- - Monday, November 1, 2010

GREECE

Police foil bomb plot targeting Sarkozy

ATHENS | Greek police foiled four attempted parcel-bomb attacks Monday, purportedly targeting French President Nicolas Sarkozy and three embassies in Athens, after one of the devices exploded at a delivery service, leaving a worker hospitalized with burns.

Motorcycle police later arrested two Greek men, aged 22 and 24, several hundred yards from the blast site in central Athens. Police said the men were carrying handguns and bullets in waist pouches, and one of them wore body armor, a wig and a baseball cap.

Parts of the city center were cordoned off for more than an hour around midday as the three unexploded bombs, found at a different delivery service and in the suspects’ backpacks, were defused in a series of controlled explosions.

Beyond Mr. Sarkozy, the targets were the Athens embassies of Mexico, the Netherlands and Belgium, police said. The return-address labels included the names of a senior government official, a Greek charity and a well-known Greek criminologist, police said.

VENEZUELA

Steel maker challenges state takeover

CARACAS | Venezuela’s largest privately owned steel producer vowed Monday to challenge President Hugo Chavez’s order to expropriate its assets even as soldiers arrived to oversee the takeover.

Sidetur’s board of directors issued a statement promising legal action to protect its “employees, clients, suppliers and shareholders.”

Mr. Chavez ordered the expropriation of Sidetur on Sunday, saying it is part of his strategy to transform Venezuela into a socialist state. He said the company has been selling products such as rebar at inflated prices on the domestic market, though the company said its prices have been frozen since 2006 despite rampant inflation in the overall economy.

The company statement said that under Venezuelan law, only a judge can order the takeover of a company and only after payment of an assessed price for the assets.

IRAN

Ahmadinejad chided over subsidy plan

TEHRAN | Iran’s opposition leader said the country’s president would be unable to implement a plan to slash energy and food subsidies, cutbacks that specialists have argued will compound Iran’s economic troubles.

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