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Police in Spain and Britain arrest 110 in swoop on 'boiler room' financial fraudsters

LONDON - Police have arrested 110 people in Britain, Spain, Serbia and the United States in a swoop targeting financial fraudsters. Police raided 35 properties in the four countries in connection with "boiler room" gangs who dupe victims into buying worthless or nonexistent shares. Of the arrests, 84 were in Spain, 20 in Britain, four in Serbia and two in the U.S. Most were on suspicion of money laundering and fraud. About 300 police in Spain and 40 in London carried out raids in Barcelona, Madrid, Marbella and London.

German archaeological find prompts talk of Nibelung treasure

BERLIN (Reuters) - A hobby archaeologist with a metal detector has discovered a trove of gold and silver in a German forest dating back to late Roman times, fuelling speculation it could be the legendary Nibelung treasure that inspired Richard Wagner's opera cycle. The haul from the western state of Rhineland Palatinate, worth about 1 million euros, includes silver bowls, brooches and other jewelry from ceremonial robes and small statues that adorned a grand chair, said archaeologists.

Germany beats Austria in thrilling team competition

By David Ljunggren ROSA KHUTOR, Russia (Reuters) - An 18-year-old Olympic debutant helped propel Germany to a dramatic victory over defending champions Austria in the men's ski jumping competition at the Sochi Games on Monday. In a see-saw battle that saw the lead change hands several times, Austria held a tiny 0.3 point lead over the Germans with just two jumps left after a fine effort by Thomas Morgenstern, who is still recovering from two bad crashes.

Bulgarian minority honours age-old wedding rites

The communists tried hard to stamp out the culture of Bulgaria's rural Pomak minority, and since then tough times in the European Union's poorest country have made many leave, but one village is keeping traditions alive. Nestled in the southern snow-capped Rhodope Mountains, each winter Ribnovo rolls back the centuries for workers returning from construction and farming jobs in Germany, Britain or Israel to tie the knot in extraordinary Muslim weddings.

Another French Roma camp in flames as 8-year-old mourned

Fire raged through a Roma camp in Marseille on Sunday, just days after a blaze in a Paris area Roma camp killed an eight-year-old girl. No one was hurt in the fire on Sunday morning, but all 15 makeshift homes near the Marseille port were completely destroyed, said the local fire brigade in a statement. "Preliminary investigations suggest the fire was started accidentally," a judicial source told AFP.

In Bosnia, are outsiders the answer, or the problem?

By David Rohde (Reuters) - Over the last 10 days, Bosnia has experienced its largest social unrest in nearly 20 years. Thousands of demonstrators have taken to the streets to assail the country's political elite. "These are the most dramatic - and in some ways the most important - protests that have happened since the end of the war," said Larisa Kurtovic, an expert on postwar Bosnia and professor at DePaul University. "It's full of risk, lots of risk, but also possibility."

Spain to ease citizenship law for descendants of expelled Jews

Spain is poised to pass a law that will make it easier for the descendants of Jews expelled from the country in 1492 to obtain Spanish citizenship, the government said Thursday. "We had to tell ourselves and the world that what happened was not only a mistake, but also that historical mistakes can be repaired," Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz Gallardon said during a meeting in Madrid with top Jewish leaders from the United States called to discuss the reform.

Spain to ease citizenship law for descendants of expelled Jews

Spain is poised to pass a law that will make it easier for the descendants of Jews expelled from the country in 1492 to obtain Spanish citizenship, the government said Thursday. "We had to tell ourselves and the world that what happened was not only a mistake, but also that historical mistakes can be repaired," Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz Gallardon said during a meeting in Madrid with top Jewish leaders from the United States called to discuss the reform.

Bosnia's failed sell-offs of state companies after communism root cause of unrest

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina - The recent violence in Bosnia, with scenes of burning government buildings and protesters pelting police with stones, has many root causes. One of them is the failed privatizations of state-owned companies. When Bosnia abandoned communism about two decades ago, officials devised a plan that wouldn't mean mass layoffs for state workers. It was supposed to be a smooth transition after the 1992-1995 war that left 100,000 dead and devastated the country's infrastructure.

Bosnians want regional government down, PM urges snap election

By Daria Sito-Sucic SARAJEVO (Reuters) - Thousands of Bosnians rallied in several towns to demand the resignation of a regional government on Tuesday, driving on protests against corruption and unemployment that have plunged the country into crisis. Nermin Niksic, prime minister of the Bosniak-Croat Federation, which together with the Serb Republic makes up post-war Bosnia, dismissed the protesters' demands made in protests now in their seventh day, but proposed early polls.
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