7 Days

Train crash Four people died and 34 were injured after a train from London, carrying 200 people, came off the rails near Hatfield. The Great North Eastern Railway service to Leeds was travelling at more than 100mph when it left the tracks and split into two. The cause of the crash is still being investigated but police ruled out terrorism.

Crime is out Crime rates are the best for nine years. The British Crime Survey reported that the overall crime rate has dropped 10 per cent in the last two years and that burglaries are down 21 per cent to their lowest level for 18 years. Paul Wiles, research director at the Home Office, said the overall drop could be a consequence of crime becoming less "fashionable".

Activist set free The British human rights campaigner James Mawdsley is to be released by the Burmese authorities after more than a year of solitary confinement and the threat of having to serve out a 17-year sentence. The 27-year-old, who has made it his life's mission to fight for human rights in Burma, was arrested on 31 August last year for carrying pro-democracy leaflets. The leaflets condemned the military regime and called for the release of the Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been held under house arrest since her party won Burmese elections 11 years ago.

The chosen one An unexpected package was delivered to Jeremy Paxman at the BBC: the Enigma machine, used during the Second World War to crack German codes, and believed to be the one stolen from Bletchley Park museum on April Fools' Day.

Acid love Birmingham Crown Court heard how Andrew Gardner, a former hospital laboratory technician, waited 20 minutes before calling an ambulance for his partner, Karenina Longe, who was screaming with agony after drinking sulphuric acid. Gardner denies that he gave Longe the drain cleaning fluid because he could not accept their relationship was over.

This article first appeared in the 23 October 2000 issue of the New Statesman, Why Brown should hold his nerve