Suspected Rebels Kill 34 Farmworkers In Coca-Growing Region of Colombia

BOGOTA, Colombia -- Suspected leftist rebels shot and killed at least 34 farmworkers early Tuesday at ranch in one of Colombia's biggest cocaine-producing regions.

The workers were sleeping in hammocks at the ranch near the town of La Gabarra, 310 miles northeast of the capital, Bogota, when a group of armed men burst through the doors at dawn, tied them up with the hammocks' ropes, and shot them with automatic weapons, said Taiz Ortega, mayor of La Gabarra. It was the deadliest violence in Colombia for at least a year.

Ortega said the motive was not immediately known, but that the attack appeared to have been carried out by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the country's largest guerrilla group.


* PARIS -- Electricity workers cut power to the French prime minister's house, occupied electric plants and marched in cities nationwide to protest government plans to partially privatize public utilities.

Protesters pulled the plug on Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin's private home in the western town of Chasseneuil-du-Poitou and took down his electric meter, a spokesman for the Communist-backed CGT union federation said.

Nationwide, strikers also reduced power production at nuclear and other plants by as much as 25 percent -- a typical protest operation that utility officials said posed no security hazards. The utility made up for the slack by using backup plants.

* OSLO -- A Norwegian prosecutor dropped all charges against the founder of Ansar al-Islam, a suspected terror group, citing a lack of evidence and fears that witness testimony in Iraq was coerced.

Mullah Krekar, 47, a refugee in Norway since 1991, had been in and out of custody on numerous charges, including financing terrorism and allegations that he plotted to kill rivals in northern Iraq between 2000 and 2001.

* BUCHAREST, Romania -- Romania passed a law banning foreign adoption, a move expected to end European Union concerns over corrupt bidding for babies.

The law was passed 15 years after the collapse of communism in the Balkan state that sent foreigners rushing to adopt from derelict orphanages crammed with 100,000 abandoned children.

The law makes permanent a moratorium placed on foreign adoptions in 2001 after pressure from the EU, which Romania hopes to join in 2007. The United States and other Western countries had criticized the moratorium, saying too many unwanted babies were growing up in institutions while a foreign family could be found for them.

The Americas

* TORONTO -- A Canadian man accused of being one of the world's biggest spammers has agreed to stop sending the junk messages and plans to educate children about the dangers of the Internet, the Toronto Globe and Mail reported.

In March, Yahoo! Inc. sued Eric Head, 25, his father and brother as part of a worldwide industry crackdown on hundreds of people sending unsolicited e-mail, or spam. Yahoo alleged that the three men ran a huge spamming operation and sent more than 94 million e-mails in one month alone to users of Yahoo's e-mail service.

-- From News Services