Outside Edge: If you're going to lie, lie big

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The Independent Online

Paul Burrows is officially the biggest liar in the world, having won the annual contest staged at the Bridge Inn in Eskdale, Cumbria, at his first attempt on Thursday. The Southender's tale of how the Cumbrians stole their mountains and lakes from his home county, leaving Essex the dull, flat expanse it is, triumphed over tall stories of muggings by synchronised swimmers and rabbits on quad bikes. Burrows works in advertising, which some feel should disqualify him on the grounds that he gets too much lying practice – lawyers and politicians are already barred from entering on the grounds that they are "professionals". In other news, Edge has always known that the golf commentator Peter Alliss was the world's biggest something, and has now discovered what it is: Alliss was the heaviest baby born in Europe in 1931, weighing in at 14lb 10oz when he arrived in 1931. Suggestions that after being delivered he recommended some alterations to the doctor's grip remain unconfirmed.


What it could cost Carlton and United Breweries if Australia win the Ashes series – they've pledged to give a free bottle of beer to every adult in Oz if the home side triumph. Judging by the showing of Ricky Ponting's men in warm-up matches, though, they need some bottle sooner rather than later.

Yemenis have feet of clay in China

It's tough travelling from Yemen these days, what with airport security taking a special interest in your luggage and scrutinising your answer to "Purpose of visit" very carefully. So let's sympathise with the Yemeni men's volleyball team, who after being knocked out of the Asian Games in China last week claimed they had been distracted by the bikini-clad cheerleaders laid on by the hosts. "They had an effect on how we played," said team member Adeeb Mahfoudh, before spiking himself in the foot by adding: "These girls are very beautiful; I hope to watch them perform at the next match." Better news at the Games for South Korea's star baseball slugger, Sin-Soo Choo; his team's gold medal means he is exempted from national service, so can carry on earning millions in the US. The Cleveland Indians are currently paying the wages of Sin.

Good week

Glenn McGrath, the former Australian fast bowler married again two years after the death of his first wife... Ronnie O'Sullivan Snr, the snooker player's father was released from jail after 18 years... Haile Gebrselassie, the marathon world record-holder reversed his decision to retire after recovering from a knee injury... and Phil Taylor, got to round two of the Grand Slam of Darts after ditching his new glasses.

Bad week

Aidrie United, whose Remembrance matchday programme cover mistakenly featured Nazi soldiers... Tiger Woods, subjected to waves of hostile tweets after deciding to join Twitter... Mark Ramprakash, the prolific Surrey batsman will miss the start of the next cricket season after damaging knee ligaments while playing football... and Andrew Rosa of Florida, whose girlfriend smashed their television and attacked him with a hammer after he refused to stop watching an American football game.

Tyson refuses to make a meal of meat

Mothers worldwide can relax; Mike Tyson's desire to eat babies has waned. So much so, in fact, that he's become a vegan. "I've been eight months with this vegan stuff," he announced last week. "I ate, like, the tiniest piece of meat, and I woke up violently sick. It was vicious pain. And I realised meat's become a poison for me now." According to the New York Post, Tyson is also interested in opening a restaurant specialising in Jewish food. But other observers aren't sure the report is kosher. More animal action reported by Lizzie Greatorex, who claims that her African Grey parrot – named, confusingly, Pigeon – is a keen Manchester United fan, screeching out the players' names when watching games on television and squawking "Sir Alex!" whenever the cameras zoom in on the manager. Unlikely as it sounds, this report is given credence by the fact that, like all good United supporters, Lizzie and Pigeon live thousands of miles away from Manchester, in Cape Town.