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EU urges diplomacy on Syria, condemns 'abhorrent' chemical attack

By Luke Baker ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (Reuters) - Europe's top officials stopped short on Thursday of endorsing a U.S.-led push for a military strike against Syria in response to last month's chemical weapons attack, and warned there could be no military solution to the 2-1/2-year-old conflict.

Syria at heart of EU talks in Vilnius

EU foreign ministers gather Friday in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius seeking a joint position on Syria as France stands alone in the 28-nation bloc in favour of military intervention. Syria will also be at the heart of G20 summit talks taking place at the same time in nearby Saint Petersburg which are expected to overshadow the informal ministerial talks in the capital of Lithuania, current holder of the rotating European Union presidency.

EU to review relationship with Egypt in coming days

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union will review its relationship with Egypt in the coming days, the 28-member bloc said on Sunday. In a statement, the President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy and the President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso called on all sides in Egypt to show restraint and prevent further escalation of the violence.

New Belgian king inherits political timebomb

In Belgium's papers, King Albert II has been portrayed by the country's most fabled cartoonist for the past 20 years as just out of bed and lounging about in a dressing-gown and slippers. Cartoonist Pierre Kroll's portrayal of a jovial homebody, along with Albert's legendary love of jokes, "helped people to like him and brought him closer to the people," said Bernard Marliere, author of a book on Belgian humour.

New Belgian king inherits political timebomb

In Belgium's papers, King Albert II has been portrayed by the country's most fabled cartoonist for the past 20 years as just out of bed and lounging about in a dressing-gown and slippers. Cartoonist Pierre Kroll's portrayal of a jovial homebody, along with Albert's legendary love of jokes, "helped people to like him and brought him closer to the people," said Bernard Marliere, author of a book on Belgian humour.

Maltese PM sees progress at EU-Libya migration talks

Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat on Thursday claimed progress in talks on undocumented migrants with European and Libyan leaders, as he calls for more EU help in dealing with an influx of boat people. "I think we have managed to break new ground in seeking a long-term solution," Muscat said after talks with European Council president Herman Van Rompuy and Libyan Deputy Prime Minister Sadiq Abdulkarim Abdulrahman. He did not give any further details but proposed Malta as a mediator in talks between the European Union and Libya on this issue.

Designers roll out fresh summer look in Paris

Paris, Jun 27 (EFE).- Designers unveiled fresh and comfortable looks at Paris Men's Fashion Week, with Walter Van Beirendonck and Carven among the fashion houses getting in on the trend. Walter Van Beirendonck rolled out suits with geometric patchwork patterns at the Garnier Opera House. "The collection is called 'Home Sweet Home.' I used spaces in my house as the inspiration," the Belgian designer, who is considered a creator of some of the most original men's fashion items on the market, told Efe.

EU vows support to new Italian government

European Council chief Herman Van Rompuy on Sunday congratulated Italy's new Prime Minister Enrico Letta and vowed continued support from the bloc for Rome's efforts to stave off bankruptcy. "I would like to warmly congratulate Prime Minister Enrico Letta on the formation of the new government," Van Rompuy said in a statement issued after Italy's much-awaited coalition cabinet was sworn in.

Tax evasion on agenda of May EU summit in May

The fight against tax evasion will be on the agenda of the next European Union summit in May, EU president Herman Van Rompuy said Friday. "Every year a trillion euros are lost in tax evasion and tax avoidance" in Europe, Van Rompuy said in a video message. "I have decided to put tax evasion on the agenda of the next May 22" summit. ccr/rl

US Treasury Secretary urges able countries to spur growth

US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew urged countries with the "capacity" to help spur growth, after talks with his German counterpart here on Tuesday. Lew told a joint press conference with Wolfgang Schaeuble that the driver of economic growth would be consumer demand, adding "policies that will help drive consumer demand in countries that have capacity" would be "helpful". The Treasury chief is on a whistle-stop tour to meet eurozone leaders, his first trip to Europe since taking over the post from Tim Geithner in February.
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