Madness, badness, hate and heroism

Robert McNeil continues his unique take on the events of 2007 with a look back at the second three months of the year...

EVIL dominated the second quarter of the year. Evil comes in many forms. Sometimes, it involves mass murder. Sometimes, it concerns the murder of one human being. The murder of Angelika Kluk was evil. The perpetrator was a 60-year-old man. At the High Court in Edinburgh, he was given 21 years for what the judge described as the "inhuman" killing of the young Polish student. The man in question looked unconcerned, proving that people like him should fry, particularly since electrocution has been shown to be a slow and inefficient means of execution

He'd already been convicted in England in 1994 for raping and sodomising two teenage girls. He raped and murdered Ms Kluk at St Patrick's Church in Anderston, Glasgow. As Stephen McGinty wrote in this paper: "Those around him had no idea that when he strolled into the church hell was to follow him."

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Hell also visited the parents of three-year-old Madeleine McCann on 3 May when the toddler disappeared from their holiday apartment in the Algarve.

In the ensuing months, Kate and Gerry McCann used the media to keep the case in the public eye. The Portuguese police did the same, but their efforts were directed more at casting doubts on the McCanns and their friends. Supposed sightings of Madeleine were reported periodically, but each time hopes were dashed.

Hopes that Scotland would continue to be spared terrorist attack were dashed when a Jeep carrying gas cylinders and petrol was driven towards the main doors at Glasgow airport. The driver, engulfed in flames, got out and staggered to the boot, which contained several gas canisters. Police officers and airport staff, including one John Smeaton – apparently uttering the words, "F***ing come on then!" – confronted the man, while simultaneously trying to put out the flames. Meanwhile, the Jeep's passenger allegedly ran towards the terminal with canisters of gas or petrol, before being tackled by security guards, police and members of the public. The Jeep then exploded and the airport was evacuated. One passenger shouted towards the driver: "Let him burn!" Another woman, mocking the suspects' ineptitude, said: "Terrorists? Numpties, more like."

Which brings us nicely to Iran. As thirty-three and a third per cent of the Axis of Evil, the loony regime was proud to parade some of the 15 British servicemen it had captured, claiming they'd entered Iranian waters while on patrol. One prisoner said: "I'd like to say to the Iranian people I can understand why you are so angry about our intrusion into your waters." But the Foreign Office insisted they'd been in Iraqi territorial waters, which are part of the British-American Empire.

On the streets of Tehran, demonstrators threw rocks and fireworks at the British Embassy, while shouting "Death to Britain!" and so forth. Concern was expressed in the West about some of the placards. One proclaimed, "15 British agressors (sic] must be executed". Another said, "Crush of the authority". The evidently declining standards in English spelling and grammar shocked many western commentators.

President Ambadanmad eventually let the marines and sailors go, as an Easter gift, which made a change from the chocolate egg he usually sent to London. The prisoners were paraded in ill-fitting new suits supplied by the local John Loonies department store, and President Ambadanmad told them tautologically: "Have success and be successful."

Tony Blair responded: "We respect Iran as an ancient civilisation, as a nation with a proud and dignified history." Sub-text: "though, clearly, you are nutters now".

Sticking with the Axis of E, massive synchronised spectacles were organised in North Koreashire to commemorate Kim Il-Sung, the original First Loony who set up the dictatorial state. The image was of mindless masses marching hither and yon in utter subservience. However, one individual in the midst of the throng could clearly be seen thinking: "This is a right bunch of cack."

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China was not lucky enough to qualify for the Axis of Evil and had to make do with being in the Axis of Pretty Dodgy. Civil rights campaigners and anti-dancing groups were shocked when the regime there declared waltzing compulsory for secondary school students. It was, they said, a good way to get weight down, what with too many fatties plashing through the paddy fields and so forth. A leading loonie said: "Group dancing will help cultivate students' social graces and sense of collectivism." That's right. Collectively, the students thought: "This is a nuthouse."

Still, there were encouraging signs that the Chinese were becoming westernised. For example, the sin was put in Sinology when it emerged that more than 60 per cent of Chinese people now had no problem with the idea of sex before marriage. This followed the discovery that there was no sex after marriage.

