Pricey gifts

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 24 December, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 24 December, 2000, 12:00am


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Teheran (December 21): Dr Mussadiq, a veteran Persian statesman and a former Prime Minister, with eight followers, has revived the ancient tradition of taking sanctuary in the compound of the Majlis (Persian Parliament).

Dr Mussadiq leads the Opposition to the Government-supported ratification of a supplementary oil agreement made with the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company Limited.

His friends here said to-day that Dr Mussadiq and his followers last night took sanctuary in the Majlis compound for personal security reasons as well as in protest against the arrests of two editors of the Opposition newspapers, which had been suppressed.

The supplementary oil is to give Persia an increase in royalties from four shillings to six shillings a ton, a small tax increase and a guaranteed minimum annual payment of GBP4,000,000 as her share of the dividends and reserves.

Many Persians resent foreign control of the only large-scale industrial undertaking in the country.

London (December 21): The Health Minister, Mr Aneurin Bevan, is being charged with causing a trade slump through the false teeth his Ministry supplies.

Grocers here are complaining of a sharp run down in the Christmas sale of figs, customers passing them up because the pips get under the new dentures provided under the State health scheme.

A dentist commented that the health service which provides the dentures will also attend to any gums lacerated by the pips.

Taipeh (December 22): The Central Post office here is piled high with more than 5,000 parcels and packages - all from Hongkong - which addressees are declining to claim because of new customs rulings which are hard on the pocketbook. It just isn't worth it.

Present regulations limit the value of parcels to US$25 or HK$150. The vast majority of packages that are not being claimed apparently have values far in excess of the maximum allowed. The tariff on excess value is too high for most.

There is one way out, however - the packages can be remailed back to Hongkong at the owners' expense.

Customs officials, however, assert that the vast majority of the parcels belong to business houses or agents seeking to evade high duties chargeable against a long list of so-called luxury items.