The Spectator

Portrait of the Week – 19 October 2002

A speedy round-up of the week's news

Mr Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, told the House of Commons: ‘Some say that we should fight terrorism alone and that issues to do with WMD [weapons of mass destruction] are a distraction. I reject that entirely.’ The Northern Ireland Assembly was suspended and government of the province was resumed by Westminster a week after three men connected with Sinn Fein were charged with offences to do with the Irish Republican Army spying on the Northern Ireland Office. An inquiry by Mr Mike Tomlinson, the former chief inspector of schools, found that 1,945 A-level candidates had been unjustly deprived of the grades they deserved and more than 150 had lost places at their preferred universities because the Oxford, Cambridge and RSA board had arbitrarily lowered grades. Professor Ian Wilmut, the scientist behind the cloning of Dolly the sheep in 1997, said he hoped to clone human beings so that embryos could be used as a source for stem cells for research; but he did not want to bring the embryos to term. An appeals panel ruled that a school at Ewell, Surrey, must take back two 15-year-old boys it had excluded for making 44 death threats to a master over a ten-week period; Miss Estelle Morris, the Secretary of State for Education, intervened to say that the boys should go elsewhere, but their mother said the ruling remained legally binding. The stairwell in Peckham, south London, where the ten-year-old Damilola Taylor was found bleeding to death in 2000 was demolished. More than 60 patients in hospitals in Kirkcaldy, Fife, developed vomiting and diarrhoea in a fortnight; three elderly women died. Carlton and Granada agreed to merge, to form, they hope, a single ITV, if regulatory authorities permit. An electrician from Gosport, Hampshire, won £121,157 in the national lottery four months after winning £194,501; the odds against this were said to be 2,330,636 squared.

Bombs at Kuta beach in Bali killed about 200, including more than 100 Australians and more than 30 Britons.

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