7 Days

Seattle under siege Violence erupted in the centre of Seattle in the US when 100,000 protesters against free trade forced the World Trade Organisation to cancel the opening ceremony of its conference. The National Guard was called out and a 7pm curfew imposed to contain the violence, after a state of emergency was declared by the city mayor Paul Schell. Protesters also marched against global capitalism in Euston, north London. Riots broke out, and 40 people were arrested.

Government U-turn A business revolt has resulted in a government U-turn on the working families tax credit. Under the original scheme the government would have distributed vouchers worth between £50 and £200 to companies to spend on payroll equipment. But the Confederation of British Industry is pressing for an annual pay-out to companies, based on the average costs incurred by a sample of smaller companies as compensation for providing the tax credit.

Sex, lies and the Daily Star The disgraced Tory peer Jeffrey Archer had to contend with further embarrassment as his former confidant Michael Stacpoole, the trusted aide who handed £2,000 to the prostitute Monica Coghlan, announced his willingness to give evidence against him.

The Portillo charm? Tory jubilation over Michael Portillo's re-entry into parliament as the newly elected MP for Kensington and Chelsea was muted by the revelation that business donations to the Conservative Party have dropped by £1.8 million from £2.4 million in the past 12 months.

Breakthrough in Northern Ireland The opening of the devolved power-sharing executive saw a tenuous juggling act between republicans and unionists. Among the ten appointments to Northern Ireland's first cabinet, Martin McGuinness's post as education minister has caused particular upset, given his past as a commander in Londonderry's IRA.

This article first appeared in the 06 December 1999 issue of the New Statesman, My night with Mad Frankie Fraser