7 Days

Giveaway Budget? The government celebrated a record surplus in the public finances, which could double the £10bn surplus forecast in November. The windfall gave the Chancellor, Gordon Brown, scope for pre-election tax cuts and public spending increases in the Budget on 7 March.

Labour lead Despite a month of negative headlines over Peter Mandelson's resignation, the Dome sale and Lord Irvine, Labour's lead rose to 15 points over the Conservatives, according to the February Guardian/ICM poll. This figure increases the chances of an early election, with pressure growing for Tony Blair to set the date as 5 April.

Manics play to Cuba The Welsh band Manic Street Preachers played for Fidel Castro at the Karl Marx Theatre in Havana.

Euro good for business Almost two-thirds of Britain's biggest companies backed entry to the European single currency. The Reuters 2001 Survey of Larger Companies found that British Airways and British Aerospace, among others, favoured the euro because non-entry would be "a competitive disadvantage".

Killer booze A World Health Organisation survey revealed that one in eight British men who die between 15 and 30 do so from alcohol-related causes such as car crashes, poisonings, suicides and murders.

Rail rage Angry South African commuters went on the rampage and set Pretoria railway station on fire after signal failures led to train delays. The blaze caused £4.4m worth of damage to the historic building, which was built in 1910. Pretoria today, Euston tomorrow?

Hague supports marriage William Hague pledged to reduce the tax bills of married couples by up to £1,000 a year. Only families with a child under 11, and with one partner staying at home, would benefit from the Tory proposals.