Nuclear tango

29.09.2009 to 02.10.09 Iran test-fires long-range missiles in the run-up to talks in Geneva over its nuclear ambitions, a skull fragment thought to be Hitler's is found to be from a woman, and South America's favourite dance is put in contention for world heritage status.

Unesco on Wednesday declared the tango tradition of Argentina and Uruguay a world cultural treasure.
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Tropical Storm Ketsana killed hundreds of people in the Philippines before causing further devastation in Vietnam and Cambodia. Tens of thousands were left homeless in Manilla after the capital received a month's rain in less than a day. Relief centres were overwhelmed, and the presidential palace was opened as a refugee centre in what was the worst flooding in four decades. The storm strengthened as it hit Vietnam, causing at least 41 deaths. There were reports of nine killed in Cambodia.

Residents of a tiny community were baffled by the discovery that the name of their town had been changed. Formerly Saih Ash Sheib, the town is now just Saih Sheib on the motorway exit sign. "It seems someone decided to remove the 'Ash' from the sign and we were not even informed," said Ahmed Zaki, the controller of a lorry inspection station on the border of Abu Dhabi and Dubai. To confuse matters more, the station is known as the "Seih Ash Sheib" station but is pronounced "Sieh Shuwaib" in local dialect.

The woman who inspired the Beatles classic Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds died from a disease of her immune system. A drawing by Lucy Vodden, made when she was a four-year-old at a nursery school in southern England, was taken home by the son of John Lennon. The picture of a woman with diamond-shaped eyes and surrounded by stars was described by Julian Lennon as "Lucy in the sky with diamonds". The song was released on the 1976 album Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

A piece of a human skull long believed to be from the corpse of Adolf Hitler was discovered to be from the body of an unidentified woman. The bone fragment with a bullet hole had been displayed in Moscow as evidence that the German leader had committed suicide in his bunker. DNA tests by American scientists have proved the remains come from a woman aged between 20 and 40.

British military officials said they would investigate a claim that a young Afghan girl was killed by a box of leaflets dropped by an RAF transport aircraft. The leaflets were meant to scatter harmlessly as they fell over Helmand Province. Instead the box failed to break apart and landed on the girl's head. She died later in hospital in Kandahar. A spokesman for the UK Ministry of Defence it deeply regretted the "tragic incident".

Iran tested long-range missiles capable of hitting Israel and American military bases in the region in advance of international talks about the nature of its nuclear programme. World powers are putting increasing pressure on Tehran after the revelation of a second uranium plant being built in secret on a military base near Qom. Iran was forced to reveal the existence of the plant after the US, Britain and France said they would provide details gathered in an intelligence operation. Talks in Geneva were aimed at resolving the nature of Iran's nuclear programme, which it claims is only for peaceful purposes and not to develop nuclear weapons. Mohammed El Baradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said that Iran was "on the wrong side of the law". Iran has told the International Atomic Energy Agency that it will allow inspectors on the site, but has not given a date for when they will take place.

The founder of Cirque du Soleil became the first clown in space. Guy Laliberté was said to have paid US$35 million (Dh128 million) to join the crew of a Russian Soyuz craft heading to the International Space Station. Mr Laliberté, who has become a billionaire through Cirque du Soleil, will spend nine days in orbit and plans to use the trip to publicise a world shortage of clean water.

A group of dwarfs has founded their own village in China to escape what they say is discrimination by normal-sized people. Everyone living in the commune in Kunming in southern China must be under one metre 31cm. The village of 120 people also runs its own police force and fire brigade. In an attempt to attract tourists, the village has built mushroom-shaped homes with the inhabitants dressing as fairy tale characters. "As small people we are used to being pushed around and exploited by big people. But here there aren't any big people and everything we do is for us," said Fu Tien, a spokesman for the community.

A senior UN official was removed from his post after complaining about election fraud in Afghanistan. Peter Galbraith was fired on the orders of Ban Ki-Moon, the UN secretary general, in a row about how the organisation should deal with the allegations of vote rigging, mostly in favour of the current Afghan president. Mr Galbriath, an American diplomat, said the decision "sends a terrible signal when the UN removes an official because he was concerned about fraud in a UN-sponsored and funded election".

An earthquake and a tsunami were feared to have killed more than 1,000 people in the Pacific in less than 24 hours. A 7.6-magnitude earthquake in Sumatra left thousands buried under collapsed buildings in the coastal city of Padang. Elsewhere a second earthquake of between 8.0 and 8.3 magnitude flattened villages in Samoa and unleashed waves that swept cars and people out to sea, leaving at least 119 dead.

Sheikh Zayed's life story is to be told in an epic trilogy. The first film, to be made by the Abu Dhabi-based Experience Media Studios, will be released on December 2, 2011 - National Day. "This story is not just important for the UAE, it's important for the world," said Michael-Ryan Fletchall, the studio's chief executive. "People are looking for inspiration. People are looking for leaders who lead beyond their time. He's a person that was such a great force in the region, and it is important to let that legacy live on."

The tango was designated an international cultural treasure with protected status after a meeting by Unesco in Abu Dhabi. The passionate Latin dance was among 76 cultural treasures identified by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation's representative list for "intangible cultural heritage". Other additions included Croatian lace making, the art of Azerbaijani Ashiqs - which combines poetry, storytelling, dance, and vocal and instrumental music - the Ainu dance of Japan, and Chinese block printing and dragonboat racing.

* The National