TOP STORIES ON FRIDAY, FEB. 1, 2013
ANKARA, Turkey — A suspected suicide bomber detonated an explosive device at the entrance of the U.S. Embassy in the Turkish capital on Friday and at least two people are dead, a police official says. An Associated Press journalist saw a body in the street in front of an embassy side entrance. The bomb appeared to have exploded inside the security checkpoint at the entrance of the visa section of the embassy. By Suzan Fraser.
LONDON — British prosecutors said Friday they will not press charges against two Australian DJs over the royal hoax call that preceded a nurse's suicide. Two Australian DJs impersonated Queen Elizabeth II and her son, Prince Charles, as they phoned London's King Edward VII hospital in December to ask about the condition of the Duchess of Cambridge, formerly Kate Middleton, who had been hospitalized for treatment of acute morning sickness stemming from her pregnancy.
YEREVAN, Armenia — A fringe candidate for the Armenian presidency was recovering from surgery Friday after being shot in the chest by an unidentified gunman, officials said. Paruir Airikian was reported in stable condition as police searched for the shooter, while the speaker of Parliament suggested the election could be delayed. Airikian, an also-ran in three previous presidential elections, was shot outside his house in the Armenian capital, Yerevan, just before midnight. A neighbor who heard gunshots and cries for help called the police. By Avet Demourian.
MOSCOW — A jailed member of the Pussy Riot feminist punk band has been hospitalized for a full medical check-up after complaining of headaches and suffering from overwork at a prison colony known for its tough conditions, her lawyer and a fellow band member said Friday. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova has suffered from headaches since last spring and her condition has worsened since October when she was sent to a prison colony to serve her two-year sentence for the band's irreverent protest against President Vladimir Putin in Moscow's main cathedral, her lawyer Irina Khrunova said. By Vladimir Isachenkov.
NEW YORK — The boy, named Vladimir, is 5½ years old, struggles at learning to count and draw, and lives in an orphanage in Kyrgyzstan. His would-be parents in New York have had just five brief visits since they signed on to adopt him in 2008, yet they refuse to abandon the quest. "We have already bonded with this child," said Frances Pardus-Abbadessa. "Probably a day doesn't go by that we don't think of him. In our mind, he's our child. If we don't wait for him, what's his fate going to be?" By David Crary and Leila Saralayeva.
ALGIERS, Algeria — An Algerian official says a high ranking commission headed by the prime minister has been formed to investigate the terror attack on a gas complex that resulted in dozens of foreign workers being killed. The commission includes members from the ministries of defense, interior, foreign affairs, labor and energy, the official said late Thursday, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the press. By Aomar Ouali.
LONDON — A senior British counterterrorism detective has been sentenced to 15 months in prison for trying to sell information to Rupert Murdoch's News of the World tabloid. Detective Chief Inspector April Casburn, 53, was the first person convicted on charges related to Britain's phone-hacking scandal since a police investigation was reopened in early 2011.
ANKARA, Turkey — Police in Istanbul on Friday detained a man who exchanged online messages with a missing New York City woman after questioning him over her disappearance. Sarai Sierra, a 33-year-old mother of two, went missing while vacationing alone in Istanbul. She was last heard from on Jan. 21, the day she was due back home. By Suzan Fraser.
PARIS — French President Francois Hollande's office says he is to visit Mali on Saturday. His office said in a statement Friday that Hollande will be accompanied on the trip by France's foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, and the defense minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian.
BERLIN — Germany's defense minister says his country plans to acquire armed drones in order to "close a gap" in its military capabilities. Thomas de Maiziere said Friday that Germany will work with France to develop a new generation of unmanned aerial vehicles.
MADRID — Spain's state attorney says there is sufficient cause to investigate fresh allegations of irregular financing of Spain's governing Popular Party and that if necessary Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy would be called in for questioning. Eduardo Torres-Dulce was responding to publication by leading newspaper El Pais of the so-called secret papers of former party treasurer Luis Barcenas, allegedly documenting payments of under-the-table money to leading members, including Rajoy, over many years. The money was allegedly paid by businesses, many in the construction sector. By Ciaran Giles.
GENEVA — The U.N. children's agency says 420,000 people — half of them children — need immediate help in Syria's western governorate of Homs. UNICEF spokeswoman Marixie Mercado says the agency will now try to reach as many of those people as possible.
LONDON — Mention it quietly, but there were rare signs Friday that the European economy could be turning a corner. Three pieces of economic news for the 17 European Union countries that use the euro were all slightly better than hoped, in sharp contrast to some of the grim days the eurozone has witnessed over the past few years. By Pan Pylas.
NETHERLANDS-SNS REAAL NATIONALIZED
AMSTERDAM — The Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem on Friday nationalized the long-suffering bank and insurance company SNS Reaal NV to prevent a disorderly bankruptcy and will spend €3.7 billion ($5 billion) to recapitalize it. SNS is the Netherlands fourth-largest bank, with around 10 percent of retail deposits, and it was brought down by its real estate financing arm, as property values slid and loans went bad. By Toby Sterling.
LONDON — Some rare good economic news from Europe pushed stock markets higher on Friday as investors awaited a key U.S. employment report that is expected to show steady, if unremarkable, job growth. By Carlo Piovano.
LONDON — U.K. telecommunications company BT said Friday that its net profit fell 1.6 percent to 484 million pounds ($767.7 million) in the third quarter amid declining revenue from traditional voice calls. BT, the successor to Britain's state phone monopoly, said that it had been affected by uncertain conditions in Europe, regulatory changes, and even repair activities linked to England's wettest year on record.
STOCKHOLM — TeliaSonera's CEO Lars Nyberg says he is resigning after an independent review found the telecommunications company had failed to carry out a proper background check on an Uzbek partner. The review found that TeliaSonera was not guilty of bribery in Uzbekistan — allegations that have dogged the company — but it did conclude that managers failed to conduct due diligence on Takilant, the Uzbek partner firm.
STOCKHOLM — Sweden-based Electrolux says fourth-quarter earnings rose by a third compared to a year earlier and full-year income in 2012 was up a fourth despite sluggish sales in core markets in Western Europe.
ATHENS, Greece — Greek islands have been left without ferry services for the second day of a dock workers' 48-hour strike, while Athens doctors walked off the job in the latest anti-austerity protests. Thursday's strikes come a day after hospital doctors and public transport workers in the capital walked off the job for 24 hours. Workers are protesting the latest austerity measures, which unions say will lead to a further 25 percent income cut for many.
BARCELONA, Spain — Days after failing to score in a head-to-head matchup, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will look to rediscover their attacking form when Barcelona visits Valencia and Real Madrid travels to Granada in the Spanish league this weekend. By Joseph Wilson.
PARIS — Having secured the signing of David Beckham in a last-minute move on the transfer market, French league leader Paris Saint-Germain turns its attention back to playing again when it travels to take on Toulouse. By Jerome Pugmire.
MARANELLO, Italy — Ferrari has unveiled the car that it hopes will end a run of four years without a Formula One title. The F138 is named as a combination of the year and a tribute to the V8 engines which will be used for the last time this season.