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The Independent Online
COLD WAR REVIVAL. Boris Yeltsin seems to be feeling better. A few months ago he was making gurgling sounds, and now he's threatening Nato over ground troops in Kosovo. He's even said to have re-targeted Russia's nuclear missiles on Nato countries. Just when you thought he was past it, he makes you come over all nostalgic - like Abba.

TORIES ON HOLIDAY. A big welcome home to shadow foreign secretary Michael Howard and Tory defence spokesman John Maples, both of whom have just returned from well-earned Easter breaks. Luckily things have been pretty quiet in their absence, with World War Three still in its tiresome preliminary stages. On reflection their timing may seem a trifle odd, but being able to take a holiday whenever you want is one of the few remaining advantages of being a Tory frontbencher these days, and we have managed to muddle along without them somehow.

HEAD PHONES. Research which indicates that using mobile phones makes you clever may fly in the face of overwhelming anecdotal evidence to the contrary, but tests have shown that 30 minutes of use may speed up brain reaction time. If it's true, this country is in danger of being taken over by a super-race of braying hoorays, PRs and drug dealers - unless, that is, it's already happened. The rest of us must smarten up immediately. If you don't have a mobile, don't worry: just grab something radioactive, and hold it against your head.

BANANA WAR. The banana war is all but lost, and the US will soon be able to shove their bananas right down our throats. Last week the World Trade Organisation approved America's punitive tariffs on Scottish cashmere and Italian cheese, which the US instituted to counter what they see as EU protectionism over Caribbean bananas. American beef may become the EU's weapon of last resort. All war is futile, but this war in particular must seem a senseless waste to people who don't really like bananas.

APE NEWS. According to the British Psychological Society, chimpanzees have distinct personality types and should be afforded basic civil rights, a prospect which may ultimately lead to Mary Chipperfield being tried in The Hague as a war criminal. Civil rights come with civil responsibilities, however, and if chimps wish to jump the queue ahead of the East Timorese, then they should do something for us in return. Perhaps their representatives could broker a settlement in the Banana War, one based on traditional chimp philosophy, which holds that one can never have too many bananas.

MILLENNIUM BUGGY. As if it weren't enough that the Millennium Bug will bring civilisation to a standstill on 1 January, just as we're all merrily turning over cars in Trafalgar Square, it now seems likely that the streets will also be littered with newborn babies. Despite predictions of a 20 per cent increase in maternity ward traffic over New Year, folks have been at it all weekend in hopes of conceiving a Millennium Baby and getting some free nappies. They'll soon discover that when you're sitting in an underground shelter while planes drop out of the sky and looters fight over canned goods and torch batteries, a Millennium Baby is just another mouth to feed.

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