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BBC News 24
8 October 2005
Powerful quake hits South Asia
Pakistan says more than 1,000 people may have died in a powerful quake that also hit north India and Afghanistan. 

The 7.6-magnitude quake with the epicentre 80km (50 miles) north-east of Islamabad wiped out several villages. 

At least 500 died in North-West Frontier province in Pakistan. More than 450 lost their lives in the disputed territory of Kashmir. 

In Islamabad, people rushed to dig with bare hands to rescue those trapped when an apartment building collapsed. 

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, who was visiting the site, said the quake was a "test of the nation". 

Several countries have offered to send emergency aid. 

In a message to Mr Musharraf, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said: "While parts of India have also suffered from this unexpected natural disaster, we are prepared to extend any assistance with rescue and relief which you may deem appropriate." 

The earthquake, which was registered at 0350GMT, was felt as far away as the Afghan capital, Kabul, and India's capital, Delhi. Several aftershocks followed.
22 November 2005
Merkel becomes German chancellor

Angela Merkel, leader of the Christian Democrats (CDU), has been sworn in as Germany's first woman chancellor at a ceremony in the country's parliament. 

Mrs Merkel, a conservative, will head a coalition with the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD), who ruled before. 

She is also the first chancellor to have grown up in the former communist eastern part of the country. 

In the Bundestag 397 MPs voted for her, but 51 members of the governing coalition voted against her. 

The BBC Berlin correspondent says this is a sign of the problems she will face in the future. 

During the handover ceremony Mrs Merkel paid tribute to her predecessor Gerhard Schroeder, who is preparing to leave politics.
24 November 2005
Pubs open 24 hours

Round-the-clock drinking in England and Wales is now a reality after new licensing laws came in force at midnight. 

More than 1,000 pubs, clubs and supermarkets have been granted 24-hour licences to sell alcohol, according to government figures.
Around 40% of premises applied to vary their licences, either extending their opening by an hour or two or offering late food and entertainment. 

It has led to fears disorder will put more pressure on police and hospitals.
But Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell told BBC Newsnight the new law was necessary "to make it possible for the vast majority of people who drink but who never get into trouble to have more freedom as to when they drink". 
6 December 2005
David Cameron is new Tory leader

David Cameron has been elected as the new Conservative leader by a margin of more than two to one over David Davis.

The 39-year-old beat Mr Davis by 134,446 votes to 64,398 in a postal ballot of Tory members across the UK.

The Old Etonian, an MP for only four years, said the Tories must change and be in tune with today's Britain with a "modern compassionate Conservatism".

His defeated rival, Mr Davis, said the leadership contest had been a preamble to a Conservative election victory.

He hailed Mr Cameron as the next Tory prime minister and said the race had made the party look thoughtful and mature.

Outgoing leader Michael Howard had said he was standing down after May's general election.
11 December 2005
Massive fire at Buncefield oil depot

A series of massive explosions early this morning has led to an enormous fire at one of Britain's largest oil depots sending thick black smoke drifting up to 40 miles away.

Police say 43 people were injured, two of them seriously, after flames shot hundreds of feet into the sky at the Buncefield oil depot near Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire. 

The fire, which police believe was the result of an accident rather than a terrorist attack, is being described as the largest of its kind in peacetime Europe. 

The noise of the explosions, which occurred just after 0600GMT, is being reported to have been heard as far away as the Netherlands.

About 2,000 people living nearby have been evacuated, while police have advised others to keep their windows and doors closed because of the fumes.

The depot, situated near to Junction 8 of the M1 is one of the largest fuel supplying facilities in the country and maintains fuel deliveries to Luton, Heathrow and Gatwick airports.

In total there were 20 petrol tanks involved in the fire, each said to hold three million gallons of fuel.
9 February 2006
Lib Dems pick up seat from Labour in by-election shock

The Liberal Democrats have taken the seat of Dunfermline West and Fife from Labour in a by-election which has sent shockwaves around Westminster.

Won by a margin of 2,000 votes, the Lib Dem win marks the first time the Labour Party has lost a seat in a by-election since 1988.

Immediately after the election the Liberal Democrats claimed that the results showed they were the challengers to the Labour Party and that the Conservatives had failed their first electoral test under their new leader.

