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
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • 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

Recruitment Genius: Parts Sales Advisor - OTE 18k-23k

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of Ford's leading Parts Who...

SThree: Recruitment Resourcer

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: Do you want to learn ...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Lead

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: One of the North West's leading providers of w...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders