Thu, Feb 24, 2005 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ United Kingdom

Queen won't attend wedding

Queen Elizabeth II stunned royal observers yesterday by announcing she would not attend her son Prince Charles' civil wedding to Camilla Parker Bowles, with some declaring it a snub to an indecorous city hall ceremony. "The queen will not be attending the civil ceremony because she is aware that the prince and Mrs. Parker Bowles wanted to keep the occasion low-key," Buckingham Palace said. The palace said the British sovereign would however attend a subsequent blessing and prayer service after the wedding led by the head of the Church of England, the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.

■ Latvia

Escaped convict comes back

Finding life on the run as restrictive as life behind bars, a man who escaped from a minimum-security prison five years ago showed up at the prison doorstep asking to be let back in. Sergei M., who prison officials would not fully identify, turned himself in on Monday at the Vecumnieki penitentiary, 50km southeast of the capital, Riga, where he had escaped from in 1999 with 10 months left on his seven-year burglary sentence. Karlis Serzants, a prison spokesman, said Sergei had been living in Riga with his girlfriend and had worked illegally at various jobs, but was finding it hard to find work and evade the authorities. Sergei will serve the remaining 10 months of his burglary sentence and could face as long as three more years for his escape, Serzants said.

■ United Kingdom

Officials attend gum summit

Officials from some of the UK's largest cities met for a summit on chewing gum on Tuesday to consider plans for a tax on gum to fund cleaning the sticky sweet from streets. The delegates at the first national gum summit in London called for the tax -- ?0.01 (US$0.02) per packet of gum -- to help meet the costs of removing gum from sidewalks, trains and other public places.

■ Vatican

Pope's fifth book released

The Vatican on Tuesday officially released Pope John Paul II's fifth book in which he describes the attempt on his life in 1981, condemns the evil of terrorism and likens abortion to the Holocaust of the Jews. That comparison has infuriated Jewish groups, but German Cardinal Josef Ratzinger, who presented the book at a news conference, said the pontiff had been misunderstood. "The pope does not put the Shoa and abortion on the same level ... He calls our attention to the permanent temptations for humanity, and on the need to take care not to fall into the pitfalls of evil." The book, Memory and Identity was to go on sale in Italy yesterday for 16 euros (US$21).

■ United States

Official accused in naked run

A state prosecutor in Florida's island city of Key West is under arrest after he allegedly ran naked and drunk across a parking lot and hopped into the wrong car, a local daily said on Tuesday. Albert Tasker of the local state prosecutor's office told police he had been drinking with friends and thought it would be funny to take off his clothes and run to a friend's car in the parking lot, according to the Florida Keys Citizen. But Tasker, 28, apparently got into the back seat of the wrong car, much to the distress of the woman in the vehicle. She screamed and called her boyfriend who telephoned police.

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