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seattlepi.com: Europe News from the Associated Press





 



France issues record $7.5 billion in 'green bonds'

Tue, 24 Jan 2017 22:11:54 UT

The 22-year bonds that will go exclusively toward green energy spending were sold to banks, insurers and other institutional investors at a 1.75 percent interest rate, comparable to classic government bonds for the same period. Hollande's government has championed green bonds since hosting the 2015 Paris Agreement, which aims to fight global warming by reducing carbon emissions and investing in renewable energy.



The Latest: France gives refugee status to 60 people

Tue, 24 Jan 2017 19:59:39 UT

The nationalities of the 60 weren't specified, but Afghans and Sudanese were the most numerous migrants in the now-closed camp, which also harbored Syrians, Eritreans and others, most driven from their homelands because of war, daily violence or grinding poverty. Migrant rights groups have long criticized France for dragging its heels in dealing with asylum demands. France's Marine Le Pen, the far-right candidate campaigning for president, has been refused entry when she tried to visit a migrant camp outside Dunkirk, in northern France. In a series of tweets from outside the camp, Le Pen, a leading candidate in France's spring elections, lambasted "the crazy immigration policy of our successive governments." Germany has deported 26 Afghan migrants as part of the government's efforts to increase the number of rejected asylum-seekers leaving the country after an influx of more than 1 million migrants in the last two years. The German news agency dpa reported that the Afghans arrived Tuesday in Kabul where members of the German Embassy and Afghan authorities arranged accommodation before the deportees will be taken to their home provinces.



All 6 dead in helicopter crash in central Italy

Tue, 24 Jan 2017 19:32:55 UT

CAMPO FELICE, Italy (AP) — A helicopter ferrying an injured skier off the slopes slammed into a mountainside in central Italy Tuesday, killing all six people aboard in a new tragedy to hit a region already hobbled by a series of earthquakes, paralyzing snowfall and a deadly avalanche. The helicopter was taking the injured skier from the Campo Felice ski area to L'Aquila, the regional capital about 15 kilometers (10 miles) away. The area is in Abruzzo's mountains, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) southwest from where emergency crews have been working around the clock to recover victims of the powerful Jan. 18 avalanche that crushed a luxury resort.



Prosecutors seek to question Rome mayor of problem hires

Tue, 24 Jan 2017 19:27:06 UT

ROME (AP) — Prosecutors are seeking to question Rome's embattled mayor over one of several problematic appointments that have tarnished her young administration and Italy's populist 5-Star Movement. Prosecutors are investigating the appointment of Renato Marra as director of Rome's tourism department.



Bulgaria: President sets date for early general elections

Tue, 24 Jan 2017 19:13:40 UT

The snap vote — the third in four years — follows the resignation of Boiko Borisov's center-right government after Radev's crushing victory in a November presidential election against the candidate of the ruling party. [...] its popularity faded because of the slow pace of reforms to eliminate graft and poverty and overhaul the judicial system in the European Union's poorest member country.



Toll from Italy avalanche climbs to 17 as hopes diminish

Tue, 24 Jan 2017 19:05:22 UT

FARINDOLA, Italy (AP) — Hopes faded Tuesday that any more survivors of the devastating avalanche that buried an Italian resort hotel would be found after the death toll more than doubled to 17, with 12 people still unaccounted for. The helicopter was ferrying an injured skier off the slopes of the Campo Felice ski area when it slammed into a mountainside buried in thick fog. Emergency workers at the center where rescue efforts at the avalanche-entombed Hotel Rigopiano are being coordinated rushed to the chopper crash site about 100 kilometers (60 miles) away. Giancaterino, one of the first victims pulled from the wreckage, had offered to stay for a double shift on Jan. 18 to spare a colleague from having to make his way to the hotel through the snow, which was two to three meters (six to 10 feet) high in some places. Prosecutors are investigating whether a series of missed communications, underestimations of risks and delays in responding to days of heavy snowfall contributed to the toll from the avalanche. Galassi told reporters outside her parents' home that she was reticent to speak publicly about the couple's ordeal, saying she wanted to respect the people who died and those still waiting to learn the fate of their loved ones.



Greece offers to extend automatic austerity mechanism

Tue, 24 Jan 2017 17:51:08 UT

Known as "the chopper" in the Greek tabloid press, the Contingent Fiscal Mechanism allows spending cuts to be imposed without additional approval by parliament if ambitious budget targets for 2016-2018 are not met.



Italy's constitutional court mulls electoral law

Tue, 24 Jan 2017 17:47:52 UT

ROME (AP) — Italy's constitutional court began hearing challenges Tuesday to the country's electoral law, the outcome of which could help determine when new elections are held. Most political forces agree that a new electoral law must be passed before any vote, taking into account the constitutional court's ruling, which is expected Wednesday.



BT shares plunge on cost of Italian accounting scandal

Tue, 24 Jan 2017 17:03:27 UT

LONDON (AP) — Shares in telecoms giant BT plunged by a fifth Tuesday after the London-based company warned of the cost of an accounting scandal at its Italian business and broad weakness in the global market. BT had said in October that it was investigating the practices of its Italian business, BT Italia, and had taken a charge of 145 million pounds ($182 million.) On Tuesday, it said that it was tripling those charges to 530 million pounds following a more in-depth, independent review of the situation. The investigation, BT says, revealed improper accounting practices that "have resulted in the overstatement of earnings in our Italian business over a number of years."



