Today's news

June 11, 2003

History men fall out over spy tales
Historian Anthony Glees has accused a senior Liberal Democrat politician and fellow academic, John Roper, of having been an "agent of influence" for the East German secret police, the Stasi. Lord Roper rejects the charge and says he was engaged in building bridges with East Germany in the 1980s as part of a Foreign Office-approved policy of thawing relations.

Bain tipped as post regulator
Sir George Bain, vice-chancellor of Queen's University, Belfast, has emerged as the favourite to become the new head of Postcomm, the postal industry regulator.
(Guardian, Independent)

Scientists find GM foods safe to eat
Genetically modified crops are safe to eat but sceintists have more doubts over their long-term environmental impacts, according to the largest-ever review of the evidence surrounding agricultural biotechnology by the International Council for Science (ICSU).
(Financial Times)

Portrait of young artist's old gran
A final-year student aged 21 was hailed as a "great, great talent" by the director of the National Portrait Gallery yesterday after she won the prestigious BP Portrait Award. Charlotte Harris, who is studying for a BA in fine art at Leeds Metropolitan University, was presented with a £25,000 cheque and a commission for the gallery's walls worth £3,000. She was chosen from a record 858 entries for her untitled portrait of her 83-year-old grandmother, Doris Davis, with whom she lives in Ashford, Kent.

Burma promises to release Suu Kyi
The Burmese government has promised to release Aung San Suu Kyi, the detained leader of the opposition and Nobel peace prizewinner, who has been held in "protective" custody for the past 12 years.
(Times, Financial Times, Guardian, Independent)

Missing Turner masterpieces discovered
A global search by the Tate Gallery has unearthed 500 lost works by J.M.W. Turner, one of Britiain's most important painters.

Rumsfeld's a poet and we didn't know it
Choice extracts from US defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld's Pentagon briefings have been assembled into a series of poems in a new book entitled Pieces of Intelligence: The Existential Poetry of Donald H. Rumsfeld .

William Straw nears end of year in office
Foreign secretary Jack Straw's son William will complete his year as president of the Oxford University Student Union on Saturday week. As an introduction to public life it hasn't gone exactly smoothly. The Telegraph claims the students union that Straw runs is in the middle of a financial crisis. It lost £30,000 last year, leaving it with a total debt of £80,000.
(Daily Telegraph)

The animal welfare lobby is wrong
The Farm Animal Welfare Council's call for the government to repeal provision for Muslim and Jewish methods of slaughter is misguided. "Humane" and "ritual" slaughter are racist metaphors for Us and Them, argues Brian Klug, senior research fellow in philosophy at St Benet's Hall, Oxford.

Pinter blasts 'Nazi America' and 'deluded idiot' Blair
Playwright Harold Pinter last night likened George W. Bush's administration to Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany, accusing the US of charging towards world domination while the American public and Britain's "mass-murdering" prime minister sat back and watched.

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