Fine Print 07-10-2003

German slip Urban safari Wine wonder

By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 7.10.03

German slip

Cairo, Oct. 6 (Reuters): German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder flinched before breaking into laughter at a news conference in Cairo yesterday when an Egyptian translator inadvertently called him “Chancellor Kohl” during a question.

Schroeder is a Social Democrat who defeated conservative Helmut Kohl, after 16 years in power, in 1998. They two have long been rivals and share no physical similarities — Schroeder is a head shorter than Kohl and about half his size.

“The next question goes to Kohl,” the Egyptian translator said in polished German — causing the short, dark-haired Schroeder, 59, to visibly shake before laughing loudly at being confused with Kohl, 73, a balding giant of a man.

The German leader quickly interrupted the translator with a quip —“You don’t look like you’re that old!” — before listening to the rest of the question translated from an Egyptian journalist.

Urban safari

New York (Reuters): New York has been described as a concrete jungle, but one Harlem resident seems to have taken that literally as police were called in to remove a tiger and an alligator from his apartment. Tipped off by phone calls from neighbours, police on Saturday found the wildlife in the apartment of 31-year-old Antoine Yates, who faces charges of reckless endangerment. A police sharpshooter fired a tranquilliser dart through the window of the fifth floor apartment to subdue the tiger, which weighed up to 225 kg. Along with the tiger, believed to be a Siberian-Bengal mix, police found a one-metre alligator in the flat. Yates was not on the premises when police rappelled down the side of the apartment building in their urban safari mission, but was found on Saturday night receiving treatment for animal bites at a Philadelphia hospital.

Wine wonder

London (Reuters): If the next time you are in a restaurant you suddenly feel an inexplicable urge to shell out on a beguiling Bordeaux, it may just be the Beethoven talking. A British scientific study shows that a bit of classical music can persuade diners to buy more fancy coffees, pricey wines and luxurious desserts. Researchers at Britain’s universities of Leicester and Surrey persuaded a restaurant to alternate silence, pop music and classical on successive nights over 18 days. On nights when the classics were playing — a tape of Beethoven, Mahler and Vivaldi — patrons spent more on dinner, especially on “luxuries” such as coffee, dessert, fine wines and starters.