EYEWITNESS IN MANCHESTER UPDATE 8pm BST MONDAY 6 JULY 1998

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RNCM buskers

BOMB SCARE AT ALBERT SQUARE

JUST WHEN WE THOUGHT we could enjoy being in the city centre without fear of terrorism, a bomb alert this afternoon shattered our complacency. A call was received late this afternoon saying that a bomb had been left somewhere around Albert Sqsuare. Police decided to take no chances, and the entire area, including the Town Hall, was cleared. Fortunately or unfortunately, I wasn't there, but a friend just leaving for home told me he seriously thought a bomb was about to go off. Police were there in force, he said, with barrier tape being used in abundance. A suspect package was found, bomb disposal experts investigated but found it was a false alarm.

DANGER ON THE STREETS OF MANCHESTER

DANGER MAY BE stalking the streets in the shape of a murderer who killed Julie Jones, whose body was found near Shudehill. Police are interviewing prostitutes who were standing around the Minshull St area last week, and are advising them to work in pairs and take down car registration numbers. And another stabbing occurred on Whitworth Street on Saturday night. Wayne Wisdom was stabbed near the spot where Nick Centi died three months ago. The latest victim was taken to Manchester Royal Infirmary where he underwent an operation which saved his life, though he is described as still in a critical condition. Police have now arrested 100 individuals in the city centre area, as part of their clampdown on crime, and there are plans to exclude persistent troublemakers from the city centre for life.

SKATEBOARDERS GIVEN MARCHING ORDERS

And another clampdown on a different type of street menace has been announced: Manchester City Council gave notice today on page 31 of the MEN that skateboarding is outlawed on Albert Square and surrounding streets and squares from the 13th of this month. The CITY OF MANCHESTER (ALBERT SQUARE, ST PETERS'S SQUARE AND ST ANN'S SQUARE AREA MANCHESTER)(PROHIBITION OF SKATEBOARDING AND ROLLERSKATING)(EXPERIMENTAL) ORDER 1998 means those cool young dudes in baseball caps will have to go elsewhere to practice their sport. If they, want they can inspect a copy of the said Order in the office of Susan Orrell, the City Solicitor (Town Hall, room 601), that's if they can skateboard their way past the security desk!

NEW MEN MASTHEAD

I GOT A SURPRISE TODAY as I stood listening to the buskers on Market Street (picture at the top of the page), in front of Boots - I looked around and saw a new-look Manchester Evening News on the newsstand. The "classic-contemporary" font is a departure from the sans-serif look which the paper has had for very many years, though not as archaic as the gothic script of fifty years ago - which I used to make the "Manchester Eyewitness" masthead.

There's some superb music to be heard on the streets around lunchtime - a welcome change from the Oasis understudies I thought had taken over. The string quintet above have a spot in front of Boots in the Arndale pedestrian underpass, so their instruments don't get wet if it rains - the talented foursome (right) in St Ann's Square have to take their chance with the elements. But the rain held off and didn't drown their very melodic performance, which, I hope you will soon be able to hear via this page.

Talking of rain, it didn't today, and the sun was much in evidence at various points throughout the afternoon, but on Northwest Tonight, Diane Oxberry's weather forecast looked and sounded decidedly gloomy. I'm on standby to take a new series of photos for a coming Manchester Online project - I need a couple of days of cloudless skies - how long will I have to wait? The current EWM temperature is 62/17

EYEWITNESS IN MANCHESTER UPDATE 8pm BST SATURDAY 4 JULY 1998

MANCHESTER THROUGH MY CAR WINDOW - CAPTURED DIGITALLY car window views of Manchester
A FirstBus double decker en route to Bolton stops in Walkden to pick up passengers (top left); The former Salford Bus Station, (b. left) with Manchester Cathedral and the CIS building visible beyond. Exchange Station approach, and bridge, will be removed soon. The street lamps here are the last surviving ones of this type from the 1950's; Detail of St James Buildings (top centre), Oxford St; Manchester Royal Infirmary, Wilmslow Road, and (bottom) a Stagecoach single-decker leaves Piccadilly bus station just as a Metrolink tram crosses from Aytoun St into Piccadilly Metrolink Station.
All photos taken using the Kodak DS20 digital camera - cheap and very light, now superseded by higher resolution models. It takes quite good pictures (494 x 373 pixels) but can't match the quality of my Nikon FM and lenses, with scanned negative film.

