Nick Clegg, the deputy Prime Minister, said he could not support as they stood government plans to hold in camera civil court cases involving secret intelligence. The government also proposed changing the law to allow it to monitor the telephone calls, emails, texts and visits to websites of everyone in the country. UK Biobank began making available to researchers information on 500,000 volunteer patients in the National Health Service. The government said it had accepted ‘virtually all’ of the 28 recommendations in a report commissioned from Mary Portas on the rejuvenation of high streets, including reduced charges for parking. A Palm Sunday procession in the village of Hamble, Hampshire, involving choristers and a donkey, was cancelled after Eastleigh Borough Council received objections from police about traffic management, signage, road safety, risk assessment and insurance.
Tanker drivers belonging to the Unite union held talks at Acas, the conciliation service, after motorists had spent a couple of days panic-buying petrol in response to advice by David Cameron, the Prime Minister, to ‘top up’ in case of a strike. Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office minister, said: ‘A bit of extra fuel in a jerry can in the garage is a sensible precaution to take.’ A woman in York suffered 40 per cent burns after petrol caught fire as she decanted it into a jug in her kitchen. In a by-election, George Galloway won Bradford West for the Respect party, with 18,341 votes, capturing it from Labour, whose candidate gained only 8,201 votes, with the Conservatives polling 2,746 and the Liberal Democrats 1,505. The Ulster Unionist Party chose Mike Nesbitt, a former television presenter, as its leader.
Two German power companies, Eon and RWE, withdrew from plans to build new nuclear power stations. Natural gas, leaking from rock 12,000 feet down, closed the Elgin platform in the North Sea belonging to Total. Universities should set A-level courses in future, not the government, Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, said in a letter to Ofqual. James Murdoch resigned as chairman of BSkyB, but will remain on the board. The destroyer dauntless sailed for the Falkland Islands on the 30th anniversary of the war. Snow swept in from Scotland, leaving thousands without power.
Unemployment in the countries of the eurozone rose to 10.8 per cent, the highest since the introduction of the single currency in 1999. Spain, with the highest rate, 23.6 per cent, is to cut 27 billion euros from its budget this year. Only 805,600 households out of the 1.6 million in Ireland liable to pay a new tax had done so by the deadline of the end of March. Developers withdrew an app called Girls Around Me, which allowed users to map the location of women through publicly available information from Facebook and Foursquare.
Gulf Arab states agreed at a meeting in Istanbul to pay the salaries of the rebel Free Syrian Army. Syria agreed to a deadline of 10 April to begin implementing a peace plan proposed by Kofi Annan, as UN and Arab League envoy. Tuareg rebels in Mali took control of Timbuktu; the rebels are an alliance between the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad, seeking an independent state in the north, and Ansar Dine, which has links with al-Qa’eda in the Islamic Maghreb. Osama bin Laden’s three widows (two Saudi Arabians and a Yemeni) and his two eldest daughters were sentenced to six weeks’ detention for living in Pakistan illegally, but, having served a month, were expected to be deported in a fortnight. The United States put a $10 million bounty on Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Pakistan-based militant Islamists. France sent two radical Islamists back to Algeria and Mali, and 13 others detained in raids in several cities were to face trial. Helicopters rescued 675 anglers carried away on an ice-floe, through which they had been fishing, off the island of Sakhalin in the far east of Russia.
Aung San Suu Kyi won a parliamentary seat and her party, the National League for Democracy, claimed 43 of the 45 being contested in by-elections. The Muslim Brotherhood nominated Khairat al-Shatir as its candidate for the Egyptian presidential elections in May, reversing an undertaking not to contest the election. Seven people were shot dead at Oikos University in Oakland, California, and a 43-year-old former student was arrested. Pal Schmitt resigned as President of Hungary after being stripped of his doctorate when parts were found to be copied. Mount Etna in Sicily erupted for the fifth time this year. CSH