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

October 31, 2014

TOP STORIES FOR FRIDAY, OCTOBER 31, 2014

UKRAINE-RUSSIA GAS

MOSCOW — Russia will resume shipping natural gas to Ukraine after Kiev pays off its first debt installment for past supplies of gas next week, officials said Friday. Alexei Miller, chief of Russia’s state-controlled Gazprom natural gas giant, made the statement hours after Russia, Ukraine and the European Union thrashed out a $4.6 billion deal that will guarantee Russian gas supplies to Ukraine and further on to the EU. SENT: 500 words, photos. By Vladimir Isachenkov.

HUNGARY-INTERNET-TAX

BUDAPEST, Hungary — Following large-scale protests, Hungary’s prime minister said Friday that the government would suspend a planned tax on Internet use and reconsider the matter next year. A scheme to make Internet service providers pay 150 forints ($0.62) per gigabyte of Internet traffic, later proposed to be capped at different monthly rates for individual and business users, prompted tens of thousands of people to make their discontent known during two protests in the capital Budapest over the past week. SENT: 330 words, photos.

ISRAEL-IRON DOME AT SEA

LE BOURGET, France — Israel’s “Iron Dome” is heading to the seas, the maker of the rocket-blocking defense system says. State-owned defense contractor Rafael wants to leverage the system’s much-vaunted success in protecting Israeli civilians in this summer’s Gaza war, hoping to draw navies as buyers for a new maritime version seen as especially useful in protecting national economic resources at sea like oil and gas platforms. SENT: 900 words, photos. By Jamey Keaten.

RUSSIA-ECONOMY

MOSCOW — Russia’s central bank has raised its main interest rate by more than anticipated as it tries to stem the ruble’s fall. The bank on Friday lifted its main rate from 8 percent to 9.5 percent in a move reflecting the bank’s concern over the plummeting currency. The ruble fell to an all-time low of 43.4 to the U.S. dollar earlier this week but has recovered somewhat, trading at around 42 rubles.

EU-ROMANIA-ELECTION

BUCHAREST, Romania — Romanians go to the polls Sunday to elect a new leader as President Traian Basescu steps down after 10 years. Prime Minister Victor Ponta is favored to win over challengers who include a city mayor and a glamorous lawyer. A look at this Balkan nation’s vote. SENT: 450 words, photos. By Alison Mutler.

EUROPE-ECONOMY

FRANKFURT, Germany — Inflation crept higher in the 18 countries that use the euro in October — but the rise to an annual 0.4 percent offered little relief to the European Central Bank as it tries to boost a weak economy. The rise from the previous month’s 0.3 percent rate, as reported Friday by Eurostat, was in line with market expectations. SENT: 450 words, photos. By David Mchugh.

EU-GREECE-MONKS

THESSALONIKI, Greece — Dozens of Greek police took part in an operation Friday to clear an apartment used as a hostel by a rebel monastery whose monks have been declared schismatic by the Orthodox Church. Police said one monk and five supporters were in the apartment in central Thessaloniki during the raid, which followed a court decision for the eviction. Riot police blocked off surrounding blocks to prevent other supporters from hindering the operation. SENT: 200 words.

BRITAIN-JK ROWLING

LONDON — Just in time for Halloween, J.K. Rowling has given fans a glimpse of what makes a wicked witch tick. The creator of boy wizard Harry Potter published a 1,700-word essay Friday revealing the real-life inspiration behind one of her most memorable villains, the supernatural bureaucrat and Hogwarts teacher Dolores Umbridge. SENT: 260 words, photos. By Jill Lawless.

BRITAIN-KRISTIN SCOTT THOMAS

LONDON — Kristin Scott Thomas is about to don Helen Mirren’s tiara. Producers announced Friday that Scott Thomas will star as Queen Elizabeth II in a new West End production of “The Audience.” SENT: 130 words, photos.

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