Dealers talk via T-shirts
Drug dealers have developed a novel way of alerting their accomplices to police surveillance — by printing T-shirts with the registration numbers of undercover cop cars, Marseille police said on Monday. Officers found a bag full of such T-shirts on Saturday when they inspected a car whose driver had abandoned the vehicle after being pursued by police. Officers also found half a kilogram of cannabis in the car. “Until now dealers would graffiti our [car] numbers on walls or print insulting slogans on sweatshirts, but this is a bizarre variation,” a police union representative said.
Executive killed in Moscow
A businessman was murdered in a daytime shooting in the stairwell of his apartment building in central Moscow on Monday, the RIA Novosti news agency reported yesterday, citing police. The man, who headed a firm called Gold Bear, drove himself to the hospital despite bullet wounds to his head and shoulder, a police source told the agency, but he later died in hospital.
■ UNITED KINGDOM
TV program a ‘freak show’
A new reality TV show, which will film two people — one disfigured, the other attractive — living together in a house full of mirrors, has been branded a “freak show” by critics. In each episode of Channel 4’s Beauty and the Beast, a different pair will be followed by cameras both inside and outside the house, to explore how people’s lives are shaped by their looks. “Putting a disfigured person in a mirrored house in the name of entertainment is neither a healthy nor an appropriate subject for a television program. It sounds like an extraordinary freak show,” Vivienne Pattison, director of campaign group Mediawatch UK said. Channel 4 defended the show as an attempt to “challenge people’s narrow definition of beauty in a frank and engaging format.”
Politician’s son kidnapped
Politician Mahmud Dahiru said his 10-year-old son was kidnapped by gunmen on Sunday in Bauchi state. Dahiru said that gunmen made a ransom demand on Monday and asked that he not contact the police. However, police had already informed about the abduction and set up checkpoints throughout the capital city of Bauchi. Dahiru hopes to run for the federal House of Representatives in next year’s election.
Baby alligators on the loose
Police and wildlife experts have launched a search for two baby alligators that escaped from a zoo near the town of Pierrelatte. The 90cm-long reptiles, originally from China, went missing from the Crocodile Farm late last month, a police official said yesterday. “They were first thought to have been stolen, but recent evidence suggests they are prowling around between a cornfield and a disused canal,” he said. “These are young alligators with jaws hardly any bigger than a poodle’s, so no one will get eaten,” police said.
■ UNITED KINGDOM
Pope bash do’s and don’ts
Britons planning to attend open-air services by Pope Benedict XVI next month have been told it’s OK to bring a picnic, but no wine. Organizers of the pontiff’s visit released a list on Monday of what is and isn’t allowed at the gathering in London and Birmingham. Sunscreen, banners, flags, cushions and folding chairs are okay. Barbecues, candles, musical instruments, pets and alcohol are banned because they “could pose a threat to yourself or others.”