Calendar of 1995

Calendar of 1995
▪ 1996


January 1
      Cardoso assumes office

      Having won some 54% of the ballots cast in the October 1994 election, Fernando Cardoso took the oath of office as president of Brazil. As chief executive of South America's largest nation, Cardoso was committed to bringing inflation under control and revitalizing the economy through foreign investments and expanded trade. Before seeking the presidency, Cardoso had served both as foreign minister and as minister of finance.

January 2
      Mercosur to expand

      One day after the Southern Cone Common Market (Mercosur) had become operational, Chile and Bolivia approved plans to seek membership in the trade organization, which presently included Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay. More than 90% of the goods that were traded within the market would be exempt from tariffs, and standardized tariffs would be imposed on imports from countries that were outside the Mercosur trade zone.

January 3
      AIDS cases increase

      The World Health Organization (WHO) announced that the number of AIDS cases reported to its headquarters in Geneva had officially passed the one million mark. WHO officials, however, believed that the actual number of cases was probably four times that number because many cases had not been properly diagnosed and others went unreported. The most severely affected area was Africa, where more than 70% of the cases were thought to exist. Statistics indicated that 9% of the cases occurred in the United States, 9% in other parts of the Western Hemisphere, 6% in Asia, 4% in Europe, and 2% in other parts of the world. On January 30 the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that in 1993 AIDS had become the leading cause of death for both American men and women 25-44 years old.

      Cease-fire in Sri Lanka

      The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and the government of Sri Lanka agreed to suspend hostilities on January 8 while a new effort was made to end the 12-year-old civil conflict. The Tiger rebels were promised $800 million in economic aid to help reverse the effects of the economic sanctions and trade embargoes that had been imposed on them by previous administrations. The Tamils, who were mostly Hindus in a predominantly Buddhist country, comprised 18% of the total population. They had taken up arms to secure autonomy for a homeland in the northern and northeastern regions of the country.

January 4
      PDP to govern Uzbekistan

      The national election committee in Uzbekistan reported that according to incomplete returns, members of the People's Democratic (former Communist) Party of Uzbekistan would form a solid majority in the 250-seat Supreme Assembly. The National Progress Party, which participated in the election with the approval of Pres. Islam Karimov, was the only other party that had been allowed to nominate candidates for the Dec. 25, 1994, election. Nonetheless, nonparty candidates captured 20 seats, and the Progress of the Fatherland party, which advocated accelerated economic reforms, won 6 seats. Karimov's decision to allow token political opposition was apparently prompted by a desire to have the nation's first post-Soviet election viewed abroad as a multiparty contest.

January 6
      France annoys allies

      Following a meeting in Paris with Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé announced that his country would resume limited diplomatic ties with Iraq. Relations had soured because French troops had been part of the successful UN-sponsored military force that defeated Iraq after its attempt to annex Kuwait in 1990. The U.S. and Great Britain vigorously opposed France's decision because Iraq was still in violation of UN Security Council resolutions and under an oil embargo. France, however, reportedly hoped that improved relations with Iraq now would help secure for France a major role in rebuilding that nation's oil industry when the time was ripe. Before the Persian Gulf War, the two countries had been major trading partners.

January 8
      Use of CFZ curtailed

      The Australian Cotton Foundation announced that the nation's cotton industry would suspend use of the chemical pesticide chlorfluazuron (CFZ) until further studies had been completed. Although CFZ was considered to have low toxicity, the U.S. and Japan had banned the importation of Australian beef in 1994 after learning that some cattle had been fed cotton waste contaminated with the chemical.

January 10
      Rubin replaces Benson

      The U.S. Senate unanimously approved (99-0) the appointment of Robert Rubin as secretary of the treasury. The former co-chairman of Goldman, Sachs & Co. investment bank had won wide respect as chairman of the National Economic Council, which Pres. Bill Clinton had created. In that capacity he had coordinated the economic policies of various White House and federal agencies and was the chief architect of the government's federal deficit-reduction program.

January 11
      Refugees to go home

      Germany revealed that Vietnam had finally agreed to accept the return of some 40,000 of its citizens residing illegally in Germany. The 55,000 Vietnamese who had earlier acquired legal residence in Germany would not be affected. Following the reunification of Germany in 1990, nearly 40% of the 155,000 Vietnamese then living in Germany had voluntarily returned to their native land. For agreeing to accept the returnees, Vietnam would receive more than $65 million in development funds and an equal amount in export credit guarantees.

      Cubans to leave Panama

      Pentagon officials announced that 3,000 soldiers would be sent to Panama and Cuba to reinforce security while some 8,000 Cuban refugees, who were confined in Panamanian camps, were transferred to the U.S. Guantánamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba. More than 21,000 Cubans were already housed there. The U.S. sought to minimize the possibility of violent resistance because the refugees had long hoped to join friends and relatives in Florida.

January 12
      British patrols trimmed

      Sir Hugh Annesley, head of security in Northern Ireland, announced that British troops would no longer accompany the Royal Ulster Constabulary on daytime patrols in Belfast after January 15. During peace talks with British officials, Sinn Fein, the political arm of the Irish Republican Army, had repeatedly demanded that the troops leave Northern Ireland. Encouraged by the fact that a five-month-old cease-fire was holding firm, Annesley expressed hope that British troops would also, in time, be withdrawn from night patrols.

January 13
      Dini to govern Italy

      Lamberto Dini became Italy's prime minister-designate three weeks after Silvio Berlusconi resigned under fire. The new head of government, who took the oath of office on January 17, was expected to use his extensive knowledge of banking and finance to stabilize Italy's financial markets. Berlusconi indicated that his powerful Forza Italia party was prepared to give Dini and his politically neutral Cabinet short-term support while the government initiated political and election reforms. Dini suggested that these goals could be reached within a few months.

      Wolves returned to park

      Eight North American gray wolves were returned to Yellowstone National Park under a provision of the Endangered Species Act. Four others were scheduled to be set free in a wilderness area of Idaho. Ranchers, fearful that the wolves would attack their sheep and cattle, had successfully impeded implementation of the government program until a federal court in Colorado permitted the restoration to begin.

January 15
      Pope arrives in Manila

      Pope John Paul II celebrated the Roman Catholic Church's 10th World Youth Day in Manila with a public mass attended by an estimated four million people. The gathering was twice as large as the one that welcomed the pontiff when he returned home to Cracow, Poland, in 1979. During his 33,500-km (20,800-mi) tour, John Paul also visited Papua New Guinea, Australia, and Sri Lanka. Buddhist leaders in Sri Lanka, offended by written remarks the pope had made about Buddhism's "perfect indifference to the world," declined to meet the pope, who ended the 63rd overseas journey of his pontificate on January 21.

      Niger vote challenged

      The state radio in Niger reported that the four opposition parties had won a total of 42 of the 83 seats in the national legislature in the election held on January 12. The five parties supporting Pres. Mahamane Ousmane captured 40 seats, with the remaining seat going to the candidate of an independent party. Because Ousmane's backers claimed that the balloting had been fraudulent, it was not immediately clear who would fill the post of prime minister.

January 17
      Quake devastates Kobe

      Kobe, Japan's sixth largest city and one of the country's most vital ports, suffered immense damage when a powerful early-morning earthquake occurred about 10 km (6 mi) beneath Awaji Island in Osaka Bay. The Great Hanshin Earthquake—the worst since the 1923 temblor that leveled Tokyo—killed about 6,000 people, injured more than 30,000, and left more than 300,000 homeless. The collapse of elevated highways and major buildings severely impeded efforts to reach the victims. The government later acknowledged that its initial response to the crisis was slow and inadequate. Final estimates of the damage were about $150 billion, approximately one-fifth of Japan's 1994 national budget.

January 18
      Ancient cave art found

      French Minister of Culture and Francophone Affairs Jacques Toubon confirmed that cave paintings and engravings believed to be 17,000-20,000 years old had been discovered near the town of Vallon-Pont-d'Arc in southern France in December 1994. (Late in the year scientists estimated that the art work was more likely some 30,000 years old.) The find had been kept secret until the site could be physically and legally protected. Archaeologists reported that the drawings rivaled in importance the prehistoric art previously found in Spain and France. The newly discovered art treasures included the first known Paleolithic depictions of a panther, a hyena, and owls.

      Algerians still at odds

      A plan drawn up by militant Islamists to end the three-year-old civil strife in Algeria was rejected by the government because, among other things, it called for the recognition of the outlawed Islamic Salvation Front. The seeds of violence had been sown in January 1992 when the government canceled the second round of elections that would almost certainly have given the Muslims a majority in the National People's Assembly and paved the way for the establishment of an Islamic state. On January 30 a car bomb was detonated near the main police station in Algiers, the capital; 42 persons were killed and nearly 300 injured.

January 21
      Mubarak visits Jordan

      Egyptian Pres. Hosni Mubarak traveled to Jordan, where he and King Hussein reaffirmed the friendship that had traditionally marked the relationship between their two nations. It was the first time the two leaders had met since tensions developed over Jordan's support for Iraqi Pres. Saddam Hussein during the Persian Gulf War. Egypt and Jordan, however, had come to recognize that they had much in common: both had signed peace treaties with Israel, and both had discussed with Syrian Pres. Hafez al-Assad his refusal to establish diplomatic relations with Israel until it abandoned the occupied Golan Heights. On January 30 Israel withdrew its forces from a desert area south of the Dead Sea and thereby restored Jordanian sovereignty over the territory. The transfer of authority satisfied one more element of the peace treaty that the two nations had signed.

      Eritrea backs U.S. role

      After arriving in the U.S. for a two-week visit, Isaias Afwerki, president of the newly (1993) independent nation of Eritrea, told reporters that the U.S. had to continue its policy of active involvement in African affairs despite the problems it had encountered in its mission to Somalia. Many African nations, he said, needed U.S. financial and diplomatic assistance in order to maintain peace, foster democracy, and alleviate poverty.

January 28
      Turmoil in Sierra Leone

      Officials in Guinea reported that as many as 30,000 refugees had entered their country from neighbouring Sierra Leone when rebel troops attacked the town of Kambia. The Revolutionary United Front, led by Foday Sankoh, had been attacking the government from bases inside Liberia since 1991. According to officials of the UN World Food Programme, nearly one-fifth of Sierra Leone's 4.6 million people had been forced to flee their homes because of the fighting. At the end of 1993, the military government had announced a schedule to return the country to civilian rule. Voters were to be registered, a new constitution drawn up, and general elections held after the election of a president in November 1995. The fighting, however, continued.

January 30
      Floods inundate Europe

      Sections of Belgium, France, Germany, and The Netherlands were under a state of emergency after torrential rains and melting Alpine snow buried vast expanses of northwestern Europe under spreading sheets of water. One measure of the disaster was provided by the Rhine River, which crested at a point not seen since the 18th century. The Dutch found themselves in an especially perilous situation because so much of the land reclaimed from the sea lies below sea level. More than 100,000 people had to be evacuated from land lying between the Waal and Meuse rivers.

January 31
      UN to bypass ex-leaders

      A spokesman for UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali announced that neither of the two living former heads of the organization would be invited to attend the 50th-anniversary celebration in the U.S. The decision prevented a possible confrontation with the U.S. Department of Justice, which barred Kurt Waldheim from U.S. soil. Waldheim, an Austrian who directed the UN from 1972 to 1981, had served in a German army unit that had been accused of war crimes in the Balkans during World War II. Boutros-Ghali's decision meant that his immediate predecessor, Javier Pérez de Cuéllar of Peru, would also be absent from the official celebration.


February 1
      Report on human rights

      John Shattuck, head of the human rights section of the U.S. State Department, discussed with reporters the just-released U.S. annual report on the observance of human rights in 160 countries. As in past years, the report, which covered calendar year 1994, denounced the "flagrant and systematic abuses of basic human rights" that took place under the regimes controlling Cuba, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, and Myanmar (Burma). China was singled out for special condemnation for its "widespread and well-documented human rights abuses." In unusually harsh language, the report deplored China's use of "arbitrary and lengthy incommunicado detention, torture, and mistreatment of prisoners." The report also cited unfair trials, labour camps, and suppression of free speech.

February 3
      New wage rate proposed

      President Clinton proposed that over a period of two years the minimum wage be increased to $5.15 an hour from the current $4.25. In terms of real buying power, Clinton said, a minimum wage of $4.25 in 1996 would place the hourly wage at its lowest level in 40 years. He argued that if the nation hoped to reform the welfare system successfully, employment would have to be made more attractive. Many Republicans vigorously opposed Clinton's plan on the grounds that numerous businesses were striving to control costs and that mandatory wage increases would result in untold numbers losing their jobs. An estimated 4.2 million workers were currently earning the minimum wage.

February 4
      China facing high tariffs

      Mickey Kantor, the chief U.S. trade representative, announced that the Clinton administration would impose punitive tariffs as high as 100% on a wide variety of Chinese goods effective February 26. During long negotiations China had rejected U.S. demands that effective measures be taken to end the flagrant pirating of copyrighted U.S. intellectual property, notably computer software, movies, and music. China reacted to Kantor's announcement by imposing similar tariffs on imports from the U.S. A trade war, however, was averted at the last minute when China, after 11 more days of intense bargaining in Beijing, agreed to launch a serious crackdown on the pirating and marketing of material protected by international and domestic copyrights. Though pleased, U.S. business leaders cautioned that the problem would be solved only if China implemented the agreement.

February 7
      Pakistan extradites suspect

      Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, believed to have masterminded the Feb. 26, 1993, bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City, was arrested by police in Islamabad, Pak. The FBI had offered a $2 million reward for his capture. The following day Yousef was extradited to New York, where he faced charges of having purchased and prepared the chemicals used in the bombing and of actually having helped to put the bomb in place. In 1994 four other Islamic terrorists had been convicted of conspiracy in the case. Each was sentenced to 240 years in prison.

      Oleksy to lead Poland

      Warned by Polish Pres. Lech Walesa that he would dissolve the Sejm (parliament) unless Waldemar Pawlak, a member of the Polish Peasant Party, was replaced as prime minister, the ruling two-party coalition government nominated Jozef Oleksy, a member of the Democratic Left Alliance, head of government. Walesa had grown impatient with Pawlak's slow implementation of economic reforms, but it was not certain how much or how quickly the situation would change under Oleksy. The party that he represented had formerly been the Communist Party, and it already dominated the ruling coalition.

February 8
      Peacekeepers enter Angola

      With Jonas Savimbi, leader of the rebel National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), showing a new willingness to terminate the civil war in Angola, the UN Security Council voted unanimously to dispatch 7,000 peacekeeping troops to the area. In 1992 a UN-sponsored presidential election had been expected to restore order and stability to the country, but UNITA refused to accept the election results. Two years later, when Pres. José Eduardo dos Santos' Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) and UNITA came together to sign their third peace agreement since 1989, Savimbi failed to appear. Santos then also declined to sign the document. The first critical test of the new peace initiative would come when rebel troops were scheduled to report to quartering areas and give up their arms. Because Savimbi had recently confessed to UNITA associates that their cause was all but lost, there was a feeling of optimism that the civil strife was coming to an end. The conflict had claimed some 500,000 lives since Angola won independence from Portugal in 1975.

February 11
      Afghan foes compromise

      A UN mediator in the Afghan civil war reported that most of the militias had agreed to establish a multiparty council that would hold temporary power until a new government structure had been created. Pres. Burhanuddin Rabbani, who had reportedly dismissed earlier demands that he resign, advanced the fragile peace effort by promising to step aside at an unspecified date. A brutal war had erupted in 1979 when Soviet troops invaded the country to preserve the communist regime. Unable to subdue the guerrillas, they withdrew in 1989. The fall of the communist government three years later was followed by bitter fighting between various Muslim groups, each vying for political ascendency.

February 14
      New court in South Africa

      Nelson Mandela, president of South Africa, and other dignitaries attended the formal inauguration of the country's first Constitutional Court. He and a panel of judges had selected seven whites, three blacks, and one Indian as Supreme Court justices. The chief justice would be Arthur Chaskalson, who had helped draft the nation's interim constitution. The court's first order of business would be to determine the constitutionality of the death penalty. The fate of 400 prisoners on death row would be decided when the 1990 moratorium on executions was rendered moot by the court's ruling.

