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World Scene

- - Tuesday, March 8, 2011

ITALY

Police carry out mob crackdown

ROME | Italian and German police arrested scores of suspects in a crackdown Tuesday on a major crime syndicate believed to be more powerful than the Mafia.

The cross-border operation shows how the syndicate, known as the 'Ndrangheta, has extended its reach well beyond its original base in Italy's southern Calabria region.

Thirty-one suspects were picked up in Italy, and six suspects, all Italian citizens, were apprehended in Germany, police said. They are still searching for suspects in Australia and Canada.

BRITAIN

Scots arrest man in terrorist attack

LONDON | Police in Scotland arrested a 30-year-old man Tuesday on suspicion of aiding a suicide bomber who targeted Christmas shoppers in Stockholm in December.

Strathclyde Police said the suspect, who is not British, was detained just after 6 a.m. in Glasgow as part of an "intelligence-led" operation into the Swedish attack.

Taimour Abdulwahab, an Iraqi-born Swede who went to university in Britain, killed himself and injured two others in a suicide attack in a busy shopping street in the Swedish capital.

HUNGARY

Rights group hits revised media law

VIENNA, Austria | Hungary's revised media law can still be used to clamp down on the press and continues to violate international standards despite changes, Europe's main rights and security watchdog said on Tuesday.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe criticized the measure a day after Hungary's parliament amended the law, which already faced widespread complaints.

The European Union, which has threatened legal action if the law is left unchanged, said on Monday the amendments were satisfactory but implementation must be monitored. The row has overshadowed Hungary's current term as EU president.

Under the law, which took effect on Jan. 1, a new media authority dominated by appointees of the ruling Fidesz party will oversee all public news production. It can levy big fines on private media, which are required to be "balanced."

JAPAN

Prime minister taps former banker

TOKYO | Prime Minister Naoto Kan is preparing to make Takeaki Matsumoto, a member of the Japanese parliament, the country's new foreign minister, the Kyodo news agency said on Tuesday.

Japan's previous foreign minister, Seiji Maehara, resigned on Sunday after he admitted to taking political donations from a Korean national living in Japan in a blow to unpopular Mr. Kan as he struggles to pass budget bills in a divided parliament.

A graduate of the prestigious University of Tokyo's law faculty, Mr. Matsumoto is a former banker serving his fourth term in Japan's lower house of parliament

CENTRAL AMERICA

World court rules on Nicaragua-Costa Rica dispute

THE HAGUE | The International Court of Justice on Tuesday ordered both Costa Rica and Nicaragua to keep all military, police and civilian personnel out of a disputed border region along the San Juan River that separates the two Central American rivals.

Costa Rica had asked the court to bar Nicaraguan troops from the disputed region and order it to halt dredging and tree-cutting operations in the region where the San Juan River empties into the Atlantic Ocean.

Instead, the court ordered both Costa Rican and Nicaraguan forces out and told both countries to "refrain from any actions which might aggravate or extend the dispute."

COLOMBIA

President asks Congress to pass trade pact

BOGOTA | President Juan Manuel Santos on Tuesday called on the U.S. Congress to "keep their word" and approve a long-delayed free-trade deal with Washington's closest ally in Latin America.

The pact, already approved by Colombia, has been blocked by concerns among congressional Democrats about workers' rights and anti-union violence, angering the Andean nation that has received billions in U.S. aid to fight drug lords and rebels.

From wire dispatches and staff reports