- - Wednesday, May 16, 2012

UNITED KINGDOM

LONDON — A top British defense official warned Wednesday that a cyberattack aimed at a NATO member could mobilize the entire 28-nation alliance to act against an aggressor.

Nick Harvey, secretary of state for the armed forces, told members of Parliament that NATO’s Article 5 could be invoked in the case of a cyberattack “the same way it might be invoked for a conventional attack.”

Article 5 provides for the collective defense of NATO members and states that an attack on one member is an attack on every member. It has only been invoked once - after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist strikes in the United States.

Lawmaker James Arbuthnot asked Mr. Harvey whether he believed NATO could have intervened in the 2007 cyberattacks against Estonia, an electronic onslaught which the tiny Baltic nation blamed on Russia.

“Potentially, yes,” Mr. Harvey replied.

YEMEN

Troops, warplanes strike al Qaeda strongholds

SANAA — Government troops and warplanes pounded al Qaeda positions in southern Yemen on Wednesday, killing at least 29 militants as part of a ramped up campaign against the terrorist group, military officials said.

Al-Qaeda-linked fighters have taken over a swath of territory and several towns in the south, including the Abyan provincial capital of Zinjibar, in the past year, pushing out government forces and setting up their own rule. In recent weeks, the army has launched a concerted effort to dislodge the militants from their strongholds and is closely coordinating with U.S. troops who are helping guide the operations from inside Yemen.

On Wednesday, Yemeni airstrikes hit a farm in Moudia, 25 miles east of the town of Lawder in Abyan, where al Qaeda fighters were holed up, killing at least 16 militants including top local commander Samir al-Fathani, officials said.

His brother, Abdel-Monem al-Fathani, was involved in the bombing of the USS Cole in October 2000 and was killed in a U.S. airstrike in Abyan in late January.

The fighting is part of a four-front offensive the military began Tuesday.

RUSSIA

Police arrest protesters in crackdown on dissent

MOSCOW — Russian police Wednesday arrested opposition demonstrators who had moved to a central Moscow square after authorities dispersed a protest camp that had occupied a park for nearly a week.

The Wednesday night detentions on Kudrinskaya Square were the latest in a broadening crackdown on the opposition.

Several hundred demonstrators had gathered at the square outside one of the city’s iconic Stalinist Gothic skyscrapers after an early morning police raid on activists who had set up a camp in a park in the center of Chistoprudny Boulevard.

Video from the square streamed by Ekho Moskvy radio’s website Wednesday night showed police forcing demonstrators into buses, while other protesters yelled angrily. There were no immediate figures available on how many arrests have been made.

HONDURAS

President offers reward in murder of journalist

TEGUCIGALPA — President Porfirio Lobo on Wednesday offered a reward of more than $150,000 for information leading to the killers of one of the country’s best-known journalists, whose body was found nearly a week after he was kidnapped.

“We are doing everything possible to get to the bottom of this and solve this crime,” Mr. Lobo said in a message broadcast on national television.

Police on Tuesday found the body of Alfredo Villatoro, who was news director for RHN radio, one of Honduras’ most important radio stations, in the capital city of Tegucigalpa.

Mr. Villatoro was found shot in the head and dressed in the uniform of an elite police force for unknown reasons. He had been in civilian clothing when seized on May 9, said Security Ministry spokesman Hector Ivan Mejia.

CANADA

Students storm university in protest over tuition

MONTREAL — Student protesters Wednesday stormed a university in Montreal in an effort to disrupt classes, as the Quebec provincial government deals with a standoff over rising tuition fees. One-third of Quebec students are on strike.

About 100 protesters marched through the University of Quebec, banging h drums and blowing whistles. In one classroom, protesters yelled, “Scab!,” at students inside.

The unrest over rising tuition has lasted 14 weeks and led to rioting and repeated demonstrations.

The provincial Cabinet was met Wednesday to discuss the possibility of adopting emergency legislation that reportedly includes financial penalties for people who have played a role in encouraging the protests.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports

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