Paper round

It's grim up north, especially if you're a dog with an attitude.

Sunderland Today reported that a dangerous dogs amnesty, introduced by Easington District Council in response to the death of five-year-old Ellie Lawrenson, has already resulted in the demise of a labrador, two alsatian crosses and a greyhound - all handed in by owners who claimed their dogs were out of control. But the Kennel Club has branded the scheme "akin to ethnic cleansing" and suggested that the problems lie more with the owners than the dogs. Perhaps a 'people amnesty' for dogs is what we need.

Former charities minister Fiona Mactaggart is in hot water after using a four-letter word in Parliament. The Slough MP was evidently trying to liven up a debate on the titillating Statistics and Registration Service Bill by claiming her local council had resorted to estimating the population in the borough by counting "the amount of shit" in the sewers. Such scatological language did not go down well at The Daily Telegraph, where the retired colonels of Tunbridge Wells still rule. The paper devoted its editorial to the disgraceful incident, accusing Mactaggart of "coarse Anglo-Saxonism".

Baroness Thatcher has never been known as an Oxfam supporter - her brand of conservatism probably sees the aid charity as suspiciously pinko - but the former prime minister may inadvertently make thousands of pounds for the charity. The Scotsman revealed that staff in an Edinburgh Oxfam shop discovered a handwritten note from the iron lady herself in a donated copy of her memoirs.

The note, which will now be put up for auction, said: "I know it's a bit early for your birthday, but I think you should have it now."

Evidently, the recipient was not enamoured of the gift. Staff report that the book is in mint condition.

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