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Haves and have nots The government published a report called Sharing the Nation's Prosperity, which aims to explode the stereotypes of a poverty-stricken north and a prosperous south. During a whistle-stop tour of the north of England, Tony Blair said unemployment figures showed that Kent was worse off than Cheshire, and that Plymouth was worse off than Manchester.

NHS.com The Prime Minister launched an official NHS website that answers patient queries online. It is a user-friendly, self-diagnosis programme designed to save you a trip to the GP and offers immediate diagnosis of 20 of the most common sets of symptoms. The website marks the beginning of cyber-medicine in this country and aims significantly to reduce waiting-lists in future by offering online consultations with nurses and doctors.

Another kind of passport The Institute of Directors called for the introduction of "education passports" to open up competition between state and private schools. Under the proposed scheme, parents who cannot afford private education will be given a voucher worth £2,500 to "buy" a place for their child in either a state or a private school. The voucher scheme, outlined in a report called Choice, Choice, Choice would be funded through further privatisation of schools and the abolition of local education authorities.

Tartan Dalai Lama Religious leaders in Scotland asked the Dalai Lama to speak at a gathering of MPs planned for 2001. The visit will include a trip to the Buddhist Centre on Holy Island.

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