STRANGE BUT TRUE; ...bizarre stories from around the world; Swedes' smock battle.
The "mother uniform", pictured left, has been tailored to coincide with plans to introduce conscription for women and to cope with the increasing numbers of existing professional officers in the forces who are expecting babies. The head of the armed forces protocol department, Hans Norlen, predicted that as many as two per cent of Sweden's 352 female military officers would wear the navy blue smocks.
He stressed that the new uniform is not designed to be used in combat situations.
CIGS ADDICTS ARE BRIBED BY ASH CASH
WORRIED health chiefs in Mexico have offered the country's 14 million smokers a cash bribe to quit the noxious weed.
They have put up a first prize of 100,000 pesos - around pounds 11,000 - to one cigarette addict who can stay tobacco- free for a month.
The move is the latest desperate measure to cut the country's horrific cigarette- related death toll.
To qualify for the prize, entrants must be 18 or over, have smoked daily for at least a year and must give up from May 2 to May 29.
A health ministry spokesman refused to reveal exactly how the winner would be chosen or how the competition would be regulated, but added: "The most important benefit is to eliminate this addiction from your life."
There were 44,625 deaths from tobacco-related illnesses in Mexico in 1998.
Of the country's 98 million population, 14 million smoke and around 18 million are believed to suffer the effects of passive smoking.
But the move has been dismissed as a vote-winning stunt by opposition leaders. One said: "How can anybody prove they quit smoking for a month?"
FOR 20 months a newly-wed Egyptian couple enjoyed a healthy and normal sex life.
They kissed and shared tender moments of passion in their neat home in the southern province of Qena.
But their idyllic lifestyle was shattered when the stunned husband discovered his pretty wife had only one breast.
He immediately went to court to have the marriage annulled on the grounds his wife had misled him.
But the court dismissed his claim, ruling that they could still perform their conjugal rights.
The woman kept her secret because couples in conservative rural Egypt do not take off all their clothes when making love.
A KUWAITI businessman who travelled to Dubai to buy two cut-price luxury Rolls-Royce cars was gutted when he arrived to find they had all been sold.
His disappointment turned to joy when he returned home and found he had won a pounds 160,000 Roller in a raffle.
Hiss just won't do
FRENCH police arrested a man after he tried to smuggle a 16-inch snake through customs - in his underpants.
The 30-year-old was caught when a sniffer dog at Roissy Airport latched on to the reptile's scent through his bulging trousers, according to a spokeswoman.
He told customs officials that he wanted to add the rare boa to his reptile collection.
It is illegal in France to export endangered species. The snake was confiscated.
Smell of a job
FRENCH "odour police" are pounding the streets of the coastal town Marseille in a bid to crackdown on smell pollution.
Teams of officers are patrolling the city centre and harbour after hundreds of fed-up locals complained the rancid reeks were making their lives a misery.
However, one sceptical resident said: "Establishing that it stinks is all very well, but putting remedies in place would be even better."
Porn to be wild
INVESTMENT brokers in Holland were stunned when a video on pension investments for truckers turned out to be a hard-core skin flick.
The mix-up happened because the video was copied by a firm which also produces raunchy videos for the Dutch porn market.
Red-faced bosses at insurance firm Nationale Nederlanden - whose motto is "No matter what happens" - pleaded innocence.
Cops pay for crime
POLICE in Cleveland, Ohio, were furious when they paid out pounds 2,000 to a man for wrongful arrest, then discovered he used the compensation to set himself up as a drug dealer.