7 Days

Austria in turmoil The Austrian chancellor Viktor Klima ruled out any coalition with the far-right Freedom Party, whose election success shook the current Social-Democrat government. The extremists, led by the confessed Nazi admirer Jorg Haider, took 27.2 per cent of the votes, narrowly making it the second largest party in parliament, but postal votes could still change the balance.

Nuclear crisis The Japanese PM Keizo Obuchi promised tighter regulation of the country's nuclear facilities after slip-shod practices caused the country's worst nuclear accident in Tokaimura. Police raided the Tokyo offices of the company at fault, seeking evidence of criminal negligence and perhaps the odd plutonium rod in a waste-paper basket.

Blackpool blues William Hague opened this year's Conservative Party conference with a blueprint for a "common sense revolution". Overshadowing the proceedings were the Major and Lamont memoirs and a speech by Lady Thatcher in defence of General Pinochet.

Earlier learning Ofsted published new learning targets for infants in nursery schools. By the age of three, children should be able to create a picture with glitter and glue, and by five, retell a simple story. Rumours that the goals are to be extended to babies in utero remain unconfirmed.

Dobson's choice Frank Dobson joined the race to be the first elected mayor of London, bringing to five the number of contenders for the Labour nomination. He denied he was pressured to stand as a heavyweight alternative to Ken Livingstone.

Mange tout France was chastised by the European Commission for its continuing blockade of British beef. In Britain, sales of les cuisses de la grenouille have not been reported to suffer, despite the Agriculture Minister Nick Brown's personal decision to give up French food.

This article first appeared in the 11 October 1999 issue of the New Statesman, A world without children