John Walsh: The revolution that is women at the wheel


Will the issue of women drivers become a force for change in Saudi Arabia? It's possible. Two weeks ago, residents of Riyadh saw an unprecedented sight as 42 women drove cars, defying the convention that women aren't allowed to. No arrests were reported.

The authorities hoped no one had noticed. But the rebellion has spread. On Tuesday, five women went for a spin in Jeddah. This time they were arrested. They've now been released, but may, according to lawyers, appear in court. Charged with what, though? No law stops them driving – only a Muslim edict that women must be driven by family members or chauffeurs. Where next? Mecca? Medina? And can the police legally stop them driving into the future?

Readers of The Independent who saw the recent picture of an Antarctic emperor penguin stranded on a New Zealand beach must have worried about what's happening to him. I'm glad to report that, when Wellington Zoo discharges him, a Department of Conservation truck will take him to the Southern Ocean and bung him in. The bad news is, his natural habitat is 1,000 miles away. But it's a start.

We've had leaves on the track, wrong snow and heat-drooped power lines as excuses for slow travel. This new one is priceless. At JFK airport, runway 4L was closed after being invaded by 150 diamondback turtles, who'd heaved themselves out of Jamaica Bay and were looking for somewhere to lay their eggs. Flights were disrupted for half an hour while workers picked them up and moved them to safety, as they squawked, "Don't rush me..."

Crude language and double entendres are strangers to many offices, so sympathy for Christine Minto, an office manager awarded £21,000 compensation for the harrassment she endured from a colleague. In their shared office, Ms Minto couldn't bend over or walk past the comically named Ivor Swatton without prompting crude observations. "I never knew when the next remark would be of a sexual nature," she said. When she finally complained to bosses, he phoned her and said, "If you don't watch your back, I'll make sure you're out." It took a while to register that this remark, so apparently full of entendres, was actually a threat.