Italy Begins Cull of Bacteria-infected Olive Trees in the South After EU Alarm, French Boycott

Forestry officials in southern Italy have cut down the first of thousands of olive trees infected with a deadly bacteria in a controversial bid to prevent its spread. The xylella fastidiosa bacteria has ravaged Puglia's olive trees and contributed to a 35 percent drop in the region's olive oil production last year. Its spread has so alarmed the EU that France announced a boycott of Puglian vegetables. Several dozen protesters tried unsuccessfully Monday to block the first seven trees from being felled in Oria, near Brindisi, even climbing the branches and shouting "assassins."