Hollywood remained a major stumbling-block to East-West relations, as shown when the Chinese censored the latest Pirates of the Caribbean film. They objected to the portrayal of the pirate lord, Captain Sao Lard, played by Chow Yun-Fat (real name). China's best-selling magazine, Censorship Today, said: "The captain played by Chow is bald, his face heavily scarred. He also has a long beard and long nails, whose image is still in line with Hollywood's old tradition of demonising the Chinese." Professor Mao Tse Blenkinsop, of the country's Bureau for Paranoia, said the imposed cuts did not affect the film's continuity, other than making it difficult to follow the first 40 minutes.

Scots elect Eck as Blair says bye-bye

ONTHE home front, the major cause of excitement was the Holyrood election. This was seen as a referendum on independence, prompting many Scottish people to panic. Jim Spowart, a financial businessman, said house prices in Scotland would fall if his country started running its own affairs.

In a secret meeting, Labour leaders warned the BBC against giving fair coverage to the SNP. However, David Cameron, the Tory leader, derided Labour's "backward-looking and negative" campaign, saying it should be replaced with a Conservative backward-looking and negative campaign.

Tesco chairman David Reid headed an advertisement featuring figures in commerce and industry, widening the unionist base of support. Until then, the unionist case had received backing only from Glasgow Rangers and the Orange Order.

Others who wanted their country run by London included, er, Jim Spowart, Michelle Mone, the underwear millionaire, Duncan Bannatyne, out of television's The Dragon's Den, and Charan Gill, a restaurateur no-one had heard of. Spowart protested too much: "I am a patriotic Scot."

No sooner had he sat doon than 62 "Scottish" scientists stood up to warn that independence would impede research. The group was headed by Professor Ian Wilmut, from Warwickshire, Londoners Aubrey Manning and Hugh Pennington, Wilson Sibbett, from Northern Ireland, and Peter Congreave, a Welshman.

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Broon pitched in with a list of anti-independence "celebrities", including Robbie Coltrane, the fat actor, and Archie McPherson, the decrepit football commentator. Also on the list were Jim Spowart (again), Michelle Mone (again), and Prof Hugh Pennington (again).

All to no avail. The evil Nats became the largest party at Holyrood, beating Labour by one seat. However, being Scotland, the election was dogged by farce, after 100,000 ballots were rejected as spoiled papers. Wee Dougie Alexander, the Scottish Secretary, had ignored official advice that the voting papers he'd chosen were likely to confuse simpletons and other voters.

I cannot think of a link for simpletons, and so will just move on to Jack McConnell, whose days as Labour leader in Scotia seemed doomed. During the election campaign, when Labour was obviously losing, Wendy Alexander, sister of the above Dougie, angrily condemned reports that she was preparing a bid for the Labour leadership as "ill-informed, unsourced, malicious spin designed to benefit the SNP".

Her claim was not helped by the Noodle Gang Conspiracy, in which half a dozen senior Labour burdz met controversially for a Chinese takeaway in the flat of Wendy's pal Pauline McNeill, MSP. They claimed they were only discussing the interior decor at Holyrood, but conspiracy theorists said they were out to spear Jack's spicy prawn balls with their chopsticks. Shortly before Jack stood down, his spokesman said: "The First Minister is not even thinking about that (standing down]."

Doon sooth, meanwhile, it took Broon 17 days to pick up the phone and congratulate Eck on his victory. Broon reported: "I said, 'Well done for becoming First Minister'." Then he played the following recording: "I stand for the Union, I believe that Scotland does best as part of the United Kingdom." Yada-yada.

At last, Blair announced a timetable for resignation, and Broon was confirmed as Labour leader on 30 June. The comical Fifer used the occasion to speak tediously about the sense of duty imbibed from his parents: "They guide my work; they are my moral compass."

Then, his moral compass went haywire as he shook hands with Tony in front of a huge Union flag, displayed to assuage concerns about his Scottishness.

On 2 July, he was sworn in as PM, wearing a tomb-opening grin as he invoked his old Kirkcaldy High School motto, "I will try my outmost". By which he meant utmost. In his last appearance at Prime Minister's Questions, meanwhile, Blair told some jokes before concluding: "That is that. The end." It was reminiscent of Bilbo Baggins's last speech before he left the Shire.

