Saudi king to pardon female hit and run victims

KING Abdullah of Saudi Arabia was praised by the international community last night after pledging to release more than 20% of his country’s female hit and run victims.

In a gesture to mark the end of Ramadan, around 300 women who have been hit by cars will be freed from prison.

A Saudi government spokesman said: “His gracious majesty, in his wisdom, will grant clemency to these whores of the road.

“He bestows great mercy, even though they have indulged in shameful contact with a car who is not a male relative.”

In Saudi Arabia it is illegal for a woman to be hit by a car, a bus or a motorhome. If she dies of her injuries she could face up to 18 years in jail.

In a tradition that puzzles many westerners, Saudi men often celebrate their birthdays by lining up their wives like bowling pins and driving into them – before reporting them to the police.

Along with hit and run victims, the King is expected to pardon women who are unable to cook fish, women who have been attacked by leopards and women with brain tumours.

Foreign secretary David Milliband said: “The King’s extraordinary gesture vindicates Britain’s policy of inserting our noses directly into their oily rectums, while selling them the world’s finest, hand-built killing machines.”

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De Burgh Concert Sparks Iranian Refugee Crisis

TEHRAN (Agence Mash-Presse): THE narrow, dusty road from Tehran to the Turkish border is normally quiet at this time of year.

But since last Friday's announcement that Chris De Burgh would perform in Iran, this dry, barren landscape has been filled with desperate souls fleeing for their lives.

Most travel on foot, carrying just a few belongings. A handful of lucky ones ride atop a makeshift cart, pulled along by a tired and hungry goat.

Disani, a 30 year-old mother of two from the market town of Tabriz, weeps and pulls her children close. "The first I knew was from the newspaper reports," she says.

"I thought nothing of it until a neighbour played me a few seconds of Don't Pay the Ferryman. They had to stop me from battering myself to death with a pot."

Her friend Fatemah adds: "Why not send the Flaming Lips? Or the Shins? We've been listening to a bit of Teenage Fanclub recently. Everybody likes Teenage Fanclub. But not De Burgh. Not De Burgh!"

As the sun eases behind the dark, distant mountains and the temperature drops to zero, these weary, wretched travellers huddle around camp fires and tell their stories.

One elderly man, his eyes sunken, his teeth a fading memory, talks in hushed tones of an entire village wiped out by the video for Lady in Red.

In the morning they will rise and continue their trek to the border and the distant hope of Europe, and sanctuary.

France has already offered safe haven for 10,000 while other signatories to the 1989 Anti Chris De Burgh Treaty have pledged to do what they can.

Margaret van Klimm, of the UN High Commission for Refugees, said: "We have dealt with mass migrations caused by floods, conflict and crop failure. But everyone always forgets about the constant threat of Chris De Burgh."