Calendar of 1997

Calendar of 1997
▪ 1998


      Ghanaian Kofi Annan replaces Egyptian Boutros Boutros-Ghali in the position of United Nations secretary-general.

      Among those knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in the annual New Year's Day ceremony is pop musician and former Beatle Paul McCartney (see October 14 (Calendar of 1997 )).

      Texaco Inc. begins paying a 10% salary increase to African-American employees in response to charges of past racial discrimination in the company.

      Singapore's Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong leads his People's Action Party to a resounding 81-2 electoral victory over the opposition.

      The Nakhodka, a Russian-owned tanker carrying 19 million litres (119,000 bbl) of fuel oil, breaks in two off the coast of Japan.

      The Serbian Orthodox Church issues a statement supporting the opposition Zajedno group and condemning Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic; the church earlier endorsed Milosevic.

      The Assembly of the Union, the new parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina, meets under the cochairmanship of Haris Silajdzic (a Muslim) and Boro Bosic (a Serb) and approves a Cabinet.

      At the town of Sodere, representatives of 26 Somali factions meet and agree to form a National Salvation Council, a step on the road to a national government.

      Two Hutu, Deogratias Bizimana and Egide Gatanazi, become the first persons in Rwanda to be found guilty of having committed genocide during the 1994 massacres; they are sentenced to death.

      Bryant Gumbel completes his last "Today" show on NBC television.

      Der Spiegel, the German weekly news magazine, celebrates its 50th anniversary.

      Storms in Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro states of Brazil on January 4-5 kill at least 65 people and leave hundreds of thousands homeless.

      Henk Angenent triumphs over 16,000 other entrants in the 15th Elfstedentocht (Eleven Cities Tour), a grueling 200-km (125-mi) ice- skating race on the frozen canals in The Netherlands.

      French soldiers kill at least 10 army mutineers and capture dozens of others as violence continues in the aftermath of the mutiny that began in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, late in 1996.

      It is reported that the government of Greek Cyprus has ordered a number of Russian surface-to-air missiles; there is great concern that this could alter the delicate balance of power between the Greek and Turkish entities that divide the island.

      The Canadian government and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police issue a formal apology to former prime minister Brian Mulroney and acknowledge that their allegations that he had received bribes were unjustified.

      Widespread strikes resume in South Korea, largely in protest against the imposition of a new labour law (see January 21).

      Pakistan establishes a Council for Defence and National Security, chaired by the president; the action gives the military a formal role in Pakistani politics for the first time in recent years.

      The U.S. Congress begins its 105th session; Newt Gingrich is reelected speaker of the House of Representatives in a close vote following allegations of ethical improprieties by Gingrich.

      Apple Computer, Inc., unveils its plans for a new operating system incorporating technology from NeXT Software, Inc.

      The ruling Grimaldi family of Monaco celebrates its 700th anniversary; the tiny principality in the western Mediterranean begins a yearlong celebration.

      The Intel Corp. launches its new MMX computer chip, an upgrade of the Pentium chip.

      The U.S. Supreme Court begins hearing appeals from states seeking to overturn lower court rulings that would prohibit physician-assisted suicide.

      The U.S. electoral college formally votes for the president and vice president.

      Pres. Hosni Mubarak of Egypt inaugurates an $810 million project to irrigate a large area of desert from Lake Nasser on the Nile in Upper Egypt.

      A full-page letter signed by 34 cultural and entertainment personalities protesting the German government's "organized persecution" of members of the Church of Scientology is published in the International Herald Tribune (see January 29).

      Acknowledging the "possibility of illegal activities," Volkswagen A.G. agrees to pay $100 million to the General Motors Corp. in partial settlement of the latter's industrial espionage suit.

      Police in Brazil's Mato Grosso state begin a two-week program to remove 8,000-12,000 miners and loggers who are threatening the environment and the culture of the small indigenous Kathitaullu tribe.

      Ethnic unrest continues in Burundi; in Muyinga province the Tutsi-dominated army shoots dead 126 Hutu refugees returning from Tanzania.

      Hans Werner Henze's opera Venus and Adonis receives its world premiere at the Bavarian State Opera, Munich.

      HAL (in full, HAL 9000, production number 3), the computer featured in Stanley Kubrick's 1968 motion picture 2001: A Space Odyssey, is born, according to the film script, in Urbana, Ill.

      Two of the four female cadets enrolled at the Citadel withdraw, saying that they have been subjected to harassment and hazing.

      Pres. Abdala Bucaram of Ecuador visits Pres. Alberto Fujimori of Peru—the first official visit by an Ecuadorian president in 150 years.

      Vernon Baker becomes the first living African-American to be awarded the Medal of Honor for service in World War II.

      Imata Kabua is elected president of the Marshall Islands by the Nitijela (legislature).

      Greek archaeologists announce that they have discovered an ancient site in Athens that may have been Aristotle's Lyceum.

      The U.S. space shuttle Atlantis, with a crew of six, docks with the Russian space station Mir, which has a crew of two.

