- - Tuesday, December 28, 2010

ITALY

Police link bombings to Italian, Greek anarchists

ROME | Police on Tuesday confirmed a link between Italian and Greek anarchists, saying the Italian group that sent parcel bombs to three Rome embassies was responding to an appeal from a Greek counterpart to step up attacks.

The Informal Anarchist Federation, an Italian group that claimed responsibility for sending mail bombs to the Swiss and Chilean embassies last week, also sent the mail bomb that was discovered at the Greek Embassy on Monday, Carabinieri Col. Maurizio Mezzavilla told the Associated Press.

The Swiss and Chilean bombs exploded Dec. 23, wounding the two people who opened them. The Greek bomb was safely defused.

In Monday’s claim of the Greek package bomb, the group said it wanted to show solidarity with detained Greek anarchists and further their agenda of “revolutionary violence,” Col. Mezzavilla said.

“We’re striking again, and we do so in response to the appeal launched by our Greek companions of the Conspiracy Nuclei of Fire,” the Italian group wrote in the claim, according to Col. Mezzavilla.

A group called Conspiracy Nuclei of Fire claimed responsibility for having sent 14 mail bombs to foreign embassies in Athens last month. Two of the devices exploded, causing no injuries.

CHINA

Top blogger closes magazine

BEIJING | One of China’s most popular bloggers announced Tuesday he was forced to shut down his freewheeling print magazine after just one issue because government officials appear to have blocked the printing of any new editions.

Han Han, a novelist and race-car driver, has amassed a huge readership with his sly online critiques of China’s social problems and hoped to tap that audience with an arts and literature magazine, Party.

Mr. Han wrote in a blog post that it appeared that the government was behind the closure, but he was unsure which department and why they had objected to the magazine.

China’s media is tightly controlled by the government, which censors, fines, or shuts down publications seen to be treading on politically sensitive issues.

“Perhaps it’s because there are too many relevant people in too many relevant departments,” Mr. Han wrote, using phrases that refer broadly to Chinese bureaucrats and government institutions. “So many people have the ability to turn a piece of literature and art into a relic. I myself don’t know exactly what has happened or what friend I may have insulted.”

MEXICO

Last police officer in border town missing

CIUDAD JUAREZ | The last remaining police officer in the Mexican border town of Guadalupe has disappeared.

A spokesman for prosecutors in northern Chihuahua state says a search has started for 28-year-old Ericka Gandara, who hasn’t been seen since Dec. 23.

Some local media have reported Officer Gandara was kidnapped, but spokesman Arturo Sandoval says her relatives have not filed a kidnap complaint.

Mr. Sandoval said Tuesday the search was started as a missing-person case. The same day she disappeared, assailants also set fire to the home of a Guadalupe town councilwoman.

Drug cartels have fought bloody battles for control of the Juarez Valley where Guadalupe is located, leading most police officers there to resign.

GERMANY

U.S. plans push to ban fissile material

BERLIN | The United States plans to revive diplomatic efforts next year to halt production of weapons-grade plutonium and uranium, a special adviser to President Obama told a German newspaper.

“Regarding the Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty, we are trying to reinstate negotiations at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva and will launch an initiative next year,” Gary Samore, White House coordinator for arms control, told the newspaper the Sueddeutsche Zeitung in an article published on Tuesday.

“Even if we succeed, however, it will take years until the negotiations are completed. The same goes for any further disarmament deals with Russia,” he continued, adding that the political realities by then could be completely different.

Mr. Samore expected the U.S. administration to submit the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty to the Senate next year for ratification, but he refrained from giving a forecast on the outcome of a vote.

“We will present our arguments next year, but we do not know if they will have the desired effect,” he said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports