Italian officials save southern olive trees from culling

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ROME (AP) — Prosecutors in Italy's south have issued a no-cull order for some of the region's olive trees, saying there's no clear evidence that they are infected with bacteria.

Prosecutors in Lecce, a town in Puglia, in the "heel" of the Italian peninsula, told reporters Saturday that a rapid drying-out afflicting some olive trees apparently isn't being caused by the xylella fastidiosa bacterium. A day earlier, they issued orders sparing such trees from being chopped down.

They say some dried-out olive trees show no sign of the bacterium, while other trees that aren't dried out are infected. So they say there is no reason to keep cutting down olive trees just because they have turned dry.

Alarmed over the bacterium sparked France to announced a boycott of vegetables from Puglia.

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