Voice of reason
Sunday 19 January 1997
But as our culture has relentlessly hacked away at the years of childhood innocence, those sorts of questions are more and more rarely asked. The kids know the answers more or less as soon as they learn to speak. Fortunately, we can occasionally rely on adults who still have the childish gift, and Princess Diana, frequently suspected of being cunning and manipulative, employed the childish virtues of innocence and plain-speaking to powerful effect in Angola last week.
As "expert" ministers muttered anonymously from behind their malt whiskies about a loose cannon, she planted the thought firmly in the minds of millions of people around the world that there may be no justification whatsoever for the manufacture and use of anti-personnel landmines, and that any government that defends their manufacture and use is a disgrace. After all, who is the greater expert on the effects of landmines, the politician imbibing in his club, or the 13-year-old girl who had her leg blown off on the way to the well?
Where children and princesses cannot ask awkward questions, dumb animals sometimes manage it. On Friday, South Korean marines ventured into the de-militarised zone between North and South Korea to rescue a stranded bull that had drifted downstream in floodwaters last summer and washed up on the islet of Yoo-do.
The two Koreas waged a fierce battle over the islet at the end of the 1950-53 Korean conflict. The battle ended in a draw, and the islet has since been part of the two and a half-mile-wide DMZ. The bull lived on the islet for six months, oblivious to human frontiers and the hatreds of brothers. As winter set in, though, its fate gripped national attention. TV stations showed the emaciated animal hobbling from an injury, and something had to be done.
It is the Year of the Ox in Asia, a year that supposedly brings bumper crops and harmony. After the rescue, officials dubbed the animal a "Bull of Peace", and put a pink ribbon on him.
Everyone knows that people who live on the street are there out of choice, and just have a strange aversion to warmth, dryness and home cooking. But even for them life without a mortgage isn't all roses, so here are a couple of handy hints, picked up from places where people are even poorer than they are.
Tip for would-be pickpockets: plant a couple of your friends in a busy street, and get them to start a disturbance saying that a selected passer- by has made their penis shrink or disappear simply by shaking them by the hand. As a crowd gathers, insist that the passerby is a sorcerer, and incite them against him. As the mob gets more and more excited, pick their pockets. The scam worked so well in Accra last week that two "sorcerers" were beaten to death for snatching penises by witchcraft. On examining the alleged "victims", police found their genitals intact.
And a tip for underpaid prostitutes: try asking the wives of your customers to give their husbands a little something so that they can give you more for your services. Prostitutes in the Zimbabwean town of Masvingo have raised their charges by 67 per cent and through a local paper they appealed to housewives to give their husbands the money to make up the difference.
"We are not married but we need to survive and send our children to school," a spokeswoman for the Prostitutes Association of Zimbabwe said. Masvingo punters must now pay Z$50 (pounds 3) a night, up from Z$30 (pounds 1.80).
Returning to the stage after 20 years makes actress feel 'nauseous'
Undergraduates will be able to study beatboxing and performance poetry at one of Europe’s leading conservatoires for the first time, after the Guildhall School of Music and Drama revealed plans for a “groundbreaking” degree course.
- 1 Scottish independence: Ireland since 1919 is a lesson for Scotland in what a Yes vote means
- 2 Watch a man race the Circle line - and win
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 4 Grandmas keep accidentally tagging themselves as Grandmaster Flash on Facebook
Islamic State: Pope is 'being targeted by Isis', Iraqi ambassador to the Holy See warns
Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton nude pictures exhibition cancelled after artist concedes photos were 'stolen property'
Scotland independence: A nation divided against itself: Brown says SNP are liars. Darling joins in. Salmond fights back
John Travolta addresses former pilot's gay romance allegations publicly for the first time: 'That was the lowest I'd ever felt'
Richard III: Two years after his body was found scientists discover how he died
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
£50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant EBD , Septemb...
£50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant We are curr...
£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager / Training Manager (L&D /...
£35000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior QA Engineer (Agil...