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Aspinall baby to be handed over to a gorilla

Contributed by localrags on Nov 12, 2003 - 04:42 AM


<FONT color=black>TV presenter Donna Air and her zoo-owner boyfriend Damian Aspinall intend to place their baby daughter in the care of a gorilla.

The couple plan to put Freya, who was born in September, in the gorilla enclosure at Howletts Zoo near Canterbury. They will then let her be carried off by the female of the group.

Neither parent has any qualms about letting their daughter be taken off despite five keepers being killed by animals at Howletts and its sister park, Port Lympne, since 1980.

Mr Aspinall told the Evening Standard: "It is a ritual. I'll probably give her to the dominant female who will take her off and introduce her to the others."

The multi-millionaire said his two other daughters, Clary, 11, and Tansy, 14, had also been introduced to the gorillas at the zoo in the same way.

Both he and Miss Air approve of the plan and do not believe their daughter will be in any danger.

He said: "Why would I not trust them? I know them, I grew up with them. They are my friends."

Mr Aspinall took over running Howletts when his father, who encouraged close contact between animals and their keepers, died.

<FONT face=Arial><FONT color=black><FONT size=2>Since 1980 three keepers have been killed by tigers and two crushed to death by elephants at the two zoos, but gorillas are known for their gentle treatment of babies and children.

<FONT face=Arial color=gainsboro size=2>Ananova

Indecent assault on woman

Contributed by localrags on Nov 12, 2003 - 04:29 AM

<FONT color=black><FONT face=Arial><FONT size=2>INDECENT ASSAULT ON WOMAN

<FONT face=Arial><FONT size=2>Police have said a 35-year-old woman has suffered an indecent assault in Folkestone.

The victim was targeted after leaving a bar in Tontine Street, by a teenage man who assaulted her and then ran off laughing.

<FONT face=Arial color=black><FONT size=2>He fled towards the Texas kebab shop but it is not known if he went into the restaurant.

Police describe the man as being white, 16 to 18 years old, with cropped mousey-coloured hair.

Driver ambushed by booze robbers

Contributed by localrags on Nov 12, 2003 - 04:24 AM



A French lorry driver was ambushed in Dover by five men who stole his truck containing brandy worth £275,000.

The driver was stopped by a man in a reflective yellow jacket while four others forced their way into the cab.

He was ordered to take the lorry up the M20 and was then thrown down an embankment close to the M25 at Swanley before the vehicle was driven away.

Tenants meet to tackle anti-social behaviour

Contributed by localrags on Nov 10, 2003 - 01:24 PM


Council tenants and leaseholders from across Shepway will be taking part in a major conference o­n 15 November to look at anti-social behaviour and ways it can be tackled.

The Joining Forces conference at the Ashford International Hotel has been organised by the South East Kent Tenant Participation Forum. It will give tenants from across the region the chance to meet, exchange ideas and share achievements – and problems.

It is the first tenant conference organised in south east Kent since the Prime Minister, Tony Blair and Home Secretary David Blunkett, officially launched the Government's new 'Together Tackling Anti Social Behaviour' Action Plan o­n 14 October.

Speakers include Louise Lay from the Home Office Anti-Social Behaviour Unit, Inspector Mark Harrison from Kent Police’s Partnerships and Crime Reduction Unit and Sergeant Paul Dunn from the Metropolitan Police.

Sian Murphy, Shepway Council’s Principal Environmental Health Officer and Wendy Freshman from the Canterbury Mediation Service will also look at the issue of noisy neighbours and other problems faced by tenants.

Cllr Brian Copping, Shepway Council’s cabinet member for Care and Support, said tenant participation could be a very powerful tool to help bring about change.

“By working closely with their landlord - whether it is a local authority, housing association or housing company - tenants have the chance to make sure they get the services they want.�

“The problems of anti-social behaviour affect everyone – not just our tenants – but I am sure the conference will come up with some great ideas o­n how the problems can be tackled.â€?

£17m coastal protection scheme to start in March

Contributed by localrags on Nov 10, 2003 - 01:14 PM


Van Oord ACZ Ltd has been chosen by Shepway District Council to carry out o­ne of the biggest coast protection schemes ever planned for the district’s shoreline. 

The £17 million Hythe to Folkestone Harbour Coast Protection Scheme is designed to protect against flooding and erosion for the next 50 years.

The company has carried out coast protection work o­n similar schemes in Norfolk, Clacton and the Isle of Sheppey.

The company is due to start work o­n the Hythe to Folkestone Harbour scheme in March next year.

The Defra-funded scheme, which forms part of the Folkestone to Rye Coastal Defence Strategy Study, will use about 200,000 tonnes of rock to build a large headland and two other structures o­n the foreshore below the Folkestone’s Coastal Park.

A further rock groyne is proposed at Marine Parade, Hythe and 800,000 tonnes of shingle will be used to ‘top-up’ the existing beaches.

Improvements are also proposed to the existing concrete seawalls at Sandgate and Hythe together with 380 metres of new seawall at Riviera Beach, Folkestone.

Further information o­n the Folkestone to Rye Coastal Defence Strategy Study and the Hythe to Folkestone Harbour Coast Protection Scheme is available from

Toxic chemical ships on collision course

Contributed by localrags on Nov 10, 2003 - 01:07 PM

<SPAN lang=EN-US ><P class=MsoNormal >

Environmentalists are studying the progress of the two contaminated former US Navy ships at the centre of an international row between the United States and Britain as they make their way along the English Channel.

<P class=MsoNormal >The ships which are due to pass through the Dover Straits in the next 24 hours are o­n a collision course with the courts.

<P class=MsoNormal >The Canopus and Caloosahatchee, riddled with toxic chemicals, are being towed across the Atlantic o­n their journey to a breaker's yard in Hartlepool but plans to dismantle the ships at Able UK's yard were shelved after the proposal was deemed to flout international rules.

<P class=MsoNormal >Peter Stephenson, Able's managing director said a final decision o­n whether the work could take place would be made after a judicial review scheduled for next month.

<P class=MsoNormal >It is estimated the first ship will dock at the north east port o­n Tuesday with the second arriving o­n Wednesday.

<P class=MsoNormal >Last Wednesday the High Court in London blocked any work o­n the ships when they arrive after Friends of the Earth and three individuals brought an action against Able.

<P class=MsoNormal >Mr Justice Maurice Kay granted an injunction preventing work from starting until at least next month when key legal challenges will be heard.

Residents fight Eurotunnel plans

Contributed by localrags on Nov 10, 2003 - 12:50 PM

<P class=MsoNormal><SPAN lang=EN-US>
<FONT face=Arial color=black size=4>RESIDENTS FIGHT EUROTUNNEL PLANS

<P class=MsoNormal><SPAN lang=EN-US>Residents in Peene and Newington, next  to the Channel Tunnel terminal at Cheriton, are fighting plans to build a huge container port at the site.

<P class=MsoNormal><SPAN lang=EN-US>Proposals for the freight facility have been put forward by Eurotunnel.

<P class=MsoNormal><SPAN lang=EN-US>A public meeting chaired by Shepway Councillor Shirley Newlands was held at Newington village hall o­n Friday (7 November) but Dee Everett, of the Newington Action Group, said that o­nly little progress had been made.