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BC-AP--Europe News Digest, AP

April 15, 2014

TOP STORIES FROM EUROPE AT 1100 GMT

UKRAINE

HORLIVKA, Ukraine — Pro-Russian insurgents who have seized government buildings across eastern Ukraine dug in on Tuesday, fortifying their positions and erecting fresh barricades as Ukrainian tanks were seen within 70 kms of one city controlled by pro-Moscow gunmen. Roads into Slovyansk, a city some 160 kilometers (100 miles) east of Russia that has come under ever more secure control of the gunmen since Saturday, were dotted with checkpoints. One at the entrance into town was waving a Russian flag. Another bore a sign reading “If we don’t do it, nobody will.” By Yuras Karmanau. SENT: 900 words, photos. Developing.

GERMANY-UKRAINE-GAS

BERLIN — German utility company RWE AG says it has started supplying gas to Ukraine, which faces delivery cut-off from its main source Russia. RWE said in a statement that the reverse-flow deliveries via Poland began Tuesday and foresee the supply of up to 10 billion cubic meters of natural gas a year. SENT: 120 words.

ITALY-BERLUSCONI

MILAN — A Milan court has ruled that Silvio Berlusconi will perform a year of community service at a center for the elderly for his tax fraud conviction. The assignment curtails Berlusconi’s ability to participate in the upcoming European election campaign — a point of contention among his political allies. The 77-year-old, three-time former premier cannot run due to the conviction, the first against him ever confirmed by Italy’s high court, but remains a political force as head of Forza Italia. SENT: 130 words.

BRITAIN-PHONE HACKING

LONDON — Prime Minister David Cameron’s former communications chief has said under oath that he was never involved in phone hacking when he was the editor of a Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid. Andy Coulson was asked by his lawyer in court Tuesday whether he was “ever party to or in agreement with phone hacking at the News of the World.” Coulson answered: “No, I was not.” By Jill Lawless. SENT: 130 words, photos. UPCOMING: 240 words by 1200 GMT.

GREECE-FINANCIAL CRISIS

ATHENS, Greece — Greece’s borrowing costs in a short-term debt sale have tumbled, days after the country returned to the international bond markets. The interest rate on a 13-week treasury bill issued Tuesday fell to 2.45 percent, compared with 3.1 percent for a similar issue last month, according to the public debt management agency. SENT: 140 words.

GREECE-MIGRANTS

ATHENS, Greece — Authorities say a suspected migrant-smuggler has been shot and killed in Greece after attempting to ram a pursuing coast guard vessel. The merchant marine ministry said the incident occurred before dawn on Tuesday off the Aegean Sea island of Kos, after seven immigrants had been transported by speed boat to a remote part of the island from nearby Turkey. SENT: 130 words.

WAR CRIMES-MLADIC

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The U.N. Yugoslav tribunal has refused to throw out any charges against former Bosnian Serb military chief Gen. Ratko Mladic at the midway stage of his war crimes trial. Mladic had asked the judges to toss out some of the 11 charges against him, which include genocide, for an alleged lack of evidence at the end of the prosecution’s case. SENT: 130 words.

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