14 MARCH 1998, Page 6


The Commons Committee on Moderni- sation proposed doing away with the proce- dure 'I spy strangers' and with the necessity of wearing a hat to make a point of order during a vote. The Queen considered ways of making the royal family more modern; these included flying the Union Flag over Buckingham Palace when she is not in resi- dence, restricting the future grant of the title Royal Highness, and making bowing and curtsying to her optional. More than 100 charities began to benefit from the first handout of £13 million from the memorial fund of Diana, Princess of Wales. The Prince of Wales had keyhole surgery under a general anaesthetic on the cartilage of his right knee. Mr Jack Straw, the Home Sec- retary, ruled that Roisin McAliskey, wanted in Germany on IRA bombing charges, will not be extradited, because of medical evi- dence showing it would be 'unjust and oppressive'; the German prosecuting auth- orities then invited Britain to try her at home. HarperCollins, the publishers con- trolled by Mr Rupert Murdoch, said they `apologised for and have withdrawn any suggestion that Chris Patten's book [on Hong Kong] was rejected for not being up to proper professional standards or for being too "boring"'. The Irish company controlled by Mr Tony O'Reilly negotiated a takeover of the Mirror Group's holding of the Independent newspaper; Mr O'Reilly is expected to bring back Mr Andrew Marr, the editor who was sacked last month. Great Western Trains was bought by First- Group, the transport operators. Halifax, the biggest mortgage lender in Britain, bid for Birmingham Midshires building society, for which the Royal Bank of Scotland had offered £630 million. Delegates to the Scot- tish Labour party conference passed a motion condemning the government's cut in single parents' grants. It snowed in Scot- land and 20,000 people had their electricity cut off.

SERB POLICE killed another 50 or so Albanian-speaking people in their drive against the Kosovo Liberation Army in the province of Kosovo, where Serbian-speak- ers number only 10 per cent. Thousands of refugees fled their homes. Mrs Madeleine Albright, the United States Secretary of State, said, 'The time to stop the killing is now before it spreads.' The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe threatened to send Mr Felipe Gonzalez, the Socialist former prime minister of Spain, to mediate unless President Slobo- dan Milosevic of Yugoslavia stopped oppressing Albanian-speakers. In Tirana, the capital of Albania, a bomb damaged the offices of Deloitte & Touche, the accoun- tants investigating collapsed pyramid finance schemes. Russian police shot dead two Chechen rustlers who were trying to drive cattle over the border. A strike by 39 baggage-handlers brought Dublin airport to a standstill. Scientists became very excited by evidence from a space satellite that hun- dreds of tons of water were frozen in the soil at the Moon's poles. The Piton de la Fournaise volcano on the island La Reu- nion in the Indian Ocean erupted after being dormant for six years. General Augusto Pinochet, the former dictator of Chile, retired after 24 years as head of the army; he said: 'Today, looking back at that long path of service, my soldier's heart stirs and murmers from deep within: Thank you. Thank you, my homeland.' Millions of monarch butterflies died in Mexico, in some places in layers a foot deep. A judge in Ashkelon, Israel, ruled that the sale of pork is illegal; 25 butchers in the city who sell pork will now be liable to prosecution. Lloyd Bridges, who played the deputy in High Noon, died, aged 85. Doctors in Hun- gary removed a benign tumour weighing 851b from a man's stomach.