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The big picture
On screen three in Star City, a bride-to-be breaks into song. With a wiggle of her hips, replicated by the 30 or so dancers behind her, she sways with just a hint of sensuality, leaving the gushing water fountains that surround her to do the rest. On screen 13, a transsexual is finding love, identity and homophobia in the American midwest with the help of vicious beatings and a gruesome inspection of her genitalia. On screen 19, John Cusack is having trouble with commitment and mulling over the direction his life is taking to a breezy soundtrack spanning three decades of pop.
The act that gave the struggle new life
On the day that I sat at that counter I had the most tremendous feeling of elation and celebration. I felt that in this life nothing else mattered. I felt like one of those wise men who sits cross-legged and cross-armed and has reached a natural high.
Reluctant Britain 'would be unwelcome in euroland'
In an interview with the Guardian, Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa, a member of the executive board of the European central bank and the man widely credited as the intellectual impetus behind the euro, said Britain's inclusion in "euroland" would destabilise the euro unless there was a fundamental shift in British attitudes towards Europe.
Single minded
In June 1982 a little-known Eurocrat, Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa, delivered a little-noticed speech to the second symposium of European banks. It was the month when the Argentinians surrendered the Falkland Islands, the Israelis invaded Lebanon and the late Princess Diana gave birth to Prince William. But Padoa-Schioppa, the then director of economic and financial affairs at the European commission, had other things on his mind. Expounding and expanding his views on the liberalisation of capital, he started by quoting article 67 of the Treaty of Rome; he ended by calling for a single currency. "Fully fledged European monetary union is the high road to policy coordination and economic convergence," he said. "It would be sufficient to realise one major achievement: monetary union."
The day of reckoning
In March last year David Cripps, the headteacher of Radburn primary school in Letchworth, Hertfordshire, checked the post, saw the future and felt a deep wave of nausea swell up inside him. "We get a lot of mail from Ofsted," he says. "But if you get one with a contract number on the envelope then that can only mean one thing - you're going to be inspected. When I saw it I just felt sick. I knew that it was going to take a year out of my life. I knew that there was going to be this colossal amount of work to do and that we would have to put on this big show. I just knew it was going to be horrendous. And it was."
Looking at power
The second is the Green party in Germany, which has just emerged from a divisive row at its congress over nuclear power. The government, in which it is a junior partner, had just reached a deal with the nuclear industry to phase out nuclear energy and shut down power stations, within 32 years. One of the party's co-leaders said she would resign if congress backed the deal; another said the coalition would collapse if he didn't. The congress supported it. The row continues. Meanwhile the party, which has seen its vote decline in the last 14 federal, state and European elections, is haemorrhaging support.
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