7 Days

Miracle escape The British racing driver David Coulthard dragged his fiancee and personal fitness trainer to safety after their jet crashed in flames in France. The pilot and co-pilot both died.

Going private Alan Milburn, the Health Secretary, announced that his new "action teams" will consider partnership with the private sector as a means to easing the shortage of beds in elderly people's homes.

Blocking banks Despite personal pleas from Stephen Byers, the Trade Secretary, British banks refused to grant John Towers's Phoenix consortium a £200m overdraft facility which the group wanted in order to mount its 11th-hour rescue bid for Rover.

Pound ditched A merger of the London and Frankfurt stock exchanges could force companies to list their shares in euros rather than sterling. The move would prove a blow to eurosceptics bent on saving the pound.

Blair's whizz-kids Tony Blair expressed concern about the amount of time his children play at computer games. The Prime Minister said that new technology can undermine family life.

Will's a dull boy During a special celebrity episode of ITV's Who Wants to be a Millionaire, the television presenter Carol Vorderman declared William Shakespeare "dull as ditchwater" after she failed to answer a question about Twelfth Night.

Lockerbie alert Two Libyans accused of the Lockerbie bombing went on trial in the Netherlands. Scottish court officials have insisted that the event will not be allowed to spark media frenzy.

Eating for Britain Despite government cutbacks, British diplomats and their guests ate and drank £2m worth of cocktails, canapes and dinners last year - and that's only at the 15 top-spending missions. Top of the list: Paris, bien sur.

This article first appeared in the 08 May 2000 issue of the New Statesman, The tiny group that controls us all