Europe

Key Russian pipeline resumes pumping gas to Europe

The Nord Stream 1 pipeline restarted following a 10-day maintenance break but at a reduced level.

On Wednesday, the European Commission urged countries to cut gas use by 15% over the next seven months in case Russia switched off Europe's supply.

Russia supplied Europe with 40% of its natural gas last year.

Germany was the continent's largest importer in 2020, but has reduced its dependence on Russian gas from 55% to 35%. Eventually, it wants to stop using gas from Russia altogether.

Ferocious European heat heads north

In France and the UK extreme heat warnings were issued while northern Spain recorded temperatures of 43C (109F) on Monday.

Wildfires in France, Portugal, Spain and Greece have forced thousands of people to evacuate their homes.

The UK is expected to see its hottest day ever and experts say parts of France face a "heat apocalypse".

Several parts of France saw their hottest-ever days with the western city of Nantes recording 42C, the national weather office said.

Europe heatwave: Deadly wildfires spread in Mediterranean

In northern Portugal, a pilot died when his waterbombing plane crashed in the Foz Coa area, near the Spanish border.

Fires are ravaging areas of France's Gironde region, where more than 12,000 people have been evacuated.

In southern Spain, near the Costa del Sol, about 2300 people had to flee a wildfire spreading in the Mijas hills.

Holidaymakers on the beach in Torremolinos saw big plumes of smoke rising in the hills, where several aircraft were tackling the blaze.

Monkeypox cases investigated in Europe, US and Canada

The latest new cases were reported in France, Italy and Sweden.

It follows the confirmation of cases in the US, Spain and Portugal on Wednesday, as well as the investigation of 13 suspected cases in Canada.

Monkeypox is most common in remote parts of Central and West Africa.

Cases of the disease outside of the region are often linked to travel to the area.

Monkeypox is a rare viral infection which is usually mild and from which most people recover in a few weeks, according to the UK's National Health Service.

Europe entering Covid pandemic 'ceasefire', says WHO

Dr Hans Kluge cited high vaccination rates, the end of winter and the less severe nature of the Omicron variant.

Speaking to reporters, he said: "This period of higher protection should be seen as a 'ceasefire' that could bring us enduring peace."

It comes as a number of European nations end Covid-19 restrictions.

Dr Kluge said some 12 million new virus cases were detected across Europe last week - the highest recorded - but officials have not seen a significant spike in those needing critical hospital care.

Half of Europe to be infected with Omicron within weeks - World Health Organisation

Dr Hans Kluge said a "west-to-east tidal wave" of Omicron was sweeping across the region, on top of the surge of the Delta variant already present.

The projection was based on the seven million new cases reported across Europe in the first week of 2022.

The number of infections has more than doubled in a two-week period.

"Today the Omicron variant represents a new west-to-east tidal wave, sweeping across the region on top of the Delta surge that all countries were managing until late 2021," Dr Kluge told a news conference.

Europe's mission to Mercury returns first pictures

The probe took the images shortly after it zipped over the little world at an altitude of just 200km (125 miles).

Controllers have planned a further five such flybys, each time using the gravitational tug of Mercury to help control the speed of the spacecraft.

The aim is for Bepi to be moving slow enough that eventually it can take up a stable orbit around the planet.

This should happen by the end of 2025.

Iceland elects Europe's first female majority parliament

According to projections based on the final election results, 33 of the 63 seats in the Althingi, or 52%, have been won by women.

This would mark an increase of nine seats from the last election in 2017.

No other European country has breached the 50% threshold, with Sweden coming closest at 47%, according to data from the Inter Parliamentary Union.

Unlike some other countries, Iceland does not have legal quotas on female representation in parliament, though some parties do require a minimum number of candidates be women.

Covid wave intensifies in Central Europe

Czech authorities on Tuesday sent the first patient abroad for treatment in Poland as facilities struggled to cope.

In Hungary, meanwhile, the number of cases in the current wave has surpassed the previous peak in December.

Schools and most shops were closed on Monday amid rising infections.

Cases are also on the rise in Poland, where the government recorded the highest number of daily cases since late November on Wednesday, with 17,260 new infections. A health ministry spokesman complained of "increased looseness" among Poles towards anti-Covid measures.

More cases of new Covid variant found in Europe

The infections, linked to people who had come from the UK, were reported in Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

The details given a week ago of the new variant in England triggered travel curbs from dozens of countries.

Several EU countries have started to vaccinate people against the virus.

Health workers in north-east Germany said they were not prepared to wait another day for Sunday's co-ordinated rollout across the bloc of the newly approved Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. They began by immunizing elderly residents of a nursing home in Halberstadt.