24 are killed in series of bombings, other attacks

KABUL - Roadside bombs and insurgent attacks killed at least 24 people in five separate attacks across Afghanistan as violence steadily rises during this year's spring fighting season, officials said Wednesday.

April has been the deadliest month so far this year for Afghan and foreign civilians and security forces. According to an Associated Press tally, 182 people have been killed in violence around the nation this month.


Gitmo hunger-strike count rises to 52 detainees

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE - Days after a violent clash between guards and prisoners, the U.S. military says a hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay is on the rise.

A military spokesman says 52 prisoners have been classified as hunger strikers as of Wednesday. That's up from 45 a day earlier. Navy Capt. Robert Durand said 15 prisoners are being force-fed to prevent dangerous weight loss and three have been hospitalized.

Prisoners have been on strike since early February to protest conditions and their indefinite confinement at the U.S. base in Cuba. The U.S. holds 166 men at the prison, most without charge.


Chinese fishing ship catches fire; 97 are saved

A Chinese factory fishing ship caught fire Wednesday just off the coast of Antarctica and 97 crew members were rescued by a nearby Norwegian vessel as Chile's military mobilized to prevent any environmental damage.

The crew members abandoned the burning Kai Xin and were taken aboard the Juvel about 34 miles from Chile's Bernardo O'Higgins research base near the northern tip of the Antarctic peninsula, Chilean officials said. The ship was not immediately at risk of sinking, and nearby vessels could tow it away from the Antarctic coast if necessary, officials said.


Poison-laced sandwiches send 25 to hospital

BERLIN - Twenty-five people have been hospitalized in Germany after eating sandwiches laced with rat poison, police said Wednesday.

So far none of those hospitalized has shown symptoms of illness, but they are being kept under observation as a precaution, said police spokesman Frank Soika. The sandwiches and a note saying they were a gift had been left on the doorstep of an auto parts company in the northwestern town of Steinfeld on Tuesday.

Employees helped themselves to the sandwiches before someone noticed a strange substance on them. A Berlin laboratory confirmed overnight that the food was sprinkled with rat poison.


20 strawberry pickers shot by foreman, cops say

ATHENS - At least 20 migrant strawberry pickers were shot and wounded in southern Greece on Wednesday in a pay dispute after a foreman opened fire on them with a shotgun, police said.

The incident occurred near the village of Manolada about 160 miles west of Athens. Police Capt. Haralambos Sfetsos said most of the wounded workers were from Bangladesh. He said the shooting occurred when about 200 workers at the strawberry field demanded six months' unpaid wages and "moved threateningly" toward three foremen, at least one of whom opened fire.

The owner of the site, who was not present at the time, has been detained for questioning while arrest warrants have been issued for three foremen, who are all Greek.

Wire reports