Agenda: This week's big issues

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CHARLES'S FINANCES

INSPECTED

TWO AIDES TO THE PRINCE OF WALES ARE TO APPEAR BEFORE THE COMMONS PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE

What's the story?

The Prince of Wales faces an uncomfortable day tomorrow as two of his top financial aides appear before the Commons Public Accounts Committee. Tabloid attention, inevitably, will be focused on the costs of maintaining Camilla Parker Bowles. Payments to former valet Michael Fawcett are also high on the agenda. MPs on the committee, however, are just as interested in Charles's commercial investments that have seen a 300 per cent increase in income in recent years.

What are they saying?

Sir Michael Peat, his private secretary, right, sniffed that Camilla "doesn't want anyone to suggest she is benefiting from public money". "The Prince of Wales ensures that environmental and agricultural best practice are at the heart of the Duchy's management approach." But Clarence House's failure to let the National Audit Office investigate means questions about Charles's finances won't go away.

What happens next?

The Duchy of Cornwall's Bertie Ross and Keith Willis face the Public Accounts Committee for two hours on Monday to answer the MPs' questions. The Prince of Wales will publish his accounts for last year in around June but, unless there is a major change of heart, it is unlikely the public will know very much more about his expenditure until the NAO is let in to look at the books. Francis Elliott

BUSH TO CUT SOCIAL SECURITY

THE PRESIDENT'S BUDGET COULD HAIL THE BEGINNING OF THE END FOR AMERICA'S NEW DEAL

What's the story?

President George Bush will submit the federal budget to Congress tomorrow and will continue to press his plan to restructure social security, even as he faces resistance from some members of his own party. He has been making the case for personal investment accounts in social security as an alternative to government assistance as far back as his unsuccessful race for Congress in 1978, and it is now the issue at the top of the national radar screen.

What are they saying?

Republican Senator Chuck Hagel (left) is one who has expressed doubts and is calling for Congress to take a slow approach. "We've got time here to explore a wide range of options," he says. Critics suspect a darker motive than giving people more control over their money. Opponents of the plan say it is the first step in a conservative campaign to deconstruct the New Deal. "It's a Darwinian, survival-of-the-fittest own philosophy,"

said Democrat Sander Levin.

What happens next?

The President will continue to campaign for the plan to restructure social security by rallying the American public and applying pressure to the Democrats in the Senate. Senator Chuck Hagel has expressed doubts that Congress would enact any major changes of the kind envisaged this year. And Representative Clay Shaw, who is a senior Republican member of the House Ways and Means Committee, predicts that George Bush's proposal faces "a tough political sell" on Capitol Hill. John Hiscock

ARTISTIC TRIPLE WHAMMY

THE TURNER WHISTLER MONET EXHIBITION IS LIKELY TO BE ONE OF TATE BRITAIN'S MOST SUCCESSFUL EVER

What's the story?

Following successful showings in Toronto and Paris, the Turner Whistler Monet exhibition opens at Tate Britain on Thursday. It has already had the biggest advance tickets sales in the gallery's history, and looks set to beat last year's popular Edward Hopper at Tate Modern. The 19th- century "triple-whammy" presents views of Venice, the Thames and the Seine and is spread over seven rooms, including a number of paintings never before shown in Britain.

What are they saying?

According to Tate Britain, it is "an extraordinary exhibition which draws on the influences and relationship between three giants of 19th- century art". Art critic Brian Sewell (left) describes the exhibition as "a familiar feast to the eye and a commercially sensible idea". But he also believes that the attempt to prove a strong artistic link between the painters fails and "swiftly grows wearisome".

What happens next?

Late-night viewings are already planned and all-night openings are pencilled in if the demand is there. With several other high-profile shows elsewhere, including the Turks at the Royal Academy and a forthcoming exhibition of Caravaggio at the National Gallery, Tate Britain has stiff competition. But on current bookings it looks as though it is the troubled Royal Academy which is set to lose out. Jenni Silver

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