World briefs: Spy claims roil Germans

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BERLIN -- With mystery enveloping a German intelligence service employee accused of spying -- reportedly for the United States -- German officials and commentators Sunday angrily demanded a response from Washington, warning that an already troubled relationship was at risk of deteriorating to a new low.

President Joachim Gauck told German television that if it turned out that the United States had been spying on Germany, "then that is really a gamble with friendship, with a close alliance."

Chancellor Angela Merkel, on a trip to China, kept silent on the matter, although reporters traveling with her cited unidentified people in her circle as saying she was "surprised" and "disappointed" at the suggestion that a U.S. intelligence agency had recruited a German agent.

Ukrainians beat back rebels

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukraine's army turned the tide against pro-Russian insurgents with its biggest victories of a three-month campaign, sending the rebels fleeing to the eastern strongholds where they have vowed to make a stand.

After recapturing Slovyansk and Kramatorsk, government forces secured control of the Donetsk region towns of Artemivsk and Druzhkivka, military officials told President Petro Poroshenko on Sunday. The insurgents are bolstering defenses in Donetsk in preparation for an onslaught, Denis Pushilin, leader of the self-declared Donetsk People's Republic, said on Twitter.

Nuclear energy sought

SOFIA, Bulgaria -- Bulgaria, one of five European Union states that depend totally on Russia for nuclear fuel, is set to take a step toward diversifying its suppliers when Westinghouse Electric Co. buys a stake in a state-controlled firm building new atomic units.

Westinghouse, the world's largest nuclear fuel producer and part of Japan's Toshiba group, has concluded talks with the Balkan country to take a 30 percent stake in Kozloduy NPP-New Build, which is building new units at the Kozloduy nuclear site in Bulgaria.

The deal paves the way for Bulgaria to start negotiations for the financing and the construction of one Westinghouse AP-1000 nuclear reactor, estimated to cost about $5 billion.

Bulgaria is one of the few European nations to build new nuclear plants in the wake of Japan's 2011 Fukushima disaster as it seeks to keep a lid on electricity costs while cutting carbon emissions in its energy sector.

Attacks in Uganda kill 17

KAMPALA, Uganda -- Gunmen killed 17 people when they attacked three police stations and a military barracks in western Uganda, in an area that was once the scene of an insurgency by Islamist rebels, the military said Sunday.

Paddy Ankunda, spokesman for the Uganda People's Defense Forces, said the dead included three policemen and five soldiers. A total of 41 of the attackers were killed while another 12 were captured during the raids Saturday evening, he added.

Also in the world ...

The father of a pregnant Pakistani woman who was stoned to death and four other men have been charged with killing her after she married against the family's wishes and their trial was set to begin on Monday, police said. ... Spanish wireless networks provider Gowex said Sunday it would file for bankruptcy and its CEO had resigned, in a dramatic collapse to a success story that saw its stock value grow 22-fold as it sought to conquer the world with its Wi-Fi services; Gowex also said it had hired PricewaterhouseCoopers to carry out a forensic audit of the firm.

— Compiled from news services


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