BC-AP--AP European Digest at 1100 GMT, AP
TOP STORIES FOR MONDAY, JULY 29
ROME — An Italian tour bus plows through several cars before it crushed through a sidewall of a highway bridge and plunged into a ravine, killing at least 38 people, authorities said Monday. Rescuers wielding electric saws cut through the twisted wreckage of the bus looking for survivors overnight, and state radio quoted a local police chief as saying the bus driver was among the dead. By Frances D’emilio.
SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA, Spain — Spain’s royal family and leading politicians are to attend a somber Mass in homage to the 79 people killed in the country’s worst train accident in decades, as the driver leaves police custody for the first time after being charged in the case. By Yesica Fisch.
ABOARD THE PAPAL AIRCRAFT — Pope Francis is reaching out to gays, saying he won’t judge priests for their sexual orientation, in a remarkably open and wide-ranging news conference as he returns from his first foreign trip. Francis says: “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” His predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, authored a document that said men with deep-rooted homosexual tendencies should not be priests.
PARIS — A staggering 40 million-euro ($53 million) worth of diamonds and other jewels is stolen from the Carlton Intercontinental Hotel in Cannes, in one of Europe’s biggest jewelry heists in recent years. The hotel in the sweltering French Riviera was hosting a temporary jewelry exhibit over the summer from the prestigious Leviev diamond house, which is owned by Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev. By Thomas Adamson.
FRANCE-ISLAM AND THE STATE
PARIS — Riots broke out over a full-face Islamic veil. A woman may have lost her unborn baby in another confrontation over her face covering. Tensions flared over a supermarket chain’s ad for the end-of-day feast for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. France’s enforcement of its prized secularism is inscribed in law, most recently in a ban on wearing full-face veils in public. Meant to ensure that all faiths live in harmony, the policy instead may be fueling a rising tide of Islamophobia and driving a wedge between some Muslims and the rest of the population. By Elaine Ganley.
THESSALONIKI, Greece — A group of monks on Greece’s monastic sanctuary of Mount Athos who are facing eviction attack court bailiffs with rocks and petrol bombs, according to civilian authorities on the peninsula in northern Greece No one is injured in the incident outside the administrative offices of Esphigmenou Monastery, and no arrests are reported. The bailiffs retreat from the site. By Costas Kantouris.
ROME — On the eve of judgment day for Italian ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi, the media mogul’s last-ditch hopes to avoid punishment, including a ban on holding public office for a tax-fraud conviction, largely rest on the skills of the man who is one of Italy’s most celebrated defense attorneys. By Frances D’Emilio.
DUBLIN — U.S. drugmaker Perrigo agreed Monday to buy Ireland’s Elan for $8.6 billion in a deal that should allow the rapidly growing company to reduce its tax bill and boost its royalty stream. Perrigo Co. said it would pay Elan Corp.’s investors $6.25 per share in cash and $10.25 in Perrigo stock, an 11 percent premium over Elan’s closing price Friday. Elan shares in Dublin surged 13 percent higher to 12.58 euros ($16.71), above Perrigo’s offer price, following news of the takeover. By Shawn Pogatchnik.
LONDON — European markets brushed off earlier weakness in Asia at the start of an action-packed week that could set the tone for the rest of the summer. Japanese shares underperformed all others Monday as the yen continued to gain ground against the dollar. As well as more corporate earnings, investors will also have the latest policy statements from the U.S. Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank to digest as well as a raft of economic news from around the world. The data week starts slowly but soon picks up steam, culminating in Friday’s U.S. nonfarm payrolls report for July. By Pan Pylas.
FRANKFURT, Germany — A German government spokesman says Chancellor Angela Merkel thinks it’s important for Siemens AG “to return to calm waters” after the company’s announcement that it plans to remove CEO Peter Loescher. Spokesman George Streiter said Merkel considered Siemens “a flagship of Germany industry” while stressing that removing Loescher was “a company decision.”
PARIS — French yogurt and bottled water maker Danone SA says its first-half earnings rose 10 after its takeover of a subsidiary in Morocco helped boost profit. The company behind Dannon yogurt and Evian water says it made 972 million euros ($1.27 billion), up from 881 million euros a year earlier.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Mexican telecoms company America Movil has cleared the way to raise its ownership stake in the Netherlands’ Royal KPN NV by scrapping a cooperation agreement. America Movil owns just under 30 percent of KPN stock and the two companies entered the cooperation agreement Feb. 20. It was meant to cut costs by joining forces in fields such as mobile roaming and included a “standstill” clause under which America Movil agreed not to raise its stake.
FRANKFURT, Germany — Two top European Central Bank officials are arguing that the bank should join peers such as the U.S. Federal Reserve and the Bank of England in publishing minutes of its policy-setting meetings. ECB executive board member Benoit Coeure said in an interview published Monday by German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung and France’s Le Figaro that he favors publishing minutes because people want transparency and accountability.
SOUTHPORT, England — Mark Wiebe of the United States beat Bernhard Langer on the fifth playoff hole Monday to win his first Senior British Open title. Moved.
BUDAPEST, Hungary — As the Formula One season takes its midseason break, Lewis Hamilton goes into the rest period with renewed hope that he can launch a late title challenge. Fernando Alonso, meanwhile, is still trying to figure out how to get more consistency from his Ferrari. Moved. By Jerome Pugmire.