29 June 2007: Wimbledon Judges See Red

Some of the judges in the Wimbledon tennis championship started reaching for their rule books when French player Tatiana Golovin announced she would be wearing red clothing to play.

The Wimbledon tournament has a dress code that specifies players' apparel should be "predominantly white".

However, after some discussion the guardians of the world's most genteel tennis tournament gave the French player the go-ahead, on the grounds that the item in question was not covered by the rules.

The rules apply to tops, shorts and skirts. It was deemed they did not apply to Ms Golovin's red knickers.

"They say red is the colour that proves that you're strong and you're confident so I'm happy with my red knickers," she told reporters.

28 June 2007: Green Grass Cutting

Councils in Britain are under growing pressure from environmentalists to reduce carbon emissions by cutting their use of machinery.

So Norfolk County Council has come up with a greener way to cut the grass. It is considering bringing in sheep to graze on the lawns outside its headquarters, to replace the current petrol-driven lawnmowers.

"It would be an environmentally friendly option which would allow us to reduce our carbon footprint," said a spokesman.

SaintFM is not sure whether this is an example of woolly thinking, or whether other councils will flock to take up the new idea.

27 June 2007: All mouth, no trousers and no compensation

Earlier this month we reported on an American judge who was suing the owners of a dry cleaning business for losing his trousers. He was demanding 54 million dollars in compensation, citing a sign in their window that read "satisfaction guaranteed."

Unusually for America's infamous legal system, sanity has prevailed. The court ruled against him, saying "A reasonable consumer would not interpret 'Satisfaction Guaranteed' to mean that a merchant is required to satisfy a customer's unreasonable demands".

Not only does he not get his 54 million dollars in compensation, he now has to pay the defendants' fees and other costs, estimated at well over ten thousand dollars.

26 June 2007: What's in a name?

Baby Autumn Brown, who comes from Wolverhampton, has a name to remember, and will have quite a challenge remembering it.

The little girl's mother Maria, who is a boxing fanatic, decided to give her baby 25 middle names - all culled from the greatest boxers in history.

The baby's full name is: Autumn Sullivan Corbett Fitzsimmons Jeffries Hart Burns Johnson Willard Dempsey Tunney Schmeling Sharkey Carnera Baer Braddock Louis Charles Walcott Marciano Patterson Johansson Liston Clay Frazier Foreman Brown.

Maria told a newspaper "I'm hoping Autumn has a good sense of humour with her name."

SaintFM thinks Autumn may never forgiver her mother, and notes that, at 27 letters, her initials are longer than many people's names.

25 June 2007: Can I have a little more, please?

In May the Indian prisons department outsourced the catering at the main jail in Bangalore, and has run into a serious problem.

The food now being served up in the jail is so much better than the previous government-provided catering the inmates are reluctant to be released. Remand prisoners are refusing to apply for bail, juveniles are overstating their age to get in, and the prison is now overcrowded, operating at twice its official capacity.

The attractive food is being prepared by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, a Hindu evangelist organisation commonly known as the Hare Krishna movement.

"When we are getting tasty, nutritious food three times a day here, why should we go out and commit crimes," said one prisoner.

22 June 2007: Has anybody seen our lake?

Chile's National Forestry Corporation is used to losing things. Tools get left behind; employees don't turn up when expected; the usual stuff. But now they have lost an entire lake.

The lake was situated in Patagonia and had a surface area of about 12 acres - roughly the size of 10 soccer pitches.

"In March we patrolled the area and everything was normal ... we went again in May and to our surprise we found the lake had completely disappeared," said a CONAF official.

CONAF is investigating the disappearance.

One theory is that the area was hit by an earth tremor that opened a crack in the ground which acted like a drain.

21 June 2007: Mars Pioneers Wanted

If you fancy a trip to Mars you should contact the European Space Agency without delay.

