Quick pulse before workout associated with death risk

Washington, Apr 29 : A cheap method of predicting who is at greater risk of dying suddenly and unexpectedly from a heart attack has been developed by researchers in France.

In a study of 7746 French male civil servants, published in Europe''s leading cardiology journal, the European Heart Journal, the researchers found that men whose heart rate increased the most during mild mental stress just before an exercise test had twice the risk of dying of a sudden heart attack in later life than men whose heart rate did not increase as much.

The study is the first to discover this association and since taking a patient''s pulse is an easy and inexpensive procedure, it suggests a way of identifying people who may be at increased risk.

Controversial Societe Generale board head resigns

Societe GeneraleParis - The much-criticized head of the board of directors of French bank Societe Generale, Daniel Bouton, is stepping down. "I choose to depart to protect the bank. I have become the target of incessant criticism which will end by damaging this enterprise," the 59-year-old Bouton said in an interview published Wednesday in the daily Le Figaro.

Bouton admitted making mistakes and being "clumsy" during his tenure as the bank's general director, which began in 1997, but said that the criticism had become "unbearable."

British, French foreign ministers meet Sri Lankan leaders

Sri LankaColombo- The foreign ministers of Britain and France met with their Sri Lankan counterpart Wednesday amid protests from Buddhist monks calling for an end to foreign interference in Colombo's war against Tamil separatist rebels in the north-east of the country. British Foreign Minister David Miliband and his French counterpart, Bernard Kouchner, met behind closed doors with Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama and were due to meet President Mahinda Rajapaksa later in the day before visiting refugee camps in the Vavuniya area, 254 kilometres north of Colombo.

Societe Generale chairman to quit

Societe Generale chairman to quit Paris  - Daniel Bouton, chairman of the French bank Societe Generale, was to quit following criticism over risky investments and massive losses, the Le Figaro newspaper said Wednesday.

Bouton said he handed in his resignation "to protect the bank," the paper reported. "I have become the target of incessant attacks that finally damage the company that I am very attached to," he said.

The bank's director general, Frederic Oudea, was to take over Bouton's position on May 6. Bouton stressed he would not receive any severance pay.

Herschel telescope launch rescheduled for May 14

Herschel telescope launch rescheduled for May 14 Paris - Launch of the Herschel telescope, the most powerful infrared telescope ever flown into space, has been rescheduled for May 14, the European Space Agency
(ESA) said Tuesday. The launch had originally been set for April 16 but was postponed when an anomaly was discovered during tests of a sub-assembly identical to the one on the Ariane 5 launch rocket that is to put the Herschel telescope and the Planck microwave observatory into orbit.

New virus is not 'swine flu', Paris-based health organization says

New virus is not 'swine flu', Paris-based health organization says Paris - The virus currently circulating in Mexico and the United States and which has killed at least 20 people is not swine flu, the Paris-based World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) said Monday. "The virus has not been isolated in animals to date. Therefore, it is not justified to name this disease swine flu," the OIE said in a press statement.