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Eyewitness in Manchester masthead
Issue number 4 Saturday the 15th of February 1997

Asian allure in Manchester
Eid and Chinese New Year coincided this week, but at Manchester's many and varied Asian restaurants, it's celebration time any day of the year.

Chinese New Year and the Muslim Eid came together by chance this year, and Sunday the ninth was festival day in Manchester. Chinatown was full of crowds, with many attractions including a funfair, a Chinese dragon parade, and food stalls selling everything from hamburgers and hot dogs to wontuns.

Over on Rusholme's "Curry Mile", there was a boisterous party atmosphere. Watched by many police officers, youths flew Pakistani flags from cars, and strollers of many nationalities thronged the pavements. Tension was slightly raised by an anti police brutality demo, but the despite the occasional blaring siren, things went peacefully.

On Monday, it was announced that Manchester would receive 43 million of government funding for the redevelopment of the city centre. A model of how the new city centre will look went on show at Manchester Town Hall.

The upbeat mood continued the next day with news that 12,000 jobs are to be created near Warrington thanks to a new junction and adjoining industrial park, to be built on the M62. Meanwhile in Tameside, workers at the Gallaher cigarette factory continue to protest against the company's decision to move production to Northern Ireland.

Monday was also the day Liam Gallagher and fiancee Patsy Kensit failed to get married, due, they said, to intrusive media interference. Brother Liam and his fiancee Meg Matthews also blamed the media for the cancellation of their wedding, said to be planned for St Valentine's Day.

Barry Gibb, of Manchester expat pop superstars The Bee Gees, wants to reclaim his roots by buying the house at 51 Keppel Road, Chorlton, where the group spent their early years.

Neighbours probably won't have to put up with high-pitched vocal rehearsals coming through the walls, as they aren't planning move back from the States.

Not so Michael Jackson, who may be coming to live in a castle in Scotland, so Manchester Airport could be seeing his private jet more often.

Cheshire expat Louise Woodward, currently in custody in Boston, US, will probably be charged with the murder of a baby in her care. The story is being followed very closely here.

A Russian immigrant set off on a run from Stockport County football ground to London this week to protest against a Home Office decision to deport him. He claims political asylum on the grounds he would be persecuted in Russia for his Eastern Orthodox beliefs.

On Saturday came news that foundations of the original Roman fort in Manchester's Castlefield area had been discovered. Both archaeologists and tourism officials are excited, and there is talk of a new visitors centre along the lines of York's Jorvik Centre.

Dukinfield resident and inventor Steve Bennet is to launch a home made test rocket from an RAF test site in Northumbria, and he hopes it will break the sound barrier. The top stage of the full-size rocket will be 22 feet long, and could reach an altitude of 3 miles, so watch out NASA!

The weather this week has been even more changeable than usual: Storm force winds and cold temperatures on Monday, followed by heavy rain and milder weather in the middle of the week. The gales returned on Thursday, and on Friday the skies were overcast. Saturday was bright and sunny with blue skies and billowing clouds, but rain was forecast for the rest of the weekend.

Text and photos by Aidan O'Rourke


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