News Round Up

by Patrick O'Connor

I don't know about other countries but in the UK, they really are a nuisance.

A story in the Daily Mail says that energy firms have pestered four out 10 of people with phone calls, texts and emails.

The Citizens Advice Bureau reports that one in four had a family meal interrupted by a call, while one in seven were contacted at work.

Gas and electricity companies weren't the worst however. Personal injury companies contacted 42 per cent of people.

Double-glazing firms contacted 29 per cent, debt relief companies 23 per cent, extended warranty firms 14 per cent and pension unlocking companies 10 per cent according to a survey of 5,682 British adults conducted by the Capibus arm of Ipsos MORI.

Gillian Guy, chief executive of national charity Citizens Advice, said: “We want to see cold calling given the cold shoulder. Cold calling is intrusive and annoying. People are sick of having their time wasted by phone calls that they haven’t asked for and don’t want.”

Ferret terror! The Daily Mirror reports that residents in a block of flats in Chilwell, Nottinghamshire, called the emergency services after they were terrorised by a ferret.

Police, an ambulance and RSPCA staff responded to the distress call. Merrell Smith was attacked by the animal for an hour outside her door and needed treatment for bites to her ankle.

When her neighbour tried to intervene, the ferret lunged at him and despite being eventually caged, the ferret managed to bite the RSPCA officer who collected him.

What about this for instant fame...

When waitress Rebecca Chew served film director Richard Curtis and his family at a restaurant in Polkerris, Cornwall, little did she realise what would result, reports the Mirror.

Unknown to Rebecca, Curtis had been looking for an extra to play the role of a waitress in his time-travelling rom-com About Time which has just been released and decided that the 18 year old fitted the bill perfectly.

Curtis said: “She was so sweet when she was giving pizzas to our kids that we cast her in the film and she came up and acted a crucial part of a waitress in Pret A Manger.”

Rebecca commented: “There were quite a few takes but I don’t think I did anything wrong. It was a massive surprise and very nerve-racking.”

Britain's got its first ever £20 coin.

The Daily Express says the Benedetto Pistrucci designed silver coin will carry the classic design of St George and the Dragon, normally associated with the gold sovereign and recently used to commemorate the birth of Prince George on a silver £5 crown.

It is the first time the Royal Mint has produced a £20 coin, and only 250,000 have been made.

Some surveys do come up with some daft conclusions and I think this is one of them.

A story in the Daily Mail reveals that researchers found that workers who drink coffee are more likely to be hot-headed, argumentative and live on a knife-edge.

But they have gained more pay rises over the last five years and earn on average £34,490 a year – £2,160 more than tea drinkers.

The poll by Zip HydroTap instant water heaters concluded that tea drinkers are less likely to be promotion material, but tend to be fair and laid-back at work.

It sounds like a daft idea to me...

The Daily Mirror reports that insect lover Daniel Emlyn-Jones, from Oxford, has been given a police warning after he released 1,000 crickets in his back garden to recreate the sounds of the Med.

Apparently he bought the bugs online for £40 but was told they can harm native wildlife and has had to use pest control traps to recapture them.

Wildlife officer PC Dean Kingham said: “The man released the insects as he liked the sound they made. While this sounds innocent, the introduction of animals not normally resident in the population can cause, at best, disruption to local wildlife. At worst, it can cause damage by spreading disease or creating artificial populations.”

Daniel said: “It’s lovely listening to them. At night it’s very relaxing.”

A bizarre story in the Gloucestershire Echo about prison guards who provided five star treatment for guinea pig Reggie Kray when he was taken ill.

Reggie, together with his brother Ronnie (the Krays were infamous 1950s/60s gangsters) was a pet at HMP Eastwood Park, at Wotton-under-Edge, and had helped rehabilitate some of its 360 female criminals.

But after he fell ill with an ear infection, he was taken to the vet in a prison escort vehicle at taxpayers' expense and accompanied by a prison officer. Unfortunately he died two hours later.

A prison nurse, who did not want to be named, said: “I think it is such a joke that a guinea pig was taken to the vets by prison service car. It took an officer off duty and we are already short staffed. Then later that day a member of staff logged that there was a death in custody. But unbelievably it was the guinea pig.

“Two vets arrived at 7.45pm to confirm that the guinea pig was dead. In my opinion, this is such a scandalous waste of public funds. These guinea pigs have been living it up for sometime. They are even on the roll check along with inmates meaning they get checked on four times a day for their welfare.”

Ouch! As a member of top British boy band One Direction, Louis Tomlinson is used to having five star treatment – but that wasn't the case when he played in a charity football match at Celtic Park in Glasgow.

The BBC says that Louis was tackled so fiercely by the Aston Villa footballer Gabriel Agbonlahor that he ended up being sick on the touchline.

“It was one of those things,” said Agbonlahor. “I'll apologise to Louis when we meet up. I know he enjoyed playing in the game and it's fantastic that he took time out to be here.”

Tomlinson's participation, along with Westlife singer Nicky Byrne and other celebrities, helped boost the attendance to a capacity 60,000 in Glasgow for a game organised to raise money for the Stiliyan Petrov Cancer Foundation. Petrov retired in May, having been diagnosed with leukaemia in 2012.

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The Express(

Daily Mail (

Daily Mirror (


Gloucestershire Echo (