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Sweden raises 2014 growth forecast in spring budget, last before vote

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Sweden's economy will grow at a faster pace than previously expected this year the government said on Wednesday, making forecasts in a spring budget that is short on new measures, despite an election due in September. The government forecast the economy would expand by 2.7 percent this year compared with a forecast given in February of 2.5 percent growth.

Britain hosts first state visit of Irish president

By Kylie MacLellan LONDON (Reuters) - President Michael Higgins became the first Irish head of state on Tuesday to make a state visit to Britain, crowning a big improvement in historically fraught relations between Dublin and its former colonial master.

Dublin's gritty Northside feted in tour of poetry, song

By Michael Roddy DUBLIN (Reuters) - Not many city tours start off at what once was one of Europe's most notorious red-light districts, then pass by a former sweat-shop laundry run by the Catholic Church, but all that and more fits in to a sightseeing jaunt on Dublin's gritty Northside. The Five Lamps Festival bus tour gave a Northsider's eye view of an Irish capital that has had its ups and downs but has always celebrated itself in song and poetry - in this case poems collected in a new volume called "If Ever You Go".

Russia confirms death of Islamist militant, its most wanted man

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) said on Tuesday it had killed Moscow's most wanted man, Islamist insurgency leader Doku Umarov, in a combat operation. A website sympathetic to the insurgency in the North Caucasus said on March 18 that Umarov was dead but the Russian authorities had not previously confirmed the report.

Timberlake, Cyrus gigs in Finland avoid U.S. sanctions snag

HELSINKI (Reuters) - American pop stars Miley Cyrus and Justin Timberlake can go ahead with shows in Finland despite U.S. sanctions against the Helsinki venue's Russian owners, the concerts' promoter said on Monday. The concerts were at risk last week as the Hartwall Arena venue is owned by Gennady Timchenko and Boris and Arkady Rotenberg, all of whom feature in a list of visa bans and asset freezes imposed by the United States following Russia's annexation of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine.

NATO reopens Kosovo airspace for civilian overflights

NATO said Friday it has reopened the upper airspace over Kosovo for civilian traffic 15 years after the war, enabling commercial flights to take more direct routes across the Balkans. "The reopening of the airspace will lead to shorter flight routes in the region, generating significant cost savings for airspace users and environmental benefits," said a statement from the NATO-led peacekeeping mission in Kosovo, KFOR.

Spain summons British envoy to protest vessels in Gibraltar

Madrid, Apr 2 (EFE).- Spain's foreign ministry on Wednesday summoned Britain's ambassador in Madrid to protest the activities of British ships in Spanish waters near Gibraltar. In a protest note delivered to Simon Manley, Madrid expressed its objections because it claims British boats tried to obstruct the work of environmental investigation and protection being undertaken by Spanish ships.

Britain summons Spanish ambassador over Gibraltar 'incursion'

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain summoned the Spanish ambassador on Wednesday to condemn what it called a provocative incursion by Spanish boats into Gibraltar's territorial waters. Britain said a Spanish state research vessel tried to carry out survey activity in Gibraltar's waters on April 1 and that it was accompanied by a Guardia Civil police boat which made dangerous maneuvers.

Britain summons Spanish envoy over Gibraltar 'incursion'

The British government summoned the Spanish ambassador to London on Wednesday to explain a fresh "incursion" by Spanish vessels into Gibraltar's territorial waters. Ambassador Federico Trillo was hauled in to explain why a Spanish state research vessel and its police escort entered the waters off the tiny British peninsula on Tuesday, the Foreign Office said in a statement. It comes barely four months after Trillo was summoned to discuss a day-long stand-off also involving a Spanish research vessel, which defied repeated Royal Navy orders to leave Gibraltarian waters.

Serb border policemen wounded in Kosovo ambush

Three ethnic Serb border officers were wounded, one seriously, when gunmen opened fire on their vehicle in northern Kosovo, police said Tuesday. "Their vehicle was ambushed and came under fire while it was on a road heading towards the border" with Serbia late Monday, police spokesman Besim Hoti told AFP. The attack occurred near the village of Banja in the north of the territory whose ethnic Serb majority refuses to recognise Kosovo's 2008 unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia.
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