Branches of elite US universities at Qatar's doorstep

Doha, Qatar  - Any self-respecting family in the oil-rich Arab Gulf monarchies sends its children to study in Britain or the United States and conservative ones send their sons only. Some progressive clans also give their daughters a chance - always in the hope that after four semesters in the "sinful" West, the young women will still be marriageable back home.

As most Gulf Arabs prefer to have their daughters nearby or at least in an Islamic environment, female students outnumber males in many places in the Gulf states. At state-run Qatar University, for example, there are currently about 6,000 female students as opposed to
3,000 male students.

Some Australians feel good about bad times

Sydney  - Good health, freedom of choice, political liberty, civil rights - these, along with high income, make Australians the most prosperous people in the world, found a study by the Dubai-based Legatum Institute ranking countries according to their prosperity.

The privately-funded think tank noted that there was no direct correlation between wealth and happiness. While it was true that income was a good indicator of wellbeing in very poor countries, earnings did not link with happiness in rich countries.

Study after study has downplayed money as a predictor of how we feel about our lives. It's a finding that comes as no surprise to Melbourne lawyer and academic Mirko Bagaric.

Nightmare for macho motorists: female-only traffic force

Nightmare for macho motorists: female-only traffic force Lima  - A nightmare is coming true for many macho motorists in the Peruvian capital as the entire traffic police force will soon be female.

Since surveys show female officers in Lima to be far stricter and - more importantly - less bribable than males, they will be given complete control of the chaotic streets in the city of some 8 million inhabitants, the municipal traffic police announced recently.

Their 500 male colleagues are to be transferred to other departments. Meanwhile, General Arturo Davila, a man, will remain head of Lima's traffic police.

Japan's railway companies try to keep passengers' manners on track

Tokyo  - A young woman in a railway compartment curls her eyelashes while a young cuddling couple does not bother to make room for a man with a leg in a plaster cast. A young man sprawled straddle-legged across two seats leafs through a book.

You can see such displays of rudeness in Japan, at least on posters that are part of a campaign by Japanese railway companies to promote good behaviour among passengers. Many foreign travellers are surprised at the admonitions because Japan, of all countries, seems positively steeped in politeness.

Nevertheless, Japanese railway passengers are peppered with both visual and acoustic reminders of "manaa" or proper conduct, a term that comes from the English word "manners."

Colourful laptops make a splash in WLAN cafes

Colourful laptops make a splash in WLAN cafes Berlin  - Laptops are now available in bright red, yellow and mixed colour, artists editions.

They can be spotted daily in WLAN cafes from Hamburg to Berlin, making time spent on the computer feel a bit more invigorating.

"To each his own," is the rule of thumb, fashion expert Bernhard Roetzel of Berlin said. The twill-suit-sporting banker is best paired with a black, silver or white laptop, while young professionals go for colourful computers.

However, Roetzel says the trend is not exceptional.

Individual greetings make better impression

Individual greetings make better impressionBerlin - A blank card and a pen often are enough to make a person break out into sweats. The perfect phrase just won't come to mind when writing a birthday, holiday or anniversary greeting as people struggle to find the right words.

The best tips to follow in this situation are as follows. Keep the greeting short and crisp and mention a hobby or character trait of the recipient.