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seattlepi.com: Europe News from the Associated Press





 



The Latest: London rescue workers: 'We refuse to forget you'

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 17:03:23 UT

London firefighters and emergency workers who battled the Grenfell Tower blaze have been leaving messages and tributes to the victims at a makeshift memorial near the charred apartment block. Heartbreaking messages written on red London Fire Brigade T-shirts offer poignant tributes alongside flowers, toys and candles. London police are considering filing manslaughter charges related to the fire at a west London apartment tower that killed at least 79 people. The department also said exterior cladding attached to the 24-story public housing project during a recent renovation failed safety tests conducted by investigators, and that police have seized documents from a number of organizations. London Police say manslaughter charges are among moves being considered over the Grenfell Tower fire that killed at least 79 people. Metropolitan Police Detective Supt. Fiona McCormack says authorities are "looking at every health and safety and fire safety offense and we are reviewing every company at the moment involved in the building and refurbishment of Grenfell Tower." British police investigating the fire at Grenfell Tower in west London in which 79 people are believed to have died say the blaze started in a fridge freezer. Fears about cladding is not limited to apartment buildings, and at least one hotel chain is calling in experts to make certain it meets safety regulations.



Hungary: Lawmakers pass billboard law, opposition cries foul

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 16:48:42 UT

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Lawmakers from Hungary's governing parties on Friday approved legislation on political advertising which opposition parties say will limit their billboard campaigns while increasing the government's publicity advantage. Jobbik and other opposition parties, however, fear the government will increase its rising use of public funds for its own billboard campaigns, as well as provide funds for similar campaigns by supportive civic groups. The government cause has also been boosted by the purchase of large media portfolios by current Orban allies, who have transformed their outlets into unquestioning supporters of the prime minister's policies.



UN rights office: Nearly 5,000 killed in Yemen conflict

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 16:06:40 UT

Spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani said the office's count of civilian deaths since fighting increased in Yemen in March 2015 was "conservative" It has recorded 4,971 civilians killed and 8,533 injured based on on-site verifications. Thirty were attributed to air strikes by a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia fighting in its impoverished neighbor, while 19 other deaths were blamed on shelling attacks from factions allied with Shiite rebels known as Houthis.



Ex-Northern Ireland paramilitary figure admits 200 offenses

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 15:58:27 UT

In court Friday, 45-year-old Gary Haggarty pleaded guilty to five murders; five attempted murders; 23 counts of conspiracy to murder; directing terrorism; and membership of a banned organization in incidents stretching from 1991 to 2007. Besides the 200 pleas entered in Belfast Crown Court, the 45-year-old admitted responsibility for 304 minor offenses.



Media reports: 5 people have died after being electrocuted at water park pool in northwest Turkey

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 15:56:27 UT

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Media reports: 5 people have died after being electrocuted at water park pool in northwest Turkey.



Britain, EU clash over Brexit proposals on citizens' rights

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 15:53:52 UT

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union and Britain on Friday tripped over the first item in their Brexit talks — protecting the rights of each other's citizens — highlighting the potential for trouble ahead in their marathon negotiations. While British Prime Minister Theresa May declared that she had offered a "fair and serious" proposal on citizens' rights, European Union chief Donald Tusk dismissed it as falling "below our expectations." The 27 EU leaders demanded many more details on the U.K. proposal to guarantee the rights of the 3 million EU citizens who now live in Britain. Since many of those citizens will want to stay even as Britain itself leaves the EU, it is an immediate issue where May has a lot of leverage. Exactly one year after British voters chose to leave the EU and after months of political chaos at home, a weakened May sent her team into the Brexit negotiations that began Monday.



French minister nixes aid center for migrants in Calais

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 15:23:53 UT

PARIS (AP) — France's interior minister said ruled out creating a help center for migrants in the increasingly tense port city of Calais, and said that the death of a truck driver blamed on migrants is also a humanitarian issue. The minister's visit came days after the death of a Polish truck driver whose small vehicle crashed into one of three big-rig trucks stopped by a blockade of tree trunks and branches. NGO's have criticized the response to migrants hiding out in Calais, which France's human rights defender, Jacques Toubon, called "inhuman or degrading treatment" following a visit this month.



Dutch customs discover rhino horn in carvings headed to Laos

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 15:18:56 UT

Officials fighting the traffic in endangered species said last year that Laos is used as a transit point to smuggle wildlife parts to other Asian countries.



EU leaders boost support for Libya to halt migrant exodus

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 15:06:26 UT

BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union leaders pledged Friday to boost their support for conflict-ravaged Libya as the number of people fleeing Africa on crowded, unsafe boats for better lives in Europe continues to rise. [...] human rights group Amnesty International says Libya's coast guard is returning the people it plucks from the sea to a country where they face detention and possibly torture or rape. [...] Amnesty's McGowan warned that "EU leaders need to urgently stop externalizing border control and asylum processing to foreign governments - including some with appalling human rights records."



Polish human rights official under fire for Holocaust remark

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 14:52:24 UT

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — A leading Polish human rights official has come under fire for saying the "Polish nation" took part in the implementation of the Holocaust — a controversial statement in a country that never collaborated with Nazi Germany during World War II. After taking power in 2015, the party moved quickly to consolidate its hold over the Constitutional Tribunal, public media and other state bodies in a way that has eroded checks and balances, sparking criticism by the European Union. Bodnar's office has criticized the government for its steps against the constitutional court and over other human rights issues.



