Europe

Hundreds arrested as crime chat network cracked

Germany and France announce strict measures to stem spread of coronavirus

French President Emmanuel Macron announced an enforced lockdown, a step similar to curbs imposed by Italy and Spain, saying: "We're in a health war".

Mr Macron also said the European Union's external borders would be closed to travellers from Tuesday.

In Germany, most non-grocery shops and venues have been ordered to shut.

Chancellor Angela Merkel also banned religious services and told people to cancel any domestic or foreign holiday travel. Schools across the country have already been shut.

Death toll rises as coronavirus disease spreads

There are currently 1,287 confirmed cases in China, 41 of whom have died.

It comes as China is begins celebrations of the Lunar New Year, one of the most important dates in its calendar.

Many events have been cancelled and a new hospital is being built in the city of Wuhan.

The virus has now spread to Europe, with three cases confirmed in France.

The first case was in Bordeaux, while the other two were in the Paris area, the French health minister said on Friday night.

And one case has been confirmed in Australia.

     

Europe regain Ryder Cup

The result means the USA have still not won on European soil in 25 years, their troubles summed up by Tiger Woods' 0-4 record this weekend.

Thomas Bjorn's side had to hold off a fightback from the visitors, who at one point cut the gap to a solitary point, but reached the 14.5 points needed to secure the victory courtesy of Open champion Molinari's 4 and 2 win over Phil Mickelson.

The Italian became the first European player to finish with a 5-0 record, having won four matches alongside Tommy Fleetwood.

 

European storm: Icy blizzards stall transport networks

The blizzard forced the cancellation of all flights at Dublin Airport on Thursday and the temporary closure of Geneva Airport in Switzerland.

Large parts of the Continent continue to shiver in the grip of a Siberian weather system that has brought the coldest temperatures for several years.

The cold snap has been given various nicknames in different countries.

In Britain it is "the Beast from the East" - with Storm Emma close behind - while the Dutch are calling it the "Siberian bear" and Swedes the "snow cannon".

Lightning strikes 15 at French festival

The lightning struck in several areas of the Vieux Canal festival in the town of Azerailles, the regional council said in a statement.

Those injured include children who were in a tent during the storm.

The victims were "directly hit by the lightning and suffered burns", the regional council said.

A woman in her sixties and a 44-year-old man are reported to be in a serious condition as a result of the strikes.

Parts of France around this time of the year are often put on alert for violent storms.

US and EU reject expanding laptop ban to flights from Europe

But after a four-hour meeting in Brussels to discuss the threats to aviation security, officials said other measures were still being considered.

US officials had previously said they were looking into extending to Europe a ban on electronics on flights from eight mostly Muslim countries.

The measure was introduced over fears a bomb could be concealed in a device.

The meeting was requested by EU officials after recent reports suggested US authorities had new information regarding laptop parts being turned into explosives.

US State Department issues travel alert for Europe

"While local governments continue counterterrorism operations, the Department nevertheless remains concerned about the potential for future terrorist attacks," the alert said. "U.S. citizens should always be alert to the possibility that terrorist sympathizers or self-radicalized extremists may conduct attacks with little or no warning."

Obama warns of 'meaner world'

Instead, Obama found himself warning of an impending shift in the global order, one he advised could lead to a "meaner, harsher, more troubled world" if not stopped.

"Whoever is president and whoever is the chancellor of Germany and whoever is the leader of other European nations and other democracies around the world, they need to recognize that," Obama said. "There are going to be forces that argue for cynicism. For looking the other way with somebody else's problems. That are not going to champion people who are vulnerable because sometimes that's politically convenient."

Teenage cannabis use rises in Europe - EU Espad survey

The Espad report for 2015 includes most EU countries, but not Germany or the UK, and data for Spain is incomplete.

In 2015 "current smokers" accounted for 21% of those surveyed, and the highest total was in Italy (37%).

In 1995-2015 those using alcohol in the past 30 days fell from 56% to 47%. Top in cannabis use were the Czechs (37%).

That figure for Czech teenagers reporting a lifetime experience of cannabis was higher than the level in the US - 31% in comparable surveys.