Berkshire hathaway has waded into the takeover battle for Transatlantic Holdings, tabling a $3.2bn bid for the reinsurer.

Obituary: John Gould

JOHN GOULD toiled for half a century to see the gloriously sunny day in August 1990 when the Queen reopened the Kennet and Avon Canal, the famous waterway linking the River Thames in the east with the River Avon in the west.

Letter: Europe: what now?

Sir: Let us accept all their resignations (and no golden handshakes) and put in people who have a sense of honour and responsibility and know the meaning of honesty. That would automatically rule out politicians, trade unionists and bankers. Our own Civil Service has a lot to be proud of and could act as a template. Failing that we could do a lot worse than replace the Commissioners with corner-shop owners, taxi drivers and fishermen.

Letter: Oskar ceremony

Sir: Some 290 million of the world's most prosperous peoples unite behind a single currrency, the euro. It is triumphantly launched and steadily depreciates. Then one man resigns from the German government and the euro's comparative value surges upwards.

Pupil is found hanged in bedroom at Eton College

AN ETON schoolboy was found hanged in his room yesterday at the Berkshire college where Princes William and Harry are being educated. Two fellow pupils found the 15-year-old suspended from a cord in his bedroom in Baldwins Bec House shortly before breakfast time.

Letter: Duty Free

Sir: I am pleased to see that the ending of duty-free may lead to an increase in fares. Anything which will encourage a reduction in unnecessary travel is a good thing. We should forget this minor issue of duty-free and concentrate on harmonising duties within Europe to end the equally ludicrous incentive to buy alcohol in France rather than the UK.

Letter: Hoddle's offence

Sir: Virtually six pages devoted to Glenn Hoddle on 3 February. Bring back news of the Royal Family!

Letter: The politics of food

Sir: As one of Britain's dwindling number of cattle keepers, I have a question for the Chief Medical Officer ("Beef on bone ban must stay, says health chief", 22 January). Why has a zoonotic disease (one that is transferred from animal to man) been diagnosed, when the first principle has not been fulfilled - to identify the disease in the occupationally exposed.

Racing: Pitman's souffle ready to serve

PRINCEFUL IS "like a souffle that is cooked and ready to be served", according to Jenny Pitman, his trainer. Unfortunately, the pudding-like ground at Ascot may prevent the dish of the day appearing on tomorrow's menu at the Berkshire course.

Fallon inquiry: Inspectors criticise regimes at Britain's top-security sites

SINCE 1980, Britain's three top-security mental hospitals have been subject to critical reports.

Letter: Wowsers on parade

Sir: I would question Nick Thomas's suggestion (letter, 6 January) that the word "wowser" is really Cornish in origin, and would suggest that some of the migrants he mentions either returned, or passed the word to their relations in letters. I first heard the word from my father when he returned from his first visit to Australia in about 1959. As I remember, he was also quite clear as to the origin of the word: an acronym derived from a banner carried by a procession in an Australian city by the Temperance Society or a similar body, the message on the banner reading "We Only Want Social Evils Remedied".

Arrests mark bypass battle

PROTESTERS blocked the Newbury bypass yesterday, in a demonstration to mark the third anniversary of the start of one of Britain's most hard- fought environmental battles.

Boys questioned on rape attempt

Boys questioned on rape attempt

Stalker jailed for 6-year campaign

A FORMER Royal Navy petty officer who has stalked a woman for six years and is said to have "destroyed" her life was jailed for four months yesterday.

Racing: Newbury is sunk

TODAY'S CARD at Newbury and tomorrow's meeting at Newton Abbot have become the latest victims of the weather. At the Berkshire venue, which staged a card on Saturday, the clerk of the course, Richard Pridham, said: "We had 12mm of rain overnight, there is a huge amount coming down now and there is more forecast so it was hopeless."

Letter: The deliverers and despots who hold our future in their hands

PETER KOENIG says we must join the EMU, while allowing that "Brussels is profoundly undemocratic" and that "it poses a real threat to British sovereignty" ("The year the globalisation dream died", Business, 20 December). The alternative "is marginalisation in an economically chaotic world". He says we have high interest rates because "class" makes us want to spend. And if low interest rates are imposed on us, this malaise will go away. Actually, it just might, thanks to European taxes, extra net contributions and trade deficit. Will that be good for recession?
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