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May 1, 2012 at 6:30 AM
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Thieves: Sheep are in 'protective custody'

TRENT HILLS, Ontario, May 1 (UPI) -- The culprits behind the theft of 31 sheep slated to be culled in Canada due to suspected illness said the animals are in "protective custody."

The sheep, belonging to Montana Jones of Wholearth Farmstudio in Trent Hills, Ontario, were quarantined by Canadian Food Inspection Agency officials in January 2010 after a sheep sold to another ranch in 2007 was found to have died of the neurological disease scrapie, the Globe and Mail reported Monday.

Jones attempted to fight in court to have the quarantine lifted and prevent officials from having the animals culled, but the agency announced plans April 2 to have the 31 remaining sheep in the flock destroyed.

The sheep disappeared from the ranch this month, with a group calling itself the Farmers' Peace Corps taking responsibility in a note.

"We have taken the animals into protective custody until an alternative to killing has been found, or conclusive independent proof or clear evidence of disease has been proven. This has been done without the knowledge or participation of the owner," the note read.

Police said they were searching for the thieves and the flock.

Sarkozy campaign windows painted pink

LA ROCHELLE, France, May 1 (UPI) -- Members of French President Nicolas Sarkozy's UMP party said windows reserved for the group's campaign posters were painted pink by an unknown vandal.

Sally Chadjaa, a UMP National Assembly candidate from La Rochelle, said windows reserved for her party's campaign posters in the town were rendered opaque by the pink paint during the weekend, The Local.fr reported Monday.

Chadjaa called the window painting "pathetic and puerile."

"Eight days before the second round of presidential elections, this act is nothing more than an attempt to unsettle the UMP and Nicolas Sarkozy," she said.

Chadjaa said the pink paint "reminds you of the colors of a certain party," referring to the rival Socialist Party.

Protesters sprayed with holy water

MOSCOW, May 1 (UPI) -- Members of a Russian Orthodox organization used holy water to disperse dozens of protesters supporting jailed punk band Pussy Riot in downtown Moscow.

Members of the Union of Orthodox Banner Bearers dumped holy water on the protesters Sunday at the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow while chanting "no Sodom," RIA Novosti reported Monday.

The unsanctioned demonstration was in support of members of the all-female punk group Pussy Riot, who were arrested for playing a song against President-elect Vladimir Putin inside the cathedral in late February. The five band members performed the song, which they called a "punk prayer," next to the cathedral's main altar, which is off-limits to the public.

Each of the band members could face as much as seven years in jail if convicted on hooliganism charges.

Officials investigate Mussolini bus sign

ROME, May 1 (UPI) -- Officials with a Rome transport company said they were investigating after a display honoring World War II dictator Benito Mussolini was photographed on a bus.

The officials, with the ATAC company, said they were shown a picture of a bus display reading "Onore al Duce," which means "honor to Il Duce" (Mussolini's nickname), ANSA reported Monday.

The company said whoever was responsible for the display, if identified, will be reported to police for the "criminal" act.

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