The DRY goes dry

DRY has gone dry, writes Charles Richards. In a belated, last-ditch bid to shake off its reputation as a drunk's paradise, the breakaway Democratic Republic of Yemen (DRY) in the south of the country has banned the sale and consumption of alcohol throughout its rapidly shrinking domain.

No reason was given for the decision, but most of the south's backers are from the conservative Gulf states who officially frown on alcohol in accordance with Islamic law. The northern government has also been making propaganda capital out of the fact that the southerners are boozers.

Last week there appeared an obituary notice for one of the last remaining monuments to the independence of southern Yemen - the only brewery on the Arabian peninsula. The southern leadership has decided to turn it into a soft-drinks factory.