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Last Updated: Friday, 26 September, 2003, 17:02 GMT 18:02 UK
10 things we didn't know this time last week
10 Petals - by Krishna K Bhuwalka

It's easy to lose track of the news. So at the end of the week, it's good to keep an eye on some of those things which shouldn't go unnoticed.

If you spot something you think should be included next week, send it to us using the form at the bottom of the page.


1. The echidna (pronounced e-KID-na), the spiny creature that Prince Harry was pictured grappling with in Australia this week, is one of the few egg-laying mammals. It is also known as a spiny anteater.

2. In the 1960s, eight British fishermen were lost at sea every week as over-fishing pushed them further away from the shore in boats which were not up to the job, according to BBC Two's Nation on Film.

A strange tale
3. Goldfish, which the Lib Dems voted this week to ban as funfair prizes if they get into power, are naturally greenish-brown or grey. But when exposed to high-levels of light, as in a fishbowl, they turn a pleasing gold colour.

4. With Abbey National's funky corporate makeover also comes a pledge to abolish banking jargon. "Unpaid" cheques will in future be termed "bounced" and overdrawn customers will be spared wordy tickings off. Instead they will simply be told: "You didn't have enough money in your account."

5. Woolton Pie, a vegetarian dish made of carrots and potatoes, was named after Britain's wartime food minister, Lord Woolton. The minister credited the concoction with improving nutrition standards, it was revealed in documents released by the National Archive.

6. Granita (pronounced gran-EE-ta), the Islington restaurant where Tony Blair allegedly convinced Gordon Brown not to challenge him for the Labour leadership in 1994, has closed. The news comes on the eve of Channel 4's ambitious drama, The Deal, about the supposed pact.

If you're in the UK, you can now see 10 Things at the weekend on Ceefax, page 129
7. Portsmouth looks exactly like Venice... when viewed through the veil of JMW Turner's impressionistic haze. London's Tate gallery re-named two of the master's painting this week, which it had erroneously believed were of the north Italian city.

8. It took a humble dry cleaner to rid Britain of ID cards after World War II. Fifty-four-year-old Clarence Willcock refused to produce the document for police when asked to in 1950. The case went to court and it was ruled ID cards, which current Home Secretary David Blunkett is planning to bring back, were unnecessary

9. The tabsheet is born. Or possibly the Broadloid. Either way, from next week the Independent becomes the first newspaper in the world to be published simultaneously as a broadsheet and a tabloid. (The rumour is that the paper has taken its lead from the twin versions of 10 Things published in both BBC News Online Magazine and also on Ceefax page 129.)

10. Our regular stereotype corner. Italians are not great lovers. Neither men nor women achieve great satisfaction from sex, according to a survey by doctors. Dr Raffaella Michielli blamed the poor performance on "rhythms of work and crises of roles".

If you see something you think should be included next week, let us know using the form below. Thanks to Alan Simpson, Belfast, NI, for number seven.

Your e-mail address

Disclaimer: The BBC may edit your comments and cannot guarantee that all e-mails will be published.


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