Top news from The Times, Daily Telegraph, The Indepedent and The Guardian newspapers
LIVERPOOL is the Capital of Culture.
Everyone wants to be a Liverpudlian this year. Londoners are gargling with thickened mayonnaise to get their right accents and pass themselves off as one of the cultured elite.
Devonians have begun a campaign to have the former Liverpool-based soap Brookside reinvigorated in Torbay.
But not everyone can be a Liverpudlian – not even all Liverpudlians can.
Says the Independent: “Liverpool turns on Ringo for saying he misses nothing about the city.”
Ringo is Ringo Starr, voice of Thomas the Tank Engine and a sometime percussionist.
There’s Ringo Starr stood on top of the St George’s Hall giving full throat to “Liverpool I left you, but I never let you down”.
And here’s Starr on Jonathan Ross’s radio show, responding to a question as to what he misses about the city. Anything? “Er, no…,” says Starr. “Look I love Liverpool. I was a child in Liverpool. I grew up in Liverpool. My family members are in Liverpool. But you know…
“I had to tell the audience, as it was so excited, that I was this close to coming back. But I had a great time up there at the weekend [during the opening ceremony]. I did.”
Cue the Liverpudlians. Says the paper: “Within hours the city’s local newspaper, The Liverpool Echo, was inundated with calls from angry readers and more than 1,500 people had posted on the paper’s website forums, venting their anger.”
Anorak has begun a petition to erase Starr from history and replace his effigy with that of Little Jimmy Osmond singing Long Haired Lover from Liverpool.
But we cannot do it alone and require a budget to pay for a shiny tracksuit, a few thousand locals to say that they are related by marriage to Osmond and a lorra lorra laughs…
“Ministers are concerned that many older children shun healthy school lunches for junk food, while younger pupils use ‘pester power’ to force their parents to buy them unhealthy snacks on the way home.”
Odd that this Government wants to curtail choice; choice is the mantra for all the main political parties. Odder still that the Government should want to stop children walking to the shops and buying cheap protein.
Perhaps the thinking is that if the fast food shops are removed further from the schools the nippers will have to walk further and so burn off more fat?
Says Health Secretary, Alan Johnson: “Hazel Blears [the Community Secretary] and I will also look at how the planning system can help all areas by making sure that planning decisions promote physical activity with better use of the regulations that enable local authorities to limit the spread of fast food outlets especially near parks and schools.”
As such, we can expect the ice-cream van to less stop than slow to the proscribed 5mp, the Mr Whippy Pied Piper leading the fatties and potential fatties through the streets, his tinky-tonk Greensleeves cranked up to a fat-burning 120-plus beats per minute.
Any children fallen the wayside will be rolled into the road and used as speed calming devices, and objects of fun.
It’s joined-up Government…
“DIAMONDS ? Gold? Old hat! Tractors are the thief’s holy grail,” says the Times.
Hundreds of tractors are being stolen in an extraordinary crimewave that is worth £3 million a year and affects most counties in rural Britain. It is being investigated by police forces nationwide, working with the National Plant and Equipment Register in Operation Mermaid.
It’s a big problem:
They are particular about their pickings, and have a penchant for the distinctive green and yellow tractors of the John Deere brand. John Deere tractors usually cost between £63,700 and £75,000, and even second-hand models can be sold for up to £50,000. Some top-of-the-range tractors cost more than £100,000.
As Tim notes: “Taking that second hand value £3 million a year is 60 a year. So that ‘hundreds’ looks like a tad of hyperbole, don’t you think?
SIR Martin, director of the Office for Fair Access (Offa), is responsible for ensuring that higher education is open to students from less privileged backgrounds.
He tells the Telegraph: “We will never go back to selection…”
Although, as the paper notes: “Potential Oxbridge students should be identified at 11 and given special mentoring throughout their school years to help them compete for a place, the Government’s access tsar has proposed.”
So, no going back to selection, then..?
Asked by the Sundays Times if they would feel safe walking around London late at night, our VIP opined: “Well, no, but I don’t think I ever have done. You know, I would never have done that, at any point in my life.”
Why not: “Well, I just don’t think that’s a thing that people do, is it, really?”
“Well, I wouldn’t walk around at midnight and I’m fortunate that I don’t have to do that?”
