Briefly: Europe

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BRITAIN

Prince William joins Irish Sea rescue mission

LONDON — Prince William joined a frantic rescue mission Sunday after a cargo ship sank in the Irish Sea, leaving several crew members still missing.

The second in line to the British throne, who is a Royal Air Force helicopter pilot and known professionally as Flight Lt. William Wales, was aboard an aircraft that rescued two crew members early Sunday after their vessel had suffered a cracked hull in gale force winds off the coast of north Wales.

Britain’s Ministry of Defense said William had been co-pilot of the helicopter, which carried two people back to his base, RAF Valley, on the Welsh island of Anglesey.

Authorities said five people remain missing after the Swanland cargo ship, which had eight people on board and was carrying thousands of tons of limestone, sent a mayday call.

Holyhead Coastguard said one body had been recovered from the sea, but that the fate of the other crew members was not yet known.

GERMANY

Police clear sit-in at nuclear protest

BERLIN — German police cleared a sit-in of thousands of protesters attempting to block a shipment of nuclear waste and detained 1,300 people Sunday, officials said.

Hundreds of officers started evicting protesters from the rail lines near Dannenberg in the north of the country early Sunday, police spokesman Stefan Kuehm-Stoltz said.

Those who refused to leave were detained and are being brought before judges. It was not clear how many were still being held.

Police put the number of protesters at 3,500, while protest organizers said 5,000 people had occupied the tracks that will be used to transport a nuclear waste shipment reprocessed in France and now on its way to a storage site near the northern town of Gorleben.

Activists say the waste containers, and the temporary storage facility near Gorleben, are not safe.

Police also clashed with two groups of protesters that hurled stones and fireworks at officers. Several officers were injured and at least 10 people detained, Mr. Kuehm-Stoltz said.

Activists said some 150 people were injured as police dispersed some protests with tear gas and batons over the weekend, the German news agency Dapd reported.

RUSSIA

Putin warns West, starts bid for presidency

MOSCOW — Prime Minister Vladimir Putin sternly warned the West not to interfere in Russia’s elections, as he formally launched his campaign to reclaim the presidency in a speech Sunday before thousands of flag-waving supporters.

Mr. Putin stepped down in 2008 after two presidential terms but kept his hold on power. He announced in September that he intended to return to the top job next year and on Sunday was formally nominated by his United Russia party.

“All our foreign partners need to understand this: Russia is a democratic country, it’s a reliable and predictable partner with which they can and must reach agreement but on which they cannot impose anything from the outside,” Mr. Putin told his audience.

The boisterous party congress, which was televised live, was aimed at boosting support for Mr. Putin and his party ahead of parliamentary elections one week away.

UKRAINE

Thousands rally for jailed ex-premier’s birthday

KIEV — Nearly 3,000 supporters of Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko gathered outside her jail cell Sunday to serenade the former Orange Revolution leader with a special birthday concert.

The ex-premier marked her 51st birthday inside a Kiev jail cell after being convicted on abuse of power charges and jailed in a high-profile case that has seriously damaged Kiev’s relations with the West.

Mrs. Tymoshenko describes her prosecution as a political vendetta by President Viktor Yanukovych after his narrow victory against her in bitter national polls last year.

She has since been charged in a new case linked to alleged financial crimes committed in the 1990s in a prosecution that shows no signs of relenting despite EU calls for Mrs. Tymoshenko to be released.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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