7 Days

Mission creep Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon announced that the 2,000 British troops may remain in Macedonia past the scheduled ending of Operation Essential Harvest on 26 September. Nato voiced concerns about the protection of foreign observers and the need to maintain a military presence to prevent the country sliding back into civil war.

Hume quits Northern Ireland's battered peace process suffered a further setback when John Hume resigned as leader of the SDLP due to health problems. Tony Blair personally thanked Hume, the man credited with laying the foundations of the Good Friday Agreement, for his "tireless efforts" in the peace process.

Tories despatched A leaked policy paper revealed secret talks between Tony Blair and the Lib Dem leader, Charles Kennedy, over a proposal to end the traditional two-party system at Westminster and to abolish the Tories' status as the official opposition.

Davies heads BBC Gavyn Davies, a multimillionaire former Labour Party member and a close friend of the Prime Minister, was named chairman of the BBC. The appointment set off protests from Tories who condemned it as further evidence of cronyism.

Violence continues Zimbabwe's "war veterans" continued to seize land from white farmers, despite the official acceptance by Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party of the Commonwealth ministers' land reform policy, which called for an end to violence and controlled redistribution of land to poor black families. See Darcus Howe, p33.

Spanish scandal Several ministers who served under the former Socialist prime minister Felipe Gonzalez stood accused of misappropriating millions of pounds of state funds during his administration. Gonzalez was summoned to appear as a defence witness.

This article first appeared in the 24 September 2001 issue of the New Statesman, The war that Bush cannot win