11 APRIL 1998, Page 6


Aagreement by the participants in multi-party talks on Northern Ireland was put into confusion when Britain and Ire- land could not accept a document on the powers of new cross-border bodies pro- posed by Senator George Mitchell, the American chairman of the talks; in the event the proposals were presented to the negotiating parties with two separate texts from the governments of Britain and Ire- land. Mr Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, said he did not want to comment in a soundbite, adding: 'I feel the hand of histo- ry upon our shoulders.' A man was shot dead in Londonderry by Republican extremists. A bomb with 980lb of home- made explosives was seized at Dun Laoghaire by Irish police as it was being loaded onto a ferry bound for Holyhead. Mr Blair met Mr Zhu Rongji, the new Pre- mier of China, at 10 Downing Street and called him 'a fellow moderniser'. Mr David Blunkett, the Secretary of State for Educa- tion and Employment, said that youths seeking work might be given a shirt to wear and an alarm clock to awaken them as part of the government's 'New Deal' plan. Mr William Hague, the Leader of the Opposi- tion, said, 'Living together can be a very healthy and good thing to do before mar-

riage.' Mrs Anna Ferretti, the fiancée of Mr James Hewitt, was alleged to have offered to sell the Daily Mirror 62 letters written to him by the late Diana, Princess of Wales. Anthony-Noel Kelly was jailed for nine months for stealing parts of dead bodies from the Royal College of Surgeons; he had used the parts, including three heads, to cast forms that he put on sale as works of art. The Savoy group was sold to American investors led by the Blackstone group. The Financial Times-Stock Exchange index reached a new height. Earth Summit, the favourite, won the Grand National convinc- ingly. The Sporting Life is to close in May after 139 years.

THE JAPANESE economy trembled after Mr Norio Ohga, the chairman of Sony, likened Mr Ryutaro Hashimoto, the Prime Minister, to President Herbert Hoover on the brink of the Wall Street crash in 1929; Moody's, the American credit rating agen- cy, declared Japan's debt-rating as 'nega- tive' and the yen fell to 135 to the US dol- lar. In the first hour after its opening, 5,350 cars crossed the Akashi Kaikyo bridge in Japan, which at 12,831 feet is the longest suspension bridge in the world, with a cen- tral span of 6,532 feet. In Russia a constitu- tional court ruled that President Boris Yeltsin could not set aside a parliamentary Bill preventing his scheme to return to Ger- many works of art looted during the second world war. In Ukraine 60 miners were killed in a methane explosion at the Donet- sk colliery. Andrei Klimentyev, who had been elected mayor of Nizhny Novgorod, Russia's third city, a week earlier, was deposed and arrested pending appeal against an 18-month sentence for embez- zlement. Judge Susan Webber Wright, a federal judge, ruled that Paula Jones had no case against President Bill Clinton of the United States, whom she had sued for sexual harassment. Cardinal John O'Con- nor, the Archbishop of New York, said that the action of a South African priest in administering Communion to President Clinton, a Baptist, was 'legally and doctri- nally wrong'. Tammy Wynette, the Country singer of `D-I-V-0-R-C-E' and other favourites, died, aged 55. An inquiry by the Palestinian security forces found that Muhi a-Din al-Sherif, a bomb-maker for Hamas, the Islamic extremists, had been shot not by Israeli agents but by fellow members of Hamas. Vietnam announced that land cul- tivated for winter rice has risen by 205,000 acres to 6.7 million acres. CSH