NIGERIA

Militants blow up oil pipelines

Militants blew up strategic gas and crude pipelines belonging to Shell and Agip on Saturday in an increasingly fierce campaign that has chopped Nigeria’s oil production in half, militants and residents said. A new militant group, calling itself the Niger Delta Avengers, reported in social media that they had dynamited the trunkline linking the Dutch-British Shell company’s Bonny terminal and the Brass export terminal of the Italian company Agip. A local community leader confirmed the attack.

Greece

Putin aims to renew ties

Russian President Vladimir Putin visited a Russian Orthodox monastery Saturday on the northern Greek peninsula of Mount Athos as part of a two-day visit touted by the Greek government as a chance to improve ties between the two countries. He praised the spiritual uplift and moral guidance provided by the austere monastic community in a sacred place. Putin said the Orthodox tradition is particularly important at this moment in history. “Today, as we resurrect the values of patriotism, historical memory and traditional culture, we hope for ... a strengthening of relations” with Mount Athos, he said. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had said the Russian president’s visit was a chance to “upgrade” relations, which Greece hopes will mean more Russian investment and more Russian tourism.

NIGER

Boko Haram extremists killed

Niger’s army has killed at least 10 Boko Haram militants after they tried to attack a military post in the country’s southeast near its border with Nigeria. Col. Moustapha Michel Ledru said Saturday that three soldiers were also wounded in fighting in the Diffa region between Niger’s military and the Nigeria-based Islamic extremists. He said the Boko Haram fighters retreated after the military fought back, taking arms and ammunition from the extremists.

FRANCE

Fuel shortages improve

France’s nationwide fuel shortages — the consequence of a bare-knuckle dispute over labor reforms which have pit militant unions against the government — are easing amid signs that both sides may be seeking a compromise. Fuel shortages that have led to long lines at the pump are dissipating, the country’s junior transport minister said Saturday, although he warned that the crisis wasn’t over and unions, including the far left CGT, have promised even more dramatic action this upcoming week.

Compiled from wire reports