- - Thursday, June 21, 2012

SWEDEN

STOCKHOLM — Security was ramped up at Sweden’s three nuclear power plants Thursday after explosives were found on a truck at the southwestern Ringhals atomic power station.

Police said they were investigating possible sabotage.

Sniffer dogs detected the explosives during a routine check Wednesday afternoon by security staff while the truck was in the power plant’s industrial area near its high-security enclosure.

Police declined to describe the amount or type of explosive material found.

Bomb technicians said the material lacked a detonating device, meaning there was no danger of an imminent explosion.

Four nuclear reactors are at Ringhals, 45 miles south of Sweden’s second-largest city, Goteborg. The plant is controlled by energy companies Vattenfall and E.ON.

NIGERIA

Sectarian violence claims at least 138 lives in five days

DAMATURU — At least 138 people have died since Sunday in sect-related violence in Nigeria, officials say, as the government fails to corral rising sectarian attacks that have fanned religious tensions in Africa’s most populous nation.

An email statement attributed to the radical Islamist sect Boko Haram and obtained by the Associated Press on Thursday said it launched multiple attacks in the city of Damaturu, which authorities say killed at least 40 people.

“We assure all that the success of the Damaturu operation is really a sign that very soon Allah will give us the chance of overthrowing this unjust and heathen government and replacing it with an Islamic system which is just,” the statement said in the local Hausa language.

It came two days after the group claimed responsibility for a trio of church bombings in the religious flash point state of Kaduna that left at least 21 dead, according to rescue officials.

The bombings sparked reprisals that have raised the overall toll to at least 98 dead, a rescue official involved in rescue efforts said Wednesday.

SWITZERLAND

Researchers’ data closing in on new particle

GENEVA — Scientists at the world’s largest atom smasher say they have reams of new data that will reveal with greater certainty whether they have glimpsed a long-sought theoretical particle that could help explain the origins of the universe.

A spokesman for CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research near Geneva, told the Associated Press on Thursday that scientists will release the new data early next month at a physics conference in Australia.

James Gillies said the hunt for the presumed Higgs boson is advancing in great secrecy because as researchers pore over the data “it’s not yet clear exactly what they’re seeing in it.”

The particle’s existence is theorized under the main particle physics theory that explains the Big Bang, and finding it would be considered an enormous scientific breakthrough.

INDIA

Two killed in large fire at government building

MUMBAI — Thousands of employees were evacuated Thursday from a seven-story government building as more than two dozen fire engines battled a major blaze that raged for several hours in India’s financial and entertainment capital.

Rescuers pulled two bodies from the gutted sixth floor of the Maharashtra state government headquarters in southern Mumbai, a state government official said on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to talk to reporters.

Earlier, T. P. Lahane, dean of the state-run J.J. Hospital in southern Mumbai, said 14 people were injured, and 10 of them were hospitalized. He also said one person was in critical condition.

ROMANIA

Ex-premier has surgery after shooting himself

BUCHAREST — A former Romanian former prime minister who shot himself in the neck hours after being sentenced to prison underwent successful surgery Thursday, bringing more high drama to a case that has sent shock waves through this Eastern European nation.

Adrian Nastase was rushed to the hospital Wednesday after shooting himself in apparent reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision that he must serve a two-year prison sentence on corruption charges.

The ruling made him the most senior Romanian politician to be sentenced to prison since the 1989 end of communism.

One of the most prominent politicians of the past two decades, Nastase had appealed a March 30 court ruling that sentenced him to prison for illegally raising funds for a failed presidential campaign. The Supreme Court upheld the sentence on Wednesday.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports