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Reviewing the year in Europe -

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Reviewing the year in Europe

Reporter: Stephanie Kennedy

HEATHER EWART: As 2006 draws to a close, it's an opportune time to look back at the major events
that shaped the world this year. Tonight Stephanie Kennedy begins our series with this review of
Europe.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: He's the first blonde Bond and critics gave the thumbs up to the latest spy
thriller in the series. 'Casino Royale' had money and international terrorism as its central
themes, all too familiar in the post September 11 world.

But on the streets of London, a real life spy thriller is still playing out. It involves the
poisoning of an ex Russian spy using a radioactive substance, polonium 210, only made in nuclear
reactors. Before he died a slow and painful death, Alexander Litvinenko pointed the finger at
Russian President Vladimir Putin for his demise. The allegations were spelt out in a letter the
former Russian KGB agent wrote days before his death in late November.

ALEX GOLDFARB, FRIEND: "You may succeed in silencing one man, but the howl of protest from around
the world will reverberate, Mr Putin, in your ears for the rest of your life. May God forgive you."

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: Police are investigating an ever expanding trail of radiation, even travelling
to Moscow. But while they are still no closer to naming the killer or killers, the spy mystery has
strained diplomatic relations between Russia and the UK. If Britain's spies are to be believed, the
UK is awash with would be terrorists. MI5 disclosed they are aware of 30 plots threatening the
nation. It followed revelations in August of a meticulous plan to blow up as many as 12
transatlantic flights. The plot's uncovering caused mayhem at British airports during the peak
summer travel season after investigators found the plan included hiding explosives inside liquid
drink bottles. The alleged plotters await trial.

Embattled Tony Blair vowed to hang on to No. 10 until mid next year despite pressure to make way
for Chancellor Gordon Brown sooner rather than later.

TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Next year I won't be making this speech, but in the years to
come, wherever I am, whatever I do, I'm with you, wishing you well and wanting you to win. You're
the future now. So make the most of it.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: As the death toll for British soldiers climbed, Iraq continued to dog Tony
Blair's prime ministership, polls revealing 58% want the UK to pull out as soon as possible.

DAVID CAMERON, BRITISH OPPOSITION LEADER: Welcome to Webcameron. Watch out BBC.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: The polls also show despite taking a 21st century approach to campaigning, the
honeymoon is over for the Tories' newest leader, David Cameron. The Conservatives finished the year
only 3 points ahead of Labor.

The Queen turned 80 and became the subject of a controversial film about the royal family's PR
disaster in the aftermath of Diana's death nine years ago.

In France, a different Royal or royale aims for the presidency. Mme Segolene Royal won the
Socialist Party's nomination and stands a chance at becoming the first female President of the
French Republic.

And though nobody had ever heard of Isabelle Dinorie she became the world's symbol of medical
process. After being mauled by a dog French surgeons gave her a new face in the first ever
transplant of its kind.

In Europe, where 5% of the population is Muslim, relations between the old and new continent
continued an often tense co existence. It began with a Danish newspaper's publication of cartoons
depicting the Prophet Mohammed. That spiralled into worldwide protests.

Later in the year, Pope Benedict XVI gave an academic speech in which he linked Islam and violence.
The Vatican tried to explain the remarks but at first refused to apologise.

But again the outbreak of protests forced an embarrassing backdown from the leader of the world's
1.1 billion Catholics. There were fears a planned tour to Turkey would be cancelled. Despite
protests and residual anger, Pope Benedict's first visit to a Muslim country continued without
incident.

In Turkey, the State has long banned the wearing of veils in government institutions, part of its
policy of putting the State ahead of religion. But in Britain, a debate about wearing full face
veils billowed into controversy. Described as a mark of separation and as causing divisions in the
British community, senior Cabinet ministers called for the banning of the niqab in public. On the
other side of the religious divide, a British Airways check in worker was barred from displaying
her religious faith by wearing a cross around her neck. In Berlin at least, faith came full circle
for the first rabbis to be ordained in the German capital since the World War II.

There were riots in Hungary after a secret recording revealed that the Prime Minister lied about
the state of the economy to win the country's April election. Former Serbian leader Milosevic died
before his trial at The Hague continued, and a miraculous escape in Austria where 18 year old
Natascha Kampusch had been abducted eight years ago. She was forced to live in an underground
prison cell.

In the sporting highlight for Europe, it was the year of German pride hosting the month long soccer
World Cup. It ended sensationally after the French captain Zinedine Zidane was sent off in the
final after he headbutted an Italian player, knocking him off his feet. Italy won in a penalty
shoot out.

HEATHER EWART: Stephanie Kennedy with that report. That's the program for tonight. We'll be back at
the same time tomorrow, but for now, goodnight.