The Week in Review: Home News

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The Independent Online
NEIL KINNOCK had the unexpected pleasure of being cheered by Conservative MPs in the Commons - a few even waved their order papers - as he entered the chamber for his last tussle with John Major over the dispatch box before stepping down as Labour leader.

As a backbencher he will take a substantial pay cut, lose his car and staff and may find the 38 per cent rise in allowances that MPs voted themselves, despite ministerial opposition, extremely useful.

A further inquiry to discover if we are paying too much for our CDs by the Office of Fair Trading is to begin shortly, drawing an angry reaction from the British Phonographic Industry, which said it earned valuable foreign revenue and lamented that the success appeared misunderstood at home.

A Serbian boy of 16 fled his home in Pje, in the Kosovo region, and was found wandering on the quay on Tyneside after hitch-hiking across Europe without a passport and stowing-away on a North Sea ferry.

Ganesh Sittampalam, Britain's youngest graduate who obtained his maths degree at 13 after attending university for just one day a week, showed an equally adventurous spirit when he ran the Sun newspaper for a day, upbraiding hacks and editors.

Motor racing fans also came in for some severe criticism after they invaded the track at Silverstone following Nigel Mansell's victory in the British Grand Prix to overtake Jackie Stewart's record of 27 Grand Prix wins.

Drivers of rather slower cars that attract the attentions of private wheel clampers may stand a better chance in future. The Government says that the 'cowboy clampers' may be committing the criminal offence of demanding money with menaces and is urgently examining what can be done to curb their excesses.

Ultimately, travelling by rail may be a safer bet following the Government's long-awaited announcement that the network is to be privatised. The hope is that it will increase efficiency and offer greater choice to the passenger when the services are split into 30 or 40 franchises, some to be sold to the private sector in 1994.

Another institution which the Government has shown a marked reluctance to support financially is London Zoo, which might still have to close despite the gift of pounds 1m by the Emir of Kuwait, again throwing the lives of many of the specimens into doubt.

And finally. After a break of more than five years, ITN is to restore its winsome 'and finally' endpiece to round off News at Ten. So does this mean endless footage of sunbathing rabbits floating in jacuzzis? A spokesman attempted to reassure: 'We won't necessarily be concentrating on skateboarding ducks . . '