James Bond gets British OK to keep smoking
LONDON, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- The British Board of Film Classification has ruled secret agent James Bond can continue smoking and denounced demands he be stopped, The Telegraph reports.
Numerous anti-smoking groups had petitioned the board to ban films that "promote or glamorize smoking, alcohol abuse or substance misuse," but David Cooke, director of the board, said such drastic action smacked of "the nanny state."
Cooke said 70 percent of the sample audience tested thought cutting smoking scenes would be "unrealistic or a silly thing to do."
Sue Clarke, a board spokesman said the board had no qualms about adult films containing smoking scenes as long as they were not glamorized and not part of a deal between a film and tobacco company.
"It becomes ridiculous if you can't put smoking in a film in context," Clarke said. "If you were remaking Casablanca, Rick's Bar wouldn't be Rick's Bar if it wasn't incredibly smoky and I think we feel that it is absolutely fine for James Bond to smoke.
"However, I don't know what we would do if Harry Potter took up smoking in his next film."
New Zealand yanks snooping mailman scheme
WELLINGTON, New Zealand, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- Public uproar has led New Zealand Post to stop having mail carriers collect information about addresses they deliver to, the Dominion Post said Thursday.
The scheme involved a paint company paying the post office for information on which buildings delivery staff, or "posties," thought needed painting. The posties had a lapel-mounted microphone connected to a small recorder.
Postal Chief Executive John Allen said the company had thought the concept was appropriate for New Zealand, but now knows better.
"I think the image of the postie will remain strong in the minds of New Zealanders and I hope they also understand that this is a business that needs to continue to try new things, try new ways to deliver service," Allen said.
However, Allen said the information collected by the posties in the five-day trial would be passed on to Resene Paints as required under their agreement, and the company would not pay a fee for the service.
Military under fire for sex toy party
OSLO, Norway, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- A $460 bill to pay for a sex toy party attended by Norwegian military officials is raising more than a few eyebrows, Aftenposten said Thursday.
Gen. Maj. Egil Johansen would not comment on the report, except to say the bill was "accepted and paid."
The money was paid to Kondomeriet, which sells sexual aids. New regulations put into effect recently revealed the firm made a presentation to military brass in 2003 in what was described as "a home party to boost morale."
"We presented a variety of our products, lubricants, vibrators, etcetera, and later handed out small gifts," said the Kondomeriet employee, whose name was not revealed. "They got things like massage oil."
The Norwegian military has been under fire for budget overruns and questionable accounting practices, Aftenposten said.
Manitoba nixes Stalin on wine labels
WINNIPEG, Manitoba, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- Wines bearing the picture of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin on the labels will no longer be sold in Manitoba, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., reports.
Acting on numerous complaints, the Manitoba Liquor Control Commission ordered the removal of a nine-year-old port and a sherry from provincial retail outlets.
Both brands are made in Ukraine, yet the majority of complaints came from people of Ukraine descent.
"No mass murderer's mug should grace a wine label," Dr. Lubomyr Luciuk of the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association said in a statement.
Orycia Trascz of Winnipeg was another who complained.
"Why would anyone want Stalin on a bottle of wine, or any other place, and think they could promote it by having his picture on it?" she said.