x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

China seeks to create a level playing fieldin table tennis

China is to start training foreign ping pong players because the country fears that its dominance in the sport is making international tournaments look one-sided.

China is to start training foreign ping pong players because the country fears that its dominance in the sport is making international tournaments look one-sided.

From next year, overseas players can take a four-year course at the Chinese Academy of Table Tennis in Shanghai.

China won all three medals in both the men's and women's competitions at the last Olympics, the first time this has happened.

Yang Peifang, the head of the academy, pledged to take foreign "lambs" and "breed them into wolves".

Mass injury for insurance

Supporters of an extreme right-wing political organisation have been accused of insurance fraud after 78 of them claimed to have suffered whiplash injuries in a coach crash where only 27 had booked seats.

They lodged the claims after the vehicle, which can seat a maximum of 57, was involved in a minor accident on the way to a rally organised by the English Defence League.

Christopher Cartwright, the driver of the coach, said: "There was not much more than a scratch on the back corner."

Eyes shut with glue

The husband of the ageing film star, Zsa Zsa Gabor, has been forced to wear an eye patch until the new year after he mistook a bottle of glue for eyedrops.

Prince Frederic Von Anhalt, 68, the ninth husband of the actress, accidentally picked up a bottle of glue for false nails belonging to his wife and ended up with his eyelids shut.

Miss Gabor, 93, suffered the same experience some years ago while using glue to attach false eyelashes.

Chef under hair transplant

Gordon Ramsay, the celebrity chef, is reported to have undergone a hair transplant in Los Angeles.

Mr Ramsay, whose empire includes Verre in Dubai, is said to have paid about Dh171,000 for a procedure known as "follicular unit extraction", which involves removing hair follicles from the back of the head and implanting them at the front of the scalp.

He was photographed leaving the clinic of Dr Antonio Armani with bandages on the affected areas of his head.

Mr Ramsay, 44, has already had veneers fitted to his teeth and said last year he had undergone botox injections to fill in deep crevices on his chin after taking the advice of his friend, Simon Cowell.

At the time he admitted: "I've always had a face like Freddy Krueger."

Whatever is most irritating

The expression "whatever" has been voted the most irritating word or phrase in the English language.

A poll of 1,020 Americans also selected "like" and "you know what I mean" in the top three of annoying expressions. "Whatever", "To tell you the truth" and "actually" also scored highly on the list.

Drugs in eggs

A drug smuggler was caught at Miami's international airport two days before Christmas after he attempted to bring cocaine into the country inside Easter Eggs.

US customs and border protection officers are reported to have "sensed something wrong" after Esteban Galtes, 23, arrived with a bag full of plastic eggs normally used for sweets.

Inside they found 6.3 kilograms of cocaine with a street value of about US$100,000 (Dh365,000).

A spokesman for the US Customs said officers had been trained "to detect anomalies in all kinds of situations."

He added: "It's an unusual concealment method, at least for this time of year."

jlangton@thenational.ae