Relief efforts on

PADANG: Relief workers struggled to reach Indonesian quake survivors still without food or shelter a week after the disaster, while foreign rescue teams packed up their high-tech equipment on Wednesday and prepared to pull out. Aid has been pouring into the shattered West Sumatran city of Padang since the Sept. 30 earthquake, but the scale of the disaster, heavy rain and damaged infrastructure have meant it has been slow to reach outlying areas. Helicopters are often the only way that some communities in the hills around Padang can be easily reached after landslides triggered by the 7.6 magnitude quake severed roads. — Agencies

New ring of Saturn

Virginia : A colossal new ring has been identified around Saturn. The dusty hoop lies some 13 million km from the planet, about 50 times more distant than the other rings and in a different plane. Scientists tell the journal Nature that the tenuous ring is probably made up of debris kicked off Saturn’s moon Phoebe by small impacts. They think this dust then migrates towards the planet where it is picked up by another Saturnian moon, Iapetus. — Agencies

Saudi court ruling

RIYADH: A Saudi court on Wednesday convicted a man for publicly talking about sex after he bragged on a TV talk show about his exploits, sentencing him to five years in jail and 1,000 lashes, his lawyer said. Talking about sex publicly is a taboo in ultraconservative Saudi Arabia. Lawyer Sulaiman al-Jumeii said he plans to appeal the court’s ruling and is confident the sentence against his client, which includes a ban on travel and talking to the media for five years after his release, will be revoked. Al-Jumeii maintains that his client, Mazen Abdul-Jawad, was duped by the Lebanese LBC satellite channel which aired the talk show and was unaware in many cases he was being recorded. — Agencies

Nuclear fuel offer

TEHRAN: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Wednesday that some countries had offered to provide Iran with uranium enriched to 20 percent for use as nuclear reactor fuel, the official IRNA news agency reported. Iran has always insisted on its right to carry out its own enrichment of uranium for a nuclear program which it says is for purely peaceful purposes, mainly to generate electricity. — Agencies