Wed, Jun 12, 2013 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

Agencies

UNITED STATES

Plan B restrictions scrapped

The US Department of Justice will scrap age restrictions on the sale of emergency contraception pills, making the morning-after pill available to women and girls without a prescription. The department said in a letter on Monday that it would comply with a court’s ruling to allow unrestricted sales of Plan B One-Step, withdrawing its appeal on the matter. The move closes a battle over the pill that has lasted over a decade, but could raise new controversy for US President Barack Obama. Until recently, the pill was only available without a prescription to women 17 and older who presented proof of age at a pharmacist’s counter.

BRUSSELS

‘Sick notes’ spark criticism

A tour operator is offering “sick notes” to families wanting to take their children on holiday before the end of the school term, in a tongue-in-cheek campaign that has drawn strong criticism from education authorities. “We are handing out free sick notes for the last week of June as we believe families should be able to go on holiday for the lowest possible price,” tour operator Neckermann said in a campaign launched on Sunday. Trips to popular destinations are very often cheaper ahead of the official start of summer school holidays on July 1. A spokesman for the travel group said it was clear the campaign was not meant seriously and Neckermann would not provide genuine sick notes.

SWEDEN

Men in skirts victorious

Male staff on a number of Stockholm’s commuter trains who wore skirts to work in protest have emerged victorious after their employer lifted a ban on wearing shorts, transport company Arriva said on Monday. About 15 male train drivers and other workers last week wore skirts on the suburban Roslagsbanan train service to circumvent the shorts ban, saying temperatures inside the carriages could reach 35°C on a sunny day. “We received so many suggestions from our staff, and we listened to them and decided to change our minds on this issue,” Arriva spokesman Tomas Hedenius said, one day after he said a dress code review would not be made until the fall.

CANADA

Star astronaut to retire

Astronaut Chris Hadfield says he is retiring from the space program and moving back to Canada after decades away from home. Hadfield gained international prominence during his recent six-month trip to the International Space Station, where he used social media to share experiments, photographs and a memorable music video. He announced on Monday that he is leaving the Canadian Space Agency next month. He will leave behind his longtime home in Houston, where he built his career as an astronaut.

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