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In brief: Three Europeans kidnapped in Libya

CAIRO – Three Europeans working for an Italian construction company have been abducted in western Libya, officials said Sunday.

The Italian Foreign Ministry confirmed that Marco Vallisa had been kidnapped Saturday in the western town of Zuwara, near the Tunisian border.

A Libyan security official said the other two men were from Bosnia and Macedonia. Representatives of the Piacentini Costruzioni construction company in Italy could not be reached immediately for comment.

Authorities have arrested a Libyan man suspected of involvement in the kidnappings, the Libyan official said.

Egypt’s president targets deficit

CAIRO – Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi decreed an increase in sales tax on cigarettes, beer and wine, the latest in a series of price hikes that aim to ease the country’s staggering budget deficit.

The decision announced Sunday increases a flat tax on local and imported cigarettes to between 25 and 40 cents per pack, depending on the brand. It doubles an already existing tax on beer, from 100 percent to 200 percent, and increases the tax on local and imported wines to 150 percent.

Mobster honored in defiance of pope

ROME – In apparent defiance of Pope Francis, a church procession detoured from its route through a southern Italian town to honor a convicted mobster under house arrest.

Interior Minister Angelino Alfano on Sunday denounced the tribute in Oppido Mamertina, a Calabrian town and ’ndrangheta crime syndicate stronghold, as “deplorable and disgusting.”

On June 21, Francis, visiting Calabria, had denounced the ’ndrangheta for its “adoration of evil” and said its members were excommunicated.

The July 2 procession included clergy, the mayor, parents pushing baby strollers and dozens of local men carrying on their shoulders an ornate Madonna statue.

’Ndrangheta, a global cocaine trafficker, is one of the world’s more powerful crime syndicates.