Sun, Nov 02, 2008 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ UNITED KINGDOM

Prisoners turn pagan

The number of prisoners who describe themselves as pagan has more than doubled in England and Wales since 2003, new government figures showed. Prison service guidelines say pagan prisoners may keep artifacts such as a hoodless robe and a flexible twig for use as a wand among their personal possessions. Naked worship, known as “skyclad,” is not allowed. The figures showed that 328 inmates listed themselves as pagan last year, up from 133 four years ago. The figures were released ahead of Halloween, a festival on which pagan prisoners will be allowed to choose not to work or attend education. Inmates are allowed to select two dates from a list of eight annual festivals when they are excused from work.

■ UNITED KINGDOM

Military official resigns

The head of the country’s special forces in Afghanistan has resigned, reportedly in disgust at equipment failures that he believes led to the death of four of his troops. Major Sebastian Morley, commander of Special Air Service troops in Afghanistan, accused the government of “chronic underinvestment” in equipment in his resignation letter, the Daily Telegraph reported on Saturday. He had repeatedly warned that people would be killed if military commanders and government officials continued to allow troops to be transported in the lightly armored Snatch Land Rover vehicles, it said. Four of his soldiers died in June when their Snatch Land Rover hit a land mine in Helmand Province. Morley believes they died needlessly, the newspaper said.

■ GERMANY

TV station for gays launches

The country’s first television station for gay men will go on air this week offering entertainment and news with homosexual themes via satellite and cable, the new TIMM channel said on Friday. The line-up will include popular series such as Queer as Folk, The L-Word and Absolutely Fabulous dubbed into German, as well as documentaries on gay stars or celebrities who are big in the gay community, such as Rupert Everett, Susan Sarandon and Liza Minnelli, the station said in a statement. With the slogan “We love men,” TIMM said it was aimed at the country’s estimated 3.6 million gay men and hoped to draw their family and friends, lesbians and a few “metrosexuals.” “TIMM enriches the existing television landscape with programming from and by the target group — simply for everyone who loves men,” it said.

■ EL SALVADOR

Presidents leave summit

Eight presidents left the Iberian American Summit in San Salvador before it closed on Friday, in a mass escape that made the gathering’s last day lackluster. Between midday Thursday and early Friday, the leaders of Brazil, Nicaragua, Argentina, Panama, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru and the Dominican Republic left San Salvador. The presidents of Venezuela, Cuba and Uruguay directly skipped the summit. Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva missed the opening ceremony late on Wednesday and left after the first session of debate, at midday on Thursday. He traveled to Cuba for a visit of less than 24 hours. On Thursday, the countries meeting in San Salvador demanded a greater presence in global financial decisions at a time of crisis. Spain, Brazil, Mexico, Chile and Argentina, among other countries, called for a fairer multilateral world order that would take into account the views of emerging countries.

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