Flat Earth

MARCH is the month of St Patrick, as all Irish people know. And as the 17th approaches we feel we should warn you of what to expect at an Irish embassy reception. Our advice covers the shamrock, that sentimental symbol of Ireland's bogs, and its embarrassing disappearance in Peking on St Patrick's Day 1980, when the Dublin government threw an expansive do to mark the opening of its embassy there.

As was the case at Peking, you will probably pass an enormous Waterford crystal bowl, filled with shamrocks flown in at great expense from the republic, as you wait in line to shake hands with the ambassador. Beside the Waterford you'll find a silver platter of pins to attach the shamrock to your lapel.

In 1980 every leading cadre in Peking turned up at the embassy's door. The reception line took more than a hour to pass. With everyone inside and the party underway, embassy staff saw that the crystal bowl was indeed empty, but that, oddly, there was not a single sprig of shamrock on a Chinese lapel.

The problem was solved when an alert junior diplomat spotted several mandarins picking green fragments from their teeth. China's rulers had just grazed their way through the equivalent of a quarter of an acre of shamrock pasture.

Nice little earner

SHE advertised herself in 'adult' magazines as a sex- hungry air hostess, aged 34. When she appeared in court in Copenhagen, she was leaning on a walking stick and admitted to being 75. She was charged with deception and blackmail, having enticed 100 young men to her garden at night, persuaded them to strip naked on the lawn so she could first 'judge them on their merits', then call their bluff.

As the nude Dane waited patiently to be inspected, she would emerge from her house dressed as a nurse accompanied by her son.

He, too, was dressed as a hospital worker. Together they threatened the hapless victim with the law. He was told there was a 92-year-old woman on her death-bed inside the house, and his unruly conduct in the garden was likely to tip her over the edge. There were two alternatives: a pounds 40 'fine' payable on the spot, or the police. Most chose to pay up.

Drunk on power

WE TOLD you last week that a new political party, Beer Drinkers, had been formed in Russia. It has been pointed out to us that in neighbouring Poland an identical Beer Lovers Party won 16 seats at the general election in 1991. It later split into two factions, Big Beer and Little Beer. Perhaps it was the result of a bad hangover.

Country pumpkins

JAPAN'S modern image takes a knock from time to time when its people, especially in the countryside, show they are ill- informed about the ret of the world.

The University of Tokushima on the west Japanese island of Shikoku has agreed to build a tall fence around a hostel for foreign students, and to bathe the area with floodlight. The locals had complained that the foreigners would forage through their vegetable patches, steal their pumpkins and cucumbers and wander into their homes.

Virus renaissance

AND finally, a health advisory for your computer. A virus called 'Michelangelo' is expected to strike PCs with MS-

DOS operating systems today, as it did on 6 March last year and the year before. Persons unknown introduced the virus, which destroys all data entered in computers on 6 March, the anniversary of Michelangelo's birth.

The disease is especially virulent in Germany, where 15,000 computers came down last year. It is, happily, much less common on this side of the channel. The worst virus here is the comparatively benign 'Stoned' which, like our sister paper, the Independent, merely calls for the legalisation of marijuana.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
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

IT Technician - 1st Line

£19000 - £21000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPOR...

Special Needs Teaching Assistant

£50 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: Special Educational Needs Teach...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant Birmingham

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: The SThree group is a world lea...

Year 3 Teacher

£100 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: KS2 TeacherWould you like ...

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London