FLAT EARTH

Oh, shoot

The dogged efforts of Washington DC to cast off its image as one of the most poorly run and crime-ridden cities in the US suffered a setback last week when a well-intentioned initiative went sadly wrong. The police department had declared one of its periodic amnesties for illegal gun owners, offering $100 to anyone who surrendered a gun in working condition at a particular police station. As it turned out, the timing was the best - and the worst: the day after the gun rampage at the Jewish day-care centre in Los Angeles.

The fears generated by yet another shooting involving children encouraged a record number of people to surrender illegal weapons. The bad news was that the police ran out of money before the end of the first day of the five-day programme.

Said Andre Wright, the police officer who devised the guns-for-cash operation: "I spend my life chasing down people with guns, putting my life on the line every day ... and today we are having to turn people back on to the streets with live guns in their hands." The police were expected to resume the amnesty this week.

Dark humour

One of the best places to watch the eclipse last week was from a mountain in northern Iraq, but there was a problem: it was inside the UN-declared no-fly zone and Western planes had just bombed a monastery at the site after apparently spotting illegal Iraqi air activity. After the attack, in one of the more endearing episodes of the long-running stand-off, the Iraqi authorities asked the Western allies, through the UN, if they could please halt their flights for the day of the eclipse, so that Iraqis and foreign scientists could aim their telescopes in safety.

The reply, at least from the US, which - with Britain - conducts most of the monitoring flights, was the diplomatic equivalent of "You must be joking".

Itsy-bitsy patriotism

They come in crochet, Lycra, cotton and even coconut shells. They are striped, spotted and psychedelic. And they are universally minuscule. But if Brazilian senators have their way, the notorious "dental floss" bikinis will not sport the national flag.

The Senate has approved a proposal to ban the use of the flag on bikinis and in any "morally degrading" setting. "One cannot admit the use of the national flag in situations which are not recommended for the sobriety and the dignity of a symbol of the nation," said a Senate commission.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Assistant

£17900 - £20300 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An enthusiastic Marketing Assis...

Recruitment Genius: Chef / Managers

£24000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This contract caterer is proud ...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Health & Safety Consultant

£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic and exciting opport...

Day In a Page

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Attwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
10 best waterproof mascaras

Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'