The interview that never was Confidential Foreign Office papers released at the Public Record Office revealed that, in 1969, David Frost was in effect banned from interviewing the president of Cuba, Fidel Castro. Fearing that any such publicity for the communist leader would not only harm British relations with the United States, but also prove "an inspiration to the revolting students" in Britain at the time, FO officials implied to Frost that his career was at risk.
Dutch blaze At least eight were killed and more than a hundred injured as fire swept through a bar in Volendam, the Netherlands. New Year's Eve partygoers found blocked emergency exits as they struggled to escape. Officials believe that the blaze, which started shortly after midnight, was caused by Christmas lights setting fire to ceiling decorations.
Weather dampens New Year celebrations Harsh weather conditions, including sleet, snow and raging gales, hampered New Year festivities across the country. Middlesbrough, Liverpool and Bradford all fell victim to the freezing conditions, and the authorities in Belfast were forced to move their festivities indoors.
QC dies George Carman, one of Britain's leading barristers, died aged 71. He had been ill with prostate cancer for four and a half years. Carman first came to public prominence during the trial for conspiracy to murder of the Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe, and last year appeared as counsel for Mohamed Al Fayed in the Neil Hamilton "cash for questions" case.
Former Olympian stabbed to death Marcello Minale, a British rowing club president, former Olympic oarsman and award-winning designer, was stabbed to death at a sailing club near Cannes on the French Riviera. Minale, aged 58, was involved in the coaching of the Tideway Scullers school. A member of the Tideway club, Alexander Lombardo, a 23-year-old Briton, was charged with "voluntary homicide".
It never ends for the Dome As the Millennium Dome closed its doors to the paying public, it continued to cause problems for the government. It was revealed that the attraction's bosses will share bonuses amounting to more than £1m. And the sale of the Dome to a consortium ran into new difficulties when it emerged that British Gas, the former owner of the site, may well demand 7.5 per cent of the proceeds.
New Year, same trains Thousands of commuters returning to work faced still more delays, after Railtrack failed to complete repair work over the holiday period. Railtrack blamed the delays on bad weather and technical difficulties, but said that 80 per cent of the rail network should be fully operational by the end of the month.
BBC's new £250,000 man BBC bosses faced awkward questions after committing themselves to spend £250,000 on the little-known digital TV presenter Christopher Price. Price currently fronts the entertainment news show Liquid News on BBC Choice. His two-year deal puts him in the same pay bracket as established names such as Anna Ford and Huw Edwards. The BBC was reported to have been fearful that Price would be poached by rivals.
Lynton Charles returns next week