Catch up on the week

SUNDAYGordon Brown paid tribute to the first British journalist to be killed in Afghanistan, praising Rupert Hamer's "courage, skill and dedication in reporting from the front line". The 39-year-old Sunday Mirror writer was killed when the vehicle he was travelling in hit an improvised explosive device.


DUP leader Peter Robinson said he was temporarily stepping down as Northern Ireland's First Minister in an attempt to clear his name following the scandal surrounding his wife Iris. In a shock move, party colleague enterprise minister Arlene Foster will fill the role for up to six weeks.


Home Secretary Alan Johnson moved to ban the Islamist group behind a planned march through Wootton Bassett.

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Membership of Anjem Choudary's Islam4UK, and its parent organisation, Al Muhajiroun, will be a criminal offence punishable by up to ten years in jail.


Glaswegian Gerry McCann, right, angrily dismissed Portuguese detectives' claims that his daughter Madeleine is dead as he arrived at court in Portugal. Senior officers involved in the case told a defamation hearing in Lisbon of their belief that the little girl died in her family's holiday flat and that her parents faked her abduction.


Almost 50 years after the drug Thalidomide was withdrawn in the UK, the government apologised over the scandal – but some victims said it was too little, too late. The formal apology by Health Minister Mike O'Brien, who announced a 20 million support package for victims, received a mixed reaction by campaigners who said the statement fell short of saying "sorry".


The parents of conjoined twins paid tribute to their "little fighters". The boys were born at University College Hospital, London, last month, and were said to be doing well. Their parents, who wish anonymity, said: "We are very proud of our two little boys and we feel blessed by their arrival six weeks ago. They are feeding well and gaining weight."


Michelle Mone

Not only has she been awarded an OBE and shed several stone, the Ultimo bras boss has now been voted the most powerful businesswoman in Britain. The 38-year-old multi-millionairess, who built up her Glasgow-based underwear business from scratch, was awarded the title by Grazia magazine.


Sally Magnusson

"Why does Britain demand an unchangeable interest rate of 5.5 per cent? Why not 2 or 3 per cent?" A good question asked about the demand that Iceland pay its debts to the UK Treasury. But not if you are a BBC newscaster writing to a newspaper. Magnusson, whose father was Icelander and Mastermind presenter Magnus Magnusson, was carpeted by her BBC Scotland bosses.

What the papers said… about Alastair Campbell's evidence to the Chilcot inquiry

Daily Record:

If anyone expected Campbell to turn up and make an act of contrition or admission they will have been disappointed. He (Campbell] remained as aggressive as ever, fiercely defending himself and his old boss (Tony Blair] while pointing the finger elsewhere. Far from shedding any light on the process, this inquiry seems to be heading down a very dark blind alley.

The Independent:

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A leopard cannot change its spots. And, true to his nature, Alastair Campbell decided that the best form of defence was attack.

Daily Express:

It is clear now that Blair promised George W Bush, in writing and without telling the Cabinet, that Britain would take part in a war many months before it began. Campbell once again denied "sexing up" the dossier that made the notorious claim that Saddam had WMD that could hit British troops within 45 minutes. But, as Mandy Rice Davies remarked, "he would say that, wouldn't he?"


"Here was a decrepit monument to the godless and fractious manipulation of money, not the more humane and enduring task of making goods."

Design guru Stephen Bayley on the Royal Bank of Scotland, discussing Britain's abandonment of industrial technologies

"I've been writing the inside story of No 10 for 20 years and I've promised my wife I'm going to stop. She said it's No 10 or me and I'd sooner be with her."

Dr Anthony Seldon, biographer of Prime Ministers

"I would some day like to do a book. But writing about love and sex? Not until I'm dead."

Actress Dame Helen Mirren

"People ask me if I would ever run for president, and I say, 'No, I believe we have had enough boobs in the White House.'"

Singer Dolly Parton

"I was nervous. This was someone I cared for and I had to stand in the awkward position while this movie star light was on her. I felt like chopped liver."

