Ordinarily Not

No Booze, Less Food at China Banquets

BEIJING ~ China will no longer wine and dine visiting heads of state at sumptuous banquets, cutting back the fare to just one soup, three dishes and no liquor, a senior official said.

The scaled-down menu comes as China implements government savings and encourages thriftiness in the face of the global financial crisis, said Li Zhaoxing, spokesman for China’s parliament, which convenes this week.

“When our president… and prime minister invite foreign heads of state, during the state banquet the menu will not exceed one soup and three dishes. No Chinese liquor will be served,” Li said.

Give Up SMS for Lent: Bishop

ROME ~ The bishop of Modena in northern Italy has told Catholic youth to give up a popular practice during the holy season of Lent: no text messaging on their cellphones on Fridays.

No SMSing would allow young people to “detox from the virtual world and get back in touch with themselves,” Monsignor Benito Cocchi said, according to the newspaper La Repubblica on Tuesday.

Italy ranks second in Europe after Britain for the number of text messages – 50 per month on average – by users of the “telefonino” – Italian for cellphone, the newspaper said.

Ladyboy Lizards ‘Use Transvestite Trickery’

MELBOURNE ~ Young male lizards in South Africa imitate females to fool aggressive older males into leaving them alone, in an example of transvestism in the natural world, researchers have found.

The lizards not only avoid fights but gain access to females under the nose of their more macho rivals, the South African and Australian researchers discovered.

They found that young male Augrabies flat lizards delayed displaying the extravagant coloration of sexually mature males until they were able to defend themselves adequately.

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