TOP STORIES FROM EUROPE at 1200 GMT
LONDON -- The longest-ever recession to afflict the eurozone came to an end in the second quarter of the year, official figures confirmed Wednesday. Eurostat, the European Union's statistics office, said the 17 European Union countries that use the euro saw their collective economic output grow by 0.3 percent in the April to June period from the previous quarter. By Pan Pylas.
With EUROPE-ECONOMY-GLANCE, GERMANY ECONOMY, FRANCE-ECONOMY
GENEVA -- The U.N.'s top human rights official is urging the militant Islamic group Hamas that rules Gaza to halt all executions because they are imposed without fair trial. U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said in a statement Wednesday that under international human rights law the death penalty can be imposed only after a fair trial, and "this is currently not possible in Gaza, neither legally nor practically."
MADRID -- Police have kept protesters and supporters apart as the secretary general of Spain's ruling Popular Party arrived in court to answer questions about a slush fund allegedly run by the party for decades. Maria Dolores de Cospedal arrived at the Madrid court Wednesday morning and was greeted with insults and calls for her to be put in jail by a handful of opponents. A similar number of supporters applauded and cheered.
PARIS -- Monaco's palace says Andrea Casiraghi, the oldest son of Princess Caroline and second in line to the principality's throne, is to marry at the end of the month. The Monaco palace said he would marry Colombian heiress Tatiana Santo Domingo on Aug. 31, but gave no details on the wedding. The couple have been engaged for a year and she gave birth to a son in March.
BUSINESS AND FINANCE
LONDON -- Britain's unemployment rate held steady at 7.8 percent in the April to June quarter, officials statistics showed Wednesday, though the country created 69,000 jobs as the economy began to grow after the worst recession since the 1930s. The number of people claiming jobless benefits fell by 29,200 to 1.4 million, the Office of National Statistics said. Over the year, those seeking Jobseekers' Allowance was down 145,400, the lowest number of such claimants since February 2009. By Danica Kirka.
HELSINKI -- Finnair PLC has turned a second-quarter net profit of 17 million euros ($22.59) million amid increased traffic on its Asia and European routes, but lowered its earnings outlook, saying turnover this year was expected to be at 2012 levels. The Finnish airline's share price plunged more than 5 percent to 3.04 euros in early Helsinki trading. By Matti Huuhtanen.
MOSCOW -- Competitors at the world athletics championships are keeping their eyes focused on the finish line and relegating the controversy over Russia's new ban on gay "propaganda" to their peripheral vision. The law, passed in late June, has prompted strong calls among Western activists for a boycott of the Winter Olympics, which Russia will host in Sochi early next year. By Jim Heintz.
NYON, Switzerland -- UEFA disqualified Metalist Kharkiv from the Champions League on Wednesday for links to match-fixing and could now reinstate PAOK Thessaloniki. Metalist was scheduled to play Schalke next Wednesday in the first leg of the playoff round, after eliminating PAOK in the third qualifying round last week.
BREMEN, Germany -- Werder Bremen has signed Argentine forward Franco Di Santo on a free transfer from English side Wigan. The Bundesliga club says the 24-year-old Di Santo signed a three-year deal after undergoing a medical on Tuesday. He is currently in England but expected in Bremen for his presentation on Thursday.
LONDON -- Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick has pulled out of England's squad ahead of Wednesday's international friendly against Scotland because of an eye infection. The English Football Association says Carrick has returned to United and won't be adding to his 29 caps for England.
VIRGINIA WATER, England -- Ryder Cup-winning captains Jose Maria Olazabal and Sam Torrance will take charge of the Continental Europe and Britain & Ireland teams in The Seve Trophy in Paris from Oct. 3-6. Olazabal will lead Continental Europe for the second time, following a 2005 loss at The Wynyard Club. He is back in team golf a year after captaining Europe to a memorable comeback win over the United States in last year's Ryder Cup.
LONDON -- Chelsea says it has loaned Brazil under-20 defender Wallace to Inter Milan until the end of the season. The 19-year-old Wallace has yet to make his competitive debut for Chelsea, though he played during its offseason tour of Asia in July. He joined Chelsea in January and was immediately loaned back to former club Fluminense.
LONDON -- Stoke striker Cameron Jerome has been fined 50,000 pounds ($77,000) by the English Football Association after admitting to charges that he violated the federation's betting rules. The FA said in a statement on Wednesday that the former Birmingham and England under-21 player was also "severely warned as to his future conduct" following an Independent Regulatory Commission hearing.