Terri Schiavo, a 41-year-old brain-damaged woman in Florida kept alive for 15 years, died twelve days after tubes supplying her with food and water were withdrawn following several contested court decisions that it was wrong to keep her indefinitely in a vegetative state. Returning from the United States, where they were feted in Washington, the sisters of Robert McCartney, the man murdered in Belfast by supporters of the IRA, said they were considering a civil court action against the suspects if they could not be brought to face a criminal court.
A Manchester schoolmistress was jailed for six months for affray and possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence after she fired an air pistol at youths she believed had vandalised her property and threatened her.
A Basildon, Essex, a girl aged under 10 was raped in her bed by an intruder while her mother and sisters slept; she described the man as black, aged about 20 and with a ring engraved boyz. Hundreds of Barclays cash machines in Britain broke down after their timing controls were turned back instead of forward for British Summer Time.
During elections in Zimbabwe President Mugabe called his critic Archbishop Pius Neube a mad, inveterate liar but preliminary results showed that Mugabe's Zanu party had won the two-thirds of parliamentary seats necessary to approve changes in the country's constitution.
In Kyrgyzstan civil war was averted when Mr Kurmanbek Bakiyev was named Prime Minister while two parliaments sat simultaneously in different buildings. As avian influenza spread to North Korea, where hundreds of thousands of birds were slaughtered, there were warnings that the infection could spread beyond Asia through pillows, cushions and duvets stuffed with feathers from affected birds.
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