Sat, Nov 29, 2008 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ GERMANY

Fish sex is electric business

Sex among electric fish in the Congo River is a rather charged business, a new study reporting on an unusual experiment showed. Mormyrids are fish that use low-voltage discharges from an electrical organ to hunt for food. Intrigued as to how these unusual creatures locate each other for reproduction in almost zero visibility, a German team replicated the mood for mormyrid love in a tank on the outskirts of Berlin. “All males showed a kink in their anal fin base indicating sexual maturity,” the study recounted, a touch breathlessly. The females, were placed at night in the middle of a large tank with a small zone at either end that was sectioned off with a grill. The results of the study showed that the females showed the same interest in the right electric signals as they did for a male from their own species, suggesting that — as in human love — it’s the electricity that counts.

■ NEW ZEALAND

Hand wash plea fails to wash

A surgeon who blamed the alcoholic hand wash he used to scrub up after operations for failing a breathalyzer test was convicted yesterday of a drunk-driving charge, news reports said. Ian Denholm, 53, head of orthopedic surgery at Wairarapa Hospital, north of Wellington, said he had only two glasses of wine and blamed an extraordinary ability to absorb alcohol in the hand wash gel because of eczema for putting him over the limit. His not guilty plea failed to wash with Judge Stephen Harrop at the Wellington District Court who fined him NZ$500 (US$275) and banned him from driving for six months.

■ NETHERLANDS

Internet baby placed in care

A Belgian baby bought over the Internet for adoption by a Dutch couple must be placed in the temporary care of the Dutch authorities, a court ruled on Thursday. Media reported that the couple bought the boy in July from a Belgian couple in Ghent. One TV report said between 5,000 and 10,000 euros (US$6,450 to US$12,900) was paid. The Dutch couple denies buying the baby, saying on Dutch TV that they only paid the pregnancy costs incurred by the parents. The court said the couple had broken the laws for adopting foreign children and had to hand the baby over to child welfare authorities.

■ MALAYSIA

Christian sues government

A Christian is suing the government for allegedly violating her religious rights after airport officials seized Christian educational CDs that she brought from Indonesia, the woman’s lawyer said. Customs authorities confiscated eight CDs from Jill Ireland when she flew back to Kuala Lumpur on May 11 after a trip to Jakarta, her lawyer Annou Xavier said late on Thursday. The Home Ministry informed her in a letter that the CDs were seized mainly because their cover titles contained the word “Allah,” which is prohibited in non-Muslim religious material, Xavier said.

■ FRANCE

Sikh loses license battle

The European Court of Human Rights on Thursday dismissed a case brought by a French Sikh man who wanted to wear a turban on his driving license photograph in breach of French rules. Shingara Mann Singh, 52, a French national, lost a series of appeals in France against the refusal by authorities to issue a new license with a photograph of him wearing a turban. In a statement, it recognized that the rule on photographs “amounted to interference with the exercise of the right to freedom of religion,” but judged that this was justified.

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