7 Days

A lasting tribute Joseph Heller, author of the classic novel Catch-22, died at the age of 76 after suffering from a heart attack. The phrase "Catch-22" has entered the English language to mean "a dilemma that the victim cannot win".

Chechnya crisis grows Russia sent the first ground troops into the Chechen capital, Grozny, launching a "full-scale storming" of the city where thousands of civilians are feared trapped. Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin, the Russian prime minister, attended the first firing of the new Topol-M continental missile in northern Russia.

To be or not to be? Steven Norris, the Tory MP and former minister for transport, re-entered the race for mayor of London when his party's ruling board voted to reopen the shortlisting process. Norris, whose colourful past includes five mistresses, had been dropped from the candidate list by the London selection panel in a move he condemned as "the revenge of the blue-rinse brigade".

Beef blunder The French prime minister, Lionel Jospin, embarrassed Tony Blair by revealing that France had offered to lift the ban on Scottish beef two months ago. Blair had considered the deal to be unworkable, and rejected it without consultation with Scottish ministers.

Peace at last? The Israeli prime minister, Ehud Barak, and the Syrian foreign minister, Farouk al Sharaa, attended a two-day peace discussion hosted by the US president, Bill Clinton, in Washington. It has been nearly four years since the last Middle East talks collapsed.

Radu out Radu Vasile, the Romanian prime minister, was dismissed by the country's president, Emil Constantinescu, after seven ministers resigned in protest over the prime minister's incompetence. Vasile has failed to end the country's economic woes, which have led to violent unrest and street demonstrations.

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