Fiona Bruce had returned to the helm of the BBC News at 10 last night; however our leading feature was the same as yesterday evening's, the Northern Rock Bank. Fiona told of queues to withdraw savings, a crisis in the money markets and falling share prices, before we went to reporter Gavin Hewitt (of bowser fame) for some further information.
Here we saw the Harrow branch of the NR, it "was well past closing time" but queues still remained, fear stricken investors determined to withdraw their funds. We saw horrendous queues at other bank branches and various individuals were interviewed who "wanted to make sure their money was safe. Furthermore "customers have heard reassurances - but dont trust what they are being told"
Alistair Darling, our Government Chancellor, defended and explained the rationale behind the bail out by the Bank of England before we heard how Northern Rock were "aggressive in terms of mortgage lending" but had "few savers" and were therefore commited to the money markets, who, unfortunately, seem rather reluctant to lend more monies. As such, the NR were forced to the BoE for funding although it was stressed again that "the bank was solvent" and it was "business as normal".
Again we heard of huge queues, share value loss and extraordinary lending policies including income multipliers for mortgage borrowing before we returned briefly to Fiona to be advised of wider problems involving the so called credit crunch. It seems that Northern Rock are "just the lastest victim" and a BBC economist told of other share losses and fears "the housing market could come to a juddering halt."
It was time for a survey result which showed a fall in house prices last month however this may just be "a straw in the wind". However, what is definate, is that consumers will be "paying higher rates" for mortgages and that they will be "harder to get". Reference was made to America where this is "already happening" - we heard of defaulted loans and a drop of 16% in the housing market. To close we were told that help may come in the form of China and India's fast growing economies which, in these storm damaged times "could keep the world economy afloat."
More straw followed, as we moved on to the foot and mouth crisis and reporter Jeremy Cook took us inside the "protection zone" to Eg-ham. Here, we saw a large disinfectant tanker - a sure sign of an outbreak apparently. Images of culled pigs were shown as we heard of "a thousand animals so far" and that these remain "anxious times." It seems that Defra have been visiting dozens of farms each day and are moving outwards from the exclusion area. In Scotland and Wales however, movement restrictions have been lifted and we saw some healthy sheep; destination - the market.
Just as a wee side note, the foot and mouth vaccine (of which this outbreak is being blamed on), was the first ever genetically engineered vaccine, created in the United States and announced on the possibly symbolic, certainly numerically palindromic, date of 18/6/81.
The ongoing inquest into the death of heroin addict, Rachel Whitear, had ended; the conclusion being that she may not have given herself the injection which killed her. This matter had been ongoing for seven years, Miss Whitear's parents blame the police for not carrying out a full investigation at the time however, in reality, we are no further forward with the truth and never will be.
Bafta winning actor Chris Langham wept in court as he was sentenced to 10 months inprisonment for downloading child porn. We saw images from the court case last month and heard from a policeman who told of the seriousness of the matter given the content of the material, both in words and terms of his facial expressions, which he did, to be fair, try to hide. We saw images of the TV Bafta awards and the judge told of "strong public revulsion."
Bernie Eccleston of Formula 1 racing told how Team McLaren were minutes from being thrown out the championship for two years and were in fact lucky to only receive a million dollar fine for their shenannigans. We saw clips of motor racing and yesterdays court case before further details of the misconduct were advised, drivers, gas in tyres etc.
Coming up - England rugby - Glum faces
First though, four Americans have been killed in a roadside bomb in Iraq. Reference was made to the speech given by George Bush yesterday, in particular the "return on success" element. We went to Anbar to see a "bustling market", surrounded by a concrete, car-bomb proof, six foot wall before mention was made of the surge etc. A shop owner was interviewed who told how he was doing great business selling suitcases to locals desperate to leave for good and we saw some bomb damaged properties.We then travelled to Washington where reporter Matt Frei told that it appears US forces will remain in Iraq for the "indefinate future" as part of a "strategic relationship".
52nd State ?
The funeral of cancer sufferer and fund raiser Jane Tomlinson was held yesterday. Her husband made a tearful tribute and mourners told how they "would remember her smile". It reminded me slightly of Princess Di.
Wales next where we heard that indepence party,Plaid Cymru, had played a major part in the lifing of restrictions on livestock movement due to foot and mouth disease. Images of healthy cows and a happy farmer were shown before we moved on to talk of full devolution and proper parliament for Wales by 2011 and that Plaid are "sweeping away the way of doing things in the past". I make no apologies for reminding readers that, in the manner of an alchemist, matters must be reduced to their base, raw state; before rebuilding commences. A New World Order beckons, under the guise of Europe. What will happen to the Welsh Dragon, promotion ?
Still on a bovine farming theme and Cadburys have recalled a batch of their Dairy Milk Chocolate product due to possible nut contamination. More games, it gives me hope.
To close, rugby. England well beaten by South Africa and we saw patriotic supporters with flag painted faces, singing "God save the Queen". Is that why the Royal Family is tolerated and accepted, because of their connotations with sport.
Divine Bovine ?