With just months before the biggest New Year's Eve party of all time, government accountants finally have something to celebrate. All Whitehall accounts are now on track to be produced under an accruals basis by 2001/2002. Just six months ago, that appeared just a pipe dream, with the Whitehall giants of the ministry of defence and the department of the environment, transport and the regions furthest behind. Though its gestation has been painful, the need for resource accounts has been amply demonstrated. Only last month the Commons Public Accounts Committee criticised defence officials for wasting money on equipment modifications, and said resource accounting could resolve the situation. Its importance should not be underestimated. With the private sector increasingly doing the work that was once the preserve of civil servants, common financial management tools are essential. Mandarins need to ensure that complacency does not set in now that the first major hurdle to resource accounts has been passed. If this can be avoided, and current progress maintained, then the Treasury should find itself able to celebrate the millennium in style.
Some parts of Atacama have not received rainfall for 500 years - but a sudden deluge of water upset the Desert's delicate biological balance
Spitzer Space Telescope could not spot Oumuamua, suggesting that it is actually pretty small
Greenland crater one of the 25 largest impact craters on Earth
This long-sought progenitor star was identified in an image captured by Hubble in 2007