7 Days

Human embryo cloned A human embryo was cloned successfully for the first time. Advanced Cell Technology, the privately funded US biotech company responsible for the breakthrough, claimed this would enable scientists to develop embryonic stem cells to treat diseases ranging from Parkinson's to Alzheimer's.

Porridge for girls The record number of female prison inmates, which stands at 4,045, has forced the prison service to convert three prisons for men into jails for women. The number of female prisoners rose by 7 per cent in the three months to September.

Road to nowhere Britain has the worst transport system in Europe, according to the Commission for Integrated Transport. The commission confirmed that the UK has spent £30bn less than the European average on transport infrastructure over the past 20 years.

More plane deaths Twenty-four passengers were killed when a Swiss jet crashed as it approached Zurich airport. Melanie Thornton, an up-and-coming American pop singer, was among the dead.

Losing bet Camelot, the National Lottery operator, said that ticket sales had fallen for the third consecutive year. The company blamed the squeeze in profits on its costly legal fight to keep the Lottery licence. By next January, Camelot will have given £11bn to charity since the Lottery's launch in 1994, substantially less than the £15bn pledged originally.

Cheers A businessman who bought a round of drinks for 200 strangers at a London nightclub was charged £42,000 - enough to purchase an entire pub in North Yorkshire.

Return to jail Twelve British plane-spotters accused of spying in Greece faced spending at least a further ten days in prison after their case was referred to a higher court in Athens.

This article first appeared in the 03 December 2001 issue of the New Statesman, Who needs 12 when one will do?