A reader pointed out last week that the Kremlin picture from a recent issue of HSJ (page 16, December 20) actually used pictures of St Basil’s Cathedral. Yet this move may have been serendipity, as a quick internet search in an idle moment reveals that St Basil is the patron saint of hospital managers.

We have come to rely on health secretary Alan Johnson to cheer up Department of Health proceedings with a little laugh and a joke. So colleagues were disappointed to find that at the launch of the infection control strategy Mr Johnson was not on such chucklesome form as usual. Was he making the point that infection control is not a laughing matter or was the round of press conferences taking its toll? Either way we hope for more jokes next time, please.

When Toma Zupan was injured in 1991 during the civil war that resulted in the break up of the former Yugoslavia he was grateful that the following surgery by army doctors saved his life. But after 16 years of stabbing stomach pains and constant trips to the doctor, an x-ray finally revealed that the battlefield medics had left behind a needle in his stomach.

Now aged 73 Mr Zupan rather sweetly said that he would normally blame doctors for such a mistake but as they had saved his life when they operated on him he would not be taking the matter further.

Many Brazilian men were saved from a whole world of embarrassment recently, when French customs officials intercepted a shipment of no less than 224,000 fake Viagra and Cialis anti-impotence pills. The haul of drugs branded Powergra and Erectalis but with the shape of colour of Viagra and Cialis pills was worth around 2.4 million euros (about£1.8m).

The copies of the bestselling drugs were found on December 18 during a search at the French capital's main air hub at Roissy, in a freight cargo on its way toBrazilfromIndia.