UK economy showed resilience ahead of big lockdown easing

LONDON (AP) - The British economy contracted by a quarterly rate of 1.5% in the first three months of 2021, a relatively modest contraction given that the country was in the midst of a strict lockdown to combat a second wave of the coronavirus.

Slovakia plans to keeping using AstraZeneca despite pause

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia (AP) - Slovakia's health minister says he plans to keep AstraZeneca in the country's vaccine arsenal, speaking a day after the country suspended use of the shots after a recipient died.

UK's Johnson urged to bring forward inquiry into pandemic

LONDON (AP) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed Wednesday that an independent public inquiry into the handling of the coronavirus pandemic will start hearing evidence next year. While welcoming the announcement, a leading group representing the bereaved thinks it should begin sooner.

Polish bishop resigns after probe into cover-up allegations

WARSAW, Poland (AP) - Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of a Polish bishop following a Vatican investigation into alleged negligence in addressing cases of sexual abuse of minors by priests under the bishop's authority.

Germany maps path to reaching 'net zero' emissions by 2045

BERLIN (AP) - The German government adopted an ambitious plan Wednesday to reduce the country's greenhouse gas emissions to 'net zero' by 2045, five years earlier and with deeper cuts than previously planned.

Danes mull new probe of 1990 ferry fire that killed 159

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) - Danish lawmakers agreed Wednesday to set up a task force to look into a 1990 ferry fire that killed 159 people, which could lead to a new police investigation into one of Scandinavia's worst peacetime maritime disasters.

Amazon wins EU court fight over $300 million tax ruling

BRUSSELS (AP) - In the latest setback to European Union efforts to tackle corporate tax avoidance, a court on Wednesday annulled a ruling by the European Commission that a tax deal between Amazon and Luxembourg's government amounted to illegal state support.

Performance artist Marina Abramovic wins Spanish arts prize

MADRID (AP) - A Spanish foundation awarded Serbian performance artist Marina Abramovic one of the European nation's most prestigious awards for the fine arts on Wednesday.

French court orders trial in 2009 crash of Rio-Paris flight

PARIS (AP) - A French court on Wednesday ordered Air France and plane maker Airbus to stand trial for manslaughter in the 2009 crash into the Atlantic Ocean of a flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, which killed all 228 people aboard.

UK government plan to toughen voter ID rules draws criticism

LONDON (AP) - The British government has announced contentious plans to toughen election voting rules by requiring photo identification at polling stations, a move it says will protect the democratic system against electoral fraud.

Germany eases travel rules for vaccinated as vacations loom

BERLIN (AP) - The German government has agreed to let travelers who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 or recovered from infection avoid testing and quarantine when entering the country, unless they come from areas where variants of concern are prevalent.

UN watchdog: Iran has enriched uranium to highest purity yet

BERLIN (AP) - Iran has enriched uranium to slightly higher purity than previously thought due to "fluctuations" in the process, the United Nations' atomic watchdog said Wednesday.

New interim govt in Bulgaria led by retired general sworn in

SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) - Bulgaria's president on Wednesday appointed a retired general as interim prime minister in hopes of ensuring stability in the country until an election is held in July.

EU companies could face legal action over Iran contracts

BRUSSELS (AP) - European companies doing business with Iran could face legal troubles if they have terminated their contracts with Iranian banks or firms solely because of fears about possible U.S. sanctions, according to a legal opinion handed down Wednesday by a top EU court advisor.

Dua Lipa wins big at Brits, urges health worker pay raise

LONDON (AP) - British singer Dua Lipa called for a "fair" pay raise for U.K. health workers as she was named a double winner at the Brit Awards in London on Tuesday night.

EU economy to expand, bouncing back from pandemic crisis

BRUSSELS (AP) - The European Union economy is set to bounce back strongly this year after the deep coronavirus recession and member states are forecast to regain the ground lost by the end of next year.

Bosnia police arrest woman for financing Islamic fighters

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) - Bosnian police have arrested a woman on suspicion of financially supporting her husband and other Bosnians who joined Islamic fighters in Syria and Iraq, authorities said Wednesday.

Number of injured in Russia school shooting rises to 23

MOSCOW (AP) - Twenty-three people remained hospitalized on Wednesday following a school shooting in the Russian city of Kazan which killed nine people, including seven youngsters.

Europe rights body worried by claims Greece ejects migrants

ATHENS, Greece (AP) - Europe's top human rights body has expressed "deep concern" at persistent allegations that Greek authorities have on several occasions illegally forced back migrants trying to clandestinely enter from neighboring Turkey.

