Weekly Daily Brickbats Archive 2005 January 15-31

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La Dolce Vita

Forget the romance of dinner in a smoky Italian restaurant. Italy has banned smoking in all indoor spaces, including bars and restaurants, unless their smoking section is separated from the rest of the building by continuous floor-to-ceiling walls and with its own ventilation system. Most restaurants are too small to install a separate section. And they now face a $2,600 fine and loss of their business license if they don't report those who light up. Smokers face smaller fines.

Pizza Man

Canadian Immigration Minister Judy Sgro has resigned after pizza shop owner Harjit Singh claimed she failed to deliver on a promise to help him avoid deportation in return for free pizza and garlic bread. Sgro released a statement denouncing "outrageous fabrications" against her. But Sgro was already under investigation for allegedly getting a temporary residency permit and extending an expired work permit for a Romanian stripper who worked on her campaign for Parliament.

Sexy Monks

Cambodia has banned a popular love song and the video for it from radio and television. "Leaving the Monkhood for Love" is about just that. And the video features a monk frolicking with a woman. But the government says the song and video harm the honor of Buddhist monks. Buddhism, notes Information Minister Khieu Kanharith, is the state religion of Cambodia, so that can't be allowed.

No D-I-V-O-R-C-E

Shawnna Hughes wants a divorce. No big surprise there: Her husband, Carlos Hughes, was reportedly jailed for beating her, and she has a protective order against him. Carlos, who is in jail on drug charges now, has no objection to the divorce. But the state of Washington objected to the divorce, saying it might make it difficult to determine the father of the unborn child Shawnna Hughes is carrying and pursue him for repayment of welfare money used to support the child. Superior Court Judge Paul Bastine revoked the divorce until paternity of the child is determined after it is born, probably some time in March.