It's been a good week for

Eight Merseyside former water workers who were paid £1.2m by North West Water in compensation for developing vibration white finger. All eight were suspended from work in 1998 when they developed signs of the syndrome which is caused by working with vibrating power tools and can lead to loss of grip and constant pain. The company, however, disputed claims by the men that they had not been offered alternative employment.

N.i.m.b.y.s. The 'not in my back yard' campaigners may gain new rights of appeal against planning decisions if government proposals to create an environmental court of justice go ahead. The plan would mean that the Government would not have the final say in whether controversial building schemes such as the Newbury bypass or Manchester Airport's second runway go ahead. It could also end the need for long public inquiries.

Have-a-go-heroes. Judge Stephen Robbins this week refused to grant leniency to burglar Victor Hanchard, who nearly died after he was stabbed several times by a householder and sentenced him to 14 years. Robbins told Hanchard: "Violent criminals like you who end up having the very weapon you were wielding turned on you by a householder you were threatening deserve no sympathy."

Politeness in the legal profession. Solicitors were this week sent a book from the Law Society on how to say sorry to a client when things go wrong. The Office for the Supervision of Solicitors, which has recently been rapped over the knuckles for the second year running by the Office of Fair Trading for its tardiness in dealing with the 17,000 complaints it received last year, said that solicitors should apologise to clients even if they disagree with the complaint.

Seaside tranquillity in Frinton-on-Sea as a funk music bistro was turned back into traditional tea rooms. Residents of the town that makes Bournemouth look like Ibiza won their two-year battle against the Vanari Bistro, run by Barry Fox and his wife Vanadis. The Foxes had attempted to bring a faint pulse into the seaside town's nightlife by setting up "funky house and garage nights" to compete with bridge evenings and a glass of sherry. However, the opening night came to an abrupt end when council officials and police closed it down because it did not have an entertainment licence. Mrs Fox was later fined £250 and her husband given a 12-month conditional discharge.