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Alan Clark dies The Tory MP Alan Clark has died aged 71. His death was not announced until after his family held a private funeral. Speculation is now rife that Michael Portillo will take his seat and contest the Conservative Party leadership.

Open all hours Pubs will be allowed to extend their opening hours in time for the millennium, meaning that thirsty Brits can at last drink as late as pleasure-seekers in the rest of Europe. A Home Office official declared that the reform will be "a good new year's gift to the nation".

Goodbye Monsanto? Genetically modified crop trials may be coming to an end in Britain. Managers of the GM firm Monsanto, concerned about strong public opposition to genetic interference in food manufacturing, have urged the board to withdraw from experimentation in the UK.

Drooping demands Viagra has cost the NHS surprisingly little of the £200 million that was originally forecast. Since the drug's appearance in April, requests received by GPs have been one-hundredth of initial predictions. Could it be that British men are rising above people's expectations?

Euro vision The Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, has extolled the benefits of the euro in a speech made to Japanese businessmen in Tokyo. His praise has prompted fears among Conservatives that Labour will abolish the pound and join the single currency "at the earliest opportunity".

Reporters' retreat BBC journalists, among them Anna Ford, fled their White City newsroom when an intruder forced his way into the building. He smashed equipment and screamed profanities before being overpowered by courageous staff.

Transport tussles In a controversial move involving Labour's first privatisation project, the government will challenge backbenchers to defy their plans to sell off air traffic control. The sale is expected to be part of a mixed package of general transport legislation.

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