Thu, Feb 16, 2006 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ United Kingdom

Smoking ban passed

Smoking is to be banned in virtually all public places including restaurants, pubs and clubs after a landmark parliamentary vote passed by a significant majority, reports said yesterday. The "historic" ban, expected to come into force in 2007, will mean that "a further 600,000 people will give up smoking and millions more will be protected from passive smoking," said Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt following the vote. Some 384 parliamentarians, among them Prime Minister Tony Blair, voted for the total smoking ban, blasted by opponents as "draconian."

■ Israel

Dalai Lama visit angers PRC

China is "furious" at Israel for not preventing a visit by the Dalai Lama, Israel Radio reported yesterday. The radio quoted the Chinese consul in Tel Aviv, Lu Chin, as telling the station that the Chinese government had asked Israel to prevent the visit. He said Israeli officials had promised China that no state meetings with the exiled Tibetan ruler would be scheduled. China appreciated this, but it was "not enough," Chin said. The Dalai Lama was due to arrive in Israel yesterday and address symposiums at Tel Aviv University and the Ben Gurion University in the southern desert city of Beersheba.

■ Venezuela
US missionaries must go

Venezuela's Supreme Tribunal on Tuesday rejected a request by US missionaries to remain in remote Indian communities while awaiting the outcome of an appeal against an order for them to leave the areas. Last November, Venezuela's Interior Ministry gave the New Tribes Mission three months to leave areas where it has been working with indigenous communities after President Hugo Chavez accused the group of destroying Indians cultures and conducting reconnaissance for the CIA. The New Tribes Mission, based in Sanford, Florida, has appealed the government expulsion order, but the Supreme Tribunal has yet to rule on the appeal.

■ Canada

Students opt for virtual sex

Call it a sexual revolution of the virtual kind -- young Canadians are practicing a new style of safe sex and the only touching required involves a keyboard. Of more than 2,500 university and college students polled across the country, 87 percent of them are having sex over instant messenger, Web cams or the telephone, according to results of a national survey released on Monday. "We were very surprised," Noah Gurza, a founder of Toronto-based CampusKiss.com, an online dating community for students, which commissioned a Canadian CampusKiss & Tell Survey.

■ United States

Unit suspected terrorist

Pre-Sept. 11 intelligence conducted by a secret military unit identified terrorist ringleader Mohamed Atta 13 different times, a US congressman said. During a Capitol Hill news conference on Tuesday, Representative Curt Weldon, a Republican, said the unit -- code-named "Able Danger" -- also identified ``a problem'' in Yemen two weeks before the attack on the USS Cole. It knew the problem was tied into the port of Aden and involved a US platform, but the ship commander was not made aware of it, Weldon said.

■ United States

Pets enjoy birthday parties

They already have their own designer clothes, health insurance and therapists. Now more and more US pets are enjoying their own birthday parties. A surprising number of pet owners host parties -- complete with party hats, cake and guests -- for their dogs, cats and birds, according to a survey released on Monday by California-based Veterinary Pet Insurance. The firm reported that 58 percent of its policyholders who responded said they had hosted birthday bashes for their pets. Three Dog Bakery, a specialty store in upscale Newport Beach, California, gets about 20 requests a week for pet birthday cakes.

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