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Cash-for-residency draws fire in eurozone bound Latvia

A controversial cash-for-residency scheme in EU member Latvia is drawing fire as the post-Soviet republic gears up to join the eurozone in January. While bankers and property agents claim the law is attracting valuable foreign investment, critics argue it is being used by shady businessmen from the former Soviet Union to enter the EU. They want it scrapped.

Police database of Roma stirs outrage in Sweden

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Swedish police have established a database of Roma, the force said on Monday, confirming a newspaper report that a government minister condemned as "unethical, unacceptable and illegal". Daily Dagens Nyheter said the file was in the form of a genealogical tree covering 4,029 Roma, many of who had no criminal record and more than 1,000 are children.

EU calls on Russia to stop extra border checks from Lithuania

VILNIUS (Reuters) - The European Commission called on Russia on Tuesday to stop supplementary border checks on Lithuanian truckers and passenger cars imposed in the last month as the countries spar over trade relations with Ukraine. Russia and the European Union - of which Lithuania holds the rotating presidency - are each trying to convince Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine to join their respective trade blocs.

Lithuania summons Russian ambassador over new border checks

VILNIUS (Reuters) - Lithuania made a formal protest to Russia on Friday over supplementary border checks imposed over the last month that are hampering trade as the countries spar over trade relations with Ukraine. Russia and the European Union - of which Lithuania holds the rotating presidency - are each trying to convince Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine to join their respective trade blocs. Russia has imposed trade bans and threatened gas supply cuts to try to keep its neighbours within its sphere of influence.

Oil boom drives Norwegian manufacturing to new peak

OSLO (Reuters) - Norwegian manufacturing output surged to a record high in the second quarter, moving firmly past levels last seen before the global financial crisis, as the booming oil industry keeps the economy on pace for solid growth. Manufacturing jumped a monthly 3.1 percent in June, well ahead of expectations for 0.4 percent, while May's decline was revised to show a smaller fall, taking the quarterly rise to 2.5 percent, Statistics Norway said on Wednesday.

EU threatens trade sanctions in Faroes herring spat

The European Commission said Wednesday it is ready to slap sanctions on the Faroe Islands in a row over herring fisheries which it claims are being massively over-exploited. "The Committee for Fisheries and Aquaculture has today provided a favourable opinion backing a proposal of the European Commission for a regulation adopting trade measures with regard to the Faroe Islands," the Commission said.

Swimming: Teen star carries Lithuania's world gold hopes

Teen star Ruta Meilutyte is Lithuania's golden hope at swimming's world championships, which start Sunday, a year after bringing the first ever Olympic gold medal in the sport to the Baltic state. The 16-year-old is a top favourite in the 50m and 100m breaststroke in Barcelona, which is an unusual position for the blonde schoolgirl, who was little known outside swimming circles just a year ago. "I hope she will break her personal records", Meilutyte's coach Jon Rudd told AFP in a telephone interview.

Rich Russians eye medical tourism to Finland

Sitting on a hospital bed with a slight smile on her face, Valentina Micheeva looks a decade younger than her 80 years as she explains how four days earlier she had her hip replaced -- not in her native Russia but at a clinic in Finland. A sports-loving woman, she had to stop jogging because her hip ached and, despite the pain, she was unable to get an operation performed at home in Moscow.

Ireland back in recession despite being lauded as example of how austerity can work

DUBLIN - Figures show Ireland has fallen back into recession, dealing a blow to those who have cited the country as an example of how austerity can work. Thursday's report from Ireland's Central Statistics Office showed the country's annual gross domestic product fell 0.6 per cent in the first three months of the year from the previous quarter.

Riots put Sweden's open-door immigration policy in spotlight

By Alistair Scrutton and Simon Johnson STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Sweden's worst riots in years might benefit a far-right party in elections next year if scenes of immigrants burning cars and smashing up buildings cause voters to rethink their traditional welcome to foreigners. Even before the week of riots in the poorer neighborhoods of Stockholm, immigration had become a hot political issue, as the number of asylum seekers reached record levels.
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