TOP STORIES FROM EUROPE AT 1200 GMT
GRENOBLE, France -- Michael Schumacher underwent a second surgery after a brain scan showed small, "surprising" signs of improvement, but grim doctors said Tuesday they could offer no insight into the prognosis for the Formula 1 champion. Schumacher, who turns 45 on Friday, suffered critical head injuries when he fell and struck a rock Sunday while skiing on a family vacation in the French Alps. His manager confirmed that the accident cracked his helmet, which doctors credited for giving him a chance at survival. By Graham Dunbar. SENT: 450 words, photos.
PARIS -- A French priest kidnapped in northern Cameroon in mid-November after ignoring warnings has been set free, President Francois Hollande's office said Tuesday. Georges Vandenbeusch was kidnapped by heavily armed men on Nov. 13 in the far north of Cameroon, about 18 miles (30 kilometers) from the border with Nigeria. There was never a claim of responsibility, but suspicion fell on the radical Islamic sect Boko Haram which operates in the area, the Koza region, or on Ansaru, a Boko Haram splinter group responsible for most kidnappings of foreigners there. By Elaine Ganley. SENT: 510 words, photos.
ANKARA, Turkey -- A popular game show that was punished for its subtle support of last summer's anti-government protests appears once again to have become the victim of Turkish media censorship as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government scrambles to contain a corruption scandal. In an episode of "Kelime Oyunu" ("Word Game") that aired shortly after the scandal broke in mid-December, a contestant was asked to guess a six-letter slang word for someone who takes bribes -- an apparent reference to the scandal which led to the arrests of two government ministers' sons on bribery charges. By Suzan Fraser. SENT: 840 words, photos.
LONDON -- All-night talks have failed to produce an accord in Northern Ireland on key issues including the use of flags and parades which are causes of continuing disputes between Protestants and Catholics. The talks chaired by U.S. peace envoy Richard Haass broke up early Tuesday morning without success. Haass said a working group of the five main political parties will now look for other ways to move the process forward. He said progress had been made toward a substantive agreement. SENT: 220 words, photos.
BRUSSELS -- Not so long ago, it looked like the euro might collapse, a victim of Europe's worst economic crisis since the Depression. But as 2014 begins, the ranks of the countries using the common currency will expand, to 18, and many economists are forecasting a timid return of economic growth as well. But plenty of problems remain, including high jobless rates and a widening prosperity gap between eurozone member countries. Here's a look at the state of play. By John-Thor Dahlburg. UPCOMING: 800 words by 1400GMT,
LONDON -- Global stock markets were closing out a strong 12 months on Tuesday as the New Year holiday festivities began in Asia. The 2013 calendar year was marked by high volatility and a remarkable rally in the later months, when the Federal Reserve buoyed sentiment by keeping its stimulus program intact for longer than expected. Many major indexes are at or have recently hit record highs. By Carlo Piovano and Elaine Kurtenbach. UPCOMING: 400 words update due 1245 GMT
LISBON, Portugal -- A third straight year of financial austerity awaits Portugal after the bailed-out country's president signed the 2014 national budget into law. Among the latest money-saving measures, the annual spending plan includes a pay cut of up to 12 percent for government workers who earn more than 675 euros ($930) a month. SENT: 140 words.