Cash-strapped Spaniards are pulling their hair out over the economic crisis - literally.

Faced with the country's deep recession and soaring unemployment, many women are selling off their locks to pay the bills.

And Justino Delgado, who exports natural hair for wigs and extensions, couldn't be happier. Although he imports hair from India and China, for the past several months women have been showing up at his warehouse near Madrid in growing numbers.

"A lot of women come to sell their hair," he said, adding," There are some women who have a lot of hair, and as the price depends on the length and the weight, they can get well paid for it," he said.

But he has some conditions: the hair must be more than 40 centimetres long and has never been coloured.

The trend has been particularly good for Delgado as "European hair is finer and very sought after, and sells for more than Asian hair for example," which is thicker.

He now exports about 80 per cent of the production, mainly to the rest of Europe and to the United States. (AFP)

Partner swapping in Iran

Iran's moral police have arrested a dozen couples for engaging in illicit sexual acts, including swapping of partners, the conservative Jomhuri Eslami reported yesterday.

The report said the couples and another individual were running a website, Iran Multiplication, which was aimed at promoting illicit sexual relations.

The couples were said to have carried out sexual acts in the presence of each other and several times with multiple partners, the report added.

Those arrested held university degrees, while some were government employees and had children.

Extra-marital sex is illegal in Iran where Islamic sharia law is the principal source of legislation. If found guilty of adultery, those arrested in the crackdown face being stoned to death.

Reports of partner-swapping are a rarity in conservative Iran, but in March the elite Revolutionary Guards said it had launched a crackdown on several groups who had set up anti-Islamic and pornographic internet sites. (AFP)

Kangaroo attacks dog, owner

A rogue kangaroo tried to drown a dog and then viciously attacked its owner when he launched a rescue bid, paramedics said yesterday.

The kangaroo held the dog under water at a dam near Melbourne and left deep lacerations across the 49-year-old owner's face and body when he dived in to save his pet.

"The 49-year-old dived into the dam and managed to free his dog but he was injured in the process," paramedic Michael Vosbergen said.

"He suffered a deep cut across his abdomen, a deep cut across his face and eye and a number of scratches to his chest, face and arms."

The man was treated at a nearby hospital after the incident. (AFP)

Bizarre discovery

A conservationist has described his bizarre discovery of a new species of chameleon in an African forest.

The tiny lizard came out of the mouth of a twig snake disturbed by Andrew Marshall in Tanzania's Magombera forest. Dr Marshall, from the University of York, was in the threatened forest surveying monkeys.

The creature, small enough to sit in the palm of a hand, was named as Kinyongia magomberae by scientists writing in the African Journal of Herpetology. (PA)

Sex appeal

A convicted murderer serving a life sentence was set to go before a US judge to ask for electrolysis treatments as she seeks a taxpayer-funded sex-change operation.

Michelle Kosilek was born as Robert and has been living as a woman in an all-male prison for murdering his wife, Cheryl, in 1990.

Prison officials oppose Mr or Ms Kosilek's request for surgery, saying the sex change would pose security problems. (PA)

Highest recognition

A Nepalese man who climbed Mount Everest at the age of 76 to become the oldest person to scale the world's highest peak has celebrated official recognition of the achievement.

Prime minister Madhav Kumar was among several people present at a function in Katmandu to congratulate Min Bahadur Sherchan for receiving his official certificate from the Guinness World Records.

Mr Sherchan scaled the 29,035ft peak in May last year at the age of 76 years and 340 days. The Guinness Book of World records continued to list a Japanese climber as the oldest person until Mr Sherchan made an official appeal earlier this year. (PA)

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