      Zürich drug market closed

      Swiss police, responding to the complaints of residents in the once respectable Letten quarter of Zürich, began closing off the area, which had become an open market for illegal drugs. The government had chosen to abide the situation in the hope that social workers could help the addicts and inhibit the spread of AIDS by supplying clean needles to heroin users. Inexorably, the problem reached intolerable proportions as addicts from other parts of Switzerland—as well as foreigners—flocked to Letten. The police then cordoned off the market, which was an abandoned train depot, and detained hundreds of addicts and dealers. A similar situation had developed in 1992 in the Platzspitz public park in the centre of Zürich. When the police sealed off that area, the drug addicts moved across town.

February 17
      Peru-Ecuador dispute ends

      Three days after declaring a cease-fire in their three-week-old border war, Peru and Ecuador signed a peace accord that each side hailed as a victory. The remote 77-km (48-mi) stretch of land along their mountainous border had long been under dispute and would remain so until politicians, military personnel, and cartographers agreed on lines of demarcation. Meanwhile, international observers would oversee the demilitarization of the contested area.

      U.S. trade deficit soars

      The U.S. Commerce Department reported that the U.S. trade deficit in 1994 reached $108.1 billion, about 42% higher than in 1993. Analysts attributed the deficit mainly to the relatively stagnant economies of Japan and Europe, major U.S. trading partners, and a concomitant reluctance on the part of their citizens to seek U.S. products and services. A stronger U.S. economy, conversely, was an incentive for U.S. customers to make purchases more readily, including foreign goods and services. During 1994 the U.S. gross domestic product had grown at an inflation-adjusted rate of 4%, the highest it had been in 10 years.

February 18
      NAACP gets new leader

      By the margin of a single vote, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) elected Myrlie Evers-Williams chairperson of its board. The widow of Medgar Evers, a civil rights activist slain in 1963, assumed the office at a critical time in the organization's history. Its debt had escalated beyond $4 million, and nearly half the board had wanted William Gibson, who had headed the board for 10 years and sought reelection, to continue in office. Evers-Williams said that her top priority, aside from seeking the help of those who had opposed her, was to find a new executive director to replace the Rev. Benjamin Chavis, Jr., who had been dismissed by the board in August 1994 after he had held the job for only 15 months. He had been accused of financial mismanagement, discrimination, and sexual harassment.

February 19
      Andreotti linked to Mafia

      According to reports not yet made public, Gioacchino Pennino, a surgeon and confessed member of the Sicilian Mafia, was providing Italian authorities with evidence that Giulio Andreotti had close ties to the Mafia. The powerful politician, who was under intense investigation, had been prime minister seven times and held the post of foreign minister for six years. The dramatic testimony being given by Pennino, who had been arrested in Croatia in 1994, was said to include direct and persuasive evidence of collusion between Cosa Nostra and prominent politicians and professionals. About 70% of those polled after listening to Andreotti's two-hour defense on television said that they found his explanations unconvincing. On March 2 he was formally indicted and ordered to stand trial in September.

February 21
      Mexico accepts aid terms

      Faced with virtually no other alternative, Mexico accepted the tough terms the United States had set down as conditions for receiving an aid package worth $20 billion. The International Monetary Fund, which insisted on the same conditions, agreed to disburse an additional $17.8 billion. The Swiss-based Bank for International Settlements also pledged a substantial contribution. All told, Mexico would receive $52 billion from foreign sources. The money was intended principally to stabilize Mexico's peso and prevent the country from defaulting on its debt. To secure the financial help it needed, Mexico agreed, among other things, to post the revenues of its state-owned oil company as collateral and to reduce government spending.

      Military shake-up in Haiti

      Haitian Pres. Jean-Bertrand Aristide purged the nation's military leadership by forcing 43 senior officers into retirement. With the removal of all four army generals and others of high rank who were in uniform when the military ousted Aristide in 1991, the armed forces were effectively brought under civilian control. The army, which was simultaneously reduced to a force of only 1,500 soldiers, had earned a reputation for brutality and corruption.

      Sandinista loses post

      During a formal ceremony in Managua, Nicaragua, Gen. Joaquin Cuadra replaced Gen. Humberto Ortega, a Sandinista, as commander in chief of the armed forces. After Violeta Barrios de Chamorro ousted the Sandinista government by defeating Daniel Ortega Saavedra in the 1990 presidential election, she allowed the Sandinistas a share of power by confirming General Ortega (the former president's brother) as head of the military. With the delicate period of political readjustment behind her, Chamorro gave her blessing to the removal of the last Sandinista to hold a position of significant power in the country.

February 24
      Iran to get reactors

      After two days of intense discussions in Washington, D.C., Russian officials refused to reverse their decision to build four nuclear reactors in Iran. Even though the units were designed for commercial use, the U.S. insisted that such facilities could be used to produce nuclear weapons. Russia's determination to fulfill the contract, worth nearly $1 billion in hard currency, elicited a warning from Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and other members of Congress that U.S. aid to Russia could be drastically reduced or terminated unless the deal was voided.

February 25
      Rebels bomb train in India

      At least 22 soldiers and 5 civilians were killed when two bombs exploded on a passenger train traveling through Assam province, India. The soldiers were returning to their base after voting in the Manipur state election. Government officials tended to blame the terrorist attack on a tribal group that had been struggling for decades to gain an independent homeland. Despite a series of military offensives against their stronghold near the Myanmar (Burma) border, the rebels continued to present a formidable challenge to the government.

February 26
      Barings Bank collapses

      Eddie George, governor of the Bank of England, stunned the financial world by announcing that Barings PLC, Britain's oldest merchant bank, was bankrupt. The venerable institution was destroyed virtually overnight when one of its British employees in Singapore lost over $1 billion through apparently unauthorized transactions in risky futures contracts. Peter Baring, chairman of the bank, which was founded in 1762, told the Financial Times that 1994 profits were expected to exceed $150 million. He also reassured Barings customers that none of them would suffer financial losses because of the bankruptcy. On March 1, six days after fleeing Singapore, 28-year-old Nicholas Leeson, the man held responsible for Barings' collapse, was traced to Frankfurt, Germany, where he was later detained by authorities.

      Old treaty ends dispute

      An Arabian Peninsula border conflict subsided when Saudi Arabia and Yemen reaffirmed the Treaty of at-Ta`if, which they had signed in 1934, and agreed to use it as a basis for settling a border dispute that had persisted for some 60 years. Meanwhile, both sides made pledges of nonaggression and promised to resolve their differences through negotiations. The 1934 treaty had demarcated the border running from the Red Sea to Najran, Saudi Arabia, but the rest of the 1,500-km (950-mi) border was never defined.

February 28
      Denver airport opens

      The world's most technologically sophisticated international airport finally opened outside Denver, Colo., some 16 months behind schedule. The 137-sq km (53-sq mi) facility was the first major U.S. airport opened to traffic since the Dallas-Fort Worth (Texas) International Airport began operations in 1974. Virtually everyone praised the new terminal's architecture, but many were unhappy with the $4.9 billion price tag—substanially more than the original estimated budget. Initially, the innovative but complex baggage-handling system was an embarrassing disaster as engineers sought ways to prevent the luggage from being damaged by the machinery. Those who were most critical of the project wondered why the city's Stapleton Airport could not have been expanded, at considerably less expense, to meet the region's air transportation needs for the foreseeable future.


March 2
      Chinese test free speech

      A group of 12 well-known Chinese intellectuals, including two former senior editors of the Communist Party's official People's Daily, urged the National People's Congress to use its constitutional powers to curb abuses by the police. It was the second time in less than a week that the group had used petitions to test the limits of free speech in China. Those who signed the petitions were also implicitly denouncing the monolithic influence of the Communist Party over all branches of government.

      Scientists find top quark

      Two teams of particle physicists, working independently and using different equipment at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Ill., announced that their experiments had revealed the top quark, the last of six quarks that are believed to be the ultimate building blocks of all matter. The findings confirmed theories postulated in the 1960s, namely, that matter is made up of two kinds of fundamental particles: leptons, which include electrons, and six types of quarks. One of the teams measured the mass of the top quark at 176 GeV (billion electron volts); the other team, at 199 GeV. In view of the margin of error inherent in both measurements, scientists accepted the two reports as mutual confirmation.

March 3
      UN ends Somalia mission

      With a seven-nation UN force of 23 ships, 80 aircraft, and more than 14,000 soldiers ready to face any eventuality, the last 2,400 UN peacekeeping troops left Somalia. Several days earlier some 1,800 U.S. marines and 400 Italian soldiers had gone ashore to enhance security during the withdrawal. UN relief workers and persons associated with private organizations chose to remain in Somalia. In December 1992 the UN had launched a successful international effort to prevent massive starvation in the East African nation, but it was unable to establish a functioning government because it could not bring an end to factional fighting, most notably between forces loyal to Muhammad Farah Aydid and those supporting Ali Mahdi Muhammad.

      War crimes revealed

      During an interview published in Pagina 12, Adolfo Scilingo, a former commander in the Argentine navy, confessed that during the late 1970s he had been among those who murdered between 1,500 and 2,000 "dissidents." The doomed men, already in custody, were forced aboard aircraft, drugged, stripped, and then dumped into the ocean. Scilingo, who claimed that high-ranking naval officers had ordered the death flights, filed a formal complaint against the navy chief of staff for covering up the crimes. Between 1976 and 1983 some 10,000 Argentines were "disappeared." It was widely believed that they were killed by junta death squads. On March 28 Pres. Carlos Menem called for an end to public disclosures of atrocities committed during the country's "dirty war." Such things, he said, were best forgotten.

March 12
      New Mormon president

      The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, popularly known as the Mormon Church, elevated Gordon B. Hinckley to the status of president. He succeeded Howard Hunter, who had led the nine million-member church for only nine months before his death. Hinckley had initiated the Utah-based church's use of television and public relations to spread its religious message.

March 14
      Thagard rides Soyuz rocket

      After spending a year training near Moscow, Norman Thagard became the first U.S. astronaut ever to head for space aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket. He and two Russian companions were scheduled to spend two days in orbit before their capsule docked with Russia's Mir space station. The flight, which was hailed as historic because two former foes were now committed to a joint exploration of space, was launched from the former secret Baikonur Space Centre. Two momentous events at that site had inaugurated the Space Age: the 1957 launching of Sputnik, the first artificial Earth satellite; and the first manned spaceflight, by Yury Gagarin in 1961. U.S. pilot Gary Powers was shot down by the Soviets while on a supersecret mission to photograph the launch site in 1960.

March 17
      Clinton and Adams meet

      For the second time in as many days, President Clinton met with Gerry Adams, leader of Sinn Fein, the political arm of the outlawed Irish Republican Army (IRA). The cordiality that marked the meetings and Clinton's earlier decision to allow Adams to collect money in the U.S. infuriated British Prime Minister John Major. His government had insisted that it was critical to the peace process not only that the IRA observe the cease-fire, which was already in place, but that it also lay down its arms. While politicians wrangled, Catholics and Protestants in Armagh, Northern Ireland, were marching side by side in a St. Patrick's Day parade. That had not happened since "the troubles" began in Northern Ireland a quarter of a century earlier.

      Singapore executes Filipino

      Flor Contemplacion, a Filipino maid, was hanged in Singapore for the 1991 murders of another Filipino maid and a four-year-old Singaporean boy in her care. Although Contemplacion had confessed to the murders, her attorneys contended that she had been framed and that the confessions had been coerced. News of the execution sparked emotional demonstrations throughout the Philippines and focused attention on the often pitiful conditions of millions of other Filipino maids working overseas, some 75,000 of them in Singapore alone. On April 17 Philippine Foreign Minister Roberto Romulo was forced to resign for having failed to prevent the execution.

March 19
      Finns replace government

      Prime Minister Esko Aho, whose Centre Party had led Finland's four-party coalition government, lost his post when the Social Democratic Party (SDP) gained 15 seats in national parliamentary elections. The SDP's plurality of 63 seats in the 200-seat Eduskunta (parliament) guaranteed that Paavo Lipponen would be the leader of a new coalition government. The Centre Party's loss of 11 of its 55 seats was attributed to voter discontent over the nation's weak recovery from a long recession. During the campaign both leading candidates promised substantial reductions in the national budget and the introduction of other measures to hasten economic recovery.

March 20
      Rabin to resume talks

      A spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin announced that his government had no intention of changing its plans to resume talks with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) or to prevent Palestinians from gradually returning to daytime jobs in Israel, even though two Israeli settlers had been killed in Hebron the previous day. Rabin chose not to condemn the murders publicly, however, apparently fearing that any harsh words would merely intensify public anger and create another obstacle on the road to peace. Rabin was clearly committed to implementing terms of the 1993 Israeli-PLO peace accord, which included a gradual extension of Palestinian self-rule in occupied Gaza and the West Bank, but in January he had suspended talks with the PLO and sealed Israel's border to the Palestinians after 21 Israelis were killed in a suicide-bomb attack.

      Ukraine's debt eased

      In an effort to help Ukraine inaugurate a program of economic reforms, Russia agreed to reschedule about 50% of the $4.4 billion it was owed. During its three years of independence since the breakup of the Soviet Union, Ukraine had accumulated some $7 billion in foreign debts and could no longer operate about 60% of its factories, in large part because its supply of natural gas had been cut off by Turkmenistan for nonpayment of bills. The rescheduling of Ukraine's debt, partly negotiated by the International Monetary Fund, extended the period over which various payments had to be made after a grace period of several years.

      Gas attack panics Tokyo

      In a coordinated operation, Japanese terrorists released sarin, a deadly nerve gas, on five Tokyo subway cars traveling three different lines at the height of the morning rush hour. Twelve persons were killed and more than 5,500 injured. Within a few days police had discovered incriminating evidence, including tons of chemicals used to produce nerve gas, at a training camp operated by Aum Shinrikyo, a religious sect. Its principal deity was Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction and regeneration. Intense efforts to track down Shoko Asahara, the founder and leader of Aum Shinrikyo, finally succeeded on May 16 when he was found hiding in the Aum compound in Kamikuishiki, Yamanashi prefecture.

      Mandela welcomes queen

      South African Pres. Nelson Mandela officially welcomed Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip to South Africa upon their arrival in Cape Town. It was the British queen's first visit since 1947, when as a princess she toured the African continent with other members of the royal family. The following year South Africa adopted apartheid, a policy of racial separation that was so widely criticized abroad that South Africa withdrew from the Commonwealth in 1961. The abolition of apartheid in 1993, however, and the establishment of a multiracial government paved the way for South Africa's return to the Commonwealth and for a visit by Queen Elizabeth. Addressing the nation's leaders, the queen spoke in glowing terms of the transformation that had taken place and said that South Africa had set an example for the rest of the world with its spirit of reconciliation.

March 22
      CIA accused of cover-up

      Robert Torricelli, a member of the Intelligence Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives, accused the CIA of covering up its ties to two murders in Guatemala. He alleged that a Guatemalan army officer on the payroll of the CIA had ordered the murder of a U.S. hotel owner in 1990 and of a native guerrilla leader married to a U.S. citizen. The latter victim was reportedly tortured by the military before being killed in 1992. Torricelli called the murders "the single worst example of the intelligence community being beyond civilian control and operating against our national interest." Although the CIA denied that it had any knowledge of the murders "at the time the deaths occurred," steps were apparently taken as early as 1992 to conceal the CIA's connection to what had taken place.

      Mandates restricted

      President Clinton signed into law a bill that deterred the federal government from requiring states to observe financially burdensome laws or regulations without providing funds for their enforcement. The Congressional Budget Office would be required to make a public report on the costs of implementing any such new legislation. If the costs exceeded $50 million and were not federally funded, a special majority vote in Congress was required for validation. The restrictions on "unfunded mandates" were supported in the Senate by a vote of 91-9 and in the House 394-28. Opponents of the bill contended that it would, among other things, severely restrict legislation designed to protect the environment.

March 25
      Iraq sentences Americans

      Two U.S. citizens employed in Kuwait by McDonnell Douglas Corp. were sentenced to eight years in prison after they were convicted by an Iraqi court for having entered the country illegally on March 13. U.S. officials insisted that the two men had accidentally strayed across the border at nightfall while on their way to visit friends in the demilitarized zone. Earlier that day the U.S. had persuaded other members of the UN Security Council not to remove or weaken the sanctions it had imposed on Iraq.

