10 DECEMBER 1988, Page 4


'We're feeding them Edwina Currie.'

TWO front-bench opposition members, Clare Short and Andrew Bennett, resigned in protest at Labour's abstention from voting on anti-IRA legislation. Unemploy- ment was revealed as falling about a third more in Conservative constituencies than in Labour ones. A Mori opinion poll showed Conservatives increasing their lead over Labour among women just when Labour is trying to attract more women voters. The investment banking group Morgan Grenfell made 450 of its staff redundant. Small investors' appetite for British Steel shares led the Government to allocate them 42 per cent of the issue, almost double the original 23 per cent allocation. Diehard Liberals announced they would relaunch the Liberals as a party separate from the SLD. The Lord Chancel- lor, Lord Mackay of Clashfern, suggested scrapping jury trials for trivial cases to ease backlogs. The Archbishop of York, Dr John Habgood, indicated he considered himself too old to succeed Dr Runcie as Archbishop of Canterbury. An inquiry revealed that the Devon hospital which was thought to have given over 150 pa- tients radiation over doses had in fact done so to 207. The Royal College of Nursing, which maintains its no-strike pledge, claimed it had five times the normal number of applicants, implicitly members of other nursing unions, since regrading started. Mr John Birt, the BBC's deputy director-general, admitted some recent BBC journalism was biased. The junior health minister Edwina Currie claimed most British egg production was salmonella-infested; the Government then announced a campaign against food- poisoning, but egg-producers threatened to sue Mrs Currie for damages.

PRESIDENT Gorbachev flew to America for 'substantial' talks with President-elect George Bush. Unconfirmed reports sug- gested Mr Gorbachev would offer 30 per cent cuts in Soviet troops in Europe. Earlier he had pushed constitutional changes through the Supreme Soviet. Af- ter a visit to Moscow by China's foreign minister, Mr Qian Qi-chen, a Sino-Soviet summit was announced for 1989. Pravda praised Thatcherism. Four Russians hi- jacked a plane to Israel but were returned to Russia by the Israelis, who won lavish praise from Russia. Huge cross-flows of refugees between Armenia and Azerbaijan were reportedly straining the authorities' capacities in both Soviet republics. Miss Benazir Bhutto became Pakistan's premier and constructed a cabinet with three im- portant outsiders to counterbalance her own Pakistan People's Party's inexperi- ence. She retained the key defence, fi- nance and information portfolios. Iran was reported to be executing hundreds of left-wing dissidents. A cyclone was thought to have killed up to 10,000 Bangladeshis. Rebel Argentine troops occupied a milit- ary base near Buenos Aires and demanded an amnesty for officers convicted of human rights violations during Argentina's 1976- 83 'dirty war'. Communist-inspired public transport strikes disrupted Paris. Australia expelled eight Yugoslav consular staff after a teenage demonstrator was shot in Syd- ney; Yugoslavia expelled Australian diplo- mats in retaliation. Vietnam said it had withdrawn 32,000 troops from Kam- puchea. The Rhodes EEC summit shelved a decision on the single market; instead, Britain's continuing row with Belgium and Ireland over the failed extradition of Mr Patrick Ryan dominated proceedings