John Walsh: btw

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The Independent Online

Is your garden shed a little cramped? Do you need a refuge from the cruel world? Are you paranoid about what the Russian government is planning? Why not go onto eBay and bid for a former US intercontinental nuclear missile base. It stands on 56 acres of land in Washington state, with an underground network of tunnels and silos, and would make an ideal family bunker or tourist resort, if you moved in a couple of bars plus hamburger franchise. "The only limit is imagination," says Barry Hotchkiss, who has owned it for 10 years. "We've always wanted to see it turn into a summer camp or resort camp." There you go – a potential Legoland, which can withstand a nuclear attack. The price is £750,000. What are you waiting for?

Police community support officers are in trouble again, and this time it's not about whether or not to save a 10-year-old from drowning. Inspired by the success of a PCSO in Sutton, Surrey, the Metropolitan Police came up with a mascot called "Steve" and has sent several support officers, dressed as him (a kind of Postman Plod) into primary schools all over London. But Steve is white, blue-eyed, blond-haired and male, and Asian officers have felt uncomfortable taking on his role. So have women officers. Quite apart from the fact that Steve is a perfect specimen of the Aryan ideal, according to Met officers, he "fails to represent the community he serves" and could make Asian and women cops feel "isolated". Strong letters have been published in The Job, the police magazine. This will never be resolved until PCSO Steve is joined by Warrant Officer Dilip and Chief Inspector Aishwarya.

They're changing the guards at Buckingham Palace – well, they'll be changing one of them pretty soon for gross misconduct. Failing to stick to the rule that guards remain ramrod-stiff in their sentry boxes at all times, the man (thought to be from the 1st Battalion of the Grenadier Guards) stepped out of the box, turned to his right and made a rude gesture, suggestive of frenzied onanism. Whether he'd heard one too many smart remarks from visiting American tourists, or was sharing a joke with another guard, is unclear. Unluckily, he was captured in film by a visitor and the result posted on YouTube. "He's for the high jump, that's for sure," said a sympathetic Foot Guards officer.

Wandering lotharios in the Henan province of China should think twice before trying to snog any of the local girls. Xin Xinfeng has been sentenced to death for murdering her husband (whom she suspected of infidelity) by filling a plastic pellet with rat poison, concealing it under her tongue, kissing her husband at a public bathhouse and transferring the pellet to his mouth. How Shakespearean ("I kiss'd thee ere I kill'd thee!") and how nearly suicidal for the wife. It's good to know that one particular brand of rat poison has become so popular in Chinese feuds – one widow killed 10 of the guests at her husband's funeral banquet – that it's now been banned.

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