2001

The year was dominated by the attacks on America and 
the ensuing war in Afghanistan.
Here, BBC News Online look back at some of those striking images 
and other poignant pictures which made the news agenda in 2001.

More than 20 million devotees flock to Allahabad on the Ganges 
to celebrate the biggest event in the Hindu calendar, the Kumbh Mela.


After the epic twists and turns of the US elections, 
George W Bush is sworn in as the country’s 43rd president.
But Bill Clinton’s departure from the White House means 
America’s First Cat - the stately-looking Socks - 
will also have to patrol new territories.

Disaster strikes in the state of Gujarat as an earthquake 
measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale kills 30,000 people, 
and leaves more than a million homeless.
Aid agencies face a difficult battle to feed and 
shelter the victims, and stem the spread of disease.

British yachtswoman Ellen MacArthur becomes the 
fastest woman to sail around the world when she 
competes in the gruelling Vendee Globe race.
Her achievement is widely acclaimed - as much for her 
endurance and determination as for the record itself.

Foot-and-mouth disease hits the UK in February, 
and nearly four million animals are slaughtered in the 
ensuing months in an effort to contain the disease.
Phoenix the calf wins the nation’s heart 
and is granted a stay of execution. 
But for many people working in agriculture 
and tourism the disease is a serious blow.

The UK election, postponed for a month by the 
foot-and-mouth crisis, results in Tony Blair’s 
Labour Party being returned to power for a second term.
But the campaign headlines are dominated by an ugly 
scene when Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott 
retaliated after a protester threw an egg at him.

Some of the worst rioting in England in the last 
20 years erupts in the northern towns of Oldham, 
Burnley and Bradford during the summer.
The racially-motivated clashes are stoked 
by far-right extremists, and lead to a series 
of inquiries into race relations in the UK.

Nkosi Johnson, the 12-year-old boy who came to 
symbolise South Africa's Aids crisis, finally 
dies after a long battle against the disease.
By calling for greater acceptance of people 
with HIV-Aids, and publicly criticising 
President Thabo Mbeki, he did much to 
reduce the misconceptions about the 
disease plaguing his country.

Prince Gyanendra is crowned as Nepal’s new king, 
after his brother - King Birendra - and other members 
of the royal family were massacred in the palace.
An inquiry concludes that Crown Prince Dipendra 
was responsible, killing his parents and seven 
other royals before turning the gun on himself.

Archaeologists in the Dordogne find a cave covered 
with paintings thought to be almost 30,000 years old.
The walls are festooned with drawings of humans, 
mammoths, rhinoceroses and horses, as well as 
animals which scientists have yet to identify.

Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic appears before the war 
crimes tribunal in the Hague on charges including genocide.
He refuses to recognise the legitimacy 
of the court and declines to enter a plea. 
Not guilty pleas were entered on his behalf.

After several warning tremors, Sicily’s Mount Etna 
erupts, shooting ash and dust into the sky. 
The Italian Government declares a state of emergency 
as lava threatens to engulf a nearby tourist centre.
Satellite imaging catches the plume of smoke rising above the island.

Australia’s hard-line immigration policy is thrust 
into the spotlight when it refuses to allow a 
boat-load of Afghan refugees to land on its shores. 
The refugees were rescued from their sinking 
boat by the Norwegian cargo ship Tampa.
After much political wrangling, the migrants are 
eventually taken to the Pacific island of Nauru.

The Russian navy begins an operation to lift the 
Kursk submarine from the bottom of the Barents Sea.
Once on dry land, investigators can examine the 
submarine and establish the cause of the 
disaster that killed all 118 crew members.

The world watches in horror as two passenger planes plough 
into the World Trade Center in New York on 11 September.
After a third plane crashes into the Pentagon and a fourth 
into a field in Pittsburgh, President George W Bush vows to 
hunt down the "terrorists who committed these acts and 
those who harbour them".

The president’s words are put into action when America 
starts a concerted bombing campaign in Afghanistan, 
as it tries to hunt down the man it blames for the 
attacks - Osama Bin Laden.
Anti-Taleban forces on the ground, joined later by
 American special forces, gradually gain control of the country.

Already reeling from the attacks on 11 September, 
America is hit by an anthrax scare.
After several cases in Florida, a contaminated letter 
is sent to Senator Tom Daschle in Washington DC, and 
spores of the bacterium are found in the Pentagon’s post rooms.

Thousands of Afghan refugees pour into emergency 
camps around the country and across the border into Pakistan.
Aid agencies warn of an impending humanitarian crisis as winter sets in.

Tensions escalate in the Middle East after a series of 
suicide attacks against Israelis in the West Bank and Gaza. 
Retaliatory strikes against the Palestinians quickly follow.
Any signs of negotiating a peace deal look increasingly remote, 
as Israel breaks off all contacts with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

Former Beatle George Harrison dies 
after a long battle against cancer.
Fans in Liverpool and around the world 
pay tribute to the “quiet Beatle”, 
who often shunned the limelight but was 
nevertheless an essential part of the legendary Fab Four.

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