FLAT EARTH

Porkies for kosher cops

ISRAELI police are being taught how to tell when a suspect is lying by studying a television interview with the Prime Minister's wife, Sara Netanyahu, according to Gavriel Raam, who gives them lectures on "non- verbal signals".

Benjamin Netanyahu's spouse, who is known for her obsessiveness and imperious behaviour, has trouble keeping staff. Last year she went through a private secretary and two nannies, one of whom said she was thrown out on the street after burning the soup.

At the police academy Mr Raam shows his students the video of an interview in which Mrs Netanyahu denies being bothered by the nanny row. "But at the same moment she swallows her lower lip," he points out. "When a person says a word and swallows their lip it means they have a problem with what they just said." The PM's office says it is all nonsense.

Just the other day, though, I heard of a policeman in another country who obtained the evidence to put an upper-crust Englishman in jail. He always knew when the suspect was lying, he said, because although his well-bred adversary looked him steadfastly in the eye while denying the incriminating facts, he could not stop the tips of his ears going pink.

Rumpy Yugoslavian

WHAT'S a foreign correspondent for a tedious government-run Balkan newspaper supposed to do when he's stuck abroad writing dreary pieces about economics and international trade relations, while his glamorous young wife is back home running around town without him?

Faced with this very dilemma, the Rome correspondent of the Serbian daily Politika, Bosko Jaksic, recently hit on an ingenious way of making sure his wife didn't forget him: he decided to compose secret love messages to her using the first letter of each paragraph of his stories. His ruse was sure to go undiscovered, he reasoned, because nobody in Belgrade would ever think to plough through his pieces, much less analyse them for hidden codes. Wrong. A couple of weeks ago someone worked out that the real import of a weighty analysis of the Italian justice system was: "I can't wait to see your smile and your..." In a family newspaper we can't tell you what part of her anatomy he was referring to, but it wasn't just a horizontal smile he was anticipating.

What would happen, though, if Jaksic's editors tampered with his prose? His wife might get a message saying: "I want to xzycq you senseless."

Silly mid oeuf

LE MONDE has carried a cricket report on its front page! Under the headline "'Plucked' by Zimbabwe", yesterday's edition details the sufferings of our lads (though the paper's London correspondent, Patrice de Beer, thinks cricket is seven-a-side). Richard Little of the English Cricket Board tells De Beer cricket "is a way of life. It is like food and fine wine for the French". The way we are playing, the comparison should be with stale baguettes and sour plonk. It is a measure of our humiliation that the French are crowing, but at this moment even France could probably beat us.

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