The Sunday Times is talking with…
a) Anna Nicole Smith
b) Maggie Smith
c) Victor Lewis Smith
d) Lady May Abel Smith
e) Jacqui Smith
f) Will Smith
Answer after the jump…
Smoking in enclosed paces is now verboten in Germany. So the German smokers are on the move, journeying not to France (where a smoking ban persists) but to Poland, historically an intrepid German’s first port of call on any freewheeling European adventure.
It is all too easy to hark back to those dark days, to mention the war. But this talk of Nazis is intoxicating for the Observer. How have Germans reacted to the tobacco ban?
In Berlin’s Vienna Bar, Gerhard Grünberg is showing off his bruises, a victim of “bar rage”. He shares his anecdote. A man is smoking. He asks the man to step outside and partake of the air warmed by heaters, the blankets and sofa. Says Grunberg: “’But the man said I was taking away his rights, and then he threw the punch.”
Violence in Germany. And as the papers notes: “Under the supervision of the Institute for Tobacco Hazards Research, the ban was imposed in every public building and public space, including air-raid shelters, with Hitler even personally intervening in 1944 to ensure it was extended to trains and buses in order to protect young female conductors.”
And: “It was even pointed out that Hitler, Mussolini and Franco were all non-smokers, while the ‘evil enemies’ – Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin – all enjoyed a tobacco fix.”
But it is the UK that bans smoking in all enclosed public places. In Germany, smokers can indulge their habit in establishments with separate rooms. The Observer say this is a “quirk”.
It’s not. It’s a fact. Modern Germany is more tolerant than the UK…
IN ‘Poultry is not a class issue, old Etonian Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall tell us about chicken:
But a commercially produced free range bird, not organic, can be had in most supermarkets for a little over £5. And there is another – cheaper – higher welfare option provided by the RSPCA’s Freedom Foods method of poultry rearing. All the major supermarkets offer this bird or an own-brand equivalent, and these typically sell for about £4. As one of these birds will easily feed a family of four – twice, in the hands of a keen and resourceful cook – you could even say they are a bargain.
You could. Only:
And be in no doubt, these birds may be reared inside but they have, through lower stocking levels and an enriched environment, certainly led more comfortable and less stressful lives than the “two for a fiver” birds piled beside them in the supermarket chill cabinet. The irresistible pressure on many shoppers to buy cheap chicken arises not because higher welfare birds are expensive, but because standard factory farmed poultry is aggressively, artificially and, I would say, shamefully cheap.
I would say a bargain…
I believe that there is a continued need for a domestic poultry industry that can deliver good value chicken at a keen price for a massive popular market. But basic welfare reform is an urgent matter. If something like the RSPCA standards were adopted as a new starting point for the industry, it would add only 50p to the cost of raising a bird. That includes a fairer price for the farmers, who are struggling to stay in business as their grim product sells for insultingly low prices.
Let’s hear it for more expensive chicken!
As the Telegraph reports: “Female police officers up and down the country rebelled have against the regulation trousers they are forced to wear, claiming they are unflattering for their bottoms.”
The article goes on: “They were particularly aggrieved by the high waistbands which cover up curves and the bulky, ill-fitting material which makes it difficult to run after offenders.”
It’s important to get the look right. When our PR-sensitive police force are posing for the snappers alongside a celebrity they need to look good. These photos are distributed around the world. Standing alongside the likes of Amy Winehouse, Kate Moss and Pete Doherty can make the WPC looks not a little hippy and “square”.
Says a Hampshire Constabulary WPC: “Police uniform for women is awful. When my uniform was issued I requested men’s trousers as the women’s were so high waisted that they did absolutely nothing for a woman’s figure. I now buy my own trousers.” Red ones?
One West Midlands WPC added: “It does wind me up that we get these terrible trousers – they make your bum look huge – they are massive around the hips. The force needs to listen to us, the old uniforms are old-fashioned and need updating.”
What to do? Something must be done. Peter Fahy, head of race and diversity, tell us: “Having listened to the British Association for Women in Policing it was clear many forces wanted to produce a better uniform themselves. It is at that level that the proposals need to be trialled.”
Like you, we have no idea what he means, his talking to immersed in copper’s English to make any sense.
