The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Cut below the rest

Tehran, Dec 17 (Reuters): Iran’s moral police have arrested a male barber who gave short haircuts to young women so that they could pass as boys and go out in public without having to cover themselves from head to toe, a newspaper said today.

Under Iran’s interpretation of Islamic dress codes, women must cover their hair and wear long loose garments to cover the shape of their bodies when in public.

The evening conservative Kayhan newspaper said police in the central city of Isfahan arrested the barber and his assistant, herself a woman dressed as a man, after they received reports of sightings of short-haired girls flouting the dress code. The only restriction on male attire in Iran is that shorts are banned and short-sleeved shirts are frowned upon.

Tiger trick

Selishten Dol, Bulgaria (Reuters): A young pet tiger is scaring thieves away from a tiny Bulgarian village, but pulling in the tourists. Locals say no robberies have been reported in Selishten Dol, 63 km west of Sofia, since a retired general bought the nine-month old Siberian female tiger, Raja, in June. “Not a single house has been burgled since the tiger has been in the village. The fame of our Raja seems to be proving a better deterrent than the police,” said 75-year-old Iskra Simeonova. Burglary was previously common in the village, where many holiday villas are unoccupied for much of the year. Raja has also made Selishten Dol an attractive tourist spot, with many parents bringing their children for a free glimpse of the tiger rather than paying to visit cash-strapped Sofia zoo. Raja, who shares her home with two cats, four dogs, sheep, hens, a pig and a cow, eats fruit, eight eggs and three kilos of meat a day, her owners said.

Cute car

Shanghai (Reuters): China’s gridlocked drivers will be able to sing their blues away next year after the country’s only privately owned car maker rolls out a car equipped with karaoke gear. China Geely Group said on Tuesday its new model, the Geely Beauty Leopard, would retail for 150,000 yuan ($18,000) and come with a phone, karaoke machine, and other bells and whistles, such as navigation gear based on the global positioning system. The Beauty Leopard will enter production in January 2003 and go on sale in April, Geeely said. The company, based in the eastern Chinese city Ningbo, has been making cars since 1999 and has a line of sedans and hatchbacks that includes China’s cheapest car, which sells for 38,900 yuan ($4,700).

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