- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 20, 2004

NORWAY

Couple wants baby to save their son

OSLO — A campaign to save a 6-year-old boy with a life-threatening blood disorder looks likely to force the government to relax strict biotechnology laws.

Opposition parties said they had the outline of a deal to outvote the minority center-right government and permit treatment for Mehmet Yildiz. The plan would allow screening of his mother’s fertilized eggs, despite laws backed by the government to avert tinkering with genes.

The parents want to conceive a healthy baby, partly so that its bone marrow can be transplanted to Mehmet. He suffers from thalassemia major, a condition that disrupts production of blood cells and kills if unchecked. But scientists will first have to screen his mother’s fertilized eggs and destroy those that carry faulty genes so the new baby does not inherit the disorder.

ROMANIA

Cyanide spills upstream of Danube

BUCHAREST — The Environment Ministry said last week that toxic waste containing cyanide had spilled into a river in the northeast of the country and could pose health hazards and kill fish.

Cyanhydric acetone, used in production of detergents, leaked from a storage tank at the Metadet chemical plant in Falticeni, 300 miles north of here, into Somuzul Mare, a tributary of the Siret River, which flows into the Danube.

PORTUGAL

Border controls due for soccer tourney

LISBON — The government will reimpose border controls ahead of the start of the Euro 2004 soccer tournament this June to protect against possible terrorist attacks, Interior Minister Antonio Figueiredo Lopes has announced.

He told parliament the border checks would be reimposed at the end of May just before the start of a music festival and would stay in place during the tournament.

Portugal has signed the Schengen agreement, which abolished border checks among 15 European countries, but it can use a clause in the treaty that allows them to temporarily be reimposed under special circumstances.

Weekly notes

A Swedish man who paid alimony for 13 years for a child he knew was not his has been proven right and now wants $65,000 in compensation, the daily Expressen reports. The man, 70, had a brief affair with the boy’s mother in the late 1960s, the paper said. After giving birth, the woman told a court the man was the father. A blood test did not rule out paternity and the court ordered alimony. The man last year asked the son, now 34, to take a DNA test; it showed he could not be the father. … Britain is rushing 750 extra troops to Kosovo following the worst ethnic violence in the Serbian province since it was put under U.N. administration in 1999. At least 28 persons have died in fighting between ethnic Albanians and minority Serbs. The troops should arrive by tomorrow, a Defense Ministry spokesman said.

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