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European deep freeze serves up fun, frustrations and danger

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THE HAGUE – Three workers in a boat hacked away at ice Thursday to create a watery barrier around the Dutch prime minister's office, while others in the Netherlands tentatively tested the frozen surfaces of lakes and canals to see if they were safe to skate on.

The deep freeze gripping large parts of Europe is serving up both fun and frustrations, with heavy snow cutting power to thousands of homes in central Slovakia and snarling traffic in the east of the country, while snow on Dutch roads and sidewalks allowed some parents to pull children to school on sleds instead of riding them on bicycles.

Britain experienced its coldest night for a quarter century, with the temperature falling to minus 22.9 Celsius (minus 9.2 Fahrenheit) in Braemar,

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