x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Man faces jail … for being the wrong man in jail

A right-wing political party's living mascot is turned against it, knitters are urged to take up their needles for penguins, an American judge defines pizza and more news you can lose.

An Indian man has been freed from prison after it was discovered that he had taken his brother-in-law's place to serve a life sentence. Kiran Singh had already spent 18 months behind bars in Uttar Pradesh, when cellmates revealed his deception to the authorities.

His brother-in-law, Raj Kumar, had been given a life sentence for the murder of a business rival but persuaded Singh to take his place, saying he needed to look after his five unmarried sisters.

Singh even had his brother-in-law's name tattooed on his arm. His family was unaware he had gone to prison, believing he had gone away to look for work.

Kumar has now been arrested, with Singh facing fraud charges - and another term in prison.


When Barbies go bad

A "rock chick" version of the Barbie doll, who comes tattooed and with a toy dog called "Bastardino", has upset American parents.

The latest incarnation of the 52-year-old toy features pink dyed hair and tattoos over her neck and shoulders.

One writer for a parents' magazine called her "overly sexualised and inappropriate", while Professor Joel Bakan, the author of Childhood Under Siege, called the doll a "calculated attempt to play on young girls' natural desire to appear older".

Mattel has created the doll with tokidoki, a fashion designer in Los Angeles, and says, "Barbie has sported an endless array of styles."


Baa right

A missing goat that was the mascot of a Swiss far-right party has been found safe and well, but painted black.

Zottel, a dwarf goat, was kidnapped from the Swiss People's Party, which campaigns against immigrants. The party recently featured a poster campaign in which three white sheep kicked a black sheep off a map of Switzerland.

Zottel and a fellow goat called Mimo had been covered in black paint by what the party called "extremist delinquents".

Members of a group called Anti-Fascist Action have claimed responsibility.


Penguins need pullies

An appeal has gone out to the world's knitters to make sweaters for penguins rescued from an oil spill in New Zealand.

The sweaters are needed to keep the oil-soaked penguins warm until they recover sufficiently to be cleaned and then returned to the wild. The garments also stop the birds from preening themselves and ingesting the oil.


Pizza: the law

One of America's most prominent judges has ruled that Chicago deep dish pizzas cannot be called pizza. The Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia described deep dish pizza as "very tasty" but added: "It should not be called 'pizza', it should be called 'tomato pie'." Addressing law students in Chicago, Justice Scalia added: "Real pizza is Neapolitan. It is thin. It is chewy and crispy. OK?"