March 26
      Violence surges in Burundi

      Sylvestre Ntibantunganya, president of Burundi, reported that tens of thousands of people had fled the capital of Bujumbura as Hutu and Tutsi tribesmen intensified their attacks on one another. There was international concern that a civil war was in the offing and that it could rival in ferocity the violence that had occurred in neighbouring Rwanda in 1994. In that outburst of mayhem, at least 500,000 people had been killed during a period of four months.

March 27
      Canadian rail strike ends

      Some 30,000 Canadian railroad workers returned to work after Parliament forced an end to a nation-crippling strike that had begun on March 18. Some of the workers had been locked out by management after their co-workers went on strike because no settlement could be reached on such central concerns as wages and job security. During the nine-day shutdown, Canadian industries that could not use the railroads to ship their products lost billions of dollars in revenues. The return-to-work order stipulated that a federally appointed mediator would impose a contract on both sides if they were unable to resolve their differences within 70 days.

March 28
      Japan plans huge bank

      Mitsubishi Bank and the Bank of Tokyo announced that they planned to merge and become the world's largest bank, with combined assets of about $800 billion. Together the two institutions operated 380 branch offices in Japan and had substantial holdings outside the country. If the proposed deal became a reality, the new bank would have triple the assets of Citicorp, the largest bank in the U.S. Analysts generally agreed that the impact of the merger outside Japan would not be significant because Japanese banks had long been among the wealthiest in the world and had far less global influence than, for example, Crédit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, or Morgan Guaranty Trust Co. of New York.

March 30
      UN rebuffs Libya

      The UN Security Council sanctions imposed on Libya in April 1992 were extended another 120 days without a formal vote because Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi still refused to hand over two suspects sought for trial in the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am Boeing 747 over Lockerbie, Scotland. All 259 persons aboard the flight and 11 persons on the ground were killed. Strenuous U.S. efforts to persuade the council to impose a mandatory total boycott of Libyan oil won little support, in part because Germany, Italy, Spain, and other industrial nations relied heavily on imported Libyan oil.

March 31
      U.S. troops leave Haiti

      The U.S. formally turned over its peacekeeping duties in Haiti to 6,900 UN soldiers and police drawn from more than 30 nations. The UN would continue the task of keeping order while Haiti struggled to establish democratic institutions and a functioning economy. One of the most difficult problems Haiti faced was the creation of jobs for half of the workforce, which was unemployed. The UN mission was expected to end in February 1996 with the inauguration of a new president.

      Chechen cities captured

      Superior Russian forces gained control of the last important urban centres in Chechnya, a Russian province that was fighting to become independent. After coming under heavy artillery and air attacks, local troops began their withdrawal, carrying ammunition and other matériel with them. Far from preparing to surrender, the Chechen soldiers vowed to initiate a guerrilla war from bases in the Caucasus mountains, where rough terrain precluded the effective use of tanks and heavy armoured vehicles.


April 4
      Cabinet ousted in Ukraine

      With near unanimous consent (292-15), members of Ukraine's Supreme Council (parliament) voted to oust the Cabinet of Pres. Leonid Kuchma. The vote of no confidence cast by numerous former communist legislators was generally interpreted as an expression of dissatisfaction with Kuchma's reforms. Some analysts, however, suggested that the president may have been pleased that ministers who opposed his programs had been removed from positions of influence. That same day, in a state of the nation address, Kuchma vowed to accelerate economic reforms despite political opposition because the economy, he said, could not survive without implementation of measures that he knew were unpopular.

April 7
      Police raid Claes's home

      Demands that Willy Claes resign as secretary-general of NATO intensified after Belgian police raided his home and office. The authorities were searching for evidence that the Flemish Socialist Party had accepted a BF 50 million bribe in 1988, when Claes was the party's economic affairs minister. The money was reportedly turned over to the coalition government's senior partner after helicopters worth $285 million were purchased from Agusta SpA, an Italian company. The scandal had already forced five government ministers to resign.

      House GOP holds rally

      Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives held a rally on the steps of the Capitol to celebrate the completion of legislative action on their party's "Contract with America." Under the leadership of House Speaker Newt Gingrich, the Republicans had fulfilled their promise to bring 10 initiatives to a floor vote before April 13—100 days after the 104th Congress had convened. The only item that had failed to win approval was a limit on the number of terms a representative could serve. Other laws affected such things as crime, welfare, taxes, social security, and military affairs.

April 9
      Fujimori coasts to victory

      Having succeeded in stabilizing Peru's economy by controlling inflation and in restoring public tranquillity by virtually destroying the Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) guerrilla movement, Alberto Fujimori won a second five-year term as president by capturing nearly two-thirds of the popular vote. The strongest of his 13 opponents was Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, the former secretary-general of the United Nations, who got the support of about 22% of the vote. Although Fujimori had temporarily suspended the constitution, the national legislature, and the courts in 1992, his authoritarian methods were seen by many as having improved the well-being of ordinary citizens.

April 10
      Palestinians hold trials

      A new court established by the Palestine Authority in Gaza sentenced a member of the Islamic Jihad to 15 years in prison for having trained youths to kill Israelis. Yasir Arafat, chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, appeared determined to crack down on those who challenged his authority or sought to undermine efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East. Numerous arrests followed by secret trials and severe sentences appeared to be Arafat's strategy to quell violence in his homeland.

April 11
      Taipei officials resign

      The Taipei city council in Taiwan was thrown into turmoil when one of its members accused the vice mayor of being a foreigner. Chen Shih-ming was in fact a U.S. citizen by birth, but he had renounced his citizenship at the U.S. embassy in Thailand on January 31. A female councillor who belonged to the Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) then denounced Mayor Chen Shuibian, a member of the Progressive Party, for allowing foreigners to run the city government. The directors of finance and transportation for the city had both become naturalized U.S. citizens and were technically in violation of the nation's law that prohibited elected officials, government representatives, and civil servants from holding dual nationalities. The two men consulted with the mayor behind closed doors, then submitted their resignations.

      ZANU-PF wins easily

      Election officials announced that candidates of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) had won 63 of the 65 seats contested in the parliamentary elections held April 8-9. The ZANU-PF also won 55 uncontested seats in the 150-seat House of Assembly. Pres. Robert Mugabe, whose term was due to expire in 1996, directly controlled 20 additional seats through personal appointments. The remaining 10 seats were reserved for tribal chiefs. Some opposition groups boycotted the election, and they and others insisted that there had been blatant election fraud and that government harassment had made it impossible for their parties to campaign effectively.

April 16
      Fishing dispute settled

      Acting on behalf of Spain, the European Union settled a bitter fishing dispute with Canada. The six-week-long confrontation over fishing rights in international waters off Newfoundland had reached such intensity that both Spain and Canada had sent gunboats into the area. Canadian authorities, claiming that fish stocks of turbot were dwindling because of overfishing, had taken matters into their own hands on March 9 by seizing a Spanish trawler at gunpoint. Canadians also cut the fish nets of another Spanish trawler, contending that it was exceeding international fishing quotas and hauling in too many small fish. The dispute was settled when both sides agreed to observe in the future the quotas assigned to each country by the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization.

April 18
      Bolivia faces crisis

      With labour unions refusing to return to work until the government agreed to their demands, the Bolivian government reacted by declaring a 90-day state of siege. To stifle civil unrest, soldiers were deployed in the streets of major cities, public gatherings were proscribed, the right to bear arms was suspended, and travel within the country was restricted. The government also imposed a midnight-to-6 AM curfew. There was a report the following day that some 380 union members had been arrested.

April 19
      Federal building destroyed

      In the worst act of terrorism in U.S. history, a huge car bomb virtually destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Okla. Six other nearby buildings were also heavily damaged by the explosion. The bodies of a dozen or more small children who had been in a second-floor day-care centre were among those confirmed dead shortly after rescue teams arrived at the scene. As many as 200 others were believed to be trapped beneath the wreckage, but firefighters had to proceed with great caution because the damaged structure was so unstable. Attorney General Janet Reno pledged to seek the death penalty if those who had committed the crime were apprehended. Just about 90 minutes after the bombing, Timothy McVeigh, a 27-year-old army veteran, was stopped by county police some 100 km (60 mi) from Oklahoma City for driving a car that had no license plates. Soon afterward, the FBI had reason to consider McVeigh a prime suspect in the bombing.

      Terrorists strike again

      More than 300 people were rushed to hospitals in Yokohama, Japan, after poisonous phosgene was released on a crowded train. The gas quickly spread throughout the city's main train station. Two days later several persons were overcome by acrid fumes in a nearby shopping centre. In both instances the victims complained of dizziness and had difficulty breathing. Police were unable to identify the perpetrators immediately, but suspicions centred on members of the Aum Shinrikyo religious sect, which was being intensely investigated in connection with the March 20 sarin attack in a Tokyo subway that had killed 12 persons and injured more than 5,500.

April 21
      Stolen uranium seized

      Four Slovaks, three Hungarians, and two Ukrainians were arrested near Poprad, Slovakia, and charged with the illegal possession of radioactive material. Evidence indicated that the 17 kg (37.4 lb) of uranium were being transported from Ukraine to a location somewhere in Hungary. Laboratory tests would be used to determine whether the Slovak authorities had intercepted weapons-grade material. Past instances of smuggling radioactive material out of countries that were once part of the Soviet Union had caused international concern.

April 22
      Rwandan Hutu massacred

      Thousands of Hutu in the Kibeho refugee camp in southwestern Rwanda were shot, bayoneted, or trampled to death when members of the Tutsi-dominated Rwandan Patriotic Army tried to force them to return to the homes they had abandoned when tribal warfare engulfed their country. Hoping to avoid being killed or maimed, a huge number of Rwandans had fled into neighbouring countries, but hundreds of thousands of others were housed in nine refugee camps set up by the French army. Violence had reached an unprecedented level in 1994. During April-August more than a million Rwandans were killed in the worst case of mass slaughter in African history. The Hutu, who comprised about 90% of the population, had tried to obliterate the Tutsi. The slaughter at Kibeho was attributed in large measure to fear on both sides of what the other might do.

      Denktash wins reelection

      In a runoff election, Rauf Denktash won a third term as president of the Turkish-controlled section of Cyprus. His opponent was Dervis Eroglu, former prime minister of the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). The nation was divided along ethnic lines in 1974 when Turkish troops intervened in order to prevent ethnic Greeks from seizing control of the entire island in a coup. Few governments, however, had recognized the TRNC as a legitimate political entity. In February the Greek Cypriot national assembly had voted unanimously to change the name of the divided capital of Nicosia to Lefkosia, the Greek pronunciation of the name Lefkosha, already used by Turkish Cypriots.

April 23
      New coalition in Iceland

      Davíd Oddsson, the prime minister of Iceland, announced that he had formed a new coalition government with the Progressive Party as junior partner. In the April 8 general election, his Independence Party had won a plurality of 25 seats in the 63-seat Althing (parliament), and the Progressives had gained control of 15. Oddsson's new Cabinet included Halldor Asgrimsson, a Progressive, who was given the post of foreign affairs minister. Like Oddsson, Asgrimsson was opposed to Iceland's entry into the European Union.

      Sudanese envoy expelled

      According to a Kampala radio report, Uganda broke off diplomatic relations with its neighbour The Sudan and ordered its ambassador to leave the country. The diplomat, whose residence had been surrounded by Ugandan police for several days, allegedly held a cache of weapons, which he refused to surrender. Tensions between the two nations had been gradually escalating over accusations that each country was supporting rebels trying to overthrow the other's government.

April 25
      Mahathir retains power

      In general elections the 14-party National Front, headed by Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad, captured 162 of the 192 seats in Malaysia's House of Representatives. The landslide victory registered by the Front, which had dominated politics in Malaysia ever since the country became independent in 1957, meant that Mahathir's party could amend the constitution without being encumbered by dissenting views. The Front also swept to victory on the local level by winning two-thirds majorities in 10 of 11 state legislatures.

April 26
      Churchill papers are sold

      The British government announced that it was purchasing Winston Churchill's pre-1945 papers for £ 12.5 million. The money would come largely from Britain's national lottery, with a small additional contribution from an American philanthropist. Those who opposed the sale argued that the writings of Britain's World War II prime minister properly belonged to the government. Churchill's widow, who disagreed, had already given her husband's post-1945 writings to the University of Cambridge, but she retained earlier papers as part of a family trust.

April 29
      Nazarbayev to stay on

      In a national referendum, Kazakh voters agreed to extend the term of Pres. Nursultan Nazarbayev to the year 2000. The president had already dissolved Kazakhstan's Parliament and postponed the presidential election scheduled for 1996. Critics, however, scoffed at a report that more than 95% of the voters had supported the referendum. They declared that Nazarbayev, who was the only president the nation had had since it became independent of the Soviet Union in 1991, had now become a dictator.


May 2
      Refugee policy changed

      With the consent of the Cuban government, the Clinton administration adopted a new policy regarding Cuban refugees seeking admission to the U.S. Henceforth, all Cuban boat people would be immediately returned to their homeland, but most of the 21,000 refugees currently detained by the U.S. at its Guantánamo Bay naval base in Cuba would be allowed to enter the U.S. Cubans could also apply for immigration visas at a U.S. government office in Havana. Cuban-American groups were overjoyed that the Guantánamo detainees would be heading for the U.S., but they angrily denounced the government's decision to turn its back on others hoping to leave the communist country. The new U.S. policy was designed to discourage a mass exodus from Cuba comparable to the one in 1994.

May 6
      V-E Day commemorated

      Scores of international leaders gathered in Europe to commemorate the 50th anniversary of V-E (Victory in Europe) Day. Most European nations celebrated the end of World War II on May 8, but Russia preferred May 9, the day Nazi Germany's surrender was ratified in Berlin. Before traveling to Paris, Berlin, and Moscow, the dignitaries attended the opening of a three-day ceremony in London that featured Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.

May 7
      Chirac replaces Mitterrand

      In a runoff presidential election, French voters chose former prime minister Jacques Chirac, the mayor of Paris and leader of the neo-Gaullist Rally for the Republic party, over the Socialist Party candidate, Lionel Jospin. In two previous attempts (1981, 1988) to win the presidency, Chirac had been defeated by François Mitterrand, a Socialist, who held office an unprecedented 14 years. While on the campaign trail, Chirac pledged to reduce unemployment, which exceeded 12%, and to make greater use of national referenda to decide government policies, especially regarding France's role in the European Union. On May 17, inauguration day, Chirac named Alain Juppé prime minister. Under Mitterrand he had been minister of foreign affairs.

      Ethiopia's future at risk

      Millions of Ethiopians cast ballots in national and regional elections that would radically change the political structure of their nation. Because four of the seven national political parties boycotted the election on the grounds that the process was unfair, Pres. Meles Zenawi was assured of reelection to another five-year term. His Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front also was in a position to exercise its political power without being seriously challenged. Political analysts viewed Ethiopia's political experiment as a risky gamble with unpredictable consequences. The new federal system was designed to mitigate ethnic violence and end civil conflict by granting regional and ethnic groups the right to secede if they so desired. Although Zenawi had been denounced as dictatorial and chastised for violating human rights, he had allowed political parties to multiply and independent newspapers to flourish. He had also cooperated with the World Bank to control inflation and foster open markets.

      China attacks corruption

      Chinese Pres. Jiang Zemin, using his authority as head of the Communist Party, continued his assault on official corruption with an order to arrest or investigate a wide range of party members associated with the powerful party organization in Beijing. On April 27 Chen Xitong, the party secretary in Beijing, had been dismissed from his post. Earlier that month the executive deputy mayor had died, an apparent suicide. In the latest purge numerous city officials, their secretaries, and in some instances their relatives faced charges of corruption. A similar crackdown in Guizhou province earlier in the year had led to the dismissal of the party secretary and the execution of his wife. China publicly acknowledged that corruption had become endemic throughout the country.

May 8
      Filipinos back reforms

      Philippine Pres. Fidel Ramos' plans to revitalize the nation's economy through continued deregulation of industry and a dismantling of monopolies gained momentum when voters backed members of his Lakas-Laban coalition in national and local elections. Half the 24 Senate seats and all 200 elected seats in the House of Representatives were filled, as were thousands of positions in local governments. The government's most conspicuous defeat occurred in Manila, where Alfred Lim won reelection as mayor despite a vigorous effort to unseat him. Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., son of the former dictator, was soundly defeated in his bid to gain a Senate seat, but his mother, Imelda, won a place in the House. Violence by Muslim groups in Mindanao forced the closure of many polls, but about 100,000 voters were allowed to cast their ballots on May 27. This and other factors delayed an official report on the election results.

