• Toddler dies of measles in Berlin, first death in outbreak

    Updated: Tue, Feb 24, 2015

    BERLIN (AP) — An 18-month-old boy has died of measles in Berlin, the first known death in an outbreak of the disease that has seen more than 570 cases in the German capital since October. An autopsy on the child, who died on Feb. 18 and wasn't immunized against measles, showed he had an unspecified medical condition, but it wouldn't have led to his death without the measles infection, the Charite hospital said Tuesday. The German outbreak coincides with smaller ones in the United States, where 154 measles cases have been reported this year, three-quarters of them tied to an outbreak that started in Disneyland in December. Authorities believe the Berlin measles infections began with a child from Bosnia whose family was

  • Ukraine disputes rebel claim that weapons pullback begins

    Updated: Tue, Feb 24, 2015

    ILOVAYSK, Ukraine (AP) — Russian-backed separatists moved some heavy weapons well back from the front line Tuesday in eastern Ukraine, but the Ukrainian government disputed the rebels' claim that a real pullback had begun. A peace plan worked out in marathon talks on Feb. 12 aims to create a wide buffer zone between the two sides' artillery, part of efforts to end the conflict that has left nearly 5,800 dead since April. Heavy weapons are to be pulled back 25 to 70 kilometers (15 to 45 miles) from the front line, depending on their caliber. The disagreement over a weapons pullback came as the fragile peace deal for Ukraine was discussed in Paris by the foreign ministers of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France.

  • Head of UN climate panel steps down amid harassment case

    Updated: Tue, Feb 24, 2015

    NEW DELHI (AP) — The leader of the U.N.'s expert panel on climate change stepped down on Tuesday amid an investigation into a colleague's allegations of sexual harassment. Rajendra K. Pachauri, 75, an Indian citizen, had chaired the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change since 2002 and accepted the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize on its behalf. The IPCC "needs strong leadership and dedication of time and full attention by the chair in the immediate future, which under the current circumstances I may be unable to provide," Pachauri wrote in a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. He did not elaborate, but pointed to his withdrawal from a meeting in Nairobi this week to attend to what the IPCC called "issues demanding

  • France says Frenchwoman kidnapped in Yemen

    Updated: Tue, Feb 24, 2015

    PARIS (AP) — A Frenchwoman working for a consultancy firm with ties to the World Bank was kidnapped Tuesday morning by gunmen in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa. The 30-year-old woman was kidnapped in front of a ministry building, President Francois Hollande told a news conference. "We demand her liberation as quickly as possible," Hollande said. "We are trying to locate her and we will do everything so that she can be freed." There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Yemen is the base for an especially active al-Qaida affiliate. The French president said the woman worked for the World Bank.

  • 9 dead including gunman in Czech restaurant shooting

    Updated: Tue, Feb 24, 2015

    PRAGUE (AP) — A gunman opened fire inside a small-town restaurant in eastern Czech Republic Tuesday, killing eight people and seriously wounding a waitress before he fatally shot himself, officials said. It was the worst shooting attack in the young country's history. The gunman was a local man aged around 60, said Patrik Kuncar, mayor of the southeastern town of Uhersky Brod. Czech public radio said the perpetrator called a local television station before the attack, complaining that police weren't solving his problems and threatening that he would "take things into his hands." Interior Minister Milan Chovanec, who arrived at the scene, said the man had a gun license. "It was not a terrorist attack" he said.

  • After attacks, European rabbis train self-defense in Prague

    Updated: Tue, Feb 24, 2015

    PRAGUE (AP) — Rabbis from European countries gathered in Prague Tuesday for training in self-defense and first aid in response to a wave of attacks against Jews and a rise of anti-Semitism on the continent. In a stunning beginning of a training session, knives were distributed to dozens of rabbis, young and old, before receiving instructions and practicing what to do to survive stabbing and how to treat injuries. Some occasionally burst out with a laugh but overall the rabbis took it seriously as it was prompted by fears after the deadly terror attack against a kosher grocery in Paris in January and the murder of a Jewish security guard outside a synagogue in Copenhagen earlier this month.