The ESA is looking for twelve ordinary people to experience the 17 month trip to Mars and back, with an emphasis on stress resistance rather than on physical fitness. The salary is 120 euros per day (that's about 600 pounds per week), with all meals provided, although it will only be packaged food like the Space Station astronauts eat. Men and women can apply.

If you're interested you can contact the ESA, but before you rush off you should know that you won't actually be going to Mars. You and your colleagues will spend your 520 days on Earth in a simulator; an isolation tank that's only about the size of nine containers. The experiment is to test whether people can survive that long confined together in a small space.

For details see http://www.spaceflight.esa.int/CallforCandidates

20 June 2007: Get your knickers onto the roof

Japan, which experiences 20 percent of the world's major earthquakes, prides itself on its disaster planning. It has one of the world's most sophisticated technological systems to predict disasters, but still feels there is room for help from the animal kingdom. So Japan's Disaster Management Agency has collected together hundreds of folk beliefs associated with calamities in the disaster-prone nation.

Some make a degree of sense. These include "a swarm of ants climbing trees spells major flooding" and "if bees make their nests low, violent winds will hit."

Other sayings are more puzzling. Try "when pheasants cry, a quake will come".

Or how about SaintFM's favourite: "a woman's underwear on the roof saves the house from thunderbolts"?

19 June 2007: Robin Hood Jailed

A German bank manager, who has been dubbed by the media as the Banking Robin Hood, has been jailed for diverting funds from his rich clients' accounts to help his poorer clients.

Over a five year period he transferred a total of around 2 million euros (that's about 1.4 million pounds) from his high net worth clients' accounts. Nobody detected the scam - it only came to light when he turned himself over to police and confessed.

All of the misappropriated money went to poorer clients - he did not take any for himself. But the court still sentenced him to two years and 10 months in prison. He has the right to appeal the court's decision.

15 June 2007: Monumental problems in Rome

The ancient monuments in Rome had a bad time this week.

First a man drove his car down the Spanish Steps, a sweeping 18th-century staircase where visitors are usually banned from drinking and singing, let alone driving. Apparently in the early morning light he mistook the steps for a road. He was found to be well over the drink-driving limit and was arrested.

Then a builder constructing a car park managed to damage a 2,000 year-old water pipe, thus cutting off the water to the Trevi Fountain and several others. The pipe, known as the "aqueduct of the virgin" has been carrying water into Rome since 19 BC. While it is repaired the water company plans to re-route the water down a younger pipe - the "aqueduct of Paul", which has been bringing water to Rome only since 2 AD.

14 June 2007: All mouth but no trousers

An American judge has taken the owners of a dry cleaning business to court for losing his trousers. He is demanding 54 million dollars in compensation.

Roy Pearson alleges that the company lost his blue and red-striped grey trousers and misled him with a sign in their window that read "satisfaction guaranteed." He calculated the 54 million dollar penalty at 1,500 dollars for every day the cleaners had the sign up in their shop. The case has dragged on for two years.

Sources say this is quite legitimate under the District of Columbia's consumer protection laws.

SaintFM wonders exactly who needs to be protected from whom.

13 June 2007: Always read the instructions

A grandmother nearly landed her 19-year-old grandson in court for counterfeiting, by sending him a fake 100-euro note which he tried to spend.

German Police arrested the student in a shop after a cashier spotted that the note was not real. He explained that the note had been sent to him by his grandmother to congratulate him on passing his school exams.

Nobody could understand why his granny would have sent him a forged banknote, but a phone call quickly cleared up the mystery.

In his excitement at receiving the money the teenager had missed an accompanying note in the envelope which said: "I will pay 100 euros into your bank account; here is a photocopy."

12 June 2007: 26 Toes

They say cats have nine lives, but Des the cat also has 26 toes.

While most pet cats have 18 toes - five on their front paws and four on their rear - the 10-year-old Des boasts seven on his front and six on his back paws.

A cat with extra toes is called a Polydactyl. The extra digits have left owner Alison Thomas pondering whether Des is a UK record.

One expert said cats with extra toes were common in the area around the old county of Cardiganshire and were sometimes known as "Cardi-cats".

