March 19, 2008 in Nation/World

World in brief: Mortar rounds hit Yemeni high school

The Spokesman-Review
 

Three mortar rounds targeting the U.S. Embassy crashed into a high school for girls next door Tuesday, killing a Yemeni security guard and wounding more than a dozen girls, officials said.

The State Department said U.S. Embassy officials in Yemen had concluded that the attack was “directed against our embassy.” U.S. officials refused to comment further, saying it was still under investigation. The embassy said none of its employees was wounded.

A statement from the Interior Ministry said the shells fired by unidentified attackers in the downtown San’a district of Sawan wounded five soldiers and 13 school girls. Three of the girls were described as in serious condition and were being flown to Jordan for treatment.

London

Winemaker insures nose for $8 million

His schnoz is not to be sniffed at.

A Lloyd’s of London syndicate said Tuesday it is insuring the nose of winemaker Ilja Gort for $8 million.

The Dutch winemaker and taster took out the policy after hearing about a man who lost his sense of smell in a car accident.

“I thought it must be a horror to lose your smell,” Gort said. “It would mean that you cannot taste wine anymore. Tasting wine is something you do with your nose, not your mouth.”

Gort, 47, said his nose is essential for him to produce top quality wines at his Chateau de la Garde vineyard in the Bordeaux region of France.

The custom policy covers Gort for the loss of either his nose or his sense of smell and has some conditions for protecting his nose. Among other things, he is barred from riding a motorcycle or working as a knife thrower’s assistant or fire-breather.

Brussels, Belgium

Rival parties agree to form coalition

Belgium’s feuding political parties agreed to form a coalition government Tuesday after nine months of political chaos that threatened to carve the seat of the European Union into separate nations.

“It’s a good deal for a government, with balanced measures,” Yves Leterme, the Flemish Christian Democrat who is scheduled to become prime minister on Thursday, told local RTBF radio after an all-night bargaining session among the country’s five political parties.

The power-sharing agreement tackled the acrimonious immigration, tax and social issues, but it did not resolve the root of the government crisis: demands from politicians of the economically prosperous northern Flemish region for greater autonomy from the financially depressed, southern French-speaking section of the country.

In a rare act of royal intervention, Belgium’s King Albert II has been pushing the political parties – two Flemish and three Francophone – to find a way to create a coalition government capable of running the kingdom, which has been consumed by political discord since last June’s elections.

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