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Wednesday, 18 October 1995

  • numbers the anaesthetist
    Thursday, 19 October 1995

    The 19th day of a month was considered unlucky in ancient Babylonia because it fell 49 days after the beginning of the previous month, and 49 is 7 times 7, and who knows what evil that might lead to. Nineteen is a sacred number in the Baha'i faith, w...

  • LETTER: Moved to tears by conference speech
    Thursday, 19 October 1995

    Sir: John Major's deeply personal and sincere account of how he knows all too well what it feels like when the money runs out on a Thursday moved me to tears, as did his promise that he would ensure that the Conservative Party always looked after the...

  • LETTER: Moved to tears by conference speech
    Thursday, 19 October 1995

    Sir: I wonder if anyone else has picked up on what seemed a most confused part of John Major's speech at the Tory conference. I refer to his attack on George Orwell as a "public-school socialist" and a name-changer. This struck me as bizarre in that ...

  • LETTER: The Million Man March: Farrakhan's words offer renewal
    Thursday, 19 October 1995

    Sir: According to John Carlin and your leading article (16 October), the Million Man March that took place in Washington DC on Monday was a spectacle that would make "Martin Luther King weep if he were alive today", and a "sideshow", compared to the ...

  • Money for houses
    Thursday, 19 October 1995

    Sir: Chris Blackhurst's report concerning local authority capital receipts (16 October) intimates that the pounds 6bn in frozen local authority capital receipts no longer exists and there is only pounds 2bn available. However, the most recent Departm...

  • Photo finish
    Thursday, 19 October 1995

    Her photograph of a payphone on a misty autumnal morning was judged the winner in a competition run in association with BT, which attracted entries from more than 1,200 photographers. Betty's photograph of a telephone box just outside the village of ...

  • LEADING ARTICLE: The legacy of Fred West
    Thursday, 19 October 1995

    But should the rest of us share this warm glow? That certainly isn't our first reaction. In the middle of a trial that has been characterised by a constant flow of questions to witnesses about the sale of their stories to newspapers and others, this ...

  • LETTER: Moved to tears by conference speech
    Thursday, 19 October 1995

    13 October From Mr John Mallen Sir: John Major, on the basis of one speech to the party conference, becomes "authentic, honourable and decent" (leading article, 15 October)! What has happened to the government record of the past 16 years? Are we now ...

  • LETTER: The Million Man March: Farrakhan's words offer renewal
    Thursday, 19 October 1995

    Sir: John Carlin states that "Thirty-two years on, segregation has gone, blacks occupy positions of office around the land; a black man could be elected president of the United States next year." But as the OJ Simpson verdict demonstrates, Martin Lut...

  • The trap in Sir Patrick's path
    Thursday, 19 October 1995

    Unfortunately this requirement, which was originally agreed by the British and Irish governments and underwritten by the US government, is in danger of being eroded in two ways. The first is through the "twin-track" concept: that parallel to talks on...

  • LETTER: Wot an eye for English dialect
    Thursday, 19 October 1995

    Sir: Meridel Holland's "should of" (Letters, 18 October) is a misspelling of "should've", the normal reduced spoken form of "should have" that everyone uses. "Should of" is the kind of written form called "eye-dialect" that novelists use to indicate ...

  • There's a bit of Sting in us all
    Thursday, 19 October 1995

    The first is that if the system cannot be trusted to supply appropriate financial advice to people worth tens of millions, it is hardly surprising that people of more modest means feel a little short-changed by the quality of service on offer. The se...

  • LETTER: Howard's end
    Thursday, 19 October 1995

    Sir: Given that Michael Howard has been found guilty in the courts on at least two occasions, perhaps his idea of automatic life sentences for persistent offenders has its merits after all. Yours faithfully, John Morgan London, SW18 17 October

  • LEADING ARTICLE: A shameful lack of honour
    Thursday, 19 October 1995

    Mr Lewis is not the first person to think that he could do a better job if only a superior would cease pestering. His protestations are also self- serving. (Like Mr Howard, he tends to blame everyone but himself). And he may not be wholly reliable on...