11 June 2007: Almost ready to go

Poland has assigned 1,200 troops to the NATO forces in Afghanistan. Their task will be to patrol the mountainous border area with Pakistan to search for Taliban guerrilla activity.

The troops and all their equipment have arrived in the country, and are almost ready to begin their mission. All they need now is to find their missing vehicle keys, which seem to have disappeared during the journey from Poland.

"We shall have to send away for spares, so it may take from several days to several weeks for our contingent to become combat ready", said a spokesman.

SaintFM is sure the Taliban won't mind waiting.

8 June 2007: Peter Pan to the rescue

Carter's Steam Fair was having a problem with youths, who were being a nuisance at their funfair.

Attempts to get the trouble makers to go away had failed until the organisers tried a new tactic. They started playing Cliff Richard records.

Playing tracks such as "Living Doll" on all their rides did the trick better than security guards could, without any danger of violence.

The trouble makers just vanished. "It was just like the film 'Mars Attacks'" said a spokesman, referring to the part in the film where the alien invaders are chased away by playing Country Music to them.

Cliff Richard is sometimes known as the Peter Pan of Pop, because he has been making records for nearly fifty years.

7 June 2007: Beware the full moon

Police in Sussex have decided to put more officers on duty during full moons, because they believe the lunar cycle may be linked to violent behaviour. They say that people in general, and drinkers in particular, are more aggressive during the full moon.

The announcement has led some locals to joke that werewolves may be at large on the streets of Brighton. One night club bouncer said he may start checking for hair on the back of people's hands at the next full moon.

Tales of werewolves – people who turn into wolves during the full moon – go as far back as ancient Greece. It is said that a werewolf can only be killed with a silver bullet. Whether Sussex police are now to be equipped with these was not clear.

[for more about werewolves see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Werewolf]

6 June 2007: An All-Out Strike

Government workers in South Africa have been striking over demands for improved pay and benefits, but now they have a further complaint.

They say they work so hard they no longer have the energy for sex.

"The harshness that we have in all our workplaces is so severe to such a point that when you get home at night it becomes a problem expanding our families," said a spokesman.

The workers say they have not had a rise since 2004 - in pay, that is.

5 June 2007: ...even unto the fourth generation

Everyone knows that smoking damages the health of the smoker, and can also damage the people around them through passive smoking. But now Canadian researchers have established that a man's smoking can damage his children before they are even conceived.

Their study shows that cigarette smoke causes changes in the DNA of sperm cells. Such mutations, know as germline mutations, are known to be permanent.

"We have long known that mothers who smoke can harm their foetuses, and here we have evidence that fathers can potentially damage their offspring long before they even meet their future mate." said one of the team.

They also established that the longer you smoke, the more the mutations accumulate, so the more likely you are to create defects in your children.

However, as heavy smoking in men is known to cause impotence, maybe it won’t matter anyway.

[The title is a quotation from The Bible, Exodos 20 v4: "...punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation..."]

4 June 2007: Promises, Promises

Council meetings in a small Spanish town may take a turn for the bizarre after the electorate voted in a new councillor.

The former postman has promised to turn up for council meetings dressed as Elvis Presley, and says he wants to turn the town square into a nudist swimming pool.

His manifesto also includes plans for the council to paint the town hall pink, and grow marijuana in the town's parks.

Whether he will fulfil his election promises remains to be seen.

1 June 2007: The Attack of the Killer Hamster

A Worcestershire man nearly died after being attacked by his pet hamster.

The hamster escaped from its cage and crawled down under the floorboards of his home near Evesham. When the man reached down to retrieve his pet it bit him. Unfortunately the unnamed man had an allergy to the protein in the hamster's saliva, and suffered a severe allergic reaction. By the time medics reached the scene he was suffering severe breathing difficulties and was in a semi-conscious state.

Fortunately the ambulance crew were able quickly to administer anti-allergy drugs and rush him to hospital, where he made a full recovery.