However, attempts at translation point to a cohesive and sensitive joined-up approach to policing with WPCs reflecting the changing environment in a coming together of leggings, pencil skirts and something strappy and pointy on the feet…
SAYS Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary: “We are already working closely with the communications industry to take action against paedophiles. I believe we should also take action against those who groom vulnerable people for the purposes of violent extremism.”
Smith was saying just that as the International Centre for Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence – “the first truly global centre for knowledge and leadership in the area of radicalisation and political violence”. Possibly the last, too.
Listen up, Osama. You are no longer a mad mullah, a Teddy Bear Taliban or a jihadist. You are now a paedo.
Each car bombing will be punctuated by news that the victims’ children are now exposed to the dangers of paedophiles. “Perverts stalk
“I’m sure it is happening. It’s a perfect opportunity for these guys to move in,” says Unicef’s director of child protection in
Forget being blown to bits. It’s the paedos who really scare us.
If there is one thing guaranteed to get headlines more than celebrity, football and the War On Terror it is paedophiles. Heather Mills was not treated worse than a Muslim fundamentalist, she was treated worse than a paedophile.
Muslim, Christian, Jew, hawk or dove we can call form a consensus on paedos. And some of these paedos are offering the kids sweetners – like bombs and virgins…
ON the high sease: “Two British and Australian anti-whaling protesters are being held hostage in the brig of a Japanese harpoon ship after a dramatic high-seas encounter in the Southern Ocean, say environmental activists.
“The incarceration of Giles Lane and Benjamin Potts, of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, follows their attempts to board the Yushin Maru No 2 — a vessel engaged on Japan’s hugely controversial ‘scientific’ pursuit of minke and fin whales.
Feel sorry for them? Not the whales, the protestors?
A Times correspondent notes: “Certain areas of whale brains, such as the cingulate cortex of Fin Whales, are for instance, paralleled in humans, and in us, related to ethical decision-making. While the Fin Whale brain is 5x the size of our own, their cingulate cortex is larger in relation to their brain size than is ours. What if the Japanese are killing Gandhis and Einsteins?”
MRSA has embraced Kathy Burke – “I had that C.difficile hospital bug that everyone is going on about. It was an experience” – and Leslie Ash – “I want to bring this to the public notice”.
But Norovirus, also known as winter vomiting disease, has no VIP champion.
Doctors estimate more than 10,000 people a week are catching Norovirus. Knowing that there is now one celebrity for ever 1,000 Live Audience Members (Source: Anthea Turner’s Celebrity Survey), we wonder if the celebrity world is keeping the illness in house. Puking, diarrhoea and the multi-talented “Diking” (both at once) are, perhaps, less marketable than MRSA, with its mysteries and plotlines.
In the Guardian, Charlie Brooker, who appears on BBC4, says: “There’s a plague stalking the land and I’m terrified. But here’s how to avoid Notovirus meltdown.”
Brooker has been successful so far. This might be because he has washed his hands and spent past of the last month in New York. It might be down to sheer bloody-mindedness.
But if the likeable Brooker does fall ill, he might be the one to tell us about it. Assuming, of course, his computer does not become clogged with the detritus of the disease no-one is talking about…
PLEASE, Sir, can I borrow your raxor: “A 30-year-old woman was arrested yesterday for masquerading as a schoolboy after ‘stealing’ a teenager’s identity.”
Says the Telegraph:
Barbora Skrlova fled to Norway from the Czech Republic and posed as a 13-year-old boy for four months to avoid giving testimony in a 2007 child abuse case, Czech police said.
She was deported back to the Czech Republic and detained after months of fooling teachers in Norway by passing herself off as a boy named Adam. She was enrolled at a school near Oslo in September by a woman who introduced the 33-year-old as her son.
How old? 30 . 33. Even the paper of record is uncertain…
WRITES Simon Heffer in the Telegraph on drugs:
I make no apology either for being so uncharitable towards the drugs culture, or for hectoring a government that refuses to deal seriously with it. It causes, on a conservative estimate, 70 per cent of the crime in our country. Mugging, burglary, prostitution and most other forms of vice are linked to it. It provokes violence and murder. Poverty, misery and broken families are its result.
Why think you have to make an apology? Better to make a fist at understanding that drugs and crime are linked because – get his – drugs are, in the main, illegal…
Good for the ill in need of an organ. But does it mean that your body is owned by the State, unless you opt out?
