inside the system
Coppers in pound fiasco
THE METROPOLITAN Police have wasted millions of pounds paying for thousands of vehicles left in privatised car pounds.
The company involved is Bells of Richmond. It has just gone bankrupt. The firm won a �225,000 a year contract to remove illegally parked vehicles on red routes, accident vehicles, and cars stolen or involved in bank robberies. Bells also collected the police charges for releasing the vehicles.
A confidential report shows that in two years the company collected more than �4 million, and that some �445,000 in charges cannot be traced. Cars that should have been scrapped were held at the pound, racking up charges.
- Police in Hackney, east London, have been making a special effort to brush up their image.
They want to "speak with black people about their experiences with the police". Anyone brave enough to attend a session at the infamous Stoke Newington police station (where Sarah Thomas died) received �15.
Will the next step be to present �15 to every black person who gets stopped and searched-or would that break the budget?
A VERY unpleasant wine could be heading for a supermarket near you-Chateau Pinochet. General Augusto Pinochet's son has patented his father's name for a range of Chilean wines.
In Chile itself you can already have a glass of "Don Augusto" or "Captain General".
The first export target for the wine is the United States, and then it will be marketed in Europe. We bet Margaret Thatcher, Norman Lamont, etc, can't wait. Surely a case for a spot of direct action if it arrives in an off-licence near you.
FREAKED out by the growth of anti-capitalist protests, the Pentagon is developing an arsenal of...stink bombs.
Reverting to schoolboy tactics, the US government has scientists trying to come up with odours that will work across different cultures.
The US plans to get the army and police to use "stench warfare" to drive protesters off the streets.
Salt, pepper, division
- THE number of deaths in police pursuits has risen by 178 percent in four years.
In 2000-1 chases led to 25 deaths and 16 serious injuries. Of those who died, 18 were in the vehicle that was being followed and the rest were pedestrians or in other civilian vehicles. No police officers were killed.
A FORMER manager of a McDonald's outlet gave evidence at an employment tribunal last week that he was told too many of his employees were black or Asian. Dharmender Singh, a former McDonald's general manager, said that white and black people were represented by the words "salt" and "pepper".
He said he was told there was "too much pepper" at the restaurant he managed, and given advice on how to "tactfully" reject job applicants who were Sikhs.
Dharmender Singh has been giving evidence in support of Mogees Malik, who claims that racial discrimination forced him to quit his job after 15 years at McDonald's.
A sect gives up
IT IS not just the future of the Conservative Party here in Britain that is in doubt.
The conservative Thatcherites of Russia Party was launched two years ago to "drag Russia from the pit into which decades of Communism drove her". The organisation is now to disband after it found it was "becoming only a sect rather than a wide movement".
One of the founders explained, "The party has become a waste of money and energy."
AN uncompleted Surrey mansion has just changed hands for �70 million. The plush property has 30 bedrooms, 24 bathrooms, five swimming pools, a shooting gallery, squash courts, a gym, a bowling alley, a cinema, and floodlit tennis courts with underfoot heating.
The mansion costs an estimated �1 million a year to run. A personal friend of the Prince of Wales and fellow polo fanatic has bought the property.
- hat's why they need 24 bathrooms
"IMAGES I saw while researching constantly took me back to South Africa. The long queue forced to wait outside the gigantic Immigration and Nationality Department at Croydon brought back childhood memories of the Pass Office in Johannesburg."
- South African born BEVERLEY NAIDOO, author of The Other Side of Truth which deals with the treatment of refugees. Last week the book won the Carnegie children's literature award
"I WAS somewhat surprised to see my name included."
- Labour MP JOHN CRUDDAS, on being listed by the government as among London MP supporting its privatisation plans for London Underground-plans which he opposes
"THE HANDLING of this has not been of the best."
- Labour MP CLIVE SOLEY, former chair of the Parliamentary Labour Party, on the government's list of MPs allegedly backing its tube plans
"THE next 12 months will provide the greatest test the world economy has had since the 1974 oil crisis. The US is about to plunge into recession, necessarily taking the rest of the world with it. The world stands on the abyss."
- Top economic commentator WILL HUTTON
"THE National Audit Office report shows that the Private Finance Initiative found an average saving of 20 percent."
- Treasury minister ANDREW SMITH
"THE REPORT did not exist."
- NATIONAL AUDIT OFFICE
"SMOKING leads to healthcare cost savings due to early mortality."
- Tobacco multinational PHILIP MORRIS in a report for the Czech Republic