BC-AP--AP Europe News Digest at 1100 GMT, AP
TOP STORIES IN EUROPE SO FAR ON FRIDAY, AUGUST 9, 2013:
MOSCOW — The International Olympic Committee is waiting for more clarifications from the Russian government on the anti-gay law that is overshadowing preparations for the Winter Games in Sochi, IOC President Jacques Rogge says. The law, signed by President Vladimir Putin in June, bans “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” and imposes fines on those holding gay pride rallies. It has caused a major international outcry and spawned calls for protests ahead of the Feb. 7-23 Olympics in the Black Sea resort. Rogge said the Russian government provided written re-assurances about the law on Thursday, but that some elements are still too unclear to pass judgment. By Raf Casert. 350 Words. Moved.
AP Photos WTF201-0809131259, WTF202-0809131257, XDA122-0808131903, XDA120-0808131901.
LONDON — Edinburgh Zoo says there are signs that one of its giant pandas may be pregnant. The zoo says nesting behavior and changes in hormone levels suggest Tian Tian could be expecting a cub — or experiencing a phantom pregnancy, not uncommon in pandas. 130 words. Moved.
MOSCOW — She has the sober demeanor and tightly wound bun of a boarding school headmistress. And she’s Vladimir Putin’s new morality crusader, spearheading efforts to curb gay rights, punish online cursing and impose a tax on divorce. Yelena Mizulina, a member of parliament, has used her position as the head of the Committee on Family, Women and Children to author increasingly conservative laws, including a ban on homosexual “propaganda” that went into force last month. By Laura Mills. AP Photos. 1100 words. Moved.
MADRID — A senior official says Spain will review speed limits and security systems throughout its rail network to avoid a repeat of a train crash that killed 79 people last month. Public Works Minister Ana Pastor told a parliamentary transport commission Friday that the government also proposes improving rail signs and introducing hands-free phone communication between drivers and the rail control center. 300 words. By 1200 GMT.
COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt has reshuffled her center-left government, appointing new defense and business ministers amid sagging support in opinion polls. The Social Democratic leader on Friday said Henrik Sass-Larsen, widely considered a crown prince in the party, will take over the business portfolio from left-wing coalition partner Annette Vilhelmsen, who moves to the social affairs ministry. 130 words. Moved.
PARIS — French farmers are threatening to amplify a protest over low egg prices by smashing thousands of eggs on the streets and squares of France’s main poultry producing region of Brittany. The head of Brittany’s egg producers’ lobby Yves-Marie Beaudet says he “understands the movement” that began earlier this week when local press reports say around 15 masked farmers dumped pallets holding tens of thousands of eggs in front of a grocery store in Ploumagoar. The action has continued nightly in the region since Tuesday. 130 words. Moved.
SWITZERLAND-AID GROUP ATTACKED
GENEVA — An international aid group says one of its staff members has died and another was wounded after they were attacked by armed men in South Sudan. The Geneva-based Medicins Sans Frontieres, or Doctors Without Borders said in a statement Friday that the 28-yeard-old employee, who it only named as Joseph, died two days after the group of armed men attacked a car clearly marked as belonging to MSF on Monday. Moved.
BUSINESS AND FINANCE
AMSTERDAM — America Movil SAB, owned by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, will launch a 7.2 billion euro ($9.6 billion) bid for the part of Dutch telecom company Royal KPN NV it doesn’t already own, in a challenge to a rival offer for KPN’s prized German mobile group E-Plus. Movil’s 2.40 euros per share bid for KPN announced Friday offers a 20 percent premium on Thursday’s closing price, valuing the company’s stock at around 10.3 billion euros, and the 70 percent it doesn’t already own at 7.2 billion euros. By Toby Sterling. 650 words.
PARIS — French industrial production continued to decline in June, widening the economic gap with Europe’s largest economy, Germany, and raising concerns about its ability to emerge from recession. France’s national statistical agency, INSEE, said in a statement Friday that industrial production shrank 1.4 percent from a month earlier. That followed a 0.3 percent monthly drop in May. Within manufacturing, steep declines were recorded in the food and car industries. 300 words. To be updated with further comment around 1430 GMT
LONDON —Another round of largely better than expected Chinese economic data failed to change the lackluster mood in financial markets on Friday amid the traditional summer lull in trading activity. By Pan Pylas. 600 words by 1120 GMT.
PARIS — French dairy company Danone SA says it has acquired Connecticut-based yogurt maker YoCrunch in a move aimed at expanding its presence in the U.S. M&Ms candies and Oreos cookie crumbs are among the tasty toppings YoCrunch has secured licenses for to include with its yogurts in compartmentalized packaging. Danone says the purchase, for an undisclosed price, “will advance Danone’s ambition to further develop yogurt consumption by notably expanding the various ways in which Americans can enjoy yogurt.” 100 words.
LONDON — The price of oil rebounded Friday following a sell-off sparked by expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve will soon start withdrawing its unprecedented monetary stimulus. Benchmark crude for September delivery was up $1.24 to $104.62 per barrel by midday London time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract had fallen 97 cents to at $103.40 on Thursday. 350 words.
SOC--CHAMPIONS LEAGUE DRAW
NYON, Switzerland — Arsenal has been drawn to play Fenerbahce in the Champions League playoffs as it seeks a 16th straight season in the lucrative group stage. Seven-time winner AC Milan was paired with PSV Eindhoven, the 1988 winner. 300 words.
BERLIN — Defending champion Bayern Munich kicks off the new German season at home against Borussia Moenchengladbach in Pep Guardiola’s first Bundesliga game. By Ciaran Fahey. NewsNow by 2200 GMT, 450 words by 2300 GMT.
PARIS — Defending champion Paris Saint-Germain travels to Montpellier for the French league’s opening match, new PSG coach Laurent Blanc’s first in charge of the big-spending team. NewsNow by 2200 GMT, 300 words by 2300 GMT.
CHESTER-LE-STREET, England — England wins the toss and bats first in the fourth test against Australia, seeking a draw or victory that would win the team a third straight Ashes series. The English are unchanged at Chester-le-Street, while the tourists brought in paceman Jackson Bird for Mitchell Starc.. By Steve Douglas. NewsNow by 1230 GMT, 600 words by 1800 GMT