      Representatives of Israel and Palestine sign the Hebron agreement, which provides for the redeployment of Israeli troops in that West Bank city; in less than two months, however, the two sides are at odds again.

      ChinaByte, an Internet service sponsored jointly by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. and the Communist Party of China's newspaper, People's Daily, is launched.

      Raytheon purchases Hughes Aircraft in a new round of consolidation of American defense companies.

      The Sundance Film Festival opens in Salt Lake City, Utah; on January 26 the Grand Jury Prize for a dramatic film goes to Jonathan Nossiter's Sunday.

      Friedrich St. Florian's design for a World War II memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., is selected as the winner in a nationwide contest.

      The report of a formal investigation confirms allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate conduct on the part of Canadian military personnel in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1993.

      Norwegian Børge Ousland becomes the first person to ski solo across Antarctica; the 2,695-km (1,675-mi) trek, during which he pulled a 180-kg (400-lb) sled, took 64 days.

      An international hot air balloon festival begins at Château-d'Oex, Switz.

      Petar Stoyanov of the Union of Democratic Forces is inaugurated as Bulgarian president; he takes office on January 22.

      Thousands of Albanians demonstrate in Tiranë's Skanderbeg Square after a pyramid investment scheme collapses; pyramid schemes are banned by the government on January 23.

      Evita is the top film in the 54th annual Golden Globe Awards ceremony in Beverly Hills, Calif., winning in three categories.

      U.S. celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr., Holiday, honouring the birth (Jan. 25, 1929, Atlanta, Ga.) of the civil rights leader.

      Inauguration Day: Bill Clinton is inaugurated as U.S. president for a second term in Washington, D.C.

      Near Sultanpur, India, Steve Fossett abandons his effort to become the first person to fly nonstop around the world in a hot air balloon after having traveled more than 16,000 km (9,900 mi); this distance is still almost twice the previous distance record, which Fossett, a former securities broker, held.

      Edith Haisman, 100, the oldest survivor of the sinking of the Titanic on April 14-15, 1912, dies in Southampton, Eng.; only 7 of the 705 survivors are still living (see December 19).

      German and Czech leaders sign a joint reconciliation agreement in which both sides express regret over what happened during World War II.

      South Korean Pres. Kim Young Sam meets with leaders of the main political parties and agrees to revise the controversial labour law; on January 23 the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development takes the unusual step of censuring the law (see January 6, 23).

      The Swedish central Riksbank announces it will look into its wartime financial transactions with an eye to finding possible receipt of looted Nazi gold (see January 23).

      Seven cows, the first in Germany to be discovered with "mad cow" disease, are destroyed.

      Humane Society International announces a five-year, $1 million plan for the protection of the elephant population in South Africa's Kruger National Park.

      In Rio de Janeiro the Association of Coffee Producing Countries begins a two-day meeting and agrees to cut back exports for the first half of the year.

      This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius for many astrologers: for the first time since 1475, a number of planets, the Sun, and the Moon are aligned in a perfect six-pointed star in the first degrees of Aquarius.

      Madeleine Albright is sworn in as U.S. secretary of state, the first woman to hold the job.

      The Hanbo Business Group, South Korea's 14th largest conglomerate, which includes the huge Hanbo Iron and Steel Co., collapses under its debts, and bankruptcy proceedings begin (see January 21, October 22 (Calendar of 1997 )).

      The government and the banking community in Switzerland agree to establish a fund to aid victims of the Holocaust and their families (see January 21).

      Tung Chee-hwa, chief executive of the Hong Kong special administrative region, announces the membership of the Executive Council; the HKSAR assembly convenes for the first time on January 25 and elects Rita Fan as speaker.

      Materials posted on the World Wide Web by researchers at Yale University prove that Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia orchestrated killings of very large numbers of people in the 1970s.

      Hong Kong postage stamps bearing the likeness of Queen Elizabeth II are withdrawn from sale, to be replaced by a new 16-stamp set with a view of the Hong Kong waterfront.

      Martina Hingis of Switzerland wins the women's competition in the Australian Open in Melbourne (at 16, the youngest woman to win a grand-slam tennis tournament in 110 years); Pete Sampras wins the men's competition on January 26.

      The Green Bay Packers defeat the New England Patriots by a score of 35-21 in Superbowl XXXI in New Orleans.

      Jacob William Pasaye of Palatine, Ill., is born 92 days after his twin brother, Joshua; the span between births of twins is believed to be a record.

      The Russian republic of Chechnya holds presidential and parliamentary elections; Aslan Maskhadov is elected president.

      Physical Review Letters reports that a team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology led by Wolfgang Ketterle has developed an atom laser, which is similar to an optical laser but emits atoms rather than light.

      Engineers begin working on a spectacular new rail tunnel under Berlin's future government quarter.

      South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission announces that former police officers have confessed to political killings in the apartheid era and have requested amnesty from the state.

