21 MARCH 1992, Page 4


Polls suggested that Labour had a five- point lead over the Conservatives. Shares dropped in price and the pound fell below the ERM limit against the Spanish peseta. Labour announced tax plans to exempt 740,000 people entirely, and charge 9 per cent National Insurance on all income above £21,060, as well as 50p in the pound tax on earnings above £36,375. Both main parties launched their manifestos. The Tories promised more private ownership, Labour more public investment. Bernard Weatherill retired as Speaker of the House of Commons and 80 MPs. John Browne, sitting Conservative MP, decided to stand in Winchester against the official Conserva- tive candidate. A Bristow helicopter fell into the North Sea, killing 11 men, while ferrying workers at an oil rig to their accommodation platform. A small increase in shopping was found to have taken place in February. Nine-year-old English children were reported to be worse at maths and sci- ence than children in Canada, Italy, Korea and Hungary. The Commons Social Securi- ty committee said that Kevin and Ian Maxwell should be brought before the Commons to account for their refusal to answer its questions. The body of Jo Rams- den, a young woman with Down's Syn- drome missing for a year, was found in a wood near Lyme Regis. BCCI issued writs against its auditors Price Waterhouse and Ernst and Young. Midland Bank is to merge with the Hongkong and Shanghai Bank. Jonathan Wallace, Liberal Democrat candidate in Hexham, revealed to the already startled voters of Northumberland that he was homosexual. The Queen Moth- er missed the Cheltenham Gold Cup, won by Cool Ground, an outsider. The Daily Mail reported that the Duke and Duchess of York had begun negotiations to separate after six years of marriage.

AN EARTHQUAKE in eastern Turkey which hit the city of Erzincan killed more than 360 people, injured over 700, and left 100,000 homeless. Tariq Aziz, deputy Prime Minister of Iraq, told the UN that there was no Shi'ite problem in his country and that Iraq's tanks were not blockading the Kurds. The US carrier America moved into striking range of targets which Iraq is refusing to destroy. The US threatened sanctions against North Korea if it refuses to allow inspection of suspected nuclear plants. A poll on South Africa's future resulted in a substantial majority for Presi- dent de Klerk's reforms, but his son Willem and his coloured fiancée Erica Adams were found to have called off their engagement. The Zimbabwe parliament began debating a government bill to nationalise half the land owned by white farmers. President Yeltsin signed a decree establishing a Rus- sian Defence Ministry, the first step towards the creation of an independent national army. Talks between Czechs and Slovaks failed to find a way to maintain the union in Czechoslovakia, and a split seemed imminent. Nationalists won region- arelections in Catalonia. A televised debate between Governor Bill Clinton and his Democratic rival Jerry Brown degenerated into a shouting match after Mr Clinton was accused of corruption. It was revealed that 4,000 people have died of cholera in Latin America since an epidemic began early last year in Peru. Pravda published what may be its final issue as debts piled up. A judge in Houston withdrew approval for a convicted child molester to undergo voluntary castra- tion rather than imprisonment. A woman who climbed the arch of Sydney Harbour Bridge when it was opened 60 years ago returned to abseil down it at the age of 80. England will play South Africa and New Zealand meet Pakistan in the cricket world