Fri, Aug 06, 2004 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Canada

Russian subs to be scrapped

Canada has agreed to spend US$18.3 million (C$24.4 million) to help Russia scrap three Cold War-vintage nuclear submarines, Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew announced on Wednesday. The agreement says Canada will eventually help dismantle 12 of the Victor-class subs at a cost of more than US$75 million (C$100 million). "Spent nuclear fuel in Russian submarine reactors presents an international security risk and an environmental threat to the Arctic and Barents Sea," Pettigrew said. "Funding this initiative is a key element of our international security agenda."

■ United Kingdom

Kids say Gandalf beat Spain

Many British youngsters think J.J.R. Tolkien's wizard Gandalf, fictional sailor Horatio Hornblower or explorer Christopher Columbus led English forces that defeated the Spanish Armada in 1588, according to a survey published on Wednesday. Less than half identified Sir Francis Drake as a key figure in one of the most famous sea battles in British history, the poll for the BBC showed.

More than a fifth of 16- to 24-year-olds thought Britain had been conquered by the Germans, the Americans or the Spanish at some point, the poll found.

■ Saudi Arabia

Landmark polls postponed

The staging of municipal elections across Saudi Arabia, the first such polls here in decades, will begin in November instead of September as scheduled, the official Saudi Press Agency reported on Wednesday. SPA said the local council elections in the region of Riyadh, the capital, have been pushed back to November so as not to clash with the holy fasting month of Ramadan, which begins mid-October. Polls in other Saudi municipalities will be held over two stages late this year and early 2005 so they don't coincide with the hajj -- or pilgrimage -- season, which begins 40 days after Ramadan ends.

■ United Kingdom

Herpes could cure tumors

Scientists in the UK have been given the go-ahead for one of the biggest ever gene therapy trials to investigate whether a modified form of the cold sore virus could save people with brain tumors. The new treatment involves injecting a form of the herpes virus directly into the brain of patients with tumors. The virus has been altered genetically so that it replicates inside the cancer cells and kills them off, but leaves the normal brain cells unharmed. The first patients who received the treatment years ago are still alive today, despite being told at the time that they had only months to live.

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