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  • Juventus seeks 1st European title since scandal

  • Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba, of France, celebrates after scoring during a Serie A soccer match between Juventus and Bologna at the Juventus stadium, in Turin, Italy, Saturday, April 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Massimo Pinca)ROME (AP) — When Juventus visits Benfica in the first leg of the Europa League semifinals Thursday, it will mark the first appearance for the once dominant Turin club in the final four of a European competition since finishing runner-up in the 2003 Champions League.



  • Finalists named in Bloomberg European city contest

  • NEW YORK (AP) — Amsterdam wants to create an online game to get unemployed young people engaged in finding jobs across Europe. Schaerbeek, Belgium, envisions using geothermal mapping to give households personalized rundowns of steps to save energy. Gdansk, Poland, is proposing to require officials to debate ideas from citizens.
  • China stops prominent rights lawyer from meeting German minister

  • German Economy Minister Gabriel addresses a ceremony marking 100th anniversary of start of World War One in BerlinBy Ben Blanchard BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese police blocked a prominent human rights lawyer from meeting Germany's deputy chancellor, the lawyer said on Wednesday, in the latest example of curbs on government critics in China. Sigmar Gabriel was unable to hold talks with members of Chinese civil society during a visit to Beijing on Tuesday, though he declined to comment on why the planned meeting at the German embassy had not taken place. Gabriel had told reporters travelling with him to China that he would meet critics of the Chinese government, saying he believed that European politicians had an obligation to show support for such dissidents. But police came to the office of the human rights lawyer, Mo Shaoping, and said they had received orders "from above" that Mo was not allowed to attend, Mo told Reuters.



  • Ukraine president calls for new anti-rebel offensive as crisis deal falters

  • U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk attend a media briefing in KievBy Alastair Macdonald and Darya Korsunskaya KIEV/MOSCOW (Reuters) - Ukraine's acting president, Oleksander Turchinov, called on Tuesday for government forces to relaunch an offensive against pro-Russian rebels after a local politician from his own party was found dead with signs of torture. Kiev's first push failed last week to retake one of the towns in the mainly Russian-speaking east occupied by the separatists, and its military has largely suspended operations since the United States, Russia, Ukraine and European Union signed a deal in Geneva last week intended to calm the crisis. But the agreement is already in trouble, with Washington and Moscow putting the onus on each other on Tuesday to ensure that it is implemented, including a stipulation that the rebels must disarm and leave the government buildings they have occupied. One was that of Volodymyr Rybak, a member of Turchinov's Batkivshchyna party, who had recently been abducted by "terrorists", he said in a statement.



  • Rwandan president says he is not ready to rule out third term

  • Kagame attends a European Union Africa summit in BrusselsBy Richard Valdmanis BOSTON (Reuters) - Rwandan President Paul Kagame said on Tuesday it was too early to say whether he will seek a third term as head of the east African state, adding "whatever will happen, we'll have an explanation." Articles in pro-government newspapers in recent years have raised the prospect of him staying on after his mandate expires in 2017, a move that would anger his critics and require a change to the constitution. Whatever will happen, we'll have an explanation." He was responding to a student's question about how he imagined his political role in Rwanda after his term ends. He accused the "international community" of destabilizing neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo by allowing people who committed the Rwandan genocide to later escape into Congo's eastern hills and giving them guns. Millions have died in eastern Congo, home to myriad rebel groups, since the end of Rwanda's genocide.



  • EU condemns Syria plans for June 3 election

  • A handout picture released on April 13, 2014 by the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) shows Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in DamascusThe European Union joined international condemnation of Syria's plan to hold a presidential election on June 3, saying Tuesday the vote would lack credibility while the country remains at war. EU diplomatic chief Catherine Ashton "deeply regrets the official declaration by the Syrian authorities that presidential elections will be held in Syria on June 3", her spokesman said in a statement. Ashton reiterated the EU's stance that "any elections in Syria should only take place within the framework of the Geneva communique of 2012", a so-far-fruitless agreement on a transition to democracy as the basis for negotiations between the Syrian regime and the opposition fighting to overthrow it.



  • Duke of Westminster takes 20m hit on Paris markets

  • Britain's Duke of Westminster Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor, arrives at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, Berkshire, on June 16, 2003Britain's Duke of Westminster has bailed out of an investment in two famous Paris antiques markets nursing a reported loss of over 20 million euros, it emerged on Tuesday. Jean-Cyrille Boutmy, owner of the Studyrama education and training group, confirmed to AFP that he had acquired the Serpette and Paul-Bert sections of the world famous Saint-Ouen flea market from the Duke's Grosvenor group. The Duke, one of the richest men in Britain thanks to his vast portfolio of prime property, acquired the prestigious antiques markets in 2005 for a price reported at the time to have been 50 million euros. The Puces (flea market) of St Ouen consists of 14 markets with a combined total of 1,700 traders.



