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The 'Battle of Seattle'
Media Bytes

 "The fury of the cyclone went beyond all expectations"
Mike Wooldridge on the Orissa disaster

 "Iím feeling very let down at the moment"
Tory chairman Michael Ancram on Jeffrey Archer
Talking Point

Sir Cliff - hero or zero?

"The radio stations have no right to tell us which record is good and which bad. We can decide for ourselves, you bozos." Denis Low, UK

"He's taken music he hasn't created and lyrics he hasn't written and turned them into a marketing machine for himself." Matt D, UK


British domestic politics dominated in a month characterised mostly by peace.

The exception came in Seattle, where a meeting of the World Trade Organisation was surprisingly disrupted by protesters. Riot police used CS gas and plastic bullets in what became knwon as the Battle for Seattle.

In Northern Ireland, however, there was a breakthrough following the Mitchell Review of the stalled peace process. A series of orchestrated announcements saw the Ulster Unionist Party agree to allowing Sinn Fein into government and Sinn Fein accept peaceful means, paving the way for the establishment of the executive.

All this allowed the Northern Ireland assembly to select its ministers. One of the more controversial appointments was Martin McGuinness as education minister. Mr McGuinness had strong links with the IRA.

While ministers in Northern Ireland prepared for office, hereditary peers in the British House of Lords were packing their bags as 750 years of political history came to an end. The abolition of the automatic connection between the hereditary peerage and the Lords was the first stage in a radical overhaul of the upper house.

The race to nominate Labour and Conservative candidates for mayor of London descended into farce as Jeffrey Archer resigned his candidature after it became clear he had asked a friend to provide a false alibi in a libel case in 1987. Ken Livingstone finally joined the shortlist of Labour candidates but only after weeks of speculation, investigation and alleged misinformation.

We've done our bit Mr Adams, it's over to you. We've jumped. You follow.
Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble, to Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams
There was more bad publicity for the Tories when they were accused of receiving a £1m 'foreign' donation from the party treasurer, Michael Ashcroft, through a secretive trust based in Belize. The Tories responded by saying their bank accounts had been hacked into.

In altogether more happy circumstances, Downing Street announced that Tony Blair and his 45-year-old wife, Cherie, were expecting their fourth child. The delighted parents-to-be were said to be shocked by the pregnancy.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe called Mr Blair a 'little man' and accused the British government of hiring 'gay gangsters' to harass him during a private visit to London.

In international news, another earthquake hit Turkey killing more than 600 people and at least 300 people froze to death in China after abandoning a burning ferry.

Microsoft lost its long-running legal battle with the US authorities when it was ruled that the company had operated as a monopoly and had thus damaged consumer interests.

Meanwhile, Microsoft chairman, Bill Gates donated $26m to the UN Children's Fund.

There were more internet firsts. The Scotland-England qualifying match for the 2000 European Championships was the first live webcast of an international football match, and the Millennium Mapping Company set out to produce an aerial photograph of every inch of Britain.

The Rugby World cup was won by Australia and boxer Lennox Lewis became the undisputed world heavyweight champion.

In entertainment news, Sir Cliff Richard's version of the The Lord's Prayer hit the number one spot in the music charts despite many radio stations refusing to play it. Gary Glitter was jailed for four months after admitting storing child porn on his home computer.

In art, Steve McQueen was chosen as this year's Turner Prize winner.
World: Australia votes to keep the Queen
World: Panama reclaims bases
World: Mount Everest grows
UK: Samurai sword attack on church
Business: US drug-makers in mega-merger
Sci/Tech: New planet glimpsed
Obituary: British gay raconteur and wit Quentin Crisp
Obituary: American football legend Walter Payton
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