World Briefs | Gates backing birth control
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LONDON -- The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will spend more than $1 billion over the next eight years to help boost access to contraceptives in the developing world and research new methods of birth control.
Melinda Gates made the announcement Wednesday at a family planning summit in London chaired jointly by her Seattle-based foundation and the British government.
The new funding level represents a doubling of Gates Foundation spending for family planning and puts the topic on a par with some of the foundation's other top priorities, including work on vaccines and treatments for malaria, tuberculosis and HIV. Giving women access to contraceptives will reduce unwanted pregnancies, slash the number of women who die in childbirth and reduce abortions, Ms. Gates said..
The London summit exceeded its goal of raising $4.3 billion in pledges from nations, foundations and companies to make contraceptives available to an additional 120 million women in the poorest parts of the world.
ISLAMABAD -- Bureaucratic delays have held up shipments to troops in Afghanistan through Pakistan, officials said Wednesday, a week after Islamabad reopened U.S. and NATO supply lines.
So far, only a handful of supply trucks have crossed the border, which Pakistan closed to the convoys last November after American airstrikes accidentally killed 24 Pakistani border troops. Islamabad agreed to reopen the supply routes on July 3, after months of negotiations and a U.S. apology over the incident.
Two trucks carrying supplies to U.S. and NATO troops passed through the Chaman border crossing in the southern province of Baluchistan last Thursday. A Pakistani customs official said no other trucks have crossed since then.
Four trucks from the port city of Karachi arrived at the border Wednesday and were expected to cross on Thursday, the official said. Chaman is one of two border crossings used to transport NATO supplies.
Since the official resumption of the supply route, not a single fuel truck has left either of the two main ports in Karachi, said Israr Shinwari, president of the All Pakistan Tankers Association.
He blamed bureaucracy for the delay, saying that procedures and paperwork must be completed before goods and fuel can even be loaded on the trucks. Security also appeared to play a role in the delay.
SANAA, Yemen -- A suspected al-Qaida suicide bomber detonated his explosives among a crowd of Yemeni police cadets as they were leaving their academy Wednesday, killing at least 10 of them, according to security officials.
The Interior Ministry said al-Qaida was behind the bombing, which struck in the capital Sanaa. Security officials said 20 cadets were wounded, including three critically. They were leaving the Police Academy for a weekend with families when the bomber hit at the facility's southern gate.
Twelve suspects were arrested in connection with the bombing, according to security officials. There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but al-Qaida's branch in the impoverished nation on the southern tip of the Arabian peninsula frequently targets security forces.
BEIJING -- The woman who was forced to undergo a grisly late-term abortion in northwest China, an action that prompted a broad public outcry over family planning policy, will receive a cash settlement from the local government, her husband said Wednesday.
The authorities have already fired two officials, sanctioned another five and issued a formal apology in the case, a measure of the impact of the furor channeled on the Internet.
Deng Jiyuan said the local government agreed to pay $11,200.
Mr. Deng's wife, Feng Jianmei, was seven months pregnant when she was forced to undergo the abortion by chemical injection because the family could not afford the fine for having a second child. China limits ethnic Chinese families to one child, but the local authorities often allow a second if a fine is paid.
HONG KONG -- An American imprisoned in Thailand for insulting the king has been released after being granted a royal pardon, the man's lawyer and a U.S. Embassy spokesman said Wednesday.
The American, Joe Gordon, left Remand Prison in Bangkok late Tuesday, according to his lawyer, Anon Numpa, who said King Bhumibol Adulyadej approved the pardon Monday. Mr. Numpa said his client was likely to return to the United States but gave no time frame.
Mr. Gordon was sentenced to two and a half years in prison last December after being convicted of translating and posting online portions of a book, "The King Never Smiles," that is banned in Thailand. In the book, a biography of King Bhumibol, the author Paul M. Handley accuses the king of consolidating royal power during his reign and slowing the development of democracy in Thailand.
Mr. Gordon, 56, was born in Thailand -- his Thai name is Lerpong Wichaicommart -- but he had lived in the United States for the past three decades before his arrest in May of last year during a visit to Thailand. He was living in the United States when he put portions of the book on the Web.
LONDON -- British police have arrested two more suspects linked to phone hacking, revealing a widening of the investigation into tactics used by British media outlets.
The new suspects are reported to be journalists from newspapers not owned by News Corp., which previously has been the focus of the investigation.
Scotland Yard, London's central police station, said Wednesday that two men were arrested as part of an inquiry into allegations of inappropriate payments to police and public officials regarding phone-tapping.
While the police did not reveal their identities, the two were quickly named in the press as Justin Penrose, a 37-year-old journalist from the Daily Mirror tabloid, and Tom Savage, 34, deputy news editor from the Daily Star Sunday, another popular tabloid.
LONDON -- The spires of historic University of Oxford have been forbidding to many poorer British families, even before the government tripled tuition fees at the end of 2010 in an austerity measure that prompted days of violent protests.
But on Wednesday, Oxford announced a $115 million donation from an alumnus, Michael Moritz, a major Silicon Valley venture capitalist, as the cornerstone of a $460 million fund dedicated to reducing the prospect of fearsome debt for the disadvantaged who manage to enter its elite doors. The first 100 scholarships are to be awarded in the fall, when the higher fees will begin.
The new scholarships will allow students from families whose income is less than about $25,000 a year to attend Oxford, for $5,400 a year, including living expenses -- an amount equal to the university's tuition before it was driven up to almost $14,000. That effectively reduces their future debt, as students cover their tuition with government loans, to be repaid only after they start earning more than $32,000 a year.
First Published July 12, 2012 12:00 am