Calendar of 1994

Calendar of 1994
▪ 1995


      Mexican peasants revolt in Chiapas. A group of uniformed Mexican peasants, calling themselves the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN), caught the government completely off guard when they attacked and captured four towns in the southeastern state of Chiapas. In a written statement the rebels called for the resignation of Pres. Carlos Salinas de Gortari, urged free elections, and demanded an end to the government's alleged discrimination against the region's Indians. The EZLN began its insurrection on January 1 because the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) took effect on that date. The rebels cited NAFTA as another instance of government policy that further enriched the wealthy while ignoring the plight of the poor. Although outgunned and outmanned by superior government forces, the EZLN vowed to broaden the conflict. On January 6 three bombs exploded near Mexico City, the capital. Two days later a bomb was detonated in Acapulco and four others in or near the capital. On January 10 the president ordered a cease-fire and gave Manuel Camacho Solís, the former foreign relations minister, broad authority to negotiate a peace settlement with the Indians.

      Saudi Arabia to implement budget cuts. During a nationally broadcast address, King Fahd of Saudi Arabia informed his Cabinet that a world surplus of oil had depressed prices to such an extent that the government would have to trim its annual budget by 20%. The monarch did not specify which areas of spending would be curtailed, but analysts surmised that the country's vast social welfare system and its military procurement program were likely to be substantially affected.

      Hundreds killed in Afghan capital. Afghan officials reported that more than 600 people had been killed or wounded during the first 36 hours of intense fighting in the capital city of Kabul. Most of the civilian casualties were victims of misdirected rebel rockets, mortars, and artillery shells that landed in residential areas. Following the 1992 overthrow of Mohammad Najibullah, the Soviet-installed president, rival factions took over various areas of the city and continued to battle for supremacy. Pres. Burhanuddin Rabbani, who headed a fragile Islamic coalition government, accused Gen. 'Abd ar-Rashid Dostam of having launched the latest offensive in order that the government might once again come under communist control.

      Indians riot in Venezuelan prison. At least 122 inmates were killed during a vicious ethnic feud that erupted in a federal prison in Maracaibo, Venezuela, located about 520 km (325 mi) west of Caracas, the capital. The riot, which appeared to be planned vengeance for the decapitation of a Guajiro Indian inmate the previous week, allegedly began when 400 Indians broke out of their cell blocks and hurled firebombs into areas occupied by non-Indian prisoners. Some of the victims burned to death; others were shot, stabbed, drowned, lynched, mutilated, or decapitated. Few, if any, of those who died were Indians. The National Guard finally restored order after battling the inmates for five hours.

      France moves to deport illegal aliens. Charles Pasqua, the Cabinet minister responsible for implementing France's immigration policy, declared that "the world will get the message" when the government begins deporting planeloads, boatloads, and trainloads of illegal immigrants. Conceding that in the future France would face immigration problems even greater than those encountered in the past, Pasqua justified the nation's new laws and immigration policies, which took effect on January 1, as the only way to stop a massive influx of immigrants from North Africa and the republics of the former Soviet Union, where thousands saw no hope in a future at home. The government estimated that between 100,000 and 150,000 aliens were entering and staying in France illegally each year.

      Fierce fires ravage Sydney area. Thousands of people were forced to flee their homes in the suburbs of Sydney, Australia, as firestorms continued to rage out of control on an 800-km (500-mi) front for the third straight day. The director of the New South Wales state brushfire services described the blaze as the worst in Australia in 200 years. The arrival of light rains on January 10 aided the 7,000 firefighters as they gradually brought under control the 130 fires still burning; some had almost certainly been set by arsonists.

      BCCI officer to be charged in the U.S. U.S. federal prosecutors revealed that an agreement had been reached with Sheikh Zaid ibn Sultan an-Nahayan, president of the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) and ruler of Abu Dhabi (one of the seven Persian Gulf states that constitute the U.A.E.), to extradite Swaleh Naqvi to the U.S. to face charges of massive fraud. As chief executive of the Luxembourg-based Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), Naqvi possessed extensive knowledge about the bank's international dealings and could presumably explain the disappearance of some $20 billion before the bank's global operations were shut down in 1991. U.S. investigators were especially eager to learn the degree to which BCCI influenced First American Bankshares Inc. in Washington, D.C., after it had secretly and illegally purchased the bank. As part of a broad agreement, Sheikh Zaid received assurances that he would face no civil or criminal charges in the U.S. even though he had been BCCI's largest shareholder and had been sued by trustees of First American for $1.5 billion.

      Guatemala seeks lasting peace. After five days of discussions, Guatemalan officials and representatives of the three-army leftist guerrilla movement agreed on a new framework for negotiating an end to over 30 years of violent conflict. A broad-based assembly, headed by Roman Catholic Bishop Rodolfo Quezada Toruño, a veteran negotiator, had been empowered to make recommendations for solving the country's social and human rights problems, which were key issues in the civil strife. Jean Arnault, an on-site UN negotiator, expressed hope that a peace settlement could be signed before the end of the year.

      New Russian assembly convenes. Members of both chambers of Russia's newly constituted Federal Assembly gathered in separate buildings in Moscow amid hope that the proceedings would be less raucous than those that had characterized the former Congress of People's Deputies. The 178 members of the Federation Council (upper house) included two members from each of the nation's 89 regions and territories. In his opening address, Pres. Boris Yeltsin asked the delegates for their cooperation, but he also made it clear that he was completely prepared for confrontation. In addressing the less powerful State Duma (lower house), Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin indicated that the government would continue its program of reforms without resorting to "shock therapy" tactics. First Deputy Prime Minister Yegor Gaidar was the leader of Russia's Choice, a reformist party that held about 16% of the seats in the Duma. The anti-Yeltsin forces were dominated by Vladimir Zhirinovsky, a flamboyant ultranationalist who apparently aspired to the presidency. Among the assembly's top priorities was the passage of laws that defined the functions and authority of the various branches of the newly structured government.

      Italian prime minister resigns. Carlo Ciampi tendered his resignation after less than nine tumultuous months as prime minister of Italy. Since February 1992 several thousand Italians had been implicated in corruption, including five former prime ministers, about 200 members of Parliament, and numerous prominent businessmen. The cases of alleged bribery, extortion, fraud, embezzlement, and illegal political contributions were said to involve billions of dollars. On January 16 Pres. Oscar Luigi Scalfaro dissolved Parliament and called for new elections in March. With countless old-guard politicians discredited beyond redemption, no one could predict with confidence what the political landscape would look like after the election.

      Ukraine surrenders nuclear arms. Ukrainian Pres. Leonid Kravchuk, Russian Pres. Boris Yeltsin, and U.S. Pres. Bill Clinton signed an agreement in Moscow that would, it was hoped, lead to the transfer of Ukraine's nuclear weapons to Russia, where they would be destroyed. In exchange, Ukraine would receive nuclear fuel and guarantees of security. The country, which was the second largest of the former Soviet republics, was in a state of near economic collapse. With its currency reserves virtually exhausted, inflation raging out of control, the production of energy far below normal, and large factories idle or barely functioning, the country desperately needed help to extricate itself from the economic quagmire that was devouring it. Divesting itself of nuclear weapons in exchange for Russian help seemed to be Ukraine's best hope for recovery.

      Quake devastates Los Angeles. Millions of residents of southern California were terrorized by a disastrous predawn earthquake initially measuring 6.6—and later upgraded to 6.8—on the Richter scale. The quake, which was centred some 32 km (20 mi) northwest of Los Angeles, sent freeway overpasses crashing to the ground, totally demolished multistory buildings, and ignited numerous fires. At least 61 persons were reported killed. Hundreds of thousands of people were without water or electricity. In recent years there had been more severe earthquakes in southern California, but none had occurred in such a heavily populated area. Authorities quickly moved to take control of the situation by declaring a state of emergency and imposing a dusk-to-dawn curfew. Construction engineers estimated that it would take months to restore the freeways, which were a vital part of the region's transportation network. On February 12 President Clinton signed an $8.6 billion relief bill for the state of California for what some believed was the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history.

      Legislature ousts Belarus leader. The Parliament of Belarus voted 209-36 to unseat Stanislau Shushkevich, chairman of the Supreme Soviet (head of state). The legislators, who had been elected before the breakup of the Soviet Union, were overwhelmingly opposed to Shushkevich's efforts to introduce reforms that would establish a free-market economy. They also sought closer alignment with Russia's foreign policies. Parliamentarians who supported Shushkevich denounced his ouster as a betrayal of the nation's sovereignty. The leader of the Belarusian Popular Front, disheartened by the turn of events, declared that the new leadership would now bring Belarus "into the Russian empire."

      Algerian military loses its power. Algeria took a significant step toward returning to political normalcy by naming Liamine Zeroual to a three-year term as president. The appointment was the first of a series of steps leading to the election of a new national legislature. Algeria had plunged into political turmoil in December 1991 when Muslim fundamentalists, in the first round of voting for the National Assembly, stunned almost everyone by capturing 44% of the seats outright. In other races that required a runoff because no candidate had won an absolute majority of the vote, the Islamic Salvation Front had done so well that the fundamentalists were virtually certain, in the final round of voting, to take over the government and establish an Islamic state. At that juncture the army, backed by secularists, forced Pres. Chadli Bendjedid to resign. It then set up a High State Council to run the country, declared a state of emergency, and canceled the second round of the election. During the two years of conflict that followed, paramilitary death squads tracked down and killed suspected rebels, and Muslim guerrillas succeeded in assassinating government officials. At least 2,000 lives were estimated to have been lost to such violence.


February 1
      Lasso named to new UN rights post. UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali nominated José Ayala Lasso to be the first United Nations high commissioner for human rights. However, members of several human rights organizations were highly critical of the appointment because Ayala had served as foreign minister under a repressive military regime in his native Ecuador. During the 1993 UN General Assembly debate that preceded the creation of the new agency, there was wide disagreement on what the functions of the commission should be and what authority it should have. Because these differences were never resolved, the UN mandate establishing the commission did not specify the circumstances under which it could initiate an investigation of suspected violations of human rights or whether it could act only with the approval of UN organizations to which the nations in question belonged.

February 3
      U.S. ends Vietnam trade embargo. President Clinton officially ended the 19-year-old U.S. trade embargo against Vietnam, thereby paving the way for the eventual restoration of full diplomatic relations between the two countries. For the present, each nation would conduct business through a liaison office in the other's capital. Indirectly addressing the concerns of the families of more than 2,000 Americans missing in action during the Vietnam War, Clinton remarked that he was absolutely convinced that lifting the embargo was the most efficacious way of learning the fate of the military personnel still unaccounted for. U.S. businessmen had long argued that the embargo was an anachronism that barred them from investing in Vietnam's rapidly expanding economy.

      Russian military to help Shevardnadze. Russian Pres. Boris Yeltsin and Georgian Pres. Eduard Shevardnadze signed a series of agreements in the Georgian capital city of Tbilisi. These included a treaty that extended the life of three Russian military bases in Georgia beyond the year 1995. Russia would also train and supply the Georgian army. Small groups of protesters denounced "Russian imperialism" and Shevardnadze's "betrayal of the country's independence." Factions within Russia's legislature also opposed the treaty, reportedly because they feared Russia could become embroiled in Georgia's effort to reestablish control over Abkhazia and South Ossetia, two strongholds of armed secessionists. Georgia had earlier asked for and received Russian military assistance in Abkhazia after promising to strengthen ties with other former Soviet republics by becoming a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

      Court favours Chad in border dispute. The International Court of Justice, popularly known as the World Court, ruled 16-1 that Libya had no legal basis to support its claim to the 120,000-sq km (45,000-sq mi) Aozou Strip. Libya and Chad had both laid claim to the long stretch of land, which over the years had been the scene of fierce military engagements. In 1983 Libya, supported by its allies in northern Chad, had won effective control over the whole northern half of Chad, but the Chadian army gradually reoccupied the territory. In 1990 both parties in the dispute agreed to let the World Court, the judicial arm of the United Nations, decide the case. The court concluded that the border had been definitively fixed in 1955 when Libya signed a treaty with France, which at the time claimed Chad as an overseas colony.

February 6
      Costa Ricans elect new president. After an intense and sometimes virulent campaign, José María Figueres Olsen, the candidate of the National Liberation Party, won slightly less than 50% of the popular vote and was elected to a four-year term as the president of Costa Rica. Figueres, whose father had drawn up the Central American nation's blueprint for democracy and welfare, was scheduled to succeed Pres. Rafael Calderón Fournier on May 8. The Costa Rican constitution did not permit the head of state and government to seek reelection.

      Ahtisaari wins the presidency of Finland. Martti Ahtisaari, leader of the Social Democratic Party, won 54% of the vote in a runoff election to become president of Finland. His opponent, Defense Minister Elisabeth Rehn, had surprised nearly everyone by finishing ahead of nine other candidates in the January 16 election. Ahtisaari indicated that he would involve himself in domestic issues in an effort to revitalize the nation's moribund economy. Prime Minister Esko Aho, however, pointedly remarked that the government's domestic policies would remain intact. By tradition, the Finnish president was responsible for the conduct of foreign policy and the prime minister for domestic affairs.

