- - Sunday, June 5, 2011


Voters to elect new government

LISBON — Portugal’s Social Democrats unseated the Socialist government in an emphatic election victory Sunday, giving the center-right party a strong mandate to enact a grinding austerity program demanded in return for a $114 billion international bailout.

Though the severe debt-reduction measures are expected to plunge the country into deep recession and bring sharply lower living standards in what already is one of Western Europe’s poorer countries, parties that support the effort to restore fiscal health collected around 80 percent of the vote.

With 12 seats still to be decided in the 230-seat Parliament, the center-right Social Democratic Party, led by Pedro Passos Coelho, had elected 102 lawmakers compared with 71 for the second-placed Socialists. The Social Democrat share represented about 39 percent of the vote.

Though the Social Democrats fell short of an absolute majority in parliament, a coalition with the conservative Popular Party, a traditional ally that garnered 23 seats, would provide the needed majority to impose austerity measures.

That outcome is reassuring for European leaders hoping to draw a line under the continent’s debt crisis, which they have struggled with for more than a year, especially as Greece’s financial woes continue to worry markets.


King leaves hospital after operation

MADRID — Spain’s King Juan Carlos left the hospital on Sunday, two days after successfully undergoing knee replacement surgery, an operation that sparked alarm about his overall health and irked the monarch.

The king has been able to take some steps after receiving titanium implants in his right knee, Madrid’s San Jose Hospital said.

“He walks on his own with the help of crutches,” the hospital said in a statement signed by doctors Angel Villamor and Avelino Barros.

Dr. Villamor said the king must use crutches for three weeks and undergo recovery therapy for six weeks.

The monarch smiled and joked as he emerged unsteadily on crutches from a hospital room.

The 73-year-old head of state was visibly annoyed by media reports depicting him as being at death’s door when the operation was announced. He had a benign tumor removed from his right lung last year.


CERN scientists refine antimatter ‘trap’

GENEVA — Nuclear scientists announced Sunday they have found a way to “trap” for more than 15 minutes elusive antimatter atoms that used to disappear after a fraction of a second.

That will give scientists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research time to study the atoms properly, in the hope of understanding what happened during the first moments of the universe.

The achievement is a significant improvement on earlier attempts to trap antihydrogen, which like all antimatter has a tendency to disappear before scientists have time to examine it.

“We went from two-tenths of a second to 1,000 seconds,” said American scientist Jeffrey Hangst, a spokesman for the ALPHA research team working at the world’s biggest particle physics lab - known by its French acronym CERN - on the Swiss-French border.

The team improved the efficiency of the antimatter trap by cooling antihydrogen atoms down to less than 0.5 degrees above absolute zero. Their research was published online in the journal Nature Physics.


Top UK academics form new university

LONDON — A group of prominent British academics said Sunday they are starting a private university in London to rival the country’s elite institutions in Oxford and Cambridge.

The New College of the Humanities will be led by A.C. Grayling, a renowned philosophy professor, and the faculty will include Richard Dawkins, an evolutionary biologist and successful author; economics professor and writer Niall Ferguson; and other prominent educators.

It will be a relatively small university boasting at least one teacher for every 10 students and offering one-to-one tutorials and extensive contact between teachers and students, officials said.

Mr. Grayling said the college will offer degrees in literature, history, economics, law and other disciplines, in conjunction with the University of London.

Tuition fees will be set at $29,500 per year, double the maximum allowed under a government cap on public universities.

The new college has started accepting admissions applications, with classes expected to begin in October 2012.

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