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Monday June 25th, 2018 7:53AM

The Latest: Macedonia urges employers to help pregnant women

By The Associated Press
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GENEVA (AP) — The Latest on the wintry weather hitting Europe (all times local):

2:10 p.m.

Macedonia's government has urged employers to exempt pregnant women and people aged over 60 from work for a day due to the freezing conditions.

The lowest temperature in Macedonia on Thursday was minus 18 Celsius (-0.4 Fahrenheit) recorded near the border with Bulgaria.

A government agency also issued a recommendation for construction companies to reduce working hours, secure heated areas for outdoor workers and allow them half-hour breaks every two hours.

No deaths have been reported so far in Macedonia due to the cold.

The national meteorological agency said the cold is expected to ease during the weekend.

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2 p.m.

A woman, who had left her home at a Swedish asylum center with her daughter and son, aged 8 and 9, respectively, has been pronounced dead after being found in a southern Sweden forest.

The Aftonbladet daily newspaper said the woman who died Thursday in hospital was "poorly dressed" and that her daughter was in intensive care but not in a life-threatening condition.

The son was found safe and sound Wednesday afternoon.

Temperatures in the region were about -10 degrees Celsius (14 Fahrenheit).

Aftonbladet said a helicopter search had been called off Wednesday because of poor visibility.

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12:40 p.m.

Danish police say that an 84-year-old woman with dementia has become the second person to die in Denmark because of the cold weather.

Police say she left her home Wednesday evening and was found Thursday in a park in Roskilde, west of Copenhagen. The woman wasn't identified in line with Danish practice.

Southern Denmark has been hit by heavy snowfall and local police have urged motorists not to use their cars.

In neighboring Sweden, the Transport Administration said people should think twice before taking their cars in areas affected by heavy snowfall and snowdrifts, adding "it is difficult to predict which areas will get the most snow."

Sweden's emergency service said it had received about 550 calls regarding minor road crashes as of Thursday morning in the past three days, twice as much as for an ordinary winter day.

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11:45 a.m.

Braving an Arctic blast sweeping across Europe, about two dozen officials from the Paris region have spent a frigid night outdoors to call attention to the plight of the homeless.

Snow began falling before they closed their eyes early Thursday near the Austerlitz train station. The city was blanketed in white by daybreak.

Dragging blankets and sleeping bags, numerous officials, from an array of political parties, wore their blue, white and red sashes, France's national colors, denoting their status.

At least 13 homeless have died in the Paris region since Jan. 1.

Mama Sy, deputy mayor of Etampes, south of Paris, and organizer, said that "it's out of the question" that the 6,000 places opened for the homeless because of frigid weather disappear when temperatures rise.

--This item has been corrected to show that the deputy mayor's surname is Sy, not Si.

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11:15 a.m.

Roads and airports across large chunks of Britain are closed as snow and wind wreak havoc with travel plans.

Hundreds of drivers were trapped in their cars overnight in Scotland, where authorities said everyone except emergency-services workers should stay off the roads. The snow shut Glasgow and Edinburgh airports, and there are cancellations at Heathrow and other airports in England.

Police in the county of Lincolnshire in eastern England say most roads there are impassable, with as much as 2 feet (60 centimeters) of snow in rural areas.

Several people have died across Europe as the continent endures unusually cold late-winter weather. The fatalities include a man in his 60s who was pronounced dead after being pulled from a frozen lake in London on Wednesday, the ambulance service said.

Forecasters say a new storm is due to bring blizzards, freezing rain and thunderstorms to Ireland, southwestern England and Wales on Thursday.

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10 a.m.

Unusual snow in parts of France has disrupted flights, stranded drivers on highways and caused school closures.

The state meteorological agency put about half the country on alert Thursday for dangerous levels of snow, ice, floods or strong winds.

Snow blanketed Paris and the surrounding region, and authorities urged Paris commuters to leave their cars at home because of dangerous conditions.

The snowfall stretched across a swath of northern France and also reached as far south as Montpellier near the Mediterranean. Airports in Montpellier and the Atlantic beach resort of Biarritz were among those seeing disruptions because of the snow.

Television broadcast images of people trapped in their cars on snow-covered highways in the area, where snow is extremely rare.

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8:55 a.m.

Geneva's airport has been closed "until further notice" after the Swiss city was blanketed by snowfall overnight.

The airport's website says passengers should stay away for the time being and recommends they check with their airlines to see if their flights are still scheduled for departure.

Airport spokesman Sebastien Leprat said initial targets to re-open around 9 a.m. (0800GMT) had been pushed back by one hour, and that no formal decision had been made to resume traffic.

He said tricky weather conditions across Europe could cause extended delays.

Meteorologist Dominique Stussi of national weather service MeteoSuisse said 13 centimeters (about 5 inches) fell over a three-hour period in the early morning.

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