- - Sunday, August 7, 2011

EUROPE

France, Germany want deal in place to safeguard euro

PARIS — French and German leaders said Sunday they wanted full implementation of measures agreed to at a eurozone summit in July in order to safeguard the single currency as markets brace for fresh turmoil this week.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel “reiterate their commitment to fully implement the decisions taken by the heads of state and government of the euro area and the EU institutions on July 21,” a joint statement said.

“In particular, they stress the importance that parliamentary approval will be obtained swiftly by the end of September in their two countries.”

The statement comes as officials around the world scramble to head off fresh market turmoil on Monday, as investors take on board Friday’s unprecedented U.S. ratings downgrade by Standard & Poor’s on the grounds the Congress failed to tackle the U.S. debt problem.

The European debt crisis, meanwhile, threatens to snare Italy and Spain, after forcing bailouts for Greece, Ireland and Portugal.

SERBIA

Head of Orthodox Church rejects dividing Kosovo

BELGRADE — The head of Serbia’s influential Orthodox Church says he opposes dividing the restive province Kosovo, where renewed ethnic tension has led to fresh talk of splitting the region.

In an interview published Sunday, Patriarch Irinej was responding to a suggestion by Deputy Prime Minister Ivica Dacic that Kosovo’s Albanian-dominated southern region should be recognized as a separate country, while the north remains part of Serbia.

“Greater efforts must be made to ensure that Kosovo in its totality is part of Serbia. I have never supported dividing Kosovo, because Kosovo is Serbian, and any division would mean the state is renouncing Kosovo,” he said.

Kosovo, populated mainly by ethnic Albanians, unilaterally proclaimed its independence in 2008 with Western backing, but Serbia never recognized it.

SWEDEN

Nationalist party denounces Norway mass-killing suspect

STOCKHOLM — The head of the ultranationalist Sweden Democrats party said the attacks committed by Norwegian right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik were no reason to stop criticizing European immigration policies.

“It should of course be allowed to criticize Swedish immigration policy without having to bear the responsibility of what that mass murderer has done,” Jimmie Aakesson told about 300 supporters over the weekend in his hometown of Soelvesborg, in southeastern Sweden.

He spent most of his summer speech distancing his party’s ideas from those held by Mr. Breivik, who is charged with killing 77 people on July 22 in attacks that sent shock waves across the region. Mr. Breivik published a 1,500-page manifesto raving against multicultural policies in Europe and warning against the spread of Islam.

ITALY

Colosseum evacuated after suspicious device found

ROME—  The Colosseum was evacuated about an hour before the famed tourist site was scheduled to close Sunday evening after a suspicious device was found inside, the Italian news agency ANSA reported.

A police bomb squad detonated the device, but it did not appear to contain any explosive material. The device turned out to be a tin can half-filled with paint thinner, with two electrical wires running from a 9-volt battery, ANSA said.

Tourists sounded the alarm after noting a suspicious package on the second level of the ancient Roman arena, ANSA said.

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