Can a car change the weather?
Renault Mégane Coupé Cabriolet. An all-glass roof for that open-top joie de vivre - even when it’s closed.
France has many Renault Mégane. By day, the French shade themselves from the sun beneath parasols and party often. Britain has fewer Renault Mégane. The British hide from the rain under umbrellas and spend cold evenings indoors watching television. Is this coincidence or correlation? Is a car the reason why France is so full of joie de vivre? We’d like to test this theory by giving you the chance to win a Renault Mégane Coupé Cabriolet for the summer and a trip to Menton, Côte d’Azur. _ For your chance to be our guinea pig go to www.MeganeInFrenchRiviera.com
DRIVE THE CHANGE
The official fuel consumption figures in mpg (l/100km) for the New Mégane Coupé Cabriolet Dynamique range are: Urban 25.9-46.3 (10.6-6.1), Extra Urban 44.8-64.2 (6.3-4.4), Combined 35.3-56.5 (8.0-5.0). The official CO2 emissions range from 184 to 130g/km. Home Inflation rose to an annual rate of 4 per cent in January from 3.7 per cent in December, far above the Bank of England’s target of 2 per cent. The rate according to the Retail Prices Index rose to 5.1 per cent from 4.8 per cent. David Cameron, the Prime Minister, defended his idea of the Big Society and the government’s economic policy, saying: ‘We have to make these cuts, we have to raise those taxes,’ even though ‘it will make me unpopular’. Unemployment rose to 7.9 per cent, with 965,000 16- to 24-year-olds without jobs. Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, said that big banks should be split up to prevent them making too much profit and developing a bonus culture. Barclays announced profits of £6.1 billion for 2010. A pilot review of incapacity benefit in Burnley and Aberdeen found 30 per cent of claimants fit to work immediately and that 39 per cent could consider working with the right help. Two racehorses, Fenix Two and Marching Song, collapsed and died in the paddock at Newbury. Electrocution was suspected.
National Health Service provision for old people was sometimes ‘failing to meet even the most basic standards of care’, according to a review by the Health Service Ombudsman of ten cases which she said were far from isolated examples. The RAF is to reduce its number of trainee pilots by a quarter due to defence cuts. The army apologised for having sent emails to 38 warrant officers, all of whom had served more than 22 years, telling them that they were losing their jobs. A judge at Chelmsford Crown Court invited the Crown Prosecution Service to consider the dignity of the court before proceeding with a case involving a woman hit in the eye by a sausage thrown at a party; the CPS then offered no evidence.
The House of Commons voted by 234 to 22 to reject the European Court of Human Rights’ ruling that those serving prison sentences must be allowed to vote in elections. Lynne Featherstone, the Equalities Minister, said the government planned to lift the prohibition of civil partnership ceremonies in churches. Trevor Bailey, the England all-rounder and BBC cricket commentator, died in a fire at his house in Essex, aged 87. The BBC had more than 100 complaints about the children’s animated puppet series Rastamouse, some saying it was racist, others that children should not be encouraged to use slang such as ‘wagwan’. Downing Street acquired a new cat, Larry, aged four, said to be ‘a good ratter’.
Abroad Hosni Mubarak resigned as President of Egypt. He had been in power since 1981. Mass protests in the streets had been calling on him to go since 25 January. The higher military council, which assumed power, dissolved parliament, suspended the constitution and said it would draft a new one to be put to a referendum. International treaties would be honoured. The last protesters were cleared from Tahrir Square in Cairo. Strikes for higher pay broke out. The opening of the stock exchange, closed since 28 January, was again postponed.
the spectator | 19 February 2011 | www.spectator.co.uk
Iranian MPs called for the execution of opposition leaders after thousands of protesters gathered in Azadi Square in Tehran chanting ‘Death to dictators’ before police broke them up. Police in Algiers dispersed street demonstrations. Supporters of President Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen chased from the streets of Sanaa thousands of protesters chanting: ‘After Mubarak, it’s Ali’s turn.’ Hundreds were involved in unrest in Benghazi, Libya. King Hamad bin Issa Al Khalifa of Bahrain said on television that the death of two protesters killed in clashes with security forces would be investigated. Italy was refused permission to send police to Tunisia after 5,000 migrants arrived on the island of Lampedusa in a week. Silvio Berlusconi¸ the Prime Minister of Italy, was indicted on charges of paying for sex with an underage prostitute, aged 17. Thousands of women had earlier rallied in Italian cities calling for his resignation. A Danish warship fired warning shots at a vessel off Somalia and arrested 16 men suspected of being pirates.
China overtook Japan as the world’s second biggest economy. President Barack Obama proposed mortgage reforms and the winding down of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which have received almost $150 billion of support. An antiterrorism court in Pakistan investigating the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in 2007 issued an arrest warrant for Pervaiz Musharraf, the former military president of the country, who lives in London. Islamic morality police in Malaysia arrested 80 people for celebrating St Valentine’s Day by sharing hotel rooms. CSH