Official: Ukrainian pilot released in Russia, returning home
KIEV, Ukraine (AP) ? Russia on Wednesday released Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko as part of a swap for two Russian servicemen jailed in Ukraine, an official in the Ukrainian presidential administration said.
Germany, France hold back NATO, EU ambitions in Libya
By Robin Emmott BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Europe's bold intentions to support Libya's new U.N.-backed government are faltering as France and Germany resist a bigger role to rebuild the failed state, scarred by the West's 2011 air campaign to help topple dictator Muammar Gaddafi. The European Union and NATO have said they stand ready to help the unity government in Tripoli, if requested, to combat smugglers sending migrants into the Mediterranean towards Europe. Tripoli, for its part, faces a threat from Islamic State fighters who exploited past conflict between rival governments to extend their power.
Swiss canton rules no handshake exemption for Muslim pupils
Religious belief is no excuse for refusing to shake a teacher's hand, Swiss regional authorities ruled Wednesday, reversing one school's controversial decision to grant exemptions for Muslim pupils wary of touching the opposite sex. Parents or guardians of pupils who refuse to shake a teacher's hand in the northern Swiss canton of Basel-Country could now face fines of up to 5,000 Swiss francs ($5,000, 4,500 euros), regional education authorities ruled. "A teacher has the right to demand a handshake," they said in a statement.
Road collapses near Florence's famed Ponte Vecchio bridge
A part of the embankment running alongside the Arno river in Florence collapsed Wednesday, just metres away from the city's world-famous Ponte Vecchio bridge. While there was extensive damage, no one was hurt in the collapse, local authorities said, although several cars parked on the embankment were partly submerged.
Jailed pilot Savchenko 'freed by Russia, expected in Kiev shortly'
Afghan Taliban appoint a new leader, Kabul urges peace
By Mirwais Harooni and Jibran Ahmad KABUL/PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - The Afghan Taliban named an Islamic legal scholar who was one of former leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour's deputies to succeed him on Wednesday, after confirming Mansour's death in a U.S. drone strike at the weekend. Within an hour of the announcement, a Taliban suicide bomber attacked a shuttle bus carrying court employees west of the Afghan capital, Kabul, killing as many as 11 people and wounding several others, including children. New Taliban leader Haibatullah Akhundzada was named in a United Nations report last year as former chief of the sharia-based justice system under the Taliban's five-year rule over Afghanistan, which ended with their ouster in 2001.
Royal Dutch Shell says to axe further 2,200 jobs
Energy giant Royal Dutch Shell on Wednesday said it was cutting at least another 2,200 jobs owing to low oil prices and following its takeover of smaller rival BG Group. "Shell staff have today been informed about the progress being made on integrating BG into the company, and on further measures that are necessary to ensure Shell is competitive in a 'lower for longer' oil price environment," the Anglo-Dutch group said in a statement. Jobs are being axed at its operations in the North Sea off the coast of Scotland, as well as in Ireland and elsewhere.
European Union seeks to make life easier for online shoppersBRUSSELS (AP) ? The European Union has unveiled several proposals to make it easier to buy online across its borders, to demand that providers like Netflix offer European films and to protect children from harmful content.
Report: Suspect arrested in Phoenix-area shootingsPHOENIX (AP) ? Gunfire erupted around a northeast Phoenix-area highway that left one motorist hit, another wounded in a carjacking, and a patrol cruiser struck by a bullet. Authorities said early Wednesday that a suspect had been arrested.
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