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Trouble in the name

Belgrade Feb. 9 (AP): What do you call a citizen of a country called Serbia and Montenegro' A Serbonegrin'

The question has been on the lips of many here since what used to be Yugoslavia converted earlier this week into a new state now called simply after its two republics: Serbia and Montenegro. “It is easy to rename a state like this,” notes Ranko Bugarski, a linguist and professor at Belgrade’s faculty of philology. “But there are no good solutions for how to call its citizens.”

The renaming problem is one that will irk the former Yugoslavs for some time to come, and not only when it comes to defining their nationality.

Take, for example, the country’s national carrier, which for decades has been called Yugoslav Airlines, or Jat. Or, what will become of the Internet extension “.Yu”, or the only car manufactured here, called Yugo' Is it conceivable to cheer on Serbia and Montenegro, like the national soccer team, or the basketball team — one of the world’s best ' Or is the new country’s name just too long and clumsy'

Dog days

Tokyo (Reuters): So good has a dog’s life become in Japan that an increasing number of pampered pooches are hounded by weight problems. But now canines eager to cut calories can turn to a special doggie health spa that includes running on treadmills and a long soak in a therapeutic bath. On a recent day, a Shetland sheep dog named Disney panted gamely on a tiny treadmill made specially for animals before a long soak in a bubbling Jacuzzi, its waters fragrant with a special concoction of tea tree and cypress oils combined with elements from a noted Japanese hot spring. “Running alone doesn’t yield weight loss results as fast,” said Kensuke Hirakawa, explaining the reasons behind the “Ken 21” doggie spa he runs in a corner of his pet health food store.

Nude rally

Sydney (Reuters): More than 700 women posed nude yesterday to protest against Australia’s likely involvement in a potential war against Iraq. Lying naked end to end on a grassy knoll in the Australian beach town of Byron Bay, they formed a heart around the words “No War” for an aerial photograph. Australia has sent troops and approved fighter jet deployments to join the US and British forces in the Gulf preparing for a possible war in Iraq, but has yet to publicly commit itself to joining any military action. One middle-aged woman had the words “Bare it all for the boys Down Under” written on her back. “If you just look over there, that’s a lot of women who don’t agree with what’s going on,” organiser Grace Knight told Australian Broadcasting Corp Radio.

Pisco spat

Lima (Reuters): The quality of pisco and who has the rights to make the grape-based liquor has sparked a spat between Peru and its southern neighbour Chile, with both countries seeking to make sure their pisco fills cocktail glasses around the world. Yesterday was “Pisco Sour Day” in Peru, with free cocktails and celebrations in Lima and in southern Peru, where the town of Pisco is located. On the same day, Chile, Peru’s rival, celebrates “Piscola Day” to honour the typical mix of Chilean pisco with CocaCola or Sprite.

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