  • Greece clears key hurdle to extend bailout but doubts remain

    Updated: Tue, Feb 24, 2015

    BRUSSELS (AP) — Greece cleared a major hurdle Tuesday in its ongoing battle to remain solvent as its European creditors approved a 4-month extension to its financial bailout — but the cash-strapped country has much more to do to convince its partners that it deserves longer-term help beyond the summer. The country's creditors in the 19-country eurozone endorsed Greece's request for the extension after the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund — the main institutions handling Greece's loans — provisionally backed a list of reforms that Athens proposed in a letter late Monday. Greece had to draw up the list, which includes measures to combat tax evasion and corruption, to get the bai

  • UK police believe 3 missing schoolgirls have entered Syria

    Updated: Tue, Feb 24, 2015

    LONDON (AP) — Police investigating the disappearance of three British schoolgirls said Tuesday they believe the teenagers are no longer in Turkey and have crossed into Syria — likely joining dozens of other young women leaving Europe to join terrorists. The disappearance of the three British girls, aged 15 to 16, underlines fears that growing numbers in Britain and Europe are lured by online propaganda to join the Islamic State group and become "jihadi brides." Security officials say at least 500 Britons have travelled to Syria to fight with extremists, often via Turkey. Experts estimate about 50 are female. The three girls in the latest case — all described as "straight-A students" from a highly-regarded London s

  • Lobbying sting costs UK lawmaker top security watchdog role

    Updated: Tue, Feb 24, 2015

    LONDON (AP) — Conservative Party lawmaker Malcolm Rifkind quit Tuesday as head of the Parliamentary committee overseeing Britain's intelligence services and announced his upcoming retirement after being caught in a hidden-camera sting appearing to discuss swapping political influence for money. Rifkind, a former foreign minister and one of his party's most senior lawmakers, called the allegations against him "contemptible." But said he didn't want the vital work of the Intelligence and Security Committee to be "distracted or affected by controversy as to my personal position." Rifkind, 68, also said he wouldn't seek re-election in May's national election. "I don't think I did anything wrong," he told reporters.

  • First Folio found in France to visit Shakespeare' Globe

    Updated: Tue, Feb 24, 2015

    LONDON (AP) — A rare first edition of William Shakespeare's plays is to go on display in the Bard's spiritual home, just a few hundred yards (meters) from where it was printed in 1623. Shakespeare's Globe says a First Folio discovered last year in a library in Saint-Omer, France, will be displayed at the London theater for two months from July 2016. Actor Mark Rylance said Monday that he's delighted "my favorite book in the world" is coming to the recreated Elizabethan playhouse. The theater lies across the River Thames from the site of London's 17th-century printing houses near St. Paul's Cathedral. About 750 copies of Shakespeare's collected plays were printed seven years after the playwright died.

  • Spanish premier trumpets economy, upgrades growth forecast

    Updated: Tue, Feb 24, 2015

    MADRID (AP) — Spain's economy will grow by more than previously thought this year, the prime minister said Tuesday, as he laid out the credentials of his conservative government prior to elections later this year. Mariano Rajoy said Spain had moved from the edge of the abyss to being the eurozone country with the highest growth and job creation. He is predicting growth of 2.4 percent, up from the 2 percent prediction. "Nobody expected that three years ago," said Rajoy. "It's a nation that has come out of a nightmare. It has saved itself, recovered economic confidence, enjoys prestige and is once again attractive for investors," Rajoy said at the opening of the annual two-day state-of-the-nation parliamentary debate.

  • Lithuania restores compulsory military service

    Updated: Tue, Feb 24, 2015

    VILNIUS, Lithuania (AP) — Lithuania will restore compulsory military service for young men as tensions in Ukraine continue to worry the small Baltic nation, the government said Tuesday. After a meeting of military leaders and top government officials, President Dalia Grybauskaite said the measure was necessary because of "growing aggression" in Ukraine. Military officials said Lithuania will reinstate national service for five years starting in September, when it will enlist some 3,000 men, ages 19 to 27. They will serve for nine months. The country has some 15,000 troops — down from nearly 39,000 it had before joining the alliance in 2004 — and has no military aircraft or tanks. Gen.

  • Ukraine peace talks in Paris end in tension

    Updated: Tue, Feb 24, 2015

    PARIS (AP) — Talks about a fragile peace deal for Ukraine ended in tension Tuesday, with differences over who is at fault over continued violence despite a cease-fire. The foreign ministers of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France met in Paris amid uncertainty that the accord will hold — in particular a promised withdrawal of heavy weapons from the front line. Ukraine delayed the pullout Monday, blaming continuing attacks from separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier described the talks as difficult.

