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Interior Minister Roberto Maroni called it the “the biggest seizure of assets” during an appearance on an Italian private TV station’s morning show.

Investigators in Rome say in a statement released Tuesday that the businessman is suspected of laundering money for the Sicilian Mafia. The seized assets include dozens of companies operating in solar and wind energy, bank accounts, real estate, luxury cars and a 45-foot catamaran boat.

Investigators allege that Trapani businessman Vito Nicastri, 54, had close ties to Mafia boss Matteo Messina Denaro and involved the Mafia in renewable energy.


Air strikes intensify in northwest region

ISLAMABAD | Drone aircraft unleashed two missile attacks in a lawless tribal region on the Afghan border Tuesday, making September the most intense period of U.S. strikes in Pakistan since they began in 2004, intelligence officials said.

The stepped-up campaign is focused on a small area of farming villages and mountainous, thickly forested terrain controlled by the Haqqani Network, a ruthless U.S. foe in Afghanistan, U.S. officials say. There is some evidence the network is being squeezed as a result, one official said.

The missiles have killed at least 50 people in 12 strikes since Sept. 2 in the Pakistani region of North Waziristan, according to an Associated Press tally based on Pakistani intelligence officials’ reports.


Fears raised over fake poll cards

KABUL | Thousands of fake voter registration cards have been found across Afghanistan, election officials said Tuesday, and observers called on the government to act to prevent widespread fraud in Saturday’s election.

The parliamentary vote is seen as a key test of stability in Afghanistan, where violence is at its worst since the Taliban was ousted in 2001, before President Obama conducts a war strategy review in December.

Poor security and fraud are major concerns ahead of the voting, which the Taliban has vowed to disrupt by hitting foreign troops and then Afghan targets.

Last year’s presidential poll was marred by widespread fraud, with a third of votes cast for President Hamid Karzai thrown out as fake by the U.N.-backed Electoral Complaints Commission.


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