Minute New s
• • On Thursday week the Anglo
American Trade Agreement was signed in Washington. The Agreement will last for a period of three years, after which either party may terminate it after giving six months' notice. The largest single item we export to the United States is whisky. The American duty on whisky is to be stabilised at the reduced rate of 50 per cent. This is a valuable concession to our whisky exporters, and is also warmly welcomed by American whisky-drinking circles. The Agreement is also taken to emphasise the common political interests of the two Englishspeaking democracies.
" Protect the Credulous "
• • Modern civilisation has pro duced a Work of Mercy apparently unknown to the writers of the Catechism. The new Work • of Mercy is " to protect the credulous," and the Government intend to do this as far as sharepushing is concerned. The general object of the new Government Bill is to make it difficult, if not impossible, for dishonest tricksters to swindle the simple on the pretext of getting them to invest money in promising concerns. Mr. Thomas Johnston, M.P., who has been prominent in exposing the wiles of share-pushers, regretted that there is no provision in the Bill to deal with misuse of the " bank's nominees " system. By this system, for instance, it is legally impossible to find out who has the controlling interest in the Daily Mirror. arid who is responsible for the destruction of London's Georgian squares.
Jews in the Empire
• • The great democracies are try ing to think what they should do with the large number of Jewish and other refugees coming from Germany and Central Europe. Mr. Chamberlain, in a speech in the House of Commons, stated that small scale settlement of Jews might take place in Kenya, Tanganyika, Northern Rhodesia, and Nyasaland, while, if all went well, the Government hoped to lease not less than 10,000 square miles in British Guiana for Jewish settlement. German newspapers, apart from a good deal of sarcasm, seem on the whole to approve these arrangements.
Australia's Stringent Constitution
• • Australia is going to attempt to change its constitution. The present constitution has been found to restrict unduly the power of the Federal Government. It is said that Australia is at present ruled by a majority of the Judges of the High Court invalidating legislation on the ground that it transgressed one or other
article of the written constitution. It is also widely held that the Federal Parliament should have more, and the State Parliaments less control over questions of trade regulation, and such social questions as unemployment.
• • Much opposition is developing to the Government's Milk Bill which, by setting up monopolies, would drive thousands of small dairy-farms out of existence. There is opposition, too, to other items such as the proposed dropping of the Government's iact,coo contribution towards research.
Italy and the Suez Canal
• • Italy is beginning to air her
grievance about the Suez Canal. The threat that the sanctionist democracies might close it, during the Abyssinian war, gave Italy a shock. Now, it is hoped that Mr. Chamberlain will take up Italy's grievanee in Paris. Italy is the second largest user of the canal, and pays nearly £4,000,000 a year in dues. This is roughly a quarter of the income of the Canal Company. Italy wants either a reduction in the dues or some share in the profits of the company. On the other hand, she would probably be unwilling to pay the enormous market price of a large block of Canal shares.
Mr. Chamberlain goes to Paris
• • The pogrom in Germany has
stiffened French feeling towards Germany, though apparently M. Bonnet has got some friendly agreement with Germany on the lines of Mr. Chamberlain's, secured at Munich. M. Daladier has now flatly denied that any French colonies will be handed to Germany. Portugal argues that, as she never took any colonies from Germany, she cannot give any back. Mr. Chamberlain also appears adamant. but British Government opinion might change under pressure. In former German colonies in Africa the natives apparently dislike the prospect of being handed back to Germany.
Germany has summoned her Ambassador in Washington to report on President Roosevelt's " peculiar attitude " to internal German events. This Is a reply to the American Ambassador in Berlin's withdrawal to report on Germany's peculiar attitude to the Jews.
Queen of Norway
• The Queen of Norway, Princess Maud of Great Britain ad Ireland, and aunt of George VI. died in London on Sunday morning. The body was to have been taken to Norway on Wednesday in H.W.S. Royal Oak. with an escort of destroyers, but the crossing was postponed owing to the storm.