  • Why Iraq must reject UN offer
    Thursday, 19 October 1995

    Sir: Patrick Cockburn ("Saddam to show strength of his iron grip", 14 October) quotes a foreign diplomat as saying, regarding food shortages, that if the Iraqi regime "were really hard pressed they would have accepted the UN offer" of oil sales to me...

  • LETTER: Anglican employment
    Thursday, 19 October 1995

    Sir: Strange and sad irony that you should offer a pulpit to the Rev Kit Chalcraft (Another View, 18 October) on the day that you publish the obituary of his illustrious predecessor at Hilborough. My colleague seems as confused in his thinking as he ...

  • Stuck between the flab and a hard place
    Thursday, 19 October 1995

    But it clearly isn't obvious. A counter-attack has come from, inter alia, William Waldegrave, the Treasury Chief Secretary, the Economist and Martin Wolf of the Financial Times, all denying the state's loss of power. This is not a minor question, nor...

  • Past master of many a riddle
    Thursday, 19 October 1995

    Today: a complete new thriller entitled 'The Time Detective'! Inspector Gidley liked to have a drink after work in the pub nearest to the station. Usually he spent the first 10 minutes in the pub staring into space and quietly sighing. It was a bit, ...

  • chess
    Thursday, 19 October 1995

    The counter-argument, however, is that any positional nuance - a weak square, a vulnerable king, a lack of space or whatever - will ultimately become susceptible to tactical exploitation. A machine need not understand strategic subtleties if it can c...

  • yesterday was...
    Thursday, 19 October 1995

    Ufologists, with several sightings in Malaysia of a spaceship, "the size of a football field and several storeys high", occupied by extra-terrestrials with long ears and little red eyes. a bad day for: Frederick Chiluba, the president of Zambia, whos...

  • LETTER: The Million Man March: Farrakhan's words offer renewal
    Thursday, 19 October 1995

    Sir: The Independent is to be congratulated for printing excerpts from Louis Farrakhan's speech (18 October) on Monday at the Million Man March. From my reading of what he said, there was no hint of race hatred or anti- Semitism. I have heard Farrakh...

  • LETTER: Who takes the blame for prison problems?
    Wednesday, 18 October 1995

    Sir: Your leading article "Howard escapes justice again", (17 October) states that "no one who reads this report will doubt that his [Derek Lewis's] resignation is appropriate". Derek Lewis did not resign, he was summarily dismissed by the Home Secre...

  • LETTER: Operatic snobbery
    Wednesday, 18 October 1995

    Sir: As a member of the working class, I resent Terry Dicks's imputation that I am an "arty-farty" type who indulges in "corporate entertaining" (report, 16 October). Classical music and theatre are my interests, and I rejoice that some of my pounds ...

  • LETTER: Better information on IVF
    Wednesday, 18 October 1995

    Sir: You rightly state ("A league table too far", 12 October) that the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority statistical report of in vitro fertilisation and donor insemination clinics' live birth rates should be handled with caution. That is ...

  • Richard D North
    Wednesday, 18 October 1995

    Mr Caldwell - the very image of a businesslike bureaucrat - is mildly optimistic that Mr Dorrell can achieve his savings. "It would help if the enormous burden of reporting to the centre could be reduced a bit," he says, wryly. Working from conspicuo...

  • Can we trust the men in suits?
    Wednesday, 18 October 1995

    Fukuyama's book is about what he calls "social capital". This means the social, as opposed to merely economic, structures that make successful societies. Trust lies at the heart of these structures, since it smooths the operation of society, lowering...

  • Howard blameless: true or false?
    Wednesday, 18 October 1995

    1. In what circumstances can you imagine Michael Howard actually taking the blame for anything? 2. Do you think Michael Howard would resign as Home Secretary if: (a) He was asked to? (b) A gun was put to his head and he was asked to? (c) He became so...

