Mother aids jail-break
Two prisoners escaped from a Belgian jail Tuesday, this time not dramatically by helicopter, but just by using a ladder and with support from one's mother.
The prison break at Merkplas in Belgium started with six inmates seeking a way out, but four of them were stopped immediately.
While the hunt was on for the two escapees, the 62-year-old mother of one of them was arrested for having waited for the fugitives in her car.
Last week three prisoners - still on the loose - made a spectacular escape from a Bruges jail with the help of two accomplices and a helicopter rental pilot they took hostage. Tuesday's prison break was more down to earth. The escapees simply borrowed a ladder being used at a construction site inside the prison walls.
The two convicts from Merkplas were serving sentences for rape, torture and violent theft. (AFP)
Heavy traffic foils congestion scheme
A scheme aimed at ending the rush-hour traffic gridlock in the Cyprus capital was abandoned yesterday - because of too many cars on the road.
The government had hoped to introduce a "2+" pilot scheme in Nicosia in which one lane was designated for vehicles with more than one passenger, in a bid to reduce the number of private vehicles on the roads.
Signage had already been erected and also painted on the tarmac for the scheme which was to have been introduced this month when traffic in Nicosia generally subsides with schools closed and residents going on holiday.
Communications Minister Nicos Nicolaides told reporters that a precondition for the pilot project was for traffic to be 70 per cent of the norm. But instead of decreasing it had actually become worse.
"It is crystal clear that traffic conditions are unsuitable for this measure to be implemented at the moment, even on a pilot basis," he said. "Heavy traffic flows simply do not permit it."
Cyprus has no comprehensive public transport system to speak of. (AFP)
Not there yet
French police called off their search for a woman who threw herself in front of a speeding train when they found that she had dragged herself home and gone to bed, a court source said yesterday.
The 58-year-old, who suffered from depression, jumped in front of the train on Tuesday as it sped through the station at Herrlisheim near Strasbourg at around 150 km per hour, prompting the driver to alert the police.
Discovering only a small blood stain on the train and the platform, police called in helicopters to find the woman who they presumed had been sent flying by the collision. But the search was called off when the woman's partner, returning from a night shift, found her lying in bed with a broken arm and other injuries and rang the emergency services.
The woman, who had attempted suicide in the past, was subsequently hospitalised. (Reuters)
Downing Street cat dies
Sybil the cat, who moved into Downing Street shortly after Prime Minister took office two years ago, has died after a short illness .
The black and white feline, named after Basil Fawlty's wife in the hit 1970s comedy Fawlty Towers, was brought to London by Alistair Darling after he became Chancellor of the Exchequer in Mr Brown's government in June 2007.
Sybil died earlier this week at the home of a family friend, a Downing Street spokesman said.
"Mew is dead," quipped the Independent daily, referring to the fact that Sybil was the first new cat in Downing Street since Tony Blair took power in 1997, after famously rebranding his party as New Labour. (AFP)
Donkeys drafted in for Afghan polls
More than 3,000 donkeys will be drafted in to help deliver millions of ballot papers to remote regions for presidential elections.
Swathes of Afghanistan are inaccessible by road, forcing election authorities to come up with innovative solutions to get voting materials to the masses in time for election day.
"3,000 donkeys will get the ballot papers to the most remote areas," said Kai Eide, head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.
He said the pack animals would be loaded up with the papers and dispatched to polling stations mostly in the north, where the mountains of the Hindu Kush cut off many residents from the outside world. (AFP)
'Berlusconi' call girl at Paris club party
The call girl who claims to have slept with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi will be guest of honour at an "I love Silvio" theme party in a renowned Paris nightclub.
Patrizia D'Addario, 42, is at the centre of a political and media storm in Italy since announcing that she had spent the night with the premier, recorded conversations with him and filmed his bedroom with her mobile phone.
Mr Berlusconi insists he has never paid for sex, but conceded last week following Ms D'Addario's claims that he "is not a saint".
Paris nightclub impresario Benjamin Patou said the escort had agreed to attend a party at the downtown Le Globo dancehall late tomorrow. (AFP)