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Drawers wars: let battle begin

It's been a good week for ...

sticking up for your knickers

Women in Kazakhstan have been up in arms over their undies. Yelling "freedom to panties!" and wearing frilly knickers on their heads, demonstrators staged a protest in Almaty against a ban on lace underwear. Seven women were detained following the protest; one of them said the lace pants she was waving were the last pair she had left.

The demonstration is over a bizarre trade directive that bans the import, production or sale of synthetic lace underwear within the Eurasian Union, the trade bloc made up of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus. Designed to protect consumers from cheap and potentially unhealthy materials, the legislation is so poorly worded it effectively outlaws any underwear made of non-natural material that does not meet a 6% absorption threshold. (I'd love to know their test methods.)

Even Borat, Kazakhstan's fictitious anti-hero, would be appalled (where will it leave his mankini?)

Bottom line is that unless the law is amended, from July 1, lingerie outlets within the three countries will have to bin 90% of their stock.

Those who take a utilitarian approach to underwear might wonder what the fuss is about. But women must stand up to the pant police and fight for their right to wear whatever knickers take their fancy. This law is blatant lacism.

It's been a bad week for ... modern art

An over-zealous cleaner in southern Italy has accidentally thrown away more than £8000 worth of contemporary artworks while tidying an exhibition venue. She binned pieces made from newspaper and cardboard, and biscuit pieces scattered across the floor as part of a display by Sala Murat.

Lorenzo Roca, from cleaning firm Chiarissima, said the unnamed cleaner was "just doing her job", and that his company's insurance would cover the loss.

It is not the first time artwork has been accidentally thrown away by a cleaner. In 2001, a Damien Hirst installation at London's Eyestorm Gallery comprising a collection of beer bottles, coffee cups and overflowing ashtrays was cleared away. Later, in 2004, a bag of paper and cardboard by German artist Gustav Metzger was chucked out while on display at the Tate Britain.

Meanwhile, the anonymous Italian cleaner is pondering a career change. Her debut art installation will be the contents of a vacuum bag strewn on the floor. The working title is Modern Art Sucks.

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