducted are from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Turkmenistan. The agency based its report on an unnamed worker who was reportedly freed by the militants.

FRANCE-VIGILANTE JUSTICE

PARIS — A French court has convicted a 76-year-old man of ordering a cross-border kidnapping to avenge his daughter’s death, sentencing him to a suspended sentence of one year. The conviction Wednesday closed the book on Andre Bamberski’s decades-long mission for justice after his 15-year-old daughter Kalinka died in 1982. SENT: 130 words.

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