News Round Up

by Patrick O'Connor


AS we approach Christmas and all the celebrations associated with it, how about this for a example of real party-poopers!

The Sun reports that scientists want to ban helium-filled party balloons to prevent a shortage of the life-saving gas, fearing that all sources will be gone in 40 years.

Cambridge University’s Dr Peter Wothers is to call for the balloon ban at this month’s Royal Institution Christmas Lectures in London. He said: “In 50 years our children will be saying ‘I can’t believe they wasted such a precious material.'”

According to supermarket giants Sainsbury's, carrots are Britain's favourites Christmas dinner ingredient.

A story in the Daily Express says that carrots are even more popular than turkey, roast potatoes or parsnips.

Sainsbury's Pleasure On A Plate Christmas Index ranked potatoes second and turkey third.

Shock! Horror! Raymond Briggs, the author of children's favourite The Snowman, says he doesn't like Christmas.

In an interview with the Radio Times, the 78 year old Briggs said he found the film version of his book “a bit corny and twee.”

“I'm not a fan of Christmas, although I support the principle of a day of feasting and presents, but the anxiety starts in October: how many are coming? Are they bringing grandchildren? How long will they stay?” he said. The TV version on The Snowman has been screened every year since 1982.

No doubt plenty of us will be watching – and not just The Snowman.

The Daily Mail reports that Brits are a nation of television addicts who spend more than a four hours day glued to the screen, the third highest figure in the world behind the United States and Italy.

James Thickett, Ofcom’s Director of Research, said: “We have always been a nation of TV lovers, and our research shows that UK consumers are world leaders in using the latest TV technology.

“By catching up on programmes online or using smart TVs, the UK public is finding new ways to enhance their viewing experience.”

Sightseers in London had to do a double-take if they strolled along the Thames this week, says the Daily Mirror.

They came upon a 50ft rubber duck which sailed up the river and under Tower Bridge. The duck, weighing half a ton, was launched from one of East London’s old docks and floated past Canary Wharf’s skyscrapers and beneath the bridge before halting at HMS Belfast.

The stunt was to publicise’s new £250,000 Facebook FUNdation grants pot.

Actress Barbara Windsor, the fund’s patron, said: “We thought a giant rubber duck floating down the River Thames was a great way to kick the FUNdation off. It definitely raised a smile and a chuckle from everyone who saw it.”