Tue, Jun 29, 2004 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Saudi Arabia

Militant surrenders

One of the kingdom's most wanted men surrendered yesterday, relatives said, the second Islamic militant to take advantage of an official amnesty offer for al-Qaeda supporters. Ex-army soldier Othman Hadi al-Maqbul al-Aamri, 37, gave himself up at his home village of Beni Amr after two years on the run, the family said. His name figures at number 19 on the Interior Ministry's most wanted list. Al-Qaeda extremists were offered the amnesty if they turned themselves in within a month and warned that those who did not would face a harsh crackdown. The amnesty guarantees personal safety and the dropping of all charges for those who repent. It reserves the right of indivi-duals harmed by terror acts to either seek redress through the courts or waive any claims.

■ United Kingdom

Phones affect sperm

Men who carry mobile phones in their trouser pockets may be at risk of damaging their sperm count, according to research by Hungarian scientists. Full details of the study will be presented at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology conference in Berlin today. Early reports have attracted skepticism from other scientists who pointed to the contradictory results of other work on the subject. Researchers from the University of Szeged in Hungary said they found that not only did using the phone affect a man's sperm count and the motility of the sperm, but simply having it switched on in a pocket was enough to do damage.

■ United Kingdom

Menopause formula found

Experts in Scotland have developed a formula to predict when a woman's biological clock will stop ticking.The pioneering method allows doctors to calculate when the meno-pause is likely to begin by counting the number of eggs in a woman's ovaries and charting their decline. With a simple ultrasound scan, doctors will be able to use math and computer analysis to work out when the ovaries will stop producing eggs.

■ Saudi Arabia

Talk show leads to divorce

A Saudi man has divorced his wife for participating in a TV program by telephone after he had warned her against phoning in to talk shows, a newspaper reported on Sunday. Khadija Fares, 31, told Al-Watan that her husband of 12 years annulled their marriage after she expressed her point of view on "marital problems" in a TV program. Afterwards her husband ignored her for two days before conveying his decision to divorce her through her family, the daily said.

■ European Union

President finally chosen

Jose Manuel Durao Barroso, the Portuguese prime minister, was confirmed Sunday night as the next president of the European commission, ending a bitter row between Britain and its French and German partners which underscored the tension in the EU about the way ahead for an enlarged union. Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, holder of the union's rotating presidency, said the Portuguese conservative had been "overwhelmingly" approved by EU leaders to replace Romano Prodi. Durao Barroso, 48, is little known outside his own country. He proved acceptable because no one objected to him rather than for any special talent or vision of how to run the union's demoralized executive and manage its often troubled relations with the member states.

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