Outside Edge: News Junkie - Between the lines in last week's media

The Independent gave a main review article to "Saint Sharon". In Basic Instinct, Sharon Stone gained an undying reputation for, well, flashing.

Her canonisation comes through charity, of course - she stood up at the World Economic Forum in Davos, pledged $10,000 to buying mosquito nets, and shamed surrounding plutocrats into boosting that to $1m.

A Scotsman editorial lamented the prospect of public schools losing charitable status under the tougher-than-England public benefit regime proposed north of the border. Parents at Tony Blair's old school, Fettes, could pay an extra £1,000 a year, it says: "Once private schools no longer have to portray themselves as charities, they will have no need to offer the bursaries and scholarships they do now."

Scratch almost every story, and there's a charity in there. In the Sunday Telegraph, the RNIB was quoted on the Met Police decision to put the slogan on its logo into clearer type (the cringe-making bit was the insertion of 'together' into the original 'working for a better London'). Help the Aged was quoted in a piece about gambling grannies, suggesting they wouldn't do it if they got a decent state pension. Oh no?

The RSPCA's special operations unit got star billing for a raid on illegal finch traders. "Unscrupulous bird fanciers," as The Guardian called them, were flogging finches in a pub in Bethnal Green. "Suffering on a grand scale," declared the RSPCA's Barry Fryer.

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