Hitachi bought Horizon Nuclear Power for £700 million, giving it rights to build nuclear power stations in Anglesey and Gloucestershire. John Hayes, the energy minister, said that Britain was ‘peppered’ with onshore wind turbines, and ‘enough is enough’. HM Revenue and Customs wrote to families with at least one member earning more than £50,000 telling them they are no longer entitled to the full amount of child benefit. Some 100,000 ash trees had been burnt in an attempt to halt the spread of Chalara fraxinea, a fungus deadly to them, David Heath, the environment minister, told parliament, as import of the trees was banned. The Football Association investigated allegations that the referee Mark Clattenburg called two Chelsea players a ‘monkey’ and a ‘Spanish twat’ during an acrimonious game against Manchester United.
A report by Lord Heseltine into economic growth outside London suggested devolving £50 billion of spending to the regions and increasing co-operation with the European Union. Tory backbenchers rebelled in a vote over the EU budget. The gross domestic product of the United Kingdom grew by 1 per cent in the third quarter of 2012, bringing to an end the recession, according to preliminary figures. Pearson and Bertelsmann said they were confident of merging their publishing houses Penguin and Random House. Cynthia Carroll, aged 55, announced that she was leaving Anglo American after six years as its chief executive, leaving only two women running any of Britain’s top 100 quoted companies. The compensation so far paid by banks for mis-selling payment protection insurance rose to more than £10 billion. Branston pickle was sold to the Japanese company Mizkan for £92.5 million.
The Centre for Social Justice, set up by Iain Duncan Smith in 2004, said in a report that the arrest of 337 known gang members after the London riots last year has led to an increase in violence where younger members filled their places. Gary Glitter, aged 68, the former pop star, was arrested on suspicion of sex offences by police investigating claims about the late Jimmy Savile, and bailed. School nurses have given girls aged between 13 and 16 contraceptive implants or injections without informing their parents 900 times in the past two years, according to a survey by the Daily Telegraph.
President Barack Obama of the United States declared a ‘major disaster’ in New York state after the storm left over from Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast. Eight million were left without electricity, half a million in Manhattan, and hundreds of thousands had been evacuated. A tidal surge of 13 feet swept inland and flooded seven lines of the New York subway. Fire destroyed 50 houses in Queens. Thousands of flights were cancelled and the New York Stock Exchange closed for two days. The hurricane had killed at least 65 in the Caribbean. President Obama had earlier cast his vote in the presidential election. Silvio Berlusconi, aged 76, the former prime minister of Italy, was sentenced to four years in jail, reduced to one, for tax fraud, but appealed. President Viktor Yanukovych’s party won the election in Ukraine; the leader of the opposition, Yulia Tymoshenko, remained in prison.
Kostas Vaxevanis, a Greek journalist, was put on trial after publishing a list of 2,000 Greeks with accounts with HSBC in Switzerland, a list that Christine Lagarde, then the French finance minister, had given to her Greek counterpart two years ago. After talks with Mrs Lagarde, now head of the International Monetary Fund, President François Hollande of France went to Berlin, to counter Germany’s insistence that the restructuring of Greek sovereign debt was ‘out of the question’. Thousands marched to the Spanish parliament to protest at cuts. Shepherds led 2,000 sheep on their annual migration through Madrid on an ancient drove-way.
Both sides in the Syrian civil war broke a four-day ceasefire declared for the feast of Eid al-Adha, with 39 civilians, 34 rebel fighters and 35 government troops dying on one day, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, based in Britain. Bomb and gun attacks aimed at Shia killed at least 30 on one day in Iraq. Islamists in Mali destroyed musical instruments. Three of the world’s oldest mosques are to be destroyed in Medina during the extension of the Masjid an-Nabawi, where Mohammed is buried, to hold 1.6 million worshippers. Coptic Christians met to choose their next pope, whose name will be drawn from a box on the altar of St Mark’s Cathedral, Cairo, by a blindfolded child. CSH
This article first appeared in the print edition of The Spectator magazine, dated 3 November 2012