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 Crashing out of the Tour de Farce

The Diana museum opens its doors 

Slapping down a backbencher 

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
Gill Samuels
One of the creators of Viagra, the impotence drug which took the male world by storm in 1998.

In the UK, violence erupted at the traditional Orange Order march at Drumcree and a serious stand-off with the security forces developed. The crisis eased, however, after the tragic deaths of three young brothers in a sectarian arson attack.

Political news included embarrassment for the government over lobbyists such as Derek Draper peddling their influence and Tony Blair's first reshuffle, which involved sacking Social Security Secretary Harriet Harman.

Deputy head teacher Sion Jenkins was found guilty of the shocking murder of his foster daughter, Billie-Jo, while the home secretary gave a symbolic pardon to Derek Bentley, the teenager hanged 45 years ago for a murder committed by his accomplice while he himself was under arrest.

Overseas, a huge tidal wave in Papua New Guinea killed more than 1,000 people.

One former national opposition leader, Nelson Mandela, remarried while a current one, Burma's Aung Sang Suu Kyi, spent days trapped in a car as the military authorities refused to let her travel freely.

Yet another, Nigeria's Moshood Abiola died, just before freedom beckoned. Others who passed away in July included the first American in space, Alan Shepard, and western star Roy Rogers.

In Russia, the Tsar's remains were reburied in St Petersburg while the IMF stepped in just as the last rites were being performed on the country's economy.

In a vintage month for sport, hosts France won the World Cup, Jana Novotna redeemed earlier failures by winning the Wimbledon ladies singles title, Mark O'Meara won the Open golf, and the Tour de France was reduced to a farce amid drugs disqualifications and go-slow protests by the riders.

Are the British born to lose? "There is a clear lack of competitive aggression."
"Given time we will win the World Cup again.
Does Microsoft abuse its power? "Bill Gates won't be satisfied until the USA is MS-USA."
"People trash companies that are successful."
Do we really want digital TV? "People spend far too long watching the box as it is."
"It's about time!"
Is designer chic daylight robbery? "There's a sense of achievement in wearing quality clothing."
"There's a sucker born every minute."
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