Trump issued a new order limiting travel from six predominantly Muslim countries, but excluding Iraq. Some Republican leaders were convinced that the order would withstand legal challenge, while Democrats complained that it was inconsistent with American values and would not make the United States safer. In the latest instalment of the row over the recent assassination at Kuala Lumpur airport, North Korea banned Malaysian citizens from leaving the country. Malaysia said that its people were effectively being held hostage, responding with an identical ban of its own. The government of Venezuela described the president of Peru, a 78-year-old retired Wall Street banker, as a coward and a dog. A 22-year-old British packpacker was apparently held captive by her travelling companion for two months and repeatedly raped during a road trip in the Australian outback.

There was so much anticipation of tomorrow's budget that one felt it had happened already. PSA, the French owner of Peugeot, announced a deal to buy the British car manufacturer, Vauxhall, and said it wanted to avoid factory closures and job losses in the UK. Labour wanted stronger assurances from the company. The former Tory leader William Hague said that Theresa May should call an early general election with the aim of strengthening Britain's position in the Brexit negotiations. The fact that we now have fixed-term parliaments did not appear to be a problem; we could simply repeal the appropriate act. A senior manager in the NHS in England, Jon Andrewes, 63, was sent to prison for two years on charges of fraud and deception after fabricating his academic qualifications. He falsely claimed to have a master's degree from Edinburgh University and two PhDs, as if one were not enough. The BBC advised one of its presenters, Jenni Murray, who made disobliging comments about transgender women, that she must remain neutral on controversial subjects. Joan Collins put the tiresome Michael Buerk, a retired newsreader, in his place for asking about her age during an interview. 'Everybody is incredibly ageist in this country', she replied. 'Anyway, how old are you?'. Collins denied that she was rich; she said she did not have any 'fuck you money'. Not a lot was happening in the world, clearing the way for a media debate on the nature of fuck you money. (Buerk is 71.) A retired weather forecaster, Bill Giles, objected to the number of hysterical weather warnings over the winter.

In Scotland, the streets are getting dirtier. We have the Accounts Commission's word for it. In its review of the work of 32 local authorities, the public spending watchdog discovered that the streets are getting particularly dirty in Aberdeen, which has fallen on hard times. The Scottish National Party's 'growth commission' decided to exclude North Sea oil revenues from the economic case for independence, possibly because there are no such revenues to speak of. Despite the confident prediction in the 2014 white paper that they would amount to between £6.8bn and £7.9bn in the current financial year, they amounted to nothing. Much of Scotland enjoyed a springlike day, the profusion of daffodils cheering up many a dirty street, even in Aberdeen.



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