Column Eight: High-risk health warning

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The Independent Online
THE MARCH issue of NatWest's staff magazine Bankground offers hints on how to make crack cocaine. Dr David Murray Bruce, group chief medical adviser, writing his 'Your Health' column, is impressively informative, while warning his 100,000 colleagues about the dangers of crack.

He takes his readers step by step, from picking the coca leaves, mixing them with sulphuric acid to produce the mushy pulp known as 'pasta', adding hydrochloric acid to form crystals, to mixing in the baking soda, and so on.

For users in a hurry, the helpful Dr Bruce explains how you can get a high in 10 seconds by smoking crack, rather than wait the 10 minutes that sniffing requires. He even provides a confidential phone helpline. I tried calling it to ask for precise ingredient amounts for his recipe. No answer.

BERNARD Hoggarth, marketing director of Cranswick, the food group, is also a qualified referee and vice-president of York FC. But it is on the strength of neither of these that he appears in the pages of the newly published Soccer's Strangest Matches. Mr Hoggarth is celebrated as the man who in 1990 introduced the Domino Stress Ball to the 15 pigs on his farm, thus inventing porcine football.

The game doesn't seem to have progressed beyond desultory kicking about in the sty. But it has enabled the authors to make some diabolical jokes about Franz Baconbauer, Trotterham Hotspur and Queen's Pork Rangers.

IT'S AN ill wind, as Lord Hollick, the MAI boss, will tell you. The bomb in the World Trade Center in New York has hit the operations of Cantor Fitzgerald, the treasury broker based there. Cantor has been looking for temporary accommodation. Meanwhile MAI's Garban, one of Cantor's main rivals, is coining it.

ONE OF the lesser casualties of that bomb was the disappearance of the world-beating cognac collection in the Windows on the World restaurant. Rather curious, since it was on the top floor, which escaped major damage. The police blame the fire department. The fire department blames the police.

MANCHESTER United's shares fell behind by 1p at one stage yesterday, and then pulled back by 1p a few minutes later. The price ended the day all-square. All rather familiar after Sunday's nail- biting match against Villa.