Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

Strangers' Britain

The racist bin liner is blacked

Black dustbin liners have been banned at Bernie Grant's Left-wing Haringey Coun- cil because they are "racially offensive". A storm erupted when staff in the parks department put in their usual order for

1,000 plastic bags. A storeman at the North London council's central depot refused to supply them. He said: "I'm sorry, the order is unacceptable. "The order contains the word 'black' which is racially offensive." Councillors said there was no written ban on the use of black sacks - but said the council had a strong anti-racist policy. The council has now changed over to grey sacks to avoid offending West Indian workers in the cleaning department. The row follows the sacking of a Haringey Council woman employee for using a banana-shaped pen which upset an Asian colleague.

B-test our boozy MPs says vicar

A vicar, fed up with the noisy, rowdy behaviour of MPs in the Commons wants them breath-tested to show up those who drink too much at bars in the House.

The Rev Basil Marshall says: "If driving a car under the influence of alcohol is a serious offence, what about drunken driving of the nation's affairs?"

Mr Marshall is dismayed at the "unbridled laughter, jeering and barracking" he hears during radio broadcasts from the Commons.

A "significant number" of MPs seem to be under the influence of drink, he says. Mr Marshall, writing in his parish magazine, adds: "It would be interesting to have details of alcohol consumption in the bars and restaurants of Parliament."

Breath-tests would have a sobering effect on unruly MPs, says Mr Marshall, vicar of St Giles and St Nicholas at Farnborough, Kent. He thinks they would behave better if their boozy ways were revealed. Tory MP Roger Sims said: "We don't drink all that much. We all know when we have had enough."

An ugly scene at wedding

A wedding guest said loudly that the bridegroom's family were an ugly lot - and started a riot.

Fists and feet flew as the happy couple prepared to cut the cake. Windows were smashed and furniture was wrecked while the 200 guests punched, scratched and even bit each other.

It took 60 policemen to restore peace. One guest, who escaped from the brawl by climbing out of a window, said: "I decided it was time to leave when somebody landed on my dinner plate. "The fight resulted from a family feud. Even before the wedding there was no love lost between the two sides." Despite the punch ups, nobody was badly hurt at the reception in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

The newly-weds, Richard and Patricia Remsing, eventually managed to cut the cake.

Mortar bored of the year

Big yawn Frank Oliver was voted the most boring lecturer of the year by students at Exeter University. He beat four other tutors for the title with his riveting lecture on the Correlation Coefficient.

His prize: Three blank cassette tapes - "so he can listen to something interesting. י

Smoker grabs controls to land

A businessman was so desperate for a cigarette on a "No smoking" flight, he tried to land the airliner himself so he could light up.

He grabbed the controls from the horrified pilot and the 60-seater aircraft plunged 2,000 feet. The co-pilot managed to regain control and the man was overpowered. Cigarette addict John Johnson, 33, felt the need for a puff soon after the commuter flight to New York took off from Atlantic City. A steward told him that the Allegheny Airlines plane was a non-smoker and after a furious row Johnson put the cigarette out.

Then he went crazy and shouted at the steward: "I've just got to have a smoke." Johnson leapt to his feet, dashed to the flight deck, tore the headphones from the pilot's head and demanded to be allowed to smoke.

999 men skid and run into patient

A pensioner lying injured on the road watched in horror as an ambulance racing to help him skidded and then kept coming.. and coming. It ran straight into Jack Griffiths, 71, who had been heavily wrapped in blankets. He was pushed along over the ice-covered road like a sledge. Finally, the ambulance smashed into an Austin Maxi, jamming Jack under the bumper. The car was pushed back into another one.

Jack lay trapped in the pile-up until the ambulance crew pulled him out.

His only injury was the broken hip which had laid him low in the first place. Jack's trouble began when he stepped out of his house in Fishguard, West Wales, to take coal to a neighbour. He slipped on the ice and fell heavily. Neighbours, who suspected he had broken his hip, wrapped him in blankets and rugs and carried him to the side of the road. One of Jack's relatives said after he was taken to hospital: "It's a miracle he's still alive. "I closed my eyes at the last second as the ambulance skidded towards him and I thought he was a goner. "But he was wrapped in so many rugs and eiderdowns that he was cocooned.

"It wasn't the ambulance driver's fault. The wheels locked and he couldn't stop."

Panto beauty's nude shocker

Panto star Deanna Donaldson is making another celebrity appearance this week in a girlie magazine. Deanna, 38-24-36, bares all in explicit nude poses for a 15-picture spread in Fiesta.

Result: Villagers at Thetford, Norfolk, are flocking to see her on stage as Prince Charming in the local drama club's production of Cinderella.

It is the second time that Deanna, 22, has appeared nude in the magazine. Both occasions resulted in a stampede for copies in the local shops.

She said: "I'm delighted with the pictures and I hope to be able to take up modeling professionally."

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