TOP STORIES FROM EUROPE AT 1200 GMT
ALBERTVILLE, France -- Two minutes of footage from a camera on Michael Schumacher's ski helmet showed the Formula One great was clearly skiing off a groomed trail when he lost his balance and crashed, leaving him with critical head injuries, investigators said Wednesday. The investigators said they have ruled out problems with his skis, trail conditions or signage. Although they would not estimate Schumacher's speed, they said it was not considered a significant factor in the Dec. 29 crash at Meribel in the French Alps. By Graham Dunbar. SENT: 320 words, photos.
PARIS -- He is wanted in his native Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Russia. He was ordered jailed in Britain. An opposition leader from a country that has been ruled by the same man since 1989, a former banker accused of siphoning off billions, Mukhtar Ablyazov has been jailed since police special forces seized him July 31 in the south of France. On Thursday, a judge is expected to rule on his extradition. By Lori Hinnant. SENT: 860 words, photos.
WARSAW, Poland -- A stirring movie by German Oscar-winning director Pepe Danquart about a Jewish boy struggling to survive the Holocaust is having its world premiere in Warsaw on Wednesday. A German-French coproduction with mostly Polish actors, "Run, Boy, Run" is the true story of 10-year-old Yoram Friedman who escaped the Warsaw ghetto in 1943 and -- hunted by the Nazis -- hid in the woods near the city. By Monika Scislowska. SENT: 330 words.
LONDON -- Space thriller "Gravity," unflinching slavery saga "12 Years a Slave" and crime caper "American Hustle" gained awards-season momentum Wednesday with stacks of nominations for the British Academy Film Awards, Britain's equivalent of the Oscars. "Gravity" received nominations in 11 categories, including best picture and lead actress, for Sandra Bullock. By Jill Lawless. SENT: 490 words, photos.
With: BRITAIN-FILM AWARDS-LIST
ATHENS, Greece -- Authorities shut down roads and deployed riot police in central Athens Wednesday as Greece prepared to formally assume the European Union's rotating six-month presidency with a ceremony to be attended by EU commissioners. Events kicked off in the early afternoon with a visit by the commissioners, led by Commission President Jose Manuel Barrosso, to the capital's Zappeion conference center, ahead of the evening opening ceremony to be held at the Athens Concert Hall. SENT: 340 words, photos.
LONDON -- Authorities in England cordoned off flooded marshes Wednesday to remove the bodies of four U.S. Air Force crewmen killed in a helicopter crash. The Pave Hawk helicopter slammed into the eastern coast during a low-level training mission Tuesday evening. Specialist teams combing the marshes have been hampered by bullets scattered across the scene. By Danica Kirka. SENT: 290 words, photos.
AMSTERDAM -- PGGM of the Netherlands, one of the world's larger pension asset managers, says it is divesting from five Israeli banks it says are involved in financing construction of Jewish settlements in occupied territories. PGGM spokesman Wout Dekker confirmed the move first reported by Haaretz daily. He said the decision followed years of discussions with the banks. PGGM said it considers settlements unethical due to the International Court of Justice's 2004 advisory opinion that found the settlements violated Palestinian rights. That sentiment, rejected by Israel, is shared by most of the international community.
ANKARA, Turkey -- Turkey's state-run agency says at least two police officers were removed from key posts in the city of Izmir hours after police there detained some 25 people in a new bribery and fraud investigation. The Anadolu Agency said Izmir's police chief was among 16 senior police officials reassigned to new posts on Wednesday. A deputy police chief in Izmir was also dismissed late on Tuesday. SENT: 140 words.
PARIS -- A French court has convicted a woman for insulting police who ticketed her for wearing a face-covering Muslim veil, banned by French law. The confrontation between Cassandra Belin, her husband and police triggered riots in the Paris suburb of Trappes last year. SENT: 130 words.
BUSINESS AND FINANCIAL
LONDON -- Glimmers of hope emerged Wednesday for the eurozone economy to suggest that the coming year will see the recovery gathering steam. Official figures showed a stabilization in unemployment and the biggest increase in monthly retail sales in 12 years. By Pan Pylas. SENT: 590 words, photos.
PARIS -- World stock markets struggled to find direction Wednesday despite mostly encouraging economic data from the U.S. and eurozone. Eurostat, the EU's statistics office, said retail sales in the eurozone jumped 1.4 percent in November, far more than expected, while the unemployment rate held steady at 12.1 percent for the eighth month running. By Sarah Dilorenzo. SENT: 400 words.
BERLIN -- Germany's trade surplus widened to a near record in November, official figures showed Wednesday in a development that may add potential fuel to critics' concerns that the country is not spending enough to help out its struggling partners in the eurozone. The figures could well form the backdrop to discussions later between U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew and German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble. Lew has voiced his opinion that Germany should be looking to get its current account more into balance as a means of shoring up the eurozone's stragglers. By David Rising. SENT: 380 words, photos.