TWELVE YEAR OLD GIRL GIVES BIRTH
MANCHESTER HAS MANY enviable records, but one of the more dubious ones is in having one of the highest rates of under-age conceptions in the country. On Thursay of this week, it was announced that a girl of 12 gave birth at Wythenshawe hospital to a 6 lb 5 oz baby girl, after only 30 minutes in labour. The father is thirteen. A report of unlawful sex had been received by the police, but there was no prosecution, as they considered this to be "not in the public interest".

"Not in my day", many will say, and certainly not in many parts of the world I've lived in. What is it about this country and in particular, this region, that makes under-age pregnancies so common? In countries such as Holland and Denmark, which have a much more matter-of-fact attitude towards sexuality and the body, under-age pregnancies are a fraction of the rate here. Many blame insufficient sex education, others blame too much. Last year in Manchester, 364 under-16's got pregnant.

G-MEX MAY HOST EROTICA SHOW
ADULTS IN SEARCH OF SEX education and entertainment may be able to find what they're looking for at a controversial "Erotica" show which may be held at GMEX later this year, if approval is given. It will feature a live stage show, a gay village and an erotic art gallery. Erotica 98, held earlier this year in that world centre of sensuality and love-making, Stoke-on-Trent, was a sell out. No doubt there will be a huge outcry here, and, if it goes ahead, a huge attendance. You'll have to wait and see if there will be an "Eyewitness@Erotica".

MAN'S 6 YEAR WAIT REDUCED
TONY THOMPSON, the 60 year old whose face was featured in a dramatic photo on both yesterday's and today's Manchester Evening News front page, and in the news section of Manchester Online, received some very good news today. He will be referred to another doctor, or hospital, and so won't have to wait 6 years after all. Health Minister Frank Dobson said the wait had been put right' as soon as it came to the attention of ministers and the NHS executive. The date of Mr Thomson's appointment to see a consultant at Withington Hospital, 2003, fell about four years after the hospital's expected closure date.

This weekend, the 50th anniversary of the NHS is being celebrated across the country. Tomorrow there is an open day at Manchester Royal Infirmary, and on Monday, there will be a ceremony at Trafford General Hospital, which the then Health Minister Aneurin Bevan visited on the 5th of July 1948. For a 1948 perspective, see the newly returned Manchester Eyewitness, or click on the page, right.

BODY OF PROSTITUTE FOUND
POLICE HAVE SAID that Julie Jones, aged 32, died as a result of a "sustained attack on the head and body". Her naked and battered body was found at the Old Smithfield food market, off Shudehill. A woman walking her dog made the gruesome discovery last night. The victim was last seen in the Minshull Street area a week ago. She leaves a two year old son Josh, who is being cared for by her family. Police are warning other prostitutes to take care.

I've often driven down Minshull St, where "vice girls" wait, ironically just across the street from the City courts, shouting the oft-heard words "D'you want business, love?". I've never taken up the offer, but often wondered how they can possibly do what they do, and not be over-worried about the dangers. The money I suppose, but in the case of Julie Jones, she paid the ultimate price.

CLOUDY WEATHER
HIGH SUMMER IN ENGLAND continues with more overcast skies. It was mild today, and the sun did peep through at times, but on US Independence Day (congratulations to all of you over there), the weather isn't very festive over here. A good friend of mine is getting married in Miami at this moment and I'm sure the temperature there is tropical. Here it's currently 61/16. The picture below shows Boggart Hole Clough, a wonderful, but under-used spot. Though called the "boating lake", boats are noticeable by their absence, as at Platt Fields. Residents of cities such as Bangkok, Manila and Tokyo would, I'm sure, love to have as many green spaces as Manchester does, but here, people seem to prefer watching tv to walking in the park.