February 9
      Accord initialed by Israel and PLO. Yasir Arafat, chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), and Shimon Peres, foreign minister of Israel, initialed a document in Cairo that resolved all the problems "either completely in detail or in principle" that had impeded implementation of the accord signed in September 1993 in Washington, D.C. That historic agreement granted self-government to Palestinians in occupied Gaza and the West Bank. As a first step, Palestinians would govern all of Gaza and the city of Jericho in the West Bank. Whether the Palestinians would exercise jurisdiction beyond the city's limits was a matter still to be negotiated. The timetable for total Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and Jericho would depend on how quickly practical problems involving the transfer of power could be settled. Final ratification of the accord by both sides did not appear to present any serious problem.

February 17
      Bosnian Serbs yield to threats. Ethnic Serbs living in Bosnia and Herzegovina began to withdraw their heavy artillery from the hills surrounding Sarajevo, the besieged capital. On Nov. 9, 1993, NATO had issued an ultimatum that included threats to launch air strikes to silence the weapons if they were not put under UN control or moved 20 km (12 mi) away from the city by February 20. The ferocious fighting in Bosnia involved Serbs, Croats, and Muslims who were battling each other in shifting alliances to establish control over various regions of the country. NATO intervened after the Serbs had rejected repeated demands that they stop shelling the virtually defenseless city. Numerous reports of hate-inspired atrocities had evoked worldwide pleas that something be done to end the slaughter, especially of innocent civilians. The best hope for peace appeared to rest on the willingness of all parties to accept a division of the republic into autonomous ethnic regions.

February 22
      CIA agent charged with spying. Aldrich Ames, a former member of the Soviet counterintelligence unit of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, was arrested by federal authorities in Washington, D.C., and charged with spying for Moscow, both before and after the breakup of the Soviet Union. Ames allegedly had received as much as $2.7 million for passing on highly secret information and for identifying agents employed abroad by the U.S. Ten of the agents were reportedly arrested and shot. Ames's wife, who had once been a CIA informer, was also arrested. The damage Ames had inflicted on U.S. intelligence operations was said to be catastrophic. The CIA itself was accused of inexcusable laxity for having failed to investigate the opulent lifestyle of Ames and his wife, which could not have been supported by a conventional income.

      Peruvian army officers guilty of murder. A military court in Lima, Peru, sentenced two army majors, described as leaders of an assassination squad, to 20 years in prison for their roles in the 1992 murders of nine students and a teacher at the Enrique Guzmán y Valle National Education University. The victims had been shot in the head and their bodies burned. The army general in charge of intelligence planning was also implicated in the killings and was given a five-year sentence. Six others were sent to prison for periods ranging from 4 to 15 years. The case had been kept alive by the weekly magazine , which disclosed the site where some of the victims were buried. Peruvian Pres. Alberto Fujimori expressed hope that U.S. criticism of his country's human rights record would now be muffled and that Washington would release millions of dollars in urgently needed aid.

February 23
      Yeltsin's archrivals get amnesty. Members of Russia's State Duma, the lower house of the nation's legislature, in a calculated act of defiance, approved a sweeping amnesty that included the release from prison of Pres. Boris Yeltsin's most intransigent opponents—those who had led an armed revolt against his government in October 1993. The vote was 253-67. On February 26 Ruslan Khasbulatov, the former speaker of parliament, and Aleksandr Rutskoy, the former vice president, were among those who were set free. Both had been captured with their armed supporters after Russian troops shelled and attacked the White House (the parliament building). The assault claimed 140 lives. Shortly before the prisoners walked out of the prison, Russia's chief prosecutor, a Yeltsin supporter, resigned because there was no legal way he could accede to the president's request and halt the release.

      Marcos estate ordered to pay $1.2 billion. A 10-member federal jury in Hawaii, having heard a class-action suit filed against Ferdinand Marcos, ordered his estate to pay some 10,000 plaintiffs exemplary damages (extraordinarily large punitive damages, allowable in certain cases) amounting to $1.2 billion. The jury had concluded that the former president of the Philippines bore responsibility for the numerous murders, rapes, acts of torture, and other violations of human rights that had occurred after his declaration of martial law in 1972. The Marcos estate would also be liable for compensatory damages, the size of which had not yet been determined. Despite the court's decision, there were serious doubts that the plaintiffs would ever receive any money because the Philippine government had thus far failed to locate the billions of dollars Marcos allegedly looted from the national treasury before his ouster from power in 1986.

February 25
      Israeli murders Arabs in Hebron. Baruch Goldstein, a U.S.-born medical doctor and an Israeli right-wing extremist, opened fire with an automatic weapon on a dense crowd of Palestinians worshiping at the Cave of the Patriarchs mosque in Hebron. At least 29 persons were slain and some 150 wounded. Goldstein had apparently entered the mosque with his weapon in full view without arousing the suspicion of Israeli security guards. The massacre that followed was the worst act of violence in the West Bank since Israel occupied the territory in 1967. After the first wave of shock and terror had passed, infuriated worshipers sprang toward Goldstein and beat him to death. Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin called the massacre "a loathsome criminal act of murder." The anti-Israeli rioting that quickly erupted in the occupied territories was expected; less expected were the angry protests of Arabs in parts of Israel proper.


March 1
      EU welcomes three new nations. The European Union (EU), formerly known as the European Community (EC), reached agreement with Austria, Finland, and Sweden on terms for their admission into the organization at the beginning of the new year. All of the approved applicants, however, still had to have the accord formally ratified by their respective national legislatures. Negotiations with Norway were put on hold because of a dispute over fishing rights in the North Sea. Spain and Portugal had expanded the EC to 12 members by joining the group in 1986. The ultimate goal of the EU was to unite all of Western Europe in a free-trade zone with a common currency and a unified foreign policy.

March 2
      Mexico agrees to assist Chiapas. Representatives of the Mexican government and of Indians from the impoverished state of Chiapas announced a tentative agreement that would, it was hoped, end the Indians' two-month-old insurrection and gradually improve the economic and political climate of their region. The package of promised reforms, which had to be submitted to various Indian communities for approval, included new rights for Indians, land reform, a series of new social programs, and changes in the political and judicial structures of Chiapas. Subcomandante Marcos, the nom de guerre of the leader of the rebel Zapatista National Liberation Army, indicated that his followers would not lay down their arms until the government's promises had been spelled out in greater detail and Mexican law changed to ensure greater democracy on a national scale. Proponents of change accused the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) of Pres. Carlos Salinas de Gortari, which had dominated Mexican politics for 65 years, of resorting to fraudulent elections to retain power.

March 3
      Vatican establishes ties with Jordan. The Vatican officially reported that it had established diplomatic ties with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to reinforce "the relationship of respect and friendship which already exists between the two sides." The move had long been expected because the Vatican had already established diplomatic missions in Arab nations that had a Catholic presence far less conspicuous than that in Jordan. The Vatican and Jordan also shared a deep concern about the status of Jerusalem, which was sacred to Jews, Muslims, and Christians alike. Even though Israel occupied the entire city after seizing control of east Jerusalem from Jordan during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, Jordan still claimed a protectorate over the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque, two sites sacred to Muslims. The future status of Jerusalem, which Israel had designated as its national capital, was one of the most delicate and intractable problems standing in the way of a comprehensive peace settlement in the Middle East.

March 4
      Ukraine begins shipping warheads. Implementing a January agreement signed in Moscow by Ukrainian Pres. Leonid Kravchuk and Russian Pres. Boris Yeltsin, Ukraine sent the first shipment of 60 nuclear warheads to Russia for dismantling. Ukraine had pledged to divest itself of all of its 1,600 nuclear weapons at staggered intervals. The U.S. had played a pivotal role in the negotiations by promising to provide $350 million to Russia to help defray the cost of rendering the weapons useless.

      World Trade Center bombers convicted. A federal jury in New York City found four Arab immigrants guilty of the February 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center in Manhattan. The huge explosion, detonated in an underground garage, killed six persons, injured more than 1,000, and caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage. The alleged mastermind of the plot and one of his associates were still at large. A seventh suspect was to be tried separately. The four convicted terrorists included Mohammad A. Salameh, who was found guilty on 10 counts. He was convicted of renting the apartment where the explosives were mixed and of renting the van that carried the bomb into the garage. Mahmud Abouhalima, convicted on nine counts, was part of the small group that constructed the bomb. Nidal A. Ayyad, a chemical engineer, was identified as the person who procured the explosives. Ahmad M. Ajaj, found guilty on 10 counts, provided the manual of instructions for making the bomb. During the five-month trial, some 200 witnesses had been put on the stand and more than 1,000 exhibits placed in evidence. Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, a radical Muslim cleric, and 14 others were scheduled to go on trial in September. All were believed to be terrorists involved in a similar plot to bomb the United Nations building and other targets in New York City.

March 11
      Agreement to reduce Polish debt. Western banks agreed, after four years of negotiations, to reorganize Poland's huge foreign debt in such a way that its obligations would be reduced by more than 40%. Poland's economic situation had become so dire that its leaders had little choice but to default on the nation's debt for several years. Although each of the many banks that had granted loans to Poland would have to study and approve the agreement in the months ahead, Poland was expected to experience a significant upturn in its economy within a year or so.

March 12
      Anglican Church ordains women. With the ordination of 32 women as priests of the Church of England, the Anglican Church abandoned a tradition that had been honoured for more than 450 years. The women were ordained by Bishop Barry Rogerson in Bristol Cathedral. Even though the General Synod of the Anglican Church had declared in 1975 that it found no theological basis for excluding women from the priesthood, many Anglicans were deeply perturbed by the announcement. Their number included some 700 clergymen who warned that they would leave the church and convert to Roman Catholicism if such ordinations took place. Pope John Paul II, whose opposition to women priests was clear and unswerving, viewed the ordinations as "a profound obstacle to every hope of reunion between the Catholic Church and the Anglican communion." The archbishops of Canterbury and York, both of whom attended the ordination ceremony, issued a joint statement urging church members to show "generosity, tolerance, courtesy, and loving patience with each other."

March 14
      Moravcik becomes prime minister. Leaders of five political parties in Slovakia approved the appointment of Jozef Moravcik as the nation's new prime minister. Moravcik, the last foreign minister of Czechoslovakia before its breakup in January 1993, replaced Vladimir Meciar, who had been ousted on March 11 when the parliament rejected his leadership by a 78-2 vote of no confidence. There were 56 abstentions. Meciar had been widely criticized for antidemocratic policies that led many members of his own Movement for a Democratic Slovakia to desert him. He had also created political turmoil by publicly feuding with Pres. Michal Kovac. The new prime minister faced the urgent and daunting task of reconciling various political interests so that measures could be taken to shore up democracy and foster economic reforms.

March 23
      PRI candidate slain in Mexico. Luis Colosio, the presidential candidate of Mexico's ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), was shot and killed as he was leaving a campaign rally in Tijuana. Colosio, whom Pres. Carlos Salinas de Gortari had handpicked as his successor, was virtually guaranteed the presidency because the PRI had monopolized all branches of the government for more than six decades. Accused of the assassination was a young local pacifist, identified as Mario Aburto Martínez, who had no known connection to any group opposed to the government. On March 29 Salinas selected Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León, who had been manager of Colosio's campaign, to be the PRI's new presidential candidate.

March 25
      U.S. ends mission in Somalia. Fifteen months after spearheading Operation Restore Hope in Somalia, the U.S. quietly withdrew its last Marine combat units from the country. At one time the U.S. presence had numbered some 28,000 personnel. About 19,000 United Nations troops still remained in Somalia, but there was growing evidence that whatever progress had been made to ameliorate the chaotic political situation was proving to be not much more than a passing phenomenon. The main goal of the operation, however, had been successful. Hundreds of thousands of Somalis had been saved from starvation, and the warring factions had been sufficiently contained—despite numerous ugly incidents—to permit the distribution of food and medicines to those in desperate need.

March 28
      Uganda to get new constitution. Enthusiastic voters went to the polls in Uganda for the first time in 14 years to elect a constituent assembly. More than 1,500 candidates had campaigned on a nonparty basis for the 214 elected seats. Supporters of Pres. Yoweri Museveni won 114 seats; the president was further allowed to appoint 10 members of his choosing. The assembly would also include two representatives from each of the four main political parties and 56 persons representing the special interests of such groups as women, youth, and labour unions. The assembly was expected to complete its draft of a new constitution in about six months. Only then would the people return to the polls to elect a president and members of the parliament.

March 30
      France bows to student protests. French Prime Minister Édouard Balladur yielded to student demands and revoked a government decree that would have allowed employers to hire young people at less than the minimum wage. Faced with an unemployment rate that exceeded 12% overall and 25% for those under 25, the government had viewed the new law as a positive step that would create job opportunities for the young. The students, however, took to the streets of Paris and a dozen other cities to denounce the decree as discriminatory. On March 28 the government tried to mollify the protesters by agreeing to suspend the edict until a more satisfying proposal could be drawn up, but the students insisted that the decree be stricken from the books. The government then took a new tack to help resolve the unemployment problem by offering employers a $175 monthly subsidy for providing first-time jobs to those under 25.


April 5
      Turkey adopts austerity program. Prime Minister Tansu Ciller announced a series of austerity measures designed to alleviate the nation's severe economic problems. Inflation had reached an annual rate exceeding 70%, and the national budget deficit had soared to more than $8.5 billion by the end of 1993. In addition, the country's trade and balance of payments deficits had reached record heights. To reverse this negative trend, Ciller pledged to shut down unprofitable state industries, give high priority to a program of privatization, freeze wages, and increase the cost of tobacco, gasoline, and other items sold by the government. There would also be a one-time tax on the assets of banks and corporations. The government also devalued the lira for the second time since January, pegging the exchange rate at 32,000 liras to one U.S. dollar. The leader of the Motherland Party, which represented the strongest challenge to Ciller's True Path Party, characterized the austerity measures as a bad copy of a similar program in 1980 that led to a military coup.