  • EU works on air passenger deal to track foreign fighters

    Updated: Tue, Feb 24, 2015

    BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union moved Tuesday to unblock a major legislative logjam holding up the exchange of air passenger information deemed vital to track foreign fighters who could become terrorists. The EU lawmaker responsible for pushing the process through the European Parliament tabled new proposals with strengthened privacy protection clauses aimed at ending the impasse. British Conservative Timothy Kirkhope said the revisions respond to concerns that have been expressed. So-called Passenger Name Record agreements allow authorities to exchange information collected by air carriers about passengers during flight reservation and check in for security purposes.

  • France and Italy launch a rail project across the Alps

    Updated: Tue, Feb 24, 2015

    PARIS (AP) — French president Francois Hollande and Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi have signed an agreement for a long-standing rail project to ease transport of freight across the Alps. The agreement was signed Tuesday at a summit in Paris. The project, which would connect the cities of Lyon in France and Turin in Italy, includes the construction of a 57-kilometer (35.4-mile) tunnel for an estimated cost over 8 billion euros ($7 billion). The line would not open before 2028. The European Union authorities promised to finance 40 percent of the project. Ultimately the line could also be adapted for a high-speed passenger trains.

  • Interpol boss urges better data sharing on foreign fighters

    Updated: Tue, Feb 24, 2015

    BERLIN (AP) — The head of Interpol says countries need to improve their information sharing in order to effectively combat the threat of so-called foreign fighters. Interpol's secretary-general Juergen Stock says an estimated 20,000 foreigners have joined extremists fighting in Syria and Iraq, including the Islamic State group. About 3,400 foreign fighters are believed to have come from Europe, and authorities there are concerned about the threat they pose when returning home. Stock told The Associated Press on Tuesday that rather than relaxing data protection laws countries simply need to take full advantage of existing rules to share information about suspects, money flows and weapons.

  • 007 production moves to Rome with oldest Bond girl, Bellucci

    Updated: Tue, Feb 24, 2015

    ROME (AP) — After surviving the Sony hack, production for the new James Bond thriller "SPECTRE" has moved to Rome, where crowds are gathering to catch a glimpse of 007 and the oldest Bond girl yet, 50-year-old Monica Bellucci. Daniel Craig, 46, and Bellucci have been seen around town in recent days as filming has taken them from the cobble-stoned streets of the historic center out to the Mussolini-era modern EUR neighborhood. The main thoroughfare of central Rome, Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, was closed to traffic early Tuesday for a nighttime car chase scene featuring Bond's silver Aston Martin. Another chase took place along the bike path on the banks of the Tiber River.

  • Forensics exhibition shows how science can make dead speak

    Updated: Tue, Feb 24, 2015

    LONDON (AP) — For all of us, death is the end. For forensic scientists, it's also a beginning. An exhibition at London's Wellcome Collection journeys through the afterlife of violent death, from crime scene to mortuary, laboratory and courtroom. It's a world we think we know from movies and TV dramas. But curator Lucy Shanahan said Tuesday that the exhibition's aim is to show the "real lives and personal narratives at the heart of forensics." The Wellcome's mission is to explore the ways in which art, medicine and science overlap, and the exhibition mixes real-life — and real-death — artifacts with artworks inspired by related themes.

  • European Central Bank shows off new 20-euro note

    Updated: Tue, Feb 24, 2015

    FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The European Central Bank has unveiled a new version of the commonly used 20-euro note with added anti-counterfeiting features. European Central Bank head Mario Draghi signed a large facsimile of the new note at a ceremony Tuesday at bank headquarters in Frankfurt. The new note has a "portrait window" security feature. When the banknote is held against the light, the window becomes transparent and reveals a portrait of Europa, the mythological figure who gave her name to the continent. It follows new versions of the 5-euro and 10-euro note. The note is being made available for testing nine months ahead of its Nov. 25 introduction so that companies can make sure testing devices used by retaile

  • Oil slump threatens easy life of affluent Norwegians

    Updated: Tue, Feb 24, 2015

    STAVANGER, Norway (AP) — Losing his job on a Norwegian oil rig meant more to Kristoffer Sandberg than saying goodbye to a high salary. It has caused a shift down in lifestyle and expectations, something an increasing number of people in this small oil-rich country are facing. After a decade of an oil-and-gas boom, plunging energy prices are shaking Norwegians out of a Utopian reverie that guaranteed workers lengthy summer vacations, generous health and social benefits, and allowed them to leave work at 4 p.m. and even earlier on Fridays. Some of the helicopters that transport workers from the southwestern coastal city of Stavanger — the epicenter of the oil industry — to platforms on the North Sea have fallen silent. Al




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