Little at Large: After cakes, Colombia and costumes, charity sees red

Alvaro Uribe, the president of Colombia, has apologised after it was revealed that one of the rescuers of hostage Ingrid Betancourt was wearing the Red Cross symbol.

Misuse of the symbol is a serious matter for the charity: in the UK, it has forced supermarket Asda to remove the cross from a cake and demanded that actor Ken Morley (aka Reg Holdsworth from Coronation Street) take scissors to the nurse's uniform he was wearing in a pantomime in Mansfield.

But in the US, the relief organisation has only just averted a threat to its own use of the symbol. In 2004, the American Red Cross licensed companies to use the cross on products for a fundraising drive. This enraged pharmaceuticals giant Johnson & Johnson, which, owing to an agreement of 1895, had the right to use the cross as a trademark. The firm sued, and it wasn't until last month that a judge threw out most of the firm's claims and the two organisations reached an out-of-court settlement.

Former deputy Mayor of London Ray Lewis is seething about the circumstances of his fall. But he's not lacking in self-confidence. In his blog at the Eastside Young Leaders' Academy, he attacks "the pimps of poverty" that "get up and get off by keeping us down". He then predicts his own return: "On Friday 4 July, my dream for London was almost destroyed. I said almost. Keep watching!"

Sometimes you just can't win. Welsh homelessness charity Llamau ditched a mass balloon release because of concerns from environment charities that it could harm wildlife. But Plan B, a pigeon race, hasn't fared any better. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals says it's cruel and suggests a game of cricket instead. But hang on - are those bats sourced from sustainable forests?

Mathew Little, a freelance writer mathew.little@haymarket.com

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