Tinky Winky, Dipsy and co take a trip;The Week in View

12th June 1998 at 01:00
A RARE rebellion in the House of Commons; an even rarer chance for England to win a Test match; and all overshadowed by the start of the World Cup.

Fans have yet another gizmo to aid their ailing French: a fat, pen-shaped instrument called a Quicktionary which, when dragged across text, will turn English into French. Within minutes you can tell the referee: "L'arbitre est aveugle."

If you can't work that one out, you'd have no chance withAramaic. With the Millennium approaching, we learn that one of the few places Christ, if he ever returns to the Holy Land, could be understood would be the basement of Tel Aviv's central bus station.

There, a handful of Iranian Jews have built a studio where they hope to save the dialect, which is in danger of extinction, by setting it to music.

Another minority was honoured earlier this week with the appointment of Britain's first professor of Romany studies. Thomas Acton, of Greenwich University, believes this is timely given the rise in anti-gypsy feeling - particularly in eastern Europe.

While the new professor was relishing his role, other senior academics were not so chuffed. It seems that the Office for Standards in Education has struck an egalitarian blow by omitting distiguished authors' titles and qualifications when publishing their material. One complained: "It's not a question of silly pride. It tells people of your status and qualifications and that you are a fit person to undertake the work."

For those graduates not aspiring to be academics, the route to success is likely to be via the typing pool with keyboard skills an essential component of a CV. A secretarial job can now be a stepping-stone to management for both sexes.

Gone are the days when a secretary's dress code was "stockings must be worn at all times, and the use of coloured nail varnish is discouraged".

Sex equality for secretaries, maybe, but not for netball players or male models. It transpires that 11-year-old Jack Shaw - top goal-scorer for Bellingham, Northumberland, and the only boy in the team - was banned from the county championship because he is the wrong sex. George Bond, a 54-year-old grandfather, is in the same boat; he has accused Northampton College of sex discrimination as art teachers gave more work to female models.

Scare of the week goes toa computer game that teaches teenagers how to run prostitution and extortion rackets. The British-designed game, called Gangsters: Organised Crime, is set in a fictional American town in the Al Capone era. It is aimed at adults, but a parents' watchdog believes that it will just attract 14-year-olds.

Conversely, it seems that children's TV programmes, including our favourite, Teletubbies, are a magnet for 20-somethings and have become part of rave culture. Disconcertingly, images of Tinky Winky and co have been found printed on tabs of LSD.

But TV has its advantages, as parents know when they deploy videos as baby-sitting devices. A study has found that VCRs are helping youngsters as they are taking the place of old-fashioned storytellers, as long as the right tapes are used. But note that the research was commissioned by Disney. They would say that, wouldn't they?

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