And does that mean that the State takes precedence over religious beliefs?
Will the wake be enjoined by wonks playing games of Operation with the dearly departed?
“Young British rich lead campaign against planned ‘holidaymaker’ airport at Siena.”
There’s a demonstration on the steps of the National Gallery. Not because it’s handy for the club and Hugo has a house nearby for post-protest restoratives but because the Italian bank, Monte dei Paschi di Siena, sponsoring an exhibition of Renaissance art from Siena at the gallery, just happens to be one of the new airport’s backers.
Says the Times: “Most of the protest group are in their late teens or early twenties. Many can recall idyllic summers spent in Tuscany at the villas of their parents or grandparents.”
Their number features: Fred Lambton, grandson of Lord Lambton, “the former Tory cabinet minister who lived out his life in Tuscany after resigning from the Heath government over a call-girl scandal”.
Rose Hanbury (model) and Zita Lloyd (model); Joseph Getty, Sir Paul Getty’s grandson; George Frost, Sir David Frost’s boy; Rollo Weeks (actor brother to Honeysuckle Weeks and Perdita Weeks, also actresses – his name means ‘famous wolf’); Arthur Jeffes, a polar explorer; Marissa Montgomery, founder of the Pussy Glamore lingerie range,;Guinnesses, “Heskeths” (a Germanic tribe?); and socialites.
They are the Save Siena group.
Says Lambton: “I spent a lot of time out there when my grandfather was alive and I have seen what the airport would do. The site is completely surrounded by a national park and has a delicate ecosystem. Building an international airport would be disastrous on so many levels.”
Notes the paper: “Lambton, who has previously fought campaigns against the power of supermarkets and the expansion of Heathrow”.
Thank goodness, say we, that the privileged have taken the time to warn us of the dangers of cheap flights, cheap food and more jobs. If only Zac Goldsmith had been there…
Pic: Siena’s Il Palio horse race in full tally ho!
“THIS is the Tato Nano,” says the Independent’s front-page headline. “It costs just £1,277, allowing millions to buy a car for the first time. But green groups fear the planet will pay a heavy price.”
Green groups fear the planet will pay a heavy price for breathing humans, the virus.
So green-minded is the Independent, green groups may boggle at the cost to the planet of printing three pages of news on this vehicle and a call to debate the vehicle online.
Mother Nature may well be run over by the 625cc engine Tato Nano, if the media doesn’t kill her off first…
“TONY Blair will earn around £2 million a year in his part-time role as adviser to the Wall Street bank JP Morgan without ever having to go into the office,” says the Telegraph.
“BLAIR’S £1m-A-Year PAYBACK FOR IRAQ,” thunders the Mail’s front-page headline.
Says Reg Keys, whose son was killed in Iraq: “If he had a conscience or any sensitivity he would not have taken this job.”
Chimes Conservative defence spokesman Gerald Howarth: “It will be viewed with some contempt by the armed forces that he picks up this large cheque when he was happy to send British troops into battle ill-equipped and in insufficient numbers.”
“It’s almost like blood money,” comes the headline inside the paper.
But surely if Tony is earning money and domiciled in the UK, he is paying UK taxes. His wages will go into the big pot and be used to pay for things like better guns, improved armour and more soldiers.
Like him or not, Blair has the right to earn money…
SAYS former England football manager Steve McClaren (“the wally with a brolly”) in the Times: “I could have worn a woolly hat, and England cap. I’d have got soaked to the skin and looked like a drowned rat walking way from the bench and that would have been the depiction of the England manager.”
Much better to have the England team lose and the self-conscious manager remain dry and cocooned from the rain falling on his players and the fans by a huge golf umbrella…
Image is all.
POLAR bears continue to enjoy a good press.
It was once the way with giant panda bears. A large chuck of Britons grew up watching TV bulletins about panda bears mating, or not, as was often the case.
For such a reason, 90% per cent of adults refer to their private parts as their “Chi-chi”, “Dinga-ling” or “Dip-Dip”.
We never did see a newborn panda, but rumour is that it looks like the contests of a flasher’s mac, a pinkish, limpish, blobish wrinkle of disappointment.
No-one hears of pandas anymore. It’s all polars, these days. Like TV magicians, there is only room in our collective consciousness for one type of bear.
