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Feathers fly over our airborne assassins.

please keep in the jonny vaughan letter at the end of the letters ta

AFRICA is home to the impala, gazelle, wildebeest and other beautiful creatures.

Sadly, it is also home to the cheetah and the lion.

These killing machines slaughter thousands of beautiful, defenceless animals and, quite frankly, enough is enough.

Who would want to watch antelope torn to pieces? It is time we put an end to this madness. We must kill the lions, cheetahs, hyena and other predator species immediately to protect these vulnerable animals.

In the Arctic prowls an even more savage beast. The polar bear targets lovely seals with their nice big eyes. Even baby ones! Can you believe it? A bullet is too kind for these murderers. We should gas them all now.

The seas around our coasts teem with sharks, which attack the gentle haddock and other well-loved British fish. Put them all to the sword!

Nearer to home the skies are filled with airborne assassins, no bird table is safe from the attentions of devil birds, which attack without warning.

Who can rid us of this scourge?

Your correspondents have already identified the UK operatives of this worldwide terror network. The shadowy sparrowhawk, the evil woodpecker, the duplicitous cuckoo. Stalin, Hitler and Bin Laden by any other name. All have blood on their beaks. All must die. Only then will we have a land fit for songbirds.

Robert Handyside,

Watching the birdie a little flight of fancy

I ENJOY a life in the country ( especially having time to stand and stare. The number of thrushes and blackbirds this year exceeds the counts for the last five! This may or may not be related to the absence of magpies.

As for the beleaguered sparrowhawk, I watched one for over an hour yesterday ( it made several flights across the gardens and neighbouring field but never made contact with anything more tasty than a fence post. However, it finally flew off when the harassment from several swallows made life unbearable!

S Bowmer,

Can anyone lend me a sparrowhawk?

MAY I use your letters page to inquire where I can get my hands on a sparrowhawk.

I have far too many small birds in my garden and they are eating all the nuts that I put out for the red squirrels. Not only do they decimate the nuts, but they also tear them apart in front of me and I find it very distressing. Maybe Mr Melrose of Corbridge could lend me his sparrowhawk.

Jake Pointer,

`Sexist' Mr Bloom is so out of touch

I SEE that women's rights have re-entered the headlines, after UKIP Euro-MP Godfrey Bloom stated that they should stay at home to "clean behind the fridge" and that employers would be mad to hire women because of the costs of maternity leave.

Despite his later unconvincing attempts at retraction, it's not surprising to hear such reactionary and sexist drivel from the UKIP, who have exposed themselves as the real Monster Raving Loonies of the UK.

Of course there are costs on employers due to maternity leave, but most are covered by the Government, and those which aren't simply have to be carried by the company concerned. That's why the regulations on this subject exist, to make a level playing field for all employers. Simple mathematics shows that there are not enough male-only employees to go around!

While there may be no harm in looking at some increased support for businesses under a certain size, it's in everyone's interest, including businesspeople's, that women have the chance to give their children a good start in life, by spending a decent amount of time with them.

Would Mr Bloom like us to return to Victorian times, where a couple of days' maternity leave was considered generous? Or would he like all women to be forced to stay at home ( if so, how many women's contributions in the sciences, arts and business would society have missed out on? Do all men and women not have the right to choose their own path to contribute to society?

Coun Stephen Psallidas,

Liberal Democrats,

Assembly would give us a greater say on region

THE publishing of the draft bill for Regional Assemblies, has surely shown just how valuable an elected assembly would be for the North-East.

It shows that the Assembly is certainly not just a `talking shop', it would give the region a stronger voice as it would provide real powers to allow us to make our own decisions and tackle our own problems.

Lisa Campbell,

Fenham, Newcastle.

North-East will be a guinea pig for other regions

REGIONALISATION of the UK, we are assured, has nothing to do with a desire by Brussels to weaken national governments by directing power from them to their component regions.

Yet Richard Simpson (Letters, July 27) urges a "Yes" vote in the referendum on the grounds that an elected assembly will be able to develop policy in a list of areas.

Setting aside precisely what is meant by `develop', he quotes: skills and training; transport; small businesses; economic development; culture; tourism and sport; public health; crime control; the environment; and rural issues. But policy in all these areas is an EU competence, reflected in Brussels regulations and directives that have to be incorporated into our own laws by an elected national parliament which has the ultimate responsibility of enforcing them and can be fined for failing to do so.

Since the NE guinea pig is clearly meant as a pilot for the other seven EU regions in England, presumably all 12 UK regions are intended ultimately to enjoy these new powers, if indeed they are not entirely bogus. How is this to come about without weakening national government?

MRS DA ROLLS,

Langholm, Dumfriesshire.

Funding for St Chad's community project

I WRITE regarding your article `Charity Lifeline Cut', July 26, which suggested St Chad's Community project in Gateshead is facing closure due to European funding coming to an end.

Gateshead Council has worked closely with St Chad's to secure almost pounds 700,000 in European funding to sustain this project. This funding is in place until at least the end of 2005. The project therefore does not, as implied, face imminent closure as a result of any funding related issues.

Gateshead Council will continue to assist the organisation in securing further funding, with a new programme of European funding running from 2007 to 2013. Funding available is likely to be less than at present but opportunities will remain for projects of this type.

In the current European programme, Gateshead Council has helped secure over pounds 2m in funding to help community projects in the borough. Our team of funding officers will continue to do so, providing much needed resources for St Chad's and similar schemes.

COUN MICK HENRY,

Leader of Gateshead Council.

Fluoride in water not the answer to tooth decay

FOR 38 years I was school dentist and community dentist in the Wallsend area.

During that time I removed many hundreds of decayed teeth that were beyond repair.

They could now be saved with fluoride toothpaste and dental care by parents. Parents are responsible for the health of their children.

Fluoride added to our water supply is a poison and is not an acceptable dental treatment. We need water as pure as can be arranged to arrive at our homes.

So dental health education should be pressed on all parents and continued as children grow.

No lollipops!

JF HORSEMAN, Tynemouth.

We're sick and tired of yobbish youth of today

AS a reader of The Journal every day I disagree with its opinion on the searching of children at school.

It takes only one pupil to enter the school with a weapon to kill another pupil, or even a teacher.

Have every pupil searched?

The youth of today are a disgrace with the introduction of ASBO and God knows what. This government is having to bring in every new law to combat them.

The people of this country are sick and tired of them.

WILLIAM WHITE, Washington.

Every dog has his day with special canine event

I AM writing to let you know about an event I am supporting on September 21 ( The Blue Cross animal welfare charity's annual Take Your Dog To Work Day.

On Take Your Dog To Work Day The Blue Cross invites dog owners everywhere to take their dog to work.

As well as promoting responsible pet ownership the event also raises much-needed funds for the charity, allowing it to continue its work caring for unwanted and sick pets.

Registration is free, owners are simply asked to work with colleagues to raise funds for The Blue Cross.

Contact The Blue Cross on (01993) 825502 or register online by visiting The Blue Cross's website at www.takeyourdogtoworkday. co.uk

Johnny Vaughan, TV & radio presenter.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jul 31, 2004
Words:1474
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