7 Days

Lord Young dies Lord Young of Dartington, who founded the Consumers' Association and whose work led to the Open University, died, aged 86. He drafted Labour's 1945 election manifesto and wrote the influential book Rise of the Meritocracy.

£70bn for railways The Strategic Rail Authority gave details of a ten-year £67.5bn investment plan, £33.5bn of which will be public money, aimed at improving Britain's ailing rail network. The authority hopes the money will enable it to meet the government's 2010 targets of 50 per cent more passengers and 80 per cent more freight.

Downing free Britain's second-longest-running miscarriage of justice ended when Stephen Downing walked free, 27 years after being wrongfully imprisoned for the murder of Wendy Sewell in Bakewell, Derbyshire. The Court of Appeal ruled that Downing's conviction was unsafe, on account of the unreliability of both his initial confessions and crucial scientific evidence.

NHS franchises imminent Alan Milburn, the Health Secretary, announced plans to allow private firms to run failing NHS hospitals, and for the best-performing hospitals to be turned into not-for-profit trusts. Milburn's proposals were met by a cool response from trade unions, hospital staff and many MPs.

Cypriot peace talks Leaders of the Turkish and Greek Cypriots are to meet for UN-brokered talks intended to reunite the island after 38 years of conflict. The two sides believe that a reconciliation would assist Cyprus's chances of EU entry.

Taliban Britons in Cuba Three British citizens are among the prisoners accused of fighting with the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan who were sent to the US naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Human rights campaigners voiced concern over the treatment of the prisoners, who were transported to the base in shackles and are now locked in outdoor cages.