New deal for NHS The government signed a long-term treaty with the independent sector to establish joint planning and exchange of patients. The deal is expected to lead to about 100,000 more NHS patients a year being treated free of charge in private hospitals.
Trimble in trouble David Trimble, the leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, announced his decision to bar Sinn Fein from cross-border council meetings. Trimble promised to block Sinn Fein from these meetings until the IRA lived up to its commitment to place its weapons "completely and verifiably beyond use". The Sinn Fein leader, Gerry Adams, accused Trimble of being "arrogant".
Swedish coach The Football Association appointed Sven-Goran Eriksson, the Swedish coach of Lazio (the Italian Serie A champions last year), as manager of the England team. Eriksson, who signed a five-year contract, will be the first foreign coach to take charge of the national team.
BNP plans secret role in fuel protests The British National Party urged its members to play a clandestine role in the next fuel protests, if they resume after Gordon Brown's tax announcements.
Father's vendetta The father of the murdered toddler James Bulger said he would hunt down his son's killers when they are released. Speaking for the first time since the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Woolf, announced that Jon Venables and Robert Thompson had served their minimum sentence, Ralph Bulger said: " I will do all I can . . . to hunt them down."
Marines to Sierra Leone Five hundred men from the 42nd Marine Commando will be deployed off Sierra Leone for a limited period this month. The Defence Secretary, Geoff Hoon, said it was a "demonstration of the seriousness" of the government's commitment to support UN peacekeeping operations in the war-torn country.