April 6
      Two presidents killed in crash. Cyprien Ntaryamira and Juvénal Habyarimana, the respective presidents of Burundi and Rwanda, were killed when their plane crashed as it was landing in Kigali, Rwanda's capital. Eight others aboard the plane also died. The circumstances of the incident were unclear, but there were suspicions that the plane might have been brought down by ground fire or a missile. The two African leaders, both Hutu, were returning from Tanzania, where they had conferred with other African leaders on ways to end the incessant bloody feuding between Tutsi and Hutu tribesmen in their respective countries.

April 8
      Japanese prime minister resigns. Morihiro Hosokawa, who had become prime minister of Japan in August 1993, abruptly resigned amid allegations that he or close associates had profited illegally from a large loan proffered by executives of a trucking company in the early 1980s. As head of the Japan New Party, Hosokawa had led a broad-based seven-party coalition government that was united by its determination to prevent the scandal-ridden Liberal-Democratic Party from regaining power. During the 38 years it had controlled the government, the LDP had become so corrupted by money politics that many longtime members deserted the party in disgust. On April 25, with Hosokawa gone, the lower house of the Diet (parliament) elected Tsutomu Hata, a member of Shinseito (Japan Renewal Party), prime minister. Like Hosokawa, he was a former member of the LDP and had served in Hosokawa's Cabinet as deputy prime minister and foreign minister. On April 26, even before he was formally appointed to his new post by the emperor, Hata faced a major political crisis: the Social Democrats withdrew from the coalition. That left Hata without a majority in the lower house and with an uncertain future as head of the government.

April 10
      NATO cripples Serb offensive. U.S. military aircraft assigned to NATO forces in Europe attacked Bosnian Serb positions near Gorazde on orders from the United Nations commander in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Serbs, choosing to ignore UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali's warning of possible military reprisals if they did not halt their offensive, continued their two-week assault against the Muslim enclave with artillery and armoured vehicles. Gorazde, which the UN had designated one of the six "safe zones" in the war-ravaged country, was home to some 65,000 people. That small community included an estimated 40,000 Muslim refugees who had fled to Gorazde when their own towns were seized by the Serbs. The Serb commander condemned the UN for supporting the NATO attack, saying that the UN had violated its own principles and had taken sides in the civil war by supporting the Muslims. The U.S. ambassador to the UN responded that the air strikes were basically undertaken to protect UN peacekeeping forces in Gorazde.

April 11
      Florida sues the U.S. government. Lawton Chiles, the governor of Florida, filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government to seek reimbursement for the hundreds of millions of dollars the state had been forced to spend on illegal immigrants. Following an analysis of the state's finances, Florida claimed that it had spent nearly $900 million on some 350,000 undocumented immigrants during 1993. As a consequence, the state's hospitals, schools, and prisons were underfunded, and legal residents had only limited access to certain government services. The financial burden of caring for huge numbers of illegal aliens, the state argued, should be borne by the federal government because it had not taken adequate steps to control its borders.

April 15
      World trade pact finally signed. The seventh series of international trade talks under the so-called Uruguay round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) that began in Punta del Este in 1986 reached a successful conclusion in Marrakech, Morocco. The complexity of the numerous issues that took years to resolve was evident in the final document, which filled 22,000 pages. When representatives of 125 nations signed the accord, GATT went out of existence and was replaced by the World Trade Organization, which would bear responsibility for overseeing compliance with the new regulations. The pact, designed to liberalize international trade by, among other things, eliminating tariffs, was expected to have an impact of immense proportions and improve the economies of countries all over the world. Even though most of the signatory nations had not yet formally ratified the pact, it was scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1, 1995.

      CIS strengthens unity at Moscow summit. The 12 nations constituting the Commonwealth of Independent States became more cohesive during their meeting in Moscow by consolidating Russia's position of preeminence in the organization and by establishing an Interstate Economic Commission, headquartered in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, to facilitate the eventual formation of a custom-free union. Three days earlier Russia and Belarus had signed a treaty that would progressively give Russia control over Belarus' monetary system.

April 20
      Russia receives $1.5 billion loan. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) released a $1.5 billion loan to Russia to support the country's economic reform and stabilization program during the current year. A similar sum had been lent to Russia in June 1993 as part of an overall effort to assist Russia and the new democracies of Eastern Europe. The director of the IMF remarked that the loan was justified because Russian monetary policy had undergone a spectacular change for the better during the 10 months following receipt of the initial loan. Russia was also expected to reap economic benefits by having its $84 billion foreign debt rescheduled.

April 22
      Richard Nixon dies from stroke. Richard Nixon, the 37th president (1969-74) of the United States, died in a New York City hospital four days after suffering a severe stroke at home. According to his wishes, no aggressive measures were taken to prolong his life after he lapsed into a coma. The funeral was held on April 27 in Yorba Linda, Calif., on the grounds of the Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace; the house where Nixon was born stands on the same site. During the funeral ceremony, presided over by evangelist Billy Graham, a longtime family friend, eulogies were delivered by President Clinton; Henry Kissinger, Nixon's secretary of state and foreign policy adviser; Bob Dole, the minority leader in the Senate; and Pete Wilson, the governor of California. Nixon had specified in his will that he did not want a formal state funeral in Washington, D.C.

April 24
      Calderón wins in El Salvador. In a runoff election for the presidency of El Salvador, Armando Calderón Sol of the ruling Nationalist Republican Alliance (Arena) coasted to victory with 68% of the popular vote. His opponent was Rubén Zamora, candidate of the leftist Democratic Convergence coalition. In the March 20 election, Calderón had fallen just short of an absolute majority, which would have made a runoff unnecessary. The March election had been the first since the United Nations brokered a peace accord in January 1992 that ended a 12-year-old civil war. The Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front guerrillas had accepted the peace settlement in exchange for certain guarantees, including the opportunity to seek elective office. When Calderón took office on June 1, Arena would control 39 of the 84 seats in the Legislative Assembly. However, with the promised support of the National Conciliation Party, which won four seats, Calderón would operate with a very slim majority.

April 26
      A historic vote in South Africa. For the first time in South Africa's history, people of all races went to the polls to elect their national and regional leaders. The balloting, which ended on April 29, signaled an end of three centuries of white minority rule and the extinction of apartheid—a system of racial separation that had been institutionalized by the National Party in 1948. Despite preelection violence, mainly on the part of white extremists, South African blacks (75% of the population), whites (over 13%), Coloureds (mixed race, over 8%), and Indians (near 3%) brought about an astonishing transformation in the nation's political life. When the final election tallies had been completed, Nelson Mandela's African National Congress was awarded 252 seats in the National Assembly, the National Party of former prime minister F.W. de Klerk 82, and Mangosuthu Buthelezi's Inkatha Freedom Party 43. (Buthelezi, a political rival of Mandela, had waited until April 19 before deciding that his Zulu-based party would not boycott the election.) Four other parties shared the remaining 23 seats. On May 9 Mandela, who had been imprisoned for 27 years until 1990 for opposing the all-white government, was elected president, unopposed, by the National Assembly. The next day he took the presidential oath of office in the presence of dignitaries from more than 130 nations. His Cabinet included de Klerk as second deputy president and Buthelezi as minister of home affairs.

April 27
      Syria and Russia sign accords. A series of accords was signed in Damascus that helped revitalize relations between Syria and Russia and enhanced the latter's image as a broker in the quest for a Middle East peace settlement. Moscow deflected criticism of its arms deal with Syria by saying that it would supply Syria only with defensive weapons and with spare parts for Soviet-made equipment it already possessed. The two nations also agreed to expand trade and cooperate more fully in other areas.

April 28
      Teamsters settle bitter strike. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which had called a strike on April 6 after four months of failed negotiations with 22 trucking companies, approved a compromise settlement that ended a bitter and complex labour dispute. The 24-day work stoppage was the longest in the U.S. union's history. A critical issue had been management's decision to replace full-time drivers with lower-wage part-time employees in order to cut operating costs on loads delivered to multiple destinations. Many transport companies had gone out of business in recent years because the cost of doing business had become intolerable. Competition also intensified after the industry was deregulated in 1980 and more independent truckers took to the roads. The terms of the settlement excluded the hiring of part-time drivers but included a no-strike clause and allowed more freight to be shipped by rail rather than by trucks. Although some 75,000 truckers, dockworkers, delivery drivers, warehouse workers, and mechanics were expected back at work within a few days, the Teamsters had good reason to worry about how much business they had lost permanently to nonunion truckers in the strike.

April 29
      Rwanda engulfed in violence. Boutros Boutros-Ghali, secretary-general of the United Nations, urged the UN Security Council to consider taking "forceful action" to end the wanton massacre of Hutu and Tutsi civilians in Rwanda. A tidal wave of violence had engulfed the capital city of Kigali immediately after Pres. Juvénal Habyarimana, a Hutu, was killed in a suspicious plane crash on April 6. In the week that followed, an estimated 10,000-20,000 civilians were slain, many by marauding bands of Tutsi and Hutu armed with machetes, spears, bows and arrows, clubs, and guns. The Rwandan Patriotic Front (Tutsi guerrillas) added a new dimension to the conflict by laying siege to Kigali. With the situation totally out of control, Belgium, France, and the U.S. dispatched troops to the area to evacuate their nationals. UN peacekeepers on the ground did their best to succour the victims with food and medicines. Meanwhile, vast numbers of Rwandans were fleeing the country, most notably to neighbouring Tanzania, where at least 250,000 had massed by the end of the month. Besides the thousands of civilians buried in mass graves to prevent the spread of disease, the death list included high government officials, nuns and priests, and persons working in hospitals and relief agencies. Because the majority Hutu (90%) and minority Tutsi had never been able to agree on an equitable sharing of power, ethnic animosities continued to smoulder. Outside observers believed that Rwanda's ethnic and political problems would continue to be explosive issues even if the UN-brokered cease-fire and peace accord signed in August 1993 were reestablished.


May 3
      Netherlands election is inconclusive. Dutch voters were so divided in their loyalties that the results of the national election left many wondering what kind of government The Netherlands would have. The ruling coalition, which included the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) and the Labour Party, was clearly destroyed, but no party emerged with enough strength to claim a mandate to rule. The Labour Party, under the leadership of Deputy Prime Minister Willem ("Wim") Kok, received the greatest support and a projected 37 seats in the 150-seat Second Chamber (lower house of parliament). The CDA was expected to hold on to 34 seats, leaving the former coalition 5 seats short of a majority and with 32 fewer seats than it had controlled before the election. Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers' government had lost popular support in large part because it had cut social programs and introduced other belt-tightening measures to curb The Netherlands' growing budget deficit. The next ruling coalition—which would not likely take shape without long and laborious negotiations—would likely include the Democrats 66 party, a left-leaning group that was expected to occupy about 24 seats in the lower house.

May 4
      Israeli and PLO leaders sign accord. During a meeting in Cairo, Yasir Arafat, chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, and Yitzhak Rabin, prime minister of Israel, signed a long-delayed accord that resolved a number of outstanding details on Palestinian self-rule in the Gaza Strip and in Jericho, a city located in the West Bank. During the gradual transfer of power to Palestinian civil authorities, Israel would continue to have overall responsibility for security matters and authority over Jewish settlements in the occupied territories.

May 5
      Yemen torn apart by civil war. Yemen, a republic situated at the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula, was plunged into civil war because of a dispute over the sharing of power between the north and the south, which had been two separate republics before agreeing to unite in 1990. Hoping to end the fighting quickly, northern forces loyal to Pres. Ali Abdallah Salih launched an offensive against outnumbered southern troops supporting Vice Pres. Ali Salim al-Baidh. He had been head of the Marxist-oriented People's Democratic Republic of Yemen before unification. By the end of the month, thousands of Yemenis had been killed or wounded in the fighting, and northern troops were poised about 16 km (10 mi) from Aden, the most important city in the south. A spokesman for the north urged the United Nations not to jeopardize the nation's unity by intervening in the conflict.

May 6
      Tunnel links Britain and France. Queen Elizabeth II of the U.K. and Pres. François Mitterrand of France formally inaugurated the Channel Tunnel (Eurotunnel), a 50-km (31-mi)-long rail tunnel beneath the English Channel, in a ceremony in Calais, France. The project was hailed as one of the great engineering successes of the century. After construction began in 1987, it gradually became clear that the project would take a year and a half longer than planned. Its final cost would be about $15 billion, more than double the original estimate. Paying customers would begin using the high-speed Eurostar rail system in about six months, pending the installation and testing of safety systems. Full service, which included the transport of passengers in their automobiles, was set for the summer of 1995.