  • U.S. to send 600 troops to Eastern Europe to reassure allies

  • The United States will send about 600 U.S. troops to Poland and the three Baltic states to take part in exercises in the coming days to reassure NATO allies following Russia's seizure of the Crimean region from Ukraine, the Pentagon said on Tuesday. Rear Admiral John Kirby, a top Defense Department spokesman, said the bilateral exercises planned for Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia were in addition to the regular training schedule the U.S. military has with those countries and were added due to the events in Ukraine.
  • US troops head to exercises in Eastern Europe

  • WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. Army troops are arriving in Poland to begin what will be a series of military exercises in four countries across Eastern Europe in a move to bolster allies in the wake of Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula last month.
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  • China stops prominent rights lawyer from meeting German minister

  • German Economy Minister Gabriel addresses a ceremony marking 100th anniversary of start of World War One in BerlinBy Ben Blanchard BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese police blocked a prominent human rights lawyer from meeting Germany's deputy chancellor, the lawyer said on Wednesday, in the latest example of curbs on government critics in China. Sigmar Gabriel was unable to hold talks with members of Chinese civil society during a visit to Beijing on Tuesday, though he declined to comment on why the planned meeting at the German embassy had not taken place. Gabriel had told reporters travelling with him to China that he would meet critics of the Chinese government, saying he believed that European politicians had an obligation to show support for such dissidents. But police came to the office of the human rights lawyer, Mo Shaoping, and said they had received orders "from above" that Mo was not allowed to attend, Mo told Reuters.



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  • Cancellations on Everest amid talks to save climbing season

  • New Zealand mountaineer and Mount Everest expedition organiser Russell Brice (L) and British mountaineer and expedition leader Phil Crampton arrive in Kathmandu to speak with the Nepalese Government, at Kathmandu Airport on April 22, 2014Another major mountaineering company has abandoned its Everest expedition after a deadly avalanche killed 16 Nepalese guides last week as the government battled Wednesday to save the climbing season, a vital earner for the country. Adventure Consultants, a New Zealand-based group, lost three people in last Friday's avalanche which struck a party of sherpas preparing routes for commercial climbers up the world's highest peak. US-based Alpine Ascents International and Discovery Channel, which was planning to broadcast the first winged jumpsuit flight off the summit, have also scrapped their intention to scale the 8,848-metre (29,029-foot) peak. British mountaineer Phil Crampton, owner of climbing company Altitude Junkies, told AFP that "we asked for immediate action to make expeditions possible this year".



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  • Small French park becomes home for desperate Syrian families

  • A Syrian refugee girl at Edouard Vaillant park in Saint-Ouen, north of Paris, on April 21, 2014Saint-Ouen (France) (AFP) - They ended up there penniless after wandering from country to country for months. Yahya, Aziz and 150 other Syrians swapped the brutality and death of a war zone for hand-to-mouth survival in a small park in a working-class suburb of Paris, squeezed in behind a hotel just a few metres away from a busy ring road. Some come from Homs, others from Aleppo or the Syrian port city of Latakia, leaving behind the violence of a three-year conflict that has now claimed more than 150,000 lives and forced around half the population to flee their homes. At night, some manage to get hotel rooms paid for, others sleep in cars or at the mosque," says Yahya, a former dental technician from the central city of Homs who speaks French fluently, pointing to refugees lying down on mattresses in the park in Saint-Ouen.



  • Serendipity aids Egypt in struggle to recover stolen heritage

  • People stand and walk near the dissolved NDP building, with the Egyptian Museum seen on the right, in CairoBy Stephen Kalin and Tom Perry CAIRO (Reuters) - When French Egyptologist Olivier Perdu saw a fragment of a pharaonic statue on display in a Brussels gallery last year, he assumed it was a twin of an ancient masterpiece he had examined in Egypt a quarter of a century earlier. The reality was an even more remarkable coincidence: the fragment was part of the very same artifact - a unique 6th century B.C. statue hewn from pale green stone - that Perdu had received special permission to study in Cairo in 1989. "What I had between my hands in Brussels was the object that I had studied in the Cairo museum in 1989." Thanks to his chance encounter, the piece excavated in 1858 has found its way back to Egypt. It is now back in Cairo, where conservation experts have reunited it with the rest of the statue.



