BC-AP--Europe News Digest, AP
Nov. 04, 2014
TOP STORIES FROM EUROPE AT 1200 GMT
OIL PRICE SLUMP
LONDON — Oil prices have sunk to four-year lows following reports Saudi Arabia, OPEC's largest oil producer, is cutting its prices for customers in the U.S. A barrel of benchmark crude was down $2.07, or 2.6 percent, at $76.79, its lowest level since September 2010. Fawad Razaqzada, an analyst at Forex.com, says the Saudi report does "not bode well for the future of the cartel." SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: 300 words by 1230 GMT.
LONDON — The new head of Britain's electronic eavesdropping agency says U.S.-based social media have become "command-and-control networks" for terrorists and criminals, and tech companies are in denial about their misuse. Writing in Tuesday's Financial Times, GCHQ chief Robert Hannigan said British intelligence agencies know that IS extremists use messaging services like Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp to reach their peers with ease. He said spy agencies need to have greater support from the U.S. technology companies which dominate the Web in order to fight militants and those who host material about violent extremism and child exploitation. By Danica Kirka. SENT: 340 words, photo.
BRITAIN-PORT TO JIHAD
PORTSMOUTH, England — Royal Navy sailors used to swagger out of this great seaport at the zenith of the British Empire, manning the warships and trading vessels that made this nation rich and powerful. Today a handful of young men are again leaving to go to war — but this time they have sworn allegiance to foreign terrorists. It is a sign of the times that Portsmouth, with its tradition of naval glory, finds itself trying to persuade young British Muslims not to follow six locals who traveled to Syria to join forces with Islamic State extremists battling President Bashar Assad. By Gregory Katz. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.
GERMANY-BERLIN WALL-TWIN TOWNS
BOECKWITZ, Germany — Friedrich-Wilhelm Lenz was only a toddler when the wall went up that split his family's 75-hectare farm in two — dividing the cow stall and even a restaurant on the land. It was 1952, and East German authorities were erecting the wooden barrier that broke up the twin towns of Zicherie in the capitalist West and Boeckwitz in the communist East. The two had operated as one for centuries — sharing markets, schools and social clubs — and had long been the site of the Lenz family farm. By Kerstin Sopke. SENT: 600 words, photos.
MADRID — Spain's Constitutional Court is to decide whether to accept for deliberation a government petition to block plans by the northeastern region of Catalonia to hold an informal independence poll Nov. 9. A spokeswoman said the issue would be discussed Tuesday but could not say when a decision would be made. By Ciaran Giles. SENT: 130 words.
FRANKFURT, Germany — Germany's luxury automaker BMW AG saw net profit slip 1.2 percent in the third quarter due to non-cash losses on foreign currency hedges and the reduced value of a stake in a key supplier. The company otherwise had a profitable quarter, riding strong sales of its expensive X5 sport-utility made in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Other measures of earnings rose and the company on Tuesday affirmed its forecast for increased profits this year. By David McHugh. SENT: 360 words, photos.
BRUSSELS — European Union slashed its economic growth forecasts for the bloc on Tuesday, indicating the recovery will remain sluggish amid problems for the biggest economies, particularly France. The official forecast for growth this year in the 18-country eurozone was cut to 0.8 percent from a prediction of 1.2 percent made in the spring. By Raf Casert. SENT: 300 words, photos.
DONETSK, Ukraine — The leader of separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine has been officially sworn in after an election that has been roundly condemned by the West as destabilizing. Alexander Zakharchenko was inaugurated Tuesday in a heavily guarded theater in the main rebel stronghold of Donetsk. SENT: 130 words, photos.
BERLIN — German Chancellor Angela Merkel underlined her displeasure over Russia's role in eastern Ukraine on Tuesday and said there is no reason yet to lift European Union sanctions. Russia supported rebel-organized elections in eastern Ukraine that the West says undermine a much-violated cease-fire deal signed in Minsk in September. SENT: 250 words, photos.
LONDON — The U.N. Refugee Agency has launched a 10-year campaign with the goal of eliminating the "stateless" status affecting millions of people throughout the world. U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the goal is achievable despite the chaos and conflict in parts of the world that has left an estimated 10 million people without proper legal documentation.