29 NOVEMBER 2003, Page 6

I n the Queen's Speech the government announced plans to remove

hereditary peers; take failed asylum-seekers' children into `care'; let universities charge fees of £3,000 a year; make sellers of houses produce 'information packs'; prosecute wife-beaters; control firemen; impose identity cards; introduce 'gay marriages'; but not to ban hunting. The government let it be known that it was prepared to see negotiations for a European constitution fail. On a visit to Mr Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, President Jacques Chirac of France was given roast pork and Chateau Cheval Blanc 1983 for lunch and a photograph of Leo Blair ostensibly signed by the three-year-old. The Queen is to make her fourth state visit to France next April, the centenary of the Entente Cordiale. At the High Court the Daily Mirror and its journalist Ryan Parry, who had worked in Buckingham Palace as a footman, undertook to hand over all unpublished photographs and documents and destroy any unpublished reports after legal action by the Queen. Aaron Barschak, the man who climbed into Windsor Castle dressed as Osama bin Laden in drag, was jailed for 28 days for throwing red paint over the artist Jake Chapman in Oxford. Judges ruled that

Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, aged 51, who was found guilty two years ago of murdering 270 people by blowing up Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, would have to serve another 23 years in prison. More than 14 million Britons watched Jonny Wilkinson score the drop goal in the final minute of the match against Australia to win the Rugby Union World Cup for England. Phoebe, a sea lion at Chester zoo, was doing well after having 131b of willow leaves that she had swallowed removed from her stomach.

Mr Eduard Shevardnadze resigned as President of Georgia in the face of huge demonstrations in the streets of Tbilisi against falsified elections; soldiers refused to stop crowds headed by Mr Mikhail Saakashvili, an opposition leader, from entering the parliament building. Miss Nino Burdzhanadze, as acting president, said there would be elections within 45 days. Both France and Germany breached the European Union economic stability pact but escaped scot free at a summit of finance ministers. Two suicide car-bombers killed 18 at Iraqi police stations in towns near Baghdad.

American administrators stopped commercial flights to Baghdad after a DHL civil cargo aeroplane landed with a wing on fire after being hit by a missile. Rocket-propelled grenades hit the Palestine and Sheraton hotels in Baghdad from launchers on the backs of donkey carts. Gunmen shot dead two American soldiers driving through the centre of Mosul. Authorities in Turkey identified as Turkish the suicide bombers who killed 26, including the British consul general, and injured more than 400 in huge explosions at the consulate in Istanbul and at the HSBC building in the city; police arrested 15 in connection with the atrocities. A woman who wore a headscarf in the Muslim manner was removed from a jury sitting in a court at Bobigny, a Paris suburb. In Moscow 36 students died and 200 were injured in a fire at a residential block of the Patrice Lumumba Friendship of Peoples University. Michael Jackson the singer was released on $3 million bail after being charged with lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14. A homeless man in New York was crushed to death when he was scooped up with his blankets and boxes into the back of a dustcart. Heavier Austrians will have to pay higher social insurance contributions than lighter ones. Copito de Nieve (Snowflake), an albino gorilla in Barcelona zoo, died, aged 40.