      Haiti faces broader new trade embargo. The United Nations Security Council voted unanimously to expand its trade embargo against Haiti in an effort to force the military regime to relinquish power and allow Jean-Bertrand Aristide to return from exile and assume the presidency. After easily winning the December 1990 democratic election, Aristide had held office for about eight months before being ousted in a military coup. The Security Council also set a May 21 deadline for Haiti to comply with the UN-sponsored agreement Aristide and Lieut. Gen. Raoul Cédras, the de facto ruler of the country, had signed in New York in July 1993. Under terms of that accord, the military would step down and Aristide would return to Haiti as president. Instead, a powerful pro-military group of senators openly defied the Security Council on May 11 by naming Émile Jonassaint, an elderly Supreme Court justice, provisional president.

      Colombia legalizes private use of drugs. Colombia's Constitutional Court voted 5-4 to legalize the personal use of marijuana, cocaine, and other drugs. The decision, which startled U.S. and Colombian officials who had fought for years to curtail the use of such drugs, could be reversed only by amendment of the nation's constitution. Pres. César Gaviria Trujillo called the court's ruling absurd. The country's chief prosecuting attorney, however, had taken the position that efforts to stop drug use had been a failure and that the decriminalization of drugs should be seriously considered. Germany's Federal Constitutional Court had recently ruled that possessing or importing small quantities of marijuana and hashish was not illegal. After marijuana was legalized in The Netherlands in 1976, hundreds of cafés and other establishments openly included a wide variety of drugs among the other items they offered for sale.

May 8
      Pérez elected Panamanian president. Ernesto Pérez Belladares, a millionaire banker running under the banner of the Democratic Revolutionary Party, defeated six other candidates in a race for the presidency of Panama. Although he was supported by only one-third of the electorate, a runoff was not required. His strongest challenge had come from Mireya Moscoso de Gruber, who received 29% of the vote. Singer-actor Rubén Blades made a serious run for the presidency, but he finished third with 17% of the vote. Incumbent Pres. Guillermo Endara Galimany was not directly involved in the election because, by law, he could serve only one five-year term. During the campaign Pérez Belladares promised to better the lives of the country's poorest citizens through social programs and the creation of more jobs.

May 11
      Berlusconi takes helm in Italy. A new political era dawned in Italy when Silvio Berlusconi took the oath of office as prime minister. The ceremony not only apparently closed a chapter on a government besmirched by blatant corruption; it also marked a return to the past because, for the first time since the end of World War II, neo-Fascists were elevated to positions in the Cabinet. Before the March elections Berlusconi's Forza Italia party formed a coalition with the neo-Fascist National Alliance (formerly known as the Italian Social Movement) and the Northern League. Campaigning under the name Alliance for Freedom, the coalition won an absolute majority in the national Chamber of Deputies. After bitter wrangling, all agreed to offer Berlusconi the prime ministership. He responded by awarding high Cabinet posts to members of the Northern League and the National Alliance.

May 17
      Voters oust president of Malawi. In Malawi's first multiparty elections, nonagenarian Pres. Hastings Kamuzu Banda was defeated by Bakili Muluzi, candidate of the United Democratic Front. Muluzi had formerly been secretary-general of the ruling Malawi Congress Party. Banda, self-declared president for life, had exercised dictatorial powers since 1964, when the African republic became independent from Britain. The electorate, however, had paved the way for his removal in June 1993 by passing a referendum establishing a multiparty political system.

May 25
      Hubble proves Einstein's theory. During a news conference in Washington, D.C., Holland Ford, an astronomer at the Space Telescope Institute and Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md., announced that the Hubble Space Telescope had provided "conclusive evidence of a supermassive black hole" in the centre of galaxy M87 in the constellation Virgo. Confirmation of the existence of such a phenomenon, predicted by Albert Einstein in his theory of general relativity, had eluded scientists for decades. Some black holes were thought to form from massive stars that became unstable and gravitationally collapsed inward upon themselves after exhausting their internal thermonuclear fuel. Other kinds may form at the centres of galaxies when large volumes of interstellar matter collect under the influence of gravity and collapse. In either case, the weight of the matter falling in from all sides compresses the matter at the centre of the collapsing region to zero volume and infinite density. Gravity becomes so intense that nothing, not even light, can escape.

May 26
      Clinton alters his China policy. President Clinton announced that he had decided to sign an executive order extending for one year China's most-favoured-nation trade status even though it had failed to make "overall significant progress" in respecting the human rights of its citizens. Clinton revised his policy even further by declaring that China's observance of human rights, which previously had been a key issue in determining its trade status, would henceforth be treated as a separate matter. The U.S., however, would continue to pressure China to comply with the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It would also, among other things, resist the importation of goods produced in Chinese prisons.

      Antarctic whale sanctuary established. During its annual meeting in Mexico, the International Whaling Commission voted 23-1, with six abstentions, to bar permanently all commercial whalers from the waters south of Africa, Australia, and South America, a major feeding ground for many types of whales. All stocks of whales in the area, except the minke, had been reduced to a fraction of their population. Japan, the only nation actively fighting the establishment of a vast whale sanctuary covering nearly one-quarter of the world's oceans, argued that a ban on hunting minke was an emotional decision unjustified by scientific data.

May 29
      Socialists triumph in Hungary. The Hungarian Socialist (former Communist) Party staged a spectacular political comeback by winning, after the final runoff elections, a total of 209 of the 386 elective seats in the National Assembly. Eight additional seats were filled by appointment. The Alliance of Free Democrats finished a weak second with 70 seats. The Hungarian Democratic Forum, which had been the senior partner in the previous coalition government, retained only 37 seats. Observers attributed the election results to widespread dissatisfaction with Hungary's efforts to adopt a free-market economy. During a special party congress on June 4, the Socialists officially named Gyula Horn as their choice for prime minister. Late in June the entire assembly was expected to confirm Horn as head of government.

May 30
      Pope bans ordination of women. Pope John Paul II emphatically reaffirmed the position that women cannot be ordained priests in the Roman Catholic Church. In a letter addressed to Catholic bishops throughout the world, the pontiff endeavoured to end a debate that had engrossed a large number of bishops, priests, nuns, and laypeople. The central message of the pope's letter read: "Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the church's divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren, I declare that the church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the church's faithful."


June 3
      Crimea acknowledges ties to Ukraine. A dispute over the status of the Crimean Peninsula was officially resolved and a crisis averted when the Ukraine government and its autonomous region of Crimea signed a joint communiqué affirming that Crimea was part of Ukraine. The issue was especially important to Ukraine because the Black Sea Fleet, which Russia and Ukraine both claimed, was based in Crimea. The communiqué also noted that differences between Crimean and Ukrainian laws would be resolved by a joint committee. On May 20 Crimea's local legislature had taken the region a step closer to total independence by reconfirming (69-2) a constitution that had been adopted in 1992 but was suspended a few days later when Ukraine gave in to several Crimean demands.

June 4
      Rights in East Timor discussed. A private conference on Indonesia's observance of human rights in East Timor, a former Portuguese colony seized by Indonesia in 1976, concluded in Manila despite government efforts to ban the meeting. Indonesia claimed East Timor as its 27th province, but the United Nations had repeatedly refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of the claim. Local resistance had been resolute throughout the years, and Indonesian troops had reportedly killed one-sixth of the population. President Suharto, embarrassed and annoyed by the adverse publicity his country was receiving, urged Philippine Pres. Fidel Ramos to use his authority to cancel the meeting. Suharto had implied that if nothing was done, he might choose to aid the Muslim separatists fighting in the southern part of the Philippines. Ramos issued an injunction, but it was invalidated by the Supreme Court. The president, however, was able to deny visas to overseas delegates and to order the deportation of foreign delegates already in the country. The wife of French Pres. François Mitterrand, made aware of the situation, canceled plans to attend the conference.

June 6
      Allies remember Normandy landing. Various heads of state and government, representatives of the Allies whose troops had participated in the historic 1944 D-Day invasion of Normandy during World War II, gathered in France to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the event, which led to the liberation of Western Europe and contributed to the defeat of Nazi Germany. Some 30,000 elderly veterans also traveled to Normandy to remember and pay homage to those who had given their lives to set others free. On June 5, 38 veterans of the 82nd Airborne Division, some in their 80s, were warmly cheered as they dropped from the sky in multicoloured parachutes in a reenactment of their hazardous Normandy landing behind enemy lines 50 years earlier. Other veterans in battle gear waded ashore to commemorate the launching of Operation Overlord, the largest amphibious invasion in history. French Pres. François Mitterrand presided over the largest of the anniversary celebrations at Omaha Beach. Among the many other remembrances that took place at various locations was a visit by President Clinton to the Normandy American Cemetery near Omaha Beach, where more than 9,000 U.S. soldiers were buried. The president remarked, "These are the fathers we never knew, the uncles we never met, the friends who never returned, the heroes we can never repay."

June 10
      Muslim Brotherhood under attack. The Egyptian government stepped up its campaign against the Muslim Brotherhood, a powerful antigovernment organization that sought to win converts to Islamic fundamentalism by gaining control of charitable institutions and by influencing university faculties, professional groups, local government officials, labour leaders, and others of like status. The ultimate goal of the Brotherhood, officially outlawed in Egypt in 1954, was to turn Egypt into an Islamic republic. Pres. Hosni Mubarak, who had no such wishes for his country, was concerned that the vast sums of money the Brotherhood received from Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf states and its adherents, numbering in the hundreds of thousands and growing, posed a greater threat than did the terrorist groups that shared the Brotherhood's vision of the kind of state Egypt should be.

      U.S. puts new pressure on General Cédras. President Clinton, determined to dislodge the military regime in Haiti headed by Lieut. Gen. Raoul Cédras, added two new elements to the list of economic sanctions already in place. He ordered an immediate ban on all financial transactions between the two countries, thereby making it impossible for wealthy Haitians, many of whom profited from the military government, to withdraw funds from their U.S. accounts or transfer funds out of Haiti for deposit in the U.S. The ban would affect hundreds of millions of dollars. Clinton also called a halt to all commercial flights between the U.S. and Haiti. On June 12 it was unofficially reported that some 30 Latin-American countries had privately informed U.S. officials that they were prepared to support a military invasion of Haiti if economic sanctions did not bring down its military rulers. That same day Émile Jonassaint, Haiti's provisional president, declared a state of emergency.

June 12
      New European Parliament elected. The 12 nations of the European Union finished their two-stage balloting for representation in the European Parliament without giving any political bloc a majority of the 567 seats. The left-of-centre groups, which included an assortment of socialists, communists, and environmentalists, won 242 seats. Right-of-centre groups captured 229 seats, and nonaffiliated groups won 96 seats. Both of the major blocs were expected to woo the uncommitted, but neither group was confident it would be able to command an absolute majority of 284 seats when Parliament convened.

June 15
      Israel and Vatican affirm ties. After years of often bitter antagonism between Jews and the Roman Catholic Church, the Vatican and Israel simultaneously announced the establishment of full diplomatic relations. Following the lead of virtually all other states with diplomats accredited to Israel, the Vatican announced that its embassy would be located in an area administered by Tel Aviv rather than in Jerusalem. Even though Jerusalem had been officially designated Israel's capital, most nations tried not to become directly involved in the sensitive issue of the ancient city's status. When the Vatican agreed to establish diplomatic relations with Israel, it was given no guarantees that it would have an active voice in future discussions about the status of Jerusalem.

June 17
      O.J. Simpson accused of murder. Hall of Fame professional football player and television personality O.J. Simpson was formally charged in Los Angeles with murdering his former wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, who was at Nicole's house the night of June 12 when the murders were committed. After a preliminary evaluation of the evidence, the police ordered Simpson, by now a prime suspect, to turn himself in. While his lawyers were discussing the situation, Simpson slipped away and became a fugitive from justice. Hours later a longtime friend, driving along a Los Angeles freeway, contacted police by car telephone to say that Simpson was with him in the car holding a gun to his head. Millions sat transfixed in front of their television sets as helicopter crews beamed live pictures of the car leisurely moving through traffic while police vehicles followed at a discreet distance. After returning to his home, Simpson surrendered to authorities. He hired a team of prominent defense attorneys and at his arraignment pleaded not guilty. Legal squabbles over the admissibility of evidence and jury selection dragged on for months. No murder case in U.S. history had ever received such sensational pretrial publicity, sparked so much discussion, or generated so many news stories, editorials, magazine articles, television interviews, and even "instant" books.

June 19
      Samper wins Colombian election. Ernesto Samper Pizano, candidate of the ruling Liberal Party, narrowly defeated Andres Pastrano Arango, the Conservative Party candidate, in a runoff election for the presidency of Colombia. Samper, scheduled to begin his four-year term on August 7, would succeed César Gaviria Trujillo, who was excluded by law from seeking reelection. Analysts attributed the low voter turnout (45%) to a general lack of interest in the outcome. Both candidates, whose political parties had dominated national politics since the 1950s, had pledged to continue the gradual process of economic liberalization initiated by Gaviria and to push for a negotiated peace settlement with leftist rebels. Samper supported an increase in social expenditures to create jobs and raise the living standard of the poor. He also advocated caution on such policies as privatization and the lowering of trade barriers. Neither of the two candidates spoke much about Colombia's notorious illegal drug trade even though there was a widely held belief that high government officials were being bought off by drug kingpins.

