Where were you?

Five things you might have missed last week

1. Pardon the excuse

To ease his country's prison overcrowding problem, Italy's prime minister, Romano Prodi, issued a mass pardon to more than 12,000 detainees. Eighteen were rearrested almost immediately. One man, convicted for abusing his family, walked straight home and tried to strangle his wife.

2. Surfing senior citizen

Nellie Luchford, one of Kent's senior residents, surprised relatives by learning how to send e-mails from her care home in Sevenoaks. Carers said that Mrs Luchford, 104, has to sit very close to the screen but has mastered the mouse - which she calls "the rabbit" - like a pro.

3. Lost in translation

Henk Verschuur, the Dutch businessman whose firm built the new thermal spa for Bath council, stunned local taxpayers by giving them the V-sign instead of the Victory sign at the opening ceremony. One onlooker said: "His gaffe was typical of this project." The baths were four years late and £30m over budget.

4. Surprise in store

An Oxford couple found a small newt-like reptile in a lettuce they had bought from their local supermarket. It survived the trip from Norfolk, where the lettuce was grown, and 24 hours in the fridge.

5. Skippy the bionic kangaroo

A kangaroo in China became the first to have an artificial limb. Hangzhou City's Safari Park had the prosthesis made after the animal lost its leg in a car accident.

This article first appeared in the 21 August 2006 issue of the New Statesman, Al-Qaeda: Britain in its sights