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Atom-smasher physicist may be tied to al-Qaida

GENEVA — A physicist working at the world's largest atom smasher has been arrested on suspicion of links to al-Qaida, adding to the woes of the $10 billion project that ceased operation a year ago — just days after its celebrated start up.

The scientist, arrested in France, is suspected of involvement with al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, a French official said Friday. The North African group regularly targets Algerian government forces and occasionally attacks foreigners.

Volcano brings new misery to Montserrat

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Rock falls from a spewing volcano stirred up more volcanic ash Friday on the tiny Caribbean island of Montserrat, which lost half its population after a devastating eruption last decade.

Dozens of small earthquakes accompanied ash plumes that have billowed up 20,000 feet this week, prompting officials to distribute masks to residents, said James White Jr., acting director of the Disaster Management Coordination Agency.

A thin layer of volcanic residue now coats several northwestern towns, and ashfall is expected to continue, said Paul Cole, director of the Montserrat Volcano Observatory.

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