Church blessing for Pokemon

WELCOME to the opening of the silly season. The Church of England has unearthed a Christian message behind the murderous Pokemon monsters. Anne Richards, theology secretary of the church's Board of Mission, has approved the recent film - panned by critics but loved by children - as a tale of Christian sacrifice and redemption.

Meanwhile, Stockport College in Greater Manchester has issued an equal oportunities document giving a list of words that could cause offence. Students should no longer "take the Mickey", read "history", invite a "lady" to dinner, or call the England football manager "mad".

Bertie Bassett, the 71-year-old Liquorice Allsorts mascot, is discarding his walking stick and donning DJ's headphones in a bid for the youth market. He's even going to make a pop record. Don't say we didn't warn you...

On a more chilling note, the use of body armour has spread from the police to traffic wardens, railway staff, TV liense officials, ambulance workers and even some teachers. Professor Peter Waddington of Reading University who is doing research on violent behaviour for the Home Office said he was surprised at the increased threat to the caring professions.

A good week for poetry-lovers: the British Haiku Society is planning to relax the rules governing the Japanese form which uses just 17 syllables (five, seven then five) - easier in Japanese than in English. David Cobb, the society's president, hoped the new rules, which are still being decided, would breathe fresh life into the form. Key stage 3 English students will no doubt welcome the changes.

Latin scholars should be delighted at the discovery of a significant female poet from the time of Ovid. The poems of Sulpicia were apparently buried among the verses of a lesser male contemporary. Her erotic verse will be published in a new translation out next month.

Diane Spencer

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