  • LETTER: Do it matter?
    Wednesday, 18 October 1995

    Sir: There is a real difference between time-honoured and charming dialect usage, as valued by Pam Ayres (Another View, 13 October) and many others, and the creeping bane of the new illiteracy. Forms such as "should of", "might of went", beloved of t...

  • LEADING ARTICLE: It's time to break the Bank
    Wednesday, 18 October 1995

    It is gripping stuff, but the central public policy question remains the same: does Britain have the best possible arrangements for supervising its banks? It has to be recognised that no system will be flawless. A clever fraudster will always be able...

  • LEADING ARTICLE: The dream of Gummerius
    Wednesday, 18 October 1995

    It recognises that the physical depradations of industrial-scale agriculture have been followed by a hollowing out of village communities. Scarce housing stock has been bought up by commuters whose work takes them to cities during the day, by second ...

  • LETTER: Who takes the blame for prison problems?
    Wednesday, 18 October 1995

    Sir: Could the Home Secretary give us an example of a "policy decision" taken by him, in which there was at least the possibility of it turning out badly? Having overall responsibility for policy seems to have meant no more than saying to Derek Lewis...

  • LETTER: Operatic snobbery
    Wednesday, 18 October 1995

    Sir: Andrew Gumbel's attack on Luciano Pavarotti demonstrates exactly the sort of damaging snobbery that erects barriers between what is perceived as "high art" and more popular culture ("Dear Luciano Pavarotti", 16 October). The public consumption o...

  • LETTER: Better information on IVF
    Wednesday, 18 October 1995

    Sir: So, unbelievably, yet another IVF unit has recently opened in London. I did not refer to my colleagues at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in my article ("NHS patients deserve the best", 6 October), but they make my point so eloquently (Lett...

  • Politicians are the true philistines
    Wednesday, 18 October 1995

    But is that what we are really like? True, the French and Germans traditionally spend more on arts. But the munificence of the lottery will soon change that. The fundamental difference has not been among the British people, but among the politicians....

  • LETTER: Bunny peculiar
    Wednesday, 18 October 1995

    Sir: With regard to your article about the fate of rabbits on the Isle of Man ("A tale of Flopsy, Mopsy and public enemy No 1", 13 October), the disappearance of the old Rangoon Corporation following the Japanese invasion and occupation of Burma in 1...

  • LETTER: The status quo vs justice for gays
    Wednesday, 18 October 1995

    Sir: Like all temperamental conservatives, Bryan Appleyard deplores the intrusion of politics into essentially personal aspects of life ("Kiss goodbye to gay politics", 11 October). So do I - but for different reasons. While Mr Appleyard and his ilk ...

  • LETTER: Death by gloves
    Wednesday, 18 October 1995

    Sir: In 1889 Aeneas Murphy, a navvy from County Mayo who for 40 years had "made a bit on the side" in Liverpool and London as a bare-knuckle fighter died of a heart attack shortly after his last contest in a St John's Wood field. Murphy, my grandmoth...

  • Priests for the people
    Wednesday, 18 October 1995

    It is one thing to conclude - as the tribunal did - that a clergyman is not an employee, and therefore not subject to secular employment laws, but much harder to say what he actually is. As a result of the present climate of change we find ourselves ...

  • chess
    Wednesday, 18 October 1995

    I would not recommend trying to solve this splendid problem, which was composed by JC van Gool in 1979. Just play through the solution and see how long it takes you to realise what is going on before you boggle at the final position. Since Black has ...

  • LETTER: Who takes the blame for prison problems?
    Wednesday, 18 October 1995

    Sir: As you suggest, Derek Lewis's record as director general of the Prison Service is one of considerable achievement. Contrary to the public image, performance has improved in many areas, and Mr Lewis has given highly visible leadership. Although t...

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