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Europe briefing: Five stories to know about today

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Europe briefing: Five stories to know about today

Europe briefing: Five stories to know about today
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REUTERS
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Good morning, Europe. Today we're watching:

1) A Russian rocket makes emergency landing after failing in mid-air

The Soyuz spacecraft carrying one Russian and one American astronaut had to make an emergency landing in Kazakhstan after it failed in mid-air. Nick Hague and Alexei Ovchinin landed back safely without harm and rescue crews who located them in the Kazakh steppe put them very quickly in contact with NASA. The Soyuz capsule carrying them separated from the malfunctioning rocket and made a "steep ballistic descent" with parachutes to help slow its speed.

2) Tony Blair says time is running out to stop Brexit

Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has said he would advise the Labour (opposition) lawmakers to vote down Theresa May's possible Brexit deal with the EU. "It really is difficult," says Blair, "the alternatives are all worse because if you do get to a blockage in parliament, that is what opens up the possibility of going back to the people." Blair's comments, made at a Reuters event, come with less than six months to go until the UK leaves the EU.

3) Spanish politicians edge closer to increasing minimum wage

Spain’s government — which has a minority in parliament — and anti-austerity party Podemos have agreed to increase the minimum wage to €900 a month, an important step for passing the 2019 budget. The current minimum wage is €735.90/month. The minimum salary in Spain has been continuously growing for the past ten years with the last raise up 4% between 2017 and 2018, according to the country’s ministry of labour website.

4) Verne Troyer's death was suicide, rules coroner

Verne Troyer, best known for his role as Mike Myers’ comical sidekick “Mini-Me” in the “Austin Powers” movie franchise, died last April of suicide by alcohol intoxication, the Los Angeles County coroner’s office reported Wednesday. Troyer had a potentially fatal level of alcohol in his system and was saying repeatedly that he wanted to die when he was admitted to a Los Angeles hospital on April 3, according to the coroner’s report.

5) Flash floods kill at least ten in Mallorca

Ten people, including two Britons, have been killed in flash flooding on the Spanish island of Mallorca, said local authorities on Wednesday. The eastern part of the island was the worst hit, hundreds of people have been left homeless and a huge clean-up operation is underway. Tennis superstar Rafael Nadal was pictured helping with the clean-up.

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