Neglected news items from the past week.

North-south divide

A survey on washing-up habits commissioned by Tesco revealed that:

62 per cent of people have been cuddled while doing the dishes.

10 per cent say that washing up has triggered a row, during which crockery has been thrown by 21 per cent in the North of England and 10 per cent in the South.

Call of the Sea

Wind-surfers in California can now subscribe to a paging service "Call of the Wind", which tells them when the weather is ideal for surfing. Activated by a computer attached to a wind gauge, it beeps them automatically when the onshore breeze hits about 14 mph.

No flight, no VAT

Customs and Excise have declared ostrich farming to be zero-rated as a foodstuff. But ostrich feathers will retain VAT at the standard rate of 17.5 per cent.

Fizzy drink

The Czech beverage company Pinelli has begun selling a high-caffeine stimulating drink called Semtex. "We want to improve the name of Czech products in the world," said Petr Krejcik, director of Pinelli.

Yuan die

Families attending this year's "Tomb Sweeping" festival in Peking, China, have been banned from the traditional practice of burning paper money. The "hell banknotes", supposed to ensure a comfortable afterlife for deceased relatives, have been condemned as a superstitious fire hazard.

Tube line closed

Despite repeated mating, none of 17 rabbits at the University of Pennsylvania became pregnant after their Fallopian tubes had been injected with a superglue- like substance. The researchers hope soon to be able to conduct analogous experiments on humans.


According to Roy Hattersley: "Anyone who wears a waistcoat to prove his conventional respectability ought not so much to be relied upon as certified."