QUIRKY WORLD ... Rationing fashions on display at War Museum

ENGLAND: For most people, the 1940s conjures up images of rations, wartime struggle and sombre outfits.

But the Imperial War Museum has revealed how fashion flourished in the Second World War in spite of strict rationing rules. An exhibition to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the war shows how men and women came up with bold styles with few resources.

‘Fashion On The Ration: 1940s Street Style’ features outfits, uniforms, and textiles from 1940s Britain to look at the war’s impact on what people wore, their sense of identity, and how they coped with the demands of shortages and austerity.

Very important date

SCOTLAND: A copy of the rarest edition of Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland is to go on display on World Book Day.

Only 22 copies of the 1865 first edition are thought to exist, one of which is owned by the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh.

This first edition was withdrawn after the illustrator, John Tenniel, complained about the quality of the printed illustrations. Visitors will be able to see the library’s copy of the book open at the title page in a special display of rare Alice books to mark the 150th anniversary of the first publication.

Sit down, plug in

SPAIN: Ikea has taken efficient furniture to new levels with the launch of a range of furniture that contains wireless charging technology to power smartphones.

The Swedish firm announced the line, which includes tables, desks and lamps, at the Mobile World Congress technology show in Barcelona. Ikea will also sell pads to add a charging point to any surface.

It is the fruit of a partnership with the Wireless Power Consortium, which makes the Qi standard of wireless charging, used by smartphone manufacturers such as LG and Google Nexus.

It’s a fake cop

GHANA: Hundreds of people reported to police stations around the country over the weekend thinking they were new police recruits, only to find out they were the victims of a scam.

Police are investigating fake recruitment letters that were sent to people in different regions, inviting them to begin training on Saturday, said public affairs director-general David Ampah-Benin. The victims were swindled into paying fees that ranged from 2,000 cedi (€513) to 3,500 cedi.

“We have mounted a search for those behind the recruitment scam that was so well organised that all the victims were given letters purported to have been written by the police administration,” he said.

Smell solution

USA: Officials in Kentucky say they have identified the source of a bad odour that residents have been complaining about for a week.

A naturally occurring chemical in the soil called geosmin is to blame for the musty, mildew-like smell that has led to dozens of complaints, Louisville’s air pollution control district said.

Spokesman Tom Nord said the chemical has a low odour threshold and has been “exacerbated by the wet, muddy conditions in the wake of the recent snowfall and rain”. Nord said the smell is not toxic and is not from industrial sites. He said the Louisville Water Company has dealt with geosmin before and told the pollution control district it might be to blame.

Purrfect isolation

JAPAN: An army of feral cats rules a remote island in southern Japan, curling up in abandoned houses or strutting about in a village where felines outnumbering humans six to one.

Originally introduced to the mile-long island of Aoshima to deal with mice that plagued fishermen’s boats, the cats stayed on — and multiplied.

More than 120 cats swarm the island with only a handful of humans for company, mostly pensioners who didn’t join the waves of migration to the cities after the Second World War.

Aoshima, a 30-minute ferry ride off the coast of Ehime prefecture, had been home to 900 people in 1945. The only human activity now is the boatload of day-trippers from the mainland.

With no restaurants, cars, shops, or kiosks selling snacks, Aoshima is no tourist haven. But cat lovers are not complaining.

“There is a ton of cats here, then there was this sort of cat witch who came out to feed the cats which was fun,” said Makiko Yamasaki, 27.

Kicking to touch

USA: A New Jersey mayor has banned the public from asking questions at township council meetings.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports Evesham mayor Randy Brown, also kicking coach for the Baltimore Ravens, began the policy after a meeting in December in which a resident asked about a tax issue. Brown spoke over the question.

The questioner, 81-year-old Kenneth Mills, told Brown: “You’re acting like a jerk.” Since then, the council has allowed only public comments, not questions, at meetings.



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