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Friday, 25 January, 2002, 18:02 GMT
Amazing tales from Planet Tabloid
Planet Tabloid Logo
News that is out of this world
Welcome to our weekly trip to the outer fringes of the news agenda, this time featuring a major breach of health and safety regulations in the Daily Star, a new threat to the nation's pubs and why death is bad for your health.

Fishy story of the week

The Sun reported on 21 January how Swedish backpacker Andre Ronnlund was attacked by a gigantic non-shark-like fish called a grouper when he was scuba-diving in Australia.

Man with shark teeth
"You should have seen the one that got away"

"I was hit from underneath and suddenly I was inside the mouth of this big fish. I thought I was going to die."

Mr Ronnlund told how the 7ft grouper attacked him while he was under the water.

"I was stuck in its mouth and it was squeezing pretty hard. I felt the blood running down my neck"

Mr Ronnlund then "blacked out" while his head was "spat out". Although under water, he woke up at once and then swam back to seashore. There were no witnesses.

Mr Ronnlund, 24, is OK now.

Unlucky headline clash of the week

The Daily Mail got hot and bothered about the issue of intrusion into people's private lives in the wake of the Rose Addis vs Whittington Hospital argument.

Robbie Williams
Privacy - not for the likes of Robbie
WHAT ABOUT OUR PRIVACY MR BLAIR? bellowed the front page on 24 January.

Unfortunate, then, that the Mail carried the strapline EXCLUSIVE: INTIMATE PICTURES FROM ROBBIE WILLIAMS' FAMILY PHOTO ALBUM - promising a veritable orgy of intrusion into privacy - across the top of the very same page.

The Barmy Bureaucrats of Brusselsİ Latest

Not satisfied with banning PVC underwear, straightening out the bends in bananas and banging the Great British Bangers the Barmy Bureaucratsİ are now hatching a plot to put British pubs and clubs out of business.

One lump or two?
The sneaky plan, according to the Daily Mail, involves a proposed law to make bar staff wear ear-muff-style protectors because of the dangers to hearing posed by long-term exposure to bar noise such as loud music.

In a master class demonstration of the use of the word "could" the paper reports that the proposal "could force clubs to close and put thousands of self-employed, who make their money from performing in pubs, out of work.

The evil plot is the work of Danish Euro MP Helle Thorning-Schmidt, who is the daughter-in-law of chief Euro Fat Cat Neil Kinnock.

It is also revealed that Thorning-Schmidt is serially barmy, having last year introduced the "three-hour tractor rule" designed to protect farm workers from vibration.

Armageddon, UK-style

Contradictory news from the Mail implies millions of us are going to die a horrific death from malaria as a result to warm weather; and the Daily Star, which warns of "Killer Flu" set to decimate the population because of cold weather.

Barman pulling pint
"Oi, barman, I said a gin and tonic!"
Striding over piles of diseased and twitching corpses - left to die untreated by callous NHS workers - and reaching their newsagent, readers would have learned from the Mail that "Britain is now in the malaria zone" with "large swathes of England and Wales officially at risk of malaria".

The Star, meanwhile, said that "Killer" flu was "striking at tens of thousands" - even though nobody had actually died from it as such.

Healthy lifestyle news

Death is bad for you - and that's official according to the Daily Mail.

Death is especially injurious to physical well-being if your heart stops beating, the paper advises. As an example they take the Earl Gowrie, an Tory ex-minister.

Grim reaper
Clue: He's not a dietician oor fitness instructor
Lord Gowrie was going to die because his heart was failing. He had a heart-transplant and continues to live.

Dying is definitely something that you ought to do if you want to maintain a healthy lifestyle, the paper suggests.

When you are dead, the paper reveals, "no amount of money or networks of powerful worldwide contacts can help you".

Top health tip: if you need a heart transplant it is better to go ahead with the operation rather than waiting to die and trying to do something about it once you have been cremated. By then it will be too late.

Health and safety at the Daily Star

This week the Daily Star has been running a series of photographs demonstrating the correct use of dangerous DIY and building equipment such as saws, drills, hammers and screwdrivers.

Laurence Llewelyn Bowen
Keep your clothes on Laurence
If YOU are a building worker or DIY fan do NOT use the featured equipment in the way illustrated by the paper.

When using a saw you should have the proper protective clothing, including gloves, overall and goggles, and should not be entirely naked as is the case in the Daily Star.

It is especially important that you do not use a drill in the way demonstrated by naked building female worker Jade, 22 - at least not without special safety underpants.

Also remember that turning up naked at a building site, except for a jauntily-sported yellow hard hat, is cold and inconvenient as well a complete breach of all known health and safety regulations.

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