7 Days

Ramsbotham apologises Sir David Ramsbotham, Chief Inspector of Prisons, has apologised to the Home Secretary Jack Straw for calling for the release of James Bulger's teenage killers. He had made his plea in an exclusive interview with the New Statesman last week, which was reported by every national newspaper and dominated the weekend news.

Plane disaster Two hundred and seventeen passengers and crew were killed when an EgyptAir flight from New York to Cairo crashed off the east coast of America. Investigations have begun into the causes of the disaster, which is the third incident involving a Boeing 767.

Brown backs down The Agriculture Minister Nick Brown rejected claims that he was caving in to European pressure after agreeing to more safety tests for British beef. The decision followed a meeting with his French counterpart Jean Glavany.

India alert President Bill Clinton pledged $2.1 million in aid after India's worst cyclone disaster since 1971. Rescue efforts were hindered by flash-floods and continued rain.

Business charmed Tony Blair promised CBI delegates that Labour will not relax taxes to win votes before the next election, dubbing Gordon Brown the "Iron Chancellor". He also boasted that Microsoft's Bill Gates admired the UK's proposed policies on e-commerce as a model for other countries.

Not a plot The Trade Secretary Stephen Byers denied that his new investigation into alleged share-dealing irregularities by Lord Archer is part of a plan to smear the Tory candidate for London mayor. He just wants to distract him from writing novels.

Operating system The world's first computer-controlled surgical operation was performed in Britain. Surgeons can slice tissue, apply suction and cut tendons by speaking commands into a headset that operates remote-controlled surgical instruments.

This article first appeared in the 08 November 1999 issue of the New Statesman, The New Statesman Essay - To uplift the souls of the people