- - Wednesday, November 3, 2010

GREECE

Greece halts mail after bombs found

ATHENS | Greece stopped all airborne parcels headed overseas and screened thousands of packages Wednesday in an attempt to stop a spate of bombings blamed on Greek militants targeting diplomatic missions and European leaders.

A 48-hour ban on all outgoing parcel deliveries abroad took effect after mail bombs reached the office of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and halted flights for hours at Italy’s Bologna airport, where a package addressed to Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi caught fire.

The attacks, which followed an unsuccessful Yemen-based mail bomb plot, highlighted the difficulty of keeping bombs out of the international delivery system. Several European governments urged vigilance but didn’t say they were increasing measures already in place at leaders’ offices.

RUSSIA

Afghanistan agrees to fight drugs jointly

MOSCOW | Russia and Afghanistan want to increase cooperation in the fight against drug trafficking despite Afghanistan’s anger over a joint U.S.-Russian drug raid, the Kremlin said Wednesday.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Afghan President Hamid Karzai agreed to continue joint efforts against drug trafficking during a telephone conversation, the Kremlin said in a statement.

Russian and U.S. forces raided drug-processing laboratories last week in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar, the first known joint U.S.-Russian counternarcotics operation in the country.

IRAN

Woman may be hanged, not stoned

TBILISI, Georgia | Iran’s foreign minister said Wednesday that no final decision has been made about a woman who could be stoned to death for adultery, amid reports that her execution was imminent.

Manouchehr Mottaki’s statement follows an international outcry over the stoning sentence against the 43-year-old woman, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani.

Iran has temporarily suspended the stoning verdict and has suggested that Mrs. Ashtiani might be hanged instead.

ISRAEL

Israel to watch for Palestinian ‘incitement’

JERUSALEM | Israel announced Wednesday that it will officially monitor “incitement” by the Palestinians, taking aim at what it says are widespread provocations against the Jewish state that undermine efforts to reach Middle East peace.

The announcement further strained an atmosphere that has grown increasingly tense in recent weeks after the breakdown of U.S.-sponsored Middle East peace talks. Palestinians accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of trying to divert attention from the impasse in the talks.

SOMALIA

U.N. to aid release of child soldiers

NAIROBI, Kenya | Somalia’s government will work with the United Nations to release and rehabilitate child soldiers in its army, a U.N. envoy who tracks the recruitment of child soldiers said Wednesday.

The number of children in the Somali army is unclear, but a plan to be developed by the Somali government will help establish the extent of the problem, said Radhika Coomaraswamy, the U.N. special representative for children in armed conflict.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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