Aquarium: first manta ray born in captivity
By TIMES WIRES
Published June 18, 2007
TOKYO - What is believed to be the first giant manta ray born in captivity has arrived, a Japanese aquarium said Sunday.
The baby, a female, was born Saturday in a tank at the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium more than a year after its parents mated.
In a video of the birth, the baby, rolled up like a tube, came sliding out of the mother, then spread its fins and began swimming.
The aquarium started raising manta rays in 1988. Aquariums that raise the rays are rare because they get so big, a Japanese expert said. Adults can be more than 20 feet wide. The newborn was more than 6 feet wide.
The mother mated June 8, 2006, and was pregnant with the baby for 374 days.
President's party wins but doesn't dominate
PARIS - The conservative party of President Nicolas Sarkozy won a solid victory in parliamentary elections Sunday, but failed to trounce the opposition on the left the way polls and politicians had predicted.
There was a net gain of 36 seats for the Socialists - who won 185 seats - and a net loss of 45 for Sarkozy's governing Union for a Popular Movement, which won 314 seats in the 577-seat National Assembly, the lower house of Parliament.
Pope Benedict decries fighting in Middle East
ASSISI, ITALY - Pope Benedict XVI made a pilgrimage to the birthplace of peace-loving St. Francis Sunday, lamenting violence in the Middle East and decrying "the illusion" that force could resolve conflicts.
Benedict said he considered it his duty in Francis' birthplace - "this city of peace" - to make "a pressing and heartfelt appeal so that all the armed conflicts that bloody the earth may cease, so that weapons may go silent and so that, everywhere, hate gives way to love, offense to forgiveness and discord to union."
KHARTOUM, SUDAN: Sudan and the United Nations have agreed on key elements of a joint African Union-U.N. peacekeeping force for Darfur, including that its commander will be African, said Emyr Jones Parry, the British ambassador to the United Nations.
THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS: A former Serbian police general wanted for three years was arrested Sunday in Montenegro, the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal said. Vlastimir Djordjevic is accused of planning and instigating the killing of hundreds of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo. He also is charged in the deportation of 800, 000 Kosovars.
TEHRAN, IRAN: Iran on Sunday condemned Britain's decision to knight Salman Rushdie, the author of The Satanic Verses forced into hiding after the leader of the Iranian revolution ordered his assassination. Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini said the honor insulted the Muslim world.
[Last modified June 18, 2007, 00:22:49]
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