June 21
      Indonesia clamps down on press. The Indonesian government notified three popular publications that their licenses had been revoked. News of the crackdown came as a shock to the hundreds of thousands who had come to rely on Tempo, Editor, and DeTik as dependable sources of information about their country. Many who were angry about the closures accused President Suharto of depriving the public of legitimate news and reversing his policy of gradually relaxing government censorship of the press. Editor, a news magazine, and DeTik, a tabloid that had approached a circulation of nearly 500,000 in little more than a year, were suppressed "for covering political events without appropriate licenses." Tempo, which did have such authority, was reportedly shut down for its coverage of a sensitive story: a Cabinet-level squabble involving Minister of Research and Technology B.J. Habibie and Finance Minister Mar'ie Muhammad over the cost of refitting 39 former East German warships that had been purchased on Habibie's authority.

June 23
      French troops cross into Rwanda. The French government ordered some 2,500 marines and Foreign Legionnaires to cross the Zairean border into Rwanda to protect refugees, missionaries, and the wounded from indiscriminate massacre at the hands of warring Hutu and Tutsi tribesmen. More than 200,000 Rwandans had already lost their lives. The French minister of defense explained that Operation Turquoise was launched "to protect threatened civilians, not for war operations or military assistance." Its purpose, he reiterated, was to put a stop to genocide by moving noncombatants to safer areas close to the border in Zaire.

June 29
      Socialist is chosen to lead Japan. In a move that stunned Japan, the lower house of the Diet (parliament) elected (261-214) Tomiichi Murayama, the leader of the Social Democratic Party of Japan (SDPJ), prime minister. He replaced Tsutomu Hata, a reformist who had resigned on June 25, and gave Japan its first socialist prime minister since 1948. To win the prime ministership, Murayama agreed to accept the Liberal-Democratic Party (LDP) as partners in his coalition government in exchange for their support. Until that moment such a coalition would have been the most unlikely of scenarios. During the LDP's long hold on power, its most formidable opposition had come from the SDPJ, which opposed the LDP on virtually every major issue. The SDPJ, moreover, had joined the coalition government of Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa when the scandal-riddled LDP fell from power in July 1993. The partners in the new government, however, were united in their opposition to political reforms that were likely to diminish their representation in the Diet. Murayama also backed away from the anti-U.S., anti-nuclear power, pro-North Korea positions that had characterized the SDPJ in the past. Murayama, inaugurated on June 30, awarded 13 of the 20 Cabinet posts to members of the LDP.

June 30
      Hong Kong votes for democracy. Hong Kong's 60-member Legislative Council ignored dire threats from Beijing (Peking) by approving a proposal that would expand democratic participation in the process by which council members were elected. Gov. Chris Patten had disregarded China's vigorous objections, saying that the people of Hong Kong desired greater democracy, which would guarantee Hong Kong's economic future. Because China threatened to dismantle Hong Kong's political structure after it gained sovereignty over the territory on July 1, 1997, some segments of the business community, with an eye to the future, leaned toward compliance with China's wishes.


July 1
      Arafat warmly welcomed in Gaza. Fulfilling a dream he had nurtured for decades, Yasir Arafat, chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, crossed the Egyptian border and entered the Gaza Strip, the homeland of his ancestors. It was a momentous event for hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who, as a result of the accord Arafat had signed with Israel, would begin adjusting to self-rule under the Palestine National Authority (PNA). Despite the general jubilation that marked Arafat's arrival, he was protected by extremely tight security because certain Palestinian extremists, opposed to any compromise with Israel, considered him a traitor to their cause. Four days later Arafat made his first trip in 27 years to Jericho in the West Bank, where he was sworn in as head of the PNA. Jericho had been granted the same degree of independence as Gaza.

July 2
      Cambodia reports attempted coup. Officials of the Cambodian government reported that a coup led by Prince Norodom Chakrapong, the estranged son of King Norodom Sihanouk, and Gen. Sin Song—both members of the Cabinet—had been foiled when government troops intercepted 200-300 dissident soldiers in armoured vehicles and trucks as they were advancing on Phnom Penh, the capital. The coup had been planned to occur while the king was in China for treatment of prostate cancer. After many hours of telephone conversations that involved the king, the queen, Chakrapong, government officials, and the U.S. ambassador, Chakrapong was allowed to board a plane and go into exile in Malaysia. Gen. Sin Song was placed under arrest.

July 4
      Rwandan refugees inundate Zaire. The Rwandan Patriotic Front captured Kigali, the national capital, then directed its offensive against other parts of the country still under government control. Although the Tutsi rebels comprised less than 15% of the population, their professionally trained, highly motivated troops easily overwhelmed the national army, which was under Hutu command. The three-month-long civil war had already created unspeakable suffering. An estimated 200,000-500,000 people had been killed, and up to two million Rwandans had sought safety across the border in Zaire, where thousands were dying from starvation and disease. A spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees described the situation as "absolutely catastrophic." One member of an on-site British relief agency characterized the plight of the refugees as "a disaster on a scale not witnessed in modern times." For untold thousands water, food, and medical supplies arrived too late to save their lives.

July 8
      Kim Il Sung dies in Pyongyang. North Korea's official news agency informed the nation on July 9 that "Great Leader" Kim Il Sung had died the previous day of an apparent heart attack. The year after Korea was divided into two separate states (1948), Kim gained absolute power in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea as chairman of the Korean Workers' (Communist) Party. At his death Kim, who had named his son Kim Jong Il heir-designate, left North Korea's economy in shambles, in great part because his country had become more and more isolated from the international community. Shortly before his unexpected death, Kim had agreed, for the first time, to discuss reconciliation with the president of South Korea and to seek to resolve the tense international crisis over North Korea's nuclear program.

July 10
      Kuchma wins Ukrainian election. In a runoff election for the presidency of Ukraine, Leonid Kuchma defeated incumbent Pres. Leonid Kravchuk by capturing 52% of the vote. An analysis of the results showed that a vast proportion of the electorate had voted along ethnic lines. In the predominantly Russian-speaking eastern regions of Ukraine and in Crimea, where 70% of the population was ethnic Russian, Kuchma won about 90% of the vote. In some districts in the western part of the country, which were heavily populated by ethnic Ukrainians, he failed to win even 5% of the vote. Kuchma, who had formerly been head of the Soviet Union's largest missile plant, campaigned on a promise to reform and invigorate the country's pitiful economy by forging closer ties with Russia. During the previous year Ukraine's industrial output had declined 40%, and nearly half of the workforce was unemployed.

      Lukashenka coasts to victory in Belarus. In a runoff election to choose Belarus' first president, Aleksandr Lukashenka, a former communist, overwhelmed Prime Minister Vyacheslau Kebich by capturing more than 80% of the popular vote. The landslide victory was viewed by many observers as a mass protest against the status quo. Lukashenka had campaigned on a promise to root out corruption, which was rampant among government officials, to imprison Kebich, and to dismiss anyone who had ties to his administration. Although Lukashenka had no significant experience in either domestic or foreign affairs, he made lavish promises to rebuild the country's shattered economy, create jobs, provide for the elderly, and stifle inflation, which had been averaging about 10% a week. Lukashenka also declared that there was no solution to the nation's severe problems other than closer ties with Russia.

July 12
      Employees buy United Airlines. After seven years of sporadic negotiations, employees of United Airlines (UAL) bought controlling interest (55%) in the world's largest carrier. The $4.9 billion investment made by the company's 54,000 employees included wage and benefit concessions ranging from 8.25% for nonunion workers to 15.7% for pilots over a period of 5 1/2 years. Under terms of the agreement, the employees would have a significant albeit indirect role in decision making because the three persons they selected to sit on the 12-person board of directors would have veto power over such proposals as the sale of company assets and the expansion of its operations. Even so, some investment advisers with intimate knowledge of the highly competitive airline industry were reluctant to predict that the new owners would, in the years ahead, be happy with the decision they had made. The new chairman of UAL would be Gerald Greenwald, a former executive at Chrysler Corp.

July 18
      UN retains sanctions on Iraq. The United States and Great Britain, which had veto power over UN Security Council resolutions, took a firm stand against the removal of UN-imposed economic sanctions on Iraq. The U.S. ambassador to the UN argued that Iraq had made only token gestures to meet UN conditions for removing restrictions on its trade and oil sales and had not, therefore, earned favourable consideration. China, France, Russia, and some Third World nations holding seats on the Security Council pushed in vain for a statement acknowledging that Iraq had made sufficient progress to justify a loosening of the sanctions. The Russian representative issued a separate statement in which he encouraged Iraq to satisfy the UN conditions and urged the Security Council to revoke the sanctions as soon as the UN Special Committee on Iraq declared that the installation of a system to monitor Iraqi weapons had been completed.

July 21
      Tony Blair to lead Labour Party. The electoral college of Great Britain's Labour Party selected Tony Blair to be its party leader. He succeeded John Smith, who had died in May. Political analysts expressed a belief that Blair provided the Labour Party with a good chance of regaining control of the government for the first time since 1979. They cited the substantial decline in Prime Minister John Major's popularity, broad dissatisfaction with the Conservative government, and Blair's decision to back away from such traditional Labour policies as increased taxation to finance social programs and support for trade unions in their disputes with industry. The next parliamentary election had to be called no later than mid-1997.

July 22
      Gambian military seizes power. Sir Dawda Jawara, president of The Gambia since 1970, was overthrown in a coup organized by junior army officers. The country's four or five new military rulers immediately suspended the constitution, outlawed political parties, imposed a curfew, and set up a Provisional Council of the Armed Forces. They also promised to set a date for the restoration of democracy. Sir Dawda and his sizable entourage were taken aboard a visiting U.S. warship and set ashore in neighbouring Senegal, where they were granted temporary political asylum.

July 28
      Congress passes anticrime bill. After months of contentious congressional debate, conferees from the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives reached agreement on anticrime legislation that President Clinton hailed as "the toughest, largest, smartest federal attack on crime in the history of our country." Some members of Congress continued to ridicule the bill, especially for financing social welfare programs as deterrents to crime. The entire anticrime program would cost $30.2 billion. The money would put 100,000 new police officers on the nation's streets, finance new prisons, pay for crime-prevention and rehabilitation programs, and provide scholarships for students willing to commit themselves to a career in law enforcement. In addition, the bill banned the manufacture, sale, and possession of 19 types of assault weapons and extended the federal death penalty to some 60 crimes. It also required mandatory life imprisonment for persons convicted of three serious felonies.

July 29
      Taiwan amends its constitution. The National Assembly of the Republic of China in Taiwan passed 10 constitutional amendments after three months of tumultuous confrontation between the ruling Kuomintang (KMT; Nationalist Party) and the opposition Democratic Progressive Party and its allies. One amendment provided for the direct election of the president and vice president, a right previously invested in the National Assembly. Another change would permit overseas nationals to cast ballots in that election. The conditions for recalling a president were also modified. Henceforth a president could not be removed from office without a two-thirds vote of the Assembly and the approval of a majority of voters. Only one KMT-sponsored amendment failed. It called for the simultaneous election of the president and the National Assembly to avoid fundamental changes in the government during a president's term in office.

July 31
      UN approves invasion of Haiti. Frustrated in its attempt to persuade the military government of Haiti to step down and allow the Rev. Jean-Bertrand Aristide to assume the presidency, which he had won in the December 1990 election, the United Nations Security Council authorized (12-0, with 2 abstentions) a United States-led military invasion of the country if the sanctions already in place failed to force the junta to relinquish power. Gen. Raoul Cédras and his associates, however, were not given a specific deadline after which they would be taken into custody by invading foreign troops.


August 3
      Breyer joins U.S. Supreme Court. During a private ceremony conducted by Chief Justice William Rehnquist, Stephen Breyer officially became a member of the U.S. Supreme Court. He had asked to take the oath of office before the formal White House ceremony on August 12 so that he could begin selecting his staff and have access to material on cases awaiting decision by the court. In July the Senate Judiciary Committee had questioned Breyer, the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, on a wide variety of issues before unanimously recommending that he be confirmed by the entire Senate. Only nine senators opposed the appointment. Breyer replaced retired justice Harry Blackmun.

August 10
      Germany seizes nuclear material. In a sting operation carried out at the Munich airport, German police seized 370-430 g (12-14 oz) of plutonium-239, an isotope used in the manufacture of nuclear weapons. One Colombian and two Spaniards were arrested after they arrived aboard a Lufthansa flight from Moscow. Three other incidents that occurred between May 10 and August 12 involved smaller amounts of smuggled nuclear material. The first case involved a German businessman with apparent ties to Iraq. Police found six grams of 239Pu in his home in Tengen. In June the discovery in Landshut of about nine grams of highly enriched uranium-235 led to the arrest of one Czech, four Slovaks, and one German. On August 12 a German carrying a tiny quantity of nuclear material was arrested in Bremen. All the nuclear material was believed to have been smuggled out of Russia or one of the other former Soviet republics. Russian authorities promised to track down the source of the smuggled material.

August 14
      Sudan nabs notorious terrorist. Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, an international terrorist known as Carlos, or "the Jackal," was apprehended in The Sudan and turned over to French authorities. The next day he was flown to France to face murder charges and other charges. Carlos, a native of Venezuela, had been sought by Western intelligence agencies for some 20 years even though he had apparently given up his terrorist activities. One of his most sensational successes was the 1975 kidnapping of 11 OPEC ministers who were meeting in Vienna. Three persons were killed, but Carlos and his accomplices hijacked a plane and took the oil ministers to Algeria, where they were released after the payment of a $20 million ransom. Carlos was most closely linked to Arab groups, but at various times communist regimes in Eastern Europe protected him, if only because he was creating havoc in Western Europe.

