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By PAT NASON, United Press International   |   Nov. 25, 2002 at 3:00 AM
VIOLENCE DRIVES 'MISS WORLD' FROM NIGERIA

After three days of rioting that left more than 100 people dead, contestants in the Miss World pageant have left Abuja, the capital of Nigeria, for London -- where organizers hope the pageant will be held without disruption.

The riots began after a Nigerian newspaper ran an article suggesting that the Prophet Muhammad would have wanted to marry one of the contestants, if he were alive. The paper, This Day, subsequently apologized and announced that the editor of its Saturday edition has been arrested by the secret police.

The Miss World Pageant was to have concluded on Dec. 7 in Abuja.

According to the New York Times, northern Nigeria has experienced a series of violent episodes in the last two years, since several states there began adopting the Shariah -- the strict legal code of Islam based on the Koran. The paper said that the southern portion of Nigeria -- the most populous nation in Africa -- is largely Christian.

The newspaper article, published on Nov. 16, raised questions about Muslim protests against holding the Miss World event in Nigeria -- which was selected after a Nigerian contestant won the title last year.

Several contestants had threatened to pull out of the pageant to protest a decision by a Sharian court to sentence Amina Lawal to death by stoning, after she was convicted of bearing a child out of wedlock.


TELLING OTHERS WHAT TO WEAR

A conservative politician touched off a controversy when he said on the floor of the New South Wales state parliament that Muslim women in Australia should be banned from wearing the chador in public because they could use it to conceal weapons.

The chador is a loose head-to-toe robe, usually black, that covers the body and most of the face. The Rev. Fred Nile called it a "perfect disguise for terrorists, as it conceals both weapons and explosives."

Responding to public criticism of the remark, Nile not only refused to back down, he upped the ante, saying, "It's only extremists who wear the chador."

Religious leaders, other politicians and organized labor leaders slammed Nile for his remarks. At least one newspaper published a letter from a reader who asked whether Nile would characterize the habits worn by Catholic nuns the same way he did the chadors.


HE MUST REALLY, REALLY NEED IT

Police in Marseille, France, say a senior citizen has robbed a pharmacy of its entire supply of Viagra for the fourth time in the past year.

According to police reports, the robber always shows up at closing time armed with a knife and forces the pharmacy staff to give him the little blue pills and the contents of the cash register. Police are not sure yet whether the man is taking the Viagra to resell on the black market -- or whether it's for his own personal stash.


NEW OSBOURNE STUFF

Fans of "The Osbournes" have something new to stoke their interest in America's favorite unconventional family -- a line of Bobble Head dolls.

NovelToy, a Los Angeles-based company, has come up with 7-inch caricature-style sculpts of Ozzy, Sharon, Kelly and Jack Osbourne -- both talking and non-talking -- as well as 3-inch mini Bobbers, Bobble Head air fresheners and Bobble Head pens.

Each talking Bobble Head has three "Osbourne-isms" per family member. For example, the Ozzy version says, among other things: "I love you all, but you're all f***ing mad!" The Jack version says: "Shut up and leave my room now!" And the Kelly doll says: "Jack, stop telling people you're Ozzy Osbourne's son to get into places 'cuz you're a f***ing loser!"

NovelToy president Gillian Blakeney said developers of the Bobble Heads said they had "loads of great 'Osbourne-isms' to choose from, because every member of the family is so hilariously open and honest."

NovelToy is licensed to market the Osbourne items by Signatures Network, the exclusive licensing agent for the Osbourne Family. "The Osbournes" launches its second season on MTV Tuesday night.

© 2002 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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