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Tourism office makes ‘fine mess’ getting Stan Laurel birthplace wrong

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Depending on stocks and funding, an updated version will not be reproduced until around autumn next year.

The leaflet says: “Bet you didn’t know that Bishop Auckland was the birthplace of Arthur Stanley Jefferson, better known as Stan Laurel.”

Stan has a bronze statue in Bishop Auckland town centre celebrating the fact he lived there in early life after leaving Ulverston as a child, where he had been born in 1890. Stan, who became famous as one half of comedy double act Laurel and Hardy with Oliver Hardy, moved to America in 1910.

A copy of Stan’s birth certificate proving his Ulverston heritage is displayed in the Laurel and Hardy Museum.

Craig Wilson, Visit County Durham marketing manager, said it was an honest mistake, and added: “It seems that urban myth has perpetuated an error in the Bishop Auckland town visitor map.

“Stan Laurel was baptised at St Peter’s Church and schooled at King James Grammar in Bishop Auckland.

“His parents also ran the local theatre, but he was of course born in Ulverston.

“I guess Bishop Auckland is as proud of its connections with Stan as Ulverston is passionate about it being his birthplace.

“We’re obviously both trying to lay claim to some of the Laurel and Hardy magic. Hopefully this will allow us to make it clearer about Stan’s early years and allow both Ulverston and Bishop Auckland to share some of Stan’s limelight.”

Mark Greenhow, museum manager and grandson of museum founder Bill Cubin, said:

“Before anyone had really bothered to prove it, everyone presumed he was born in the North East.

“My granddad, when he was mayor in the early 70s, got a copy of the birth certificate in 1973 to finally prove he was born in Ulverston.”

The Stan Laurel Inn, in Ulverston, opened in its present form in 1976 to much publicity due to it bearing the comedian’s name.

Landlord Paul Dewar said: “It is misleading for all the people up there. We also have a copy of the birth certificate, albeit a photocopy, clearly saying Ulverston.”

Phil Ruston, Grand Sheik of the West Bromwich tent of the Sons of the Desert Laurel and Hardy fan club, said: “It’s not something to take offence to, but when it’s something major like 50,000 copies I suppose it does need clearing up.”

When getting away means staying in touch (Reuters)

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – People used to go on holiday to unplug. Now they’re demanding to be plugged in.

That secluded, desert island-type getaway may soon be as dated as the post-vacation slide show as more travellers use e-mails, Facebook and Twitter to nurture the ties that bind even while they get away from it all.

“For many travellers figuring out how to stay connected is as integral to the travel process as packing sun lotion and swimwear,” said Amelie Hurst of travel website TripAdvisor.

“In times gone by this just wasn’t an option. Travelling went hand in hand with being disconnected,” she said.

Hurst said clients planning their trips routinely factor in the best means of staying in contact.

“Travellers ask the quality of cell phone service, international data plans. Staying connected can offer travellers a real comfort,” she explained.

A recent survey of 2000 travellers by American Express found that 77 per cent of Americans intend to stay connected while on vacation via Internet, phone, social media and other channels.

The motivation is social, not business. Only 14 per cent said they would stay connected for work.

“Eighty-nine percent of people want to talk to family and friends, to be very connected in real time,” said Audrey Hendley of American Express Travel. “Even five years ago that wasn’t the case.”

Connectivity means more than just checking e-mail.

“Sharing information, sharing photos, it’s a change in lifestyle, it’s ‘Now I want to tell you about me,’” she said.

The poll revealed that 20 percent updated their social media sites while on vacation.

“Today’s travellers want to check their e-mails, even on cruises,” she said, and no matter how far-flung their journeys.

Bhutan, landlocked between India and Tibet, is one of the most isolated nations in the world. Hendley said in the country’s Amankora lodges there are no TVs, no radios, but if a guest needs it you can get high-speed internet access.

Travellers view connectivity as a right, not an amenity.

“Sixty-five percent expect conductivity but weren’t willing to pay extra for it,” she said.

Travel agents are hopping on the connectivity bandwagon. John T. Peters, of travel referral service Tripology, said when informally polled over 85 percent of his agents said they were getting more involved in social media to stay in touch with clients during their trip.

“For me, being connected doesn’t mean I’m not relaxing,” Peters said. “Recently, on a family trip to the North Woods of Wisconsin, I found myself updating my Facebook status, loading pictures and conversing with friends about my vacation while I was on vacation.”

Some, however, remain unconvinced.

“My wife found the whole ‘being connected’ aspect of my posting ridiculous,” Peters confessed. “Vacation, to her, means unplugged — completely. Her exact quote was ‘You could just as easily post those pictures when we get home.’”

But if you intend to keep the home fires fanned during your holiday, Hurst suggested doing research.

“Before you take your trip, check your cell phone plan and the cost of internet connections at your hotel.

“When you return from your dream vacation you don’t want to be hit with the phone bill from hell,” she said.

(Reporting by Dorene Internicola; Editing by Patricia Reaney)

‘Burglar’ arrested after getting bottom stuck in window

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Another burglar was left hanging by his shoelace after becoming trapped in 2008.

Firefighters had to remove the window frame at the house in east London to rescue the man who had been trapped for some time.

Police were called to the home in Tomlins Grove, Bow, after the householder spotted the man’s head and upper body poking through the window.

His legs were still dangling outside and it appeared his bottom had prevented the man from squeezing through completely.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: ”At 7.30am we were called to reports of a male found stuck in a downstairs window at a house in Tomlins Grove, Bow.

”It appears the resident had come down and found the man. He was stuck half in, half out.

”The man was eventually freed by London Fire Brigade who apparently removed the window frame.

”The man, aged 36, was unhurt and has been arrested on suspicion of burglary.”

The incident is being investigated by police at Bethnal Green.

A spokeswoman for London Fire Brigade said: ”We were called at 8.09am this morning and the incident was over by 8.37am.

”There were two crews from Bow Fire Station at the scene.

”We were just assisting the police.”

Scotland Yard said tonight that unemployed Paul Joseph Keenan, 36, of Rounton Road, Bow, had been charged with burglary. He will appear before Thames Magistrates’ Court tomorrow.

German policeman wins extra week of holiday for time spent getting dressed

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Photo: EPA

Martin Schauder, 44, calculated to the second how long it took to don his regulation undershirt, trousers, thruncheon-holding belt, handcuffs, weapon and gas canister, overshirt, tunic, boots, protective kneepads (when on riot control), hat and gloves.

He claimed it took 15 minutes each morning outside his paid shift hours to get dressed, and 15 minutes at the end of each shift to undress, which a Münster administrative court agreed constituted overtime.

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The officer in the north-west German city had argued with his superiors for months, demanding either getting a pay rise or time off in lieu for what he said amounted to 45 hours of his time he was giving to his employers each year. They refused on both counts, saying it was part of his duties as a policeman.

So he took the force to the city’s administrative court – and won.

The decision has prompted fears that German courts may face a raft of similar lawsuits.

“We could, in theory, have judges arguing for extra time off because of the amount of time it takes them to robe up, or receptionists claiming overtime for lipstick application as they have to look good for clients,” said Joachim Wulfmeyer, legal expert.

Officer Schauder’s case was a test complaint representing over 120 other officers; granting them all the extra paid week’s leave that he is entitled to would seriously challenge the city’s police budget at a time of rigid cutbacks.

His employers will have a chance to appeal the ruling in a higher court.

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