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Nearly six million people began to receive letters from HM Revenue & Customs telling them they had paid the wrong amount of tax. About £2 billion has been underpaid, at an average of £1,380 per person, and £1.8 billion overpaid, averaging £420 per person. Connaught, the social housing maintenance company, which employs 10,000 people, went into administration. As his special adviser resigned, Mr William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, issued a statement saying: ‘Any suggestion that his appointment was due to an improper relationship between us is utterly false, as is any suggestion that I have ever been involved in a relationship with any man.’ He said that they had occasionally shared hotel rooms with twin bedswhilecampaigning.MrHagueaddedthat he and his wife had wanted children, but that she had suffered ‘multiple miscarriages’. Mr Bob Diamond is to replace Mr John Varley as chief executive of Barclays next year. Sir Cyril Smith, the 29-stone MP for Rochdale 197292, as a Liberal, then a Liberal-Democrat, died, aged 82. HMS Astute was commissioned into the Royal Navy; a nuclear-powered submarine that need surface only after three months, it was laid down in 2001.
The House of Commons reassembled and gave a second reading by 328 votes to 269 to a bill providing for a referendum on 5 May nextyearonthealternativevotesystemofelecting MPs. Assistant Commissioner John Yates of the Metropolitan Police told a Commons committee that police would ‘at some stage’ question Mr Andy Coulson, who is the director of communications for the Conservative party, over new allegations that he was aware of telephone-tapping by reporters when he was editor of the News of the World, 2003-07. Police questioned the suspended Pakistan cricketers Mohammad Amir, Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif over claims that deliberate no-balls were bowled in the fourth Test with England, and released them without conditions. About £4,000 in cash, which had been paid to an agent as part of a set-up by the News of the World, was found after the rooms of the
Obama tries to win over America’s Tea Party movement three players were searched. The Pakistan HighCommissioner,MrWajidShamsulHasan said he was convinced they were innocent. A police sergeant was jailed for six months after being shown on a closed-circuit television camera throwing a 59-year-old woman into a cell at Melksham, Wiltshire, leaving her with a gash above one eye that needed stitches. An Old Bailey judge ordered Asil Nadir, who has returned from North Cyprus after fleeing in 1993, to wear an electronic tag and observe a curfew until his trial can begin in October 2011. A boy found a live pipe-bomb in the playground of a Catholic primary school in Antrim. London Underground staff went on strike for 24 hours over job losses.
Asuicide bomb attack on a demonstra- tion by Shiites in Quetta, Pakistan, in favour of a Palestinian homeland killed 65. Euskadi Ta Askatasuna, the Basque separatist terrorist organisation, announced a ceasefire. Mozambique said it would reintroduce subsidies for bread after an increase in prices sparked off riots that left 13 dead. In the northern Nigerian city of Maiduguri, a dozen fatal shootings carried out by people on motorbikes were blamed on an Islamist sect called Boko Haram. Pastor Terry Jones, of the Dove World Outreach Center, a non-denominational church at Gainesville, Florida, announced a bonfire of Korans on 11 September. General David Petraeus, the US commander in Afghanistan said: ‘It could endanger troops.’ Mr Edward Nino Hernandez, 24, a part-time dancer from Bogota, Colombia, was named as the world’s shortest man, at 27 inches.
of railways. The US mid-term elections are due on 2 November, and a Washington PostABC News poll found that 43 per cent of voters favoured the Republicans on financial problems and 39 per cent the Democrats. Mr George Soros said he would donate $100 million to the New York-based Human Rights Watch over the next ten years, if it raises a sum to match his gift. South Korea offered North Korea £5 million worth of emergency aid after an outbreak of floods, but North Korea said it would prefer rice and cement. An earthquake with an epicentre 13 miles west of Christchurch, New Zealand, damaged 100,000 homes but killed no one. Miss Julia Gillard, the leader of the Labour party in Australia, said she would remain prime minister after securing the support of two independent MPs to gain a majority in parliament. Public-sector workers in France went on strike for a day over plans to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62. Mr Ahmed Benzizine, a stonemason, had his image carved in stone as a gargoyle on the restored Lyon cathedral, with an accompanying inscription in Arabic: ‘Allahu Akbar’. CSH
President Barack Obama of the United States announced an infrastructure programme costing $50 billion over six years to renew 150,000 miles of roads and 4,000 miles www.spectator.co.uk
THE SPECTATOR 11 September 2010 9