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Weird World.

THE decision to ban a 500-year-old portrait of Venus from the London Underground has been criticised as "bonkers".

The Royal Academy wanted to use the classic nude to advertise its forthcoming show on Lucas Cranach the Elder, a 16th century German painter and printmaker who is known for his sensuous paintings.

But the institution has been told to go back to the drawing board by London Underground, which fears Venus is likely to offend Tube travellers.

ACOUNCIL has defended its decision to pay pounds 60 to rid a tenant's home of a poltergeist, saying it was the cheapest option.

Easington Council in County Durham employed medium Suzanne Hadwin after Peterlee tenant Sabrina Fallon, 23, reported paranormal activity including moving objects. The family had been left traumatised by the strange goings-on and wanted to leave the house in Basingstoke Road. Miss Fallon said the spirit had now gone.

A FOOTBALL league is to become the first in England to enforce a ban on "gratuitous" bad language among players and officials.

The Arngrove Northern League, based in the north-east of England, plans to launch a zero-tolerance approach to swearing in its second division in a season-long experiment approved by the FA that will begin in August. The pilot scheme will mean that players using unnecessary foul language will be shown an immediate red card.

EMBARRASSED Whitehall officials got their Newcastles mixed up and awarded pounds 2.7m meant for the city in north-east England to its Potteries namesake.

Newcastle-under-Lyme was handed the cash by the Department for Communities and Local Government instead of Newcastle upon Tyne, the regional capital of the north-east. And the market town in Staffordshire is refusing to hand back its windfall, saying it was accepted in good faith.

DOG-LOVERS paid more than pounds 350,000 at auction for a group of dog paintings, statues, fancy collars and other items.

Leading the way at the New York sale, which coincided with America's leading dog show, was pounds 33,000 for a 19th century John Emms oil painting of foxhounds and a terrier resting on a straw-covered bench. A 19th century life-size cast-iron black retriever went for pounds 5,000, a Victorian sewing cabinet decorated with hand-painted dog heads for pounds 4,500 and a William IV silver and leather collar, once worn by a champion Blenheim spaniel, for pounds 1,950.

LEGISLATION protecting endangered newts is to be challenged after a council spent pounds 60,000 moving four of the creatures.

Officials at Cheshire County Council are writing to the Government and EU chiefs to challenge the rules governing how the animals are treated.

Councillor Barrie Hardern said the Great Crested Newts had to be given a new habitat as a part of a planning application.

He said, "Around pounds 15,000 per newt seems a ludicrous sum of money to me."

A CAR design team is bringing back memories of a famous scene from a James Bond movie by producing a car that can travel under water, pictured.

In the 007 film The Spy Who Loved Me, Roger Moore as Bond was seen driving a car that doubled as a boat.

The scene was shot using animation, but more than 30 years later Swiss company Rinspeed has come up with a concept car - the sQuba.

A POLICE force has sent Valentine's cards to 160 bail dodgers in a bid to encourage them to hand themselves in.

West Mercia Constabulary sent the red cards to those wanted on warrant for not appearing in court or not paying fines.

The card features the rhyme "Roses are red, violets are blue, we can't wait to get our hands on you".

THE decades of time failed to prevent a post office fromcompleting the delivery of a June 1929 postcard to a home in Massachusetts.

Nearly 79 years after it was sent, the postcard of Yellowstone National Park's Tower Falls arrived in the letter box with the one-word message, "Greetings."

The intended recipient, a Miss Margaret McDonald, had long since left the Victorian home and the sender was identified only by the initials MC.

AN Egyptian bus driver arrested over a serious crash escaped harm a second time when the police car taking him in smashed off the road and rolled over killing the two officers with him.

The man had been taking 45 tourists to the Red Sea city of Safaga when his bus skidded and rolled on a dual carriageway, injuring 27 of them.

Accidents are common in Egypt, killing about 6,000 people annually, due to bad roads and poor enforcement of traffic laws.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Feb 16, 2008
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