August 16
      Dominican Republic ends crisis. Three months after winning what was widely viewed as a fraudulent election, Joaquín Balaguer was sworn in as president of the Dominican Republic. The frail 87-year-old politician had held the office for 20 of the previous 28 years. On August 10 Balaguer and opposition party leaders had reached a compromise that allowed Balaguer to remain in office until new elections were held in November 1995. Four days later a special constitutional assembly added an amendment to the constitution that postponed the election until May 1996.

August 17
      Lesotho's king ousts Mokhehle. Prime Minister Ntsu Mokhehle and his Cabinet were dismissed by King Letsie III of Lesotho on the grounds that the people were dissatisfied with the nation's first democratically elected government. On August 19 a provisional council was appointed to run the country until new elections were held at a still-unspecified date. The king's action was widely seen as an attempt to return power to his father, Moshoeshoe II, who had been deposed by the military in 1990 and temporarily exiled.

August 19
      Sri Lankans elect Kumaratunga. Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, candidate of the nine-party People's Alliance, was sworn in as prime minister of Sri Lanka. Although the alliance failed to win an absolute majority in the August 16 parliamentary elections, it captured 105 of the 225 seats—11 more than the United National Party, which had controlled the government for 17 years. Kumaratunga's father and mother had both held the post of prime minister. Under Sri Lanka's political system, Pres. Dingiri Wijetunga, whose term did not expire until the end of the year, could have selected anyone to be prime minister. He named Kumaratunga after Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe announced that he would oppose any other choice.

      U.S. policy on Cuban refugees is changed. President Clinton, fearful that thousands of Cuban refugees in unseaworthy vessels were heading for the United States with the approval of Cuban Pres. Fidel Castro, announced that Cuban refugees would no longer automatically be granted asylum in the U.S. Instead, those picked up at sea by the U.S. Navy or Coast Guard and those reaching U.S. shores would be sent to holding camps. Some would be routed to the U.S. naval base at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba. On August 20 Clinton increased the pressure on Castro by prohibiting charter flights to Cuba and by outlawing cash transfers, which had been providing Cuba with an estimated $500 million a year in hard currency. Clinton remarked, "The solution to Cuba's many problems is not an uncontrolled exodus. It is freedom and democracy for Cuba."

August 21
      PRI retains Mexican presidency. Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Léon, candidate of Mexico's long-ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), won the presidency in balloting that observers reported was virtually free of the blatant fraud that had characterized most past elections. The PRI had not lost the presidency since the party was founded in 1929. Zedillo's closest rival was Diego Fernández de Cevallos of the National Action Party. He won the support of about 27% of the electorate. Zedillo was expected to take over the reins of government from Pres. Carlos Salinas de Gortari on December 1. Incomplete results of the parliamentary elections indicated that the PRI would still control the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies.

August 22
      Kok takes over in Nether lands. Nearly four months after parliamentary elections, Willem ("Wim") Kok, leader of the left-wing Labour Party, took the oath of office as prime minister of The Netherlands. His three-party coalition included the right-wing Liberal Party and the leftist Democrats 66 bloc. For the first time in decades, the Christian Democratic Appeal became the party in opposition. Kok had insisted that all the partners in his coalition endorse his political program, which was designed to increase employment, lower taxes, and cut the national budget. The government would continue to provide free education for undergraduates, but in the future those wishing to pursue graduate degrees would have to pay their own way.

August 30
      Papua New Guinea holds election. Following an order of the Supreme Court, Papua New Guinea's unicameral National Parliament held an election for the prime ministership. The vote was 69-32 in favour of Sir Julius Chan. He succeeded Paias Wingti, who had been elected in 1992. In September 1993 Wingti resigned overnight and was reelected the next morning. He employed this strategy in hopes of taking advantage of a provision in the law that protected a new prime minister from a no-confidence vote for the first 18 months of his tenure in office. The Supreme Court, after ruling that such tactics violated the spirit of the constitution, ordered a new election. Wingti then decided to step aside. After assuming office, Chan announced that his top priority would be to end the six-year-old civil war in Bougainville, the largest of the Solomon Islands, which were part of Papua New Guinea.

August 31
      IRA proclaims a new cease-fire. Affirming a new determination to rely on political solutions to end the conflict in Northern Ireland, the outlawed Provisional wing of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) announced a complete cessation of military operations against the British government and its troops in Northern Ireland. Since 1969 some 3,000 people, mostly civilians, had been killed there in sectarian fighting between republican and loyalist paramilitary units. For months there had been unofficial reports of high-level meetings, many in secret, to find a formula for settling the dispute over who should rule Northern Ireland. Despite all efforts to resolve the impasse, the basic problem remained; the majority of people in Northern Ireland were Protestant and presumably wished to remain British, while the IRA and its supporters contended that the Irish republic comprised the entire island.

      Russia meets deadline for troop pullout. Adhering to a time schedule agreed to in July, Russia withdrew the last of its troops from Estonia and Latvia. The future status of retired Russian soldiers who wished to remain in prosperous Estonia had been settled earlier; all could apply for permanent residence, but Estonia would have the right, after reviewing each case individually, to deport criminals and others judged to be detrimental to the country. The first total withdrawal of Russian military personnel from the Baltics had occurred in Lithuania in August 1993, and Russian forces left Poland the following month. On August 31 the final contingent of Russian troops departed from Berlin, Russia's last base on German soil.


September 6
      Nigerian ruler proclaims dictatorship. Gen. Sani Abacha, who had been ruling oil-rich Nigeria since November 1993 as chairman of the Provisional Ruling Council, assumed dictatorial powers. The previous day oil workers had ended a two-month strike that failed to force Abacha to turn over the reins of government to Moshood ("MKO") Abiola, who was in prison facing charges of treason. He had been arrested after apparently winning the presidential election in June 1993. The National Defense and Security Council annulled the election "so as to protect our legal system and the judiciary from being ridiculed." After assuming absolute power, Abacha declared that his government was beyond the jurisdiction of the courts and that persons taken into custody could be detained for three months without being charged. He also muzzled the press by shutting down leading newspapers and magazines.

September 7
      Barbados chooses a new government. Owen Arthur took the oath of office as prime minister of Barbados one day after his Barbados Labour Party soundly defeated the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) by winning 19 of the 28 seats in the lower House of the Assembly. The DLP, which had held uninterrupted power for a decade, captured eight seats and the National Democratic Party one. Arthur, who was trained as an economist, promised that his government would give top priority to lowering unemployment, which stood at 22%.

September 9
      Accord reached on Cuban refugees. After more than a week of negotiations in New York City, the U.S. and Cuba reached agreement on a new refugee policy that would end the recent tidal wave of Cubans fleeing to the U.S. In the future a minimum of 20,000 Cubans a year would be permitted to enter the U.S. legally as long as Cuba took steps to stem the tide of illegal emigrants heading for the U.S. The number of economic refugees had reached such unmanageable proportions in recent weeks that President Clinton had felt compelled on August 19 to announce that, beginning immediately, the nation's 28-year-old policy of granting asylum to any Cuban reaching U.S. shores was no longer in effect. Henceforth, Cubans picked up at sea, often crowded aboard unseaworthy boats or on makeshift rafts, would be transported directly to holding camps at U.S. bases in Panama or Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

September 13
      Disputes mar Cairo conference. The third UN-sponsored International Conference on Population and Development ended in Cairo after nine days of often bitter debate over such issues as sexual morality, family planning, and the legitimacy and desirability of abortion as a means of birth control. The Roman Catholic Church, some Latin-American countries, and several predominantly Islamic nations generally strongly opposed certain specific policies (or the ambiguity of statements) contained in a proposed Program of Action to stabilize the world's population. The Sudan, a largely Islamic country, was one of 11 countries that did not send delegates to the conference. It boycotted the meeting, it said, because the outcome would result "in the spread of immoral and irreligious values." Those who argued that the lot of impoverished nations would improve significantly if the birthrate was controlled encountered challenges from others who cited history as proof that birthrates invariably drop when nations emerge from widespread poverty. Much greater emphasis, they contended, should be placed on economic development as a vital element in stabilizing the world's population. Before the conference ended, the Vatican surprised many by endorsing 8 of the 16 chapters that constituted the new UN statement of policy on population.

September 16
      Exxon fined billions for oil spill. In Anchorage, Alaska, a federal jury fined Exxon Corp. a record $5 billion in punitive damages for the oil spill in Prince William Sound that resulted when the supertanker Exxon Valdez ran aground in 1989. The money would go to some 34,000 fishermen and to others who claimed in a lawsuit that they had suffered substantial losses because of the pollution. Lawyers for Exxon announced that they would appeal the jury's decision.

September 18
      Haiti's military junta to step down. President Clinton announced on national television that Haiti's military rulers had defused a tense situation by agreeing to relinquish power by October 15, thus allowing Pres. Jean-Bertrand Aristide to return to Haiti to assume the presidency that he had held before being ousted in a September 1991 military coup. The agreement was reached while U.S. warplanes were flying toward Haiti to carry out the first phase of a military operation to remove by force Lieut. Gen. Raoul Cédras and other members of the junta. The top U.S. negotiators in Port-au-Prince were former president Jimmy Carter, Sen. Sam Nunn, and Colin Powell, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. On September 19 U.S. troops landed in Haiti to work in close cooperation with local military and police forces "to promote freedom and democracy and to forge a sustained and mutually beneficial relationship between the governments, people, and institutions of Haiti and the United States." Once deployed, the U.S. soldiers obeyed orders and did not interfere on occasions when street violence, including brutal, wanton beatings, occurred. Recognizing the absurdity of the situation, the U.S. later changed its policy and ordered its troops to take command.

September 21
      Scientists find remarkable fossil. Timothy D. White, a paleontologist at the University of California at Berkeley and the leader of an international group of scientists working in Ethiopia, announced the discovery of ancient fossils belonging to apelike creatures that were the ancestors of modern humans (Homo sapiens). The 4.4 million-year-old fossils represented an entirely new species that was a million years older than the partial skeleton of Lucy, a hominid (upright-walking primate) discovered in Ethiopia in 1974. An analysis of the newly discovered fossils appeared to support the theory that humans and apes evolved from a common ancestor that lived some four million to six million years ago.

September 26
      Quebec to vote on sovereignty. Jacques Parizeau, whose separatist Parti Québécois (PQ) had won 77 of the 125 seats in the province's National Assembly on September 12, was sworn in as premier of Quebec. Despite the PQ's overwhelming success in gaining control of the Assembly, its percentage of the popular vote was only a fraction of a percentage point greater than that of the Liberal Party, which won only 47 seats. The Liberal Party had run the government for nine years. Parizeau's victory meant, among other things, that Canadians would once again face the possibility that the mainly French-speaking voters of Quebec would opt for sovereignty when given a choice in a provincial referendum to be held in 1995.

      Saudi Arabia arrests Islamic militants. The government of Saudi Arabia publicly confirmed press reports that 110 Islamic militants had been recently arrested for plotting to spread sedition and destabilize the country. Although the Saudi government was alert to possible threats coming from leftist secularists, extreme right-wing religious zealots appeared to present a more immediate threat to the status quo. They were blamed for social unrest inside Saudi Arabia and were responsible for serious conflicts in such Arab nations as Egypt, Algeria, and Tunisia.

      U.S. health care debate reaches impasse. George Mitchell, speaking as majority leader of the U.S. Senate, announced that national health care legislation was a dead issue during the current session of Congress. President Clinton had made universal health care a major goal of his Democratic administration, but he was unable to overcome the opposition that surfaced in many different quarters. Given the complexity of the problems that had to be solved and the conflicting interests that had to be reconciled, it became clearer each day that passage of comprehensive health care legislation was not close at hand. Most legislators, however, agreed that health care reforms were badly needed and would in time become law, if not on a national scale then locally, in a variety of ways, by individual states.

September 29
      Americas now free of poliovirus. The Pan American Health Organization declared that paralytic poliomyelitis (polio) had been eradicated in North and South America and in the Caribbean. Health officials coupled the announcement with a caution that the disease could reappear unless a serious effort was made to totally eradicate the disease through an extensive program of immunization. Some 120,000 cases of polio were still reported each year, mostly in less developed countries.

      Claes named as NATO secretary-general. All 16 nations belonging to NATO approved the appointment of Willy Claes as the organization's new secretary-general. Claes, who was Belgium's deputy prime minister and foreign minister, replaced Manfred Wörner, who had died in August. The U.S. was not an enthusiastic supporter of Claes because the Belgian government, of which he was part, had refused to sell ammunition to Great Britain during the Persian Gulf war. In addition, Claes's Flemish Socialist Party had created discord by opposing the deployment of U.S. missiles in Europe in the 1980s.

September 30
      Arabs relax their boycott of Israel. Six Arab nations belonging to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) declared that they would no longer blacklist companies doing business with Israel. The Arab nations' 46-year-old ban on direct trade with Israel remained in force, but the GCC planned to call on the Arab League to rescind the ban entirely. Egypt became the first Arab nation to violate the boycott deliberately after it signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979. The boycott was further weakened in September 1993 when Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization signed a declaration of peace. Since that time the Arab boycott had become something of an anachronism because there were numerous indications that Israel and its longtime foes were prepared to negotiate a step-by-step permanent peace settlement.