May 9
      Hungary to sell utilities

      After debating the merits of various proposals for nearly a year, Hungary's National Assembly passed legislation that facilitated the sale of state-owned companies and utilities. Opposition to privatization came mainly from socialist legislators and from members of trade unions, who argued forcefully that the state should never relinquish its monopoly on electricity or sell off certain other enterprises currently under its control.

May 10
      Chinese delegates defect

      The Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Canada's immigration department began to search for about 75 of the 87 Chinese officials who had arrived in the country on April 17 to study the economy of southern Ontario. The number of those attending a one-week business seminar declined so dramatically that those placed in charge had to cancel many of the scheduled events. Authorities presumed that the missing delegates planned to remain in Canada illegally.

May 11
      Nuclear treaty extended

      After more than three weeks of debate at UN headquarters in New York City, representatives of 174 nations agreed to extend the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty indefinitely. Many viewed the original treaty, which was valid for 25 years beginning in 1970, as a guarantee against the spread of nuclear weapons. Before backing the extension, however, many nonnuclear powers had lobbied hard for certain compromises, including an extension for only a limited time period. Three of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council—Great Britain, Russia, and the U.S.—had signed the treaty in 1968; China and France did not add their names until 1992. Under the terms of the treaty, nuclear nations were obliged to destroy their arsenals gradually and nonnuclear nations to refrain from developing a nuclear capability.

      Landmark in trouble

      Faced with serious financial problems, the owners of Rockefeller Center, a prestigious complex of 12 Art Deco buildings in the heart of New York City, were forced to declare bankruptcy to protect themselves from creditors. The Mitsubishi Estate Co., a Japanese real estate giant, had acquired an 80% interest in the property over a three-year period at a cost of $1.4 billion. Under Chapter 11 of the federal bankruptcy laws, the owners were free to wage a battle to retain ownership of the centre. Any resolution of the problem would necessarily involve Rockefeller Center Properties, Inc., a publicly held real estate investment trust, which held a $1.3 billion mortgage on the property.

May 14
      Menem reelected

      Carlos Menem avoided a runoff election by easily defeating 13 other candidates seeking to replace him as president of Argentina. His closest rival, Sen. José Octavio Bordón of the left-leaning coalition Frente Grande, finished with about 20% fewer votes. The president's Justicialist National Movement (Peronist) party (PJ) did equally well, capturing majorities in the Senate and Chamber of Deputies and winning control of 12 of the 23 provincial legislatures. Political analysts gave Domingo Cavallo, Menem's economic minister, substantial credit for the PJ's solid victory. Under the Menem-Cavallo economic program, the inflation rate had fallen to 4% (compared with 5,000% in 1989), foreign investments had multiplied, and the local currency had been strengthened by backing each peso with one U.S. dollar in reserves. Billions of dollars had also been committed to public works projects to increase employment, especially in some of the poorest sections of the country.

May 15
      Ancient tomb discovered

      Kent R. Weeks, a professor of Egyptology at the American University in Cairo, gave a detailed report on an enormous royal mausoleum recently explored in the Valley of the Kings some 500 km (300 mi) south of Cairo. Archaeologists believed the site contained the tomb of the sons of Ramses II, one of ancient Egypt's greatest pharaohs. Despite its incredible size and unquestionable value to historians, the elaborate burial site was not expected to yield treasures comparable to those found in the tomb of Tutankhamen.

      Dow Corning bankrupt

      Lawsuits filed by hundreds of thousands of women claiming to have suffered health problems as a result of silicone breast implants forced Dow Corning to seek protection from its creditors under Chapter 11 of the U.S. bankruptcy code. The company, which had been the largest manufacturer of breast implants until the Food and Drug Administration severely restricted their use in 1992, hoped to continue operations after a financial reorganization. According to a study reported in the June 22 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers at Harvard University and Brigham and Women's Hospital found no evidence linking silicone breast implants to connective tissue disorders. The result of the study was the same as that reached in several earlier studies by other scientists.

May 16
      Iran to get 100 tanks

      Poland confirmed that it intended to complete delivery of some 100 Soviet-designed T-72 tanks to Iran despite U.S. pleas that no nation "engage in arms-related trade with terrorist supporting states like Iran." A week earlier Poland had informed the UN that 34 of the tanks already had been shipped. The sale, estimated to be worth between $30 million and $40 million, was not considered to be strategically important in that part of the world. During the Cold War, Poland had ranked among the top 10 arms producers in the world, but after the collapse of the Soviet Union, about half of the workforce in its largest tank factory joined the ranks of the unemployed.

May 21
      Syria supports Hariri

      The Lebanese National Assembly, by a margin of 2-1, voted to retain Rafiq al-Hariri as prime minister. The decision had in effect been made by Syria, which had some 35,000 troops in the country and had long been a power broker in Lebanon. Frustrated by his political opponents, Hariri had resigned on May 19 after consultation with Syrian officials, who agreed to support his nomination to a second term. As expected, members of Hariri's new Cabinet were more in tune with his plans to rebuild Lebanon, which had been devastated by 15 years of civil war. According to the terms of the 1990 peace accord that had ended the conflict, the prime minister always would be a Sunni Muslim, the president a Maronite Christian, and the speaker of the Assembly a Shi'ite Muslim.

      Dehaene coalition wins

      Jean-Luc Dehaene was assured of another term as prime minister of Belgium when members of his four-party centre-left coalition won 81 of 150 seats in the House of Representatives. It was Belgium's first national election since the adoption of a new constitution, which reduced the size of the House by 62 seats and transferred significant powers from the federal government to the nation's four regional assemblies. The outcome of the election was viewed as somewhat surprising because prominent members of the ruling coalition had been implicated in an ongoing corruption scandal.

May 22
      Court rejects term limits

      The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 vote, denied individual states the right to limit the number of terms their representatives could serve in Congress. The ruling instantly voided laws that had been passed by 23 states. If the court had endorsed what appeared to be the wishes of a majority of U.S. citizens, 72 current members of the House, representing seven different states, could not have sought reelection in 1996. There remained the possibility of limiting congressional terms by amending the Constitution, which would involve a long and complicated process.

      Israel placates Arabs

      Prompted by a desire to defuse tensions at home and respond to international concerns, the Israeli Cabinet suspended a government plan to confiscate 55 ha (135 ac) of mainly Arab-owned land in East Jerusalem. The territory, which the Arabs envisioned as the capital of a future Palestinian state, was to have become the site of several hundred homes for Jews and a police station. With the plan at least temporarily dead, the Israelis and Palestinians were once again able to concentrate on the next phase of a plan to grant self-rule to Palestinians living in Jewish-occupied territories.

May 23
      East German spies cleared

      Germany's highest court ruled 5-3 that former spymasters in East Germany could not be prosecuted because they were now citizens of a united Germany. As a consequence, charges of treason against more than 6,300 individuals were dropped. The court also recommended leniency for spies who had operated in West Germany during the Cold War because such activities were carried on by virtually all nations. Markus Wolf, who had been convicted of treason in 1993 and sentenced to prison for six years, was among those directly affected by the court's ruling. He had headed the spy branch of East Germany's secret police (Stasi) from 1958 to 1987.

May 25
      Euthanasia approved

      After 14 hours of intense debate, the legislature in Australia's Northern Territory voted 15-10 in favour of a bill called the Rights of the Terminally Ill. It granted patients who were at least 18 years old and "of sound mind" the right to request that they be put to death if they were suffering. Two doctors, at least one of whom had to be a psychiatrist, were required for verifying that the patient was terminally ill. The new law was believed to be the first in the world that sanctioned voluntary mercy killing.

May 30
      Ebola virus kills 153

      The World Health Organization announced that according to the latest available statistics, 153 persons had died in Zaire after being infected with the Ebola virus. The death toll included seven Italian nuns who became infected while treating patients suffering from the infection. When the epidemic erupted early in the year in Kikwit, a city with a population of some 600,000, local health care workers were overwhelmed and ill-equipped to stem the tide of the infection or help the victims, whose symptoms included vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and profuse hemorrhaging. There was no known cure for the disease, which was believed to be carried by unidentified insects, rodents, or other animals.


June 7
      Australia weighs presidency

      Paul Keating, prime minister of Australia, outlined a plan to sever his nation's constitutional ties to Great Britain by having a president replace the British monarch as head of state. Even though Australia was already self-governing, many shared Keating's view that such a change was needed to "permit the full and unambiguous expression of Australia's national identity." To change the constitution, a majority of voters in at least four of Australia's six states had to approve a referendum. If this was accomplished by the year 1999, Australia's present ties to the British crown would be severed in 2001, the centennial of the union of the nation's states. Following popular referenda in 1898-99, the Commonwealth of Australia was proclaimed on Jan. 1, 1901.

June 9
      Lee visits alma mater

      Lee Teng-hui, president of the Republic of China on Taiwan, delivered an address to the alumni of Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., where he had obtained a doctoral degree in agricultural economics in 1968. Even though Lee was technically visiting the U.S. as a private citizen, China was furious that the U.S. had issued a visa because Lee was, in fact, the head of a government that was not recognized by China, the U.S., or the UN. In early May the U.S. House of Representatives forced the issue by unanimously approving (396-0) a nonbinding resolution urging the State Department to reverse its earlier decision and allow Lee to attend a reunion at his alma mater. The Senate later approved (97-1) a similar resolution. The congressional vote added another item to the growing list of differences causing tension between China and the U.S., but it also signaled a desire to make amends for what most members of Congress felt was the humiliating treatment Lee had received in 1994 when he was not allowed to step on U.S. soil when his plane made an overnight stop in Hawaii on its way to Latin America.

      Black Sea Fleet divided

      Control of the Black Sea Fleet, which had been a bone of contention between Ukraine and Russia ever since the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991, was finally settled when the leaders of the two nations met face to face. The highly complicated issue, which was far more political than military (the fleet was small and aging), was resolved when both parties agreed to split the fleet. Russia would then purchase a large part of the Ukrainian fleet, leaving it with 82% of the vessels. In Russia's view it was vitally important to have a presence in the Black Sea to counter Turkish influence in the area. The two leaders also reached agreement on what rights each had at the Sevastopol naval base, but neither side felt it was an appropriate time to discuss the future status of Crimea.

June 12
      Affirmative action curtailed

      In a decision with far-reaching consequences, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that federal programs that classified people by race, even to broaden opportunities for minorities, were unconstitutional unless they were "narrowly tailored" to satisfy "compelling government interests." Speaking for the majority, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor argued that because all members of society have equal rights and equal protection under the Constitution, race could not be a decisive factor in making decisions except in very special circumstances. The court's decision, among other things, effectively ended programs that set aside a certain percentage of contracts for minorities solely on the basis of their ethnicity. It also had important ramifications on affirmative action policies that had been adopted by many institutions.

      Dominica changes course

      After 15 years in power, Prime Minister Eugenia Charles, the "Iron Lady" of the Caribbean, was forced to relinquish the reins of government when the opposition United Workers' Party won 11 of 21 contested seats in the House of Assembly. Charles, who had founded the Dominica Freedom Party, announced that she was retiring after 27 years in politics. The new government, under the leadership of Edison James, took office on June 14.

June 13
      UN hostages set free

      The Bosnian Serbs, who had taken 370 UN peacekeepers hostage in Bosnia and Herzegovina after NATO planes launched air strikes against them on May 25-26, released most of the 144 UN personnel they still held. The first group of hostages had been set free on June 2. Contradicting the Bosnian Serb foreign minister, UN officials flatly denied that the hostages had been released only after Western negotiators had pledged that there would be no more bombing. Despite gargantuan efforts to end the massacres of Croats, Muslims, and Serbs, the UN had been unable to work out a peace settlement. The process had been hampered by UN and NATO differences over tactics and strategy and by the fact that UN troops on the ground could not be protected if the bombings continued.

June 15
      Nicaraguan crisis eases

      A four-month-long political crisis in Nicaragua abated when Pres. Violeta Barrios de Chamorro yielded to the National Assembly and agreed to promulgate the 66 amendments to the constitution it had approved. The changes substantially strengthened the power of the Assembly at the expense of the executive branch of government. The political standoff, which was solved with the mediation of the Roman Catholic cardinal, had put foreign aid in jeopardy and had precluded agreement on appointments to the Supreme Court.

      Military coup in Iraq fails

      U.S. officials revealed, without naming their source of information, that a military coup against Iraqi Pres. Saddam Hussein had failed when loyal Republican Guards suppressed a mutiny organized by Guard tank troops. The showdown occurred in Abu Ghraib, the site of a military camp, a prison, and a government radio station some 20 km (12 mi) from Baghdad, the capital. The significance of the uprising, the second such in recent weeks, was difficult to assess, but some days later there were unconfirmed reports that about 150 soldiers and officers had been executed.

June 25
      Haitians flock to polls

      Some eight months after the military junta departed Haiti and democratically elected Pres. Jean-Bertrand Aristide returned from forced exile in the U.S., Haitians went to the polls to elect 18 of the nation's 27 senators, all 83 members of the Chamber of Deputies, and hundreds of mayors and municipal councils. Among the 28 parties seeking representation were the Lavalas Political Organization, supported by Aristide; the National Front for Change and Democracy, Aristide's original coalition; and the National Congress for Democratic Movements, which had been expelled from the Front. Despite predictable confusion, numerous delays, and charges of voting irregularities, international observers reported that Haiti had taken a positive step toward democratic rule.

      Reichstag under wraps

      Bulgarian-U.S. artist Christo and his wife, Jeanne-Claude, presented the German people with a unique work of art: Berlin's former and future Parliament building wrapped in silver fabric that was tied down with bright blue rope. For more than 20 years the couple had sought permission to undertake the project, but the controversial undertaking was not sanctioned by Parliament until February 1994. The cost of materials and labour, estimated at some $10 million, was expected to be covered through sales of memorabilia.

June 26
      Mubarak survives attack

      Egyptian Pres. Hosni Mubarak was unscathed when five or six gunmen fired automatic weapons at his three-car motorcade as it moved down a street in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. During the exchange of gunfire, two gunmen who had leaped from their jeep after it smashed into the lead car were killed, as were two native policemen. Other gunmen had taken up positions on rooftops and on the street. Mubarak, who claimed to have remained calm because he was in a bulletproof car, immediately canceled plans to attend the opening session of the Organization of African Unity summit. Upon his arrival in Cairo, he vowed that the attackers would pay dearly for their actions. It was widely believed that Arabs bent on establishing an Islamic state in Egypt had plotted the failed assassination.

June 27
      Qatar prince ousts father

      Hamad ibn Khalifah ath-Thani, the crown prince of the gas-rich emirate of Qatar, forced the abdication of his father, Sheikh Khalifah ibn Hamad ath-Thani, with whom he had been feuding for several years. Five other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, including Saudi Arabia, immediately recognized Hamad as Qatar's new ruler. He had in fact already been using the considerable authority granted him by his father to restore relations with Iraq (which had been a foe during the Persian Gulf War), extend friendship to Iran, move toward normal relations with Israel, and sign a defense pact with the U.S.

June 28
      U.S.-Japan dispute settled

      Just hours before the U.S. was scheduled to impose billions of dollars in punitive tariffs on imported Japanese automobiles, negotiators for the two countries signed a broad but ambiguously worded accord in Geneva that ended an often bitter two-year-long trade dispute. Mickey Kantor, the U.S. trade representative, was demanding, among other things, that Japanese markets for U.S.-made auto parts and car dealerships be expanded. His goal was to reduce Japan's trade surplus in automobiles and auto parts, which exceeded $36 billion in 1994. Ryutaro Hashimoto, Kantor's counterpart, vigorously opposed any agreement that smacked of quotas because, he said, quantifiable numbers contravened the principles of free trade. Although the text of the accord was not released immediately, it appeared that Japan had merely agreed to make a good-faith effort to solve the problem.


