Prince Philip, 90, gets heart stent

LONDON - Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, underwent surgery Friday for a blocked coronary artery, royal officials said.

A spokeswoman for Buckingham Palace said Philip, 90, would remain in the hospital for "a short time" for observation after the "very minimally invasive procedure" to implant a coronary stent.

She would not say whether other members of the royal family were with the Duke of Edinburgh and declined to comment further, speaking on customary condition of anonymity. A hospital spokeswoman referred all calls to the palace. Philip was taken from Sandringham, the queen's estate in rural Norfolk, to the cardiac unit at Papworth Hospital in Cambridge earlier Friday for tests after suffering chest pains. - AP

Somalis fear halt to money transfers

MOGADISHU, Somalia - Somali officials said Friday that they were pleading with U.S. authorities to persuade banks to reconsider a decision to block money transfers from Minnesota's Somali community to relatives in this Horn of Africa nation, where anarchy has given safe haven to an al-Qaeda-linked terror group.

The institution that handles the bulk of money transfers from Minnesota to Somalia - Sunrise Community Banks - has said it will discontinue the service Dec. 30 over fears it could be at risk of violating U.S. government rules intended to clamp down on the financing of terror groups.

Minnesota's Rep. Keith Ellison and Sen. Al Franken, both Democrats, are seeking solutions. And Somalis in Minnesota and elsewhere have been regularly talking with the bank, U.S. Treasury officials, and other authorities. An untold number of Somalis depend on small remittances - perhaps $50 to $200 a month - sent from family members in the United States. - AP

France: Will pay to remove implants

PARIS - France took the costly and unprecedented step Friday of offering to pay for 30,000 women to have their breast implants removed because of mounting fears that the products could rupture and leak cheap, industrial-grade silicone into the body.

Tens of thousands of other women in Europe and South America have the same implants, made by the French company Poly Implant Prothese, but authorities there have so far refused to follow suit. The silicone-gel implants in question are not sold in the United States.

In the last week, the safety fears have created a public furor over something usually kept private. Women whose own families didn't know they had their breasts enlarged marched on Paris to demand more attention to worries about what might be happening inside them.

More than 1,000 ruptures pushed Health Minister Xavier Bertrand to recommend that the estimated 30,000 women in France with the implants get them removed at state expense. PIP is being liquidated and its executives and lawyer could not be reached Friday. - AP

Elsewhere:

UNESCO, the U.N. cultural agency, said it was pulling funding for a Palestinian youth magazine that published an article suggesting admiration for Hitler.