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0845 273 2500 Home David Cameron, the Prime Minister, said: ‘Getting debt under control is proving harder than anyone envisaged.’ In a speech to the Confederation of British Industry he blamed in part ‘paralysis in the eurozone’. His words came a week before the Chancellor was due to make his autumn statement, and the Office for Budget Responsibility to publish projections for the public deficit, which looked most unlikely to be expunged by the end of this parliament. Mr Cameron had earlier held talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and was thought to have discussed a ‘narrow’ amendment to the Lisbon Treaty that would not be subject to a referendum in Britain. Hospital patients are being subjected to a bedside video of Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary, telling them: ‘Your care while you’re here in hospital really matters to me.’
The government sold the ‘good’ bit of Northern Rock to Virgin Money for £747 million, a loss compared with its purchase price of between £400 million and £650 million. The government proposed policies to make more houses available: it would provide indemnity for up to 100,000 mortgages on newly built houses, spend £400 million on home-building schemes that had faltered, and offer discounts of 50 per cent for council tenants who wanted to buy their houses. A man was charged after four policemen were wounded with a knife outside a halal butcher’s at Kingsbury, London. Shelagh Delaney, who wrote the play A Taste of Honey at the age of 18, died, aged 71. Basil D’Oliveira, the South African-
born England cricketer refused entry to South Africa for a Test tour in 1968 on the grounds of his race, died, aged 80.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission found ‘systematic failure’ in council-run home care, with many examples of treatment that breached human rights, including physical abuse and theft. Royal Mail reported profits of £171 million for the last six months, though delivery of letters and parcels in Britain made a loss of £41 million. High-street sales showed an unexpected rise, of 0.6 per cent, in October. Landlords who own some of the 9,000 charity shops in high streets were found to be paying tenants, in order to avoid paying business rates on empty properties. Thomas Cook, the travel company, talked to its bank about its borrowing; a plan to close 200 of its shops was proposed. Astraeus Airlines, based in Sussex, which counted Bruce Dickinson, the lead singer of Iron Maiden, among its pilots, announced it had ceased operations.
Abroad Dozens were killed and hundreds wounded when tens of thousands thronged Tahrir Square in Cairo for several days, protesting against the military council. The Cabinet resigned and Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi said presidential elections would be held by the end of June. Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, a son of the murdered dictator of Libya, was arrested 30 miles from Ubari, an oasis city in the south of the country; the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno Ocampo, flew to Libya to seek his the spectator | 26 November 2011 | www.spectator.co.uk rendition to The Hague; it is likely that Saif will be tried in Libya. The Prime Minister of Turkey invoked Colonel Gaddafi’s fate in calling upon the President of Syria to resign. The United States and Britain imposed new financial sanctions on Iran, fearing it is developing nuclear weapons. King Abdullah of Jordan visited Ramallah, in the West Bank, for the first time in 11 years.
Acongressional committee of six Republicans and six Democrats failed to agree on steps to reduce the US deficit, meaning that $1.2 trillion of ‘sequestration’ cuts, specified in the bill that appointed the committee, will automatically come into force in 2013. A man said to have cracked a window in the White House with a shot was charged with attempting to assassinate President Barack Obama. In Florida, Oneal Ron Morris, who dresses as a woman, was charged with practising medicine without a licence after charging $700 to inject a woman’s buttocks with a mixture of cement and flat-tyre-sealant. Researchers at Washington University are developing contact lenses on which emails may be read.
In the Spanish elections, the conservative Partido Popular, led by Mariano Rajoy, won 186 of the 350 seats in the lower house of parliament. Hungary requested a ‘precautionary’ credit from the International Monetary Fund. The Pope was greeted by enthusiastic crowds on a visit to Benin, where Voodoo Day is bank holiday. The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority unsuccessfully attempted to introduce a list of words banned for text messaging, including ‘back door’. CSH