BlackBerry service down in Europe, Mideast, Africa

LONDON

BlackBerry announced the issues in postings on Facebook and Twitter on Friday, and said it fixed the troubles after a few hours. It apologized to customers for the inconvenience caused.

The outage brought up unpleasant memories of troubles with emails and chat messages last year that left users bereft for three days. In the United States and Canada, the outage was shorter, but many of the world's 70 million BlackBerry users were affected.

The timing could not have been worse: lines formed outside of Apple stores in Britain as the new iPhone 5 went on sale.

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