  • Juventus seeks 1st European title since scandal

  • Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba, of France, celebrates after scoring during a Serie A soccer match between Juventus and Bologna at the Juventus stadium, in Turin, Italy, Saturday, April 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Massimo Pinca)ROME (AP) — When Juventus visits Benfica in the first leg of the Europa League semifinals Thursday, it will mark the first appearance for the once dominant Turin club in the final four of a European competition since finishing runner-up in the 2003 Champions League.



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  • Pope John XXIII launched Vatican II and then some

  • FILE - In this April 15, 1963 file photo, Pope John XXIII sits at his working desk in his studio in a IX century tower in the Vatican gardens. In background the dome of St. Peter's Basilica. The Pontiff found the tower - once a fortress and later the Vatican observatory - abandoned and in decay. He liked it, particularly for the beautiful view from its covered terrace, embracing a great part of Rome and the surrounding country, in clear weather as far as the sea, distant about 25 kilometers (16 miles). He had it repaired and spends many days working in the studio he has had arranged there. While much of the focus of Sunday's dual canonization will be on Pope John Paul II's globe-trotting, 26-year papacy and his near-record sprint to sainthood, many older Catholics will be celebrating the short but historic pontificate of the "Good Pope," John XXIII. (AP Photo/Luigi Felici, File)VATICAN CITY (AP) — On the night of Oct. 11, 1962, Pope John XXIII did something so natural that it's astonishing it was so revolutionary at the time. He came to the window of the Vatican's Apostolic Palace and spoke to thousands of candle-bearing faithful below — not in the arcane, scripted words of pontiffs past but in those of a father and pastor looking out for his flock.



  • Juventus seeks 1st European title since scandal

  • Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba, of France, celebrates after scoring during a Serie A soccer match between Juventus and Bologna at the Juventus stadium, in Turin, Italy, Saturday, April 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Massimo Pinca)ROME (AP) — When Juventus visits Benfica in the first leg of the Europa League semifinals Thursday, it will mark the first appearance for the once dominant Turin club in the final four of a European competition since finishing runner-up in the 2003 Champions League.



  • Valcke: Don't waste time at Brazil WCup stadium

  • FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke speaks during a news conference after inspecting the unfinished Itaquerao stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Tuesday, April 22, 2014. The stadium will host the World Cup opener match between Brazil and Croatia in June. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)SAO PAULO (AP) — FIFA's top World Cup official visited the delayed stadium that will host the opener in less than two months and said there is "not a minute" to waste to get the venue ready.



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  • Hungary remembers Holocaust amid boycotts, protests

  • A person searches her siblings on the wall of Holocaust victims at the Holocaust Musem in Budapest on April 16, 2014Pécs (Hungary) (AFP) - Hungary bean 70th anniversary commemorations of the Holocaust on Wednesday amid boycotts and protests by Jewish groups which accuse the government of whitewashing the country's role in the mass deportations of Jews in 1944. Marking the day when Hungarian Jews were first placed in ghettoes in 1944, ceremonies were held around the country as part of "Holocaust 2014", a programme of events organised by Prime Minister Viktor Orban's government. In Budapest, President Janos Ader and Deputy Prime Minister Tibor Navracsics lit candles at a monument by the Danube commemorating the thousands of Jews shot into the water in 1944-1945 by the Hungarian fascist Arrow Cross militia. A ceremony was also to be held at Budapest's Holocaust Museum, with trees planted and candles lit to remember the 600,000 Hungarian Jews who perished in the Holocaust.



  • Serbia eyes renewed coalition of center-right and Socialists

  • Serbian Deputy Prime Minister and the leader of Serbian Progressive Party Vucic toasts with champagne at the party headquarters in BelgradeBy Ivana Sekularac BELGRADE (Reuters) - Serbia's center-right Progressive Party, which won the March election by a landslide, said on Tuesday it had offered a place in a coalition government to the Socialists of outgoing Prime Minister Ivica Dacic, despite deep differences over austerity. The two parties have been in government together since mid-2012, but the Progressives forced a snap election last month saying they needed a stronger mandate to overhaul the bloated public sector and stabilize Serbia's shaky finances. The Socialist Party (SPS) has opposed radical belt-tightening, fearing a backlash from its support base among public sector workers and pensioners. Nevertheless, Progressive Party (SNS) leader and Serbia's next prime minister, Aleksandar Vucic, said he had offered a place in a new coalition cabinet to the Socialists and a party of ethnic Hungarians.



