John Walsh: Last chance to bag yourself a miracle


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Thousands of devotees are converging on the Indian town of Puttaparthi, where the spiritual leader Sathya Sai Baba, aged 85, is on a life-support machine. Unlike most gurus, Sai Baba is a real showman. His followers swear they've seen him levitate, bilocate, turn water into gasoline, change the colour of his robe while wearing it, make fruit appear hanging from any tree, control the weather and emit a brilliant light. No wonder people are crowding to his deathbed. Not only can he expand your consciousness, he can bung you free petrol, produce plums in April, arrange for unlimited sunshine and act as a human standard lamp. Now that's what I call enlightenment.

* Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster and head of the Catholic Church in England, is showing his mettle as a fierce negotiator when there's a serious issue at stake. He's written a stern letter to the owners of his local pub, The Cardinal (named after his Victorian predecessor Henry Manning), protesting about their plans to change the name to the Windsor Castle. Go for it, Archbishop. And while you're at it, there's a boozer near me called The Mitre that they're planning to change to the Pig & Whistle. Can we count on your support?

* The ReWalk electronic walking aid was unveiled at the NEC Birmingham this week. It's a pair of robotic trousers made by Argo Medical technologies, and enables those with spinal injuries to climb stairs unaided. The makers have tested it in Italy and are putting it on the open market, costing £50,000. I just hope none of the devices is stolen by an unscrupulous penguin, and used in a daring diamond heist...

* Czech archaeologists studying the Copper Age have made a remarkable discovery. In a suburb of Prague, they've found the grave of a male body that dates back to 2,900 BC. His head is facing east and his bones are surrounded by household jugs. Dead chaps in the Copper Age were invariably buried facing west and surrounded by battle axes, hammers, flint knives and other virile paraphernalia. Ladies faced east and were buried with jewellery and pots. Locals conclude that this chap was the world's first gay caveman. The evidence is there for all to see. Plus, of course, the beige scatter cushions and the 78rpm disc of Shirley Bassey numbers...

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