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

December 11, 2014



FRANKFURT, Germany — The European Central Bank has handed out 130 billion euros ($162 billion) in cheap, long-term loans to banks — part of its effort to stimulate the struggling eurozone economy. The amount was closely watched in the markets because ECB president Mario Draghi has said the bank will add roughly 1 trillion euros in new stimulus in coming months. SENT: 350 words, photos. By David McHugh.


WARSAW, Poland — Poland’s defense minister on Thursday complained of “unprecedented” activity by Russia’s navy and air force in the Baltic Sea region in recent days. Tomasz Siemoniak said the majority of the incidents involved Russian operations in international waters, and that Sweden was the country most affected. SENT: 230 words.


LONDON — The computer scientist credited with inventing the World Wide Web says affordable access to the Internet should be recognized as a human right, as a report showed that billions of people still cannot go online and government surveillance and censorship are increasing. SENT: 300 words. By Sylvia Hui.


PLOEGSTEERT, Belgium — On the side of a wind-swept field covered with scorpion weed, a simple wooden cross marks a unique event in football history. At its base, amid wreaths of poppies, lie a smattering of balls and various club pennants, all in remembrance of the Christmas Truce of 1914. SENT: 750 words, photos. By Raf Casert.


PARIS — Each newborn got 21 cannon shots, the bells tolled for 15 minutes and the air filled with the sound of boat horns when Monaco’s royal twins were born. And everyone in the tiny principality gets a day off to celebrate. Riffing off prior Monegasque ritual, Prince Albert II set the ground rules for how Monaco announced the news that Princess Charlene gave birth Wednesday to little Gabriella and Jacques. Here how other royal monarchies orchestrate the presentation of heirs to the throne: SENT: 630 words, photos. By Lori Hinnant.


BERLIN — Germany’s chief federal prosecutor said Thursday his office so far has found no actionable evidence that Chancellor Angela Merkel’s calls were tapped by the U.S. National Security Agency, but the investigation continues. Prosecutor Harald Range in June opened an investigation into the alleged monitoring of a cellphone Merkel used for party business, a saga that has weighed on relations between Germany and the U.S. SENT: 300 words, photos. By Geir Moulson.


BUCHAREST, Romania — They say that a dog is a man’s best friend. Alexandrina, an elderly resident in a home in the Romanian capital found not only a new friend, but a new outlook on life after one of the city’s infamous street dogs walked into her life. At an elderly people’s home in west Bucharest, four specially trained street dogs make weekly visits offering residents love and company and changing perceptions about strays. SENT: 530 words. By Alison Mutler.


ISTANBUL — Turkey’s foreign minister says this week’s report on the CIA’s harsh treatment of terrorist suspects reveals “unacceptable torture and treatment.” Speaking in Ankara with his Slovakian counterpart, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Thursday Turkey was analyzing the report to determine whether its citizens were involved. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: 300 words by 1300 GMT.


MILAN — Ferrari’s sleek sports cars and souped-up Formula 1 racing machines have made the prancing horse logo among the world’s most powerful brands. Now, as the company prepares for a public listing, it wants to cash in on the cachet. The aim: position Ferrari not just as a car-maker, but as a luxury goods company. Think Armani, Hermes ... Ferrari. SENT: 900 words, photos. By Colleen Barry.


BERLIN — German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Cabinet has approved legislation that will require leading companies to have at least 30 percent women on their supervisory boards from 2016. Manuela Schwesig, the minister for families and women, on Thursday called the bill “a milestone on the way to more equality.” SENT: 130 words.


VIENNA — The head of the U.N. nuclear agency is asking key members of the organization to provide millions of dollars in extra funding that he says are needed to continue monitoring a deal temporarily restraining Iran’s nuclear programs. Yukiya Amano says the International Atomic Energy Organization needs 4.6 million euros ($5.7 million.) He spoke Thursday at a special meeting of the IAEA’s 35-nation board called to discuss funding needs. SENT: 130 words.


PARIS — France’s Senate has narrowly approved a resolution asking the government to recognize a Palestinian state, in hopes that could be a tool in negotiations for lasting Mideast peace. Legislators and officials around Europe are increasingly pushing for two states, disappointed with stalemate in Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts. SENT: 130 words.

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