7 Days

Adoption row A British couple, Alan and Judith Kilshaw, found themselves at the centre of a transatlantic controversy after paying £8,200 to adopt two six-month-old US twins over the internet. Jack Straw condemned the move as a "revolting idea". The twins' fate is far from settled, as they had already been adopted by an American family, who have taken their case to the FBI.

El Salvador quake The death toll is still rising from the earthquake which struck the small Central American state of El Salvador. Police estimate that more than 1,000 people are still missing, and that 16,000 buildings were damaged by the quake, which measured 7.6 on the Richter scale.

NHS makeshift mortuary Ken Williams, the chief executive of Bedford Hospital, resigned following the release of disturbing pictures showing seven dead bodies, wrapped in sheets, in the hospital's chapel of rest. An immediate internal inquiry into the scandal revealed that up to eight bodies at a time were stored, unrefrigerated, on the floor of the chapel for up to 24 hours.

Forget our founder Leicester City Council distanced itself from one of its founding fathers, Simon de Montfort, one of the chief architects of today's British parliament, because of the supposedly anti-Semitic sentiments contained in a land charter he wrote in 1231.

Congo question The fate of President Laurent Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo was the subject of conflicting reports, with claims that he was shot dead by one of his own bodyguards countered by reports that he had been flown to Zimbabwe. The attempted coup in the Congo comes in the midst of the nation's prolonged civil war.

Auberon Waugh dies The renowned journalist and eldest son of the writer Evelyn Waugh, Auberon Waugh, the editor of the Literary Review, died aged 61. Waugh, who was a New Statesman columnist from 1973-75, was also the author of five novels.

This article first appeared in the 22 January 2001 issue of the New Statesman, Iraq: the great cover-up