Swedes go for drive-in weddings
The Church of Sweden will carry out drive-in weddings lasting about seven minutes at a car rally next month in a bid to make marriage more accessible, it said yesterday.
Undaunted by soaring fuel prices, 36 couples have applied to get married at a gathering of auto enthusiasts in Vasteras in central Sweden, said priest Jerker Asterlund, the scheme's initiator.
"Weddings are getting more and more commercialised and that is not something we have any interest in. We would like to make things simpler and more down to earth when people take the plunge and get married," he said, adding, "This is not just for fun, but also a way for the Church of Sweden to show we can take part in celebration and happiness and not just in crisis and catastrophes".
The wedding ceremonies will be carried by 10 priests alongside the auto gathering, a motorcade of 1950s and 1960s cars. A gospel choir and a priest singing Elvis tunes will provide the soundtrack to the festivities.
Jailed for shining laser at helicopter
A man was jailed for four months yesterday for shining a powerful laser light at a police helicopter, forcing the pilots to make an emergency manoeuvre because they couldn't see the controls.
Dean Bottomley, 21, from Stockport, Greater Manchester,UK, could have brought down the helicopter after he lit up the cockpit with the dazzling green light, a court heard.
He was given a four-month sentence at Manchester's Minshull Street Crown Court after pleading guilty to endangering an aircraft.
Police said the helicopter could have crashed if it weren't for the pilot's skill in keeping control of the aircraft, despite being unable to see the flight instruments.
He repeatedly shone the light at the helicopter in the early hours of April 16 from his house. Police on the ground pinpointed the source and Mr Bottomley admitted having shone the laser at the helicopter.
Judge Mushtaz Khokhar said the sentence should serve as a deterrent to others.
Last stop for Miami 'Brothel bus'
A "brothel bus" that detectives said cruised Miami Beach offering lap dances and drinks has taken its last ride.
Riders were offered sex for $100, according to Miami Beach police who impounded the limousine bus and arrested its operator early on Sunday.
The sleek black bus cruised the South Beach neighbourhood popular among tourists and club-goers, offering rides and unlimited drinks for $40. Aboard, undercover detectives said they found a fully stocked bar and several young women who stripped down to reveal G-strings stuffed with cash and offered to perform sex acts.
Suspected operator Christine Morteh, 29, was arrested on charges of offering to commit prostitution, transportation for the purpose of prostitution and operating a business without a licence.
Spain to extend rights to apes
Spain's Parliament has voiced its support for the rights of great apes to life and freedom in what will apparently be the first time any national legislature has called for such rights for non-humans.
Parliament's environmental committee approved resolutions urging Spain to comply with the Great Apes Project, devised by scientists and philosophers who say our closest genetic relatives deserve rights hitherto limited to humans.
"This is a historic day in the struggle for animal rights and in defence of our evolutionary comrades, which will doubtless go down in the history of humanity," said Pedro Pozas, Spanish director of the Great Apes Project.
Spain may be better known abroad for bull-fighting than animal rights but the new measures are the latest move turning once-conservative Spain into a liberal trailblazer.
The new resolutions have cross-party or majority support and are expected to become law and the government is now committed to update the statute book within a year to outlaw harmful experiments on apes in Spain.
Keeping apes for circuses, TV commercials or filming will also be forbidden.
Officials betrayed by pillow talk
Anti-graft authorities in a southern Chinese city are questioning mistresses of suspected corrupt officials and finding the information is paying off prettily, state media said yesterday.
Mistresses and "second wives" are common among government officials and businessmen in China and are often blamed for driving officials to seek money through bribes or other abuses of power.
"At least 80 per cent of corrupt officials exposed in Dongguan had mistresses who gave us important information that we did not possess," Zhou Yuefeng, deputy director of the industrial city's anti-graft bureau said.
A report by China's top prosecutor's office last year said that of 16 provincial-level officials punished for serious graft in the previous five years, most were involved in "trading power for sex", along with gambling, money-laundering and shady land sales to developers.