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U.S., Italy partner to combat terrorism in ports

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Yesterday U.S. Ambassador to Italy David H. Thorne signed an agreement with Italian Customs Agency Director Giuseppe Peleggi to boost counter-terrorism efforts in Italian ports.

Their memorandum of understanding launched the MEGAPORTS Initiative in Italy, allowing for the use of nuclear material scanners in Italy's ports. The program works to identify radioactive substances hidden in shipping and cargo containers and has a goal of scanning 50 percent of all shipping traffic by 2015.

Since launching the program in 2003, the U.S. has signed similar agreements with 27 other countries, six of which are European Union members.

According to the Italian Embassy in Washington, D.C., such U.S.-Italy cooperation bears witness to the countries' joint commitment to combat terrorism worldwide.