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BC-AP--AP European News Digest at 1100 GMT, AP

July 18, 2014

UKRAINE-PLANE

KIEV, Ukraine — Emergency workers, police officers and even off-duty coal miners — dressed in overalls and covered in soot — spread out across sunflower fields and tiny Ukrainian villages Friday, searching through the wreckage of the Malaysian plane shot down as it flew miles above the country’s battlefield. The downing killed 298 people from nearly a dozen nations. By midday, 181 bodies had been located, according to emergency workers at the sprawling crash site. By Yuras Karmanau and Dmitry Lovetsky. SENT: 1,250 words. UPCOMING: Frequent updates throughout the day.

UKRAINE-PLANE VICTIMS

THE HAGUE — International passengers from all walks of life, from a prominent AIDS researcher and soccer fans to a nun and a florist, were aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. Relatives, friends and colleagues paid tribute Friday to victims even before the airline released their names as it scrambled to contact the next of kin of the victims. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: 900 words by 1130 GMT. By Mike Corder.

ITALY-BERLUSCONI

MILAN — An Italian court on Friday was considering its decision on former Premier Silvio Berlusconi’s appeal against a sex-for-hire case that revealed details of raunchy, sex-fueled bunga-bunga parties at his private villa attended by a bevy of aspiring showgirls. Berlusconi was sentenced to seven years in jail and handed a lifetime political ban after being convicted last year of paying for sex with an underage prostitute and then using his influence to cover it up. He denies the charges. SENT: 200 words. UPCOMING: 300 words by 1200 GMT or as soon as verdict is announced. By Colleen Barry.

EUROPE-US-FREE TRADE DEAL

BRUSSELS — Visions of chlorine-drenched chickens and the prospect of genetically modified “Frankenfood” invading dinner tables across the European Union are proving serious impediments to the signing of a sweeping free trade agreement between the United States and the 28-country bloc. UPCOMING: 1,000 words by 1200 GMT. By Juergen Baetz.

EU-FRANCE-GAZA

PARIS — France’s foreign minister is traveling to Egypt, Jordan and Israel as part of a diplomatic push to stop the fighting in Gaza. The fighting has inflamed tensions in France, which has seen clashes at Paris synagogues and Jewish stores. France has western Europe’s largest Muslim and Jewish communities, and a fringe of extremists on both sides have been involved in violence. SENT: 130 words.

FRANCE-TRAIN COLLISION

PARIS — France’s transport chief says faulty maintenance on a signal and hot weather may have played a role in the collision of two trains in southwest France, which left 25 injured. France, whose extensive train network is widely used by tourists in summer, is upgrading railways nationwide as part of larger reforms of the industry. SENT: 130 words, photos.

EU-ITALY-DEATH-PENALTY-REPORT-

MILAN — An Italian anti-death penalty group says the number of executions worldwide increased last year despite a global trend toward capital punishment abolition. The organization Hands off Cain, based in Rome, said Friday that at least 4,106 people were executed in 2013, up from 3,967 in 2012, due to increases in Iran and Iraq. SENT: 130 words.

GERMANY-OBIT-PIENE

BERLIN — German artist Otto Piene, known for his colorful paintings and gigantic open-air sculptures, has died at age 86. Piene died Thursday shortly after the opening of an exhibition of his work at Berlin’s Neue Nationalgalerie. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: 300 words by 1400 GMT.

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