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Speaking of great statesmen – Bilbo, I mean – Boris Yeltsin shuffled off. Yeltsin had suffered from poor health, depression and alcoholism as he ruled Russia throughout the chaotic 1990s. In his 1994 memoir, I Never Ordered These Underpants, he wrote: "The debilitating bouts of depression, the grave second thoughts, the insomnia and headaches in the middle of the night, the tears and despair… the hurt from people close to me who did not support me at the last minute, who didn't hold up, who deceived me – I have had to bear all of this." Jessie.

It wasn't all grim, though. Boris provided lots of laughs along the way. Remember when he was too sloshed to get off the plane at Shannon airport, leaving his Irish hosts twiddling their thumbs on the tarmac? Then there was the time he was filmed tweaking a secretary's backside. In 1996, cameras caught him dancing in a pished manner on stage to rock music during his re-election bid. Though brave in some ways, Yeltsin chickened out of taking on his citizens. During one election campaign, he said: "Some say we should raise vodka prices. But I haven't the courage to do so yet."

It took courage to be fat in 2007, as the campaign to hound lardbuckets continued. Gymnasium capitalist Duncan Bannatyne put down his Union flag to inform the nation: "Fat people don't work as hard as people who are not fat." Hmm, controversial. Speak on, Duncan: "Somebody who hasn't looked after themselves won't train their brain, won't train their body, will just smoke cigarettes or stuff themselves with pies. They're less likely to go out and want to apply themselves and work hard."

Brain? Train? Pies? Applies? This was hot stuff! However, lardbuckets had their excuse ready: it was all in the genes. Scientists discovered that variations in a gene carried by 16 per cent of the population could make them more likely to become obese. The findings could eventually lead to new treatments for obesity, which affects nearly everyone in the UK.

Greasy butties are a major part of the problem, so top boffins announced that, if you eat bacon 14 times a month, you get chest diseases more usually associated with smoking. The problem was caused by nitrites, a chemical the capitalists add to bacon. Many Scots start the morning with a pint of heavy, but medical experts said they should be having strawberry daiquiris instead. Apparently, adding alcohol to strawberries enhances their disease-fighting properties. The usual tedious warnings about moderation followed, but the message remained: drink cocktails for a happy life.

Dinosaurs were doubtless happy once, in their own dimwitted way. The bones of a new one were found in Inner Mongolia (a real place apparently; it's like Outer Mongolia, only further in). Gigantoraptor blenkinsopiae, named after its discoverer, Sir Arthur Gigantoraptor, was a sort of giant ostrich with meat-mangling claws.

According to Professor Jeremy Zhangzhang, out of Beijing Sciences Academy, the gigantoraptor was twice as high as a man ("not including Jimmie Krankie," he added) and could waddle jolly rapidly from A to B, though many scientists questioned whether such places existed back then.


2 APRIL: Wales bans smoking in public places.

3 APRIL: Viktor Yushchenko, the president, dissolves the Ukrainian parliament following defections that increased the majority of his opponents.

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It emerges British Airways loses more luggage than any other major European airline, having mishandled 23 bags per 1,000 passengers in 2006.

4 APRIL: Iran to release British sailors and marines captured on 23 March as "a gift". They arrive in UK the next day.

5 APRIL: Three charged with involvement in the 7 July, 2005 London bombings.

The Greek cruise ship M/S Sea Diamond, with 1,153 passengers and 390 crew, runs aground off Santorini and sinks on the following day. No serious injuries are reported, but two passengers are found to be missing.

Riots mark the opening of a Primark store in London's Oxford Street after internet rumours suggested all stock was being sold at half-price.

7 APRIL: Cambridge defeats Oxford in the 153rd University Boat Race.

8 APRIL: Pope Benedict laments the violence in Darfur, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe, Somalia, Afghanistan and the Middle East, stating "nothing positive is happening in Iraq" in his Easter homily.

9 APRIL: The Ministry of Defence bans any more of the 15 Royal Navy sailors and Royal Marines held captive by Iran from selling their stories to the media, following widespread criticism.

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10 APRIL: The US military begins building a wall around the Sunni district of Baghdad.

Johnny Cash's former Nashville home is destroyed by a fire.

Natallie Evans from Wiltshire loses her legal fight to have children fathered by a former lover. She and Howard Johnston had opted for IVF treatment in 2001, but he withdrew his consent for use of the embryos after the couple parted ways.

11 APRIL: Al-Qaeda claims responsibility for two bomb blasts in the Algerian capital, Algiers. At least 33 people were killed and 222 others injured.