Before pandas it was Gentle Ben the grizzly bear, who was not related to Ben, Grizzly Adams sidekick and beard consultant, who came later.
Btu Grizzly bears and Panda bears are out. Polars are in. And there’s a young polar bear in the mouth of its mother at Nuremburg Zoo.
The keepers are taking no chances and, as the Telegraph report. Mum looks peckish. The bear is now being bottle-fed, not by its mother, rather by humans.
Last year, Berlin Zoo began to raise Knut, abandoned by its mother. Knut is boy bear. This latest polar is a girl, let’s call her Vanny.
The future of polar bears seems full of possibilities…
Sugar is the blunt businessman who left school at 16 and sold car aerials and electrical goods out of a van he had bought with his savings of £100. He is a trader by nature.
But the pupils are not being allowed out of class to sell the lamps they’ve made in design and technology, the home economics biscuits and car radios obtained from the teachers’ car park. Scholars at Matthew Arnold School, Surrey, are being invited to take part in challenges.
As the head teacher Jackie Pearson says: “Firms would set up a challenge, students would go off and do the challenge, come back and report on it and get told ‘you’re hired’, or ‘you’re fired’.”
What pupils are studying and aping is the celebrity Alan Sugar, the one who scowls as if someone has just poured white spirit over his car; the Alan Sugar who stars on The Apprentice TV show and sees which aggressive and pushy “I get results –I’m not here to be popular-I would murder my first born for this chance” agonist gets to be a trainee Alan.
Nto emntiely without interests, one of the cpanies invocleed with the schme is McDaionald’s
Anorak is minded of the maths teacher who equips every failed test with a McDonalds’s application form.
How to you motivate the little loves: stick, carrot, Sugar or two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun…
Peter Hain is preparing to admit to the Electoral Commission that he has failed to declare more than £100,000 in donations to his campaign for Labour’s deputy leadership.
It is understood that there are almost 20 donations that his team failed to declare, in breach of the rules for party political elections.
The scale of the under-reporting – more than half the total income received by the Hain campaign – will shock many party members and raise questions as to how such a massive apparent oversight occurred.
An oversight. And these people make the rules…
This is BARACK OBAMA’S INCREDIBLE JOURNEY”
The TIMES: “Obama magic lures record number of voters”
THE TELEGRAPH: “Hillary sacks aides as she faces defeats”
THE GUARDIAN: “Clinton moves to Plan B”
The result: Hillary Clinton wins! Read about that here… (On the web)
“Stranded polar bears, melting glaciers, dried-out rivers and flooding on a horrific scale – these were the iconic images of 2007. So who is most able to stop this destruction to our world? A Guardian panel, taking nominations from key environmental figures, met to compile a list of our ultimate green heroes.”
A panel will save the world. Hurrah! This is superheroes by committee. Super camel!
Or Ken Livingstone,
Peter Garrett, Politician – “the former punk lead singer of the disbanded Australian rock group Midnight Oil, who continued his weird journey from radical muso to establishment politician when he was appointed Australia’s environment minister in November. He began with gigs outside Exxon offices and protests at the Sydney Olympics about Aboriginal rights, and found himself labelled a turncoat by some at the election.”
He was nominated here by Jonathon Porritt, for being “instrumental in shaping the Australian Labour party’s climate change and environment policies”.
Garrett isn’t permitted to speak on the subject of climate change. Looks like we’re doomed.
Al Gore – the man who lost
DIZZY looks at nuclear power:
The Independent on Sunday has a rather interesting story about the development of nuclear energy policy from the Government. They say that the Government is about to publish their White Paper recommending we build more nuclear power plants (now there’s a surprise!) and part of it will include what it is calling bribes for local community to accept greater dumping of nuclear waste in their areas.
What is interesting in this whole sage is that there is also an article in the Sunday Times which accuses Brown of running an 18th Century-style family clique at the top of Government. As I read it, before the Sindy’s article, I thought to myself how they had missed the Nuclear Family Affair at the top as well.
Most people know that consultation on nuclear was a sham designed to make money for yet more of Gordon’s friends and produce an already known outcome. Now, it seems that, just in case anyone gets a little upset, they’re going to throw cash at people to keep them sweet instead.