August 31. In the early hours, apparently trying to get
away from paparazzi photographers, a car carrying Diana, Princess
of Wales, and her boyfriend Dodi Fayed crashed in a Paris underpass.
Dodi and the driver, Henri Paul, died instantly. Diana was taken
to hospital unconscious and died soon afterwards. Her bodyguard,
Trevor Rees Jones, was terribly injured but survived.
The car had been speeding and none of the dead was wearing seat
belts. And yet as the news broke on a dumbstruck world, the initial
anger was directed at the media and, indirectly, at the public.
Had Diana been, quite literally, chased to her death by the photographers
who fed the world's insatiable appetite for pictures of her? Later
it emerged that the driver had been drinking and there had been
a fault with the car.
Diana was 36 and left two sons, the princes William and Harry.
As Britain mourned, the Queen and the Royal Family remained at
Balmoral and no flag flew at half-mast over Buckingham Palace.
Tributes poured in from around the world and the funeral became
a focus for a type of public grief never seen before in Britain.
People threw bouquets at the hearse and applauded as it passed.
Diana, Princess of Wales was buried at the island on the lake
at her family home of Althorp.
February 27. The cloning of Dolly the sheep was claimed
as a major genetic engineering breakthrough by scientists in Edinburgh.
The animal had been created from the tissue of an adult ewe thus
becoming the first mammal ever to be cloned in this way. The scientific
creators took cells from a six-year-old ewe and used them to fertilise
an egg from another ewe whose own chromosomes had been removed.
That meant that Dolly was a copy of the animal from which she
March 22. The eyes of the world focused on the night
sky as the brightest comet for 400 years made its closest approach
to the earth. The 20-mile wide lump of ice, frozen gas and sooty
dust - named Comet Hale-Bopp - skirted the planet at a distance
of 122 million miles at a speed of 100,000 miles an hour. Two
fiery tails of dust and steam cascaded off the the comet's icy
surface as a result of radiation from the sun.
May 2. The Labour Party rocketed to victory by a huge
margin in one of the most stunning general election results this
century. Every opinion poll had predicted a victory for "New Labour"
which ousted the Conservative Party which had been in power for
18 years. The scale of the win surpassed the wildest dreams of
the new prime minister, Tony Blair. The party was swept into power
on a ticket which promoted efficiency and challenged alleged Tory
sleaze and corruption.
July 1. Britain's 99-year lease on Hong Kong ran out
and at midnight it was officially handed over as "a special administrative
region" of China. Among those attending the handing-over ceremony
were the Prince of Wales and China's president, Jiang Zemin. The
celebrations included spectacular firework displays and jubilant
crowds thronging the Chinese capital, Beijing.
February 1. In Wolverhampton 25
soccer fans were arrested by police as Wolves clashed with
Stoke City at Molineux.
February 9. The ashes of 1960s
icon Timothy Leary were launched into orbit in the first
ever space funeral.
February 19. A 66-year-old Stafford
man was trapped for several hours in a bog of cow slurry while
taking a short cut home, before his cries alerted rescuers.
March 1. At Birmingham's Indoor
Arena, 95-year-old athlete, Everitt Hosack, jumped into
the record books with a world-beating two metre long jump
during the European Indoor Veterans Athletics Championships.
March 3. Wednesbury Tubes, one
of Wolverhampton's best known companies, was sold to a firm
in Memphis, Tennessee, for more than 12 million. The new
bosses were Mueller Industries.
March 26. In San Diego the bodies
of 39 people were found in a mansion after a mass suicide
linked to the spectacular appearance of the comet Hale-Bopp.
March 27. Wolverhampton shopkeeper,
Dave Painter, who runs the Philadelphia Flyer, created a right
royal bagel at his shop to commemorate a visit to the premises
the previous week by Prince Charles.
In Las Vegas, boxing champion Mike Tyson, who was convicted
of rape in 1992, was in trouble again after biting off part
of his opponent's ear during a heavyweight championship
August 15. A sentence of death
by lethal injection was passed in Denver on Timothy McVeigh,
the Oklahoma bomber who killed 168 people in an explosion.