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Wayward web information.

It may be a new year, but here in the Feedback cell it's farewell to the turkey and welcome back to the same old humble pie.

Last night we carried a report based on the YouTube website showing a street fight involving Asian and white youths.

The website claimed it was filmed on a Newcastle street, but as most things on the web, it wasn't all it appeared to be.

The scenes were actually filmed in Sunderland in February, and were not racially motivated.

We're happy to set the record straight and apologise for the error.

Now, our Vent Your Spleen column allows you to snarl away at the things that really get up your nose.

Pitman's son AS of Cramlington used it to let you know what he thought of some miners from yesteryear.

Basically, he seemed to believe some of them were lazy good for nothings ( something which didn't go down well with many of you, which is hardly surprising given the region's proud coalmining heritage.

One caller, Sonia, a Geordie now exiled in Wales, said: "This guy, did he stand at the pit head waiting for his father? Probably not. What he said is totally, totally out of order. I can't understand why anyone from the North East would write something like that."

Her sentiments were echoed by many others who also Vented their Spleen at AS's comments.

Well, as I've said many times before, our letters pages, Vent Your Spleens, texts and website, are all forums in which we give you the opportunity to have your say. We encourage all opinions, even when we disagree with them!

It has been a case of brickbats and bouquets for our campaign to bring some much-needed Christmas cheer for the victims of the Farepak scandal.

Generous readers and even business bosses, rallied to the cause and helped realise pounds 15,000, which we dished out in the form of gift vouchers.

Because of the sheer numbers involved, we asked agents only to register with us by noon on December 10 and those who did were put on the list and invited to the Chronicle offices to collect their gifts.

Judging by the amount of thank you letters and e-mails we've received, it was much to their delight.

However, we have also incurred the wrath of some who missed out.

Some people tried to register with us after the deadline, while others contacted us to ask why they had not received vouchers from their agents, when in fact they had not registered with us.

Obviously some people will be disappointed, but the sheer scale of those affected meant it was impossible for our campaign to cater for everyone. Nothing can replace what was lost, but the Chronicle and our readers and supporters should be congratulated for bringing at least some cheer to the victims.

Michael Hudson has been in touch concerning an article we carried about the number of illegal immigrants being caught coming into the region.

He wrote: "Although your coverage of immigration issues is usually fairly well balanced, the tone of the article, and in particular the repeated use of terms such as 'soaring numbers', 'an influx of ... migrants,' and a 'huge explosion in the number of immigrants smuggled into the North East' in no way matched up to the figures."

He went on to say our figures showed 44 illegal immigrants were detected at entry points in 2003 to 2004, rising to 104 the following year. This then fell to 73 last year.

Mr Hudson wrote: "This hardly justifies your statement: 'Our figures show a huge explosion in the number of immigrants smuggled into the North East over the past few years'."

Well yes and no, Mr H.

We made no efforts to disguise the fact the numbers had dropped in the past year, printing the correct figures to state that.

Indeed, although they dropped last year, they were still well up on the same period two years ago.
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jan 5, 2007
Words:662
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