July 3
      Caribbean nation votes

      Kennedy Simmonds, who had been prime minister of the Caribbean federation of St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Nevis from the time it gained independence from Great Britain in 1983, lost his post to Denzil Douglas, leader of the Labour Party. In the parliamentary election, the outgoing People's Action Movement won only one of the seats assigned to St. Kitts, the other seven going to Douglas supporters. For Nevis, the Concerned Citizens' Movement captured two of the three seats and the Nevis Reformation Party the other. The 11 elective seats and four nonelective seats constituted Parliament.

July 4
      John Major risks career

      British Prime Minister John Major, who had resigned as leader of the ruling Conservative Party on June 22, was reelected party leader by fellow Conservatives in Parliament. In secret balloting he received 218 votes; John Redwood, his only challenger, got 89. Major had become so frustrated with fellow Conservatives who challenged his approach to integration into the European Union (the so-called Euroskeptics) that he decided on a showdown. By resigning as party leader, Major effectively forced his colleagues to either reaffirm his leadership or replace him as party leader and prime minister.

      Banharn takes over

      With his Chart Thai party holding a plurality of 92 seats in the House of Representatives after the July 2 elections and with five other parties promising their support, Banharn Silpa-archa announced that he would be heading a new coalition government in Thailand. His position was bolstered by a seventh party, which gave him control of 233 of the 391 seats in the national legislature. Former prime minister Chuan Leekpai had been forced to call new elections because of a land-reform scandal involving leading members of Chuan's Democrat Party.

      Colombia nabs drug king

      In an ongoing offensive to curtail the nation's illegal drug trade, Colombian officials arrested José Santacruz Londono, who reportedly controlled the Cali cartel's network in such major U.S. cities as Los Angeles, Chicago, and Miami, Fla. He also was believed to control large cocaine-processing laboratories in the U.S. There was, however, little likelihood that he would ever be tried in the U.S. for these and other crimes, including murder, because Colombia did not permit its citizens to be extradited to the U.S.

July 5
      Turkey attacks Kurds

      In the second such offensive of the year, Turkish military aircraft, heavy artillery, and some 3,000 troops attacked the strongholds of separatist Kurdish guerrillas in the eastern part of the country. The rebels had been fighting for years to achieve their dream of an independent Kurdistan. The territory that they laid claim to extended into northern Iraq and southwestern Iran as well as into Turkey and a small area of Armenia. The movement for independence was led by the Kurdish Workers' Party, whose members reportedly had killed 20 Turkish soldiers in June in a hit-and-run attack launched from Iraq.

July 10
      Aung San Suu Kyi freed

      The military junta in Myanmar (Burma) revoked the house arrest of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, winner of the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize. Government officials confirmed that her release was unconditional. Before her confinement on July 20, 1989, Suu Kyi had been the nation's chief spokesperson for democracy. Even though she was not allowed to leave her compound to participate in the 1990 election campaign, her National League for Democracy party won a stunning victory. The military nullified the results and later offered Suu Kyi her freedom if she agreed to leave the country. She refused. When she reappeared in public after an absence of six years, she surprised nearly everyone by professing a willingness to cooperate with the military during a transition period leading to democracy. Asked why she harboured no ill will toward those who had taken away her freedom, she explained that her father, a hero in Burma's struggle for independence, had been an army general.

July 11
      U.S. renews Vietnam ties

      In a brief ceremony at the White House, President Clinton announced that the U.S. was reestablishing full diplomatic relations with Vietnam. Two prominent senators, both casualties of the Vietnam War, were among those who supported the president by their presence. The American Legion, the largest veterans association in the country, was adamantly opposed to normalizing relations before the fate of U.S. soldiers missing in action had been satisfactorily determined. Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, who had been permanently injured in World War II, backed the American Legion. Trent Lott, the Senate majority whip, reflected the sentiments of other conservatives in Congress when he vowed to block funding for a U.S. embassy in Hanoi. (The Senate also would have to ratify any bilateral agreement granting each country most-favoured-nation trade status.)

      Srebrenica falls to Serbs

      Undeterred by a 1993 UN declaration that its peacekeeping forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina would protect civilian refugees in six specific "safe areas" of the region, Bosnian Serb forces met only token resistance when they took over the safe area of Srebrenica. A little more than one week later, Zepa, another safe area, fell to the Serbs. The future of the remaining safe areas (Gorazde, Tuzla, Bihac, and Sarajevo) largely depended on what action the United Nations would take to counter the current Serb offensives and on the ability of Muslim and Croat military units to continue fighting.

July 14
      Nigeria holds secret trials

      The military government of Nigeria confirmed that in secret trials 40 persons had been convicted and sentenced, some to death, on charges of supporting a coup to overthrow Gen. Sani Abacha. According to unconfirmed rumours, Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, the country's former leader, was put on trial and sentenced to 25 years in prison for concealing information about the plot. There was growing international condemnation of Abacha, who had seized power in 1993, for suppressing political dissent and violating human rights.

July 23
      Election weakens SDPJ

      Japanese Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama and the Social Democratic Party of Japan (SDPJ) faced an uncertain future following national elections to the upper house of the Diet. The SDPJ had lost 6 of the 22 seats it had held, but the two other members of the ruling coalition, the Liberal-Democratic Party and the New Party Sakigake, fared much better in the election. As a consequence, the coalition won enough seats in the upper house to preserve its majority. All three parties agreed that for the time being at least, Murayama would continue to head the government with a revamped Cabinet.

July 24
      Terrorist strikes in Israel

      In an apparent attempt to disrupt peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), a suicide bomber, believed to be a Palestinian, killed himself and six Israelis when he detonated a pipe bomb on a bus near Tel Aviv. Even before the attack, it was clear that final details affecting the extension of Palestinian rule in the West Bank could not be settled, as had been originally planned, by the next day. Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin tried to reassure outraged Israelis that their government and the PLO were both doing all in their power to prevent innocent people from being killed. He also promised that no act of terrorism would deter him in his search for peace.

July 25
      Paris bomb causes panic

      A bomb explosion on a crowded commuter train in Paris killed 4 people outright and injured more than 80, some critically. No person or group claimed responsibility, but officials strongly suspected that the attack was the first case of terrorism in France since a series of bombings in the mid-1980s. Possible suspects included militant Muslims who were fighting to establish an Islamic state in Algeria, a former overseas province of France; Bosnian Serbs who had been angered when the French government called for a buildup of UN troops to protect designated "safe areas" in Bosnia and Herzegovina; and environmental groups that were at odds with the French government over its decision to resume testing nuclear devices in the Pacific.

July 27
      Transgenic organ test

      With the approval of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, researchers at the Duke University Medical Center, Durham, N.C., and the Nextran Corp. announced that they were preparing to test the viability of mixed-species organs in human beings. The aim of the research was to develop two new medical technologies; the first of these would use genetically altered animal organs outside the human body, and the other would implant such organs inside the body. In the first case, a pig liver laced with human genes would be linked outside the body to the circulatory system of a comatose patient who was near death and incapable of receiving a transplant. The hope was that the pig liver would function as a normal human liver. The possibility of using transgenic organs for transplants was being investigated because the demand for human organs far exceeded the supply.

July 30
      Peace in Chechnya

      Nine days after the Russian central government and the secessionist republic of Chechnya agreed to end their conflict, the two parties signed an accord guaranteeing that Chechnya would enjoy the "broadest form of statehood" but not total independence. The terms of the agreement allowed the Chechens to decide, after elections later in the year, what form of government they would have. In December 1994 Russia had triggered a bloody confrontation by dispatching some 40,000 Russians to Chechnya to prevent it from leaving the Russian Federation. Even though the peace accord ended hostilities, the future was still uncertain. A Russian general predicted that the treaty would not be welcomed with enthusiasm in the Chechen capital of Grozny, in the Chechen mountains, where many local fighters had taken refuge, or even in Moscow.

July 31
      Merger stuns Wall Street

      Michael Eisner, chairman and chief executive officer of the Walt Disney Co., announced that his company was acquiring Capital Cities/ABC. Investors were stunned by the news and the sheer magnitude of the deal, estimated to be worth $19 billion. The merger would bring together Disney's film and television operations, its theme parks, its animation studio, its film-distribution outlets, the highly marketable cast of characters Disney had created, the nation's most profitable television network (ABC), the ESPN sports network, radio and television stations, newspapers, home videos, and multimedia products. While some expressed a belief that the union of these two giants would result in more creative entertainment, others feared that the growing concentration of ownership would limit diversity in both culture and politics.


August 2
      Thai workers held captive

      In a predawn raid in El Monte, Calif., U.S. immigration officials freed about 70 Thai workers who had been held captive in a clothes factory surrounded by barbed wire fences. They were locked up and guarded at night and threatened with bodily harm if they tried to escape. The workers, moreover, had little or no hope of ever paying the debt they had incurred for being smuggled into the U.S. On August 15 state authorities reported that many of the manufacturers who had bought from the sweat shops were themselves operating illegally. Seven were fined $35,000 each, but twice that number were likely to face penalties before the investigation concluded. In similar raids on other factories in the Los Angeles area, federal officials found evidence that Asian gangs were controlling the operations.

August 7
      Croatians retake Krajina

      In a lightning offensive that began on August 4, Croatian government troops recaptured the region of Krajina, which had fallen to Serbian troops several years earlier. Although the territory had been the home of ethnic Serbs for some five centuries, it became part of Croatia during World War II and remained in Croatian hands until the Serbs reclaimed it during the current conflict. Following the successful Croatian offensive, as many as 150,000 Serb civilians were forced to leave Krajina and seek refuge in Serbia or Serb-held areas in Bosnia and Herzegovina. There were reports of large-scale human rights violations on the part of Croatian soldiers seeking revenge for the atrocities their own people had endured at the hands of their enemies.

August 8
      Defections shock Iraq

      Two of Pres. Saddam Hussein's sons-in-law were given political asylum in Jordan after fleeing Iraq with their wives and other senior military officers. Lieut. Gen. Hussein Kamel Hasan al-Majid, husband of the president's eldest daughter, had been responsible for building up Iraq's arsenal before the Persian Gulf War. His brother, Col. Saddam Kamel Hasan al-Majid, had been in charge of presidential security forces. Both had left Iraq on the pretext that they were traveling on an official visit to Bulgaria by way of Jordan. According to an unconfirmed report, another of Hussein's sons-in-law also defected with his wife. Jordanian King Hussein I, who had supported Iraq during the Persian Gulf War, announced that he would protect the defectors. On August 17 a Saudi newspaper reported in a front-page story that on the evening before the Kamel brothers left Iraq, a family feud had ended in gunfire. Six bodyguards were slain, and Hussein's half-brother was seriously wounded.

August 10
      "Jane Roe" changes mind

      Norma McCorvey, who under the name "Jane Roe" had been the central figure in a landmark 1973 Supreme Court ruling that permitted abortions, stunned both pro-choice and pro-life advocates by revealing during a radio interview in Dallas, Texas, that she no longer supported the right to abortion. She remarked, "I think I have always been pro-life. I just didn't know it." Two days earlier McCorvey had been baptized by the national leader of Operation Rescue, an antiabortion organization. Sarah Weddington, one of the lawyers who had represented McCorvey in the class-action suit argued before the Supreme Court in 1973, expressed the dismay of many proponents of abortion rights: "I'm shocked. At a time when we are working so hard . . . and not having much luck, I didn't need this one."

      Bombing suspects charged

      A federal grand jury in Oklahoma City, Okla., indicted Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, prime suspects in the April bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City that killed 169 persons. The two men had become friends in the army and reportedly shared antigovernment views. The 11-count indictment included a charge that the suspects had robbed a gun dealer in Arkansas to help finance their operation. Michael Fortier, another of McVeigh's friends from army days, pleaded guilty to lesser charges and agreed to reveal in court testimony what he knew about the bombing.

August 11
      Nepal dam canceled

      Plans to construct a hydroelectric dam in eastern Nepal had to be shelved when the World Bank decided not to grant a promised $175 million loan. Its chief concern was that Nepal would not be able to find other backers for the $1 billion project, which was designed to generate 200 MW of power. Those who opposed the construction of Arun III argued that the cost of electricity would be prohibitive, that indigenous people would be displaced, and that endangered species would lose their habitats.

      Perot is host of convention

      Eager to win the political support of voters committed to former independent presidential candidate Ross Perot, virtually every important national politician except President Clinton attended a weekend convention at which Perot served as host in Dallas, Texas. All those invited to address 3,000 members of Perot's United We Stand America organization endorsed many of Perot's principles. Analysts viewed the gathering as a political phenomenon and an acknowledgment that it was politically risky to ignore the political force that Perot represented.

August 15
      Murayama apologizes

      On the 50th anniversary of Japan's surrender at the end of World War II, Japanese Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama delivered a nationally televised speech that included an apology for his nation's wartime aggression. At one point he remarked, "Japan, following a mistaken national policy, advanced along the road to war, only to ensnare the Japanese people in a fateful crisis, and through its colonial rule and aggression caused tremendous damage and suffering to the people of many countries, particularly to those of Asian nations." Going well beyond the declaration of "deep remorse" that Japanese officials had previously expressed, Murayama declared, "In the hope that no such mistake be made in the future, I regard, in a spirit of humility, these irrefutable facts of history, and express here once again my feelings of deep remorse and state my heartfelt apology."

      Brazilian peasants slain

      A Roman Catholic cleric reported by phone that landless peasants in the west central Brazilian state of Rondônia had been killed in a clash with police on August 9. A bishop in the area believed that the death toll could be as high as 75. There were reasons to suspect that the bodies of the victims had been burned and then buried. Violence had erupted when police attempted to evict some 1,300 landless labourers from a jungle estate they had taken over. Witnesses claimed that police had arrested the leader of the peasants, Sérgio Rodrigues Gomes, but there was no record that he had been jailed.

August 16
      Bermuda remains colony

      Voters in the self-governing British colony of Bermuda rejected a referendum that would have made the territory an independent nation. Only one-quarter of the voters backed Prime Minister John Swan, who had pledged to resign if independence was not approved. Those favouring the status quo argued that a British presence enhanced stability, which contributed to Bermuda's expanding financial services sector and fostered tourism, the island's principal source of income.

      Three Indonesians freed

      On the eve of Indonesia's 50th anniversary of independence, President Suharto ordered the release of three political prisoners who had been jailed for nearly 30 years. The group included Subandrio, who had been the country's foreign minister; Omar Dhani, former air force commander; and Raden Sugent Sutarto, the former head of intelligence. All had been accused of supporting a pro-communist movement that led to a bloody upheaval in 1965. The violence caused some 300,000 deaths and led to Sukarno's political demise and Suharto's rise to power.

August 17
      McDougals indicted

      James McDougal and his ex-wife, Susan, were indicted by a federal grand jury in Little Rock, Ark., on charges of bank fraud and conspiracy. President Clinton and his wife, Hillary, had been their partners in the Whitewater Development Corp., a real estate venture that was under investigation. Arkansas Gov. Jim Guy Tucker, who had already been charged in June with irregularities in the Whitewater affair, was further charged with fraud in the new indictment. A total of 14 people had thus far either pleaded guilty or been indicted, but the Clintons had not been charged with any crime. One of the prime goals of the investigation was to determine whether funds from Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan, which McDougal owned before its collapse, had been illegally diverted to the Clinton gubernatorial campaigns in Arkansas in the 1980s.

August 18
      Female quits academy

      Shannon Faulkner, who had waged a legal battle for more than two years to become the first female cadet at the Citadel, withdrew from the Charleston, S.C., military academy just five days after being enrolled. Some 30 other cadets also acknowledged during the first week of training that they could not meet the physical demands of the academy, but Faulkner got all the attention. While recognizing that many men as well as women would be disappointed that she had failed, Faulkner expressed a hope that other young women would seek admission to the Citadel.

August 19
      Liberia embraces peace

      During negotiations in Abuja, Nigeria, the leaders of various Liberian factions agreed to end five years of hostilities. A major obstacle to peace was removed when all consented to have Wilton Sankawulo serve as chairman of the Council of State in place of nonagenarian Chief Tamba Tailor. Of equal importance was an agreement that Charles Taylor, rebel leader of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia, would have a role in the interim government. The council would also include, besides Chief Tailor, Alhaji Kromah, leader of the Ulimo-K faction and chief rival of Taylor; George Boley, head of the Liberia Peace Council; and Oscar Quiah of the Liberian National Conference. Hopes rose that democratic elections would bring an end to the fighting, which had already claimed some 150,000 lives.

