World Digest


December 02, 2006

Pope's Turkish visit an apparent success

ISTANBUL, Turkey -- Pope Benedict XVI was greeted in Turkey with a lecture on how the Christian West scorns Islam. He left yesterday with Istanbul's chief Islamic cleric speaking lyrically of better days ahead between the faiths. Few predicted how boldly - and with such apparent success - the pontiff would seek to remake his battered image in the Muslim world during four days of speeches, sermons and symbolic gestures that included an instantly famous moment of silent prayer in a mosque while facing Mecca. The pope left without laying out clear ideas on how to follow through with his promises for greater understanding and dialogue with Muslims. He also put some sensitive demands on the table: wider protections and rights for Christian minorities in the Muslim world, including Turkey's tiny communities whose roots go back to the apostles.

U.N. drafts proposal to protect Somalia

UNITED NATIONS --The United States circulated a U.N. Security Council draft resolution yesterday that would authorize a regional force to protect Somalia's weak government and lift an arms embargo on the country to allow the troops to be armed. The draft would authorize a seven-nation East African group and the African Union to deploy "a protection and training mission in Somalia," and threaten Security Council action against those who block peace efforts and attempt to overthrow it. To ensure that the force's aim is to promote peace, European members of the Security Council demanded that Somalia's neighbors be barred from participating in the force.

Device being set up to detect tsunamis

CAPE PANWA, Thailand --A Thai ship set sail yesterday to deploy the Indian Ocean's first high-tech tsunami detection and warning device, a step toward preventing a repeat of the catastrophic loss in the 2004 tsunami. The ship, which departed the island of Phuket, will sail to a spot about 700 miles west of the Thai coast near the Nicobar Islands, where it will deploy tomorrow what is known as the Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunamis, or DART, system. The DART buoy, a sophisticated measurement and communications device developed by the U.S. government, will be the first of its kind in the Indian Ocean. It will ensure that residents of the area's coastal regions get at least an hour's warning of an impending tsunami.

Chavez revs up effort to get out the vote

CARACAS, Venezuela --Recorded bugles blared from loudspeakers in city plazas yesterday as President Hugo Chavez's party mobilized a get-out-the-vote campaign, handing out fliers and preparing fleets of motor scooters to ferry voters from slums to polling centers. It is all part of a highly coordinated effort to secure a sweeping re-election tomorrow for Chavez, who says he wants to win 10 million votes in a country with just 16 million registered voters. His opponent, the veteran opposition leader Manuel Rosales, calls the vote a choice between democracy and an increasingly authoritarian Cuba-style system.

Experts reconstruct Leonardo fingerprint

ROME --Anthropologists said they have pieced together Leonardo da Vinci's left index fingerprint - a discovery that could help provide information on such matters as the food the artist ate and whether his mother was of Arab origin. The reconstruction of the fingerprint was the result of three years of research and could help attribute disputed paintings or manuscripts, said Luigi Capasso, an anthropologist and director of the Anthropology Research Institute at Chieti University in central Italy. The research was based on photographs of about 200 mostly partial fingerprints taken from about 52 papers handled by Leonardo over his lifetime.

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