7 Days

In the clear Neil and Christine Hamilton were cleared of any involvement in the sexual assault of Nadine Milroy-Sloan. Scotland Yard announced that no further action would be taken against the Hamiltons, after a thorough investigation by the Metropolitan Police discovered no evidence to support the allegations. The former Tory minister and his wife are now suing their accuser for libel.

Stranded The fate of 400 Afghan refugees hung in the balance as the Norwegian ship - which picked them up from their original boat as it was sinking in the Indian Ocean - was turned away from both Norway and Australia, the refugees' intended destination. Although many of the refugees went on hunger strike and threatened to jump overboard if Australia persisted in refusing them entry, John Howard, the Australian prime minister, announced that under no circumstances would he allow the ship to dock in Australia.

MMR concern A survey for the BBC Today programme found that many parents are calling for a public inquiry into the safety of the MMR vaccine. The vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella, came under attack from some doctors when research suggested a link between it and an increased risk of autism and bowel disorders. The Department of Health denies that MMR poses any health risk to children.

Indefinite curfew Britain and America called for the withdrawal of the Israeli army from the West Bank town of Beit Jala, which has been occupied since the Iraqi killing of Abu Ali Mustafa, leader of the left-wing Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The assassination led to angry protests by Palestinians, which were quashed by Israel's occupation of Beit Jala, the first Palestinian town that has been held for more than a few hours.

Malaga crash A Spanish plane crashed near a busy main road while coming in to land at Malaga airport. Early reports suggested that three people were killed and at least 17 of the 44 passengers injured. The CN-235 plane was flying from Melilla, a Spanish enclave in Morocco.

All bowled out Mike Atherton, former captain of the England Test team, officially announced his retirement from first-class cricket. He first disclosed his intentions to the New Statesman in an exclusive interview last year (see 4 September 2000). The Australians won the final Test at The Oval, avenging their defeat at Headingley, and completing a 4-1 series victory.

East Timor polls As voters in East Timor prepared for their country's first free parliamentary election on 30 August, Xanana Gusmao, the former separatist guerrilla leader, announced that he would be standing in next year's presidential elections.

Shooting planes Iraq announced that it had shot down a US reconnaissance aircraft flying over the south of the country. The Iraqi deputy prime minister, Tariq Aziz, declared on national television that the shooting of the American aircraft proved that Iraq's defences were functioning "at an advanced level".

Milburn's U-turn Alan Milburn, the Health Secretary, announced that health authorities will henceforth have the power to allow patients to travel to other EU countries in order to seek medical attention. The decision, which represents a switch in government policy, came after the European Court of Justice ruled that patients in any EU country who suffer delays in receiving necessary treatments should seek medical care in any other EU countries where treatment would be available.

Some serious comedy The spoof horror writer Gareth Marenghi won the 2001 Edinburgh Festival Perrier Award. This year's event was marred by protests against Perrier and the company's links with Nestle. Emma Thompson and Rob Newman, previous winners of the award, were among those voicing their disgust at Nestle's marketing of powdered milk in developing countries.