Kosovo experts to prove no loss in Montenegro border deal

Tue, 24 Jan 2017 16:57:34 UT

PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — A commission of experts in Kosovo has started work to measure the territory before August 2015 when a demarcation border deal with neighboring Montenegro, vehemently contested by the country's opposition, was signed.



Petrobras investors seek compensation in the Netherlands

Tue, 24 Jan 2017 16:33:26 UT

ROTTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) — Institutional investors who say they lost billions of dollars as a result of the corruption scandal at Brazilian state-run oil giant Petrobras have launched a compensation case in the Netherlands. In a statement Tuesday, a coalition of investors said it filed a 172-page writ at the District Court of Rotterdam claiming that investors lost billions following "significant asset write-downs and precipitous declines in Petrobras share prices" after allegations of fraud and kickbacks were revealed in 2014.



Former German President Herzog commemorated in state funeral

Tue, 24 Jan 2017 16:16:34 UT

BERLIN (AP) — Former German President Roman Herzog has been commemorated in a state funeral in Berlin for his services to the country during his tenure in the 1990s. Herzog, who as president pressed the country to embrace economic reform in the 1990s, also stressed the importance of remembering the Nazi Holocaust.



France's presidential hopeful Macron pushes for Syria talks

Tue, 24 Jan 2017 16:15:18 UT

During a visit to Lebanon on Tuesday, the 49-year-old centrist said he wants France to talk to "all parties," including the regime of President Bachar Assad. Other top contenders are conservative Francois Fillon and far-right leader Marine Le Pen.



The Latest: Italy helicopter crash kills all 6 aboard

Tue, 24 Jan 2017 16:10:35 UT

Officials say a helicopter ferrying an injured skier off the slopes crashed into a central Italian mountainside and killed all six people aboard, in the latest tragedy to hit a region slammed by recent earthquakes, heavy snowfall and an avalanche. Italy's civil protection agency spokesman Luigi D'Angelo said those on board included the skier, medical personnel and flight crew. Poor visibility had slowed the arrival of rescue crews, and eyewitnesses said heavy clouds blanketed the area at the time of the crash. An official says a helicopter ferrying an injured skier off the slopes has crashed in central Italy with at least six people aboard, another tragedy to hit a region slammed by recent earthquakes, heavy snowfall and an avalanche. Prosecutors are investigating whether a series of missed communications, underestimations of risks and delays in responding to days of heavy snowfall contributed to the toll from the Jan. 18 avalanche.



Germany: Social Democrats leader won't run for chancellor

Tue, 24 Jan 2017 15:59:09 UT

BERLIN (AP) — The leader of Germany's Social Democratic Party said Tuesday he won't stand as the party's candidate for chancellor in this fall's national election, shaking up the political landscape on the same day the country's president confirmed the election will be held Sept. 24. The party said Gabriel instead proposed Martin Schulz, who recently decided not to seek another term as European Parliament president to return to domestic politics, as the chancellor candidate.



Austrian official: suspected radical says he built test bomb

Tue, 24 Jan 2017 15:52:02 UT

VIENNA (AP) — Austria's interior minister says suspected Islamic radical detained last week and suspected of planning a possible attack has told interrogators that he built a test bomb. State broadcaster ORF quoted Wolfgang Sobotka as saying the 17-year old told police that he did so while in Germany, where he met with another suspected radical who is now arrest in Germany.



EU to Trump: Trade barriers, building walls 'doomed to fail'

Tue, 24 Jan 2017 15:42:52 UT

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union on Tuesday told President Donald Trump that his "America First" and protectionist trade policies are "doomed to fail" and said the kind of trade deals like the one he scuttled with the Asian Pacific countries "are a handy scapegoat." Instead of protectionism, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said the EU — the world's biggest trading bloc — remains committed to open borders and economies. Trump's decision to pull out of the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership on Monday was seen as an indication of a more closed U.S. trade policy that could include tariffs on some imports and exclude foreign competition to favor local industry.



2 Poles injured in crash with US Army truck

Tue, 24 Jan 2017 15:24:01 UT

The van's driver and passenger were hospitalized, local police spokeswoman Sylwia Woroniec said. In two separate events last week, two U.S. Amy trucks skidded on narrow, slippery roads in the area, slightly injuring two soldiers.



Police in Sweden probe rape reportedly aired on Facebook

Tue, 24 Jan 2017 15:19:32 UT

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Three men have been arrested in Sweden on suspicion of participating in a group rape that was streamed live on a closed Facebook group, Swedish authorities said Tuesday. Police spokeswoman Lisa Sannervik said the investigation into "a serious sexual offense" was in a preliminary phase and she could not provide further details.



Ikea recalls beach chair globally after injury reports

Tue, 24 Jan 2017 14:44:23 UT

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Swedish furniture retailer Ikea is recalling a beach chair globally after receiving reports that it can collapse and cause injury, such as by pinching fingers. Ikea urges customers with any model of Mysingso beach chair to return them before Jan. 31 for a full refund without proof of purchase. Ikea said Tuesday it had received five reports from Finland, Germany, the United States, Denmark and Australia in which users sustained injuries. Ikea, a leading global home furnishings group, has more than 300 stores in 27 countries. Its parent company is headquartered in Leiden, the Netherlands.