Washington, July 14 (AP): A $1 million painting from Saudi Arabia. An $18,000 pen from the United Arab Emirates. A $3 jar of fish bait from Morocco.
These sundry gifts to President George W. Bush from foreign leaders share little other than the grace and goodwill with which they were given. But those gifts and hundreds more share a similar fate they barely brush the President’s hands before being carted off, crated and left to gather dust.
Gift-giving among foreign leaders is as common as a handshake. Much less common is putting those presents to use. “The ironic twist is that all this money gets spent on things that no one ever gets to enjoy,” says Jenny Sternaman, archivist at the Ronald Reagan presidential library in Simi Valley, California.
White House aides log the foreign gifts given to the President and send them to the national archives. There, the gifts are packed up and put in storage for Bush’s future presidential library. Some are on display in the White House or President’s ranch in Texas during his term only.
Sydney (Reuters): An Australian woman has ripped her way into the record books by giving bikini waxes to 130 people in four hours without apparent mishap. Lareesa Guttery, a beauty therapist in Perth, claimed her new record on Saturday when she almost doubled British woman Deanne Ware’s two-year-old mark of 77 waxes. She said her only problem had been a lack of willing volunteers. “We had to go out into the mall and persuade people to come in and get waxed,” Guttery said. Six of her teary-eyed subjects were men. “A couple of the women were in a bit of pain after the procedure, but there were no real mishaps, thankfully,” she said. “I think I could do 200...if we can get the volunteers.” Her record bid was witnessed by two qualified beauty therapists, whose job it was to make sure the waxes were completed properly
Berlin (Reuters): A three-year-old German boy took the keys to his father’s car, started it up and plowed through two tents before coming to a halt, police said on Monday. Toddler Jannik made off with the keys to the Renault Laguna while his father was playing a soccer match, authorities in Euskirchen, 30 km west of Cologne near the Belgian border, said. He unlocked the car with the remote control and put its automatic transmission into reverse without having to touch the pedals. The car slowly rolled through the camping site next door, mowing down tents where two 11-year-old children were playing. They suffered minor bruises.