Sat, Oct 28, 2006 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Canada

Girl, 12, accused of murder

A 12-year-old girl and three other teens have been charged with the second degree murder of a woman who was beaten to death in Winnipeg. Police said in a release on Thursday that they had arrested and charged the girl along with two 14-year-old girls and a 15-year-old boy. Police allege the group punched and kicked the 34-year-old victim, who was found suffering from life-threatening injuries during the early hours of last Saturday. She later died in hospital.

■ United Kingdom

`Sexsomnia' baffles

Researchers are struggling to understand a rare medical condition where sufferers unknowingly demand, or actually have, sex while asleep, New Scientist magazine reported on Wednesday. Research into sexsomnia -- making sexual advances towards another person while asleep -- has been hampered as sufferers are so embarrassed by the problem they tend not to own up to it, while doctors do not ask about it. Most researchers view sexsomnia as a variant of sleepwalking, where sufferers are stuck between sleep and wakefulness, though sexsomniacs tend to stay in bed rather than get up and walk about. Sleepwalking affects 2 percent to 4 percent of adults, but sexsomnia is not thought to be as common a problem, according to Nik Trajanovic, a researcher at the sleep and alertness clinic at Canada's Toronto Western Hospital.

■ United States

Rat salad sparks lawsuit

Dallas Cowboys assistant coach Todd Haley is suing a McDonald's restaurant in Texas, claiming his wife and their au pair found a dead rat in a salad they took home to eat. The lawsuit seeks US$1.7 million in damages, the Dallas Morning News reported on its Web site. Christine Haley and au pair Kathryn Kelley had eaten part of the salad purchased on June 5 at a McDonald's before the rat was discovered. They became violently ill and endured long-lasting physical injuries, the lawsuit said. The rodent was about 15cm long and was found on its back with its mouth opened, a family spokesman said.

■ United States

Next space tourist signed up

Hungarian-born Charles Simonyi, who made his fortune in computer software, will be the next tourist to the international space station. He is set to launch on March 9 aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft, according to Space Adventures, which arranged the trip through Russia's space agency. He would be the fifth space tourist to pay the Virginia-based company an estimated US$20 million to US$25 million for the privilege.

■ United Kingdom

Telescopes could find aliens

A new generation of ultra-powerful radio telescopes designed to peer into the origins of the universe could also be used to look for any radio or TV emissions by extraterrestrial civilizations, New Scientist says. TV and radio broadcasts are in the 50 to 400 megahertz range, which overlaps with the frequency range of between tens and hundreds of megahertz made by radio waves from hydrogen atoms forged in the early universe. Harvard University astrophysicists Abraham Loeb and Matias Zaldarriaga suggest that tell-tale spikes in the energy spectrum, which are made by broadcasts, could be discernible to telescopes such as the Low-Frequency Array (LOFAR) now being built in the Netherlands. These spikes, if they are ever picked up, could be used to unlock information from any alien world, the British magazine says in its latest issue.

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