We test the temperature of the nation this week

Violent mobs in South Africa drive thousands of immigrants from their homes
Kyrgyz aeroplane crashes shortly after take-off, killing 68
UK economic growth reaches total standstill for first time in 15 years

Tensions rise in Pakistan as PML(N) pulls out of governing coalition
Georgia’s breakaway states continue to divide Moscow and Tbilisi
Number of butterflies in UK drops to lowest ever summer level

cloud and sun
Notting Hill Carnival attracts record numbers – but no sunshine
Record GCSE results announced; inevitable groans follow about slipping standards
Beauty contest for Italian nuns raises spirits, if not standards of equality

US scientists pioneer method of synthesising red blood cells
Archaeologists in central Germany find what may be oldest dinosaur fossils yet
Team GB and their 47 medals return to rapturous welcome

mild happy face
Summary: Olympic sunshine from China, despite economic gloom around the Square Mile
Forecast: Ominous rumblings in Tory party – will Cameron v Johnson be the new Blair v Brown?

This article first appeared in the 01 September 2008 issue of the New Statesman, The truth about GM food