VILNIUS, Lithuania — As leaders of the European Union gather for a summit discussing the bloc's eastern expansion, both EU and Ukrainian officials say the suspension of talks on closer ties could still be revived after the two-day meeting. Faced with pressure from Russia, Ukraine's leaders last week shelved plans for further integration with the EU, sparking massive protests at home setting back EU plans to pry a nation of 46 million people loose from Moscow's orbit. Russia would like Kiev to join a separate union that aims to rival the EU. By Maria Danilova and Raf Casert. SENT 600 words.


MOSCOW — Russia's top investigative agency filed criminal charges Thursday against the nation's former defense minister, who was accused of using servicemen and government funds to build a road to a vacation home and do landscaping work on the property. Anatoly Serdyukov lost his job a year ago over a corruption scandal. Some of his close associates have faced criminal charges, but the Kremlin has faced repeated questions about why the ex-minister himself remained immune from charges. By Lynn Berry and Vladimir Isachenkov. SENT 500 words, photos.


STOCKHOLM — It's crunch time for a comet from the fringes of the solar system as it hurtles toward a close encounter with the sizzling sun. Comet ISON is expected to get closest to the sun at 1837 GMT (1:37 p.m. EST) on Thursday. Photos.


VIENNA — The head of the U.N. nuclear agency says Iran has invited its experts to inspect a facility linked to a reactor that could produce enough plutonium for up to two atomic weapons a year once it's completed. Yukiya Amano of the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency says the invitation to visit the Arak heavy water plant is for Dec. 8. SENT 130 words. DEVELOPING. Photos.


ST. PETERSBURG, Russia — A Russian court has granted bail to the last of 30 Greenpeace activists who were detained at sea during a protest against oil drilling in the Arctic. The court in St. Petersburg on Thursday set bail for Australian Collin Russell at 2 million rubles ($61,500). Russell was the only activist denied bail at the start of the hearings last week. By Irina Titova. SENT 130 words.


BERLIN — German authorities are posting online another 101 works from the huge trove of art found at a reclusive collector's apartment in Munich, bringing the total so far to 219. The task force looking into the find said Thursday that prosecutors in Augsburg have cleared drawings and watercolors by artists including Edgar Degas, Paul Cezanne, Pablo Picasso, Eugene Delacroix, Honore Daumier and Albrecht Duerer for posting on the official "Lost Art" website. They're among the works officials believe may have been seized under the Nazis.


BUCHAREST, Romania — He is one of Romania's greatest writers, but his work couldn't be found in bookstores. Now, they are finally getting their place back on the shelf. Virtually unknown outside Romania, novelist Mihail Sadoveanu is renowned in his home country for tales of ordinary folk beset by hardships. But the works have been largely out-of-print and unavailable for the last two years following a long and complicated custody battle, complete with accusations of piracy and price-gouging. By Alison Mutler. SENT 450 words. Photos.



LONDON — World markets rose Thursday, led by a surge in Japanese stocks, though trading volumes are expected to be limited with the U.S. closed for the Thanksgiving holiday. By Pan Pylas. UPCOMING 450 words by 1230 GMT.


BERLIN — Germany's unemployment rate was unchanged in November at 6.5 percent in a sign the labor market as little room to improve any further. The Federal Labor Office said Thursday that 5,000 more people were out of work in November in Europe's largest economy. That brought the total number of jobless to 2.81 million but was not enough to affect the unemployment rate. SENT 130 words.


VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis is trying to get a better handle on the reform of the troubled Vatican bank and the Holy See's finances, naming his top assistant to look into the work of two commissions of inquiry he named earlier this year. UPCOMING 130 words by 1230 GMT.