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mailbox; HARRODS DON'T NEED A ROYAL CREST, PHIL.

PRINCE PHILIP'S silly decision to stop Harrods using his warrant will not bother Mohammed Al Fayed.

He has just scored a great victory in the Neil Hamilton libel case.

His team, Fulham, have dumped Wimbledon out of the FA Cup.

Harrods are enjoying a January sales boom. So who needs the royal crests?

Like it or not, Harrods is a major tourist attraction. The Royals can't change that. - Les Holt, Manchester

Lone voice

I HAVE a widow's pension which my late husband contributed to when teachers were poorly paid. Every time I get my statement, I am warned that if I remarry or live with a partner it will stop. I haven't done either but why should someone in my position be doomed to loneliness? - Ann Mann, Ayr.

Special goal

SCOTTISH football deserves a brand new state-of-the-art stadium in Strathclyde Park.

Hampden will always hold great memories but it's time to leave nostalgia behind.

The existing Hampden could be turned into a multi-complex athletics stadium and Scotland could vie for big European athletic events.

With Scotland's weather, both stadia should be under cover. Scotland would then qualify to hold events such as European and world soccer finals. - Bill Clark, Airdrie.

Cheesed off

I WAS shocked to read that cheese mites are put on some French cheeses to add flavour. And they ban our excellent beef. It is disgusting they are allowed to get away with it. - J. Fleming, Edinburgh

Better health

POVERTY isn't to blame for the poor health of Scots, it's our addiction to drink, cigarettes and drugs. In the hungry Thirties there was real poverty but the health of the nation was better because people had a healthier lifestyle. - J. Cumming, Glasgow.

Help for miners

ANDREW WILSON seriously misled people about Government measures to compensate injured miners.

I am determined that miners with lung disease will get fair compensation quickly.

We have provided money and resources to settle all claims over the next two to three years. We have had more than 90,000 so far, 7000 in Scotland. Almost all Scots claimants have had tests or been offered one. Over pounds 3million of compensation has already been paid in Scotland.

Allegations that the Government is "robbing" the miners' pension fund is simply untrue. Under a 1994 agreement, the Government guarantees miners' pensions. This means trustees can pursue a robust investment strategy, and pensions have risen by a fifth as a result. The Government has also underwritten deficits of pounds 400million.

In return for this guarantee, the Government receives half of any surpluses. I understand that the trustees continue to believe this is in the best interest of their members.

The people we are pledged to help are mostly old and very ill. They do not deserve to be worried by ill-informed comment.

Any miner or his family can get more information on our free helpline: 0800 028 2138. - Helen Liddell, MP, Minister of State for Energy and Competitiveness in Europe.

Mobile misery

I AGREE with last week's letter about mobile phones. In the past, we managed to contact people without these daily annoyances. Thousands of people are pulling their hair out because others are constantly abusing them. - Alex Whyte, Glasgow

Dance date

ANYONE with an interest in traditional Scottish dance is invited to an open meeting of the Scottish Traditions of Dance Trust and the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society on January 26 at 6.30pm in the Carlton Highland Hotel, Edinburgh. We will look at whether there is a need for a National Centre for Traditional Scottish Dance. The aim is to set up a working party. - Liam Paterson.

Real show of romance

POSH SPICE and David Beckham seemed to be very much in love in her Victoria's Secrets TV show. They are just a young couple who have to cope with pressures like most other people. I hope they concentrate on giving baby Brooklyn a contented life.

The publicity about whether or not David wears Victoria's underwear does not seem to have bothered them. So I hope they just get on with being a happy couple. - I. Dawson, Glasgow.

VICTORIA BECKHAM'S so-called TV show, Victoria's Secrets, was a disgrace. Watching the bubble- head fawn to her celeb pals made me feel embarrassed.

Her much-publicised spending on spectacularly tacky gifts is yet another public display of how crass she can be.

Still, I suppose there is hope for us all when someone as empty-headed as this woman can make millions. - J. Thompson, Edinburgh.

JUST ASK... WE'LL ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS

ONE of my friends claims Matthew Perry, who plays Chandler in Friends, is comedy writer. Is this true? - Jane McGregor, Arbroath.

MATTHEW is the only member of the Friends cast who sits in on script meetings and contributes to the writing of the show.

WAS the actor who played Tonto in The Lone Ranger a real Red Indian? - Jack Wilde, Broughton Street, Edinburgh. nTHE actor, Jay Silverheels, who played Tonto was a Mohawk Indian, but he used a stage name to make himself sound more authentic. His real name was Harold Smith.

WHERE did the phrase "It's not over till the fat lady sings" come from? - R. Talbot, Motherwell.

IT was first used by Dan Cook, a reviewer in The Washington Post, on June 3, 1978. What he actually wrote was: "The opera ain't over till the fat lady sings."

DO fish sleep? - Thomas Black, Jedburgh.

YES, they need their sleep too. The parrotfish creates its own sleeping- bag by secreting slime for half an hour before it finally settles down to doze off.

IN response to the recent Just Ask query: "Who invented Pepsi Cola and where does the name come from?":

IT was invented in 1898 by Caleb D. Bradham. `Cola' comes from cola nuts used in it, and `Pepsi' because it was meant to combat dyspepsia. - J. Graham, Clackmannanshire.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jan 16, 2000
Words:975
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