2002: The Best and the Worst of Times; THE Aftermath of the World Trade Center Attack in New York on September 11 Continued to Dominate the World's News Agenda with All the Western Powers on Full Alert against the Possibility of Further Terrorist Attack. the Threat of War Continued Unabated throughout the Year. Peter Elson Looks Back on This and All the Other Headlines in Our News Review of 2002

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Byline: Peter Elson

JANUARY

THE single currency had a smooth launch as Europeans in 12 coun-tries got their first look at new euro notes and coins. Less likely to get much of look at old money was Liverpool City Council w hich was owed more than pounds 110m in rent, council t ax and business rate. Much of the arrears looks likely to be written off. Professor Ian Wilmut, the man who led the team which created Dolly the sheep, called for more research into cloning after it emerged that Dolly had developed arthritis. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey, announced his retirement. Tens of thousands of people fled their homes in eastern Congo and Rwanda after a volcano erupted, sending burning lava into Lake Kivu.

FEBRUARY

LEADING budget airline Ryanair set Liverpool John Lennon Airport on course to become a major hub and launched a new service to Brussels. The world's oldest surviving E-type Jaguar went on s how at Jaguar Halewood's visitor centre - courtesy of Cheshire farmer and antiques dealer Mike Kilgannon who stored it in his barn from 1967. Stormy weather battered Britain. RAF helicopter crews winched 3 4 seamen to safety in t wo air-sea rescue operations, while passengers were stranded on a ferry which ran aground.

Princess Margaret died, aged 71, in her sleep. Her coffin r ested at Kensington Palace u ntil t he funeral service, which was attended by the Royal Family, including the Queen Mother. The Prime Minister was ``totally unapologetic'' over his back-ing of a bid by wealthy Labour Party donor Lakshmi Mittal to buy a Romanian steel company, in spite of claims it would badly affect British jobs.

A pounds 100m immigration removal centre near Bedford was wrecked when asylum seekers facing deportation lit a series of fires during a mass breakout. Europe's top election observer arrived in Britain after being expelled from Zimbabwe just before the country's pres-idential elections. Four men found guilty of plotting t o carry out the ``Robbery of the Millennium'' by snatching pounds 200m worth of diamonds from the Millennium Dome w ere jailed for between 15 and 18 years. Actor John Thaw, star of The Sweeney, Inspector Morse and Kavanagh QC, died from cancer of the oesophagus, aged 60.

Comedian and w riter Spike Milligan, the last of the Goons, died of liver disease, aged 83.

MARCH

EVERTON manager Walter Smith leaves Goodison Park after four years following a dismal FA Cup exit at Middlesbrough. Merseyside scientists devised a new blood test which could help more people survive the most common form of leukaemia. Robert Mugabe claimed victory in Zimbabwe's presidential election. British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw con-demned t he ``systematic violence and intimidation'' which he said had dominated the polling.

Prime Minister Tony Blair was urged by 39 of his MPs not to back US military action against Iraq. Interna-tional Development Secretary Clare Short hinted t hat she would leave the Cabinet if Britain joined an attack.

Baroness Thatcher's office announced t hat, due to health concerns, she would never make a public speech again. England and Surrey cricketer Ben Hollioake was killed in a r oad accident in Australia. He was 24. The nation mourned as the Queen Mother died peacefully in her sleep at the age of 101.

APRIL

THE 155th Grand National smashed all the records as 20-1 shot Bindaree romped to victory.

The UN Security Council elected to send a factfinding t eam to a refugee camp in Jenin after reports that ``hundreds'' of Palestinians had been killed there. Television com-pany ITV Digital collapsed, ceasing all pay TV services. Chancellor Gordon Brown intro-duced an pounds 8bn tax hike in the Budg-et. Six British plane spotters arrested near a Greek air force base in 2001, were found guilty of spying by a court in t he southern t own of Kalamata. …