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UK: News In Brief

Saturday, March 20, 1999 Published at 21:15 GMT

Place your bets for a millennium baby

Bookmakers William Hill is offering odds of 20-1 for any women wishing to bet that they will deliver a baby on 1 January 2000.

Anybody placing a bet on Tory leader William Hague and his wife Ffion having a child is offered odds of 50-1.

Odds on Prince Edward or the Prince of Wales becoming fathers on the day are even longer, at 500-1. Induced births are not counted.

Opinion is divided on the ideal day for women aiming to give birth on the day to conceive, with the dates of 20 March and 10 April among those suggested by experts.

Police hunt serial rapist

Police in Southend, Essex are hunting a serial sex attacker after a third woman was attacked in the town in the space of two days.

Two women were raped on Thursday night - the latest attack took place on Friday night and is being described as an attempted rape.

Friday night's incident happened during the early hours off Southend High Street. On Friday morning, two women were raped in separate incidents - one in Church Road, the other half a mile away in Gordon Place.

Police are hunting a man in his 20s, white, medium build, 5ft nine inches tall with cropped fair hair. He was wearing a black puffer style jacked and jeans.

Man airlifted from Durham cathedral

A visitor to Durham Cathedral has been airlifted from the roof of the building after suffering a suspected heart attack while at the top of one of its towers.

An RAF Sea King helicopter was scrambled from Boulmer after it was decided it would be to dangerous to take the man down the tower's 365 steps.

The tourist - who fell unconscious while admiring the view - is beiong treated in Durham's Dryburn hospital.

Proposal puts girlfriend on Cloud Nine

A holidaymaker was on Cloud Nine when the lovesick boyfriend she had left behind in Britain asked her to be his bride.

Martin Cronshaw, who stayed at home in Manchester, got Captain Robin Beurle to proposel for him - as girlfriend Melanie Jane Barnes was flying home from Majorca.

Melanie, 32, who was returning with a group of girlfriends when Captain Beurle made the announcement, was lost for words, except "yes".

Mr Cronshaw, 32, said: "I suppose I'm just a bit of a romantic really. I wasn't worried about her saying no, I was more concerned about her hitting me for pulling such a stunt."

Police injured in ram attack

Two police officers were taken to hospital with neck and back injuries after a stolen car was rammed into their patrol vehicle.

Firefighters had to cut the 40-year-old male driver from the wrecked Vauxhall Vectra. His 35-year-old woman colleague was also injured in the crash.

West Yorkshire Police said the incident happened after the patrol car was alerted to a white Daihatsu 4x4 vehicle in Pudsey, near Leeds early on Saturday.

The police car crew decided to check the Daihatsu, which contained three occupants, but the 4x4 was driven straight into the marked police car before driving away.

Princess's birthday out of this world

Princess Eugenie was joined by 20 friends at a party at a restaurant to celebrate her ninth birthday.

The Duchess of York treated her younger daughter and Princess Beatrice, 10, to an afternoon of burgers and movies at Planet Hollywood in central London.

Also at the party was 10-year-old leukaemia victim Daniel De-Gale, who desperately needs a bone marrow transplant.

The duchess has been appealing for a bone marrow donor to come forward for Daniel, from south London.

Abstract figurehead Heron dies

One of Britain's leading abstract painters, Patrick Heron, has died at the age of 79.

He is thought to have suffered a heart attack.

Patrick Heron was renowned for his use of colour and light and was a prominent member of the St Ives group of artists.

The Director of the Tate Gallery, Nicholas Serota, described him as "one of the most influential figures in post-war British art".

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