The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Hero-free zones

Canberra, Aug. 19 (Reuters): Superman, Batman, Spiderman and the Hulk might be able to save the world but they can’t get through the doors of an increasing number of childcare centres in one Australian city.

Declaring themselves “superhero-free zones”, at least 12 day centres for pre-school age children in Melbourne are banning crime-fighting superhero costumes because they say the unwelcome alter-egos encourage children to be aggressive. Mayor Bill Baarini from Hobsons Bay Council, which runs the superhero-free Altona Meadows Child Care Centre, said it was often the less assertive child with lower self-esteem who ended up the victim of playground superheroes.

“While the policy hasn’t eliminated rough play altogether, it had certainly made a significant difference in reducing injuries and bullying at the centre,” he said in a statement. But Vickii Jenvey, a Monash University expert on children’s play, said the rough and tumble play the childcare centres were trying to stamp out was different from aggressive behaviour. “Cloaks and masks don’t cause aggression,” Jenvey said. “Children can get aggressive with a piece of stick. Superheroes are actually archetypal characters, good fighting evil, and can be quite moral.”

Shower act

Berlin (Reuters): German police briefly detained a 36-year-old man after he tried to shower naked in a car wash in the southern town of Fuerth. “The man stripped off and said he wanted to take a shower, but he couldn’t start the machine,” the police said on Tuesday. “It wasn’t a great idea. He could have been coated in car wax, scalded by hot water or rubbed raw by brushes.” The car wash owner alerted police after spotting the man gearing up for his shower among the brushes and hoses. Police said the man had been looking for somewhere to wash since losing his home at the start of the month.

Scared thief

London (Reuters): A British burglar who stumbled on a work of art that he mistook for a human head in a pickle jar was so spooked that he summoned the police to a house he had robbed. Conceptual artist Richard Morrison had made the head from bacon wrapped around a wire frame floating in a jar of formaldehyde. After the burglar phoned, police bashed down Morrison’s door to raid his house, near Liverpool in northern England. Morrison returned home to find that his house had been broken into twice, once by the burglar and once by the police. “It was of vital importance that we investigated, to ensure that there was nothing suspicious,” the police said.

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