27 JANUARY 2001, Page 6

M Peter Mandelson, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, resigned,

after forgetting and then remembering that he had made a telephone call to a Home Office minister to do with the possibility of British passports for the brothers Srichand and Prakash Hinduja, who at the time, in 1998, were considering giving £1 million .to the Millennium Dome, which was his responsibility. The House of Lords passed, by 212 to 92 votes, government regulations (not subject to amendment) to allow the cloning of human embryos to provide material for medical experiments; the Commons had passed the regulations in December. The Royal Bank of Scotland wrote off debts of £11 million to Huntingdon Life Sciences as an undisclosed group of American investors met its debts to other banks, thus preventing the closure of the company, which tests medicines on animals and has seen its staff and shareholders intimidated by animal-rights extremists. Twin American baby girls, who had been adopted over the Internet by Mr and Mrs Alan Kilshaw of Buckley, Flintshire, were taken away by local social workers. Mr Stuart Wheeler, aged 65, who made a lot of money out of a company that promotes spread-betting, and has three pretty daughters, gave £5 million to the Conservative party, remarking that he did not support the idea of a single European currency. Mr William Hague, the leader of the

Conservative party, said it would if elected spend just as much as Labour on health, schools, police, defence and transport. He also told schoolchildren: 'I don't say that women can never fight in the front line.' Mr Jack Straw, the Home Secretary, said that under the Criminal Justice and Police Bill, police would be able to keep permanently DNA samples from people even if they turned out to be innocent. The mobile telephone company Orange is to float its shares at a price between 733p and 860p each, giving a total value of up to £43 billion — less than many expected. The KM Harris Tweed group, which produces 90 per cent of the cloth, took on 20 extra workers, taking its mill staff to 100. Mr Bernard Rayner. the man who sells pigeon food in Trafalgar Square, obtained an injunction against the revocation of his licence by Mr Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London, until a High Court hearing.

MORE than 300,000 people filled the grounds of the Capitol in Washington, District of Columbia, to see Mr George W. Bush sworn in as the 43rd President of the United States. 'Today,' he said, 'we affirm a new commitment to live our nation's promise through civility, courage, compassion and character.' President William Clinton, in the final hours of his term of office, pardoned 140 people, including his own half-brother Roger who had pleaded guilty to distributing cocaine in Arkansas. Once President, Mr Bush made an executive order stopping the use of federal funds to pay for abortions abroad. President Joseph Estrada of the Philippines left office after four days of street protests and the withdrawal of army support; he was replaced by the vice-president, Mrs Gloria Arroyo. The Pope named 37 new cardinals including Archbishop Cormac Murphy-O'Connor of Westminster and Fr Avery Dulles, SJ, a professor at Fordham University, New York. Miss Bariya Magazu, a 17-year-old unmarried mother, was given 100 strokes of a cane after being sentenced for sexual immorality by a sharia court in the state of Zatnfara in northern Nigeria. A court in Turkey ruled that an overwhelmingly Kurdish city called Batman could not name a street after Mahatma Gandhi, on the grounds that it would glorify revolt, even though there is a street in Ankara named after him. Four women and a man set themselves on fire in Tiananmen Square, one fatally. and Chinese newspapers said they were members of the persecuted Falun Gong sect. An Ecuadorean tanker, the Jessica, ran aground on one of the Galapagos Islands, 600 miles off Ecuador. leaking 170,000 gallons of oil that threatened iguanas, sea lions and blue-footed boobies.