FLAT EARTH

Gore blimey

"To win in 2000, I need you by my side," Al Gore's latest heartfelt fundraising letters say. A shame that one of those solicited by the likely Democratic candidate for President next year is his most likely rival, George W Bush. Perhaps it was a sign of Mr Gore's taste for bipartisanship that he even invited Mr Bush to sit on the steering committee for his campaign.

The Gore campaign people can explain this by reference to computers and their charming ability to produce unwanted results. But Mr Gore, the champion of the information superhighway, ought to know better.

Indeed, Washington is currently chuckling at a particularly overblown claim from Mr Gore. "During my service in Congress, I took the initiative in creating the internet," he said in an interview last week. A few other people - including the US Department of Defense - have a claim to having created the net.

Not to be sniffed at

The UN is a byword, at least in the US Congress, for profligacy, so this will be a gift to those on Capitol Hill who think Kofi Annan's organisation shouldn't be given any more money. Even dogs, it emerges, are paid over the odds.

What is worse, this evidence of overspending comes from within the UN itself. Costa Rica's ambassador, Nazareth Incera, was indignant that the number of security guards assigned to the president of the General Assembly, Didier Opertti of Uruguay, had been reduced to one from two. She put down a number of questions to the administrative and financial committee about the cost of the organisation's security arrangements.

The supposedly cash-strapped UN, she discovered, has enough money to pay $60 (pounds 40) an hour for a bomb-sniffing dog and handler. They are scheduled to work as many as 10 hours a day for around 252 days of the year, making a princely total of $151,200.

Urgent withdrawal

Even in Russia, one of the most lawless societies on earth, it raised a few eyebrows when an army colonel turned up with a hunting rifle at the Rossiisky Kredit bank in Moscow and took some hapless person hostage. All was explained to everyone's satisfaction, however, when the reason for the colonel's behaviour became apparent: he wanted his own money, not anyone else's. Some depositors' accounts have been frozen since last August's financial crisis, and this was his unorthodox way of making a withdrawal.

The officer said he needed his money to pay for an operation for his wife, and released the hostage after he was promised the funds from his own account.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Junior Project Manager (website, web application) - Agile

£215 per day: Ashdown Group: Junior Project Manager (website, web application ...

Guru Careers: Business Development Manager / Sales

£30 - 40k (£65k Y1 OTE Uncapped): Guru Careers: We are seeking a Business Deve...

Guru Careers: Graduate Media Assistant

Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: We are looking for an ambitious and adaptable...

Guru Careers: Solutions Consultant

£30 - 40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Solutions Consultan...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before