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Madonna country

London, July 2 (AFP): Pop superstar Madonna has won her bid to keep ramblers from wandering past her eight-bedroom country home in the bucolic west of England.

Land adjoining the superstar’s mansion near Salisbury will no longer be classified as open countryside on new maps drawn up under the Right to Roam legislation, the Countryside Agency has said.

The re-classification means Madonna’s property will no longer be accessible to ramblers — people who go for walks in the countryside.

Madonna and her film director husband Guy Ritchie had personally written to Prime Minister Tony Blair expressing concern that a footpath merely 100 yards from their house was open for ramblers.

Madonna said she was concerned about her family’s privacy, and worried that access would mean more gawkers and press photographers on the doorstep of the Ashcombe House, near Tollard Royal.

The £9 million house, built in the 18th century and today a listed historical building, was once owned by society photographer Cecil Beaton.

Smoking ban

Chicago (Reuters): A smoking ban was passed on Tuesday in the unlikely city of Lexington, Kentucky, the capital of a leading tobacco growing state that has the highest percentage of adult smokers in the nation. The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council, following in the anti-smoking footsteps of much larger entities such as New York City and the state of California, voted 11-3 to prohibit smoking in public buildings, including race-tracks, restaurants and bars. About 31 per cent of adult Kentuckians smoke, compared with 23 per cent nationally. Violators would be hit by a $100 fine for the first offence, escalating up to $500.

Dream drive

Berlin (Reuters): Having sex while driving at 100 kmph down a motorway is not an offence in Germany. But if you hit something make sure you don’t run off. A Cologne court fined a man who admitted he was having sex with a blonde hitchhiker sitting astride him when he drove his car into a road sign. But only because he fled the scene of the accident with his naked accomplice. “The man was convicted of hit-and-run and sentenced to a fine of 600 euros,” court spokesperson Juergen Mannebeck said on Tuesday. “It’s hard to believe but in fact no law was broken with the intercourse on the motorway. It’s a situation that lawmakers have never thought about.” The 23-year-old man, who was tracked down through the car’s registration, was also ordered to pay 400 euros to repair the sign. However, he did not know the name of the woman who left her clothes behind in the car.

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