7 Days

Britain deploys troops Britain pledged to send a 1,700-strong battle group to Afghanistan, to help US forces hunt out the former Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar and the remaining al-Qaeda fighters. Geoff Hoon, the Defence Secretary, told the Commons that the move would be the largest military deployment for combat operations since the Gulf war.

Belfast files stolen The Northern Ireland Secretary, John Reid, launched an inquiry after intelligence documents containing the identities of terrorist informers were stolen from a security base in Belfast. Security sources said that the break-in bore the hallmarks of an inside job.

Lords reject ban The House of Lords rejected an outright ban on fox-hunting, risking a confrontation with the Commons. The peers voted 366 to 59, opting for a "middle way" compromise that would allow the hunt to continue subject to strict regulations. The Commons had already voted 386 to 175 in favour of an outright ban.

Rocky relations In one of the biggest demonstrations of Gibraltar's 300-year history, 10,000 residents brought the island to a halt in protest against plans for Britain and Spain to share its sovereignty.

Global warming fears An area of 1,250 square miles of land known as the Larsen B ice shelf, weighing 500 billion tonnes, broke off from Antarctica and disintegrated into thousands of icebergs, leading Dr David Vaughan, a Cambridge glaciologist, to warn of impending environmental disaster.

Zimbabwe suspended The Commonwealth nations, in a major U-turn, dealt a humiliating blow to Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe, when they suspended the country's membership for a year, following the political violence surrounding Mugabe's controversial re-election.