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Fluent in Scouse

Among condolences flooding in for Yasser Arafat last week, there was a note from the leader of that other great liberation movement, the National Union of Teachers.

General secretary Steve Sinnott said he had met Arafat and other members of the Palestinian leadership several times during his time with the NUT.

On one occasion, he addressed the Palestinian cabinet on education policy.

Every word was laboriously translated into Arabic and Mr Sinnott wondered whether his message was getting across.

At the end of his talk, one of the cabinet approached and asked: "Are you from Liverpool?" Mr Sinnott nodded. The man continued, in broad Liverpudlian: "'Cos I did me A-levels in Bootle."

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