BC-AP--AP Europe News Digest at 1130 GMT, AP
TOP STORIES SO FAR IN EUROPE ON WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 16, 2013
GENEVA — Six world powers are taking a closer look at what Iran is describing as a possible breakthrough deal that could ease suspicions it is interested in nuclear arms. Iran says it is not interested in such weapons and is offering a proposal meant to dispel such fears. In return it expects the easing of crippling international sanctions on its economy. By George Jahn and John Heilprin. Developing. AP Photos.
ROME — Italy on Wednesday marked the 70th anniversary of the roundup and deportation of Jews from Rome’s ghetto amid turmoil over the late Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke and his Holocaust-denying final statement. Priebke died Friday in Rome, where he was serving a life term for his role in the 1944 massacre of 335 civilians at the Ardeatine Caves outside the capital. It was one of the worst atrocities of Germany’s World War II occupation of Italy. By Nicole Winfield. 500 words by 1100 GMT.
MOSCOW — A Dutch diplomat was beaten up by two unidentified men who barged into his apartment in central Moscow, in an attack that follows the arrest of a Russian diplomat in the Netherlands that caused outrage in Russia. The incidents involving the Russian and Dutch diplomats come at a time of growing tensions between the two countries over Russia’s seizure of a Dutch-flagged Greenpeace ship and Russia’s anti-gay laws. By Lynn Berry. 600 words by 1200 GMT.
KIROV, Russia — A Russian court on Wednesday suspended a five-year prison sentence for a top opposition leader but upheld his conviction for theft, preventing him from running in future elections. Alexei Navalny was convicted on embezzlement charges and sentenced to prison on July 18, but was released the next day in what some considered a ploy to make the Moscow mayoral race, where he was registered as a candidate, look as competitive as possible. Laura Mills and Alexander Roslyakov. 660 words. AP Photos.
ATHENS, Greece — Greece’s Parliament has voted to lift the immunity from prosecution of six lawmakers from the extreme right-wing Golden Dawn, as part of a crackdown into the party sparked by the fatal stabbing last month of a Greek rapper. Wednesday’s motion was passed virtually unanimously. Golden Dawn lawmakers walked out before the vote. 300 words by 1130 GMT.
PARIS — France’s government said Wednesday that it will investigate the treatment of a 15-year-old girl who was detained by police in front of her fellow students so she could be expelled to Kosovo with her family as illegal immigrants. Immigrants’ rights groups and even members of the governing Socialist Party are calling the conditions of the expulsion shocking. Such expulsions are a sensitive subject, as European governments champion human rights but grapple with the costs of taking in migrants. By Angela Charlton. 400 words.
BUSINESS AND FINANCE
LONDON — Demand for emergency food aid has spiked this year in Britain, suggesting low-income households’ living standards are still sliding due to the impact of government austerity measures, despite the end of the recession. The Trussell Trust, a Christian charity that operates food banks, says 356,000 people received help to feed themselves between April and September — about 10,000 more than their entire 2012-2013 financial year. It appealed to the government to take action — with winter approaching, the worst may be yet to come. By Danica Kirka. AP Photos. 640 words, sent.
LONDON — Financial markets continue to take the prospect of a U.S. default in stride, even though a deadline to raise the country’s debt ceiling is just hours away. Most stock markets edged lower Wednesday — but not precipitously —following the previous day’s retreat on Wall Street, when investors were spooked by a series of dramatic twists. Republicans in the House of Representatives abandoned a vote to temporarily increase the debt ceiling and Fitch warned that it could strip the U.S. of its triple-A rating even if a deal is cobbled together in time. By Pan Pylas. 450 words, sent, to be updated 1350 GMT.
LISBON, Portugal — Portuguese opposition parties and labor groups vowed Wednesday to fight the government’s latest austerity measures, which are being adopted in return for a 78 billion-euro ($105.6 billion) bailout agreed on in 2011. The state budget proposal for 2014, published late Tuesday, includes cuts to the pay and pensions of state employees for a third straight year as the government looks to save 3.9 billion euros. By Barry Hatton. 300 words, sent.
BRUSSELS — The European Commission has opened a probe of Gibraltar’s corporate tax regime on suspicion it might selectively favor some businesses such as offshore companies. The Commission, the 28-nation bloc’s executive arm, said Wednesday it will examine whether a corporate tax exemption for income stemming from royalties or interest payments introduced in 2010 constitutes a breach of EU state aid rules. 130 words, sent.
PARIS — Revenue at French dairy company Danone was flat in the third quarter after an infant formula recall over fears of botulism contamination. The yogurt and baby food maker said Wednesday that revenue was 5.3 billion euros ($7.2 billion) in the July-to-September quarter. That’s less than the average of 5.4 billion euros expected by analysts surveyed by FactSet. 130 words, sent.
BERLIN — German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s options for forming a new government are narrowing after talks with the Greens ended with both sides unable to agree on how they might form a coalition together. Merkel’s conservative bloc now meets with its other center-left rivals, the Social Democrats, for coalition talks Thursday. 140 words, sent.
LONDON — Official figures show Britain’s unemployment rate dropped slightly to 7.7 percent for the three-month period to August, further evidence that Europe’s third-largest economy continues to strengthen. The Office of National Statistics said Wednesday that the number of those out of work dropped 0.1 percentage points from the three-month period through May. In total, there were 2.49 million unemployed people aged 16 and over, down 18,000 from the previous period. By Danica Kirka. 260 words, sent.