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Beset by kidnappers, nation will reinstate death penalty

MANILA, Philippines (AP) -- President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo lifted a moratorium on the death penalty Thursday and said the first executions would be of kidnappers.

In a nationally televised news conference, Arroyo said criminals have been emboldened by her suspension of the death penalty after she took office in January.

She said she ordered the Justice Department "to study how the cases against kidnappers could be sped up so that they could be executed as soon as possible."

A crime watchdog group has counted 93 kidnappings between January and September in which 202 people have been abducted, including three Americans and 17 Filipinos seized in May by the Muslim extremist group Abu Sayyaf.

The group estimated that kidnapping gangs have collected about $2.75 million in ransom.

In a recent incident, a Chinese-Filipino businesswoman and her police bodyguard were killed by their kidnappers shortly after her family and the kidnappers failed to agree to a ransom amount. Their bodies were dumped by a roadside in a northern Manila suburb.

Opponents of widening road cite threat to Stonehenge

LONDON (AP) -- Plans to widen a road near Stonehenge could damage Britain's famous circular stone monument, opponents of the project said Thursday.

Environmental and archaeological groups complained in a joint news release that the giant stones on Salisbury Plain in southern England will suffer if the government widens the nearby A303 road into a two-lane highway.

In plans released this week, the government proposed three miles of cuts and shallow tunnels through countryside near the stones. The road would pass less than 350 feet from Stonehenge, a designated World Heritage Site.

"It is scandalous to propose carving a huge trench through one of the best-known and most important archaeological landscapes in the world," said Kate Freeman of the environmental group Friends of the Earth.

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