August 21
      Deane to represent queen

      Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating announced that he would nominate Sir William Deane to succeed Bill Hayden when he retired as governor-general on Feb. 15, 1996. The governor-general, who represented Queen Elizabeth II, Australia's head of state, had no significant power, but Deane, whose appointment was certain to win royal approval, would be involved in the current debate over whether Australia should retain its ties to the British throne or become a republic. Deane, a High Court judge, had no political affiliation and was highly regarded by members of all political parties.

August 23
      Sudan to free detainees

      The state radio of The Sudan reported that the National Security Council, headed by Pres. Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir, had decided to release all political prisoners within a few days. The most prominent detainee was former prime minister Sadiq al-Mahdi, whose elected government had been toppled by Bashir in a June 1989 bloodless coup. Mahdi subsequently had been accused of involvement in an antigovernment plot but was never charged. Promising that parliamentary and presidential elections would be held in 1996, the government urged all opposition leaders living abroad to return home so they might be able "to contribute to security and stability in the country."

August 24
      China expels Harry Wu

      After being convicted of "spying, illegally obtaining, buying, and providing state secrets to overseas institutions, organizations, and people, and of passing himself off as a government worker for deceptive activities," Harry Hongda Wu, a naturalized U.S. citizen, was sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment by a court in Wuhan, China, and then expelled. He was put on a Chinese plane and flown to San Francisco. Wu had immigrated to the U.S. in 1985 after spending 19 years (1960-79) in Chinese labour camps for criticizing the Communist Party and the 1956 Soviet invasion of Hungary. Posing as a businessman, Wu returned to China for the first time in 1991 to make secret videotapes of prison conditions and inmates producing products for export. On his latest trip he was identified and detained when he tried to enter China from Kazakhstan. His U.S. passport was stamped with a valid Chinese visa.

      Windows 95 debuts

      Amid much fanfare and a multimillion-dollar worldwide advertising campaign, U.S. software maker Microsoft Corp. released Windows 95, the long-awaited upgrade to its popular Windows computer operating environment. Customers in some countries stood in line for hours waiting for stores to admit them, and many retailers opened at midnight. Windows 95, which incorporated 32-bit addressing, preemptive multitasking, a revamped graphic user interface, and other enhancements, faced resistance from those who were reluctant to buy the hardware upgrades needed to take full advantage of Windows 95's capabilities. By year's end, however, Microsoft had sold an estimated 18 million-20 million copies.

August 25
      Criminal court on hold

      After two weeks of discussions, the United Nations decided that the formation of an international criminal court needed to be studied more carefully during the fall session of the General Assembly. The jurisdiction and functions of the new tribunal would differ from those of the International Court of Justice in The Hague and would be concerned with war crimes, genocide, and other crimes against humanity. Currently, these ad hoc tribunals were authorized to deal with only those atrocities that were committed in Rwanda and former Yugoslavia.

August 28
      Serbs shell marketplace

      Despite dire warning from NATO that it would bomb Serb military targets if Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, or any other UN-designated "safe area" came under attack, the Bosnian Serbs fired mortar into the city's crowded marketplace. At least 37 civilians were killed and more than 80 wounded. On August 30 and 31, 60 NATO aircraft carried out bombing missions against Serb positions on the outskirts of Sarajevo. UN and NATO leaders had agreed that retaliation was their only option if they hoped to retain their credibility. President Clinton described the air strikes as "the right response to the savagery in Sarajevo."

August 29
      Shevardnadze targeted

      A large car bomb was detonated in the inner courtyard of the Parliament building in T'bilisi, Georgia, in an attempt to kill Eduard Shevardnadze, Georgia's de facto head of state and leader of Parliament. He survived the attempted assassination with only minor injuries. Shevardnadze had traveled to the legislature to affix his signature to a new constitution that restored the presidency and invested it with enhanced powers. He had already disclosed that he would seek the presidency in the November election. Following the attack, tanks and armoured personnel carriers patrolled the streets of the capital, but Parliament declined to follow the advice of many and declare a state of emergency.


September 1
      Libya bars Palestinians

      Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi, Libya's de facto head of state, announced that he was expelling all 30,000 Palestinians working in his country. The decision was meant to punish Yasir Arafat and his Palestine Liberation Organization for seeking to reach a peace settlement with Israel. Hundreds of Palestinians were subsequently stranded at the Egyptian border because they were not holding permits allowing them to enter Gaza after passing through Egypt. Thousands more were reported to have been denied entrance into Lebanon when they arrived by ship.

      Music hall of fame opens

      An estimated 50,000 people attended the official opening of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio. The $92 million structure, designed by architect I.M. Pei, was opened to the general public the following day. Among many other things, the complex featured exhibits about the more than 120 performers who had been inducted into the hall of fame during the previous decade. To qualify, a candidate had to have begun his or her career at least 25 years earlier. Expectations were high that at least 750,000 tourists would visit the site each year, adding tens of millions of dollars to the local economy.

September 5
      Nuclear tests denounced

      Ignoring demands that it cancel a series of planned nuclear tests, France detonated a device at Mururoa atoll in the South Pacific. The underground explosion, which was equivalent to nearly 20,000 tons of TNT, was detected as far away as Australia. Tahitians vented their anger at the action by setting fire to the international airport terminal in Papeete, the capital. Greenpeace, an environmental organization, called the test "an obscene outrage." Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating called the event "an act of stupidity." Protesters in The Netherlands attempted to block access to the French embassy in The Hague. In Vienna police had to use tear gas to repel demonstrators attempting to climb over the walls of the French embassy. On September 6 New Zealand and Chile called their ambassadors home for consultation. Objections to the tests were also voiced by Denmark, Italy, Japan, Russia, and the U.S. In an attempt to quiet the storm of criticism, French Pres. Jacques Chirac announced that the tests would end well before the end of May 1996 if adequate information was gained from the early explosions.

      Cuba seeks investments

      Cuba's National Assembly of the People's Power passed legislation that reversed long-standing economic policies by opening the door to greater foreign investments. For the first time, Cuban exiles and foreigners could become sole owners of property and businesses. Special zones, moreover, would be created as free-trade and free-export manufacturing centres, where foreign-owned assembly plants would operate, using local workers hired from state-run employment agencies. Cuba's move toward a free-market economy was necessitated in great part by the collapse of the Soviet Union, which had been its chief supporter.

September 7
      Senator Packwood resigns

      Facing charges of sexual misconduct, influence peddling, and obstruction of the Senate Ethics Committee investigation of his conduct, Sen. Bob Packwood of Oregon announced his resignation. The previous day the committee had voted 6-0 to recommend to the entire Senate that Packwood be expelled. During a 33-month-long investigation, the bipartisan committee had studied thousands of pages of evidence, including Packwood's private diaries, before concluding that there was credible evidence of misconduct.

September 10
      Nepal ousts Marxists

      By a vote of 107-88, the Parliament of Nepal passed a vote of no-confidence in the government of Prime Minister Man Mohan Adhikari, leader of the United Marxist-Leninist Party. He had held office for less than 10 months. King Birendra then appointed Sher Bahadur Deuba prime minister. His centrist Nepali Congress Party enjoyed the support of the National Democratic and Goodwill parties and of others who considered themselves independents.

September 13
      Dalai Lama visits U.S.

      One day before ending his 10-day visit to the U.S., the Dalai Lama met privately with Vice Pres. Al Gore in the White House. The Senate had earlier voted unanimously in favour of a meeting between President Clinton and the Dalai Lama, but Clinton, apparently unwilling to risk antagonizing China, merely paid a courtesy call during the Dalai Lama's visit with Gore. The Dalai Lama, who had been the temporal ruler of Tibet as well as spiritual leader of the country's largest Buddhist sect before China occupied his country in 1950, used the occasion to ask Clinton to assist Tibetan refugees. An estimated two-thirds of the population had left the country after an unsuccessful revolt against Chinese rule in 1959. Many had accompanied the Dalai Lama to India, where he set up a government-in-exile.

September 14
      Eurotunnel losing money

      The Anglo-French company operating the Channel Tunnel (Eurotunnel), which connects France and England, announced that interest payments on its £8 billion debt would be suspended for 18 months while it worked out a financial restructuring plan with 225 creditor banks. Its daily revenues of £600,000 fell far short of the £2 million needed to cover interest payments. Long before the tunnel was operational, the project had faced serious financial difficulties. Because of delays and cost overruns, the project had to be refinanced three times.

September 15
      Women gather in China

      The UN Fourth World Conference on Women ended its 12-day convention in Beijing with most delegates, representing some 180 countries, endorsing a Platform for Action designed to promote women's rights around the world. Special attention was paid to the need to fund and promote programs to halt all forms of violence against women and to increase their economic and political power. Some 35 nations, however, went on record as opposing certain parts of the platform. In a speech to the delegates on September 5, Hillary Rodham Clinton declared that it was "no longer acceptable to discuss women's rights as separate from human rights." She also noted: "It is a violation of human rights when women are denied the right to plan their own families, and that includes being forced to have abortions or being sterilized against their will." Though she did not mention China by name, the practices were part of the government's one-child-per-family program. Her list of human rights abuses also included the burning of brides whose dowries were deemed inadequate, the mutilating of female genitals, and the raping of women in wartime. Clinton also addressed the UN-sponsored Nongovernmental Organizations Forum on Women held in Huairou, a remote suburb of Beijing. The participants complained that they were repeatedly harassed by security forces.

September 17
      Hong Kong holds election

      Despite a warning from China that it would abolish an anti-China legislature in Hong Kong when it resumed sovereignty over the British crown colony on July 1, 1997, voters seated 29 pro-democracy candidates on the Legislative Council. It was the first time that voters representing various constituencies had had an opportunity to fill all 60 seats. The Democratic Party, which under the leadership of Martin Lee advocated greater democracy, won a plurality of 19 seats. The Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong (DAB), which was strongly pro-China, captured only six seats. The DAB's top three leaders were all defeated.

      Haiti concludes voting

      Final tallies after the third and final round of balloting in Haiti gave Lavalas, a three-party coalition supported by Pres. Jean-Bertrand Aristide, an overwhelming victory over its opponents. Lavalas won 17 of the 18 contested seats in the 27-seat Senate and 67 of the 83 seats—all were contested—in the Chamber of Deputies. Lavalas scored equally impressive victories at the local level, winning a large majority of the races for mayor and local councils. Haiti's fledgling democracy would face its greatest test when voters went to the polls to elect a president early in 1996.

      Swedes oppose EU

      Even though in a 1994 referendum Swedish voters had narrowly approved their country's participation in the European Union, vocal opponents of membership in the EU undermined that support when the Greens, an environmental group, and the Left Party won 7 of the nation's 22 seats in the European Parliament. Having won control of nearly one-third of their government's seats in an organization they did not believe in, they called for a new national referendum.

September 20
      AT&T to break up

      In order to increase the efficiency of its various operations and to adapt more quickly to changing conditions, AT&T, the world's largest telecommunications company, announced that it would become three separate entities. The first would retain the name AT&T and be responsible for basic telephone services, wireless communication items, and credit cards. The second would take over communications equipment, including telephone network switching, answering machines, computer chips, and business telephone systems. The computer-manufacturing unit would become the third company. AT&T expected that about 20% of the 43,000 jobs in this segment of the business eventually would be eliminated.

September 22
      Hashimoto to lead LDP

      Japan's Liberal-Democratic Party (LDP), the largest group in the three-party coalition that ruled Japan under the leadership of Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama, a socialist, elected Ryutaro Hashimoto leader of their party. During complicated negotiations that ended a bitter Japanese-U.S. trade dispute, Hashimoto had gained international prominence as his country's minister for international trade and industry. There was widespread belief that Hashimoto's elevation to the top post in the LDP made him the leading candidate to succeed Murayama as prime minister.

      TBS accepts merger

      The world's largest mass media company was created when the Turner Broadcasting System (TBS) agreed to merge with Time Warner. For the deal to become final, federal regulators would first have to be satisfied that the merger did not violate antitrust laws. Under terms of the agreement, Time Warner would purchase TBS in an all-stock deal estimated to be worth $7.5 billion. Each TBS share would be worth three-quarters of one Time Warner share. During 1994 the combined revenues of the two companies came to $18.5 billion; their current combined debt was about $19 billion. Several observers expressed concern that the new company would be large enough to stifle diversity.

September 23
      Albania bans ex-officials

      The People's Assembly (parliament) in Albania passed a law that banned members of the former communist government from holding public office or positions with the mass media until the year 2002. Those who had collaborated with the secret police during the years of communist rule also fell under the ban. Opposition parties claimed that the law was a ruse to eliminate Pres. Sali Berisha's main opposition when he ran for reelection in March 1996.

September 25
      Three labs to stay open

      After evaluating the findings of a special review board that had studied the work performed by three U.S. nuclear weapons research laboratories, President Clinton ordered the Department of Energy to keep the laboratories open. The board's investigation of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (Livermore, Calif.), the Los Alamos (N.M.) National Laboratory, and the Sandia National Laboratories (Albuquerque, N.M., and Livermore) indicated that all three were providing "essential services to the nation in fundamental science, national security, environmental protection and cleanup, and industrial competitiveness." A special commission had issued a report in February questioning the need for all three laboratories.

September 26
      Peace plan for Bosnia

      After years of brutal conflict, the warring factions in Bosnia and Herzegovina accepted a peace plan negotiated in large measure by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke. The foreign ministers of Bosnia, Croatia, and Yugoslavia (representing the Serbs) accepted, among other things, that the republic would continue to exist within its present borders and that 51% of the territory would belong to a federation consisting of Muslims and Croats. The country would be governed by a collective presidency and a parliament, with their respective powers still to be determined. All persons would be allowed to move freely through the region, and displaced persons could repossess their property or receive appropriate compensation. Internationally recognized human rights, including freedom of speech, would be respected. Following elections, a parliament would be established with one-third of the seats occupied by Serbs. Although numerous details still had to be worked out, including the delineation of borders, there was a growing belief that the large-scale fighting in the region had finally come to an end.

September 28
      PLO-Israel accord

      During a ceremony at the White House, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Israel signed a pivotal accord that significantly advanced the cause of peace in the Middle East. The Israeli Cabinet and PLO Executive Committee had previously approved the complex document. After prolonged negotiations both sides had agreed on terms governing the second stage of Israel's military withdrawal from occupied Palestinian territory in the West Bank and the transfer of administrative responsibility to the Palestinian National Authority. At a date to be determined later, elections would be held to form a legislative council. Among both Israelis and Palestinians, there were some who bitterly opposed making peace with their longtime foes. Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, however, restated his commitment to peace and acknowledged that withdrawal from occupied Arab lands was an indispensable condition for reaching that goal. He declared that the settlement reached with the PLO marked "the end of the hallucination of a Greater Israel."


October 1
      Abdel Rahman convicted

      A federal jury in New York City convicted Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman and nine codefendants on 48 of 50 charges of seditious conspiracy to wage "a war of urban terrorism" in the U.S. Abdel Rahman, a blind Muslim cleric from Egypt, was accused of masterminding plans to bomb the United Nations headquarters and other sites in New York City and to assassinate political leaders, including Egyptian Pres. Hosni Mubarak. Abdel Rahman was also found guilty of directing a terrorist group that murdered Rabbi Meir Kahane in 1990. Most of the evidence against the accused came from more than 100 hours of conversations secretly recorded by a paid government informer who had infiltrated the group.

      Portugal's Socialists win

      Portuguese voters ended the 10-year tenure of Prime Minister Aníbal Cavaco Silva's centre-right Social Democratic Party when they gave the Socialist Party (PS) 112 of the 230 seats in the nation's Assembly of the Republic. With António Guterres leading the party, the PS increased its share of the popular vote by almost 15%. The PSD gained 40 seats in the national assembly (the weighted formula for rural and urban representation was used in the figuring of results). Both parties had campaigned on similar platforms, promising to support the European Union's (EU's) economic and monetary systems, to adhere to austere budgets, and to oppose higher taxes. While head of government, Cavaco Silva had brought Portugal into the EU and had revitalized the nation's economy. When he announced in January that he would not seek another term, many believed he had set his sights on the presidency.

