Handy Woman

A blonde, wanting to earn some extra money, decided to hire herself out as a “handy-woman” and started canvassing a nearby well-to-do neighbourhood.

She went to the front door of the first house, and asked the owner if he had any odd jobs for her to do.

 “Well, I guess I could use somebody to paint my porch,” he said, how much will you charge me?”

The blonde quickly responded, “How about £50?”

The man agreed and told her that the paint and everything she would need was in the garage.

The man’s wife, hearing the conversation, said to her husband, “Does she realize that our porch goes all the way around the house?”

He responded, “That’s a bit cynical, isn’t it?

The wife replied, “You’re right. I guess I’m starting to believe all
those dumb blonde jokes we’ve been getting by e-mail lately.”

A short time later, the blonde came to the door to collect her money.

“You’re finished already?” the husband asked.

“Yes,” the blonde replied, “and I had paint left over, so I gave it two coats.”

Impressed, the man reached into his pocket for the £50.00 and handed it to her.

“And by the way,” the Blonde added, “it’s not a Porch, it’s a Lexus.


Thank God, the St Paul’s protesters have left, restoring one of the great views of Europe

had some sympathy with the protesters when I went along on the first day of the Occupy demonstration before Christmas.

But what began as a principled protest against the undeniable incompetence and greed of the international banking system turned into an egofest of virtue grossly advertised.

A protest that was intended to attack selfishness itself became extremely selfish. The right to block a busy thoroughfare was deemed by the protesters to trump the rights of City workers, tourists, parishioners and St Paul’s clergy. Fine to do it for an hour – or for a day, perhaps, outside cathedral services – but for months on end? Utterly unjustified.

The protesters also destroyed one of the great views of Europe, if not the world. As you turn up Ludgate Hill, you get an agreeably off-kilter, angled view of Wren’s great portico – inspired by Inigo Jones’s old cathedral facade, heavily damaged in the Great Fire of London – and his triple dome above, fronted by two baroque towers.

For the last few months, that view has been badly marred by the tent city that has crept across the facade, snaking around the north front, and at times closing off the cathedral altogether. One of the pleasures of visiting St Paul’

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Britain’s broken tax system

Some points on the Barclays tax “scandal”.

1. Both tax “loopholes” Barclays was intending to exploit are quite widely used by UK banks, so much so that Barclays, advised by both its auditors and lawyers, really didn’t think there would be in any problem with them. It assumed they would be approved.

2. The fact that they weren’t shows that the environment around big corporations and tax has changed. It’s becoming politicised and quite unpredictable.

3. In the past, the Revenue has tended to tolerate tax avoidance by big multinationals as a way of keeping the UK tax competitive with overseas jurisdictions. There are far more global corporations headquartered in the UK than any other European country, bringing abundant, high value employment to the capital, and that’s plainly got something to do with a relatively lenient tax environment.

4. The Coalition managed to stem the flow of corporate exits from the UK by killing off the previous Government’s threat to tax the profits of overseas subsidiaries, though it has not succeeded in reversing it. WPP, the advertising goliath, said it would consider redomiciling back to the UK as a result of the change, but hasn’t yet done so. The crack down on tax avoidance may partially undo Coalition attempts to ensure the UK remains competitive on business taxation.

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Costa Allegra passengers face three day voyage to safety

Costa Cruises, the Italian company that owns the ship, announced that instead of being disembarked at Desroches island in the south-west of the Seychelles, the vessel will be towed all the way to Mahe, the main island, more than 200 miles away.

Trying to disembark the passengers, including 31 Britons, into small boats and then transport them across a reef to the shore of the tiny island was too risky, the company said in a statement.

The island, which has just one luxury £1,000-a-night resort with 24 rooms and 24 beach villas, would have been swamped by the influx of 1,050 passengers and crew.

Prince William and his then girlfriend, Kate Middleton, spent a week on the island in 2007, a holiday that the Prince later reportedly said was “the best” he had ever had.

“Costa Cruises informs that in view of extensive and accurate checks carried out with local maritime experts’ support, in order to ensure the safety of our guests on board, the disembarkation on Desroches island cannot be performed and therefore it has been decided that the ship will be towed to Mahe.

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Occupy London: St Paul’s Cathedral protesters ‘invited back for official meetings’

The anti-capitalist tent encampment, which has been in the shadows of one of the capital’s most recognisable buildings since last October, was dismantled in a largely peaceful night-time operation early yesterday.

Up to 300 riot police and 100 bailiffs arrived just after midnight and took two hours and 17 minutes to dismantle wooden structures and loaded tents, placards and banners into rubbish lorries. Around 23 people were arrested amid minor scuffles.

The Occupy the London Stock Exchange (Occupylsx) protesters are now considering a Cathedral proposal to host official “general assemblies” on the steps outside the central London building.

Under the plans, the anti-capitalist group would host debates and meetings on the Cathedral’s steps once a week on a Saturday afternoon.

The debates, backed by Cathedral officials, would last a couple of hours but would finish by 5pm in time for evening church services.

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UN: drug gangs controlling parts of British cities – Telegraph

Professor Hamid Ghodse, president of the UN’s International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), said there was ”a vicious cycle of social exclusion and drugs problems and fractured communities” in cities such as Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester.

The development of ”no-go areas” was being fuelled by threats such as social inequality, migration and celebrities normalising drug abuse, he warned.

Helping marginalised communities with drugs problems ”must be a priority”, he said.

”We are looking at social cohesion, the social disintegration and illegal drugs.

”In many societies around the world, whether developed or developing, there are communities within the societies which develop which become no-go areas.

”Drug traffickers, organised crime, drug users, they take over. They will get the sort of governance of those areas.

”Examples are in Brazil, Mexico, in the United States, in the UK, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, and therefore it is no good to have only law enforcement, which always shows it does not succeed.”

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Syria: Paul Conroy and Edith Bouvier ‘safe’ in Lebanon after being smuggled out of Homs

Mr Conroy, a British photographer working for the Sunday Times, travelled out of Syria overnight and was in Lebanon on Tuesday morning. But 13 Syrian opposition activists who were involved in the operation to extract him were killed.

Ms Bouvier, a French correspondent for Le Figaro, was also reportedly freed on Tuesday. President Nicolas Sarkozy later confirmed that she had crossed into Lebanon from Syria.

Mr Sarkozy told reporters that he was “very happy that the (reporter’s) nightmare had come to an end”.

The evacuation party left Baba Amr, the besieged area of the city of Homs where Mr Conroy had been trapped, aiming to cross the border into Lebanon. This involved crossing front lines while avoiding government snipers and artillery barrages. Mr Conroy, who suffered leg injuries in Homs last Wednesday, was being carried on a stretcher. The party was shelled by the Syrian army, killing three people.

The whereabouts of two other journalists – Javier Espinosa and William Daniels – who had been trapped in the city is unknown.

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