PORTRAIT OF THE WEEK
The British character Mr Gordon Brown, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, said in a speech to the Con- federation of British Industry that he sought a consensus in the nation in favour of European monetary union. He suggested companies might soon be able to pay tax in euros. The government is to seek European Union funds to publicise the change in money, in a way similar to the Decimalisa- tion Board. But the Chancellor left unad- dressed the consequences of an economy run centrally from Europe. Mr William Hague, the leader of the Conservative party, also spoke to the CBI, but had already, the day before, accused its mem- bers of rushing 'like lemmings' towards EMU. At a Franco-British summit on the 38th floor of the Canary Wharf tower, hired for the day, Mr Tony Blair, the Prime Min- ister, was assured by President Jacques Chirac and M. Lionel Jospin, the French Prime Minister, that Britain would get a seat on the six-member board of the Euro- pean central bank 'as soon as it joined the euro'. Interest rates rose by a quarter of a percentage point to 7.25 per cent. Headline inflation rose to 3.7 per cent, with an underlying rate of 2.8 per cent; it is the fifth month that the target of 2.5 per cent has been missed. Unemployment fell by 80,704 to 1,432,833, the lowest for 17 years. The Labour party gave back a donation of million from Mr Bernie Ecclestone, the Formula One promoter, after the govern- ment embraced a policy he had urged, in a meeting with Mr Blair, of lifting a ban on tobacco sponsorship of grand prix racing. Twelve members of Sinn Fein in Co. Louth withdrew support from Mr Gerry Adams, the president of the party, which is the political face of the Irish Republican Army; at the same time some IRA office-holders resigned in protest against its ceasefire, including its quartermaster-general, who controls its armaments. Labour won a by- election at Paisley with a majority reduced to 2,731, from 12,750 at the last election; it won 10,346 votes against the Scottish National Party's 7,615. A Union flag was flown upside down by mistake from the Ministry of Defence on Remembrance Sunday.
THE United States flew U2 reconnaissance aeroplanes bearing United Nations mark- ings at 80,000 feet above Iraq despite a threat by President Saddam Hussein's gov- ernment to shoot them down; this-followed a refusal by Iraq to allow Americans among UN weapons-inspectors to enter installa- tions. President Bill Clinton of the United States made a speech at a dinner for 1,500 homosexual men and women in which he said that discrimination against them in employment should be illegal. Equity mar- kets around the world fell at the prospect of a rise in interest rates in the United States. Mr Alan Greenspan, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, criticised European coun- tries for failing to have established statisti- cal methods of measuring inflation, a lack they would feel if they proceeded with monetary union. Louise Woodward, an English nanny convicted of murdering an infant in Massachusetts, had the charge reduced to manslaughter and was sen- tenced to 279 days (which she had served) instead of 15 years. In the Juba valley in southern Somalia 400,000 people faced starvation as flood waters cut them off from food and shelter. A huge dam across the Yangtse river was begun with the blocking of the river's main channel, amid fears for the future of the Yangtse crocodile. Israel signed a concordat with the Vatican to gov- ern treatment of clergy and church proper- ty. President Sir Ketumile Masire of Botswana promised to resign after 18 years in March in favour of Vice-President Fes- tus Mogae. Tesco acquired options to build vast shopping malls in Budapest and