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Since 1st March, 1999
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Mummy pay off

Cairo, Oct. 4 (AFP): Egyptian police have caught a man trying to sell a 2,500 year-old mummy to pay off a loan he took to buy a tractor, the al-Wafd newspaper has reported.

The suspect is a pick-up truck driver who had bought the 160-cm mummy for the equivalent of $7,000 from a man who discovered it in the western desert three months ago.

He thought he could sell the mummy to smugglers or collectors for up to $2 million, and toured the upscale neighbourhoods of Cairo and the roads near the famous pyramids with the mummy in his truck, looking for a customer.

But as no one took him up, he gradually lowered his expectations. At the end “he was willing to sell it for a song, just to pay off a tractor loan,” said al-Wafd. The police acted on a tip-off and arrested him with two other men who were helping him find a customer.

Flesh fever

Paris (Reuters): French schools are cracking down on a craze among teenage girls to flash their midriffs and wear skimpy G-strings that peek brazenly out from above their low-cut trousers. A number of head teachers in France — where school uniforms are practically unheard of — have slapped a ban on showing off thongs and tummies, the French daily Le Parisien said on Friday. “In the eyes of boys, thongs reduce girls to bottoms,” former junior education minister Segolene Royal said. “These adolescents are, sadly, a reflection of the society they are sold — a society where women’s bodies are shown off like vulgar merchandise,” she told the newspaper. “I am quite happy to accept girls showing their navels — but not in a high school,” said Claudine Wendling-Brickert, headmistress at the Ribeauville High School in Haut-Rhin.

Bucket bid

Bristol (AFP): Bidding hotted up on Friday for a bucket of Bristol tap water, with £1,220 the highest of 61 bids in a novel Internet auction for a good cause. The seller, who styles himself as Bucketman, is offering the pail of water on the eBay online auction site to help Oxfam, a British development agency, drill wells in war-torn southern Sudan. “Please, please, please, please, please — serious bidders only,” wrote Bucketman in his latest message on his site, which can be accessed on “I hope you bidders out there are genuine.” Oxfam UK welcomed the auction, saying in a statement that £180 would pay for a tap stand, used in refugee camps, to provide clean water for at least 1,500 people. Bidding, which started on Thursday at £10, is open until next Thursday.

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