The United States extends the tour of duty for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan from a year to 15 months.

12 APRIL: Paul Wolfowitz, the president of the World Bank, apologises for his role in a pay scandal involving his girlfriend.

Kim Jong-il, the leader of North Korea, dismisses his prime minister Pak Pong-ju, appointing Kim Yong-il in his place.

13 APRIL: The genome sequence of the Rhesus Macaque monkey is published in Science.

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Flash flooding kills at least 35 in the Trang Province of Thailand.

14 APRIL: Garry Kasparov, Russian chess champion and opposition activist, is arrested while attempting to hold a protest march in Moscow.

15 APRIL: Two UK military helicopters collide near Baghdad, killing two soldiers.

16 APRIL: Cho Seung-hui kills 32 people at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

17 APRIL: The pound breaks through the $2 level for the first time since 1992.

18 APRIL: Colombia's Nevado del Huila volcano erupts, prompting hundreds to evacuate.

At least 198 people are confirmed dead after a series of bombings in Baghdad.

Poland and Ukraine are named joint hosts for the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship.

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19 APRIL: An Amnesty International report claims that the attacks on Afghan civilians by the Taleban are widespread and systematic.

20 APRIL: Scientists prove eating less salt reduces the risk of stroke or heart attack.

22 APRIL: South Korea agrees to resume food aid to North Korea.

23 APRIL: Boris Yeltsin, the first president of Russia, dies at the age of 76.

NASA releases the first 3D images of the Sun.

24 APRIL: Jadarite, a mineral of the same composition as Superman's Kryptonite, is discovered in a Serbian mine.

25 APRIL: China detains four Americans protesting for Tibetan independence and against the Beijing Olympics at the Mount Everest base camp.

27 APRIL: A Russian Mi-8 military helicopter is shot down by rebels in Chechnya, killing 20.

28 APRIL: Australia beats Sri Lanka to win their third consecutive Cricket World Cup.

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A suicide bombing in Pakistan kills 22 and injures Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao, the interioir minister.

An earthquake of magnitude 4.3 strikes Kent.

29 APRIL: At least three people, including the gunman, die in a shooting at a shopping centre in Missouri.

30 APRIL: Hugo Chvez, the president, announces that Venezuela will withdraw from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

30 APRIL: Northern Ireland bans smoking in public places.

Five men convicted at the Old Bailey of a plot to explode fertiliser bombs.

1 MAY: Rupert Murdoch makes $5 billion offer to take over Dow Jones, publisher of the Wall Street Journal.

2 MAY: Four people are killed in a helicopter crash in Cambridgeshire.

Gunmen in Afghanistan kill Abdul Sabur Farid, a former prime minister.

3 MAY: Scottish Parliament elections. The Scottish National Party becomes the largest party in Scotland for the first time in its history.

Madeleine McCann disappears in Portugal.

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The Queen begins a tour of Virginia with a speech to honour of the 400th anniversary of the first permanent English settlement in Jamestown.

The Ulster Volunteer Force renounces the use of force.

4 MAY: A tornado kills nine people in Kansas.

A boat carrying nearly 150 Haitian migrants capsizes in the Atlantic Ocean off the Turks and Caicos Islands, killing at least 20.

5 MAY: All 115 passengers and crew aboard a Kenya Airways flight between Cameroon and Nairobi die after it crashes.

6 MAY: Nicolas Sarkozy is elected president of France.

A car bomb kills at least 20 people and injures 80 in Baghdad.

Manchester United win the English Premier League.

7 MAY: More than 18,000 Mexicans pose naked for Spencer Tunick, a US photographer.

8 MAY: Devolved government is restored to Northern Ireland.

9 MAY: Pope Benedict undertakes his first visit to Latin America.

The Home Office is restructured with a new Ministry of Justice being formed to handle prisons, probation and the sentencing of offenders.

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10 MAY: Tony Blair announces he will resign as Prime Minister on 27 June, triggering a Labour Party leadership election.

11 MAY: Tony Blair endorses Gordon Brown as his successor.

12 MAY: Serbia wins the Eurovision Song Contest in Finland.

13 MAY: About one million people gather in Izmir, to demand Turkey remains a secular state.

14 MAY: Police seal off the villa of Robert Murat in the search for Madeleine McCann.

A new species of hummingbird is discovered in Colombia.

