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King Abdala of Jordan spends time among his people to see for himself the state of the nation that he inherited last year

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Imagine that you are a civil servant* working in the Jordanian National Insurance Institute and a customer starts to ask a lot of questions about the amount of money you have in your till* and how long a transaction normally takes. At first you might not be very suspicious but if the questions continue and the person seems intent on getting concrete answers you may start to suspect that something is not right. An inspector or perhaps a potential thief? Perhaps you would invite the 'customer' into the manager's office and offer him a coffee. Then you might ask him to identify himself under the threat* of calling the police. Last month in the Jordanian city of Zarka one such curious 'customer' identified himself as King Abdala of Jordan and so naturally the police were not called and the civil servant went red in the face.

But what was the King doing asking questions in a high street* office? Why didn't he make inquiries through the normal channels? The answer is very simple. This King seems to have a very different attitude when it comes to finding out how his country. really works day to day. He puts on a disguise and goes out on to the street and discovers the reality of Jordanian life for himself. No advisers, no civil servants covering up* the problems that people face daily, just the day to day reality of a poor country. 

He has also visited hospitals and will probably visit more places in the future. His disguise must be good because he is one of the least Jordanian looking people in the Kingdom. He has clear blue eyes and distinctly paler skin than his subjects. His portrait* is in every shop and home and his image constantly appears on T.V. When he has been discovered he has asked that nobody describes his adopted appearance so that he can continue using it. But why? King Abdala had an Anglo Saxon education. His formative years were nor spent in Jordan but in the best, and most expensive, schools and universities of the United Kingdom and the U.S.A. He is now discovering what it is like to be an ordinary citizen of his country. He wasn't expected to be king but his father decided that he would be a better one than his brothers. So far it seems that the old King was right.  

and more wierd news from www.humor.com

o - Patrick J. Murphy, deputy superintendent of schools in Cambridge, Mass,, resigned in December after admitting that he solicited two of his staff members to write papers on Shakespeare for his 19-year-old daughter's literature class at Stonehill College in nearby Easton, Mass, The scheme blew up on Murphy when one of the papers received a D, and he tried to get the employee to rewrite it.
o - In October, a first-grade teacher in Rialto, Calif,, taped a disruptive student's head to the wall of the classroom. And seventh-grade teacher Carrie White was accused in October of flinging a dictionary and a calculator at two disruptive students in Lodi, Ohio. And in June, high school substitute teacher Steven M. Catena was fired in Keansburg, N.J., after reports that he wrapped one student in masking tape and butcher paper in class and implored students to give another classmate a "swirty" (dunking in a toilet). And in Durban, South Africa, m May, a high school teacher and a principal pulled guns and opened fire on students who were protesting higher fees.
o- In October, Argentina exiled former Paraguayan military leader Luis Oviedo to remote Tierra del Fuego for violating the rules of his political asylum, which it had given him six months earlier. Oviedo had unsuccessfully requested a stay of his banishment, arguing that he had recently undergone a hair transplant and felt the windy, sunny weather in Tierra del Fuego would disrupt his new plugs.
o. - Insufficient Reasons to Kill Someone: Resisted taking a shower (Joseph Meehan, charged with strangling bis son, 8, Toronto, November). Violated chess etiquette by moving a knight to a new square but then moving it back, even though he did not lift his hand (Mr. Buth Ratha, charged with clubbing his opponent to death with a wooden pestle, Prey Veng, Cambodia, July). Got accepted to kindergarten while her playmate did not (Mitsuko Yamada, 35, mother of the rejected, charged with strangling the accepted child, Tokyo, November).
o Shopper Bryan ote parked his $2,000 bicycle in the wrong spot at the Salvation Army store in Concord, New Hampshire, and a clerk sold it for $ 15.


Rat stew is a delicacy in Lou Feng


 If you go on holiday to Luo Feng in China it would be a good idea to leam the Cantonese word for 'rat'. This is because there are eight restaurants in this Cantonese town that serve a supposedly delicious rat stew. Every weekend up to 300 kilos of rats are eaten which translates into 3,000 rodents. The owners of the restaurants point out that all the rats served in their restaurants are bred" in captivity on a diet of fruit and vegetables.

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