The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Politics with pop

Tokyo, Oct. 26 (Reuters): In what is likely to be one of the more bizarre events of Japan’s political autumn, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Naoto Kan, head of the leading rival opposition party, met Russian lesbian pop duo Tatu today.

The politicians, appearing live on a news variety programme to plug their political agendas, were briefly perplexed when teenage pop stars Julia Volkova and Lena Katina, on a visit to Japan, paid a sudden visit to the studio.

But the two showed their mettle and quickly recovered. When Koizumi was told by the pair that they had come from Russia, he quipped, in English, “with love”, alluding to the title of a famous James Bond movie.

But he was upstaged by Kan, who introduced himself, also in English, with “I am the next Prime Minister.” Campaigning is set to begin on Tuesday for a November 9 general election.

Bank bungle

Amsterdam (Reuters): Bungling bank robbers smashed a hole in a Dutch bank but lost their loot when it fell off the back of their truck during the getaway. The thieves rammed the front of the bank in the northern Dutch town of Sappemeer and hoisted a safe from a cash machine onto a pickup truck. But the safe slipped off the back of the truck as the gang sped away. Police said they were in pursuit of the clumsy criminals.

Fat food

San Antonio (Texas), (Reuters): Infants are eating fattening foods such as French fries and drinking soft drinks instead of milk, which may help explain the country’s growing obesity problem, researchers said. A survey of the eating habits of 3,000 youngers aged four to 24 months found their diets were surprisingly similar to that of older children — heavy on soft drinks, sweet candy, and other junk foods, and light on vegetables and fruits.

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