World Briefly

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI said Monday that pharmacists have a right to use conscientious objection to avoid dispensing emergency contraception or euthanasia drugs — and told them they should also inform patients of the ethical implications of using such drugs.

Benedict told a gathering of Catholic pharmacists that conscientious objection was a right that must be recognized by the pharmaceutical profession.

The pope also said that they have an educational role toward patients so that drugs are used in a morally and ethically correct way.

Emergency contraception pills, which can be taken up to 72 hours after unprotected sex, work by preventing ovulation or fertilization. They may also prevent an embryo from being implanted into the uterus.

Israel: Olmert has prostate cancer

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told Israelis on Monday that he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, but said the disease was not life-threatening and will not disrupt his work as the country’s leader. Olmert said the disease was caught early and that he would have surgery “over the next few months.”

Egypt: Building nuclear plants

Egypt’s president announced plans Monday to build several nuclear power plants to diversify Egypt’s energy resources and preserve its oil and gas reserves for future generations. The United States immediately welcomed the plan, in a sharp contrast to what it called nuclear “cheating” by Iran. President Hosni Mubarak pledged Egypt would work with the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency and would not seek a nuclear bomb.

Argentina: First lady elected

First lady Cristina Fernandez took an unbeatable lead in Sunday’s presidential election and takes over from her husband, President Nestor Kirchner, on Dec. 10 as Argentina’s first elected female president.

Somalia: Prime minister resigns

A long-brewing power struggle between the Somalia’s Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi and President Abdullahi Yusuf ended Monday with the prime minister’s resignation, throwing the government into further disarray as it struggles with an Islamic insurgency. Gedi and Yusuf clashed over the balance of power. Gedi believed the presidency was a figurehead position, while Yusuf said that he was the head of state.

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