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 The faithful flocked to see the Pope in Cuba

Bill Clinton:
"I did not have sexual relations with that woman."

Heba Saleh, North Africa Correspondent:
"There is no doubt Islamic radicals are carrying out the killings."

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


Pick of the month
The subjects that got you talking this month
Scott Ritter
Ex-UN weapons inspector who quit at the failure to expose Iraq's arms programmes.

The year began, as so often seems the case, not with peace and goodwill left over from the spirit of Christmas, but international crises and death.

In Northern Ireland, there was a spate of sectarian killings and the peace process seemed to be in terminal trouble. Algeria saw a series of massacres and Iraq raised the stakes again by banning the UN weapons inspectors.

In addition, the beginnings of the global economic crisis became apparent as the drop in Asian currencies and markets, which began in 1997, accelerated to become a freefall.

President Clinton's troubles were rather more personal, but no less serious for that, as Monica Lewinsky made her first appearance on the news stage.

There was rather better news for hundreds of thousands of Cubans as the Pope made the first visit by a pontiff to their country, where he was greeted with rapture.

Other people in the news included the Queen Mother, who had a hip replacement, and Elizabeth Buttle, a 60-year-old who lied about her age to get fertility treatment.

The UK also saw storms lash the country, causing widespread damage.

For lovers of tall tales (or should that be curly tails?) there was the Tamworth Pigs, two young porkers who escaped the slaughterhouse and evaded all attempts at recapture for several days.

On the sporting front, Martina Hingis retained her Australian Open singles crown, while Chinese swimmers were exposed as drug cheats. The first Test between England and the West Indies, meanwhile, was abandoned because the pitch was too dangerous, while former England batting star Geoff Boycott was convicted in France of assault.

Among those who died in January were singer and US Congressman Sonny Bono, and two distinguished British comedians, Frank Muir and John Wells.

Has Diana's death changed Britain? "Her death touched not just the UK but the world."
"Mindless sentimentality."
Should hereditary peers sit in the Lords? "An anachronism repugnant to the notion of democracy."
"They own most of the country so should have their say."
Do we care too much about animals? "I'm all for 'four legs good, two legs bad'."
"City people have unrealistic attitudes towards animals."
Will the Internet help children to learn? "I wish it was around when I was at school."
"There are enough gullible Netheads out there already."
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