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Europe News Digest

June 16, 2014



MOSCOW — Russia is cutting gas supplies to Ukraine as a payment deadline passed and negotiators failed to reach a deal on gas prices and unpaid bills amid continued fighting in eastern Ukraine. The decision does not immediately affect the gas flow to Europe, but could disrupt the long-term energy supply to the region if the issue is not resolved, analysts say. By Nataliya Vasilyeva And David McHugh. SENT: 900 words, photos.


MOSCOW — When Russia annexed the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea earlier this year, it regained not only harbors for its navy and abandoned Ukrainian military bases but also long stretches of pebble beaches that were the summer destination of choice for millions of Soviet citizens. This summer, however, tourists need a push to go and some help in getting there. With Crimea’s beaches eerily empty at the start of the summer season and the livelihood of many under threat, the Kremlin has come up with an ingenious way to attract tourists to the peninsula: It has asked state-controlled companies to get their employees to go there on vacation by paying for all or part of their trips. By Nataliya Vasilyeva. SENT: 980 words, photos.


BARCELONA, Spain — Artur Mas doesn’t seem like a political revolutionary. He wears sober, expensive suits and has shunned fiery speeches during his three-decade career as a risk-averse, pro-business civil servant. Yet Mas is the architect of a daring attempt to carve out a new European country by achieving independence for Catalonia, a wealthy region of northeastern Spain, including the city of Barcelona, that is fiercely proud of its language and distinct cultural traditions. If Catalonia’s regional president wins backing for his goal in a planned Nov. 9 local referendum on whether to secede, his success could also encourage other separatist-minded regions across Europe. By Joseph Wilson. UPCOMING: 900 words, photos by 1200 GMT.


MADRID — Eight people have been arrested in Spain and another in Germany on suspicion of working for a jihadist group in Iraq and Syria. Spanish police detained the eight in Madrid early Monday on suspicion of recruiting jihadist militants for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL. They said the cell was led by a person who live in Spain but had previously been jailed in Guantanamo Bay after being arrested in Afghanistan in 2001. By Ciaran Giles. SENT: 220 words.


BERLIN — Formula One great Michael Schumacher is no longer in a coma and has left a French hospital where he had been receiving treatment since a skiing accident in December. The 45-year-old German driver was hospitalized with severe head injuries after his Dec. 29 ski accident, which split his helmet as he crashed into rocks on the slope at the Meribel ski resort in the French Alps. By Geir Moulson. SENT: 375 words, photos. UPCOMING: 500 words by 1200 GMT.

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