Home Fred Goodwin, the former chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland, was stripped of his knighthood by the Forfeiture Committee, which said he had ‘brought the honours system into disrepute’. Stephen Hester, the chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland, turned down a £963,000 shares-only bonus payment in the face of ‘enormous political pressure’. The Institute for Fiscal Studies said that the government was borrowing £2.9 billion less this year than expected and that there might be room for tax cuts in the budget next month. A man in Bournemouth found blue spheres of jelly an inch across on his lawn after a hailstorm.
David Norris and Gary Dobson said they would appeal against their convictions for the murder of Stephen Lawrence. Police arrested two current and two former journalists at the Sun and a policeman in an operation investigating payments made to police by journalists. Theresa May, the Home Secretary, said, as she had said last October, that police would be obliged to deal with antisocial behaviour if five households in one area complained about a resident. Mrs May also said in a separate initiative that all tents would be banned from Olympic venues lest there be protests. An 86ft redwood in Sheffield Park, Sussex, exploded during a thunderstorm.
The destroyer Dauntless was readied to set sail for the Falkland Islands. The Duke of Cambridge flew there first for a tour of duty as a helicopter pilot. BAA, the airport operator, lost its appeal against a Competition Commission ruling that it must sell Stansted airport. The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, said he opposed the notion of same-sex marriages: ‘I don’t think it is the role of the state to define what marriage is.’ The two pandas that arrived at Edinburgh zoo from China in December were removed from public display after developing colic.
Abroad EU leaders at a summit in Brussels agreed to a fiscal compact, though this will not be ratified until after the elections in France. The two EU countries that continued to refuse to join the compact were Britain and the Czech Republic. The German government had proposed that a eurozone budget commissioner should have veto powers over Greek budgetary measures if they were not in line with targets set by international lenders. Greece rejected the idea. Belgium held a general strike against austerity. The Spanish bank Santander announced a 35 per cent fall in annual profits. The Spanish airline Spanair collapsed, leaving 20,000 passengers stranded. A Dutch pigeon fancier sold a bird on the internet auction site Pigeon Paradise to a Chinese shipping magnate for €250,400.
The United States, Britain and France backed a call by the Arab League for a UN resolution calling on President Bashar al-Assad of Syria to hand power to a deputy. Russia resisted the scheme, calling it a ‘path to civil war’. The Arab League had suspended its monitoring mission in Syria because of increased violence,
the spectator | 4 february 2012 | www.spectator.co.uk which began to account for some 50 lives a day. Medecins Sans Frontières said it was suspending its work at a detention centre in Misrata because of an alarming rise in cases of torture by the new Libyan authorities. Nigerian forces shot dead 11 presumed members of Boko Haram, the Islamist terrorists, in the northern city of Maiduguri. In Somalia, al-Shabab, the Islamist militants, banned the Red Cross from operating in parts of the country it controls. The supreme court in Spain refused a request to throw out a case against Judge Baltasar Garzon, accused of violating an amnesty from 1977 for crimes under Franco’s dictatorship. In Ukraine, 28 homeless people were found dead in the street after night temperatures suddenly fell to minus 30˚C.
Leon Panetta, the US Defence Secretary, said he was very concerned about a Pakistani doctor arrested for providing intelligence for the American who killed Osama bin Laden last year in Abbottabad; a Pakistani panel investigating the raid had recommended the doctor’s prosecution for high treason. The Taleban in Afghanistan are being aided by Pakistani security services, according to an internal Nato report. President Barack Obama of the United States defended the use of unmanned drone aircraft in Pakistan’s tribal areas to kill ‘people who are on a list of active terrorists’. Newt Gingrich, seeking the Republican presidential nomination, said, with an eye on the Florida primary, that there should be a base on the moon, which could become the 51st state. Even so, his rival Mitt Romney won in Florida. The Japanese population will shrink by a third in the next 50 years, a government report warned. CSH.