BOATING LAKE, BOGGART HOLE CLOUGH

EYEWITNESS IN MANCHESTER UPDATE 11am BST THURSDAY 2 JULY 1998

FAMOUS MANCHESTER PEOPLE
INFLUENTIAL MANCHESTER PEOPLE: Yvette Livesy Yvette Livesey - Director of In The City music convention
Yvette Livesey runs the annual international pop music convention "In The City", which takes place September 1998 in Manchester.

Before starting "In The City", Yvette was an internationally successful fashion model. In 1987-88 she held both Miss UK and Miss England titles. She did catwalk circuits in Milan, Paris etc before coming to Manchester
In Manchester she presented programmes on Granada TV , and Radio 5, before starting "In The City" in 1992. She also has a Private Pilot's Licence, and is appearing in a new film. See EXCERPTS from the interview.
Born: 28th April 1968, Accrington Lived/worked in Manchester since: 1991 Place of residence: City Centre Secondary School: Queen Elizabeth Grammar School (for A Levels)
Career: Fashion model from age 14 - 22/23. Miss England & Miss UK 1987-88. Worked for radio & TV. Started In the City in 1992.
What is it, in your opinion that makes Manchester unique?
I think the friendliness, sense of humour, the ability to do things and get things done, and the fact that everyone wants to do things for their city... just the atmosphere, it's fabulous.
How do you think the city could be improved?
It's not green enough. I've told the City Council about this many times. The should plant trees the way they do in LA. Also, I think the City Council ought to make better use of us as festival organisers.
Have you got any favourite cafe bars or pubs?
Atlas - we hang out there all the time, and Jenny is great - I don't usually go to pubs in Manchester, only when I'm visiting my home in Accrington
Recommended Manchester People
Ian Simpson - Interior Designer Jenny - Manager of Atlas Salts - Knows everybody on the scene

EYEWITNESS IN MANCHESTER UPDATE 9pm BST WEDNESDAY 1 JULY 1998

4 VIEWS FROM PORTLAND ST/OXFORD RD

LIFE CONTINUES AFTER ENGLAND'S DEFEAT

AFTER LAST NIGHT'S GRUELLING SPECTACLE, people are adjusting to life with England out of the World Cup. Today, Market Street looked much as usual, with cheerful lunchtime crowds. But local media have been inundated with members of the public expressing strong opinions about the defeat. Many make scathing remarks about the conduct of David Beckham, though Sir Bobby Charlton urged people not to put all the blame on him, and according to a teletext poll, one third of respondents didn't hold Beckham responsible for the defeat. But the new superstar goal-scorer Michael Owen is being given a hero's welcome this evening in his home village near Chester

FRANK DOBSON SAVES WARD AT TRAFFORD GENERAL

NEARLY FIFTY YEARS AGO, the National Health Service was born, and it first saw the light of day at Park Hospital, Davyhulme, now Trafford General Hospital. Health Minister Frank Dobson reversed closure plans for a high-profile childrens ward at the hospital, though he denies this has anything to do with next Monday's 50th anniversary ceremony. And on Sunday, Manchester Royal Infirmary is holding an open day.

SUNSHINE MAKES A BRIEF RETURN

IT WAS A BRIGHT AND SUN-DRENCHED lunchtime in Manchester, though by 2 o'clock, it was cloudy again. But there are forecasts for hot sunny weather this weekend. A favourite destination of Mancunians is of course Blackpool - here's how it looked a few weeks ago. Today is the anniversary of one of their tram services, still running up and down the Prom after a hundred years. The current EWM temperature is 60 fahrenheit, 15 celsius.

Blackpool Promenade


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