TOP STORIES FOR THURSDAY, FEB. 14, 2013.
LONDON — Three horse carcasses that tested positive for the equine drug bute may have entered the human food chain in France, the British government says. Environment Minister David Heath told the House of Commons that eight horses from British abattoirs had tested positive for bute, and "three may have entered the food chain in France. The remaining five have not gone into the food chain."
VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI continues his farewell tour with an off-the-cuff meeting with Roman priests, an annual encounter that took on poignant new meaning with his impending resignation. Walking with a cane, Benedict receives another standing ovation from thousands of clerics gathered in the Vatican's main audience hall.
SOC-THE DIRTY GAME-THE TURNCOAT
PARIS — What happens when a match-fixer realizes that a rival Asian crime gang has handed him over to police on a platter? It's payback time — and he is spilling the beans about soccer match-fixing operations across the world. A look at a convicted match-fixer who FIFA says may have been active in more than 50 countries. By John Leicester.
SOC--THE DIRTY GAME--THE REFEREE
ZURICH — With scores in soccer games so low, one person can have an enormous effect on the result: the referee. Referees have plenty of ways to get what they want — the fake handball call, the no-offsides call, sending off a player with a red card, extending extra time until a goal is scored. AP takes a look at several suspect games. By Graham Dunbar and Jerome Pugmire.
BERLIN — The recession across the economy of the 17 European Union countries that use the euro deepened in the last three months of 2012 as Germany faltered in the face of anemic demand across the debt-ridden region. Eurostat, the EU's statistics office, says the eurozone economy shrank by 0.6 percent in the final quarter of 2012 from the previous three-month period. By Pan Pylas and David Rising.
KIEV, Ukraine — Witnesses and officials are giving conflicting information on what caused a plane to crash land in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk. The Soviet-designed AN-24 passenger plane carrying soccer fans headed for a match against a German team crash-landed during a scheduled landing at Donetsk airport Wednesday evening. Of the 52 people on board, five were killed and nine were injured.
MAKHACHKALA, Russia — Police in Russia's restive province of Dagestan say a suicide bomber has killed three policemen and injured six others at a traffic police post in northwest of the province.
ROME — Officials say a man has set himself on fire at Rome's Leonardo da Vinci airport, causing a scare among bystanders until police doused the flames and rushed him to the hospital. Italian news reports say the man is an Ivory Coast citizen who was at the airport facing deportation, but airport officials were not able immediately to confirm this.
OSLO, Norway — A Norwegian court has convicted a Rwandan for participating in the 1994 genocide in his home country and sentenced him to 21 years in prison. The Oslo District Court found Sadi Bugingo guilty of complicity in the premeditated killings of at least 2,000 people belonging mainly to the Tutsi ethnic group.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Two prominent Kenyans accused of orchestrating deadly violence that erupted after 2007 presidential elections are calling on the International Criminal Court to delay the start of their trial. Lawyers for deputy Prime Minister and presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta and Cabinet secretary Francis Muthaura say prosecutors have not disclosed key evidence ahead of the trial that is scheduled to start April 11.
PARIS — The French state prepares to give back seven stolen Nazi-era paintings - 4 of which are in the Louvre - to two Jewish families, after a decade-long tug of war.
AMSTERDAM — World stock markets are mixed Thursday, as disappointing news about German growth cut short a rally ahead of a major economic summit over the weekend. European stocks reversed early gains to trade lower after official figures showed that Germany's economy shrank in the fourth quarter of 2012, on weak demand from other European nations. Latest figures from the European data service Eurostat showed that the economy across the 17 European Union countries that use the euro fell 0.6 percent in the final three months of 2012. By Toby Sterling.
WARSAW, Poland — Poland's airline LOT says it is keeping both its Boeing 787 Dreamliners grounded through October while the U.S. aircraft maker seeks to eliminate a potential safety threat that occurred in some other Dreamliners. The decision is a blow to Poland's national carrier which is cutting costs in an effort to survive.
VEVEY, Switzerland — Nestle SA, the world's biggest food and drinks maker, predicts another challenging year ahead but overcame tough global economic conditions to post a full-year net profit Thursday of 10.6 billion Swiss francs ($11.55 billion) for 2012. By John Heilprin.
SCHLADMING, Austria — Tessa Worley of France holds a commanding lead after the first run of the women's giant slalom at the world skiing championships. Locals Kathrin Zettel and Anna Fenninger are second and third. By Eric Willemsen.
LONDON — It's been the season of the underdog in the FA Cup, yet the presence of England's four Champions League entrants gives the famous competition an ominous look heading into the fifth round this weekend. Only seven Premier League teams made it out of a shock-filled fourth round last month, but the survivors include Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal and, only just, Chelsea. By Steve Douglas.
BARCELONA, Spain — With only a debacle stopping Barcelona from reclaiming the Spanish league title, a pack of competitive sides is still in the hunt for a top-four finish and a Champions League berth for next season. Only six points separate Malaga in fourth place from Levante in ninth, with Valencia, Rayo Vallecano, Real Sociedad and Real Betis in between. By Joseph Wilson.
FRANKFURT, Germany — Ever since its sensational run to the Bundesliga title in 2009, Wolfsburg has been trying to establish itself as one of the teams that perennially makes one of the European competitions. Instead of competing in the Champions League or the Europa League, however, Wolfsburg usually has ended trying to avoid relegation. By Nesha Starcevic.