In Brief: Four-midable family
CHINESE authorities in the northern province of Shanxi have arrested a 43-year-old politician who was found to have four wives and 10 children.
Bigamy is a criminal offence in China, while rules restrict most couples to only one child. Fourteen people were sacked or given warnings or demotions for negligence or helping the legislator arrange identity documents for his illegitimate children.
Santa reins in habit
SANTA has given up smoking his beloved pipe, at least in a new book version of the much-loved 'Twas The Night Before Christmas' by self-published Pamela McColl of Vancouver, whose mission is to protect children and their parents from the effects of smoking.
She mortgaged her house and sank $200,000 (€152,000) into her telling of the 189-year-old poem, in which she removed the lines: "The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth. And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath."
Cole gets all fired up
CHERYL Cole has said none of her Girls Aloud bandmates have bothered to thumb through her autobiography.
The singer published her memoir, 'Cheryl: My Story', two months ago while she was working on her reunion with the group, but after appearing alongside the chart-toppers on 'The Graham Norton Show', she said they had all avoided looking through the book, "because they were all there".
Pining for DNA map
SCIENTISTS in the United States and Canada have said they are making satisfactory progress on a massive project: mapping the DNA of the Christmas tree.
They want to identify the billions of DNA building blocks in the genetic code of the conifer – which is the umbrella term for trees including the spruce, fir, pine and cedar – to improve breeding and forest management. Cracking the code is a monumental challenge because it is so huge – six times bigger than that for humans.
New school a plus
PLANS for England's first specialist maths-only state school for sixth-formers – run along lines successfully pioneered in Russia – have been unveiled.
The school for 16 to 18-year-olds – the first of around a dozen to be set up around the country – is being planned by King's College London to offer talented young mathematicians the opportunity to develop the skills necessary to secure a place at a top university and careers in science.