15 MAY: The Thomson Corporation is to buy Reuters for 8.7 billion, creating the world's biggest financial news and data group.

16 MAY: The Ministry of Defence announces that Prince Harry will not be deployed to Iraq as planned, due to security risks.

Alex Salmond officially becomes First Minister.

17 MAY: Gordon Brown is confirmed as the next leader of the Labour Party.

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18 MAY: Rioting breaks out in Guangxi province, China, in protest at the government imposing fines for breaches of its strict one-child policy.

19 MAY: Chelsea beat Manchester United 1-0 to win the FA Cup.

20 MAY: An IAF plane fires a missile at the home of Khalil al-Haya, a Hamas lawmaker, killing eight people and wounding many others.

Romrio, the Brazilian footballer, becomes only the second player to score 1,000 goals. Pele was the first.

21 MAY: The Cutty Sark, a clipper, is badly damaged by fire in Greenwich.

22 MAY: The UK Crown Prosecution Service announces that Andrei Lugovoi, a former KGB agent, will be charged in connection with the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko, also a former spy.

23 MAY: AC Milan beat Liverpool 2-1 in the Champions League final.

24 MAY: Gerry and Kate McCann release the last photograph taken of their daughter Madeleine.

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The son of the Labour MP Mohammad Sarwar is found guilty of laundering almost 850,000 through his business, set up by his father.

Thirty-eight miners are killed and seven injured by a methane explosion at the Yubileinaya coal mine in Russia.

25 MAY: Two Britons are among six oil workers kidnapped in Nigeria.

27 MAY: Scot Dario Franchitti wins the rain-shortened 2007 Indianapolis 500 motor race.

Radio Caracas Television is shut down by the Chvez administration in Venezuela.

28 MAY: The Foreign Office submits a formal request to the Russian government for the extradition of Lugovoi.

29 MAY: Five British nationals are kidnapped from a Finance Ministry building in central Baghdad.

30 MAY: A CH-47 Chinook helicopter, above, on a NATO mission in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, is shot down, killing all seven aboard, one of whom was British.

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A fire at the Oldbury nuclear power station in south Gloucestershire forces its indefinite closure.

Olivia Donachie, four, is killed in a hit-and-run accident in Edinburgh's Colinton area.

A skull discovered in the Firth of Clyde is confirmed as that of Andrew Ramsay, below, the accountant who went missing from the Cardonald area of Glasgow in February, 2006.

31 MAY: Gordon Smith, the former footballer and broadcaster, is appointed chief executive of the Scottish Football Association.

A suicide bomber explodes in a police recruitment centre in Falluja, Iraq, killing at least 20 people.

1 JUNE: A new tribe of indigenous people, the Metyktire, is discovered in the Amazon rainforest.

The Palestinian Army of Islam militant group posts a video of Alan Johnston, the missing BBC journalist, on a website.

2 JUNE: Scotland Yard detectives who went to Jamaica to investigate Bob Woolmer's death conclude the former Pakistan cricket coach died of heart failure and was not murdered.

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3 JUNE: A Paramount Airlines helicopter crashes in Sierra Leone, killing 22.

4 JUNE: Vladimir Putin announces that Russia may consider targeting new sites across Europe with nuclear weapons if part of the United States' nuclear capability is introduced into Europe.

The logo for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London is greeted with derision.

5 JUNE: A mass grave in southern Ukraine, found accidentally in May, has been confirmed to contain the remains of thousands of victims of the Holocaust.

Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the former chief of staff to Dick Cheney, is sentenced to 30 months in prison after being convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice in the CIA leak grand jury investigation.

The British Antarctic Survey announces that the flow-rate of 300 previously unmeasured glaciers increased by 12 per cent between 1993 and 2003, adding to concerns over the rise in sea levels caused by global warming.

6 JUNE: Nicola Sturgeon, the health secretary, overturns the decision made by the previous Labour administration to closeA&E units at Monklands and Ayr hospitals.

7 JUNE: Scottish political leaders criticise Tony Blair after Alex Salmond revealed that Britain had signed a deal with Libya that could lead to prisoners being transferred.

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8 JUNE: At least 14 people are killed in two bomb explosions in Qurna near Basra in Iraq.

