The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Octopus’ sex stab

Sydney, Jan. 2 (Reuters): Sex is just a stab in the dark for an aroused Australian blue-ringed octopus.

The Greater Blue-Ringed Octopus found in Australian waters cannot figure out the sex of its partner until a specially modified arm has checked out the target, according to the latest issue of Nature Australia magazine.

Copulation involves inserting the arm equipped with a spermatophore, or a sperm packet, into the other octopus’ body.

Males were equally likely to copulate with other males as females, wrote researchers Mary Cheng and Roy Caldwell from the University of California, Berkeley, in the first detailed study of the sexual behaviour of the sea creature.

Most male-to-male copulations ended rapidly in amicable separation, while in male-female copulations the male was less enthusiastic about departing and would take more than an hour-and-a-half to ensure fertilisation.

Joke jinx

n Amsterdam (Reuters): Two Dutch men were arrested for demanding money from the Van Gogh Museum in exchange for two stolen paintings worth millions of dollars, but the extortion attempt was probably a joke gone wrong, police said on Thursday. The men arrested on New Year’s Day in the northern village of Tolbert are not believed to have been involved in the daring robbery last month of the renowned oil paintings. It is possible that the demand for a “substantial” amount of money from the Amsterdam museum with the largest Van Gogh collection in the world was a New Year’s joke that got out of hand. In early December, thieves scrambled on to the roof of the museum using a ladder and ropes, broke in, descended to the first floor of the building and disappeared with the paintings two hours before the museum opened.

Flash ‘n’ pay

Kuala Lumpur (AFP): Malaysian men flashing their genitals at women may get more exposure than they want if Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has his way. The Prime Minister, in an apparently ironic response to a controversial court judgment, has advised the public to seize the sarongs of flashers and leave them naked, so that the wrap-around cloth can be used as evidence. Mahathir was commenting on the case of a member of Malaysia’s Opposition Islamic Party who was accused of flashing his private parts at a female member of the ruling party by lifting his sarong during a tough byelection campaign. Razak Abas, 52, was acquitted in court last month, partly on the grounds that the prosecution had failed to produce the sarong he wore during the alleged incident.

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