TOP STORIES FROM EUROPE AT 1200 GMT

POLAND-GAY-MAYOR

WARSAW, Poland — Voters in Poland have elected the country's first openly gay mayor, a sign of growing tolerance for gays and lesbians in a country that has long been defined by a deep Roman Catholic conservatism. Robert Biedron, who already made history in 2011 by becoming the first openly gay lawmaker in parliament, was elected mayor of the small city of Slupsk in northern Poland. By Vanessa Gera. SENT: 130 words, photos. UPCOMING: 300 words by 1300 GMT.

UKRAINE-VIRTUAL LEARNING

DONETSK, Ukraine — Like most children his age, Denis Akimov spends hours daily on his computer surfing the Internet. It isn't just for fun. As schools are forced to limit operations in the conflict-battered eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, educators are turning to the Web to keep their charges learning. By Balint Szlanko. SENT: 820 words, photos.

MOLDOVA-ELECTIONS

CHISINAU, Moldova — A staunchly pro-Russian party grabbed the lead in Moldova's parliamentary election pro-European parties will be able to form a coalition, partial results showed Monday. With 89.5 percent of the vote counted, the three pro-Europe parties were ahead with about 44.6 percent, with 40.3 percent for the two pro-Russia parties. By Nicolae Dumitrache and Corneliu Rusnac. SENT: 310 words, photos. UPCOMING: update on coalition talks by 1300 GMT.;

GERMANY-STUDENT-KILLED

BERLIN — A surveillance video published on Monday shows the fatal attack on a young woman after she defended two teenage girls from male harassment — a death that has been mourned with candlelight vigils across Germany. Daily paper Bild published the video on its website, calling on witnesses, including the teenage girls, to come forward with more information about the attack on the night of Nov. 15 in front of a fast-food restaurant in Offenbach in central Germany. By Kirsten Grieshaber. SENT: 450 words, photos.

EUROPE-NEW PRESIDENT

BRUSSELS — Former Polish prime minister Donald Tusk is pushing the European Union's center of political gravity eastward by taking over the EU presidency from Belgium's Herman Van Rompuy. Monday's transition ceremony highlighted the increasing power of Poland within the 28-nation EU, and the EU's ongoing shift from a western European economic association half a century ago to a strong political body uniting some 500 million people from Britain to the borders of Russia in the east. By Raf Casert. SENT: 290 words, photos.

EUROPE-EURO HELP

FRANKFURT, Germany — If that creme brulee in a Paris cafe seems a bit cheaper for U.S. tourists next summer, they may have the European Central Bank to thank for it. Economists are lowering their forecasts for the value of the euro on expectations that the ECB will make good on its promises to provide more support to the eurozone economy if it needs it. Central bank stimulus tends to weigh on a currency. By David McHugh. SENT: 770 words, photos.

RUSSIA-RUBLE

MOSCOW — Russia's ruble hits a new all-time low on Monday, dropping about 5 percent as declining oil prices and the conflict in eastern Ukraine weigh on the country's economic prospects. The Russian currency traded at 52.75 rubles against the dollar in morning trading Monday after shedding 15 percent in the previous week. The ruble was also down 5 percent against the euro. By Nataliya Vasilyeva. SENT: 310 words, photos. UPCOMING:

NATO

BRUSSELS — NATO's chief says the alliance expects to have an interim rapid-reaction force in existence by next year to deal with new security challenges in Europe and elsewhere. NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg on Monday said the force would be a stop-gap measure until a larger unit can be organized in 2016. SENT: 130 words.

BRITAIN-THEATER-AWARDS

LONDON — Gillian Anderson has gone from science fiction to stage acclaim, winning the best-actress trophy at London's Evening Standard Theater Awards. Judges rewarded the former "X-Files" star for her role in Tennessee Williams' "A Streetcar Named Desire" as faded Southern belle Blanche DuBois. SENT: 130 words, photos.

GERMANY-LUFTHANSA STRIKE

BERLIN — German airline Lufthansa says it has cancelled about half of its flights after pilots went on strike in an ongoing dispute over retirement benefits. The airline, Germany's largest, said Monday that 1,350 of its 2,800 flights scheduled through the strike's end Tuesday at midnight have been cancelled, affecting 150,000 passengers. The strike was primarily focused on Lufthansa's inner-Europe flights on Monday but was to be extended to long-haul flights Tuesday. SENT: 130 words, photos.

UKRAINE-ENERGY

KIEV, Ukraine — Ukraine lands a 150 million euro ($187 million) loan on Monday to modernize its section of the pipeline used to deliver natural gas from Russia to Europe. Ukrainian Prime Minister Asreniy Yatsenyuk said optimization of the country's gas pipelines would lower the cost of transporting the fuel by 20 percent. By Peter Leonard. SENT: 300 words.