Surgeons removed Gov. Ernie Fletcher's gallbladder Tuesday, a day after he underwent a separate procedure to have a gallstone removed. The 53-year-old Republican was expected to remain in the hospital at least overnight and could return to work early next week. Lt. Gov. Steve Pence, who is vacationing with his family in Florida, assumed the state's gubernatorial powers Monday. Doctors said they made four small incisions in the governor's abdomen to remove the gallbladder, an hourlong operation they deemed necessary to prevent the buildup of future stones. Fletcher had been suffering from an inflammation of the pancreas, a condition that can be caused when a gallstone leaves the gallbladder and blocks the passage from the pancreas to the small intestine.
Americans are bad guys in Turkish film
A Turkish-made film that portrays American soldiers in Iraq as brutal and callous killers is setting attendance records in Turkey and has just opened throughout Europe. The movie is standard Hollywood action-adventure fare, but with the villains wearing the Stars and Stripes. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, according to Turkish press reports, recommended The Valley of the Wolves - Iraq to friends after a private screening. His wife noted, "It's a beautiful film." American military officers have advised troops in Europe to avoid theaters showing the film and not to discuss it with strangers. Some of the incidents in the film draw on actual events, though they're portrayed in such a way as to impose the worst of motives on the Americans: American soldiers laugh as they set dogs on prisoners at Abu Ghraib, lie in wait so they can target wedding guests when they celebrate with gunfire and open fire on a mosque just as the call to prayer is sounded.
Pub smoking ban wins lawmakers' nod
Britain's lower house of Parliament voted on Tuesday to ban smoking in all public places in England - including pubs, both public and private. Prime Minister Tony Blair had allowed all lawmakers from his Labor Party to vote their conscience on the issue - rather than toeing the party line - after criticism of the party's plans to exempt private clubs and pubs that do not serve food. The measure, which will take effect by summer 2007 if ratified by the upper chamber, extends the no smoking law to public places such as cinemas, offices, factories and shopping malls. Health officials hailed the decision, saying the legislation would lead to fewer deaths from smoking-related illnesses. Smokers groups and members of the tobacco industry said they felt let down by the vote for a total ban. Britain joins Ireland, Finland, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and several U.S. states and cities that have restricted smoking in public places.