Kremlin-imposed cuts at US Embassy leave thousands adrift

MOSCOW (AP) - Under Kremlin orders, the U.S. Embassy has stopped employing Russians, forcing the embassy to cut its consular staff by 75% and limit many of its services.

Ruling paves way for longer sentence in George Floyd's death

FILE - In this April 19, 2021, file image from video, defense attorney Eric Nelson, left, and defendant, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, speak to Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill after the judge has put the trial into the hands of the jury' in the trial of Chauvin, in the May 25, 2020, death of George Floyd at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minn. In a ruling May 12, 2021, Judge Cahill finds aggravating factors in death of George Floyd, paving way for tougher sentence for Chauvin.(Court TV via AP, Pool File)

Minnesota judge finds aggravating factors in death of George Floyd, paving way for tougher sentence for Derek Chauvin
Mississippi River bridge at Memphis closed to fix crack

Transportation officers and police block an Interstate 40 onramp to the bridge over the Mississippi River near downtown Memphis, Tenn., on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. The Arkansas Department of Transportation tweeted on Tuesday that it found a crack during a routine inspection of the bridge. (AP Photo/Adrian Sainz)

88-year-old artist finishes year of pandemic 'daily doodles'

Artist Robert Seaman holds up the 365th daily doodle sketch in his room at an assisted living facility Monday, May 10, 2021, in Westmoreland, N.H. Seaman, who moved into the facility weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown his outside world in 2020, recently completed his 365th daily sketch, or what he calls his

Stocks open lower, bond yields rise after inflation report

A man wearing a protective mask stands in front of an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Tokyo. Asian stock markets retreated Wednesday as investors looked ahead to U.S. data they worry will show inflation is picking up. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

The Latest: Hamas confirms Israel killed senior commander

An Israeli soldier stands guard next to an Iron Dome air defense system as smoke rises from an oil tank on fire after it was hit by a rocket fired from Gaza Strip, near the town of Ashkelon, Israel, Wednesday, May 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Escalating Mideast violence bears hallmarks of 2014 Gaza war

People walk amid the rubble of a destroyed residential building which was hit by Israeli airstrikes, in Gaza City, Wednesday, May 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

Prosecutors shelves probe of gang rape that shocked Egypt
FM says Iran ready for closer ties with rival Saudi Arabia

Visiting Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif addresses journalists during a joint press conference with his Iraqi counterpart Fouad Hussein in Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, April 26, 2021. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

Hard-liner Ahmadinejad again seeks to be Iran's president

Former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad flashes victory sign while registering his name as a candidate for the June 18, presidential elections at elections headquarters of the Interior Ministry in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, May 12, 2021. The country's former firebrand president will run again for office in upcoming elections in June. The Holocaust-denying Ahmadinejad has previously been banned from running for the presidency by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in 2017, although then, he registered anyway. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

COVID-19 infections surge among prisoners in Bangkok

In this photo released by Department of Corrections, COVID-19 prisoners sit inside a field hospital set up at Medical Correctional Institution to treat COVID-19 inmates, in Bangkok, Thailand, on May 8, 2021. Almost 3,000 inmates incarcerated at two prisons in Thailand's capital Bangkok have tested positive for COVID-19, the Corrections Department said Wednesday, May 12, 2021 as the Southeast Asian nation battles a virulent third wave of the coronavirus. (Department of Corrections, Thailand via AP)

Top Hong Kong national security officer under investigation

Chris Tang, commissioner of the Hong Kong Police Force, speaks during a press conference in Hong Kong, Wednesday, May 12, 2021. A top Hong Kong national security officer was reportedly caught up in a raid on an unlicensed massage business, and will face a police force investigation into the alleged misconduct. Hong Kong's Director of National Security Frederic Choi has since been put on leave after the incident, according to Tang. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Drop in Xinjiang birthrate largest in recent history: report

Children play with water toys at a public square in Aksu in western China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, Tuesday, April 20, 2021. Xinjiang in far western China had the sharpest known decline in birthrates between 2017 and 2019 of any territory in recent history, according to a new analysis by an Australian think tank. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

American tells Japan court he worked for Nissan's interests

FILE - In this Sept. 8, 2020, file photo, former Nissan Motor Co.'s executive Greg Kelly speaks during an interview in Tokyo. Kelly, on trial in Japan on charges related to former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn's compensation, asserted his innocence Wednesday, May 12, 2021, testifying he had always acted legally and in the

Frustration in Japan as leader pushes Olympics despite virus

FILE - In this Feb. 24, 2021, file photo, people walk past posters to promote the Olympic Games scheduled to start in the summer in Tokyo. Frustration is mounting over Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's request that people cooperate while he pushes to hold the Olympics in just over two months. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara, File)