EUROPE ““ (BBC) The head of the eurozone’s bailout fund is beginning attempts to persuade China to invest in a plan that will help rescue member countries facing debt crises. After meeting Chinese leaders, Klaus Regling said there were no formal negotiations and would be no deal now. It is thought China may pay about 70 billion euros ($100 billion) into the fund, which is expected to be boosted to 1 trillion euros. European leaders worked into the early hours of Thursday in Brussels to secure an agreement aimed at preventing the crisis from spreading to larger eurozone economies. The deal triggered a worldwide shares rally. Beijing has made it clear that it will demand strong guarantees on the safety of any contribution it might make.
FRANCE ““ (BBC) French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said allowing Greece into the eurozone in 2001 was a “mistake.” He added that Greece was “not ready” at the time, but said that it could be rescued thanks to Wednesday’s EU deal on the euro debt crisis. In response, Greece’s foreign minister told the BBC that Athens was not the source of the crisis and that no country should be made a scapegoat. Sarkozy has said that he is confident the current Greek government would emerge from the crisis and that Wednesday’s deal had averted a “catastrophe.”
IRELAND ““ (BBC) The Labour Party’s Michael D. Higgins has been officially confirmed as the ninth Irish president after one of the most remarkable comebacks in the state’s history. The poet and campaigner received 701,101 first-preference votes, equaling almost 40% of the total. His victory over one-time favorite Sean Gallagher was clear within an hour of ballot boxes being opened. A welcome-home ceremony was held in his native Galway.
ITALY ““ (CNN) Seven people have died and seven others are missing after rains triggered severe flooding in northern Italy, civil protection officials said Friday. The tourist-popular region of Cinque Terre was hit especially hard. The Italian Council of Ministers declared a state of emergency in the flood region, which means 65 million euros will be put aside to deal with the disaster. A special cabinet meeting was called Friday to discuss the situation. Italy’s Defense Ministry noted on its website that 348 military personnel have deployed to the provinces of Massa Carrara and La Spezia to assist in the wake of flooding.
RUSSIA ““ (CNN) An unmanned Russian rocket successfully lifted off with a cargo of supplies for the crew of the International Space Station on Sunday, two months after a similar rocket crashed in Siberia. The Progress 45 freighter is scheduled to dock with the station on Wednesday with three tons of food, fuel, water, and spare parts for the U.S., Russian, and Japanese crew. The launch follows a failed launch in August, when another Progress crashed into the Siberian wilderness. It was the first such crash in the craft’s 30-year service history, but space officials said the station’s three-member crew was never in any danger of running out of food or water. In a written statement, NASA’s manned space flight chief, Bill Gerstenmaier, said the launch “sets the stage” for the next scheduled crew rotation aboard the ISS in November.
TURKEY ““ (BBC) At least two people have been killed by an explosion reportedly caused by a female suicide bomber in southeast Turkey. The Turkish interior ministry said the attack took place in Bingol. At least 10 people were injured, hospital officials said – it is not clear if the two fatalities include the bomber. Interior Minister Idris Naim Sahin said the blast happened near the offices of the government’s AK Party, but said he did not believe the building was the intended target. No group has admitted carrying out the attack. The blast comes as the Turkish government tries to help thousands of people left homeless by a powerful earthquake in Van, a largely Kurdish province.
UNITED KINGDOM ““ (BBC) Sons and daughters of any future UK monarch will have equal right to the throne after an agreement to change succession laws. The leader of 16 Commonwealth countries where the Queen is head of state unanimously approved the changes at a summit in Perth, Australia. The change in law means a first-born daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge would take precedence over younger brothers. The ban on the monarch being married to a Roman Catholic was also lifted. The succession changes will require a raft of historic legislation to be amended, including the 1701 Act of Settlement, the 1689 Bill of Rights, and the Royal Marriages Act 1772.