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ITALY

Gadhafi touts Islam to women in Rome

ROME | Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi gave a lesson on Islam and copies of the Koran to a few hundred young Italian women Sunday as he arrived in Rome for his fourth visit in a year.

It was the second time the Libyan leader — who travels with female bodyguards and fancies himself a self-styled feminist — had staged such an event for Italian women, who were recruited by a modeling agency and paid an undisclosed sum to attend.

Michela, who asked that her last name not be used, told Associated Press Television News that three of the participants converted to Islam on the spot.

“It was a really beautiful meeting and went very well,” she said. “He is very easygoing and he gave us a copy of the Koran. Three girls converted [to Islam] during the ceremony. It was a beautiful event.”

UNITED KINGDOM

Oxford online phases out printed dictionary

LONDON | It has been in print for more than a century, but the Oxford English Dictionary — the authoritative guide to the English language — may be available only online in the future.

Oxford University Press, the publisher, said Sunday that burgeoning demand for the dictionary’s online version has far outpaced demand for the printed versions.

Publishers are doubtful that there will be a market for the printed form by the time the lexicographers behind the dictionary finish revising and updating the latest edition, a gargantuan task that will take many more years.

The online Oxford English Dictionary now gets 2 million hits a month from subscribers. About 30,000 of the current printed edition — a hefty 20-volume, 750 pound ($1,165) set published in 1989 — have sold.

“At present we are experiencing increasing demand for the online product,” a statement from the publisher said. “However, a print version will certainly be considered if there is sufficient demand at the time of publication.”

SPAIN

Socialists slash budget in bid to keep power

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