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News in Brief, 8 May 2005

Third-postcode congress held in EH14 3HR
The 4th International Third-Postcode Congress was held last week in EH14 3HR, a disadvantaged suburb of Edinburgh, Scotland. The congress, which comes two months before the G8 summit to be held in exclusive PH3 1NF, also in Scotland, highlights the bleak reality faced by third-postcode residents throughout the globe. In the words of invited speaker Goerge Monbiot (himself not a Third Postcode resident): The world is no longer divided in "Advanced" and "Developing" countries. The "Third World" is an obsolete, 20th-century concept, as almost every country, from the US to Bangladesh has a small upper-middle class that lives in wealthy communities, and a numerous, largely redundant and desperate "working" (actually unemployed or underemployed) class that lives in the rest. The vast majority of the world's homes are in Third-Postcode neighbourhoods, no matter what country they're in.

World Bank threatens to repossess Cambodia
In a statement issued last Wednesday by newly-appointed president Paul Wolfowitz, the World Bank announced its intention to repossess the state of Cambodia if the struggling South-East Asian country defaults on another instalment of interest payments to the Bank. The harsh decision is seen as indicative of a new policy by the hardline Wolfowitz to "finally make some use" of the billions of unserviceable debt owed to the Bank by the word's poorest hundred or so countries. Several years of comparatively high interest rates and a lumbering regional economy have forced the weakest of those countries into a predicament similar to Cambodia's, and a wave of repossessions is expected to follow if Cambodia is a success. Earlier attempts to repossess Russia, Argentina and Hungary failed as the former two countries managed to rescue their economies and the latter was bailed out by the EU, forcing the Bank to turn to weaker debtors. It Cambodia's repossession is successful, the Bank is confident it will be able to sell the country to the GAP apparel chain.

Area engineer no longer likes curries
Area computer engineer Alex Howard, 33, realised he no longer enjoyed a take-away curry from his local Indian place, after having the meal as part of an unremarkable and altogether unsatisfying Saturday evening. "Hey, this stuff is really poor, and far too heavy for this time of night" Howard observed after eating half his chicken madras and nan bread. The dietary revelation echoes Howard's 2001 realisation that he no longer really liked doner kebabs, and his 1998 rejection of the Area Technical University student association catering services. Howard hopes to feed on Tesco Healthy Living products for at least another four years, before renouncing them for pricier organic produce from his local farmers' market.

Star Wars litany finally comes to an end
Eager fans of George Lucas' Star Wars series are already queuing outside cinemas in Sydney, Australia, in an effort to see the final instalment of the 28-year-old Sci-Fi series as quickly as possible. Cinema-goer Mike Fynes exclaims: "I can hardly believe it's over. I was six when the first movie came out, and I've been waiting for the end of the series ever since. I thought it was over with The Return of the Jedi, but re-runs and DVD releases never quite stopped, and then we had this new batch of episodes to watch. But hopefully it will be done and over with in a couple of days. Amen!". Star Wars enthusiasts expressed similar sentiments about the lumbering opus in blogs and soon-to-be-dismantled fan sites the world over. The Warner and UGC cinema networks are both offering group discounts in order to finish screening Episode III in just 2-3 weeks, and CNN has pledged to cease all coverage of the series by the end of this month. Reports of a defiant Lucas threatening to drag Star Wars on as a TV series remained unconfirmed.
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