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Any-Other-Business

Barometerrss

21 September 2013

Vitamins and the veil A judge at Blackfriars Crown Court allowed a niqab-wearing defendant to identify herself only to a policewoman, and a Birmingham college reversed a ban on students… Read more

14 September 2013

Trust us The National Trust opened the Big Brother House at Elstree Studios at the weekend. Some other less grand National Trust properties: — 575 Wandsworth Road, Lambeth. 19th-century terraced… Read more

7 September 2013

Shining examples The ‘Walkie Talkie’, a new tower block in Fenchurch Street, was blamed for partially melting the interior of a Jaguar parked in a spot where the sun’s rays… Read more

7 September 2013

Market price Independent schooling versus private tutoring: which is the biggest market? Some 579,700 pupils are educated at independent schools, for an average annual fee of £13,788, making for a… Read more

31 August 2013

Your name here Supporters of Merthyr Town Football Club objected to having their ground renamed the Cigg-e Stadium in a £60,000 sponsorship deal with a manufacturer of electronic cigarettes. Some… Read more

The FA's 99.6pc conviction rate, and other weird facts

We will remember them A German diplomat called on Britain to commemorate but not celebrate the centenary of the Great War. Some of the events planned so far: — Candle… Read more

17 August 2013

Ward ceremony There have been 29 health secretaries since 1948. How many have wards that — though not necessarily named after them — bear their surname? NYE BEVAN Hillingdon, Harlow,… Read more

Barometer: Spain’s own version of Gibraltar

Other people’s rocks Spain threatened to introduce a €40 border-crossing charge and find other ways of making life difficult for people of Gibraltar. A reminder of some Spanish colonial possessions:… Read more

3 August 2013

Art by the seaside The Kent seaside resort of Herne Bay staged the parade of a urinal through the town to celebrate its connection with Marcel Duchamp, who spent a… Read more

20 July 2013

Running scared Three participants were gored at the Pamplona bull run. The event has reputation for danger, but how risky is it? —Since 1910, 15 deaths have been recorded, the… Read more

13 July 2013

Family games Andy Murray said that as a child he lived in the shadow of his elder brother Jamie, who was then thought the better tennis player. Some other sporting… Read more

6 July 2013

A place of greater safety CIA whistleblower Edward Snowden has claimed asylum in 21 countries. How do whistleblowers fare in some of them? China: 5 journalists killed since 1992. One… Read more

29 June 2013

Field reports The Glastonbury Festival is once again being held at Michael Eavis’s dairy farm at Pilton, just outside the Somerset town. The venues of some other famous festivals: —… Read more

22 June 2013

Painting the town The tarting-up of Northern Irish villages on the route between Belfast International airport and Lough Erne, the resort which hosted the G8 summit, has been likened to… Read more

15 June 2013

Souls on ice Three Oxford academics have revealed that they have paid to become cryonically preserved at death in the hope of one day being revived. A selection of the… Read more

8 June 2013

Spy society High on the agenda when Barack Obama and Chinese president Xi Jinping meet in California will be US accusations that China is stealing US intellectual property. Yet the… Read more

1 June 2013

Minority sports The annual cheese-rolling race took place at Cooper’s Hill, Gloucestershire, won by an American who had flown over for the occasion. Some more minority sports: Chessboxing Contestants compete… Read more

25 May 2013

Gnome territory This year only, garden gnomes are allowed at the Chelsea Flower Show. Some other places to see them: Germany. The home of the gnome, where the first batch… Read more

18 May 2013

The first filibuster A bill for an in-out referendum on the EU seems doomed to be killed off by a ‘filibuster’ — a campaign by opponents to keep on talking… Read more

11 May 2013

Four kinds of nonsense Lord Lawson accused Nick Clegg of talking ‘poppycock’ on Europe. What are we really saying when we accuse people of talking nonsense? Poppycock From old Dutch… Read more

4 May 2013

Dots on the map An Edinburgh man is planning to stay 60 days on Rockall, a rocky island in the Atlantic 200 miles off the Western Isles — the longest-ever… Read more

27 April 2013

Dyeing and dying A teacher in Harrow complained to his MP that he had been banned from marking pupils’ work in red ink in case it upset them. Some origins… Read more

Googling the NUT

Googling lessons Delegates at the National Union of Teachers conference complained about Michael Gove’s ‘pub quiz’ curriculum and suggested that children didn’t need to learn facts any more because they… Read more

30 March 2013

Economic migrants David Cameron announced that the government would make it harder for migrants to claim benefits, NHS treatment and social housing. Do migrants make a positive contribution to the… Read more

23 March 2013

Big ask Birmingham Council asked residents, in a survey on wheelie bins, whether they were gay or bisexual. Some more nosey questions asked by councils: — Is your gender identity… Read more