TOP STORIES SO FAR IN EUROPE ON FRIDAY, AUGUST 02, 2013

FRANCE-SUBURBAN FIX

PARIS - Two weeks after a spurt of rioting in a far-flung Paris suburb, President Francois Hollande unveils a multi-billion dollar plan to help cure one of the nation's most persistent problems, the suburban housing projects with their volatile mix of unemployment, high immigration and, often, despair. The government is counting on state-sponsored jobs and improved lodging to help the millions of people, often immigrants who don't speak French, living in pockets of poverty that ring major cities. By Sylvie Corbet. AP Photos.

FRANCE-HOT AIR BALLOONS

PARIS — A hot air balloon festival at a former NATO airfield in eastern France broke two records in as many days this week — first by sending up 408 piloted balloons in an hour, then by lining up 391 balloons on the runways and sending them up together. The sound of hundreds of gas burners blasting simultaneously is extraordinary, said Denis Martignon, a pilot who flew both days. By Lori Hinnant.

AP Photos CHA106-0801131016, CHA103-0801131015, CHA111-0801130730, CHA108-0801130736, CHA110-0801130730, CHA107-0801131016, CHA105-0801131016, CHA109-0801130730, CHA101-0801131009, CHA104-0801131016.

BEATLES-RARE-PHOTOS

TAOS, New Mexico — Snow and frigid temperatures didn't stop thousands of screaming teenagers from crowding into the Washington Coliseum in the nation's capital for the Beatles first live concert on American soil. And not having a flash didn't stop photographer Mike Mitchell, then just 18 years old, from using his unrestricted access to document that historic February night in 1964 using only the dim light in the arena. By Susan Montoya Bryan. Mitchell's portraits of the Beatles are the centerpiece of a monthlong exhibition at the David Anthony Fine Art gallery in Taos — the first time the prints have been exhibited since being unveiled in 2011 at a Christie's auction in New York City.

AP Photos AQ101-0730131709, AQ102-0701131826, AQ103-0701131825, AQ105-0211642001, AQ106-0624131233, RPSB101-0727131409, RPSB105-0727131320, RPSB104-0727131420.

BUSINESS AND FINANCE

BRITAIN-EARNS-RBS

LONDON — Stephen Hester reported his last set of results for bailed-out Royal Bank of Scotland Friday as he prepares to hand over the reins to New Zealander Ross McEwan. The state-controlled bank recorded a first-half profit of 535 million pounds ($811 million), compared with a loss of 2.03 billion pounds in the same period of last year. By Danica Kirka.

WORLD MARKETS

LONDON — World stocks mostly rose as investors awaited a key U.S. jobs report Friday that they hoped would confirm the recovery in the world's biggest economy is strengthening. Market optimism had already been boosted by a report indicating U.S. manufacturing activity jumped last month, signaling a rebound in industrial production. By Carlo Piovano.

BRITAIN-EARNS-IAG

LONDON — International Airlines Group, the parent company of British Airways and Iberia, has reported a second-quarter net income of 127 million euros ($168 million) as restructuring at the Spanish airline begins to take hold. The profit, versus a loss of 78 million euros last year, came after Iberia cut 1,700 jobs and cut the salaries by 18 percent for pilots and cabin crew and 11 percent for other employees. Revenue across the group rose 3.4 percent.

GERMANY-EARNS-LUFTHANSA

FRANKFURT, Germany — German airline Lufthansa AG recorded a net loss of 204 million euros ($270.01 million) in the first six months of the year as restructuring costs, fuel prices and slower business in Asia and the Middle East sapped earnings. The company made a profit of 50 million euros in the year-ago period.

GERMANY-EARNS-ALLIANZ

FRANKFURT, Germany — German insurer Allianz SE said Friday net profit rose 27 percent in the second quarter, as its basic property insurance business improved and more funds flowed into its asset management division. Net profit rose to 1.59 billion euros ($2.10 billion) from 1.25 billion on revenues that rose 6 percent to 26.8 billion euros.

SPAIN-FINANCIAL-CRISIS

MADRID — Spain's Labor Ministry said Friday the number of people registered as unemployed dropped for a fifth consecutive month in July as the busy summer tourist season continued to create jobs. A ministry statement said the total number of people registered as jobless fell by 64,866 last month to a rounded total of 4.69 million — giving it an unemployment rate of 26.3 percent.

GREECE-FINANCIAL CRISIS

ATHENS, Greece — Greek civil servants protesting mass staff cuts have taken their campaign to the gates of the ancient Acropolis, after the government announced that 500 workers at the Culture Ministry would be suspended next month. State archaeologists gathered Friday at the entrance of the ancient site, but did not block the entrance. Several museums around the country including the popular Archaeological Museum on the island of Santorini were closed in protest.

SPORTS

CRI--ENGLAND-AUSTRALIA

MANCHESTER, England — Australia looks to build on its best day of the Ashes series against England, resuming the third test on 303-3 with captain Michael Clarke 125 not out and Steve Smith unbeaten on 70 at the start of the second day. Ahead 2-0 in the five-match series, the English needs an improved display from its bowlers if the game isn't to get away from them. Developing. By Steve Douglas.

GLF--WOMEN'S BRITISH OPEN

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland — The rain at St. Andrews arrived a day later than expected for the Women's British Open. Inbee Park could only hope it didn't wash away her chances of going for a record fourth straight major in one year. Moved. By Doug Ferguson.

SOC--ITALY-MATCH-FIXING

ROME — Lazio captain Stefano Mauri was banned for six months by the Italian football federation for his part in a match-fixing scandal. Moved.

SWM--SWIM WORLDS-PRELIMS

BARCELONA, Spain — Missy Franklin has given herself another chance to tie the record for the most gold medals at a world championships. Moved. By Andrew Dampf.

SWM--SWIM WORLDS-WATER POLO

BARCELONA, Spain — Spain and Australia, the respective silver and bronze medalists from the 2012 Olympics, meet in Barcelona's Bernat Picornell pool to decide the world title in women's water polo. By 2300 GMT. By Joseph Wilson.

TEN--KITZBUEHEL

KITZBUEHEL, Austria — Two-time defending champion Robin Haase plays Marcel Granollers for a place in the bet-at-home Cup final, and second-seeded Juan Monaco takes on Albert Montanes in the other semifinal. Developing.