Flat Earth: Life's a bitch

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AND on the subject of dogs, a Tanzanian man had his one-year-old bitch condemned to death by a local court because he had called her "Immigration" - the name, said the magistrate, of "a highly respected and law-abiding government department".

Allegation and counter-allegation have been flying since the story first broke, although checking the facts is complicated by the remoteness of Kasanga village, where it all happened. The animal was said to have been shot, but the owner, Anatoly Kachela, says the police refused to waste a bullet on Immigration, and forced him to club her to death with a cudgel supplied by a senior immigration official. He adds that she was expecting puppies at the time.

The government, somewhat embarrassed, has ordered an inquiry. Mr Kachela, meanwhile, has denied that he had deliberately provoked immigration officials by calling out his dog's name while parading in front of their office.