October 3
      Cardoso wins the election in Brazil. A runoff election for the presidency of Brazil was avoided when Fernando Cardoso won a majority of the valid votes cast. (Because voting was mandatory in Brazil, a large number of ballots were left blank or declared invalid.) Cardoso's closest rival in the field of eight was Luis Inácio Lula da Silva ("Lula") of the Workers Party, who had been considered the front-runner until Cardoso resigned as finance minister in March and declared his intention to run for the presidency even though many Brazilians scarcely knew his name. His surge in popularity was attributed to the success of measures he had drafted as finance minister to curb rampant inflation, which by election day was at its lowest level in years. Cardoso was scheduled to assume office on Jan. 1, 1995.

October 4
      Dispute over missile sales settled. After negotiations in Washington, D.C., the U.S. and China signed an agreement that ended a festering debate over China's alleged violation of a treaty that prohibited the sale of certain high-technology items to other countries. China had not formally signed the 1987 international agreement, known as the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), but it had agreed in 1992 to adhere to its provisions. The U.S. contended that China had reneged on its promise by selling M-11 missile components to Pakistan—a charge both countries denied. China further contended that the M-11 missiles had a shorter range and a smaller payload than the limits set by the MTCR. The dispute was resolved when China accepted the more-restrictive interpretation of the treaty and the U.S. removed its one-year-old ban on the sale of high-tech equipment that China wished to purchase.

October 5
      Police find the bodies of 53 cultists. Swiss police in two small villages found the bodies of 48 members of the Order of the Solar Temple, an international religious cult. An examination of the bodies indicated that the cultists had died by suicide, from bullets fired into their heads, or by suffocation. The corpses of five other members of the cult were discovered in Quebec. The residences occupied by the cultists in Switzerland and Canada had been set ablaze by several devices connected to gasoline and benzine. The badly burned body of Luc Jouret, the Belgian founder of the cult, had to be identified through dental records. He had warned his followers that an apocalypse was near because humans had polluted the environment.

October 7
      U.S. responds to new Iraqi threat. President Clinton ordered the immediate dispatch of additional Marine and navy forces to the Persian Gulf to counter a new military threat posed by Iraqi Pres. Saddam Hussein. Just hours earlier Saddam had issued orders for two divisions of Republican Guard troops to move toward the Kuwaiti border, where 50,000 Iraqi soldiers were already stationed. The sudden buildup raised the possibility that Saddam was planning, for unknown reasons, another invasion of Kuwait. In 1990 some 350,000 Iraqis had invaded and annexed Kuwait until U.S.-led United Nations forces launched a massive and devastating counteroffensive. The most recent crisis subsided when Saddam ordered his troops to pull back from the Kuwaiti border. The retreat followed reports that 28 U.S. ships, about 650 planes, and an additional 40,000 troops were either heading for Kuwait or already in place.

October 15
      Aristide gets warm welcome home. Two days after Haiti's most powerful military figures were flown into exile in Panama, Jean-Bertrand Aristide returned to Haiti aboard a U.S. government plane. As tens of thousands of jubilant supporters cheered, Aristide was reinstalled as president in Port-au-Prince, the capital. Under heavy security he addressed an ecstatic crowd at the National Palace. His message, intended to bring peace and stability to a nation that had been terrorized for three years, was delivered in French, Creole, and English: "No to violence, no to vengeance, yes to reconciliation." On October 26 the president announced that he had selected Smarck Michel to be prime minister. The appointment of the U.S.-educated commodities trader who advocated a free market indicated that revitalization of the country's economy would be one of the government's top priorities.

October 16
      Vote weakens Kohl government. Germany's coalition government suffered a serious setback in parliamentary elections, but it managed to maintain control of the Bundestag (lower house) with a slim majority of 10 seats. Chancellor Helmut Kohl's Christian Democratic Union and its sister party, the Christian Social Union, together won 294 of the 672 seats. Kohl's coalition ally, the Free Democratic Party, captured 47 seats, giving the government a total of 341. The opposition Social Democratic Party emerged with 252 seats, the Greens/Alliance '90 party with 49, and the Party of Democratic Socialism with 30. The combined total of seats occupied by the opposition came to 331. Kohl, who was reelected on November 15, was expected to surpass Konrad Adenauer's postwar record 14-year tenure during his new four-year term as chancellor.

      Macedonia holds first national election. Kiro Gligorov, candidate of the Alliance for Macedonia—a three-party coalition governing the country—was easily reelected to a five-year term as president. The election was the first in Macedonia since it became independent in 1991 with the breakup of Yugoslavia. Gligorov won more than 52% of the vote, while Ljubisa Georgievski of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization-Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity won about 14.5%. Only 10 of the nearly 1,800 candidates seeking election to the unicameral 120-seat Assembly won their contests outright. All other races were to be decided in later runoff elections. Officials of an international team of observers conceded that the election process had been flawed, but they would not side with those demanding that the results be voided. Instead, they expressed optimism that most of the problems that had surfaced during the first round of voting would be solved before the final round of balloting took place.

October 19
      New book creates a firestorm. Bookstores throughout the U.S. began selling a highly controversial new book entitled The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life. The uproar it created generated scores of television interviews and discussions, numerous newspaper and magazine articles, and countless letters to the editor. Among those who spoke out, many vigorously condemned the book's basic premises and conclusions, while others defended the book as fundamentally sound. Its coauthors, Harvard University professor Richard Herrnstein and social scientist Charles Murray, argued that a person's intelligence, or cognitive ability, was largely determined by heredity. As a consequence, better educational opportunities could have only limited value in improving these abilities. The most heated debate raged over one chapter that claimed that blacks as a group scored lower on intelligence tests than whites and Asians and would, predictably, as a group, earn less during their working years than other groups. The authors emphasized that their findings applied only to groups, not to individuals. Any one person, they pointed out, could outscore and outperform any other individual regardless of their respective backgrounds.

October 21
      U.S. and North Korea sign pact. After three weeks of intense negotiations in Geneva, the United States and North Korea signed an agreement that set forth a timetable for the complete dismantling of North Korea's nuclear program. There had been worldwide concern over Pyongyang's refusal to allow the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to inspect certain sites where, it was believed, nuclear weapons were being developed. Although North Korea repeatedly denied the charge, suspicions that it had in fact launched such a program had been reinforced when it announced in March 1993 that it was withdrawing from the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. Key provisions of the agreement signed in Geneva included a U.S. commitment to oversee the construction in North Korea of two 1,000-MW light-water nuclear reactors, financed mainly by Japan and South Korea; a cessation of all activity at a graphite-moderated reactor in Yongbyon and of construction work at other reactor sites; a guaranteed supply of oil from the U.S.; and full access to all of North Korea's nuclear facilities by IAEA inspectors after the light-water reactors came on-line.

October 23
      New rice increases output by 20%. During a meeting of agricultural experts and World Bank officials in Washington, D.C., Ken Fisher, director of research at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines, revealed that a new variety of rice had been developed that would increase harvests by at least 20%. He estimated that the increased yield would eventually feed an additional 500 million people in several years, after the rice plants became commercially available. At the same meeting, Lester R. Brown, the president of the Worldwatch Institute and an expert on world grain supplies, pointed out that the demand for rice would increase significantly with rising populations in Asia. He also noted that the amount of land devoted to rice cultivation was gradually shrinking in many places to make room for factories and other buildings.

October 25
      Vatican and PLO establish ties. In an apparent effort to increase its influence and diplomatic presence in the Holy Land, the Vatican established "permanent and official" relations with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Although the action fell well short of recognition of a Palestinian state, the Vatican somewhat balanced out its formal relations with Israel by agreeing to maintain contact with the PLO through the Holy See's embassy in Tunisia. At the same time, the Vatican continued to defend the inalienable right of Palestinians to freedom and independence.

October 26
      Israel and Jordan embrace peace. Jordan became the second Arab nation formally to end the state of war and hostility that for 46 years had marked its relationship with Israel. Egypt had been the first in 1979. President Clinton was among the 4,500 guests who attended the signing ceremony, which took place under heavy security. The peace treaty resolved long-standing disputes over land and water and called for the establishment of full diplomatic relations within a month. The two countries also pledged to work together on joint projects and cooperate in a wide variety of other areas. Both King Hussein of Jordan and Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin of Israel spoke of the numerous benefits each country would reap with the advent of peace.

October 29
      Pretoria responds to criticism. Thabo Mbeki, first deputy president of South Africa, announced that Pres. Nelson Mandela's administration would respond to widespread criticism that government officials were living lives of luxury while the country was heavily burdened with debts and a large segment of the population was mired in poverty. As part of a general plan to trim expenses, the salaries of the president and two deputy presidents would be cut by 20%, and the civil service bureaucracy would become substantially leaner. During an interview Mandela had remarked that high salaries and luxurious living had undermined the government's credibility when it asked South Africans "to tighten their belts." He also called for the privatization of many government-owned enterprises in order to encourage private investment in South Africa and acquire capital for financing social programs.


November 1
      Canada revamps immigration rules. After years of welcoming more immigrants per capita than any other major industrialized nation, Canada announced that it was revising its immigration laws. Tighter limits would be placed on the total number of immigrants admitted into the country (215,000 in 1995), and preference would be given to those with higher education or skills that would benefit the nation's economy. Consequently, by the year 2000, the percentage of family-sponsored immigrants would decline from 51% to 44% of all those granted permanent residence. Spouses and children of immigrants already settled in Canada would continue to be admitted without restrictions, but all other relatives would be placed in a special category and subjected to quotas.

November 2
      Japanese approve political reforms. The final version of a package of broad political reforms, which had wide popular support, was approved by Japan's House of Representatives in the hope that a restructuring of the electoral system would rid the country of blatant corruption. The upper chamber, the House of Councillors, added its approval on November 21. The new legislation would introduce single-seat electoral constituencies, which would break the power of large political parties that could no longer depend solely on seats awarded by proportional representation. Corporate contributions to individual candidates were to be restricted, but government subsidies would help compensate for the shortfall in financing campaigns. In addition, urban areas, long underrepresented, were set to have a greater voice in the Diet, which would have 500 members in the House of Representatives rather than 511 after the new laws took effect on December 25.

November 8
      Republicans triumph nationwide. Scoring one of the most decisive political victories in modern U.S. history, the Republican Party won control of both houses of Congress for the first time in 40 years. The landslide was so complete that not one Republican senator, congressman, or governor seeking reelection was defeated. The Republicans gained eight Senate seats, giving them control by a margin of 53-47. They also gained 53 seats in the House, bringing their new total to 230; the Democrats won 204 seats, and an independent, one. All 11 first-term senators would be Republicans, as would 73 of the 88 first-term members of the House. For the first time since 1862, a speaker of the House went down to defeat. Thomas Foley's loss was just as shocking as that of Dan Rostenkowski. The 36-year tenure of the powerful chairman of the Ways and Means Committee was ended by a young, virtually unknown, underfunded political neophyte. Jack Brooks of Texas, a 42-year veteran in the House and chairman of the Judiciary Committee, also went down to defeat. The success of Republicans at the state level was equally impressive. After ousting 11 Democratic governors, they were in a position to set the agenda for 30 states. The Democrats also lost the governorship in Maine when an independent swept to victory. Rep. Newt Gingrich led the Republican attack on President Clinton and his fellow Democrats. He pledged that the old ways of doing business would be a thing of the past the moment he became speaker of the House.

November 9
      Kumaratunga easily wins election. Sri Lankan Prime Minister Chandrika Kumaratunga became president after winning 62% of the popular vote during national elections. Her rival, Srima Dissanayake, ran as a candidate of the United National Party. Kumaratunga, leader of the People's Alliance coalition, finished first in all but one of the nation's 160 electoral districts. On November 15, three days after being sworn into office, the new president appointed her mother, Sirimavo Bandaranaike, prime minister—a position she had filled twice before.

November 10
      Iraq recognizes Kuwait border. The Iraqi Revolutionary Command Council issued a declaration, signed by Pres. Saddam Hussein, officially recognizing the sovereignty of Kuwait, the integrity of its borders, and its political independence. If Iraq hoped that its formal recognition of Kuwait would move the United Nations to drop its economic sanctions, it was doomed to disappointment. On November 14 the U.S. ambassador to the UN presented the Security Council with evidence that Saddam had spent more than $500 million on dozens of luxurious palaces for family members while millions of Iraqis were still living in poverty. The Security Council left the sanctions in place.

November 13
      Sweden to join European Union. Given their choice in a national referendum, 52.2% of Swedish voters opted for membership in the European Union (EU). Subsequent ratification by the Riksdag (parliament) followed as a matter of course. Finland and Austria, which earlier in the year had approved similar referenda, would join Sweden as official members of the EU on Jan. 1, 1995. Late in November a majority of Norway's electorate voted to keep the country outside the EU.

November 15
      Congress Party ousted in Nepal. Preliminary results of parliamentary elections in Nepal indicated that the United Marxist-Leninist (UML) alliance had won 88 seats in the House of Representatives, a net gain of 20. The Nepali Congress Party (NCP) finished second and lost control of the government. The 83 seats it had won represented a net loss of 35. Its poor showing at the polls was attributed to intraparty bickering and charges of corruption. The National Democratic Party captured 20 seats, and several minor parties won a total of 14. In order to form a workable coalition, the UML—whose policies resembled those of social democrats more than those of hard-line communists—was expected to seek allies among disaffected NCP members.

