In the World

Sigifredo Lopez (right), a former Colombian provincial lawmaker, is taken into custody .Associated Press
Sigifredo Lopez (right), a former Colombian provincial lawmaker, is taken into custody .Associated Press
Posted: May 18, 2012

Italy takes steps in face of threats

ROME - Italian officials have increased security at 14,000 potential targets over the shooting of a nuclear-energy company official and letter bombs directed at the Italian tax-collection agency.

The Interior Ministry on Thursday announced the enhanced measures, which include assigning bodyguards to 550 people and deploying 16,000 law enforcement officers.

The Informal Anarchist Federation claimed responsibility for shooting Roberto Adinolfi, CEO of Ansaldo Nucleare, in the leg and pledged further actions against the parent company, state-controlled Finmeccanica.

- AP

Former hostage accused of plot

BOGOTA, Colombia - One of a dozen provincial lawmakers kidnapped by the country's main rebel group a decade ago has been arrested for allegedly helping the insurgents plan the daring daylight abduction.

Colombians were stunned Thursday to learn of the arrest of Sigifredo Lopez, 48, on suspicion of murder and hostage-taking. The news was especially alarming because he was the only one among the 12 who escaped execution by rebels in 2007 under circumstances that remain unclear.

Lopez has said he survived because he was detained elsewhere when the rebels committed the killings.

- AP

Poachers target rare anteaters

HARARE, Zimbabwe - An animal-welfare group in Zimbabwe says poachers are targeting rare anteaters because of a growing demand for exotic animal parts to be used in Asian traditional medicine.

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said Thursday the outer scales of a young male pangolin, a rare, legally protected anteater, were recently removed by poachers in northwestern Zimbabwe.

The body of the anteater was recovered from poachers. The scales appeared to have already been sold, the group said.

The scales are thought to have value as a traditional remedy for a host of conditions. - AP

China: N. Koreans seized three boats

BEIJING - Chinese state media said Thursday North Korean gunmen plying the Yellow Sea had seized three Chinese fishing boats with 29 sailors aboard and demanded a ransom for their release.

The Beijing News said the boats were intercepted May 8. The report quoted one of the ships' owners as saying that he had spoken by phone to a kidnapped sailor and that the captors demanded about $189,000.

It was not clear whether the gunmen were connected with the North Korean government or were rogues.

There was no immediate comment from North Korea.

The episode threatened to aggravate relations between North Korea and China, one of the impoverished country's few allies. The alliance has been strained by the bellicosity of the North and its threat to test a third nuclear device despite international condemnation and U.N. sanctions.

- N.Y. Times News Service

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