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Against the elements

October 8: South Asia’s strongest quake in a century kills 73,000 in Pakistan and 1,300 in India

August 29: Hurricane Katrina devastates New Orleans and much of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, killing about 1,300, while Hurricane Rita causes more damage to oil rigs than any storm in history

The bird flu arrives in Europe in October, along with fears that the H5N1 strain of the virus could infect humans and cause a global pandemic

Hands up

January 30: Iraqis vote in their first democratic election in 50 years

October 19: Saddam Hussein refuses to confirm his identity or acknowledge the court’s legality when he goes on trial in Baghdad for war crimes

June 13: Entertainer Michael Jackson is acquitted by a Californian jury on charges of molestation, after a 14-week trial

July 6: Londoners cheer in the streets to celebrate the city’s successful bid to host the 2012 Olympics

July 2: Musicians from all over the world take part in a global Live8 concert and G8 leaders vow to double aid to Africa to $50bn a year

July 7

Four suicide bombers kill 52 and injure 700 on three London underground trains and a bus during the morning rush hour

The year in pictures

April 2: Pope John Paul II dies aged 84 and is succeeded by Joseph Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI

September 12: England’s cricketers win their test series against Australia 2-1, returning the Ashes urn to the Lord’s museum after 18 years

May 29/June 1: France and the Netherlands vote against a new European Union constitution

August 14: the last of about 8,500 Jewish settlers are evacuated from the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank

April 9: Prince Charles marries Camilla Parker Bowles, more than 30 years after their romance began

July 6: New York Times reporter Judith Miller is jailed for refusing to reveal sources to a grand jury hearing into the leaking of a CIA agent’s name. She serves 85 days. In October, Lewis Libby, chief of staff to US vice-president Dick Cheney, is indicted for perjury in the same case. Karl Rove, George Bush’s senior political adviser, is also under investigation

November 6: 1,408 vehicles are set on fire, 395 people are arrested and 36 policemen injured as weeks of violence that began in Paris reach a climax and spread to 274 towns

What else happened?

In elections, Angela Merkel wins in Germany, Tony Blair in Britain, Junichiro Koizumi in Japan and Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad in Iran.

In top jobs, John Roberts succeeds the late William Rehnquist as US Chief Justice, Paul Wolfowitz takes over at the World Bank and Ben Bernanke is named to succeed Alan Greenspan at the US Federal Reserve.

In Beirut, a car bomb kills Rafik Hariri, former prime minister of Lebanon. In the new economy, Google’s shares rise above $400, making it the world’s most valuable media group, and Apple releases the pencil-thin

Nano and the iPod video, maintaining its dominance of the digital player market. In the old economy, General Motors’ Rick Wagoner announces his car company’s aim to shed 30,000 jobs by 2008 (having seen GM’s debt reduced to junk bond status in May). In China, the renminbi is allowed to rise against the dollar. In the markets, the oil price reaches $70 a barrel. In publishing, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince sells two million copies on its first day.

Research by Siew Hua Seah

Vote in our poll and tell us what you think was the top story of 2005

News review 2005. www.ft.com/yir

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