TOP STORIES FROM EUROPE AT 1200 GMT
BRUSSELS -- Leaving combat operations in Afghanistan behind, NATO is shifting its focus to Europe in 2015 and the creation of its new ultra-rapid-reaction force, designed as a deterrent to Russia. The priority for the 28-member alliance will be to get the new agile expeditionary force into operation, but also settling the question of who will pay for it, analysts say. By John-Thor Dahlburg. SENT: 820 words, photos.
PARIS -- EU sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis are cutting both ways and pinching some big European companies. But even if a political accord eases tensions, the bloc's rules and internal crosscurrents make sanctions relief unlikely anytime soon. By Jamey Keaten. UPCOMING: 500 words by 1500 GMT.
LONDON -- Weakness in the eurozone's major economies, such as Germany and France, risks choking off the growth emerging in countries that were at the forefront of the region's debt crisis, a closely monitored survey indicated Tuesday. In its monthly survey of business activity, financial information company Markit said the eurozone ended 2014 on a tepid note despite "signs of life" in countries like Ireland and Spain, which were hit hard by the financial crisis. By Pan Pylas. SENT: 460 words, photos.
PRAGUE -- Vlastimil Bubnik, a potent forward for the Czechoslovakia ice hockey and football teams, has died. His former hockey club, Kometa Brno, says Bubnik died on Tuesday. The cause of death was not given. SENT: 130 words.
BOSNIA-SARAJEVO'S SHOE SHINER
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina -- When customers say they're wearing shoes his dad used to shine, Ramiz Hasani polishes them with special care, and slowly, because for a moment it feels like his old man has been brought back to life. Husein Hasani -- better known as "Uncle Misho" -- died one year ago Tuesday at age 83, bequeathing his shoe-shining box to his son. The death of the "city symbol" who charmed generations of Sarajevans over six decades left the city "emptier," the mayor said back then. By Aida Cerkez. SENT: 440 words, photos.