  • Hungary's Orban retains two-thirds legislative majority

  • Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban gives his first international press conference after the parliamentary election, in the Delegation Hall of the parliament building in Budapest on April 7, 2014Budapest (AFP) - Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban retained his controlling two-thirds majority in parliament following last week's election, a final ballot count revealed early Sunday, giving him free legislative rein for the next four years.



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more» 
  • Pope John XXIII launched Vatican II and then some

  • FILE - In this April 15, 1963 file photo, Pope John XXIII sits at his working desk in his studio in a IX century tower in the Vatican gardens. In background the dome of St. Peter's Basilica. The Pontiff found the tower - once a fortress and later the Vatican observatory - abandoned and in decay. He liked it, particularly for the beautiful view from its covered terrace, embracing a great part of Rome and the surrounding country, in clear weather as far as the sea, distant about 25 kilometers (16 miles). He had it repaired and spends many days working in the studio he has had arranged there. While much of the focus of Sunday's dual canonization will be on Pope John Paul II's globe-trotting, 26-year papacy and his near-record sprint to sainthood, many older Catholics will be celebrating the short but historic pontificate of the "Good Pope," John XXIII. (AP Photo/Luigi Felici, File)VATICAN CITY (AP) — On the night of Oct. 11, 1962, Pope John XXIII did something so natural that it's astonishing it was so revolutionary at the time. He came to the window of the Vatican's Apostolic Palace and spoke to thousands of candle-bearing faithful below — not in the arcane, scripted words of pontiffs past but in those of a father and pastor looking out for his flock.



  • Juventus seeks 1st European title since scandal

  • Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba, of France, celebrates after scoring during a Serie A soccer match between Juventus and Bologna at the Juventus stadium, in Turin, Italy, Saturday, April 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Massimo Pinca)ROME (AP) — When Juventus visits Benfica in the first leg of the Europa League semifinals Thursday, it will mark the first appearance for the once dominant Turin club in the final four of a European competition since finishing runner-up in the 2003 Champions League.



  • Valcke: Don't waste time at Brazil WCup stadium

  • FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke speaks during a news conference after inspecting the unfinished Itaquerao stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Tuesday, April 22, 2014. The stadium will host the World Cup opener match between Brazil and Croatia in June. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)SAO PAULO (AP) — FIFA's top World Cup official visited the delayed stadium that will host the opener in less than two months and said there is "not a minute" to waste to get the venue ready.



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  • Finalists named in Bloomberg European city contest

  • NEW YORK (AP) — Amsterdam wants to create an online game to get unemployed young people engaged in finding jobs across Europe. Schaerbeek, Belgium, envisions using geothermal mapping to give households personalized rundowns of steps to save energy. Gdansk, Poland, is proposing to require officials to debate ideas from citizens.
  • US sending 600 troops to Poland, Baltics for drills

  • A US Army soldier patrols near Baraki Barak base in Logar Province, Afghanistan on October 13, 2012The United States is deploying about 600 troops to Poland and the Baltics to underscore its commitment to NATO allies amid tensions with Russia over the crisis in Ukraine, the Pentagon said Tuesday. A company of 150 soldiers from the US Army's 173rd Airborne Brigade based in Vicenza, Italy will arrive in Poland on Wednesday and roughly 450 troops are due in Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia in coming days as part of a new series of exercises due to last at least through the end of the year, spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby told a news conference.



  • U.S. to send 600 troops to Eastern Europe to reassure allies

  • The United States will send about 600 U.S. troops to Poland and the three Baltic states to take part in exercises in the coming days to reassure NATO allies following Russia's seizure of the Crimean region from Ukraine, the Pentagon said on Tuesday. Rear Admiral John Kirby, a top Defense Department spokesman, said the bilateral exercises planned for Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia were in addition to the regular training schedule the U.S. military has with those countries and were added due to the events in Ukraine.
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  • Russia holds snap military drills in Caspian Sea: report

  • Russia's navy launched snap military exercises involving its fleet in the Caspian Sea, Interfax reported the Defense Ministry as saying on Wednesday. The Caspian Sea is bordered by Iran, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan, and the region is crisscrossed by oil and natural gas pipelines. Russia has boosted the number of snap military drills since tensions have risen with neighbor Ukraine. NATO has said Russia's military exercises in its western military district have boosted its troop presence to around 40,000 near the border with Ukraine, where Moscow-backed President Viktor Yanukovich fled from power in February.
  • Blair warns West over radical Islam

  • Tony Blair will warn Western leaders they must put aside their differences with Russia over Ukraine to focus on the threat of Islamic extremism.
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