October 3
      O.J. Simpson acquitted

      A Los Angeles Superior Court jury found former football star O.J. Simpson not guilty of the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman on June 12, 1994. Race was a predominant issue during the trial, which received more mass media coverage than any other trial in history. This was attributed to the celebrity of the defendant, the fact that he was African-American and the victims white, the formidable "dream team" of expensive lawyers Simpson had hired, and the fact that the trial was televised live. Although the rule of double jeopardy prevented Simpson from ever being tried again on the same charges, he still faced wrongful death suits filed by the families of the deceased. In those civil proceedings Simpson could be forced to take the witness stand, an option his defense attorneys chose not to take during the murder trial.

      Assassination fails

      Kiro Gligorov, president of the Republic of Macedonia, was seriously injured when a car bomb tore apart his armoured automobile as it moved down the street near the presidential offices in Skopje. Gligorov had returned to the capital the previous day after a meeting in Yugoslavia with Serbian Pres. Slobodan Milosevic. The two had discussed the conditions that would have to be met to normalize relations, which had been disrupted when Macedonia made its declaration of independence from Yugoslavia in 1991.

October 9
      Sam Nunn to retire

      During a news conference in Atlanta, Ga., Sen. Sam Nunn announced that he would not seek election to a fifth term in the Senate in 1996. He thus became the ninth senator, and the eighth Democrat, in recent months to announce that he would be leaving Congress. Nunn, who had gained wide respect as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee before being replaced when the Republicans gained control of both houses of Congress, said that he had lost much of his enthusiasm for the job and was discouraged by the way "big money" and "saturation television ads" were influencing politics.

October 10
      Palestinians set free

      Fulfilling a commitment it had made with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Israel released some 900 incarcerated Palestinians and began a military withdrawal from Palestinian towns. This second phase of an agreement to expand Palestinian self-rule gradually beyond the enclave of Jericho to seven other cities and about 450 towns in the West Bank would, it was hoped, lead to a peaceful withdrawal of all Israeli troops from the area by March 1996. The PLO, led by its chairman, Yasir Arafat, had formed the Palestinian National Authority with responsibility for local administration. It was in the process of formalizing plans to elect a Palestinian executive and a legislature.

October 11
      Dahik flees Ecuador

      After Ecuador's Supreme Court charged Vice Pres. Alberto Dahik with misuse of state funds and ordered his arrest, he fled to Costa Rica and asked for political asylum. On August 23, one week after the court had charged Dahik with bribery, embezzlement, and illicit use of government money, it issued a subpoena ordering him to appear in court to respond to the charges. Then, on October 6, an attempt was made in the National Congress to impeach Dahik, but the vote fell short of the needed two-thirds majority. During the impeachment hearings, Dahik had blamed his troubles on the government of Pres. Sixto Durán Ballén, saying that it had resorted to bribing legislators and judges in order to win support for its economic reforms.

      Scandal rocks Estonia

      Estonian Prime Minister Tiit Vahi and his entire Cabinet resigned in the wake of a wiretapping scandal involving Minister of the Interior Edgar Savisaar. When police raided the Security Intelligence Agency, a company allegedly run by former KGB agents and linked to organized crime, they discovered recordings of conversations between Savisaar and other politicians, including the prime minister. The Centre Party rejected demands that it force Savisaar, one of its members, to resign. He was then fired by Pres. Lennart Meri at Vahi's request. Although Vahi himself was never implicated in the scandal, he said that he felt obliged to resign because his partners in the coalition had refused to disassociate themselves from wrongdoing.

October 13
      Austria's coalition fails

      One day after reaching an impasse on a 1996 fiscal budget, Austria's parliament dissolved itself and paved the way for new national elections in December. The two-party ruling coalition had been led by Chancellor Franz Vranitzky, a Social Democrat, whose party had proposed tax increases to reduce the projected 1995 deficit of nearly $12.4 billion by 26% in 1996. The Austrian People's Party, led by Wolfgang Schüssel, preferred drastic cuts in social security benefits. Agreement on a budget was rendered more difficult because the right-wing Austrian Freedom Party had made significant gains in the 1994 elections and hoped to enhance its power through new elections.

October 14
      Russian kidnaps Koreans

      An armed Russian seized a bus in Moscow's Red Square and took some 25 South Korean tourists hostage. During negotiations with police, the man gradually reduced his demand from $10 million to $1 million and released all but four of the Koreans. He was killed early the next morning when commandos stormed the bus, which had been moved by riot police to a nearby bridge.

October 16
      Black men hold rally

      Responding to a call issued by Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam, hundreds of thousands of black men from all across the nation traveled to Washington, D.C., to take part in the "Million Man March," a rally that had been promoted as a "holy day of atonement and reconciliation." The participants were urged to make a promise that they would unite and take responsibility for themselves, their families, and their communities. The event was organized by the Rev. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., who had been executive director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Numerous blacks, some of whom decided to join the rally, found themselves in a quandary. They endorsed the message of the rally, but they did not want to imply that they also endorsed the racist statements Farrakhan had repeatedly made.

October 17
      Chief minister resigns

      Mayawati, chief minister of Uttar Pradesh state in northeastern India, and her Bahujan Samaj Party relinquished control of the state government after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) withdrew from the ruling coalition. The following day the national government, headed by Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao of Congress (I), took over direct administration of the state. The move deprived the BJP of an opportunity to strengthen its political base in the country's most politically important state before the 1996 general elections. Mayawati was the first member of India's Dalit ("Untouchables") social caste to head a state government.

October 20
      Claes quits NATO post

      One day after the Belgian Parliament voted to remove Willy Claes's immunity (as a former Cabinet member) from prosecution, he resigned as secretary-general of NATO to face charges of corruption, fraud, and forgery in connection with what had come to be known as the Agusta scandal. The Italian aviation company Agusta SpA allegedly paid the ruling Flemish Socialist Party a bribe of $1.7 million in 1988 to secure a contract for 46 military helicopters. At the time, Claes was minister of economic affairs and was one of the officials who approved the contract.

October 22
      Ivorians reelect Bédié

      In Côte d'Ivoire's second multiparty election, Pres. Henri Konan Bédié of the Democratic Party handily defeated his only opponent, Francis Wodie of the Ivorian Workers' Party; he had gained prominence as head of Amnesty International. The low voter turnout was blamed on the two major opposition parties, the Popular Front and the Rally of Republicans, which had called for a boycott at the polls. Critics of the government had charged that voter lists had been rigged and that Bédié had used other unfair tactics to ensure his victory, including a revision of the election code that effectively barred his strongest opponent, Alassane Dramane Ouattara, from entering the race. Ouattara, the current deputy director of the International Monetary Fund, was defeated when he ran for the presidency in 1993.

October 23
      Minorities lose contracts

      Following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June that it was unconstitutional to award government contracts to minorities solely on the basis of race, and after a review of government practices in light of that ruling, the Defense Department announced that it was ending a program designed to help minority-owned firms secure such contracts. The Clinton administration had directed the Defense Department to make the announcement after the Justice Department concluded that the federal government's affirmative action policy was almost certainly unconstitutional. In 1994 about $6.1 billion in prime contracts had been awarded to minority firms; of that amount, $1 billion had been awarded in competitions that excluded white-owned firms.

October 24
      UN marks anniversary

      Delegates from all over the world began to return home after a three-day celebration in New York City commemorating the 50th anniversary of the United Nations. It had been the largest gathering of world leaders in history. Before adjourning, member nations endorsed a new document that reaffirmed the principles of the UN Charter, which had taken effect on Oct. 24, 1945. It also took into account the criticism that had been leveled at the organization and acknowledged that reforms were needed. At the same time, there was overwhelming confidence in the UN's ability to promote peace and social development around the world. During speeches by 178 national delegates and by 23 others with only observer status, there were calls for an end to such things as lavish spending, nuclear testing, and trade in arms. There were also pleas for more help to less developed nations and for timely payment of assessments to the United Nations.

October 26
      Yeltsin hospitalized

      Russian Pres. Boris Yeltsin was hospitalized for the second time in less than four months after suffering chest pains caused by a deficiency of oxygenated blood to the heart. The doctors reported that Yeltsin was in stable condition but would need six weeks to recover. Three days after Yeltsin was admitted to the hospital, the Russian election committee used a technicality to bar Yabloko, the country's most popular reformist party, and other political groups from participating in the December parliamentary elections. From his hospital bed, Yeltsin demanded an explanation.

      Islamic leader slain

      Fathi ash-Shiqaqi, the leader of Islamic Jihad, was killed when five shots were fired into his head at point-blank range. The assassination, carried out by two gunmen on a motorcycle, took place in Sliema, a seaside town in Malta. Shiqaqi, who was traveling home to Syria after holding meetings with Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi in Libya, was not positively identified until October 29 because he was carrying a Libyan passport and was using an alias. The Islamic Jihad, which had taken responsibility for terrorist attacks against Israel in the past, accused the Israeli secret service of plotting the assassination and vowed to take revenge.

October 28
      Vietnam gets civil code

      By an overwhelming margin, Vietnam's National Assembly approved the nation's first civil code. The landmark legislation was considered to rival the nation's constitution in importance. Over a period of 10 years, lawmakers had studied the civil codes of other nations while drafting legislation that was compatible with Vietnam's social conditions. Several days earlier the assembly had approved a fundamental change in the government bureaucracy. It replaced eight existing ministries with three superministries. The move toward greater efficiency was expected to eliminate at least one-third of the jobs in the affected ministries.

October 30
      Quebec keeps status quo

      In an election that had the potential to divide Canada into two separate nations, voters in the predominantly French-speaking province of Quebec rejected by the narrowest of margins a referendum that could have separated Quebec from the rest of Canada. Final tallies showed that 50.6% of the valid ballots favoured union with the rest of Canada, but an analysis of the vote showed that about 60% of French-speaking Quebeckers (who comprised 82% of the province's total population) supported independence. Many of these said that they felt the rest of Canada was insensitive to their deep attachment to their native language and French cultural heritage and that their insistence on greater autonomy had fallen on deaf ears.


November 2
      Daiwa Bank indicted

      The U.S. Justice Department indicted Japanese-owned Daiwa Bank on 24 counts of conspiracy and fraud after concluding that top-ranking bank officials had tried to cover up more than $1 billion in losses it had incurred as a result of illegal bond trading at its New York City offices. Federal and state officials then ordered the bank to close down all of its U.S. operations by February 1996.

November 4
      Rabin assassinated

      Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was shot and killed in Tel Aviv as he was about to enter his car after attending a late-evening rally held to gain support for a peace settlement with the Palestinians. The assailant, Yigal Amir, was seized by security agents as Rabin collapsed with bullets lodged in his chest, back, and abdomen. The young Jewish law student, an ultranationalist vigorously opposed to the peace initiative, said he had acted on orders from God and had no regrets for what he had done. Most Israelis were stunned to learn that their leader had been killed by a fellow Jew, but there were right-wing extremists who declared Amir a hero. On November 6 numerous world leaders attended Rabin's funeral in Jerusalem. Three days later Yasir Arafat, visiting Israel for the first time, offered his personal condolences to Rabin's widow, Leah. In public statements she asserted that the inflammatory rhetoric of the Likud party, led by Benjamin Netanyahu, had created an atmosphere that made her husband's assassination possible.

      Andreotti called murderer

      Giulio Andreotti, who had been elected prime minister of Italy seven times, became the first European leader in modern times to be accused of murder. He was charged with involvement in the 1979 Mafia assassination of Carmine Pecorelli, a journalist, who reportedly had been trying to blackmail Andreotti with information about his alleged ties to Sicilian organized crime figures. Four others, including Italy's former foreign trade minister, were also indicted. The government's case was said to rest on information given it by former mafiosi.

November 5
      Shevardnadze elected

      Voters supported Eduard Shevardnadze by a margin of 3-1 in his bid to win the presidency of the Republic of Georgia. Under the nation's new constitution, Shevardnadze, who had been chairman of Parliament and Georgia's de facto head of state, would hold office for five years. Incomplete results of the parliamentary election indicated that Shevardnadze's Citizens' Union would have substantial representation in the 235-seat national legislature.

November 7
      Rape case angers Japan

      In a courtroom in Naha, Okinawa, three U.S. servicemen pleaded guilty to charges of conspiring to abduct and rape a 12-year-old girl. While all three men admitted that they had actively participated in the crime, only one acknowledged that he had raped the girl. The incident, which had occurred in September, received worldwide coverage. The Japanese were not alone in expressing their outrage and demanding to know why 26,000 U.S. troops were allowed to occupy about one-fifth of the total area of Okinawa's principal island.

November 8
      Powell declines to run

      During a crowded press conference in Alexandria, Va., retired army general Colin Powell declared that he would not seek the U.S. presidency or any other elective office in 1996. He also announced, for the first time, that he was a member of the Republican Party. Powell remarked that he had looked deep into his soul before reaching a decision and recognized that he did not feel "the passion and commitment" needed to run a successful campaign. Nonetheless, he added, he would "speak out forcefully" on political issues in the months ahead. On October 20 Powell had ended a book tour undertaken to promote his memoirs, An American Journey. The enthusiastic crowds that greeted him at each stop underscored his appeal to ordinary Americans and explained why leaders of both major political parties had tried to persuade him to join their ranks.

November 9
      McNamara meets Giap

      During a three-day visit to Vietnam, Robert McNamara, who had been the U.S. secretary of defense during the war in that country, traveled to Hanoi to meet Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap, the wartime commander of North Vietnam's forces. In answer to a question posed by McNamara, Giap denied that Vietnam had attacked the U.S. destroyer Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin for a second time on Aug. 4, 1964. The U.S. Congress, assured at the time that the attack had indeed taken place, passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution authorizing an escalation of the war. McNamara later said he was no longer certain that the attack had actually taken place. In a recently published book, he conceded in retrospect that the U.S. war policy had been a mistake.

      Panday assumes office

      The political standoff that was created in Trinidad and Tobago by the November 6 parliamentary elections was resolved when the United National Congress (UNC) party agreed to form a coalition with the much smaller National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR) party. Basdeo Panday then took the oath of office as prime minister, the first person of East Indian descent to hold that position. The UNC and the ruling People's National Movement (PNM) party had both won 17 seats in the election, but the PNM, which had governed the two-island Caribbean nation for all but five years since 1956, had found its support deteriorating in recent years.

November 11
      Commonwealth meets

      On the second day of their four-day meeting in New Zealand, members of the Commonwealth voted to suspend Nigeria's membership in the organization because of its abuse of human rights. The previous day the military government of Gen. Sani Abacha had hanged the author and environmentalist Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other political activists despite worldwide pleas that they be spared. During the meeting the Commonwealth nations also spent considerable time discussing France's testing of nuclear devices in the Pacific, which had been condemned by a great many nations.

November 13
      Six killed in Riyadh

      A military training and communications centre in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, was rocked by two explosions that killed six people, five of whom were Americans. About 60 other people were injured. The first blast, a car bomb, was targeted at a three-story building that housed members of the Saudi National Guard. Although two different groups quickly took credit for the attack, the only thing that appeared somewhat certain was that the perpetrators opposed Saudi Arabia's ties to the West and possibly harboured resentment against the royal family.

November 15
      Guatemalans split vote

      The Guatemalan government reported that a newly completed tally of the ballots cast in the November 12 presidential election indicated that none of the 19 candidates had come close to winning 50% of the vote, a requirement for outright victory. As a consequence, Alvaro Arzú of the centre-right National Advancement Party (PAN), who finished in first place, would face runner-up Alfonso Portillo of the far-right Guatemalan Republican Front (FRG) in a runoff election in early January 1996. Ramiro de León Carpio, the incumbent president, was constitutionally barred from seeking reelection.

      Hungarian-Slovak row

      The National Council (parliament) of Slovakia passed (108-17, with 17 abstentions) a law declaring that Slovak was the official language of the republic and that it alone could be used in official communications, ceremonies, broadcasting, and advertising. On November 28 Pres. Michal Kovac signed the legislation, which revoked the right of ethnic minorities to use their own languages in public administration where they comprised more than 20% of the population. Hungarians, who made up 10.7% of the country's population, were outraged. Hungary recalled its ambassador after the council vote, and its foreign minister said he would take the matter before the European Union, the Council of Europe, and NATO.

