John Leicester

John Leicester

    Two decades into the 21st century, the day when a top athlete's sexuality is not news at all still seems so distant. It cannot come fast enough.

    In a first, Interpol appealed on Monday for public help to identify a suspected paedophile who was shown in photos posted on the internet sexually abusing young boys in Vietnam and Cambodia. The police organisation said German specialists succeeded in producing identifiable images of the man from the original pictures.

    An era draws to a close this week when French President Jacques Chirac hosts his last summit of leaders from Africa, a continent where France's traditional influence is being threatened by resource-hungry China. Chirac's office said there would likely be a meeting on Thursday between the heads of Sudan, Central Afrian Republic and Chad about Darfur.

    Of all the forms of doping in sports, perhaps none is more vampirish than athletes siphoning, storing and transfusing their own blood. A pint here, a pint there. Packed with red blood cells that carry oxygen to tired muscles, a back-alley transfusion can add a spring to the step of a World Cup soccer player or help a Tour de France cyclist ascend steep mountain passes.

    A "highly pathogenic" strain of the H5N1 bird-flu virus has been found in poultry stocks in Nigeria -- the first reported case of the disease in Africa, the Paris-based World Organisation for Animal Health said on Wednesday. Nigeria reported the outbreak among commercial, battery-cage poultry in a village in Kaduna state.

    As Lance Armstrong prepared for what may be hardest stage of the Tour de France, the widow of a friend and teammate killed in a crash a decade ago told him to go for the win. That was the only thing that didn't work out for Armstrong on Sunday, which he called "a perfect day".

    Two faces. One was Lance Armstrong's, steely but almost serene as he pedalled furiously in the thin mountain air. The other was a mask of pain worn by Jan Ullrich, his German rival trailing farther and farther behind. Armstrong took a giant step toward a seventh Tour de France victory with a dominant ride on Tuesday.

    Tributes flooded in from around Europe for Monaco's Prince Rainier III, who died on Wednesday. French President Jacques Chirac hailed the prince's "courage and tenacity" in the face of his failing health. In a message of condolence to Rainier's successor, Prince Albert, Chirac praised Rainier for helping to modernise once-sleepy Monaco.