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BBC News 24
5 May 2005
Blair secures historic third term

Tony Blair has won a historic third term in government for Labour but with a drastically reduced majority. 

Mr Blair pledged to respond "sensibly and wisely" to the result, which the BBC predicts will see his majority cut from 167 in 2001 to 66. 

The Conservatives have mounted a strong challenge but their overall share of the vote will be similar to 2001. 

The Lib Dems have made big inroads into Labour majorities and look set to end up with an estimated 60 seats.
29 May 2005
French say 'non' to EU constitution
French voters have overwhelmingly rejected the European Union's proposed constitution in a key referendum, sending reverberations right across Europe. 

Almost 55% of people voted "No", with 45% in favour. Turnout was high, at about 70%.
The vote could deal a fatal blow to the EU constitution, which needs to be ratified by all 25 member states. 

President Jacques Chirac accepted the voters' "sovereign decision", but said it created "a difficult context for the defence of our interests in Europe".
8 July 2005
G8 leaders agree $50bn aid boost

The G8 summit has ended with an agreement to boost aid for developing countries by $50bn (£28.8bn). 

The debt of the 18 poorest nations in Africa is also being cancelled.

On trade, there was a commitment to work towards cutting subsidies and tariffs. 

On climate change, Prime Minister Tony Blair said an agreement had always been unlikely, but that the US now accepted global warming was an issue. 

Kumi Naidoo, Chair of the Global Call to Action against Poverty, was disappointed. "The people have roared but the G8 has whispered," he said. 

But Live 8 organiser Bob Geldof spoke of a "great day".
28 July 2005
IRA declares end to armed struggle

The IRA has formally ordered an end to its armed campaign and says it will pursue exclusively peaceful means. 

In a long-awaited statement, the republican organisation said it would follow a democratic path ending more than 30 years of violence. 

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams said the move was a "courageous and confident initiative" and that the moment must be seized. 
Prime Minister Tony Blair said it was a "step of unparalleled magnitude". 

"It is what we have striven for and worked for throughout the eight years since the Good Friday Agreement," he said.
15 August 2005
Settlers protest at Gaza pullout
Israeli troops have arrived at the biggest settlement in the Gaza Strip to serve eviction notices, as Israel starts implementing its pullout plan.

Protesters have been blocking the gates of the Neve Dekalim settlement, vowing fierce but non-violent resistance.

About 9,000 people have been given two days to leave all settlements in the Gaza Strip and some in the West Bank.

More than 40,000 Israeli soldiers and police are being sent to hand out eviction notices over the next two days.

Israel's Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, said the Gaza pullout was a painful step, but essential to secure Israel's future. 

In a TV address, Mr Sharon insisted Israel could not hold on to the Gaza Strip forever and pledged full support for those settlers forced to leave. 

He said Palestinians would now have to prove that they were committed to peace, and that if they did, Israel would offer an olive branch in return. 

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has hailed the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza as a historic moment.
29 August 2005
Hurricane Katrina hits New Orleans
Hurricane Katrina is pummelling New Orleans with howling gusts and blinding rain, after sweeping ashore over the southern Louisiana coast.
The storm has knocked out power and submerged part of the low-lying city in up to 6ft (2m) of rising water. 

Katrina has torn part of the roof of a stadium, where many sought refuge. 

Mississippi and Alabama are also being pounded by the violent storm, which weakened as it swept inland, but brought winds of 105mph (170km/h). 

The category-two storm flung boats onto Mississippi, flooded roads in Alabama and swamped bridges in Florida. 

The National Hurricane Center warned the Louisiana city would be pounded throughout Monday - and the potential storm surge could still swamp the city, which sits some 6ft (2m) below sea level. 

"It's capable of causing catastrophic damage," director Max Mayfield warned. 

"New Orleans may never be the same." 

Correspondents in the city say walls of water have been running down the skyscrapers like waterfalls. 

Palm trees have been felled, shops wrecked and cars hurled across streets strewn with shattered glass. 

A police officer told the BBC he had never seen anything like it. "This is unbelievable," Jonathon Carol said. 

Mayor Ray Nagin has said he believed 80% of the city's 485,000 residents have heeded his order for a mandatory evacuation of the city.
11 September 2005
Last Israeli troops leave Gaza

Israel has lowered its flags over Gaza at a ceremony marking the end of 38 years of military rule there.

Israel has already removed its settlers from Gaza, bulldozed their homes and demolished its military bases. Ministers decided to leave more than 20 synagogues intact after rabbis argued demolition went against Jewish ritual law.

A handover ceremony was called off when Palestinians announced a boycott. They complain of a continuing sense of occupation because Israel plans to control movement in and out of Gaza.

The pull-out today was marked by incidents of unrest. 

A 12-year-old Palestinian boy celebrating the handover was wounded by tank fire while climbing a fence near the Gush Katif settlements, Palestinian medical officials said. 

And suspected Palestinian militants of the Abu Rish group fired on media cars in the southern town of Khan Yunis after threatening to abduct foreign journalists covering the handover.
12 September 2005
England win the Ashes

England have beaten Australia in the Ashes series for the first time since 1987 after a draw in the final Test at The Oval.

Kevin Pietersen hit 158 and Ashley Giles 59 before England were bowled out for 335 with a final series result of 2-1, snuffing out Australian hopes of victory. 

Australia batted for just four balls before bad light intervened, and a draw was eventually declared by the umpires. 
The result brings to an end a series many have dubbed the "best ever". 

The Queen and Prime Minister Tony Blair led the tributes to captain Michael Vaughan and his victorious team after the match. 
There will be a victory parade tomorrow - but the champagne flowed as soon as Vaughan lifted the tiny brown Ashes urn aloft and the team was were showered in ticker tape and streamers. 

The players then completed a victory lap of the Oval pitch to salute the 23,000-strong crowd that had roared them on all day. 

Fans had spread onto the roofs and balconies of houses around the south London ground, and also celebrated in style, as did the country at large.
1 October 2005
Bombs rip through Bali restaurants

Three bomb attacks in two tourist areas on the Indonesian resort island of Bali have killed at least 26 people - among them foreign nationals. 

More than 50 others were injured as blasts ripped through three restaurants - two in the Jimbaran beach resort, the third in Kuta 30km (19 miles) away. 

Indonesia's president said terrorists were to blame for the bombings, the second time terrorists had struck in three years. 

Bombings in Kuta in 2002 killed 202 people, many of them foreign tourists. 

Local TV has been showing pictures of bloodied and confused survivors and collapsed buildings. 

Local media said police had found a number of other unexploded devices. 

No group has admitted carrying out the attacks. 

However, BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner says the finger of suspicion is already pointing towards the extremist regional group Jemaah Islamiah (JI) which was blamed for the 2002 bombings.

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