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Laden of pop

London, March 16 (PTI): This also involves tapes, but in a career that could enable her to appear on peppy music channels rather than Al-Jazeera, Waffa bin Laden, niece of Osama bin Laden, has set her sights on becoming a pop star.

Waffa, a trained lawyer, has already been touted as a Natalie Imbruglia look-alike on the London party circuit and is busy recording demos. She arrived in Britain six months ago and has since been busy in the studio recording demos with John Benson, the former manager of All Saints.

But the 27-year-old is said to be worried that her family ties might harm her career even though her father Yeslam, brother of the Al-Qaida terror chief Osama bin Laden, has disowned him. “It’s hard for her with her name but I think she could be a success,” Benson said. ”

Cock tales

Oklahoma City (Reuters): The Oklahoma state legislature is considering steps that might ease penalties for cockfighting after judges challenged the ban on the blood sport, saying it may be turning chicken farmers into felons. The Oklahoma Senate approved legislation a few days ago that would ask voters to decide whether cockfighting, outlawed by the state’s voters in November, should be reduced from a felony to a misdemeanour and the fines dramatically scaled back. The state’s House of Representatives is also looking at reducing penalties.

Blind tour

Cairo (Reuters): Blind visitors will soon be able to feel the magic of the Egyptian Museum, thanks to a special new gallery which will let them discover by touch such treasures as the mask and throne of King Tutankhamun. The gallery is one of several Egyptian initiatives aimed at improving the lives of disabled people and offering them equal opportunities in more spheres of life. Other efforts include a chamber orchestra composed entirely of blind girls and women, and an international fast-food restaurant run entirely by deaf and dumb staff.

Royal woes

n Rome: Italy’s former royal family returned to their homeland yesterday after 57 years in exile — to a barrage of criticism which threatened to overshadow the lavish parties and welcoming dinners, the Daily Telegraph said today. The three-day visit to Naples by Prince Victor Emmanuel, the 65-year-old head of the House of Savoy, his wife, Marina Doria, and their son, Emmanuel Filiberto, 30, was intended to be a grand official homecoming from Switzerland. Instead, the prince’s expressions of “love” for his native land have been met by hostility within Naples — where he was born and from where he sailed into exile at the age of nine.


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