      APEC agrees to liberalize its trade laws. At the end of a two-day conference in Bogor, Indon., the leaders of the 18 economic powers formally committed to Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) signed an agreement to liberalize trade by gradually eliminating barriers to free trade and by opening up investment opportunities by the year 2020. The U.S. and Japan, ranking first and second in world trade, gave APEC the economic base it needed to develop its full potential. Other economies represented in APEC included those of Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand. As a group, the members of APEC represented 38% of the world's population, 41% of global trade, and 50% of the world's gross national product.

November 16
      Ukraine to become nuclear free. The Supreme Council (parliament) of Ukraine voted overwhelmingly to add the country's name to those of other nations formally committed to observing the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. The decision obliged Ukraine, once the world's third largest nuclear power, with 1,800 nuclear warheads, to proclaim itself a nuclear-free zone and recognize that only five nations could legitimately possess nuclear weapons: China, France, Great Britain, Russia, and the U.S. Russia's implementation of the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks treaty (START I) and ratification of START II by the U.S. and Russia had been held up until Ukraine agreed to sign the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. Among the safeguards Ukraine had demanded was a guarantee that its borders and independence would be respected and that no nations would ever use nuclear weapons against it.

November 17
      Ireland's prime minister resigns. Albert Reynolds, leader of the Fianna Fail party, resigned as prime minister of Ireland one day after leading members of the Labour Party, junior partners in the ruling coalition, quit their Cabinet posts. Reynolds had raised the ire of Dick Spring, the deputy prime minister and foreign minister, by announcing on November 11 the nomination of Harry Whelehan, the nation's attorney general, to the post of president of the High Court. Spring had accused Whelehan of ignoring for seven months repeated requests from the police in Northern Ireland to extradite a Roman Catholic priest charged with child molestation. The nomination of Whelehan and his elevation to the High Court on November 15 was so resented by the Labour Party that it resolved to bring down the government by deserting the coalition. The priest had already gone voluntarily to Northern Ireland, where he was sentenced to four years in prison.

November 20
      Fragile peace accord in Angola. After yearlong negotiations in Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, the government of Angola and the rebel National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) signed their third peace treaty since 1989. Expectations that this treaty would hold were based on the fact that, for the first time, UNITA was guaranteed a share of power in national, regional, and local governments. The United Nations also promised to deploy some 7,000 armed peacekeepers throughout the country once there was evidence that the peace settlement was holding firm. Optimism about the future, however, was muted because Jonas Savimbi, the leader of UNITA, did not attend the meeting, prompting Pres. José Eduardo dos Santos to refrain from personally signing the treaty. During the 19 years of civil war, an estimated 500,000 Angolans had been killed.

November 27
      Uruguayans reelect former leader. In an uncommon procedure that permitted political parties to field more than one candidate for an elective office—thereby eliminating primary contests—Uruguay's Colorado Party won a plurality of 32.2% of the popular vote in national elections. By rule, the most popular of the Colorado Party's three candidates, former president Julio María Sanguinetti, became head of state and government. The National (Blanco) Party, led by Alberto Volonte, finished in second place with 31.1% of the vote. Although the Broad Front finished in third place, its popular support fell just 1.5% below that of the victorious Colorado Party. It was expected that when ballots cast for candidates seeking election to the Chamber of Deputies were tallied, the three major parties would have relatively equal representation.


December 1
      U.S. Senate ratifies GATT accord. Eight months after U.S. trade officials had given their approval to a new General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the Senate ratified the 125-nation accord by a vote of 76-24. The House of Representatives had led the way two days earlier by approving the legislation 288-146. President Clinton signed the bill on December 8. Most other GATT nations were expected to ratify the new accord before it went into effect on Jan. 1, 1995, under the new name World Trade Organization (WTO). Because the WTO apparatus was authorized to settle disputes, some U.S. legislators feared that the U.S. could have decisions forced upon it that it found unacceptable or that were incompatible with U.S. laws. In response to such concerns, a provision in the treaty allowed any country to withdraw from the WTO six months after giving notice.

      WHO to direct a new AIDS program. During a meeting in Paris on World AIDS Day, UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali told delegates from 42 nations that previous efforts to conquer AIDS had been largely unsuccessful because there had been too little consultation and cooperation among various groups working on the same tasks. To remedy this situation, Peter Piot, the associate director of the World Health Organization's (WHO's) AIDS program since 1992, was appointed head of a new UN agency on December 12. Its main responsibility would be to coordinate the work of six international organizations devoted to all aspects of AIDS research. Members of Act Up, a militant group demanding that more be done to combat AIDS, lay down on the Champs-Élysées, Paris' most famous boulevard, to protest what they considered to be a tepid response by those in positions to do much more to attack the AIDS epidemic.

December 3
      Opposition party wins Taipei post. Scoring its most significant political victory to date, the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) won the race for mayor of Taipei, the capital of Taiwan. Its candidate, Chen Shui-bian, was a well-known member of the National Assembly. The success of his campaign was cited as evidence that multiparty democracy was taking firm root in Taiwan. The victory also gave the DPP a conspicuous platform from which to challenge for the presidency in 1996. The ruling Kuomintang (KMT; Nationalist Party), however, continued to dominate the political scene. James Soong, its candidate for governor, faced election for the first time and was returned to office in a landslide. (The governor had previously been appointed by the president). Wu Den-yih gave the KMT another important victory with his election as mayor of Kaohsiung, Taiwan's second largest city. Political analysts interpreted the election results as a general desire for controlled change that would not destabilize the country. Many voters apparently also had misgivings about the DPP's call for Taiwan independence.

December 8
      Tensions mount in Chiapas area. The formal inauguration of Eduardo Robledo Rincón as governor of the Mexican state of Chiapas threatened to revive the civil conflict initiated by the rebel Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) in January. Claiming that the August election of Robledo, a member of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), had been fraudulent, the EZLN refused to recognize the legitimacy of his governorship and, in a separate ceremony, installed Amado Avendaño of the Democratic Revolutionary Party as chief executive officer of the state. On October 15 Subcomandante Marcos, the leader of the EZLN, had threatened to turn not only Chiapas but all of Mexico into a battleground if Robledo was inaugurated.

      Turkey imprisons eight of its legislators. Turkish Prime Minister Tansu Ciller's campaign against Kurdish separatists took on a new dimension with the sentencing of eight members of the National Assembly to prison for consorting with members of the outlawed Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK). Five of those convicted received 15-year terms. Earlier in 1994 Ciller had ordered 300,000 troops to wipe out PKK strongholds in Turkey's southeastern provinces. She also suspended parliamentary immunity and ordered the arrest of six members of the Democratic Party, a pro-Kurdish group said to be a front for the PKK. The conflict between Kurds and government forces had claimed an estimated 13,000 lives over a period of 10 years.

December 9
      Cuban refugees in Panama riot. U.S. officials reported that order had been restored at four U.S.-controlled Cuban refugee bases in Panama after a full day of sporadic rioting. The violence appeared to be the result of frustration among the 8,500 detainees who had grown weary of their confinement and primitive conditions and were anxious about their future. All had hoped to enter the U.S. as legal immigrants. Among the hundreds injured during the melee were 25 military personnel and 19 Cubans who required hospitalization. Most of their wounds had been inflicted by rocks, bricks, or bottles. About 1,000 Cubans took advantage of the confusion to escape from the camps, but virtually all were back in camp within a short time.

December 10
      Japanese political parties merge. The alignment of political forces in Japan underwent a dramatic change with the official inauguration of the New Frontier Party (Shinshinto) in Yokohama. The new party represented the merger of nine parties: Shinseito, Komeito, Japan New Party, Democratic Socialist Party, and five smaller groups. The organization committee, which included representatives of all nine parties, was headed by Ichiro Ozawa, who had deserted the scandal-ridden Liberal-Democratic Party (LDP) to articulate his views as a member of the opposition. His mentor in the LDP had been Shin Kanemaru, who had left politics in disgrace. The New Frontier was committed to "unwavering reform" and "responsible politics," but it had not yet taken a position on certain specific issues. Toshiki Kaifu, a former LDP prime minister, was elected leader of the party by a vote of 131-83. Ozawa was chosen to be its secretary-general.

December 11
      Russian army invades Chechnya. Russian Pres. Boris Yeltsin, having warned the federated republic of Chechnya that military force would be used to prevent its secession, ordered the Russian army to attack. The predominantly Muslim Chechen population was a fiercely independent group with a long history of animosity toward outsiders. Their president, Dzhokhar Dudayev, had declared independence unilaterally in 1991. The situation was highly explosive because the area was rich in oil and the main oil pipeline from the Caspian oil fields of Azerbaijan passed through the republic. On December 16 Russian Major Gen. Ivan Babichev dramatically halted his tank division about 32 km (20 mi) from Grozny, the Chechen capital. He told the people that he could not bring himself "to use the army against peaceful civilians." Despite numerous international efforts to establish a cease-fire, Russian troops entered Grozny on December 31 after the city had been severely damaged by air strikes and heavy artillery.

      Americas to form own free-trade zone. During its three-day meeting in Miami, Fla., the leaders of 34 Western Hemisphere nations endorsed the creation of a Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). The only independent nation in the Americas not invited to participate was Cuba. If negotiations went smoothly, the FTAA would be a reality by the year 2005 and would be the largest trade organization in the world. It had a combined annual purchasing power of $13 trillion. Plans called for much smaller regional trade agreements already functioning in South America to be incorporated into the FTAA. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which regulated trade between Canada, the U.S., and Mexico, was expected to serve as a guide when the FTAA began drafting its regulations. On the final day of the meeting, the three members of NAFTA invited Chile to join the organization.

December 17
      North Korea downs U.S. aircraft. An unarmed U.S. Army OH-58 Kiowa reconnaissance helicopter was shot down by North Korea approximately five kilometres (three miles) north of the demilitarized zone that separated North and South Korea. The incident threatened to negate the improvement in relations between the U.S. and North Korea following the October settlement of a dispute over North Korea's nuclear program. One of the U.S. chief warrant officers was killed in the crash, the other taken into custody. The U.S. claimed that the pilots were on a routine training mission and had probably strayed into North Korea airspace because the normally familiar terrain was covered with snow. Repeated U.S. requests that the matter be resolved quickly went unanswered until December 22, when the remains of David Hilemon were turned over to U.S. authorities. Bobby Hall, the second pilot, appeared to be in good health when he was set free on December 30.

December 18
      Ex-communists win in Bulgaria. The Bulgarian Socialist (former communist) Party led by Zhan Videnov won control of the nation's 240-seat unicameral legislature by capturing a substantial plurality of the popular vote. Among the 48 other political parties that contested the election, the Union of Democratic Forces, which was strongly anticommunist, had the most support—about 25% of all the votes cast. Prime Minister Lyuben Berov's resignation on September 2 was accepted by Parliament on September 8. Pres. Zhelyu Zhelev bided his time, then dissolved Parliament on December 17 and ordered new elections. Berov had led a nonparty government of technocrats for nearly two years with little success. Videnov, however, spoke confidently of his ability to solve Bulgaria's problems, "not by returning to the past but by moving forward." Because he was not an ardent advocate of the free market, Bulgaria seemed likely to remain one of the least privatized nations in Eastern Europe.

December 20
      Cease-fire announced in Bosnia. Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter announced that government leaders in Bosnia and Herzegovina and representatives of the Bosnian Serbs had agreed to a four-month cease-fire beginning December 23. Earlier in the year Carter, acting as peacemaker in a private capacity, had had similar successes in North Korea and Haiti. The situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina had so frustrated UN officials that there were serious discussions about a total withdrawal of its peacekeeping force. Typical of the problems it faced was the capture of UN personnel, who were taken hostage and dispersed to strategic areas to deter the UN from launching air strikes against Serb positions. The UN sense of hopelessness was further heightened when the "safe zones" it had set up to protect civilians came under Serb attack. All the while, U.S. and UN military leaders were at odds over what policies to pursue.

December 22
      Facing defeat, Berlusconi quits. Italy was once again plunged into political turmoil when Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi tendered his resignation after just seven months in office. He urged Pres. Oscar Scalfaro to call new elections in order to foster the democratic process rather than search for someone capable of forming a new coalition government. Berlusconi felt compelled to resign in the face of three upcoming motions of no confidence, one of which was directed by a leader of one of the parties in his own coalition. He remained as prime minister in a caretaker capacity.

December 24
      French plane seized in Algiers. Four heavily armed gunmen seized control of an Air France Airbus A-300 as it began to taxi to the runway at the international airport in Algiers, the capital of Algeria. The 227 passengers and 12 crew members aboard were scheduled to fly to Orly Airport outside Paris. The terrorists released dozens of Algerian passengers almost immediately and distributed head scarfs to women who remained aboard—an indication that the terrorists were probably Islamic fundamentalists. On December 26, after three passengers had been killed, the Algerian and French governments allowed the plane, which had been surrounded by police, to fly to Marseille, France. As darkness began to settle over the airport, French paramilitary commandos stormed the plane and killed the four gunmen. Some passengers, crew members, and police were injured, but none was killed. While the hijacking was still in progress, the Armed Islamic Group claimed responsibility, explaining that the action was in reprisal for France's "unconditional political, military, and economic aid" to the Algerian government, which it had vowed to overthrow. French authorities reported on December 27 that the government had received word that the terrorists had planned to blow up the plane over Paris. After the crisis ended, police searched the plane and found 20 sticks of dynamite.

* * *

Universalium. 2010.

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