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Weekend round-up in 500 words

<b>Sunday 4 December:</b> Protest against Israeli attacks, siege ends, rail chaos continues, City defeated, Lowry for sale

Published on January 4th 2009.

TWO THOUSAND people walked through Manchester on Saturday to protest about the Israeli attack on Gaza. The Israeli attack follows a continued indiscriminate rocket assault on southern Israel. The Manchester protest was the largest outside London and passed off peacefully. In London hundreds of protesters had thrown shoes at the gates of Downing Street, mimicking the Iraqi journalist who hurled his footware at President George Bush last year. In Manchester shoes remained on feet.

A SIEGE which started on Friday lunchtime in Hindley, Wigan, ended overnight. Police marksmen had surrounded the house after it was thought an armed man was holding another hostage. A 2am police went into the house and arrested two men, nobody was injured. As yet there are no reports of whether any weapons were recovered.

LS LOWRY, the late Greater Manchester artist, is proving popular again. Two oil paintings by the famous curmudgeon are for sale in Gloucestershire for almost half a million pounds. A 1953 work depicting a busy street scene is being sold for £325,000, an industrial landscape has a price of £150,000. Both are amongst 12 large and small works collectively valued at £1m. Up to fifty dealers are at the arts fair in Westonbirt.

THE MAIN RAIL LINE between Manchester and London is still severely disrupted following a plane crash and is not expected to re-open until Monday. Three people were killed when a Piper Cherokee light aircraft hit power lines above the West Coast Mainline in Staffordshire and came down between two sections of track on Friday. The casualties were pilot Alan Matthews, 59, of Walsall, West Midlands, and Nick and Emma O'Brien, a married couple with two children.

THE MANAGER of Manchester City, Mark Hughes, has described his team’s FA Cup performance yesterday as ‘indefensible’. This was apt as Manchester City almost played without defence in their 0-3 capitulation to Championship strugglers Nottingham Forest at the City of Manchester Stadium. To further compound Mark Hughes’ problems Shaun Wright-Phillips is out for four weeks following the match. Hughes claims he still has the support of the boardroom. New signing Wayne Bridge from Chelsea was paraded on the pitch before kick-off.

WIGAN, BOLTON and Macclesfield also crashed out of the FA Cup in a bad day for the region’s football. Today Manchester United play Southampton away hoping to avoid a similar cup upset to that suffered by City. If they succeed they will be the only Greater Manchester team into the fourth round of the competition.

MANCHESTER INTEREST abounds in Channel Four’s new edition of Celebrity Big Brother. The main city focus will be on Old Trafford-born Terry Christian, the outspoken DJ and writer. Christian lost a claim of unfair dismissal against the BBC last year after his contract wasn’t renewed. The Quays-based actress Tina Malone, who plays Mimi Maguire in TV’s Shameless, the comedy drama set on the fictional Chatsworth estate in Manchester, is also a contestant. Other ‘stars’ include Michael Jackson's sister La Toya Jackson and TV presenter Ulrika Jonsson.

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cping500January 4th 2009.

How did Trevor know they were Islamists looking for trouble... was it because they were young and deeply tanned?)

Trevor WJanuary 4th 2009.

I didn't like the look of that protest. I don't agree with Israeli action but joining and then leaving that protest it was full of the usual suspects of extremists, British crusty socialists and Islam lads looking for bother. I felt it didn't reflect my idea of what the protest should be focussed on which is this particular Israeli action rather than the whole state of Israel and the Palestinian conflict. So I left. Annoyed.

City GentJanuary 4th 2009.

Without Robinho and Ireland City can be dreadful. I'm really pissed off about this result as I wanted a sweet little cup run to brighten the season. The defence is a joke. What happened to Micah last summer?

Trevor WJanuary 4th 2009.

cping500, I didnt say they were Islamists. I said they were young lads who were looking for trouble and who were, shall we say, belligerently pro-Hamas. The protest was spoiled by all the usual secondary and tertiary agenda people. Puts me off doing it again.

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