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Actor Liev Schreiber on the problems of doing a sex scene with his "true love" Naomi Watts

"I do the school run in my tracky bottoms and hope that I don't get 'papped' at any point

TV presenter Coleen Nolan



26 March, 1950 – 13 January, 2010

The lead singer of 1970s soul band Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes sang on such classics as If You Don't Know Me By Now and Don't Leave Me This Way.

As a solo star he became the first black male singer to record five consecutive multi-platinum albums, with hits including Love TKO and Close The Door. He was in a car accident in 1982 which left him confined to a wheelchair. He then campaigned to help young people with spinal injuries.


What to do when your collection of fire-bellied toads is starving and the only supply of their favourite food – live waxworms – is located 550 miles away? Aberdonian Gus Whyte has the answer. Simply jump into your car – only stopping to pick up the owner of the local pet shop – and drive to London and back.

The crisis emerged after supplies normally sent north to East Coast Exotics by road were cancelled because of the extreme weather conditions. Whyte, an unemployed lorry driver, took matters into his own hands with the 1,100-mile trip, which took 21 hours. "I was getting a bit anxious," he said. "These things are not easy to come by."

East Coast Exotics owner Jodie Lynn went along to stock up for her store. "Gus was amazing," she said. "He didn't even stop for a sleep or moan once."


On Wednesday, in his statement on the Aberdeen bypass, John Swinney's speech writer managed to include the words "pubic transport" which the minister himself avoided saying after a quick intake of breath.

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"Then we had the SNP press release on Wednesday headlined: "MURPHY ON MANEAUVERS OVER CALMAN COP OUT" – that probably should be maneuvers, manoeuvres or manoeuvers.

Having said that, journalists are in no position to throw stones about typos, including this one.

75668">David Maddox, The Steamie

Poor King Cnut (or Canute, if you will.) There he was, the astute Viking ruler of England, setting out to prove the limits of kingly power on earth. To do this, he plunked himself down on the beach and commanded the tide to hold back.

And what is the outcome? One millennium on, he is constantly traduced as a vain autocrat.

Annabel Goldie was at it again today, comparing Alex Salmond to the one-time King. Like Cnut, she averred, the FM was blithely ignoring the tide of coming cutbacks in public spending prompted by the need to tackle the overall deficit.

Pausing only briefly to correct Miss Goldie on English history (she won't have liked that), Mr Salmond then went on to insist that he was only too well aware of what was coming down the line."

Blether with Brian BBC

If we genuinely believe that the only way we can stop people over-indulging is to make alcohol too expensive for "them" (and we know who "them" are, don't we?), then we might as well throw in the towel right now.

Tom Harris MP, And Another Thing...


Sick of the snow? Get your own back. A new free game. Snowmaggen, lets you blast away at snowball-throwing Snowmen monsters as they attack your home. Watch out, some of these frosty fiends can fly.

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Become and an MP for a week. You can prepare statements, write speeches and meet constituents. But you can't fill in a claims form.

Over the Pond ABC News found the ultimate Daddy Cool who spends hours fashioning sarnies into superheroes for his kids' lunchbox.


JimMurphyMP : At party in Cardinal O'Briens home. Met Susan Boyle for 1st. She didn't sing but everyone thankful that neither did I.

paulwaugh: Biggest laugh of the day in press room at #iraqinquiry as Campbell says "I don't worry about headlines. I never did".

davidschneider: Shortage of salt prompts calls for the UK to invade the Sea

VizTopTips: TO MAKE a pot of supermarket coleslaw go further, simply grate a carrot, some cabbage and an onion into the tub, then add some mayonnaise.

caitlinmoran: I like to walk towards all men, dramatically pointing a finger at them and screaming "DON'T RAPE ME! I'M REMEMBERING YOUR FACE!"

ThePhantomBand: There's Something About Maryhill #filmsmade scottish

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LadybirdFi: Sitting in a courtroom with lots of people, trying to work out which of us have the potential to be angry men.

tracey_thorn : hey, i've just written a christmas song! i'm not too late, am i?

alaindebotton: We get angry with talented writers who refuse to write the books we have in our own unconscious.

Writerer (AL Kennedy): Carriage now contains J.Kelman, B.MacLaverty, A. Gray+L.Lochead. I shit you not. twitter. com/