The Latest: Central Europe leaders meet with France's Macron

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 14:21:13 UT

Poland's prime minister says it is a good sign for the future that France and Central European countries want to seek consensus despite their differences on key issues. Earlier in the day, at her invitation, the so-called Visegrad Group of four central European countries held talks with French President Francois Macron. Macron says he and the central European leaders "defined their points of disagreement" and talked frankly, but showed no sign of softening his criticism. Malta's leader says Prime Minister Theresa May's offer to guarantee the rights of European and British citizens affected by Brexit could contain some pitfalls but needs to be studied in detail. Countries are worried that details are lacking, for example on when the cutoff date will be for EU citizens to benefit from a promise they won't be forced to leave Britain, and on how it will affect family members. European Union chief Donald Tusk says that Britain's offer to ensure the rights of EU citizens after the country leaves the bloc is below expectations and could make things worse for them. The European Council President told reporters Friday that "citizens' rights are the number one priority for the EU 27" — the member countries that will remain once Britain leaves the bloc in 2019. Guy Verhofstadt wrote that British prime minister "Theresa May's "generous offer" does not fully guarantee the rights for EU citizens living in the UK." Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Konrad Szymanski said Poland appreciates the proposals but said they're "incomplete," according to the PAP news agency. French President Emmanuel Macron is meeting with central and eastern European leaders amid tensions over jobs and resistance to taking in refugees. Macron's office says he sought a separate meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Poland's Beata Szydlo, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico. Some countries, i



UK authorities charge Welsh man with murder in mosque attack

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 14:19:44 UT

LONDON (AP) — British authorities charged an unemployed man from Wales with murder and attempted murder Friday in connection with the van attack on a crowd of Muslim worshippers near two north London mosques. Police characterized the van incident, which came as worshippers were leaving mosques after prayers marking the holy month of Ramadan, as a terrorist attack directed at Muslims.



US releases photos of 'unsafe' Russian jet intercept

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 14:02:10 UT

BERLIN (AP) — The U.S. European Command has released dramatic photos of a Russian jet coming within a few feet of a U.S. Air Force reconnaissance jet over the Baltic Sea in a maneuver that has been criticized as unsafe.



Tour bus hits top of Paris tunnel; 4 injured, 1 seriously

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 13:52:55 UT

PARIS (AP) — Four people were injured, one seriously, when a double-decker tour bus that took a detour due to a major display of sporting events got stuck inside a tunnel under a Paris bridge Friday, police and the bus company said. The accident occurred shortly after noon as the Big Bus Tours bus traveled from the Place de la Concorde, a large square between the Tuileries Gardens and the Champs- Elysees, the police headquarters press office said.



Germany's Merkel: UK Brexit proposals on protecting EU citizens' rights are good start but no breakthrough

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 13:43:46 UT

BRUSSELS (AP) — Germany's Merkel: UK Brexit proposals on protecting EU citizens' rights are good start but no breakthrough.



British PM May: Despite EU objections, UK made "fair and serious offer" on citizens' rights in Brexit talks

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 13:18:29 UT

BRUSSELS (AP) — British PM May: Despite EU objections, UK made "fair and serious offer" on citizens' rights in Brexit talks.



Germany rejects Turkish office's criticism of liberal mosque

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 13:16:15 UT

BERLIN (AP) — The German government on Friday strongly rejected criticism from a religious authority overseen by the Turkish government of a new liberal mosque in Berlin where all Muslims can pray together. Ates, the 54-year-old daughter of Turkish guest workers in Germany, fought for eight years to establish a place of prayer where progressive Muslims in Germany can leave religious conflicts behind and focus on their shared Islamic values. [...] she told Die Welt, she has received many death threats.



French president says EU leaders agree to reinforce external borders, support Libyan border forces

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 13:02:06 UT

BRUSSELS (AP) — French president says EU leaders agree to reinforce external borders, support Libyan border forces.



Norway to Brazil: Curb deforestation or we stop the money

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 13:00:36 UT

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg said Norway's more than $1 billion contribution to the so-called Amazon fund is "based on results," Norway's NTB news agency said. Since 2001, Norway has donated billions to encourage the conservation of forests. Before his meeting with Solberg, Temer was met by protesters holding posters reading "Stop rainforest destruction" and "Respect indigenous peoples' rights" as he arrived at the prime minister's office in Oslo.



Manslaughter charges eyed in deadly Grenfell Tower blaze

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 12:57:01 UT

In its most detailed briefing on the criminal investigation, the Metropolitan Police on Friday confirmed residents' suspicions that the June 14 inferno at Grenfell Tower was touched off by a refrigerator fire. The department also said exterior cladding attached to the 24-story public housing project during a recent renovation failed safety tests conducted by investigators, and that police have seized documents from a number of organizations. The overnight fire rapidly engulfed Grenfell Tower, with flames shooting up the outside of the building, raising concerns that the cladding material attached to the concrete block didn't comply with fire-safety rules. Fears about cladding are not limited to apartment buildings — at least one hotel chain is calling in experts to make certain it meets safety regulations.