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Air support to farms halted

THE Department of Agriculture has defended its decision to stand down air support providing emergency relief to stricken farmers in Northern Ireland.

Two RAF Chinooks and Irish Air Corps Agusta Westland helicopters were being used for essential food drops in parts of Antrim and Down where snow drifts topping 20ft had prevented farmers from reaching their animals.

A spokesman said efforts were now being refocused on the ground. "We have assessed the situation on a continuing basis and air support has been stood down for today."

War criminal to serve 45 years

A COURT in Bosnia has sentenced a Montenegrin man to 45 years in jail for murder, torture, rape and looting during Bosnia's 1992-95 war, the highest sentence ever issued in the country.

Judge Zoran Bozic said that Veselin Vlahovic killed 30 people, raped a number of Bosniak and Croat women and robbed non-Serb residents of a Sarajevo suburb while fighting for the Bosnian Serbs.

Vlahovic was extradited to Bosnia from Spain in 2010. He will appeal the sentence.

Suspect meat closes factory

Veterinary authorities have closed a slaughterhouse on suspicion it was selling meat from sick animals and others that were dead before arriving for slaughter.

Deputy regional veterinary inspector Tadeusz Kuligowski said that some 30 tons of undocumented and concealed meat have been found in the private slaughterhouse near Biala Rawska in central Poland.

The owner of the slaughterhouse was taken into custody but released on bail.

Rebels killed in two-day battle

AT LEAST a dozen Maoist rebels have been killed in a two-day gun battle between rival groups in eastern India.

Officers recovered the bodies of 12 rebels in the Jharkhand state.

They identified six of the dead as leading Maoist rebel leaders.

The rebels, who have been fighting the government for more than four decades, say they are inspired by Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Zedong.