The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Super sperm

Berlin, May 29 (Reuters): The world’s best bull lives in Germany and breeders are lining up to buy his sperm, valued at about 180,000 euros ($213,000) a litre.

Lancelot, a four-year-old, 900-kg, black and white Holstein-Friesian bull, came top in international rankings compiled by the Interbull Centre in Uppsala, Sweden. His sperm was shown to produce the best milk-producing cattle in tests on 130 dairy cows he has sired, the Osnabrueck Herdbook Co-operative said.

One 0.25 millilitre portion produced from his sperm costs 45 euros. Andreas Kandzi, of the Co-operative, said Lancelot produces 2,500 portions of sperm a month.

Apart from years of comfort in a luxury stall, Lancelot can expect little long-term reward for his sought-after sperm. He faces slaughter when he reaches six or seven. “Once they reach that age, the potency dips,” Kandzi said.

Cafe crisis

Amsterdam (Reuters): Dutch “coffee shops” famous for selling cannabis are about to see business go up in smoke. Officials have just put the finishing touches to a measure banning smoking in cannabis-selling cafes. Due to get government approval soon, the law aims to protect employees of all companies from passive smoking. “Any coffee shop that has employees will be affected too,” said Trudy Prins, director of Dutch anti-smoking group Stivoro. Although cannabis is formally illegal in the Netherlands, its use and sale are tolerated under strict government conditions. Coffee shop owners were aghast. “The whole point of going to a coffee shop is to smoke,” said Arjan Roskam, chairman of the Union for Cannabis Retailers. Smoking a joint in an Amsterdam coffee shop vies with canal boat tours and trips to the flower market for a place on tourists’ itineraries.

Turner twist

London (Reuters): Two brothers who shocked the art world by re-working etchings of Spanish master Francisco Goya were shortlisted on Thursday for the controversial Turner Prize. Jake and Dinos Chapman were nominated along with Irish video artist and photographer Willie Doherty, sculptor Anya Gallaccio and Grayson Perry, who creates satirical works using pottery, drawings and embroidery. The £20,000 prize has been widely criticised because of the outlandish nature of some entries. Last year, Britain’s culture minister Kim Howells condemned them as “conceptual bullshit”. The Chapman brothers have ruffled purists’ feathers with their work Insult to Injury where they added comical and grotesque faces to figures in works by Goya.

Wed in jest

Rome (Reuters): Getting married in Las Vegas is no laughing matter, Italy’s highest court has ruled, rejecting a woman’s appeal against bigamy charges. The woman, named only as Cristina M, was found guilty in 1996 of bigamy and sentenced to eight months in jail after magistrates discovered that she got married in Las Vegas in 1988 before her first marriage in Italy was annulled. She told the high court that the Las Vegas service had been “a joke”, but the judges on Wednesday ruled that a quick-fire marriage in a Las Vegas registry office was as valid as a full-blown church wedding.

A court official said she would not have to go to prison because a statute of limitations meant too much time had passed to warrant a jail term.

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