ENGLAND: Prime minister David Cameron’s office denied his family has no love for Larry, the Downing St cat.
Following claims in a new book that Cameron acquiring the moggy was little more than a PR stunt, a “savelarry” hashtag began trending on Twitter.
Downing St dismissed suggestions in journalist Matthew d’Ancona’s book on Cameron’s coalition government, In It Together, that Larry was an unloved pet.
A spokesman said: “Totally untrue. He is very popular with everyone in the building and we all get on purr-fectly well.”
Larry was acquired in Feb 2011 after a rat was spotted in two television news bulletins scurrying around outside the black door of the prime minister’s residence in central London.
But his efficiency has been regularly called into question and it took him a few months to make his first confirmed kill. Reports have made him out as a cat more interested in snoozing than putting the frightners on rodents.
There have been resident cats on the prowl in Downing St since the 1920s. They have even been given the title of chief mouser to the Cabinet Office and put on the payroll.
ENGLAND: Women’s drinking was so bad during the First World War critics likened them to prostitutes, researchers have found.
While the men were away dying in their thousands, many women hit the pubs to deal with the agony of the age.
Now, for the first time, a picture has emerged of the enthusiasm with which the ladies put away the alcohol — and the chauvinistic attitude which aimed to punish and prevent them.
Through old newspapers available to search online at family history website Genes Reunited, the true extent of the indignation at the sight of women filling the alehouses across the country has been discovered.
In 1915, the Manchester Evening News reported that a member of the county magistrates, Mr Theophilus Simpson, was shocked to count “26 women enter a licensed house in ten minutes, with 16 coming out who he had not seen enter.”
He likened this type of behaviour to that of a prostitute adding: “Some people said women have a right to spend their money as they liked; they might as well say that they had a right to sell themselves if they like.”
Saudi cleric says women who drive risk damaging their ovaries
SAUDI ARABIA: A top conservative cleric has said women who drive risk damaging their ovaries and bearing children with clinical problems, countering activists who are trying to end the Islamic kingdom’s male-only driving rules.
A campaign calling for women to defy the ban in a protest drive on Oct 26 has spread rapidly online over the past week and gained support from some prominent women activists. The campaign’s website was blocked inside the kingdom last night.
As one of the 21 members of the Senior Council of Scholars, Sheikh Saleh al-Lohaidan can write fatwas, or religious edicts, advise the government, and has a large following among other influential conservatives.
He said women aiming to overturn the ban should put “reason ahead of their hearts, emotions, and passions”.
“If a woman drives a car, not out of pure necessity, that could have negative physiological impacts as functional and physiological medical studies show that it automatically affects the ovaries and pushes the pelvis upwards,” he said.
“That is why we find those who regularly drive have children with clinical problems of varying degrees.”
Thailand’s adored panda searches for love in China
THAILAND: A celebrity panda, whose exploits were avidly followed on a 24-hour television channel, has left in search of a mate in China.
Linping, who has drawn around 2.5m people to Chiang Mai zoo since she was born in 2009, was flown from the northern Thai city to Chengdu in China where she will meet six male giant pandas, her zookeeper said.
ENGLAND: Airline “snobs” are snubbing certain carriers to avoid particular types of people, according to a survey by sunshine.co.uk.
As many as 21% of air passengers said they choose their flight bearing in mind the sort of people normally using a particular airline. Also, 9% said they would opt for flights based on how attractive they thought cabin crew would be, while 65% said they would behave differently if they were travelling with an “upmarket” airline.
A total of 2,265 UK adults took part in the survey. All had been on a holiday abroad in the past 12 months and had gone by air. The cost of a flight was the main reason for choosing a particular airline, followed by flight times and luggage allowance.
A total of 33% said they would treat cabin crew and airline staff with more respect if travelling with an upmarket airline, while 46% said they would be more likely to make a complaint if they were flying with a budget carrier.
Rude staff topped the list of reasons for not travelling with an airline again, followed by delays, hidden costs, and disorderly check-in processes.
Also, 25% said “bad experiences with other passengers” would put them off booking with a specific airline again.
A severely injured white rhino that had been wandering a national park for days after having its horn hacked off and a bullet lodged in its brain was put down by park rangers on Tuesday, according to South African media outlet News24.
As his girlfriend lay dying, a weeping, praying Oscar Pistorius knelt at her side and struggled in vain to help her breathe by holding two fingers in her clenched mouth, a witness told a South African court.
Oscar Pistorius told a concerned security guard on the phone that everything was "fine" after neighbours reported gunshots coming from his house the night he shot dead his girlfriend, his murder trial has heard.
A hepatitis C support group whose funding has been pulled spent almost €13,000 of public funds on a pampering and relaxation weekend despite being instructed not to do so, according to the Health Service Executive.
A seething Oscar Pistorius fired his pistol out of a car's open sun-roof after an argument with a police officer, ex-girlfriend Samantha Taylor told a court, the fifth day of his trial for the murder of Reeva Steenkamp.
The Ennis Book Club Festival (March 7-9) is a reader's delight. "Other literary festivals are about writing skills and getting published. Our workshops are different. One of our really popular events is called 'Ten Books You Should Read'," says chairperson, Ciana Campbell.
Ryan Tubridy has posed for a new photograph for schoolgirl Sarah Ryan to sketch — after the photographer responsible for the picture on which Sarah's original drawing was based objected to her use of the image.
For most Irish sport lovers, probably the most romantic story of 2013 was the All-Ireland senior hurling championship win by Clare, a precocious and mercurial side guided by a precocious and mercurial management team, led by Davy Fitzgerald.