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Europe briefing: Five stories to know about today

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Europe briefing: Five stories to know about today
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1) North Korean diplomat sparks defection rumours

A North Korea top diplomat has reportedly gone into hiding with his wife, a South Korean MP said on Thursday at a closed-door meeting.

It came after South Korean newspaper, JoongAng Ilbo Daily, reported that acting ambassador to Italy, Jo Song Gil, was seeking asylum in the West.

2. Denmark train accident

At least eight people were killed and 16 injured on Wednesday when a passenger train hit a freight trailer on a bridge in Denmark, police on the Island of Fyn said.

The accident, which took place around 7.35 am CET shut the bridge linking Fyn to the island of Sjaelland — also known as the Great Belt Bridge.

3. Death toll now 37 in Russian apartment block collapse

As many as 37 bodies have been recovered from the rubble of a Russian apartment building that partially collapsed this week after an apparent gas explosion, according to the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry.

The bodies of 22 of the 37 dead had been identified by Thursday morning.

4. Three migrants receive Greek citizenship for rescuing people in wildfire

Three migrant fishermen were granted Greek citizenship on Wednesday for "ignoring the dangers" and rescuing "dozens" of people fleeing this summer's deadly wildfires.

Emad El Khaimi, 50, and Mahmoud Ibrahim Musa, 46, both from Egypt, along with Gani Xheka, 35, from Albania, were presented their citizenship by President of Greece Prokopis Pavlopoulos during a ceremony in Athens.

5. UK police arrest two men for suspected migrant smuggling across English Channel

Two men were arrested "on suspicion of arranging the illegal movement of migrants" across the English Channel, Britain's National Crime Agency said on Wednesday.

Officers arrested a 33-year-old Iranian national and a 24-year-old British man in Manchester, the NCA said in a statement.

"As the investigation is ongoing, we are unable to comment further at this time," it added.