The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Britney can rest

Philadelphia, Oct. 10 (Reuters): Britney Spears can rest easy, Maryland’s first lady doesn’t really want to shoot the pop star. And now she’s apologised too.

Kendel Ehrlich, wife of Maryland’s Republican governor Robert Ehrlich, said through a spokeswoman yesterday that she was sorry about an off-the-cuff remark she made at a domestic violence prevention conference while criticising what she saw as the negative influence entertainers can have on youth.

“She suggested that perhaps Spears could come to Maryland so that she could apologise in person and have a benefit conference for domestic violence programmes,” said Ehrlich’s spokeswoman.

During the domestic violence conference last Friday, Ehrlich criticised Spears’ new sexual image and its message for girls. At one point, she joked: “Really, if I had an opportunity to shoot Britney Spears, I think I would.”

Pole pain

Berlin (Reuters): After 165 days of sitting on top of a two-and-a-half-metre pole, the three remaining contestants in the 2003 World Pole-Sitting championships have cracked and decided to give their strained buttocks a rest. The three men, two Poles and a 53-year-old German truck driver, have agreed to end their lofty vigil after lashings of pouring rain and sub-zero temperatures battered their enthusiasm and sent their resilience plummeting to rock bottom. “They decided it was too cold,” organiser Klaus Mueller from the Heide Park Soltau amusement park in western Germany where the event is staged said on Friday. The men had squatted on their pole day and night since late April, sat on a 40 by 60 cm board — about the size of a newspaper page. They could only come down on ladders for 10 minutes every two hours to visit the bathroom.

Sick steal

Banjul (Reuters): A 28-year-old man accused of stealing a man’s penis through sorcery was beaten to death in the west African country of Gambia on Thursday, police said. Baba Jallow was lynched by about 10 people in the town of Serekunda, some 15 km from the capital Banjul. Reports of penis snatching are not uncommon in West Africa, with purported victims claiming that alleged sorcerers simply touched them to make their genitals shrink or disappear in order to extort cash in the promise of a cure. The police spokesman said many men in Serekunda were now afraid to shake hands, and he urged people not to believe reports of “vanishing” genitals. Belief in sorcery is widespread in West Africa. Seven alleged penis snatchers were beaten to death by angry mobs in Ghana in 1997.

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