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Monday, 18 December 1995

  • LETTER: Better ways of spending money for education
    Tuesday, 19 December 1995

    Sir: Now we have the evidence that private schooling has little or no effect on children's adult achievements ("Value of private schooling may be over-estimated", 14 December) - what really counts in life is ability - it is time for a rethink on the ...

  • LETTER: Santa Claus takes on new ID
    Tuesday, 19 December 1995

    Sir: Gretchen Mason (letter, 15 December) was closest to the truth in the debate about the origins of Santa Claus. He is, in fact, a mixture of the Dutch Saint Nicholas and the Scandinavian Jul Tomten (Christmas elf). Saint Nicholas is a bishop from ...

  • LETTER: Santa Claus takes on new ID
    Tuesday, 19 December 1995

    Sir: The Swedish artist Jenny Nystrom (1854-1946) created Father Christmas (Jultomten) as he appears to us, not Haddon Sundblom, as stated in Richard Halliday's letter of 15 December. Jenny Nystrom won the gold medal of the Academy of Arts in 1881. F...

  • LETTER: Present imperfect
    Tuesday, 19 December 1995

    Sir: I hope Daniel Jeffreys ("No polka-dot ribbons please, we're British", 13 December) doesn't come shopping in the busy retail outlet where I work. I could easily conjure up some hostility and incomprehension for his request for the gift-wrapping o...

  • LETTER: Present imperfect
    Tuesday, 19 December 1995

    Sir: I read Daniel Jeffreys' lament about the lack of gift wrapping in British stores. I can sympathise. When I really get fed up with this tiresome skinflint attitude, I do have my revenge: I select an item for purchase in a store, take it to the co...

  • LETTER: Santa Claus takes on new ID
    Tuesday, 19 December 1995

    Sir: I had a good laugh at Richard Halliday's letter (15 December). The figure of Father Christmas as we know him goes back a lot further than 1931, or even 1921. I was born in 1911, and so had my first encounter with "Sandy Claws" (as I at first und...

  • Cutting quotas - the best deal for fishermen
    Tuesday, 19 December 1995

    It might seem paradoxical that an important part of the Government's policy for securing a healthy and confident fishing industry is to take measures that obviously lead to pain and some unemployment in communities already under pressure. I know it c...

  • LETTER: Santa Claus takes on new ID
    Tuesday, 19 December 1995

    Sir: Pace Jonathan Leckie (letter, 13 December), Father Christmas was well-known in this country long before Prince Albert's day. He rates an entry in the Oxford English Dictionary, which cites a pamphlet of 1658 entitled Examination and tryall of ol...

  • LEADING ARTICLE: The finger points at resignation
    Tuesday, 19 December 1995

    The lynch-happy citizens of Parliament, UK (population 651), had taken to the streets because of revelations about the regulator in the backwash of last week's claim and counterclaim concerning Richard Branson and the American company GTech. Mr Brans...

  • LEADING ARTICLE: The end is not nigh for reform in Russia
    Tuesday, 19 December 1995

    Yet it would be a mistake to paint a picture of uniform bleakness. There are two crucial reasons for suggesting that this is not necessarily the end of the road for reform. Yesterday's refusal of the markets to panic reflects an awareness that the en...

  • LETTER: Trouble in Tibet
    Tuesday, 19 December 1995

    Sir: In his article about the choice of a new Panchen Lama ("Tibet in turmoil over ruin of ancient rituals", 8 December), Tim McGirk wrote: The Chinese are attempting to smash an occult ritual that has persisted in Tibet for hundreds of years. This i...

  • Church schools want ballots, too
    Tuesday, 19 December 1995

    The reality is different. Ever since the Thatcher government came to power 16 years ago, there have been differences between the Church of England and the Conservatives about everything from the Falklands war to what children should be taught about G...

  • Uncle Jim gets carried away with sewage
    Tuesday, 19 December 1995

    "So, why is it called a sewage farm?" said Peter, wrinkling his nose as the acrid rural smell drifted slowly across the field. "I mean, it's not really a farm, is it? It doesn't produce anything, does it? It doesn't produce sewage, does it, even thou...

  • LETTER: Better ways of spending money for education
    Tuesday, 19 December 1995

    Sir: Why give such prominence to yet another piece of meaningless educational "research"? The study, based as it was on just one group of children born in 1958, cannot be taken as relevant to any group born even just a few years later, and is certain...

  • LETTER: Blunt talk about sharp objects
    Tuesday, 19 December 1995

    Sir: I read today ("Knife offenders will face jail sentences", 12 December) that the change proposed is to increase the sentence for an offence under section 139 Criminal Justice Act 1988, and to make it an arrestable offence. Section 139 makes it an...

  • LETTER: BSE licked?
    Tuesday, 19 December 1995

    Sir: Am I alone in concern about glue? I always thought that it was made from animal bones etc, ground up. If this is still the case, should we not all stop licking stamps and envelopes? Sincerely, Richard Huddy Manchester

  • Why Russians are seeing red
    Tuesday, 19 December 1995

    As has happened virtually every other Eastern European country, the electoral success of the Communist Party is a protest against the economic pain of the past five years. The Prime Minister, Viktor Chernyomyrdin, and his government have failed disma...

  • Welcome back from the wilderness
    Tuesday, 19 December 1995

    It is, to simplify, that there is no third way between the Vision Splendid of traditional socialism and mere conservatism. Throughout the final two programmes, the implication was that in its long, dusty and painful hunt for votes, Labour had no alte...

  • yesterday was...
    Monday, 18 December 1995

    Goldeneye, a fish in the North Carolina Aquarium, which has had a glass eye fitted by surgeons at the State College of Veterinary Science. "A few years ago," said Dr Brad Nadelstein, "surgery on dogs with cataracts was unheard of. Now it's common. Wh...

  • this is the week that was
    Monday, 18 December 1995

    1970: Divorce becomes legal in Italy. 1983: Gerald Ford becomes the first US President to appear in a soap opera when he makes a guest appearance in Dynasty. 19 December: 1863: Frederick Walton of London patents linoleum. 1980: Alexei Kosygin dies, a...

  • Leading Article: An obsession with opting out
    Monday, 18 December 1995

    The problem is the Prime Minister's obsession. He desperately wants to increase the number of self-governing schools. And he seems incapable of accepting reality: that most parents do not, in fact, want their schools to break away from the local coun...

  • Leading Article: Debasing the European debate
    Monday, 18 December 1995

    John Major did not help matters by sneering at the choice of Euro as "uninspiring", and arrogantly likening his EU partners to lemmings tumbling off a cliff. Did that really sound like a leader determined to place Britain at the heart of Europe, as h...

  • creativity headfuls of ideas on cloud nine
    Monday, 18 December 1995

    Clouds, says Michael Rubinstein, may feed the visual poetic imagination almost beyond endurance. Bringing them down to earth, however, he suggests they may be used "to wallow in a fog of pseudo-romantic euphoria". Clouds are for cuckoos to land on, s...

  • Chess
    Monday, 18 December 1995

    Where do you start with a mate in ten? Long problems usually have some repeating theme - a tactical sequence that may be played more than once to force some concession each time. Such a sequence may not be obvious, but you usually recognise it when y...

  • Get to the point
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