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Media Bytes

  "The French inquiry has been nothing other than professional and thorough"
Clarence Mitchell reports on the Princess Diana report

 "The people of east Timor turned out to vote in massive numbers ... in a show of courage and determination"
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan
Talking Point

Did bad behaviour ruin the Ryder Cup?

"Fact: US won. Fact: Europe lost. If there is any disgusting 'behaviour', it is the way you Europeans are all blowing this completely out of proportion." Jake, USA

"I think the behaviour of Americans was a disgrace. It should be a friendly competition but apparently some Americans think winning is the only thing." Lou Garfinkle, USA

September

The official report into the death of Princess Diana and Dodi al-Fayed in 1997 concluded that the crash was caused by the driver, Henri Paul, who was under the influence of drink and drugs. This did not satisfy Dodi's father, Mohamed al-Fayed, who launched an appeal.

An 87-year-old woman living in relative obscurity in Kent was revealed as one of the most important female spies ever recruited by the Russian KGB.

Melita Norwood had passed on information which had helped the Soviet Union to develop its nuclear arsenal. Further spying revelations followed. A former British policeman, John Symonds, had also worked for the KGB - apparently seducing women from Western embassies and passing their secrets on to the Russians.

In British politics, the former Conservative defence minister, Michael Portillo, admitted having a gay relationship while at university in the 1960s. His admission did him no harm and he later returned to the Commons.

Chris Patten, the chairman of the Independent Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland, released his report recommending changes to the way the Royal Ulster Constabulary was run.

Peace was back on the agenda in the Middle East when the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, and the Israeli prime minister, Ehud Barak, signed an updated deal focusing on land transfers and the handing over of prisoners.

The catalogue of natural disasters in 1999 continued with devastating earthquakes in Taiwan and Greece, which claimed the lives of more than 2,000 people.



I did what I did not to make money but to help prevent the defeat of a new system which had at great cost given ordinary people food and fares which they could afford, good education and a health service.
Self-confessed KGB spy Melita Norwood
There was nearly a man-made disaster in Japan with an accident at the Tokaimura nuclear plant, in which three people were seriously injured and many more contaminated.

Unrest continued in Russia with a series of deadly bombs set off in several cities. The government blamed separatists in the breakaway republic of Chechnya. The bombs prompted retaliation with Russian planes and troops sent into the republic in an attempt to flush out the rebels.

The trend for mega-mergers continued with Vodafone and Bell Atlantic pairing up in a $70bn deal, and in the richest media merger in history Viacom bought CBS for $36bn.

On the internet, e-commerce was given a boost with the opening of Britain's first internet-only bank. A transaction of a more controversial kind hit the headlines when an online auction of a human kidney was halted by the auction site eBay, and David Bowie became the first major musician to release an album on the internet.

In sport, the British boxer, Michael Watson, won a landmark ruling in the High Court when he was told he could claim damages from the British Boxing Board of Control for the irreparable brain damage he suffered in a world title fight in 1991.

The US Ryder Cup team beat the Europeans for the first time in six years in Brookline, but were accused of a lack of respect for their opponents for celebrating while the match was still going on. Serena Williams won her first grand-slam title when she beat Martina Hingis at the US Open.

In Britain, Surrey won the County Cricket Championship, 28 years after their last win.

Sensation, the controversial art exhibition showcasing young British talent, lived up to its name when the mayor of New York cut funding to the Brooklyn Museum of Art which was showing the work. A judge later ordered the mayor to restore the $4m of public money.

The US soul singer, Diana Ross was detained at Heathrow airport in connection with an alleged assault.
World: US lifts sanctions against North Korea
World: Tobacco firms sued in the US
World: Kosovo Liberation Army disbands
UK: Memorial fountain for Princess Diana
Entertainment: Gunter Grass wins Nobel literature prize
Entertainment: Talvin Singh wins Mercury prize
Obituary: British politician Alan Clark
Obituary: Former Soviet First Lady Raisa Gorbachev
Obituary: British film director Charles Crichton
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