The Feral Beast: Revenge served wet

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The Independent Online

'The Sun' last week splashed with the news that every Starbucks branch has a constantly running tap. But what curious timing. Starbucks recently pulled the plug on a deal to sell sister paper, 'The Times', in 300 of its cafés. Starbucks was warned two years ago that millions of gallons of wasted water was a PR disaster waiting to happen, but amazingly the story was not, er, leaked until now.

Gay abandon at the 'Standard'

Red faces at the 'Evening Standard', which cheerfully described newly promoted Kevan Jones as the first gay defence minister on Thursday. In fact Jones, the MP for North Durham, has a long-term girlfriend. By the paper's second edition, all mention of Jones's sexuality had been expunged, and, graciously, I hear he has no intention of suing. Jones once shared a flat with gay MP Nick Brown, the off and on Chief Whip, which may have been the source of the confusion.

The computer says No to holidays

Oh dear. As if working at 'The Telegraph' wasn't gruelling enough, now taking a well-earned holiday by unplugging from the hub is proving even harder. A new computerised system for booking annual leave forbids more than one employee from any department to be off at a time. This is generating particular headaches for the sports desk. They have calculated that it will take at least three years before the whole desk can take their allocated annual leave.

Irish eyes are baleful

Television's smoothy-chops Henry Kelly looked momentarily nonplussed on Sky News when presenter Mark Longhurst made a quip about the Irish getting all the money. Perhaps he thought it was a dig – Kelly was declared bankrupt in 2004. Oddly enough, my Sky mole later spotted Kelly staring balefully at a cashpoint screen after the show.

Political factor to family planning

Unsettling news for Cathy Newman, political correspondent at Channel 4 News, as she vacates our screens for maternity leave. Keeping her seat warm will be social affairs reporter Victoria Macdonald. A New Zealander, Victoria is no greenhorn, having previously worked on 'The Sunday Telegraph'. Her debut at Westminster comes at a bountiful time for political hacks. Let's hope she gives the seat back.

Parky's tales from the Golden Age

Michael Parkinson recalls his days as a cub reporter on the 'Manchester Guardian', when sheepdog trials were taken seriously: "My friend Dick West had the idea of brightening up his report by writing it from the point of view of a sheep. He was accused of trivialising sheepdog trials and given the sack. He took no notice, as he knew no one got the sack from the 'Manchester Guardian'. Two years later, he was still there."

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