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Health rebels As we went to press, the government was heading off a rebellion among its own MPs on plans to abolish community health councils, the statutory patient watchdogs. It agreed to support a compromise amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill that would give many of their powers to new patient councils.

Seven million can't read The government pledged up to £400m for a project to tackle the high rate of illiteracy in England and Wales. The UK's illiteracy rate, currently at 24 per cent, is worse than any other major industrial nation except Ireland and Poland.

Aids drugs rip-off Oxfam launched a campaign against large pharmaceutical companies that refuse to allow the cheap reproduction of drugs to fight Aids in developing countries. The drug companies, including GlaxoSmithKline, defended their high prices by claiming they need 20 years patent protection to recoup their research and development costs.

Ellen sails through Ellen MacArthur, a 24-year-old from Derbyshire, became the fastest woman to circumnavigate the world when her yacht, Kingfisher, completed the 24,000-mile Vendee Globe race in 94 days - 11 days faster than the previous record, set in 1997.

Outrage over sentences Seven members of a global child-porn network sentenced on 13 February will be free after 15 months in jail. Only two of the men were placed on the sex-offenders register. Children's charities attacked the judgment as too lenient.

PM cover-up Tony Blair, opening the Royal Academy's exhibition "The Genius of Rome", refused to have his picture taken with any of the Caravaggio paintings because of the androgynous nature of their subject matter. The Prime Minister also refused to pose in front of Annibale Carracci's painting of Hercules, because his head would have been in direct line with the Greek hero's penis.

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