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Italian Authorities Charge 15 Detainees as Possible Terrorists

THE WASHINGTON POST -- ROME

Following a tip from U.S. naval intelligence officers, Italian authorities last month seized a ship carrying 15 suspected terrorists off the island of Sicily, Italian officials said Thursday. The men, identified by Italian authorities as Pakistanis, were charged on Thursday with “association” to commit terrorist acts.

One hint for Italian investigators that the men were possibly terrorists was contained in coded notation found on the ship to someone “united in matrimony.”

“It’s a conventional reference to indicate membership in a terrorist organization,” prosecutor Francesco Messineo told reporters Thursday. He said that the 15, who’d been held since Aug. 5 in a detention camp in Sicily for illegal immigrants, probably belong to Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida network.

“We are certain that these people are part of a terrorist organization and we are almost certain that the organization is al-Qaida,” said Santi Giuffre, police chief of Caltanisetta, where the group is being held.

Late Interest May Save Napster From Liquidation

LOS ANGELES TIMES -- LOS ANGELES

Several last-minute bidders have said they are willing to pay millions for the assets of Napster Inc., surprising expressions of interest that may well rescue the bankrupt company from liquidation.

At a hearing Friday, a committee of creditors is expected to ask a Wilmington, Del., bankruptcy judge to put off the planned liquidation and appoint a trustee or interim CEO during another auction.

“The company is making substantial progress, and in view of that, we’re hopeful the court will give the parties more time,” said Carey Ramos, an attorney for songwriters and music publishers.

A Napster representative declined to comment. The dormant song-swapping firm’s CEO laid off all but two or three employees and resigned last week after the judge blocked a Napster asset sale to German media conglomerate Bertelsmann AG.

The Napster creditors have been asking potential bidders to offer at least $6 million for the technology, brand name and Internet address of what was once one of the most popular services on the Internet.

“I have seen one written bid, and I am told we can expect two or three more,” said Rick Antonoff, who represents the creditors.

The identities of the most serious new suitors couldn’t be learned on Thursday. Antonoff and another person briefed on the situation said the highest bid was for more than $9 million.

“They are getting serious expressions of interest,” the second person said.