9 JUNE: The Central Intelligence Organisation arrests almost 400 soldiers in Zimbabwe for allegedly plotting to overthrow Robert Mugabe, the president.

10 JUNE: Britain's Lewis Hamilton wins the Canadian Grand Prix, becoming the first driver of mixed racial origin to win a Formula One race.

11 JUNE: Flooding in southern China damages crops, kills 66 and forces 600,000 people from their homes.

12 JUNE: Ann Gloag, the Stagecoach tycoon, wins a landmark legal ruling banning ramblers from entering a large section of her Perthshire estate.

Mudslides and floods kill nearly 130 in Bangladesh.

Jamaican police declare that former Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer died of natural causes, ending the murder investigation.

13 JUNE: Portuguese police receive a letter claiming Madeleine McCann's body was buried only miles away from where she was abducted. The claims are later found to be bogus.

The Queen awards Sir Tim Berners-Lee the Order of Merit for his work on the internet.

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14 JUNE: Around 400 war veterans in Edinburgh marked the 25th anniversary of the liberation of the Falkland Islands.

Michael Barrymore is arrested in the UK along with two others over the murder of Stuart Lubbock, who was found dead in Barrymore's swimming pool in 2001.

Bertie Ahern of Fianna Fil is elected as Ireland's taoiseach for a record third term.

The Charities Commission finds a 1.5 million appeal founded by George Galloway received large amounts of money from "improper transactions" under the discredited United Nations' oil-for-food programme.

15 JUNE: Switzerland opens the Ltschberg tunnel under the Alps; at 34km it is the world's longest rail tunnel on land.

16 JUNE: Police in Zimbabwe confiscate the passport of Arthur Mutambara, the leader of the opposition, as he tries to leave for South Africa and the United Kingdom.

17 JUNE: The group holding Scots journalist Alan Johnston threatens to kill him.

18 JUNE: Nine firefighters are killed in a collapse at a furniture warehouse blaze in Charleston, South Carolina, the largest loss of firefighters in the US since the terror attacks of 11 September, 2001.

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19 JUNE: Cadbury Schweppes announces plans to axe around 7,800 jobs from its workforce, closing up to ten factories worldwide.

20 JUNE: The government of Dubai announces that it has purchased the QE2 from Cunard Line for 50 million. It intends to turn it into a floating hotel.

21 JUNE: Kuwait condemns the besieging of its embassy in Iran and the beating of a diplomat, regarding it as an "attack on Kuwait".

One of Damien Hirst's "medicine cabinets" sells for 9.65 million at auction in London, a European record for a work by a living artist.

22 JUNE: Space Shuttle Atlantis lands safely at Edwards Air Force Base in California, after inclement weather had prevented its programmed landing at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.

23 JUNE: Torrential rains in Pakistan, including the city of Karachi, kill 230 people.

24 JUNE: The refurbished Millennium Dome, now called the O2, reopens in London.

Gordon Brown promises "to govern for all the people of our country" as he succeeds Tony Blair as leader of the Labour Party.

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Andy Murray, the Scottish tennis star, pulls out of Wimbledon due to injury.

Ali Hassan al-Majid, better known as "Chemical Ali", is sentenced to death for his role in killing 180,000 Kurds under Saddam Hussein.

25 JUNE: Following the wettest June on record, Sheffield and South Yorkshire are affected by flooding. Much of Sheffield, Doncaster and Rotherham are flooded when the River Don breaches its banks. Three die.

26 JUNE: The militant group Army of Islam holding captive Alan Johnston, the BBC Middle East correspondent, renews its threat to kill him.

Quentin Davies, a Conservative MP defects to the Labour Party. Tony Blair and Arnold Schwarzenegger, below, hold talks in Downing Street on Blair's last day as Prime Minister.

27 JUNE: Tony Blair resigns as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom; new Labour Party leader Gordon Brown is appointed Prime Minister by Queen Elizabeth II.

28 JUNE: In the aftermath of Greece's worst heatwave in a century, at least 11 people are reported dead from heatstroke, approximately 200 wildfires break out nationwide and the country's electricity grid nearly collapses due to record-breaking demand.

Major cabinet reshuffle, which sees Alistair Darling become Chancellor.

29 JUNE: London police defuse a bomb in Haymarket. A second bomb is found hours later at a car pound.

30 JUNE: A car on fire crashes into Glasgow Airport.