■ United KingdomDog's ears a world record
A basset hound whose grandfather gained fame as Biggles, the face of Hush Puppies shoes, has hit the limelight himself, making it into the new Guinness Book of World Records as the dog with the longest ears. Guinness issued a photo of Mr. Jeffries, Biggles' grandson, on Wednesday. Mr. Jeffries, whose full name is Knightsfollie Ladiesman, has ears that measured 29.2cm on Nov. 3, 2002, Guinness said. Owner Phil Jeffries said his pet, whose ears are insured for US$47,800, often stands on his ears, trips over them or drags them through his food.
Court accepts teacher's scarf
Treading into a debate that has flared across Europe, Germany's highest court ruled on Wednesday that a Muslim teacher cannot be forbidden to wear a head scarf in a public school. The decision ended a protracted legal battle involving an Afghan-born woman, Fereshta Ludin, who was barred from teaching at a school in Stuttgart because she refused to shed her scarf. In August, the constitutional court ruled that a Turkish shop assistant had been wrongly dismissed for expressing a desire to wear a head scarf at work. Her boss claimed it would drive away customers.
■ United Kingdom
Iraq death penalty debated
Britain and the US are discussing reinstating the death penalty in Iraq in response to calls by senior Iraqis who want to curb rising lawlessness, The Times newspaper reported yesterday. Prime Minister Tony Blair's special envoy on human rights in Iraq, Ann Clwyd, said the British government was against the death penalty. But it was discussing calls by Iraqi Governing Council members to reinstate it because Iraqis are frustrated that lawlessness is going unpunished.
■ United states
Visa program extended
The US government has postponed until Oct. 26 next year the date for tightening the rules for letting people enter the country without visas, the State Department said on Wednesday. The extension applies to 21 of the 27 countries on the "visa waiver" list. Under the previous arrangements, with effect from Oct. 1, those whose passports are not readable by machine would not have been able to enter the US without visas. Foreign governments in the visa-waiver program face another deadline on Oct. 26 next year, when the US wants them to introduce "biometric identifiers" in passports they issue, which would include digitally coded information about the person's facial features or fingerprints.
■ United states
Rich get richer...
The gap between rich and poor more than doubled from 1979 to 2000, an analysis of government data released Wednesday shows. The figures show 2000 as the year of the greatest economic disparity between rich and poor for any year since 1979, the year the budget office began collecting this data. The richest 2.8 million Americans had US$950 billion after taxes, or 15.5 percent, of the US$6.2 trillion economic pie in 2000. The poorest 110 million Americans had less, sharing 14.4 percent of all-after tax money.
■ JapanElection set for Nov. 9
Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi will call lower-house elections for Nov. 9 after dissolving Parliament on Oct. 10, local media reported yesterday. The <