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DONALD IN THE DOCK


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Who'd have thought it - Donald Rumsfeld in the dock. Not for long, one suspects, but at last he faces cross examination in front of Senators over his handling of the War on Iraq and matters of abuse and torture in particular. The Neo-Cons under scrutiny, facing their moment in the glare of public inspection. We shall be there in full force tonight at seven. One year on from Bush's self declared  end of the war , we have this. It now seems the Red Cross had been warning America for months, the British knew about the abuse too. One grieves for the man brought low in his hour of victory, or does one? And what a hollow victory it has proven. Colin Powell, Secretary of State, reportedly can't wait to get out. Hey ho, maybe there is a God in heaven after all and when true evil manifests, strike the heart of the beast. Hang on Jon, put the Bishop back in the box (ed s note : er, me I mean).

And what about the Brits? Soldier 'C' has talked in today's 'Mirror' of brutality against Iraqi prisoners by UK troops, but the original photos (also run by the 'Mirror') are still being regarded by many as dodgy.  I noted the interesting words of editor Piers Morgan this morning, when he defended the photos, saying they "accurately reflect something that is going on". We are on the case - Lindsay Taylor at seven.

HEALTHY OUTLOOK
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Some good news tonight on public services - yes, come on let's hear it for the National Health Service reforms. No point carping every day - by virtually every test, things are getting better. Waiting lists down and much more. Even the Tories are only left with the huge costs to complain about.

DRIVING UP COSTS
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Back to Iraq and the big worry about petrol..mmm...yes, the old oil war has spawned an awesome hike in the oil price, now at over $40 for a barrel of crude. That tiger in your tank is turning to liquid gold. Liam Halligan will be worrying at seven.

ABSENT FRIENDS
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Boo-hoo, bye bye Friends. Yes, those loveable characters have breathed their last - it s like six deaths in the family. Nicholas Glass is moaning at seven.

CROSS TO BEAR
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Finally, what shall we do with the Red Cross, who reported the prisoner abuses in Iraq? They knew months ago, they told the Americans months ago andthe Americans did nothing. The Red Cross did nothing. Surely it's time for the Red Cross to warn the world that nations will be given six weeks to put matters right, thereafter any obligation for confidentiality should end and the Red Cross should broadcast its concerns. We shall be talking with their representative at seven.

PENSION Q&A
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We asked you to e-mail your questions and concerns relating to the pensions crisis as part of our lunchtime programme's recent focus on the issue.  Some of your queries - along with some answers - can be found here :
http://www.channel4.com/news/2004/05/week_1/07_pensions.html 

Gotta run, must watch Rummy. He's up 'momentarily'. See you at seven, as ever is.

Best wishes, Jon Snow.


BUSINESS NEWS

In the City, the FTSE's finished the day down 18 points, at 44/98. Leading shares have slipped lower today following yesterday's heavy losses. Strong jobs data from the US this afternoon's failed to buck the London market up, leaving the index to close below the key 4500 mark. In New York a short time ago, the Dow Jones was down 28 points, at 10/213. On the money markets, the pound's down against the dollar, at under 1 dollar 78-and-a-half. Against the euro the pound's up, at 1 euro 50.

WEATHER

Cloud and rain will be spilling westwards across much of the UK during the night with just parts of the West Country, Northern Ireland and western Wales remaining dry. Rather dull and grey but mild and frost-free, with overnight temperatures between 7 and 10C.

Dull and cloudy across most parts of the UK on Saturday with outbreaks of rain and drizzle, but there will be some drier interludes. Parts of the Wales and the south-west will be dry. Cool easterly winds across the north of the country, with the day's maxima in the region of 13 or 14C.


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