7 Days

Macedonian mess Nato's supreme commander, General Joseph Ralston, recommended deploying 4,000 more troops from 12 Nato countries to defuse the six-month-old conflict and join several hundred British, French and Czech troops already in Skopje preparing to disarm rebel Albanians. The call came as suspected rebels destroyed a 14th-century church.

Spanish terror A booby-trapped toy car exploded in San Sebastian, killing a 62-year-old woman and severely injuring her 18-month-old grandson. The boy's aunt had found the device in a bar. ETA, the Basque separatist terror group that recently intensified its campaign, has disowned the attack.

A little help from the French Eurotunnel issued writs to close a holding centre for asylum-seekers based half an hour's walk from its Calais terminal. The company has spent £3m on tightening security and faces a fine of £2,000 from the British government for each asylum-seeker who gets through. Voicing support for Eurotunnel, Ann Widdecombe, the shadow home secretary, accused France of trying to spring migrants into Britain.

Unwanted Union Unionists were dealt a blow by an ICM poll in the Guardian which showed that only 26 per cent of mainland Britons think Northern Ireland should remain part of the UK, while 41 per cent want to see a united Ireland. Sinn Fein welcomed the news. "It is to be hoped that Tony Blair gives sufficient consideration to the findings of this poll," said a spokesman.

Old Tories The ghosts of acrimonies past visited the Tory leadership campaign when Margaret Thatcher and John Major declared their support for Iain Duncan Smith and Kenneth Clarke respectively. Meanwhile, Clarke became further embroiled in controversy over his links with British American Tobacco, which is accused of earning more than £300m from cigarette smuggling.

England won! Though the Ashes were already lost, England recorded a remarkable win against Australia at Headingley. Surrey's Mark Butcher scored 173 not out, immediately rated by Wisden as the eighth best Test innings ever played by an England batsman. His reward was a bout of intense press interest in his private life.

Fred Hoyle The astrophysicist Professor Fred Hoyle died aged 86. He will be remembered by many as the man who got it spectacularly wrong - twice. He proposed the "steady state" theory of the universe (later overturned by the "big bang" theory) and insisted that life on earth was brought here by organisms from outer space.

This article first appeared in the 27 August 2001 issue of the New Statesman, The urban guerrillas Britain forgot