Lennon’s inspiration dies
The woman who as a girl inspired The Beatles’ legendary song Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds died aged 46 from an autoimmune disease, the charity that supported her announced on Monday. Lucy O’Donnell was at school with John Lennon’s son, Julian, when she was three and it was his picture of her in 1966 that inspired the classic song. According to various biographies of The Beatles and O’Donnell herself, the young Julian took the picture home to his father and explained: “It’s Lucy in the sky with diamonds.” The song, which featured on 1967 album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, caused huge controversy at the time because of its psychedelic theme and supposed reference to the drug LSD though its initials — a charge always denied as pure coincidence by John Lennon. Julian Lennon and O’Donnell resumed their friendship in recent months after she became ill with lupus, the disease of the immune system that led to her death last Tuesday.
Hoisted by their own petard
Police say two burglary suspects were killed after the excessive explosives they were using to break into a bank’s safe blew up the whole building. The explosion in Dinant destroyed half a banking office and left the rest in ruins. Police say one of the men was buried underneath the rubble and the other died in the hospital on Saturday a few hours after the attempted heist. The automated teller machines and bank safe were not opened. Authorities say both the safe and ATMs have built-in security to destroy money and documents inside if they are opened illegally.
Puppy lust goes bad
A woman has been arrested for allegedly trying to steal a tiny chihuahua puppy at gunpoint, police said on Monday. The woman produced the working replica pistol after turning up at a Sydney house for an appointment to buy eight-week-old Diego for A$1,500 (US$1,300) on Sunday. “She said she didn’t want anyone to get hurt but we had all of our family from Newcastle there and there were kids around,” owner Ashleigh Johnson told reporters. The 26-year-old woman was subdued by people at the house, who included an off-duty policeman. She was later charged with armed robbery and possession of a prohibited weapon.
The government has banned the movie Bruno by Sacha Baron Cohen because it highlights gay life and has gay sex scenes, an official said yesterday. Bruno —following Baron Cohen’s hit Borat — is centered around the adventures of a flamboyant gay fashion journalist from Austria. An official from the Film Censorship Board said the movie was considered unacceptable because of its story line, offensive language, jokes and racy nature. She declined to be named, citing protocol. Gay sex, or “carnal intercourse against the order of nature,” is punishable by up to 20 years in jail and whipping in the nation. Ukraine has also banned the film, and some Austrian officials have spoken out against it, but have not taken action.
Beard ban for teachers
The government has banned school and university teachers under the age of 50 from wearing beards and limited beard length for older education staff. Under the new rules, teachers aged over 50, can wear “a tidy beard no more than 3 centimeters long.” The rules also prohibit teachers from wearing Western-style clothes such as jeans, mini skirts and T-shirts.