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"THE British come here without speaking to the community, leave bombs and pollute the area."

  • LOCAL KENYAN RESIDENT on the legacy left by British soldiers on military training exercises in the country between 1964 and 93

"THE LADY taking names for the UN refugee bus to Germany wouldn't listen to me."

  • SERB who fled Kosovo for Macedonia, after his wife and daughter were killed by NATO bombs, and was refused refugee status

"THAT'S A lot of money when it is just for yourself and you don't need it for food or accommodation."

  • FORMER ETON PUPIL on why some rich kids at the public school are tempted to spend their £150 allowance a month on drugs

"HAVING A prime minister as a former pupil has been a huge boost."

  • HEAD OF FETTES COLLEGE public school in Scotland on Tony Blair's contribution to the record rise in applications

"HE IS popping in to brief the baroness about his new British Forces Foundation of which she is a patron."

  • SECRETARY TO MARGARET THATCHER on "comedian" Jim Davidson's new role entertaining the British troops in the Balkans

"MARGARET is a always full of advice and good things."


"IF YOU go away in summer there are good rates to be found. So where are the best bargains? Try The Mark on New York's Upper East Side which is cutting rates to £246 [a night]."

  • FINANCIAL TIMES suggests cheap holidays for its readers

"CLARE'S PLAN to sell the shares in the Commonwealth Development Corporation were announced months ago."

  • FRIEND OF CLARE SHORT boasting that Short should take the credit for New Labour's first privatisation, not Jack Straw for the Tote sell off

Robin Hood of Basildon

AMERICAN EXPRESS just would not take no for an answer-even when its junk mail was sent back marked "Deceased". It insisted Lillian Webb, who had been dead for two years, should have one of its credit cards. But American Express did not bargain on Sid Chaney, a 78 year old pensioner from Basildon, Essex.

After contacting the company dozens of times to tell them to stop sending credit card requests to Lillian, Sid decided to get his own back. He applied for a card. Lo and behold, a few weeks later a card turned up. He soon ran up a £5,000 bill. But Sid did not spend a penny on himself. Instead he spent the money on:

  • A £1,800 Christmas dinner for his elderly neighbours.
  • Football shirts and boots for local kids who didn't have much money.
  • Baskets of groceries for his retired elderly neighbours in the sheltered housing complex where he lives.

One of Sid's neighbours said, "People call Sid Father Christmas. He treated people he took pity on to lunch or a basketful of groceries."

American Express is demanding the £5,000 back, plus £2,000 interest. But Sid said, "I'm not going to pay. I hate banks and the way they treat people. So I thought it would be great to go and spend their money on people who need it. "I am not a crook. I am an honest, principled man."

'He was left to starve'

TIMOTHY FINN starved to death because his benefit payments were cut off. His benefits were stopped by the Benefits Agency in April 1998 because they had not received his sick notes stating that he was suffering from mental health problems. Coroner's officer Peter Rose said he believed Timothy could not understand why his benefits had stopped after receiving them for years.

Timothy, aged 48, died alone, without a scrap of food in his rented house in Batley near Huddersfield. In the space of a few months his weight dropped from 16 stones to ten. His decomposed body was found by his landlord's son, who went to get a form signed because Timothy's rent had not been paid by the DSS for two months. Lying next to him was a note written on the back of a water bill envelope, accusing the Benefits Agency of starving him.

A homeless Aboriginal man, Kevin Anthony Cook, was jailed for 12 months for stealing a £6 towel to keep warm. It was Cook's third conviction for a property related offence. It earned him a mandatory one year term under Australia's new zero tolerance laws. New Labour's Jack Straw is considering introducing a similar scheme in Britain.

Does US know where it bombs?

THE MAP reading error claimed as an excuse for the bombing of China's Belgrade embassy is not the first of its kind. In 1983 a US taskforce massed in the Caribbean to invade the small island of Grenada. The commanders discovered that the only available map of the island was a tourist guide measuring eight inches by five, last updated in 1895. The US marines were hastily issued with photocopies of the map and they set about invading the island.

The US intelligence service told the army that they would be up against a combined force of 11,000 Grenadan troops and 784 battle hardened Cuban soldiers. In fact the entire Grenadan police, security and armed forces amounted to less than 4,000 people and the battle hardened Cubans were construction workers building an airport. The US landings were a communications disaster. One officer had to use a borrowed credit card and a public phone box to reach his home base of Fort Bragg, North Carolina.


RECENTLY Labour MP Ann Clwyd asked in parliament for details of UK arms exports from 1989-91 to Yugoslavia. Treasury minister Dawn Primarolo replied, "It could only be done at disproportionate cost." In 1993 Labour MP Lew Smith asked for the same information. A full schedule of weapons sold to Yugoslavia was provided.

Lorries driving on the right?

TRANS ACTION is the employers' group that has been responsible for organising the recent road hauliers' protests. Trans Action's activities are fronted by millionaire Kent lorry boss Frank Stears. The Sun newspaper loves Frank and his protests. The Sun calls him "a man of the people".

But it is not just the Sun that has been getting behind the hauliers' campaign. So too has the Nazi British National Party. The Nazis have been leafleting truck owners' meetings with racist leaflets. The BNP was hoping to intervene in lorry protests this week.

Nukes and bribes

NOBODY WILL be rejoicing at the news that the government's plans for the transportation of radioactive waste have been approved by "an independent survey". The survey was carried out by the German company Nukem! In 1988 the firm was the subject of several investigation, including one for systematic bribery of power industry officials. One employee was sent down for four years, while another committed suicide.