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A man in central China has been refused permission to name his son "@" because it cannot be translated into Mandarin - as the law demands.

According to the Beijing Morning Post, the nomenclative dissident from Zhengzhou argued that the symbol is in common use on keyboards and therefore fair game. Mercifully for the infant in question, his dad does not live in the kind of fully-fledged democracy where parents can name their children after pretty well anything they want - including software upgrades.

Indeed, regular readers may recall the story of Jon Blake Cusack Version 2.0 - progeny of Jon Blake Cusack and wife Jamie, of Holland, Michigan. As we noted at the time: "Jon and his wife will certainly be spending many a sleepless night debugging little Jon Blake Cusack Version 2.0 and - in about 16 years' time - having a very hard time explaining to their unfortunate offspring whose bright idea this was in the first place."

Still, at least this madness demonstrates that the desire to ruin your child's life by giving it an amusing moniker is common to cultures world-wide. We Brits too like nothing more than a good chuckle, as the recent case of newborn Drew Peacock shows. ®

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