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 When American patience ran out

"The attacks came in waves" 

"A gruesome end"  

Sex, lies and impeachment

Northern Ireland: An historic year

The year the bubble burst

Kosovo: Another Balkan tragedy

Nature's turbulent year

Sport: Trials and triumph


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Deborah Hickey
Sister of Darren Hickey, a telephone engineer kidnapped and murdered in Chechnya.

The year 1998 saved three of its biggest news stories until the very last.

At the same time as the US armed forces were bombing Iraq, the House of Representatives was impeaching the country's commander-in-chief, President Clinton, over the Monica Lewinsky affair.

Then, in Christmas week, two of Tony Blair's cabinet colleagues - the high-profile Trade and Industry Secretary Peter Mandelson and the Paymaster General, Geoffrey Robinson - both resigned on the same day over a 373,000 loan Mr Robinson had made to Mr Mandelson to allow his friend to buy a London home.

Just before the attacks on Iraq started, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan had predicted war in Iraq and Kosovo unless international agreements were met.

Another story linking the Middle East with the US and the UK was the tenth anniversary of the Lockerbie bombing, with the possibility that events are gradually moving towards a trial.

The air crash in Thailand, though not caused by a bomb, killed more than 100 people, but more than 40 others managed to escape from the wreckage with their lives.

In the UK, the normally obedient Tory Party in the House of Lords erupted in open revolt over a deal with the government to reform the upper house. Party leader William Hague sacked Lord Cranborne for going behind his back and several Tory lords resigned in protest.

Three British hostages and a New Zealander held in Chechnya were beheaded by their captors after a failed rescue attempt.

The gradually-stalling Northern Ireland peace process received a much-needed boost with the destruction of the first terrorist weapons.

There was also good news for Diane Blood, the woman who had to go to court to win the right to impregnate herself with her dead husband's sperm - she had a baby boy, Liam. Rather more babies were in the news in America, where surviving octuplets were born to a woman treated with fertility drugs, though one sadly died after Christmas.

In sport, English football was rocked by the resignation of Graham Kelly as chief executive of the Football Association while English cricket performed its usual collapse in Australia.

Film, TV and theatre impresario Lord Grade topped the bill of those people who died in December.

Is Carol Vorderman worth 5m a year? "She's a national institution."
"So, she can add up - so can I."
Should scientists clone body parts? "This technology is the last hope for my daughter."
"We must stop factory farmed humans."
Was the bombing of Iraq just? "It is nothing but GENOCIDE!"
"A necessary evil as long as Saddam is in charge."
Should Clinton resign before his impeachment trial? "He has disgraced his country and his office."
"Did Nixon, Johnson, Kennedy and Bush lie? Yes."
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