November 16
      Roh Tae Woo arrested

      South Korean police arrested Roh Tae Woo on charges of accepting millions of dollars in bribes during his five-year term as president. In 1988 Roh had become the country's first democratically elected president after promising voters that he would end the corruption that pervaded the outgoing military government of Chun Doo Hwan. In late October uncontrollable circumstances had forced Roh to admit that he had amassed a slush fund of more than $650 million in secret political donations and that about one-third of the money was still in his personal bank accounts. When the news became public, Kim Dae Jung, South Korea's most prominent critic of the government, reported that he had received about $250,000 from Roh during the 1992 presidential campaign. He also contended that Kim Young Sam, who won the election, had received many times that amount in illegal contributions during the same period. Kim quickly denied the charge. Roh told reporters that he took full responsibility for his actions and was prepared to accept whatever punishment was meted out to him.

      Zeroual wins election

      In the first contested presidential election in Algeria since the country gained independence from France in 1962, Liamine Zeroual appeared to have received more than 60% of the popular vote. The former army general had been appointed president by the military government in January 1994, two years after it had canceled the final round of legislative elections that had been expected to give the fundamentalist Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) a majority in the legislature and turn Algeria into an Islamic state. The FIS had urged Algerians to boycott the latest election and in some instances had issued death threats to those who went to the polls. After the election opposition groups claimed that the government's report of a 75% turnout was utterly false.

November 19
      Walesa meets defeat

      In a close runoff presidential election, Aleksander Kwasniewski, leader of the former communist Democratic Left Alliance (SLD), defeated incumbent Lech Walesa by capturing 51.7% of the vote. Analysts reported that Kwasniewski had greater support among young voters who apparently discounted Walesa's warning that a victory by his opponent would mean a revival of communism in Poland. During Walesa's five-year term, the nation had adopted a free-market economy, but the president seemed incapable of building a consensus and had lost the lustre he had acquired as the spokesman for Solidarity, the federation of trade unions that had loosened the communists' hold on the country. Both candidates favoured admission into NATO and membership in the European Union, but they differed sharply when Walesa defended the right of the Roman Catholic Church to have a say in determining certain government policies.

      APEC meets in Japan

      Representatives of the 18 economic powers that constituted the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) organization met in Osaka, Japan, to sign a declaration outlining general principles for achieving free trade among themselves by the year 2020. The blueprint, drafted by Japan, contained no sanctions because participation was voluntary and each state was allowed to work out its own policies for achieving APEC's ultimate goals. Industrialized nations were to strive to reach the goal by the year 2010. Together the members of APEC represented more than one-third of the world's population and accounted for more than 50% of the world's economic production and 40% of the value of world trade. The two most affluent members of APEC were Japan and the U.S.

November 21
      Wei Jingsheng arrested

      The Chinese government formally placed Wei Jingsheng, one of the country's best-known dissidents, under arrest and charged him with attempting to overthrow the government. After spending nearly 15 years in prison for his role in the 1979 Democracy Wall movement, Wei was paroled in September 1993. Because he continued to openly criticize the government's disregard for human rights, and because he had met with John Shattuck, a human rights official with the U.S. State Department, he was taken into custody at an undisclosed location and held incommunicado. The same day that the New China News Agency announced that Wei had been formally arrested, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department said, "We have maintained consistently that Mr. Wei should not be subject to prosecution for the peaceful expression of his political views. We are not aware that Mr. Wei has ever advocated violence." On December 13, after a secret trial that lasted less than a day, Wei was sentenced to 14 years in prison.

November 22
      OPEC retains quotas

      Before concluding a two-day meeting in Vienna, oil ministers of the 12 nations that constitute OPEC agreed to retain for at least an additional six months the level of production it had established in 1994. The members were reminded that exceeding assigned production quotas would depress oil prices and reduce revenues. Total output had been fixed at a little more than 24.5 million bbl a day.

November 23
      CBC cuts U.S. programs

      Recognizing his responsibility "to ensure that Canadian voices continue to be heard in Canadian homes," Perrin Beatty, president of the publicly funded Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), announced that all U.S.-produced television programs would be eliminated from CBC's prime-time schedules. Beatty felt that the change would stimulate the production of more programs by local talent, even though U.S. programs would still be accessible to Canadians through other channels. The cancellation of popular U.S. programs was expected to diminish CBC's revenues by nearly $9 million a year.

November 24
      Irish sanction divorce

      Irish voters were so evenly divided on a referendum allowing divorce that a recount was needed the following day before officials could confirm that 50.3% of the 1.6 million who had cast valid ballots approved removal of the constitutional ban on divorce. If the vote was not challenged in court, in December the ban would no longer have legal standing. Couples who had lived apart for a period of four years could then apply for divorce if they affirmed that there was no hope of reconciling. Under current law couples could legally separate, but they could not remarry.

November 29
      Panchen Lama identified

      In a move that was clearly designed to undercut the authority of Tibet's Dalai Lama, who opposed China's occupation of his country, the Chinese government held an elaborate religious ceremony in Lhasa during which a six-year-old child was declared the 11th Panchen Lama. The Chinese authorities had injected an element of legality into the proceedings by allowing cooperative Buddhist monks to select a new Panchen Lama from among three children selected by the government. On May 14 the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, the Dalai Lama, had exercised his traditional authority by certifying that a different child was the 11th incarnation of the Panchen Lama. The whereabouts of that child were not generally known.


December 1
      Defense bill passed

      Facing the possibility that Congress would refuse to fund the deployment of U.S. troops in Bosnia and Herzegovina if he adhered to his promise to veto a defense bill that was far larger than he wanted, President Clinton allowed the $243.3 billion 1996 Defense Department bill to become law automatically without his signature. On November 16 the House of Representatives had passed the bill by a vote of 270-158 and the Senate by a vote of 59-39.

December 2
      KMT loses ground

      Under the leadership of Lee Teng-hui, president of the Republic of China on Taiwan, the ruling Kuomintang (KMT; Nationalist Party) lost ground in an election to fill seats in the Legislative Yuan. The KMT captured 85 of the 164 seats, the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) 54, the New Party 21, and independents 4. Following the election a proposal was made to abandon the practice of assigning all three top seats in the Legislative Yuan to the ruling party. Instead, the president would come from the ranks of the KMT, the vice president from the DPP, and the secretary-general from the New Party. To free the top two legislators from political pressure, it was suggested that they temporarily resign their party membership. Attention, however, was already shifting to March 1996, when the president would, for the first time, be directly elected by the people.

December 3
      Chun Doo Hwan arrested

      South Korean police arrested former president Chun Doo Hwan on charges of having orchestrated the December 1979 military coup that brought him to power. Roh Tae Woo, an old friend of Chun's from their days in the military and his successor as president, had recently been indicted on charges of bribery. He was also being questioned about his and Chun's roles in the May 1980 massacre of pro-democracy protesters in the city of Kwangju. An investigation of the incident already had been concluded and a decision made not to prosecute either man. Pres. Kim Young Sam then declared the matter finished, but popular resentment kept the incident alive. After his arrest Chun became defiant and went on a hunger strike. On the 26th day he collapsed and was placed on a life-support system.

December 4
      UAW ends long strike

      Despite vociferous objections by some 8,700 striking union employees, officials of the United Automobile Workers union (UAW) called an end to a strike against Caterpillar that had lasted 17 months without significantly affecting the Peoria, Ill.-based firm's production or profits. In June 1994 about 14,000 union workers had walked off their jobs after being without a contract since 1991. Temporary hires, administrative personnel, and eventually some 4,000 former employees who decided to cross the picket lines were able to produce the company's earth-moving equipment. When the strike ended, Caterpillar promised that all those who had been on strike could return to work, but it was not clear what each one's assignment would be.

December 5
      Solana to head NATO

      After weeks of wrangling, NATO's ministers formally agreed that Javier Solana Madariaga would replace Willy Claes as secretary-general of the organization. As the foreign minister of Spain, Solana had been involved in all the discussions that had taken place about NATO's role in the post-Cold War period and about requests to expand NATO's membership to include countries that had belonged to the Eastern bloc. During the meeting, France announced that it was rejoining NATO's military committee, which it had left in 1966 on orders from Pres. Charles de Gaulle. His policy of "national independence" had excluded all agreements except those between nation-states.

December 6
      Egypt holds election

      In the second round of parliamentary elections, Egypt's governing National Democratic Party (NDP) solidified its hold on power by reportedly adding 193 seats to the 124 it had won in the first round of balloting on November 29. The nation's interior minister announced on December 7 that independents would occupy 114 seats, leaving only 13 seats for members of minor parties. Because the NDP had unchallenged control of the People's Assembly, Pres. Hosni Mubarak was in a position to run unopposed when he sought reelection in 1997.

December 7
      Strike cripples France

      Hundreds of thousands of French public-sector workers continued the strike they had initiated on November 24 to protest Prime Minister Alain Juppé's plan to cut welfare spending in order to balance the federal budget. As time passed, the transportation union received growing support from teachers, hospital workers, bank employees, airline personnel, and others sympathetic to their cause. With trains, subways, and buses not operating, most students were unable to get to their schools, and workers had no way to reach their jobs. Virtually every aspect of French life was affected one way or another. During a huge rally in Paris on December 5, protesters overturned cars and clashed with police. On December 10 Juppé made another effort to settle the strike by offering to meet face to face with union leaders. Nothing had been definitively solved when by December 15 many workers had decided to return to their jobs. Neither side had achieved all it had hoped for.

December 8
      Religious law tightened

      During a plenary session of Japan's House of Councillors, the nation's Religious Corporation Law was revised to allow the government to scrutinize religious groups more intently. Among other things, jurisdiction over religious corporations operating in more than one prefecture would shift to the Education Ministry, and all religious corporations would be required to submit annual reports listing their senior officers and financial assets. The Education Ministry, moreover, had the right to grant authorities permission to question, and demand reports from, a religious group when its activities came under suspicion and there was reason to consider ordering it to disband. Soka Gakkai, the nation's largest lay Buddhist organization, vigorously opposed the new law, as did also Shinshinto, the main opposition party, which received substantial support from Soka Gakkai.

December 9
      Mfume gets NAACP post

      The board of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) unanimously elected Kweisi Mfume its top executive officer. Mfume said that in February 1996 he would resign from Congress, where he had been chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, to assume responsibility for the "financial, political, and spiritual health" of the NAACP. The group's reputation had been sullied by financial scandals involving former top executives, and the organization was more than $3 million in debt. Mfume asked for and received the title president and chief executive officer as well as the enhanced authority he felt was needed to carry out his responsibilities.

December 11
      PNA to govern Nabulus

      With the approval of Shimon Peres, who had replaced the late Yitzhak Rabin as prime minister of Israel, responsibility for the local administration of Nabulus, the largest city in the West Bank, was turned over to the Palestinian National Authority (PNA). The departure of Israeli troops after 28 years of occupation kept the peace process on course and assured everyone that Peres would continue the policies Rabin had established. Nabulus, known as a centre of ardent nationalism, was in fact the fourth West Bank city to gain limited autonomy. The enclave of Jericho had been the first, in May 1994. In recent weeks Janin and then Tulkarm had been turned over to the PNA.

      Terrorists admit guilt

      Two Japanese men, former members of the religious cult Aum Shinrikyo, admitted in court that they had released toxic sarin gas in Tokyo subway trains in March with the intention of committing indiscriminate murder. The gas killed 12 persons and injured thousands of others. Prosecutors had concluded that 10 persons were directly involved in the attack, 5 who released the gas and 5 who drove them to the subway stations. The men said they had acted on orders from Shoko Asahara, who was in prison charged with murder and other crimes.

December 13
      EU-Turkey trade pact

      During a meeting in France, the European Parliament, the legislative branch of the European Union (EU), approved a customs pact with Turkey. By adopting many of the regulations governing trade within the EU, Turkey would be allowed to participate in the EU market as an outsider. Critics cited Turkey's treatment of separatist Kurds as evidence of its disregard for human rights and argued that such conduct should exclude it from membership in the EU. Others, however, pointed to the reforms Turkey had initiated and argued that membership in the EU would bolster its fledgling democracy.

December 14
      Peace agreement signed

      During a ceremony in Paris, the four-year civil war in Bosnia and Herzegovina officially came to an end when the presidents of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Croatia affixed their signatures to a peace agreement. A vital provision of the accord called for the deployment of 60,000 NATO troops, whose mission would be to maintain peace by keeping the former combatants apart. The U.S. contingent of 20,000 men was the largest single military group, but numerous other nations, notably Great Britain and France, were contributing military support. The U.S. Congress held heated debates about U.S. participation, which President Clinton insisted was absolutely essential to keep the peace initiative from total collapse. Congress finally supported the measure, but in some cases congressmen—believing that Clinton had the authority to dispatch the troops with or without congressional approval—indicated that their vote was a gesture of support for the troops but not for Clinton's policy.

December 15
      ASEAN is nuclear-free

      The seven members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) concluded a two-day meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, after signing a pact declaring their region a nuclear-free zone. The declaration prohibited the "possession, manufacture, and acquisition" of nuclear weapons in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Cambodia and Laos, which had only observer status, and Myanmar (Burma), which hoped to obtain that status, also signed the document.

December 17
      Russians elect Duma

      Incomplete tallies of the votes cast in an election to fill the 450 seats in Russia's State Duma indicated that the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, under the leadership of Gennady Zyuganov, had won control of a large percentage of the seats. Its candidates blamed the government for Russia's decline. The second largest bloc was expected to be the Liberal Democratic Party, led by ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky. Although the reformists—followers of Pres. Boris Yeltsin and Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin—did not have the strength to challenge the major political blocs in the State Duma, government policies were not likely to be much affected by the election because the Russian president had constitutional powers that far exceeded those of the State Duma.

      Austrians go to polls

      Following the breakup of Austria's ruling coalition, voters gave the Social Democrats of Chancellor Franz Vranitzky 38.3% of the vote (an increase of 3.4% over 1994) and the People's Party 28.3% (a 0.6% increase). The Freedom Party retained the 22.1% it had before the election. Losses were suffered by the environmentalist Greens and the Liberal Party. It appeared that the Social Democratic Party and the People's Party would reunite in a new coalition early in 1996.

December 18
      Security pact signed

      With Indonesian President Suharto and Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating presiding over the ceremony, the foreign ministers of their two countries signed a mutual security pact in Jakarta, Indonesia's capital. The two nations agreed to foster "such cooperation as would benefit their own security and that of the region," but the treaty did not oblige either country to assist the other militarily during an emergency. There was heated criticism of Keating, both at home and abroad, for signing a treaty with a nation whose annexation of the former Portuguese colony of East Timor had never been recognized by the United Nations and whose military operations against East Timorese dissidents had been denounced repeatedly by human rights organizations.

      Seal quotas raised

      Brian Tobin, Canada's minister of fisheries, announced in Nova Scotia that beginning in 1996, seal hunters would be allowed to harvest up to 250,000 seals annually along Canada's Atlantic coast. The new quota amounted to an increase of about 30% over the present limit. Dismissing protests from animal rights protesters, Tobin said that the country's harp seal population had doubled to 4.8 million since 1982 and that seals were at least partly responsible for shrinking stocks of cod and other fish in Canada's coastal waters. The shortage had led to a moratorium on fishing certain species, which in turn resulted in financial losses for commercial fishermen.

December 20
      Queen urges divorce

      Buckingham Palace confirmed that earlier in the month Queen Elizabeth II had sent letters to her son, Prince Charles, and to his wife, Diana, urging them to seek a divorce as quickly as possible. The royal couple's failed marriage had been almost daily fodder for tabloids all over the world. After the two announced their separation, they were hounded everywhere they went. In November Diana had violated royal protocol by granting a television interview without the queen's knowledge or consent. Diana's on-camera admission that she had had an affair reportedly shocked the queen and caused her to advise an immediate divorce.

December 31
      U.S. agencies shut down

      A final effort to reach a federal budget compromise that would allow several hundred thousand federal workers to return to their jobs after New Year's Day failed when Republicans and Democrats in the Senate and House of Representatives and President Clinton rejected the others' conditions for ending the stalemate. The shutdown of government offices that resulted when budgets were unfunded or underfunded had created chaos in some quarters and serious inconveniences in others. The U.S. Postal Service, however, continued to operate because it functioned independently. The budget crisis had little to do with money. It was rather the result of deep philosophical differences over the role of government in people's lives. With virtually every avenue of compromise already explored and neither side indicating a willingness to abandon its principles, it was impossible to predict how long the stalemate would last.

* * *

Universalium. 2010.

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