15 JUNE 2002, Page 6

D owning Street dropped its complaint to the Press Complaints Commission

against The Spectator, the London Evening Standard and the Mail on Sunday over stories that aides to Mr Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, sought a more prominent role for him at the lying-in-state of the Queen Mother. The government set about measures allowing email and telephone records of private individuals to be made available to a range of public bodies, including local councils. Mr Gerry Adams, the president of Sinn Fein, met Mr Blair at Downing Street to discuss the riots that had affected east Belfast for more than a week. A device left to kill a Roman Catholic recruit to the new Police Service of Northern Ireland exploded as he was about to get into his car at Ballymena, County Antrim, but he escaped injury. Work began to raise the height of the 'peace wall' separating nationalist and loyalist areas in east Belfast from 12ft to 23ft, to hamper the throwing of missiles such as blast bombs and petrol bombs. Dr John Reid, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, remarked that 'there is obviously still activity, orchestration of violence by paramilitaries on all sides'. Mark 'Swinger' Fulton, a Loyalist Volunteer Force terrorist awaiting trial for murder, killed himself in Maghaberry Prison after becoming depressed and con

vinced that he would be murdered. Mr Nelson Mandela, the former president of South Africa, visited Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, who is serving a life sentence in Barlinnie jail for his part in the Lockerbie bombing, and said he should be transferred to a prison in a Muslim country. Mr Rupert Murdoch said he would like the newspapers he owns, principally the Sun and the Times, to campaign against Britain adopting the euro. The British Museum is to close on 17 June because of a one-day strike. Remains of a Roman amphitheatre 100 yards wide under Guildhall Yard in London were opened to the public; the leg-bone of a bear had been found there.

THE United States said that in May it had detained one of its citizens, Abdullah alMuhajir, born Jose Padilla, a former Chicago street-gang member, and accused him of planning to explode a 'dirty bomb' containing radioactive material to be spread by a conventional blast. Morocco said that in May it had arrested three Saudi nationals whom it accused of planning a suicide attack against American and British warships in the Strait of Gibraltar. President Bush held talks with Mr Arid l Sharon, the Prime Minister of Israel. Afterwards Mr Bush said of Mr Yasser Arafat, the Presi

dent of the Palestinian Authority: 'At the present time, we don't see yet a partner.' Israeli tanks had surrounded Mr Arafat's headquarters in Ramallah that day. Mr Bush had previously held talks with President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, who suggested a timetable be laid down for setting up an independent Palestinian state; Mr Bush said he was not ready for a timetable. In Moscow, hundreds of football hooligans, annoyed at Russia's defeat by Japan in the World Cup, looted shops, set fire to vehicles, injured 100 and stabbed a man to death in his car. India allowed Pakistani commercial aircraft to fly over its territory again in a gesture to ease the crisis that had threatened war. As representatives met for a loy,a jitga (national council) in Afghanistan, the former king Zahir Shah said he would seek no position in a future government. In the first round of the French general election, of the 64 per cent who voted, Mr Jacques Chirac's centreright Union pour la Majorite Presidentielle won 43.7 per cent; the Front National won 12.5 per cent; the Socialists won 32.8 per cent; the Communists won 4.7 per cent. Locusts afflicted 14 provinces of China. Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting introduced daily 30-minute news bulletins in Hebrew.