Europe briefing: Five stories to know about today

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Europe briefing: Five stories to know about today
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Reuters
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1. Huge fire rips through Paris apartment block, killing nine people

At least nine people died in western Paris on Tuesday morning when a huge fire ripped through an apartment block in a suspected "criminal" act.

One woman has been placed in custody as part of the investigation.

Authorities think there is a "criminal" cause behind the blaze, according to Paris prosecutor Remy Heitz.

Thirty-seven people, including six firefighters, were injured. One of the wounded has been described as an "absolute emergency" by the city's fire brigade, meaning the injury is life-threatening.

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2. UK promised to protect Nissan from Brexit fallout with €91 million of support

Britain in 2016 promised Nissan — which has a plant in Sunderland, England — up to £80 million (over €91 million) of support and vowed to protect the carmaker from any Brexit fallout, according to a confidential letter released on Monday.

The UK Business Secretary Greg Clark told the former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn: "We will set our ambitions high and vigorously pursue continued access to the European market as an objective in future negotiations.”

The support has been plunged in doubt after Nissan backtracked on a promise to build its X-Trail SUV in Sunderland.

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3. German airline cancels flights after filing for bankruptcy

Privately-owned airline Germania cancelled all flights on Tuesday after announcing it had filed for bankruptcy.

Airline CEO Karsten Balke said in a statement the company was "unable to bring our financing efforts to cover a short-term liquidity need to a positive conclusion".

"Our only option was to file for insolvency," he added.

Passengers left stranded after their Germania flights were cancelled aired their frustrations on social media.

"Flight cancelled, representatives disappeared, passengers left alone, no explanation for cancelling the flight, this is the experience you'd get trying to fly with Germania from Munich," one Twitter user wrote.

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4. Self-shredding Banksy painting goes on display in Germany

"Love is in the Bin", a work by graffiti artist Banksy that shredded itself live after it was sold at auction last year, went on display at a German museum. Officials first had to make sure its shredding mechanism was no longer working.

The painting was originally auctioned as "Girl with Balloon", the image of a young girl holding a heart-shaped red balloon that has become the artist's most popular since it was first sprayed on to London's Waterloo Bridge in 2002.

But the moment the auctioneer's gavel fell, a hidden mechanism inside the frame shredded half the painting, which had just been sold for over a million pounds.

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5. UK police confirm deaths of four children in Stafford house fire

A fire at a house in Staffordshire, UK, overnight on Monday, left four children dead, police said.

Two adults and another child were taken to hospital for treatment.

An investigation has been launched into the cause of the fire, Staffordshire police said in a statement.

As it happened on Tuesday, February 5

This is how we covered key developments this morning: