BC-AP--Europe News Digest, AP
TOP STORIES FOR EUROPE AT 1100 GMT
BRUSSELS — A hard-fought deal on how to pay for future bank bailouts gave European Union leaders a boost going into a summit Thursday, injecting credibility into their efforts to end the spiral of financial and economic troubles. But other challenges await the 27 EU leaders, above all unemployment, which is at a record high, particularly for the young. By Juergen Baetz.
COPENHAGEN, Denmark — A Danish prosecutor has charged 11 men with financing terrorism by providing money to a Kurdish separatist group. Prosecutor Lise-Lotte Nilas said Thursday the men were responsible for collecting and transferring 130 million kroner ($23 million) to the PKK, or Kurdistan Workers’ Party.
ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey’s deputy prime minister says authorities are investigating people who allegedly insulted state officials or incited riots through social media postings, a sign that the government is intent on meting out punishments for the anti-government protests that swept Turkey in June. Bekir Bozdag said Thursday the government will submit to Parliament a proposal to further curb the military’s powers, in an apparent effort to reaffirm its democratic credentials that were tarnished by the protests.
GENEVA — Medical patients, students and religious observers are increasingly put in harm’s way in armed conflicts around the world, the head of the Red Cross said Thursday. Peter Maurer, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, said his organization is gravely worried about the rising misuse of hospitals, schools and religious centers in armed conflicts in Syria and other nations.
TUNIS, Tunisia — Three European feminist activists who were jailed after a topless courthouse protest in Tunisia last month were freed overnight after a court lifted their prison sentence. They left Tunisia on Thursday morning. The two French and a German member of the Ukrainian feminist group Femen maintained during the trial that there was nothing sexual or offensive about their protest and that it was only to support their imprisoned Tunisian colleague. All three apologized Wednesday during their appeals hearing. By Bouazza Ben Bouazza.
BERLIN — Germany will ask Croatia to extradite an alleged communist-era secret police agent when the former Yugoslav republic becomes a member of the European Union. A spokeswoman for the German Federal Prosecutors Office said Thursday that Josip Perkovic is sought in connection with the 1983 killing of Stjepan Djurekovic, a Croatian dissident in what was then West Germany.
MILAN — Italy’s foreign minister says that officials continued to press for the release of a reporter for the Turin daily La Stampa missing in Syria since April. Emma Bonino told private Radio 24 on Thursday that Domencio Quirico is alive “at least until a few days ago.” She said official diplomatic channels and contacts with groups in Syria were being used to seek his release.
BERLIN — German Chancellor Angela Merkel is warning against shipping weapons to Syrian rebels fighting to overthrow President Bashar Assad. The German leader told Parliament on Thursday that she understands why Britain, France and the United States are considering arms deliveries to some rebel groups in Syria, who are facing strong resistance from Syrian government forces and its Hezbollah allies.
ANKARA, Turkey — The head of a U.N. investigation team will meet Turkey’s foreign minister for talks expected to center on Syria’s alleged use of chemical weapons. Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said Swedish chemical weapons expert Ake Sellstrom is meeting Ahmet Davutoglu in Ankara on Thursday.
BUSINESS AND FINANCIAL
BRUSSELS — The European Union may soon have a new seven-year, 960-billion-euro ($1.27 trillion) budget after a surprise breakthrough deal on Thursday. European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso announced the agreement Thursday after early morning talks with the president of the European Parliament and other officials from EU member states. By Angela Charlton
LISBON, Portugal — A national 24-hour strike against austerity measures by Portuguese labor unions on Thursday brought public transport to a virtual standstill and depleted staffing levels at government offices, state-owned companies and public hospitals. By Barry Hatton.
LONDON — The calmer mood that has prevailed in financial markets this week continued Thursday, though the upcoming end to the half-year may prompt some increasing volatility in trading. By Pan Pylas
BERLIN — A seasonal pickup in job creation has helped push Germany’s unemployment rate down to 6.6 percent in June from 6.8 percent the previous month. The Federal Labor Agency said Thursday that 2.865 million people were registered as unemployed, a drop of 72,000 over the month.
LONDON — Britain’s Office for National Statistics says Britain suffered only one recession since the 2008 financial crisis — rather than two. The statistics office rewrote history Thursday, revising its estimate of Britain’s growth between the last quarter of 2011 and the first quarter of 2012. The ONS says that instead of falling by 0.1 percent, the economy was actually flat — but the revision did remove the phenomenon of two consecutive quarters of negative growth, the common definition of a recession.
MILAN — Italy borrowing costs have edged higher in a bond auction amid investor concerns that easy access to money from the world’s major central banks might tighten.
LONDON — After one of Wimbledon’s most unpredictable and memorable days, Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams try to restore some order to the grass-court Grand Slam as they take on lower-ranked opponents in the second round. The two top-ranked players are among the few remaining stars after Roger Federer’s stunning loss on Wednesday, along with the exits of Maria Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka and a handful of other high-seeded players. Play starts at 1030 GMT. By Mattias Karen.