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EUROPEAN UNION

Economy grew weakly in fourth quarter

LONDON | Europe’s recovery trudged along in the final three months of 2010, amid heavy snow in a number of countries and new spending cuts and tax increases across the single-currency bloc.

The 16 countries that were using the euro at the end of 2010 grew a modest 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter from the previous three-month period, according to figures released Tuesday by Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics agency.

That is below the 0.8 percent equivalent rate in the United States, but better than the 0.3 percent decline in Japan.

The fourth-quarter growth means that the eurozone expanded by 1.7 percent in 2010, more than many people had expected a year ago, when Europe’s debt crisis exploded with concerns about Greece’s ability to pay off its mountain of debts.

RUSSIA

Pope, patriarch meeting likely

MOSCOW | A meeting between Pope Benedict and the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, which could help heal a 1,000-year-old rift, looks increasingly possible, a senior Russian official said on Tuesday.

Relations between the Roman Catholic and Russian Orthodox churches have warmed in recent years, making an elusive meeting between the pope and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill more likely, the official said on the condition of anonymity.

“It seems to me that the prospect of such a meeting is more realistic than it was a few years ago,” the official said, speaking on the eve of a two-day visit by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to Italy, where he will meet with Benedict.

BRAZIL

Police chief quits in corruption scandal

RIO DE JANEIRO | The head of Rio de Janeiro’s state civil police quit on Tuesday, becoming the latest victim of a drugs-and-corruption scandal that has convulsed the police here.

Allan Turnowski said he was stepping down after a “frank and open” discussion with state security secretary Jose Beltrame in the morning.

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