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a personal view of the week's news from Erithacus
1st December 2001
The FTSE100 index closed at 5203.6, its lowest close for three weeks but off the lowest point on Friday of 5146.5. Much of the fall was blamed on the collapse of U.S. energy giant Enron and the impact of its failure on its businesses throughout Europe, but investors also remain cautious about the economic outlook.
Banks moved generally lower as many of them revealed the extent of their exposure to Enron, with Abbey National falling 5.5% to 978 pence on announcing their own £115 million involvement. Despite the misery, many market strategists are predicting a rise in share prices before the end of the year, and looking towards stabilisation of the FTSE100 at around the 5,400 level. A few, however, believe the index may drop towards or even under 5,000 before rallying.
Whatever it is, it has already done wonders for the Internet, with more than 200 Web Sites either wholly or partly devoted to discussion of "Ginger" – some more serious than others.
Despite repeated "promises" by the various sections of the media who are each confident they will be the first to find the truth, nothing definite has yet surfaced. ABC breakfast television’s Diane Sawyer is confident she will in fact be the first. "We're going to reveal right here what IT is," she told viewers last Monday, and added she had heard IT was something "everyone will have to have" and "immediately make the people who own it richer than Bill Gates." She went on to say, "We don't know what IT is either. We don't know whether to eat it, to ride it, to co-anchor with it. We don't know."
Do you get the impression she doesn’t know?
Equally, I do not including the Americans in this, and I am quite happy to accept their particular version of English is happily developing into a totally separate language. I even go as far as to emulate some of their peculiar spellings and variations of meaning when attempting to write for the readers across The Pond (see http://www.simply-info.co.uk/usa/newscomment).
However, the dangers of being poorly educated in the proper use of English are great. As are the dangers of not bothering to make the effort to use proper English. The worst possible case of this has been highlighted recently in the fiasco of British scientists who spent years studying BSE in cows’ brains when they should have been studying sheep’s brains.
Poor labelling has been given as the official reason for the colossal blunder. But digging a little deeper, we find the error is just a little more basic: "Ovine" should not be confused with "Bovine", but it seems the fact the two words had been confused is as far as officials will go in providing an explanation.
Bad handwriting? Or lack of understanding? I wonder if we’ll ever know.
Although perhaps there is another excuse: according to the ePolitix web
site the mistake "probably happened in the Institute of Animal Health at
It may be that the Greeks have trouble understanding why anyone would want to "spot" aircraft, and undoubtedly many foreigners have trouble understanding many Britons’ desire to do such things as collect stamps, record numbers on trains or, indeed, letters on aircraft. Perhaps someone should explain it to them. Perhaps, even, some might suggest this is the job of our own Foreign Secretary.
Or perhaps not. As so many of our own citizens have so much trouble in taking Jack Straw seriously, there’s no real reason to think the Greeks will take any notice of him, is there?
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