20 APRIL 1991, Page 4


Mr John Major decided to dump the Thatcherite principle that everyone should contribute to the cost of local services. Ministers hoped this would stop sugges- tions that the new property tax is 'son of poll tax'. The Bruges Group accused Mr Major of 'gesture politics' and Panorama said that he had tried to conceal his school reports. The last of the British ground forces returned from the Gulf. An IRA man was shot dead by the RUC while preparing a mortar attack at Downpatrick, County Down. The •RUC was ordered to pay £5 damages to Sinn Fein after seizing documents from its Falls Road, Belfast office without authority. Thirty Kalash- nikov rifles and ammunition belonging to the IRA were found in County Meath. The Labour Party abandoned its commitment to unilateral nuclear disarmament and proposed income tax rates of between 20 and 50 per cent in its draft manifesto. Mortgage rates fell and interest rates were cut by a half per cent. The Church Com- missioners decided to pull out of invest- ment in commercial property, and to sell holdings worth around £500 million. Bill Galbraith, a Conservative who allegedly called a black Conservative candidate a `bloody nigger', is to be prosecuted for his language. The head of a private boarding school for difficult boys was jailed for eight years for indecent assaut and buggery against eight pupils. An Old Bailey jury failed to reach a verdict on criminal charges against the master of the Bowbelle. Mr Norman Lamont investigated allega- tions that he had let his house to a prostitute. The Department of the En- vironment said London Zoo would be given no further public money. It was revealed that Camden Council had carried on paying a council gardener while he served a prison sentence for arson. No member of the black lesbian community turned up for bereavement courses run by Hackney Council. Sir David Lean, the film director, died at the age of 83.

KURDS fleeing from Saddam Hussein's troops continued to die in thousands on the mountains of the borders. Iraqi troops blitzed Kurdish villages to deprive insur- gents of cover. Turkish soldiers fired on refugees scrambling for food, looted sup- plies, and did not distribute some foreign aid. President Bush announced the estab- lishment, by American, British and French troops of refugee camps in northern Iraq, below the mountains. Westminster sources suggested that this approximated to Mr Major's original idea of a 'safe haven'. The Princess Royal said the Kurdish problem was distracting attention from 20 million facing starvation in Africa. More than 140 were killed by fire on an Italian ferry which collided with an oil tanker in fog near Leghorn, north Italy. The Pope appointed a Bishop of Moscow and five other bishops in the Soviet Union. Strikers in Byelorussia returned to work after authorities agreed to talks on their economic and political demands including the resignation of Presi- dent Gorbachev. The Israeli prime minis- ter offered to let Palestinians form political groups, set up newspapers and have a government structure for everything but defence and foreign affairs. Five died in fighting near the home of Nelson Mandela in Soweto. Twenty-six bodies, allegedly dumped by soldiers, were found in a lagoon in Togo, and were taken to the American embassy by critics of the regime of President Eyadema. China appealed to police and civil servants in Hong Kong to, stay after 1997. Twenty Van Gogh paint- ings from an Amsterdam museum were recovered two and a half hours after being stolen. The Japanese whaling fleet, which is said to exist for research purposes, killed 327 whales in the Atlantic in order to study them.