AP PHOTOS: Top pictures from Europe and Africa

AP News
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Posted: Dec 16, 2014 7:33 AM
AP PHOTOS: Top pictures from Europe and Africa

LONDON (AP) — The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan and Kailash Satyarthi of India drew widespread attention to their causes: protecting children from slavery, extremism and forced labor.

Yousafzai, 17, the youngest-ever Nobel Prize winner, was shot in the head by the Taliban two years ago for speaking out for the education of females in Pakistan. She is now widely praised as a lesson in courage.

In another act of diplomacy, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry began a series of meetings in Europe about the Mideast, including with Israeli leaders and Palestinian officials.

Kerry also met in Rome with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov as a renewed truce appeared to be holding between Ukraine's troops and the Russian-supported insurgents.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate's report about the CIA's harrowing torture practices after 9/11 drew widespread reaction.

Poland acknowledged that it had allowed a secret CIA prison to operate in the country. After years of denials, two former Polish leaders said they had allowed the facility, but insisted that they had never authorized the harsh treatment or torture of its inmates.

On a lighter note, dozens of cannons were fired in Monaco, as Princess Charlene gave birth to twins: a girl first and a boy second. The boy will be the principality's future ruler, reflecting the male priority of Monaco's laws of succession.

In another development involving royals, many of Europe's reigning families joined ordinary Belgians to attend a funeral for Fabiola, Belgium's former queen, who died at age 86. Queen Fabiola was popular and often referred to as the "Queen of all Belgians."