The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Lingerie weapon

Bogota, Dec. 2 (Reuters): They have tried aerial assaults and stiff jail sentences. Now Colombian officials have a new and unlikely weapon to combat the cocaine trade: push-up bras and thongs.

Some 900 peasant women in Colombia are set to make racy lingerie and sell it to French supermarket chain Carrefour under a UN-backed programme aimed at encouraging impoverished farmers and their families to stop growing drug crops.

“We thought it was a very original idea. These are regions where there are drug crops and people need legal jobs,” said Thierry Rostan of the UN Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention in Bogota. The lingerie, which includes bras and lacy panties, will be made at clothing and shoe plants in the southern coffee-rich province of Cauca, which has seen a spike of cocaine crops due to the collapse of world coffee prices.

Cash cinder

Paris (Reuters): A Frenchman who burned his life savings to a cinder before swallowing two bottles of pills is facing life with an empty bank account after neighbours foiled his suicide attempt. The man, in his forties, has been recovering in a psychiatric hospital since late October when neighbours in the southwestern town of Bordeaux saw smoke coming from his house and called the emergency services, the daily Liberation reported on Tuesday. The man, who lived alone, had cleared out his bank balance of 240,000 euros ($288,500) and set fire to the pile of 500 euro notes in his bath before swallowing the pills, hoping to leave nothing behind after his death. However, he was now eager to start a new life, his lawyer Dominique Remy told the newspaper. “He is not dangerous. It’s just that he’s destroyed all his worth,” he said.

Cool Cat

Los Angeles (AFP): The Cat in the Hat, one of Dr Seuss’ best-loved tales, was the winner in the weekend North American box-office sales, figures released on Monday showed. The Universal film, based on the classic children’s story and starring Mike Myers, took in $24.4 million to hang onto first place for the second straight week. In second place was The Haunted Mansion — a Disney fright farce starring Eddie Murphy and based on a popular theme park attraction — with $24.2 million over the three-day weekend. The Haunted Mansion, however, was the winner if total sales for the five-day Thanksgiving holiday period were counted, raking in $34 million to $32.9 million for Cat. In that five-day period, Elf was third with $30.9 million, followed by Gothika with $18.4 million and Bad Santa with $16.8 million.

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