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Who was Ambrose Bierce

A. American, cynic, American newspaper columnist, satirist, and novelist. Most famous for his Devil's Dictionary - and vanishing mysteriously. Q. Biography A. Ambrose Gwinett Bierce was born01:00 Mon 11th Feb 2002

There's going to be new superbridge

A. Oh yes - and this one's going to be even bigger than the Akashi-Kaikyo bridge in Japan, which is the world's largest. Q. Where and what A. After decades of debate, the Italian government is01:00 Mon 04th Feb 2002

How many steps are there in the Eiffel Tower

A. There are 1,652 steps to the top of this magnificent Paris structure; 704 of them can be walked by visitors. I expect you'd like some more facts and figures Q. Rather! A. Very well. The01:00 Mon 04th Feb 2002

Who was Grace Darling

A. Grace Horsley Darling was a Victorian heroine of the highest order. Born in 1815 at Bamburgh, daughter of lighthouse-keeper William Darling, she helped him rescue the survivors of the01:00 Mon 04th Feb 2002

How did the Red Cross form

A. The International Red Cross - in the news again after demanding to see Al-Qaeda and Taliban prisoners held in Cuba - started more than 135 years ago, inspired by Henry Dunant, a Swiss01:00 Mon 28th Jan 2002

So it's farewell to the master of gibberish

A. Yes. Stanley Unwin, a peculiarly English phenomenon, has died aged 90. During his 45-year career on radio, TV and film, he made talking nonsense into an art form. His skill was to turn everyday01:00 Mon 28th Jan 2002

So it's TTFN for the JY prog

A. No. To translate, it's not goodbye to Sir Jimmy Young's radio programme - not for a while yet, any way. The veteran broadcaster will end his Radio 2 programme at the end of this year, after01:00 Mon 21st Jan 2002

So an old agnostic has been lining Anglican coffers Is that poetic justice

A. Yes - amusing, isn't it Monica Jones, mistress and muse of the late Philip Larkin, has left 1 million to St Paul's Cathedral, Durham Cathedral and Hexham Abbey. Larkin, on reading the Bible,01:00 Mon 21st Jan 2002

Why are the Taliban suspects being held in Cuba

A. Men suspected of being members of the Taliban or Al-Qaeda are being flown to the US naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Q. A US base in Cuba I thought America and Cuba were deadly enemies A. 01:00 Mon 21st Jan 2002

Who will be the next Archbishop of Canterbury

A. Good question. The frontrunner to succeed the Most Rev George Carey, at the start of the race, is Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, Bishop of Rochester. In fact, the bookmaker William Hill is giving odds of01:00 Mon 14th Jan 2002

What's Britain's oldest town

A. Colchester, Essex, is the country's oldest recorded town. Q. How so A. In 77AD, Pliny the Elder, a Roman writer, described the Isle of Anglesey as being 'about 200 miles from Camulodunum, a01:00 Mon 14th Jan 2002

Southend had this country's longest pier ... but for what purpose was it built

A. The answer to Birchy's question is simple: Pleasure, pure pleasure. It opened in 1889 and became even more famous in the early 1990s when it was featured in the opening title sequence of the TV01:00 Mon 14th Jan 2002

The Hogwarts Express is coming to Lancashire

A. Sorry. No. The picturesque station at Carnworth had hoped to run the Hogwarts Express from the Harry Potter film, but film-makers Warner Brothers are blocking the idea. Q. Why Carnworth A. 01:00 Mon 07th Jan 2002

Will Dame Shirley have to pay up

A. Well, she can certainly afford it. Dame Shirley Porter, the former leader of Westminster Council, has been ordered to pay a surcharge of 27 million for the home-for-votes corruption scandal. 01:00 Mon 07th Jan 2002

Has Britain ever had a non-British PM

A. One. Andrew Bonar Law, born near Rexton, New Brunswick, Canada. Q. Not a high-flier A. Popular enough, but virtually forgotten now. Q. Early life A. Andrew Bonar Law was born in 1858,01:00 Mon 07th Jan 2002

How much is the boss of Apple Computers paid

A. Well, he high-tech boom is slowing down, so I suppose it's only right that the big cheese's salary shouldn't rocket. Q. How much, then A. Apple's sales fell 33% in its fiscal year ending in01:00 Mon 31st Dec 2001

So, there's another good woman of note

A. Yes. Most amusing. You are referring, of course, to the second woman - apart from the Queen - to be put on a banknote, First came Florence Nightingale (click here for a feature on her) on a01:00 Mon 31st Dec 2001

What's going on in Argentina

A. Civil unrest has broken out after appalling financial problems. The South American country is batting against a four-year recession, 18.3% unemployment and a national debt of 100 billion. The01:00 Mon 31st Dec 2001

What's the oldest parliament in the world

A. The Tynwald, on the Isle of Man. It celebrated its millennium in 1979. The annual outdoor sittings of Tynwald - on St John's Day, 5 July - date to the Viking settlements that began in the 8th01:00 Mon 24th Dec 2001

I hear there's a new slant on the leaning tower

A. Yes. The Leaning Tower of Pisa has re-opened to the public after being closed for 11 years for a 20 million rescue operation to stop it from toppling over. The tower's seven bells rang as Paolo01:00 Mon 24th Dec 2001

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