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BC-AP--AP European News Digest, AP

May 6, 2014



DONETSK, Ukraine —Thirty pro-Russia insurgents and four government troops have been killed during operations to expunge anti-government forces around a key eastern city, Ukraine’s interior minister reported Tuesday. In the southwest, Kiev authorities also attempted to reassert control over the key Black Sea region of Odessa by appointing a new governor there. SENT: 540 words. UPCOMING: 600 words by 1200 GMT. By Peter Leonard.


BERLIN — Germany’s Bayer AG says it plans to buy U.S. pharmaceutical company Merck & Co. Inc.’s consumer care business, whose products include the Coppertone suncare range, Claritin allergy medicine and the Dr. Scholl’s footcare products, for $14.2 billion. Bayer CEO Marijn Dekkers said Tuesday that the planned acquisition “marks a major milestone on our path towards global leadership in the attractive non-prescription medicines business.” SENT: 220 words, photos. UPCOMING: 400 words by 1200 GMT. By David McHugh and Geir Moulson.


PARIS — A leading international organization warned Tuesday that the global economy will grow by less than expected this year after it lowered its forecasts for the United States and China. The Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said the global economy will grow by 3.4 percent this year, down from its forecast of 3.6 percent growth last November. SENT: 250 words.


ATHENS, Greece — Greek authorities say 24 immigrants have been rescued after they were found floundering off an Aegean Sea island where at least 22 people died in a separate incident a day earlier. A coastguard statement says a Greek coastguard patrol boat entered Turkish waters early Tuesday to pick up the migrants. It waited until a Turkish patrol boat arrived to escort them to mainland Turkey. SENT: 130 words.


COMMES, France— Weather conditions over Normandy had been iffy for days. Showers and wind in the morning gave way to glorious spring sunshine in the afternoon, then electric green lightning storms over the sea at night. We watched the sky and waited for the go sign - the signal that meant it was time to jump. With a brief window of only a few hours in which it would be possible, I began to doubt our chances. Finally the message my companions and I had been waiting for arrived: The jump was on. SENT: 1,500 words, plus abridged version. By Greg Keller.


PARIS — French President Francois Hollande says that an offer by General Electric Co. for French engineering company Alstom is not big enough and wants the U.S. company to come up with a better deal. The $17 billion bid for Alstom’s energy activities prompted resistance within the French government just as it is trying to revive industry. SENT: 130 words.


GENEVA — Solid returns from its wealth management and investment banking divisions helped Switzerland’s biggest bank, UBS AG, post a 7 percent profit advance in the first quarter. But the bank, based in Zurich, sounded a cautionary note Tuesday about the global economy. SENT: 300 words.


BERLIN — Lufthansa says it narrowed its loss in the first quarter thanks to a cost-cutting program and lower fuel prices. Germany’s biggest airline is sticking to its full-year earnings targets even though it took a financial hit from a pair of strikes. Deutsche Lufthansa AG said Tuesday that it lost 252 million euros ($350 million) in the January-March period, compared with 458 million euros a year earlier. Revenue declined to 6.46 billion euros from 6.63 billion euros. SENT: 130 words.


NICOSIA, Cyprus — International creditors are back in Cyprus to measure the country’s progress in implementing the terms of its 10 billion-euro ($13.87 billion) rescue. Officials from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund began talks with Cypriot authorities on Tuesday and will continue through May 12. Three earlier reviews found that the country’s bailout program remained on track with the government comfortably meeting fiscal targets. SENT: 260 words.

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