7 Days

Clinton fightback Only hours after White House lawyers began to rebut what they called a "witches' brew" of charges in the Senate impeachment trial, President Clinton delivered his State of the Union address. He set out an ambitious agenda of increased public spending to bolster ailing public services. However, the impeachment trial looks likely to continue to plague Clinton, with Republican senators expected to call witnesses, including Monica Lewinsky, to testify. (See Andrew Stephen, page 24)

Impaled on the sword of truth Jonathan Aitken, the former Conservative cabinet minister, pleaded guilty to charges of perjury and perverting the course of justice during his unsuccessful libel case against the Guardian and Granada Television. He faces prison, but told the Express that because he went to Eton he knows "all about life in uncomfortable quarters".

No more jaw-jaw? The murder of 45 unarmed ethnic Albanians by Serbian security forces at Racak in Kosovo prompted a new round of tough talk from Nato. Two of Nato's top generals warned the Serb leader, Slobodan Milosevic, that he could face air strikes unless he pulls his troops back to agreed levels. Despite the talk, there are concerns about Nato forces being dragged into a prolonged conflict.

Adoption blues Jeff and Jenny Bramley, the runaway foster parents who went into hiding with Jade and Hannah Bennett, flew back from Dublin at the weekend following calls for their return. A judge decided the children could temporarily remain with the Bramleys until their application for the children's adoption is considered.

Kidnap country Two Britons and a Dutch family were kidnapped in the Yemen while travelling north of the capital, Sana'a. Local tribesmen were responsible, not Islamic militants. Meanwhile the five British Muslims arrested in Aden have been charged with being members of an armed gang with the intention to commit murder.

Real-ity check Brazil was forced to float its currency, the real, abandoning attempts at a step-by-step devaluation. Shares in the Sao Paulo stock exchange initially rose by 33.4 per cent on the news.

Port fined The port of Milford Haven was fined £4 million for its involvement in one of the UK's worst environmental disasters, caused by the grounding of the tanker Sea Empress in 1996, which spilled 72,000 tonnes of oil into the sea along the Pembrokeshire coast.

This article first appeared in the 22 January 1999 issue of the New Statesman, Goodbye to all that boiled cabbage