John Walsh: btw

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The Independent Online

* This week's award for faultless logic goes to Ms Petra Faile, a Dutch housewife who, like thousands of her countrymen, believes the world will end in 2012. They're devotees of the Mayan civilisation that flourished from AD300 to 900, whose calendar ends on 21 December 2012. Many Dutch people are building bunkers and boats while waiting for the apocalypse. But which event will destroy Holland? Petra believes immigration will trigger it. "In another four years it will be all over," she says. "They keep letting people in, and then we have to build more houses, which makes the Netherlands even heavier. The country will sink even lower, which will make the flooding worse. But maybe it's not so bad that the Netherlands will be destroyed. I don't like it here any more."

* The Osservatore Romano, the Vatican's official newspaper, adopted a lofty tone in scotching rumours that Pope Benedict XVI's red loafers are made by Prada. "Naturally the attribution was false," it thundered. "The banality of our times does not even recognise that the colour red has a clear sacrificial significance." So the Supreme Pontiff wears crimson leather to symbolise Christ's sacrifice for man's sins, not just because it looks hot? Yeah, right. The shoes are made, it turns out, by Adriano Stefanelli, and Il Papa owns two pairs: calfskin for winter, nappa leather for summer. Not that that makes him some kind of fashionisto. "These rumours do not tally," says the Osservatore severely, "with the simple and sober man who, on the day of his election to the papacy, addressed the faithful and the world with the sleeves of his modest black sweater showing." My dear. So barbarian.

* The security crackdown at Wimbledon tennis is surely getting a little out of hand. A 60-year-old couple were cautioned and had their kitchen cutlery seized by police, even after they explained they'd brought it to cut up their picnic scotch eggs. But what does one make of the guards who have routinely been confiscating the free drinks and snacks given to waiting fans? Innocent (ie, the brand Innocent) smoothies, Rubicon drinks and Jordan granola bars have all been snaffled at the gates. Why? Because Wimbledon's 15 official sponsors refuse to allow their rivals any presence. A case of unfair competition if I ever heard one.

* Theme restaurants are nothing new but diners who patronise the Buns and Guns eaterie in a Hizbollah stronghold of Beirut are in for a shock. The theme is terrorism. You eat your meal to the sound of gunfire and ricochet. Weapons and bullets are strewn across the counter. "My goal is to make people laugh before they ask me, 'Why weapons?'," says the owner, Yousef Ibrahim, a fervent Hizbollah fan. "The important thing is to laugh. They accuse us of terrorism, so let's serve terrorist bread." The dishes are given amusing names, such as Rocket-Propelled Grenade and Kalashnikov and the place's motto is "A sandwich can kill you" – but only, says Mr Ibrahim, by its generous filling. Did I mention it's a fast-food joint?

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