7 Days

Minimum wage rise Trade unions welcomed the change in the minimum wage, which rose more than 10 per cent to £4.10 per hour. Stephen Byers, the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, rubber-stamped the increase. One and a half million workers - 70 per cent of them women - will benefit from the new rate.

Unions post Labour vote Trade unions promised to produce 500,000 postal votes, countering fears that a low turnout will cost Labour seats in the general election. New laws on postal voting (which has often favoured the Tories) will be exploited in workplaces to woo back traditional Labour supporters. Voters can now demand a postal vote even if they are not ill, on holiday or away working.

Bridge collapses The Portuguese public works minister, Jorge Coelho, was forced to resign after dozens died when a bridge collapsed as a bus and two cars tried to cross it. The mayor of Castelo de Paiva claimed Coelho had ignored his warnings that the 116-year-old bridge was unsafe.

US school shooting A 15-year-old high-school student shot and killed two fellow pupils in a school washroom in San Diego, California. The schoolboy gunman, a victim of bullying, was, according to a friend, "talking about it all weekend".

Double jeopardy to go Defendants cleared of murder could be retried under proposals from the Law Commission that will become law if Labour wins the election. The commission recommended that a second trial should take place in the event that ''compelling'' new evidence comes to light after a verdict of not guilty.

Real IRA bomb the Beeb A 20lb car bomb exploded in a taxi outside the BBC in White City, west London, injuring one person and shattering hundreds of windows. Police believe the dissident Real IRA planted the device in retaliation for a documentary that named the suspected Omagh bombers.