Apocalypse in Mali, Asylum in London

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Byline: Tunku Varadarajan

"Espana No Es Uganda"

Mariano Rajoy, Spain's normally understated prime minister, caused a major stink when he texted a short message to his finance minister, minutes before the latter embarked on final negotiations on the Spanish bailout. In the text, Rajoy encouraged him to "Hang in there," adding, somewhat superciliously, that "Spain is not Uganda." After the text found its way to gleeful newspapers, there were howls from Spaniards, many of whom found his words "racist," "colonialist," and the like. Ugandans were indignant too. One (@TMS Ruge) tweeted: "Dear Rajoy, you're right. Spain is not Uganda. Spain's GDP growth is negative. Uganda's ... is 5.2%."

London Calling

Boris Johnson, the first stand-up comic to be elected mayor of a major city, had America in stitches on a recent visit to New York. Appearing on The Daily Show with the equally entertaining Jon Stewart, London's boss offered his city as a refuge to New Yorkers facing a civic ban on supersized sodas. "This is a very difficult thing," Johnson lamented. "What I will say is that refugees from the soda tyranny in New York will have sanctuary in London." (This caused his host, Stewart, to observe that "London would be the Amsterdam of Mountain Dew.") Johnson, the most popular Conservative politician in Britain, is tipped by many to be the next prime minister, a prospect he scoffs at: "As I never tire of saying," he said, tirelessly, "my chances of becoming prime minister are only slightly better than being decapitated by a Frisbee ..."

Bad Dog

Thirty-two years after her infant, Azaria, disappeared from a remote campsite at Ayers Rock in Australia, Lindy Chamberlain has finally got the vindication for which she fought so tenaciously. In a story that acquired international notoriety--and which was made into an acclaimed film starring Meryl Streep--Chamberlain had claimed that a dingo had taken Azaria from her tent, only for a court to convict chamberlain of her own child's murder. Although she was eventually acquitted, the coroner's "open" verdict continued to haunt her. …