Blair sends Lockerbie letter
Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi says British Prime Minister Tony Blair has written to him saying outstanding issues from the Lockerbie bombing are almost resolved, Sky News TV reported Friday. Sky News said Qaddafi told the channel he had received a letter from Blair in the past few weeks. "This file [on the Lockerbie bombing], is, you know going to be closed very soon," Qaddafi said in an interview. Libya's Foreign Minister Abdel-Rahman Shalqam said in April that Libya accepted "civil responsibility" for the 1988 explosion of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, and was willing to pay US$2.7 billion in compensation in return for the lifting of UN and US sanctions and Washington's removal of Libya from its list of states sponsoring terrorism.
Aid for cattle industry
Responding to a mad cow disease scare that has led 35 countries to block Canadian beef exports, government officials on Friday announced additional aid for the beleaguered cattle industry. Three provinces -- Alberta, Ontario and Saskatchewan -- will give a combined US$157 million to their beef producers, officials said. Those funds will augment US$136 million in federal aid. The crisis began after the discovery of a single case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in Northern Alberta on May 20. That announcement prompted key international trading partners to shut their borders to exports of Canadian beef and cattle.
Don't talk about it
Viagra makers may not even raise the subject of erectile dysfunction after a ban by Brazilian health authorities. Viagra makers had flouted a ban on prescription drug ads by paying soccer legend Pele to hint around about sexual performance. "Eli Lilly, Bayer and Pfizer are specifically suspended from advertisements ... that mention erectile difficulty or sexual performance," the national health agency said in a statement. The authorities want to restrict any "stimulus to consume" products sold by prescription.
■ United States
Bambi safe in Vegas
A promoter who offered to take men on "Hunting for Bambi" safaris in which they could hunt down naked young women with paintball guns admits that it was a hoax and now faces misdemeanor charges, the mayor said. Promoter Michael Burdick could get six months in jail and a US$1,000 fine for operating without a proper business license, Mayor Oscar Goodman said on Friday. "I'll do everything I can to see this man is punished for trying to embarrass Las Vegas," Goodman said. Burdick found himself in the crosshairs of women's groups after he told a Las Vegas TV station that he was selling reservations to men willing to pay US$5,000 to US$10,000 to hunt down naked women in the desert.
Polish force arrives
An advance guard of Polish troops has arrived in Iraq to form the nucleus of the 9,000-strong international division which will shortly assume peacekeeping duties in the center of the country. The postwar reinforcements bring together an extraordinary alignment of countries, mainly close allies of the US, from eastern Europe, central America and Asia. Even Mongolia and Fiji are participating. The deployments are being made as Washington steps up efforts to persuade friendly countries to share the burden of preserving order in Iraq. Turkey is being sounded out as part of a wider drive to repair frayed relations between Ankara and Washington.