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The `Oxbridge' Grip on British Political Life

The editorial ``Thatcherism Survives,'' Nov. 29, claims that John Major's election as British Prime Minister represents a weakening of the ``Oxbridge'' establishment's grip on Britain's political life. The fact remains, however, that 17 of the 22-member Tory Cabinet graduated from Oxford or Cambridge. Indeed, if the all-white, all-male Tory Cabinet is anything to go by, we are a long way from the classless society Mr. Major seeks to achieve. Alistair Budd, London

How and where of Amnesty News Currents, Nov. 30, characterizes Amnesty International as ``the London-based human rights group.'' The term ``organization'' would convey a truer picture, however.

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It is the word preferred by Amnesty itself; for instance, a recent Sudan report states, ``The organization is urging the Sudanese Government to adopt a series of measures....''

``Group'' is used within Amnesty in a different way. For example, ours is one of 408 local, 779 college, and 1,852 high school groups now existing in the US alone (as of Nov. 6, 1990).

Amnesty International has between 700,000 and 800,000 members, in most countries of the world. It is indeed ``London-based'' in the sense that its professional research department is in London. But the US section has for some time been the largest, and I believe the German section is larger than the British one. So better than ``London-based organization'' might be ``worldwide organization.'' Guy Ottewell, Greenville, S.C., Amnesty International USA

Automakers go environmental Regarding the article ```Smart Cars' Combat Gridlock,'' Nov. 29: Being what some people might call an auto enthusiast, I have been recycling for years. So it is good to see that auto manufacturers have realized the importance of manufacturing environmentally conscious cars.

With the push for higher gas mileage, auto makers usually opt for lighter cars, which means more plastic and less metal. These new plastics could be formulated so that they may be re-used. These ideas are particularly timely during this crisis, but Mercedes Benz has been using recycled materials for years now as a way to lower costs. Michael Hawrylak, Jersey City, N.J.

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