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Focus On Europe

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Russia: Soldiers Missing - Up to 15,000 Russian troops are estimated to be currently deployed in Ukraine. While Moscow denies that any Russian soldiers are fighting in eastern Ukraine, wives and mothers are desperate to know where their loves ones are. Civil rights activists are helping them to either remove their sons to safety, or bury those who have already fallen in the conflict. A cemetery in Pskov is the last resting place of two paratroopers who the authorities claim were killed in an accident. Reporters investigating the story were intimidated and chased away by men in hooded tops.

Turkey: Reigniting Kurdish Anger - Kurds in Turkey are keen to support the Kurdish fighters resisting the advancing IS militants in northern Syria, but Ankara refuses to allow them to cross into Syria. At least 19 people have been killed in recent clashes involving Kurdish protesters in Turkey. The situation has reignited the Turkish-Kurdish conflict, with the Kurds accusing the Turkish government of abandoning them in the fight against IS militants.

Germany: Tracking down traffickers - German police are putting more effort into stopping human traffickers. Upper Bavaria is evidently a bottleneck where two main overland smuggling routes meet: from Italy and the Balkans. No other federal police inspections currently register more unauthorized border crossings. More than five thousand people were picked up this year alone. But most crossings remain undetected. Traffickers tend to transport their human cargo at night, crossing the German border at the crack of dawn.

Ireland: Breaking the cycle of violence - Gangs, drugs and violence are a daily affair in many parts of Dublin. The city has one of the highest gun-violence rates in Europe. Over the past decades, Dublin has seen sharp increase in gang violence and gun-related crime. Young people are especially affected. Most young people know someone who has been involved in a violent crime, either as a victim or the perpetrator. Now a team of medical professionals and social workers are looking for ways to break this cycle of violence.

Norway: A New Arctic Freeze with Russia? Russian warplanes have recently been seen conducting maneuvers on the edges of NATO airspace. In one case they were intercepted by Norwegian and British jets. Relations are chilly along the 196-kilometer-long land border between Norway and Russia. While Norwegian border guards are trying to take a business-as-usual approach, communications with the Russian side have been at a low since the crisis over Ukraine began.

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