FLAT EARTH - World - News - The Independent

FLAT EARTH

Mufti rules strip

fatwa offside

FAMOUS victory for Egyptian sportswomen last week, when they managed to overturn a ban on women's soccer games on television. Women's football has had a good following in Egypt since the Seventies, and 18 million viewers looked forward to the competition between the top teams. Then came a fatwa from Islamic tele-evangelist Sheikh Mitwali Sharrawi.

Perhaps worried about air-time competition, the Sheikh declared that the normal soccer strip on the female form would "awaken the devil of tempation in men". The games must not be seen. The women players in turn sternly resisted the suggestion that they turn out in head-to-toe Islamic dress and veils, which, they felt, would reduce the attacking brilliance of their game.

To their rescue came the Grand Mufti - the supreme Islamic referee. After long deliberation, he arrived at the following judgments: (a) football is a sport; (b) players' modesty is a matter of personal choice, not of clerical fatwa.

Approach the bench

NOW A joke to cheer you up:

One of O J Simpson's lawyers comes up to his client.

"What do you want first, the good news or the bad news?"

"The bad news."

"The bad news is that the blood all over the crime scene is yours - the DNA tests prove it."

"Oh no! What's the good news?"

"The good news is that your cholesterol level is only 130."

Did you like that? Quite funny? O J's real-life lawyers didn't think so. But that was because of the circumstances in which they heard it. It was told to them by that twinkling-eyed Judge Ito, in his robes, on the bench, during a short recess.

Objection? Overruled.

Man of platinum?

AS THE Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski observed in his book on the Soviet Union, Imperium, the Soviet class system was nowhere more clearly on display than in its citizens' teeth.

The poorest people, when their teeth fell out, got dentures of base metal or other cheap materials; the middle ranks filled their jaws with silver.

If you were a Soviet bigshot, your mouth gleamed murkily with gold.

"No one," Kapuscinski says, "ever knew what Stalin's teeth were made of. Stalin never smiled."

Now we do know. His dentist has come out of the shadows of old age to tell us that Stalin, predictably, had to set himself apart from the common golden-toothed herd. He had platinum - there was lots of it, too: by the end of his life, he had but three of his own teeth left in his head.

Perhaps we can now hear something prophetic in Gromyko's famous remark about Mikhail Gorbachev when he first rode into view: "Mr Gorbachev has a nice smile, but his teeth are made of iron."

Iron? Does that word portend not only the rattle and fall not only of Gorbachev but of the whole rusty Soviet system - teeth and all?

A sauce and battery

HERE follows a short tale, in which all parties behave equally badly. It begins when two Vermont state troopers go into a fast-food joint and order fried eggs. The cook, clearly a bad lot who does not love the forces of law and order, laces their eggs with Tabasco.

Now both customers loathe Tabasco sauce but, being state troopers, they can't stop themselves greedily eating everything up and licking the plates clean. Then they charge the cook with assault.

In court, the cook claims that Tabasco traces were left on the griddle from a previous order. Disloyally, his employers say that cannot be true - no dish on the menu incorporates the sauce and Tabasco is never on the premises.

The judge however throws the assault charge out, stating that "contact of the Tabasco with the palate" amounts to consent. This seems to be bad law: if, for example, I set a plate of Tabascoed eggs in front of you and you don't eat it, it would follow that you have been assaulted.

The next day, the cook is sacked. Because of the court case? Dear me no, says the restaurant: because he broke company rules and "let a friend into the kitchen". That'll be the bloke bringing in the Tabasco. Strings and arrows HECTIC excitement at the Yamaha Music Centre in Colombo the other day. The phone ran hot and every piano in the place was sold in an hour. What could it mean, this sudden passion for the pianoforte?

Sri Lanka's government, engaged with the Tamil Tigers in a war of greatest savagery, had just announced that it was increasing excise tax on certain items to fill its war chest.

Fair enough. But by what bizarre process was it decided that the tax for new engines of death would be raised solely on the sale of stringed instruments - harpsichords, pianos and, if Sri Lanka runs to them, harps and lyres? Not even a mention of percussion or wind.

Life and Style
tech
News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape
music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
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 Administrator - Graduate

£18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

Project Officer (HMP Brixton Mentoring Project)

£24,000 per annum pro rata (21 hours per week): Belong: Work as part of a cutt...

Looking for work in Secondary Schools?

£85 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Are you looking for work in Ed...

Year 5 Teacher

£3000 - £30000 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Would you like to wor...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week