BRITAIN'S former Northern Ireland Secretary, Mo Mowlam, died at the age of 55; she had never regained consciousness after hitting her head in a fall two weeks earlier. Tributes to her work in the Northern Ireland peace process leading to the Good Friday agreement came from many quarters. Following Robert Cooke's death earlier in August, the Labour Party had quickly lost two of its most popular and outspoken members. A leaked document from the Independent Police Complaints Commission reopened the controverssy in Britain over the Metropolitan Police's shoot-to-kill policy which led to the death of the innocent Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes at Stockwell underground station on July 22. The document gave a different account of the shooting from the one offered earlier by the Met's Commisioner, Sir Ian Blair, and there were calls for Sir Ian's resignation, including from members of Sr Menezes's family who had travelled to Britain. British Airways got its flights almost back to normal, but still lacking hot food, following the chaos after baggage-handling staff went on strike in sympathy with the staff of BA's catering sub-contractor who had been threatened with dismissal by their American management. Alcohol was listed as the primary cause of 6'544 deaths in England and Wales in 2004, a rise of 18 per cent over the year 2000. There were further calls from the police and members of the judiciary for the government to abandon and postpone the introduction of its new licensing laws which will permit public houses to extend opening hours. The government began a period of consultation about human fertility legislation. The Chief Constable of Nottingham issued his force with green ribbons to wear to indicate their openness to local Muslims; critics of the move asked how members of other faiths should interpret the gesture. Despite resistance, some 40'000 Israeli troops and police successfully evacuated Israeli citizens from settlements in Gaza where some of them had been living for more than 30 years, leaving the Palestinian Authority in charge. Seventeen Spanish troops died in Afghanistan when their helicopter crashed in the desert near Herat. Police found more than 100 would-be immigrants, two of them dead, adrift off Tenerife after being at sea for weeks.


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