7 Days

Palestinians in US talks Mahmoud Abbas, the deputy leader of the PLO, met Colin Powell, the US secretary of state, and Condoleeza Rice, the national security adviser, to discuss ways of ending the bloodshed in the Middle East. The talks followed Israel's admission that the killing of five Palestinian policemen was "a mistake" due to flawed intelligence reports.

Lib Dems tax pledge The Liberal Democrats set themselves apart from the other parties by promising to save Britain's deteriorating public services through £10bn of tax rises, including a 50 per cent rate of income tax for people earning more than £100,000 a year.

Corsica closer to autonomy France took the first step towards granting partial autonomy to Corsica, when the National Assembly began debating a revolutionary package of laws. The proposals aim to end more than 25 years of separatist violence on the island.

China opposes NMD The US assistant secretary of state, James Kelly, failed to overcome China's opposition to American plans for a new missile defence shield. His visit to Beijing was part of a global offensive by the Bush administration to gain acceptance for the system.

Medicine prices fall The cost of over-the-counter medicines fell by as much as 50 per cent after a High Court ruling banned the price-fixing of household drugs. The move is expected to save millions for consumers.

Asda/Walmart expansion Asda announced the creation of 10,000 jobs in its 244 UK stores. Asda, owned by the US giant Walmart, saw its market share rise to 12.3 per cent last year.

New Statesman wins award The New Statesman was awarded a Certificate of Achievement for saving the equivalent of 30 trees by recycling 2,025 kilos of paper in 2000-2001. The award was presented by Paper Round Ltd.

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