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THE WORLD THIS WEEK.

SAUDI ARABIA BREAKS OFF TIES WITH IRAN AFTER CLERIC'S EXECUTION

Saudi Arabia says it has broken off diplomatic ties with Iran, amid a row over the Saudi execution of a prominent Shia cleric. Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al Jubeir was speaking after demonstrators stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran. Sheikh Nimr al Nimr and 46 others were executed on Saturday after being convicted of terrorA[degrees]related offences. Jubeir said that all Iranian diplomats must leave Saudi Arabia within 48 hours. Saudi Arabia was recalling its diplomats from Tehran, he said. Saudi Arabia would not let Iran undermine its security, accusing it of having 'distributed weapons and planted terrorist cells in the region'. "Iran's history is full of negative interference and hostility in Arab issues, and it is always accompanied by destruction," he told a news conference. Earlier, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned that Saudi Arabia would face 'divine revenge' for the execution A[degrees] an act which also angered Shia elsewhere in the Middle East. He called Sheikh Nimr a 'martyr' who had acted peacefully.

MAPPED: THE 7,000 LANGUAGES ACROSS THE WORLD

There are thought to be more than 7,000 languages around the world, shared between almost 7bn speakers. These languages are spread unevenly across the globe, with Asia and Africa being home to higher levA[degrees] els of linguistic diversity. Some languages could be spoken by fewer than 36 people -- with Pitcaim, the country with the fewest speakers per lanA[degrees] guage, having two languages for a population of just 36 speakers. Papua New Guinea has the most languages of any country, with 839 different 'living languages' -- almost three times as many as Europe combined. All of these 839 languages are indigenous, owing to the countries' cultural and tribal diversity.

Indonesia and Nigeria have the next highest linguistic diversity, according to Ethnologue, a catalogue of the world's known languages. Together, these three countries share 29 per cent of the world's lanA[degrees] guages. Its research documents 'living' languages, which are those that have at least one speaker for whom it is their first language.

The countries with the largest proportion of languages from immigraA[degrees] tion are Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and New Zealand, all of which have four in five languages from immigrants. Fifty countries, including Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and Morocco, had 100 per cent of their languages from indigenous sources.

Four new elements added to periodic table

Four new elements have been added to the periodic table, finally completing the table's seventh row and rendering science textbooks around the world instantly out of date. The elements, discovered by scientists in Japan, Russia and America, are the first to be added to the table since 2011, when eleA[degrees] ments 114 and 116 were added. The four were verified last week by the USA[degrees]based International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, the global organisation that governs chemical nomenclature, terminolA[degrees] ogy and measurement. IUPAC has now initiated the process of formalA[degrees] ising names and symbols for ununA[degrees] trium, (Uut or element 113), ununpentium (Uup, 115), ununsepA[degrees] tium (Uus, 117), and ununoctium (Uuo, 118).

'DOGGY BAG' LAW INTRODUCED IN FRANCE

Doggy bags have long been frowned upon in France as an affront to gastronomic etiquette, but restaurants are now legally obliged to proA[degrees] vide them if requested by diners, in a move to cut food wastage. The new regulation, which came into force on New Year's Day, applies to restaurants serving more than 180 meals a day. It is aimed at encourA[degrees] aging the French to overcome their reluctance to eat their leftover pot au feu or coq au vin at home the next day.

The government wants to reduce the 7mn tonnes of food thrown away each year in a country where 3.5mn people depend on free meals handed out by charities. The catering trade is responsible for 14 per cent of this waste but most French diners never ask for doggy bags for fear of appearing ill mannered, stingy or unhygienic.

"This is something that won't catch on in France," said food writer Franck PinayA[degrees]Rabaroust of the gastronomy magazine Atabula. "Taking leftovers home from a restaurant is unusual here and often frowned upon as an American custom. That may change a bit now that better designed bags are being made that look more chic, but there's a cultural obstacle." A recent opinion poll showed that 75 per cent of French people are not hostile to the idea of doggy bags, but 70 per cent have never taken leftovers home.

1day after a new mayor took office in the Mexican city of Temixco, she was killed on Saturday in an attack at her home by four armed gunmen. Gisela Mota formally took office in the new year on Friday. Several mayors were killed last year in Mexico, where armed gangs financed by the drugs trade control many local communities. Temixco, located about 100km south of Mexico City, has a population of about 100,000. Gisela, a former federal member of congress, belonged to the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution.

100,000 people still living in camps six years after the end of Sri Lanka's brutal ethnic war will be given land to build homes within six months, President Maithripala Sirisena told AFP on Sunday. The leader, elected last January, has won praise for starting to hand back land after the end of one of South Asia's longest and bloodiest ethnic wars, which pitted the government against Tamil separatists. But he is also under international pressure to do more to reconcile the ethnically divided nation. "It is an ambitious target, but I will see that all the internally displaced people are given land to build homes."

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Publication:The Week (Muscat, Oman)
Geographic Code:7IRAN
Date:Jan 7, 2016
Words:974
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