BANKS AND insurance companies are very concerned with the current Disability Discrimination Act. It will force them to make "reasonable adjustments" to communicate with disabled people in suitable formats. A campaign on Classic FM gives the number of the DDA Information Line (part of the Central Office of Information) for people who want more information on the Act. Much to his surprise, a recent caller, who works for a charity for the blind, was told that the relevant document was only available as a printed text. No braille, audio cassette or diskette was on offer. Indeed no date has been set for issuing the information in any of these highly suitable formats.
A COLLEAGUE of Pandora was taken aback this week as he entered the Cabinet Office. The waiting room was empty of reading matter - not a single British paper - but for copies of the National Enquirer, an American tabloid that makes the Daily Star read like the Times Literary Supplement. A glance at the current Enquirer reveals must-read reports such as "New Hollywood Hunk Has Secret Nerd Past" and "Clean Up Mold Before It Ruins Your Health", as well as "How Bill Confessed To Heartbroken Hillary". Is there a message in the Cabinet Office's decision to offer this tripe to its official visitors?
THOSE FIRST days back from holiday can be so depressing, but let's spare a special thought for Nancy Reagan. Having just returned home to Bel Air following her carefree Thelma and Louise-style road trip with Baroness Thatcher around Martha's Vineyard and the Hamptons, not only did she return to the difficult job of caring for her Alzheimer's- afflicted husband, but she had to put down faithful old Rex, the family dog since White House days. That's according to Daily Variety, which reveals in the same article that Nancy's jolly jaunt with Maggie was taken on doctor's orders. Meanwhile, we all know how downhearted Maggie was when she got back to these shores and savaged poor William "Boy Wonder" Hague, crowing that he didn't have a hope of winning the next election. Hopefully, she's going somewhere nice for Christmas.
NEXT WEEK is National Pregnancy Week. Boots the Chemists is joining forces with Tommy's Campaign, the national pregnancy research charity, to launch an Internet site aimed at expectant fathers. Of course every New Dad wants to be in the delivery room these days, but many are consumed with doubts about the looming great event. The web site aims to answer all manner of questions, but Pandora urges caution. Medical research just published by Carnegie Mellon University, in Pittsburgh, concludes that intensive surfing of the Net can induce depression, loneliness and stress. Anxious dads-to-be may be wiser to allay their fears in the traditional manner - with the lads down the pub.
FEMALE TENNIS fans have swooned for years over Andre Agassi's shaggy belly as revealed by his colourful peek-a-boo shirts. Fans at this year's US Open have noticed that Andre - never a washboard man - is looking especially full-figured. Now the reason has come out. He won a food bet with a New York restaurateur over whether he could defeat an opponent in straight sets. Having
done so, accord- ing to restaurant owner Nino Selimaj, "Agassi came in with nine friends that night, and they were all ordering the most expensive items. It was all guys... all big eaters". One day, Pandora fears, Andre just might not make it over that net.