Sun, Jul 24, 2005 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take


■ United Kingdom
Polanski wins libel suit

Filmmaker Roman Polanski on Friday won his libel suit against the publisher of Vanity Fair magazine over an article that accused him of propositioning a woman while on the way to the funeral of his murdered wife. Polanski, director of Rosemary's Baby, Chinatown and The Pianist, was awarded US$87,000 in damages. The jury of nine men and three women took 4 1/2 hours to reach their unanimous verdict at London's High Court. "It goes without saying that whilst the whole episode is a sad one, I am obviously pleased with the jury's verdict today," Polanski, 71, said in a statement.

■ France

Language test pushed

Immigrants may have to pass a French language test if they want long-term residence rights in the country, a junior social affairs minister said Friday. In a further tightening of already strict immigration laws, Catherine Vautrin, the state secretary for social cohesion and women's rights, said the French government aimed to create "a link" between linguistic competence and the granting of a 10-year residence permit. "We want to encourage as much as possible the integration of new arrivals," she said. "At present there is no language requirement, and I believe one is necessary."

■ Poland

Boy wreaks havoc at bank

A 10-year-old boy caused havoc at a bank in southern Poland when he dropped a fake bomb threat in a deposit box, apparently as a protest after his mother received slow service, police said Thursday. Officers evacuated the bank in the city of Chorzow on Wednesday after an employee found a note threatening to "kill everyone with a bomb" if the bank did not hand over 50,000 zlotys (US$14,600) within 24 hours. "It turned out to be a 10-year-old boy who had been in the bank the day before with his mother ... apparently he was motivated by impatience at the length of time it took for her to complete formalities," said police spokesman Piotr Bieniak.

■ Peru

Corpse-hunters go online

Wanted by Friday: Female corpse, price US$640. A Peruvian state university has posted an advertisement on a government Web site offering 2,070 soles (US$640) for a corpse for its medical students to practice on, despite the fact that buying and selling cadavers is illegal. The macabre want ad was posted on the site of the Center for the Promotion of Small and Micro Businesses (, where state institutions are required to publish tenders for supplies to ensure transparency.

■ United Kingdom

King's cure made him worse

Far from making him better, the medication used to treat the madness of England's King George III may actually have made him worse, according to research published Friday. One of the longest serving British monarchs who ruled for nearly 60 years, George had five very public bouts of madness culminating in his death -- blind, deaf and insane in January 1820. The generally accepted theory has been that his fits of insanity were due to a genetic disorder that caused variegate porphyria. Now a team of scientists from Britain and Australia have found high concentrations of arsenic in samples of the king's hair and suggested it came from the antimony-based medicine administered -- sometimes by force -- to cure him.

■ Canada
Drug tunnel raided

Three people have been arrested after police raided a sophisticated tunnel intended to smuggle drugs under the US-Canada border between Vancouver and Seattle. The smugglers spent more than a year building the 360-foot (110m) tunnel that ran from a Quonset hut-style storage building in the rural Aldergrove neighborhood of Langley, British Columbia, to the living room of a home in Lynden, Washington. "It was well built, probably one of the most sophisticated tunnels we've ever seen," said a US narcotics agent. Investigators said it was the first time a drug smuggling tunnel had been found on that border.

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