PORTRAIT OF THE WEEK
`Well, who did you expect to win, old chap?'
Mr Tony Blair looked forward to being the kind of prime minister who is 'a modern man': 'I am part of the rock-and- roll generation — the Beatles, colour tele- vision — that's the generation I come from,' he said. This seemed promising ground to large parts of the chattering classes who were looking forward to finding fault with the new government. Mr Blair arranged for new quarters for his family to be built at 10 Downing Street. The Irish Republican Army blew up an electricity pylon and closed motorways and airports with false alarms. A bold scheme by Mr Andrew Regan to take over the Co-opera- tive Wholesale Society with a £1.2 billion bid came undone when a High Court judge called his behaviour 'iniquitous' and found evidence of 'wilful and disgraceful breach of confidence' by Mr Allan Green, a CWS executive who has admitted handing over many documents to Mr Regan over an eight-month period. Hambros Bank apolo- gised to the CWS for its role in acting for Mr Regan. A firm of accountants in Taunton became the first company to file a tax return electronically to the Inland Rev- enue. Eurotunnel made a £685 million loss in 1996, compared with a £925 million loss in 1995. Lady Seear, the grande dame of the Liberal party who failed seven times to win a seat, died, aged 83. Denis Compton, the cricketer, died, aged 78. Lord Taylor of Gosforth, who drew up the report on the Hillsborough disaster, died, aged 66. Another Catholic church was set on fire in Northern Ireland. A machine digging a ditch round a gas distribution depot in Runcorn, Cheshire, set off a blast which shot flames 50 feet into the air and took 60 firemen to bring under control.
MR LAURENT Kabila, the leader of the rebel army in Zaire, gave relief agencies 30 days to repatriate more than 80,000 Rwan- dan refugees. Most of these had already disappeared from camps near Kisangani; rebel soldiers and Zairean villagers were blamed for driving them into the forest, where survival is difficult. There were incursions from Angola into Zaire near the capital, Kinshasa. Islamic militants massa- cred 93 villagers in the village of Haouch Mokhfi Khemisti, 12 miles south of Algiers; the next day more militants, armed with swords and axes, killed 47 people, including 17 women and three babies, at the village of Omaria, 50 miles south of the capital. The armed forces of Turkey extracted from Mr Necmettin Erbakan, the Islamicist Prime Minister, promises to uphold the country's secularist tradition. A crowd of 5,000 in a stadium in Yili in north-west China saw three men executed for their part in riots in February in the predomi- nantly Muslim region. Lady Thatcher, a former prime minister of Britain, opened a new road and rail bridge linking Hong Kong with its new airport; the central span is 4,475 feet, the longest in the world. Peng Zhen, the last survivor of the 'Immortals', eight veterans of the Communist revolution who adjusted Chinese policy in the 1980s, died, aged 95. Mrs Winnie Madildzela- Mandela was re-elected as president of the Women's League of the African National Congress; she then denounced the govern- ment of which her former husband is Presi- dent. A soldier shot dead eight sleeping election officials as Yemen went to the polls. Mr Jean Chretien, the Prime Minis- ter of Canada, announced a federal elec- tion for 2 June — a year and a half before his five-year term expires. The Internation- al Monetary Fund said that delay in setting up a single European currency would lead to dangerously 'extreme turbulence' in the international money markets. About 42,000 chickens died of asphyxiation after a venti- lation system broke down in their chicken- house near Tokyo.