BC-AP--Europe News Digest, AP
TOP STORIES FROM EUROPE AT 1100 GMT
SLOVYANSK, Ukraine — Pro-Russian rebels shoot down a Ukrainian military helicopter over Slovyansk Thursday, killing 14 soldiers including a general, amid heavy fighting around the insurgent-held city in eastern Ukraine. Slovyansk has become the epicenter of fighting between pro-Russia insurgents and government forces in recent weeks. By Peter Leonard and Alexander Zemlianichenko. SENT: 620 words, photos. UPCOMING: 750 words by 1200 GMT.
MOSCOW — The leaders of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan create an economic union that intends to boost cooperation between the ex-Soviet neighbors, a pact which was at the source of the crisis in Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin said the Eurasian Economic Union — which Moscow had pushed Ukraine to join, helping spark the worst crisis in relations between Russia and the West since the Cold War — takes the countries’ cooperation to a “new level” while respecting their sovereignty. By Vladimir Isachenkov. SENT: 530 words, photos.
LONDON — The queen’s joints are creaky and her husband has recently battled serious illness, but the royal couple won’t let aches and pains keep them away from a grand overseas commemoration: the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. Elizabeth II and Prince Philip have for the most part stopped traveling abroad — a reluctant concession to their advanced years — but next week they intend to be in Normandy for ceremonies to honor those who sacrificed their lives to liberate Europe from the Nazi grip. By Gregory Katz. SENT: 790 words, photos.
BARCELONA, Spain — Police have clashed with gangs of hooded youths who threw rocks and set fire to trash containers in the third night of violence in Spain’s northeastern city of Barcelona. Twenty-five people have been arrested. A police spokeswoman said Thursday the disturbances began after a peaceful protest the previous evening in the central Sants district of Barcelona when police prevented some protesters from approaching a town hall office. She spoke on condition of anonymity because of police rules preventing staff from being identified. By Manu Fernandez and Ciaran Giles. SENT: 120 words.
LONDON — Almost a third of the world is now fat, and no country has been able to curb obesity rates in the last three decades, according to a new global analysis. Researchers found more than 2 billion people worldwide are now overweight or obese. The highest rates were in the Middle East and North Africa, where nearly 60 percent of men and 65 percent of women are heavy. The U.S. has about 13 percent of the world’s fat population, a greater percentage than any other country. China and India combined have about 15 percent. By Maria Cheng. SENT: 530 words, photos.