World and Nation

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Nobel Winner Issues Apology For Comments About Blacks

James D. Watson, who shared the 1962 Nobel prize for deciphering the double-helix of DNA, apologized “unreservedly” on Thursday for comments reported this week suggesting that black people, overall, are not as intelligent as whites.

In an interview published Sunday in The Times of London, Watson is quoted as saying that while “there are many people of color who are very talented,” he is “inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa.”

“All our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours — whereas all the testing says not really,” the newspaper quoted him as saying.

In a statement given to The Associated Press on Thursday, Watson said, “I cannot understand how I could have said what I am quoted as having said. There is no scientific basis for such a belief.”

But his publicist, Kate Farquhar-Thomson, would not say whether Watson believed he had been misquoted. “You have the statement,” she said. “That’s it, I am afraid.”

Watson is in England to promote his new book, “Avoid Boring People: Lessons From a Life in Science” (Knopf). In a statement, Paul Bogaards, a spokesman for Knopf, said only that it was “understandable that his comments have caused upset throughout the world.”

Japan Wrings Its Hands Over Sumo’s Latest Woes

The problems swirling through Japan’s ancient sport of sumo recently would seem to be random, unconnected events.

A coach was expelled from the sumo association this month for inflicting fatal injuries on a 17-year-old apprentice in a hazing incident and may face criminal charges. One of the two grand champions, Asashoryu, has been suspended for claiming an injury and then being filmed playing soccer in his native Mongolia. He is also suspected of fixing matches with other wrestlers, including the other grand champion, also Mongolian.

When things seemingly could not get any worse, a woman tried to climb up into the elevated sumo ring last month during a match, a no-go place for women, who are considered impure in sumo tradition. She broke free from a female security guard in the audience but was pulled down by a sumo wrestler who prevented her from entering the sacred ring and, in the eyes of traditionalists, defiling it.

While the problems may have looked disparate, however, they were rooted in a quintessentially Japanese conflict between tradition and modernity. Should sumo, whose popularity has long been declining, change? The debate in Japan has taken on a heated, though predictable, course. Traditionalists have said any change would mean the death of sumo, while others have said that sumo will die if it fails to change.

Google’s Strong Quarter Widens Gap on Its Rivals

The gap between Google and its rivals keeps getting larger.

The Internet search and advertising giant, whose shares have risen more than $100 in the past month, said net income in the third quarter surged 46 percent compared with the same period a year earlier. Sales rose 57 percent, topping Wall Street’s already bullish forecasts.

The results show that Google is growing roughly twice as fast as the overall online advertising market, which itself is booming, and that it is expanding far more quickly than any large Internet company.

“It was a pretty good quarter,” said Douglas Anmuth, an analyst with Lehman Brothers. “The gap is widening as they continue to dramatically outperform competitors.” Earlier this week, Google’s rival Yahoo said its revenues grew just 12 percent.

In a conference call with analysts, Google executives said the company’s business was strong in the United States and overseas.

“We are very pleased with such strong results in what is seasonally one of our weaker quarters,” said Eric E. Schmidt, the chief executive. “It is obvious to us that our model continues to work very well.”

Google said its net income grew to $1.07 billion, or $3.38 a share, up from $733 million, or $2.36 a share, a year earlier. Net revenues rose to $4.23 billion. Excluding commissions paid to advertising partners, a widely followed measure of the company’s performance, revenues were $3.01 billion, about $70 million higher than analysts expected.

Head of Reconstruction Teams in Iraq Reports Little Progress

Attempts by American-led reconstruction teams to forge political reconciliation, foster economic growth and build an effective police force and court system in Iraq have failed to show significant progress in nearly every one of the nation’s provincial regions and in the capital, a federal oversight agency reported on Thursday.

The report, by the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, comes as the United States tries to take advantage of a drop in overall violence to create a functioning government here.

The release of the report was linked to testimony Thursday by the special inspector general, Stuart W. Bowen Jr., before the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee.

There are bright spots in the effort to put together a functioning nation, Bowen found: economic growth in the Kurdish north; tribal reconciliation in the western desert province of Anbar; and patchy progress in the development of local governments. Beyond that, some of the provinces are showing increasing ability to create plans, write contracts and carry out construction projects to rebuild Iraq’s physical infrastructure, the report says.