Monday, March 19, 2007

weekend news digest

Home sales gridlocked - The property supply is at a 10-year low, fuelling higher prices. Between 80 and 100 buyers are pursuing every property for sale. The average house price is now rising by £122 a day - Daily Telegraph. Ooh, sorry, hard for me not to be obnoxiously smug here . . .

Rocky Mountain High by John Denver, once nearly banned by the US for its alleged glorification of drug use, has become the Colorado state anthem - The Guardian

Sculpture that cost £132,000 crushed to dust - “A sculpture by Anish Kapoor, entrusted to a specialist fine art storage firm, was probably mistaken for builders’ rubble, dumped in a skip and destroyed by a waste crusher, a high court judge concluded yesterday” – The Guardian. The picture shows Anish Kapoor in happier times with his amazing installation Marsyas in Tate Modern’s turbine hall.

Police raid on theatre saves a lobster from certain death. “Avant-garde theatre is under attack in Italy for pushing the boat out too far after police raided a Milan playhouse to save a lobster from being bludgeoned to death and eaten on stage.
Following complaints from animal rights groups, the first-night performance of Incident: Kill to Eat by Argentinian playwright Rodrigo Garcia was broken up by three plainclothes officers who spared the lobster from an all-too-real death scene.” - The Guardian. Apparently, theatre is now more popular in Italy, with 13 million theatre tickets being sold last year, against 9 million football tickets.

£25 fridge gadget that could slash greenhouse emissions - The Guardian. This brilliant device (the e-cube) converts fridge thermostats to measure food temperature rather than air temperature, and thus saves huge amounts of energy. Fridges account for around 20% of domestic energy use, and fitting one of these to every fridge in Britain would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 2 million tonnes a year, as well as saving on energy bills. A totally common-sense idea - hooray!

Exodus – villages empty as 3m flee in search of hope abroad. Zimbabwe today – average life expectancy – 37 (as opposed to 60 in 1990); infant mortality rate up to 81 per 1,000; national income per person is $340 against South Africa’s $4,960; 5.5m Zimbabweans live with HIV; 1.1m Aids orphans; 6 out of every 100 have a phone (47 in South Africa); 56% of the population live on less than $1 a day - The Guardian. This is all mainly thanks to the ineptitude and corruption of Robert Mugabe and his cohorts in Zanu-PF. I was born in Zimbabwe, and it is tragic to see how that wonderful country has failed.

End of the line for HP sauce - ‘The last bottle of HP sauce to be made in Britain rolled off the production line yesterday. The final batch of the iconic brown condiment was made at the company’s factory in Aston, Birmingham, at 6am.
Heinz, the parent company, is moving production to the Netherlands with the loss of 120 jobs. A spokesman for the Transport and General Workers’ Union said last night: “The plant has been a landmark for 108 years – you could smell it from miles away.”’ – The Telegraph

Britpop goes rocking back into the US: Amy Winehouse and the Fratellis spearhead British music’s new transatlantic chart assault - “A new wave of British bands is taking the Unirted States by storm – and being credited with ‘saving pop music’ in America. ‘British empire strikes back’ yelled the the USA Today newspaper, adding ‘The British are humming’ as it feted at least half a dozen UK artists poised to make it big across the Atlantic.” – The Sunday Times

Right – let’s talk rhubarb protection - “Food from Britain, the government-backed marketing organization, has launched an appeal to producers of local ‘signature foods’ to apply for European Union protection.” To date, 35 British foods have been awarded this status, against 161 French foods and 155 Italian foods. Surprise, surprise, listing means enhanced access to Euro-funding.
“Among the British foods now bidding for protected status is Yorkshire rhubarb, which is grown in an area around Leeds, Bradford and Wakefield known as the ‘rhubarb triangle’.
The application for EU recognition states the rhubarb is grown indoors, benefits from the cold, heavy Yorkshire soil and has a ‘superior’ flavour to its rivals.” - The Sunday Times

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