The loss is seen as a major blow to Chancellor Gordon Brown, who lives in the constituency and represents the neighbouring seat in Parliament. Mr Brown featured heavily in the Labour Party campaign. The defeat comes at a time when the Labour Party still enjoys high poll ratings throughout the UK.
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  • 1 August – Steve McClaren is officially appointed as manager of the England national football team.[11]
  • 10 August – police make many arrests in relation to a transatlantic aircraft plot, and tight security measures are instigated at airports.
  • August – the first modern solely Gaelic-medium school to offer secondary education, Sgoil Ghàidhlig Ghlaschu, is opened at Woodside in Glasgow.


  • 1 October – regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 comes into effect, requiring a Fire Risk Assessment for all non-domestic premises in England and Wales.
  • 5 October – Rt. Hon. Elish AngioliniQC, appointed as Lord Advocate in Scotland. She is the first woman and the first solicitor to be appointed to the post.
  • 9 October – opening of the Beetham Tower, Manchester, a landmark 168-metre 47-storey skyscraper with oversailing upper floors designed by Ian Simpson of SimpsonHaugh and Partners, the tallest building in the UK outside London, and with its penthouse apartments (above the Hilton Hotel) being the highest residential addresses in the country.[13]
  • 13 October: European Home Retail plc and its subsidiary Farepak go into administration, leaving tens of thousands of people out of pocket for Christmas 2006.
  • 26 October – the Duke of Edinburgh officially opens Arsenal's new stadium.[14]
  • 30 October – the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change is published by the UK government.

  • 5 November – 53 year old Ronald Castree arrested in connection with the murder of eleven year old Lesley Molseed in 1975. Stefan Kiszko had spent 16 years in jail for the crime before his conviction was quashed in 1992. Castree would be convicted of the crime in November 2007.
  • 7 November – Dhiren Barot sentenced to life imprisonment for plotting large scale terrorist attacks in Britain and abroad. The Court of Appeal noted that Barot's "businesslike" plans would have caused carnage on a "colossal and unprecedented scale" if they had been successful.
  • 8 November – three men of Pakistani origin sentenced to life imprisonment for the racist murder of Kriss Donald in Glasgow.
  • 16 November – the 21st James Bond film – Casino Royale – is released in British cinemas. Daniel Craig makes his debut as Bond in the film.[15]
  • 19 November – Home Secretary John Reid attacks the Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown for being 'presumptuous' and 'disloyal' for openly campaigning to replace Tony Blair as Prime Minister.
  • 23 November – Alexander Litvinenko dies in London having been poisoned by Polonium-210.[16]
  • 24 November – Loyalist Michael Stone attempts to bomb the Northern Ireland Assembly on the day nominations for first and deputy first minister are to be made.[17]Ian Paisley indicates his willingness to serve as First Minister.[18]

  • 2 December – a young woman's body is found in a brook near [url=]Ipswich; her death is initially treated as "unexplained".[19]
  • 4 December – the woman whose corpse was found in Ipswich two days ago is identified as Gemma Adams, a 25-year-old local prostitute. Her death is reported to be suspicious and police launch a murder inquiry. There are also concerns about another Ipswich prostitute, 19-year-old Tania Nicol, who went missing on 30 October.[20]
  • 7 December – a tornado hits London.[1]
  • 8 December – the body of missing Ipswich prostitute Tania Nicol is found on the outskirts of the town.[21]
  • 9 December – police in Ipswich launch a murder investigation into the death of Tania Nicol and admit that it is likely she met her death at the hands of the same person or people who killed Gemma Adams.[22]
  • 10 December – a third prostitute's body is found in the Ipswich area.[23]
  • 14 December – two more women are found dead in Ipswich and it is confirmed that both are prostitutes, meaning that the police are now investigating five murders.[24]
  • 12 December – the Ryton car factory closes and Peugeot 206 production is transferred to Slovakia, several months ahead of the scheduled closure date. 2,300 jobs are lost.[25]
  • 18 December – a man is arrested near Felixstowe on suspicion of murdering the five Ipswich prostitutes. He is named as Tom Stephens, a 37-year-old Tescosupermarket worker.[26]
  • 19 December – a second man, 48-year-old Forklift truck driver Steve Wright, is arrested in connection with the Ipswich serial murders, while police are given more time to question the first suspect.[27]
  • 21 December – Steve Wright is charged with the Ipswich prostitute murders, while Tom Stephens is released on bail pending further inquiries.[28]
  • 29 December – the British government pays off the Anglo-American loan made in 1946.[29]
  • 31 December – Hogmanay celebrations in Glasgow and Edinburgh are cancelled due to poor weather conditions.

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