      Demonstrations take place in Brussels against the Belgian government's decision to cut expenditures in order to qualify for the European single currency.

      The Supreme Court of Pakistan rules that the dismissal of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto by the president on charges of corruption will stand.

      The U.S. Department of State releases its annual survey of human rights; included in the listing of countries that have committed human rights abuses is Germany for its treatment of members of the Church of Scientology (see January 9).

      As fighting continues between Zairean rebel forces and loyal troops, the central government accuses Uganda of having invaded its territory by sending in some 2,000 troops.

      Panama and Colombia sign an agreement to establish a 600,000-sq km (230,000-sq mi) park in the Darien jungle region that will span the border of the two countries.

      A tiny portrait by Rembrandt, only 11 6.5 cm (4.25 2.5 in), is sold by Sotheby's for $2.9 million, probably the most ever paid for a painting on a per-square-centimetre basis.

      Marc Dutroux, already charged with serious crimes in connection with the exposure of a pedophile ring in Belgium, is charged with the murder of two children.

      The journal Science reports that researchers in the U.S. and Australia have discovered a gene linked to the most common form of glaucoma.


February 1
      The new government of Gabon, headed by Prime Minister Paulin Obame-Nguéma and comprising mainly ministers from his Gabonese Democratic Party, is confirmed; the ministers had been named on January 28.

      The Sixth World Winter Games open in Toronto, drawing 2,000 mentally handicapped athletes from more than 80 countries.

February 2
      In protest over the closing of the Forges de Clabecq, the bankrupt steelworks, some 80,000 people demonstrate in Wallonia, Belg.

      Jeremy Sonnenfeld, a student at the University of Nebraska, becomes the first person ever to bowl a perfect 900 (in a three-game series) sanctioned by the American Bowling Congress.

      "Sculpture of Angkor and Ancient Cambodia: Millennium of Glory" opens at the Grand Palais in Paris; the exhibition will later travel to Washington, D.C., Tokyo, and Osaka, Japan.

February 3
      Nawaz Sharif and his Pakistan Muslim League (134 seats) decisively defeat recently ousted Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and her Pakistan People's Party (18 seats) in legislative elections (see February 17).

      The Netherlands, which has one of the most liberal drug policies in the world, signs an agreement with France aimed at plugging drug-smuggling routes between the two countries.

February 4
      Pres. Bill Clinton delivers the annual state of the union address to the U.S. Congress; he promises more federal support for education and a balanced budget by the year 2002 (see February 6).

      A jury in Santa Monica, Calif., finds O.J. Simpson liable in the wrongful death of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman and instructs him to pay $8.5 million in compensation (see February 10).

      Two Israeli army helicopters collide over northern Israel, killing 73 military personnel; the air disaster is the country's worst ever.

      Cigar is named North America's Horse of the Year (1996) for the second straight year at the Eclipse Awards in Bal Harbour, Fla.; he is the first horse to receive the award in two successive years since Affirmed did so in 1978 and 1979.

February 5
      The government of Switzerland approves the establishment of a fund to compensate victims of the Holocaust.

      Morgan Stanley, a large U.S. investment bank, and Dean Witter, a retail broker that owns the Discover credit card, announce that they will merge to form a company valued at $24 billion.

      With a pair of T-shirts, Stephen Hawking settles a bet he lost with fellow physicists John Preskill and Kip Thorne after it is proved to the satisfaction of all three that the laws of physics do allow for the existence of a naked singularity.

February 6
      President Clinton submits the 1998 U.S. budget to Congress; it outlines a balanced budget by 2002.

      Riots break out in the southern suburbs of Johannesburg, S.Af., mostly involving the country's Coloured (i.e., mixed-race) population.

      The German government announces that unemployment in the country has reached a seasonally unadjusted rate of 12.2%, the highest figure since 1933.

February 7
      Haitian Pres. René Préval distributes some 1,000 ha (2,500 ac) of land to 1,600 peasant farmers, a rare occurrence in Haitian history.

      The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service reports that the number of illegal immigrants in the U.S. had reached five million by October 1996.

February 8
      The Panamanian-flag tanker San Jorge runs aground 32 km (20 mi) south of Punta del Este, Uruguay, spilling much of its cargo into the sea; by mid-March some 1,500 sea lions have died as a result of the spill.

      With a victory over the Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings coach Scotty Bowman becomes the first National Hockey League coach to win 1,000 games.

February 9
      Vice Pres. Rosalia Arteaga of Ecuador is sworn in as president—the first woman to hold the position—following the dismissal from office of Abdalá Bucaram Ortíz, called "El Loco" for his unorthodox behavior; she resigns two days later (see February 12).

      For the first time, France's far-right National Front wins a municipal election with an absolute majority, and its candidate, Catherine Mégret, becomes mayor of Vitrolles, near Marseille (see March 29 (Calendar of 1997 )).

February 10
      The jury in the civil trial of O.J. Simpson calls for him to pay punitive damages of $25 million in addition to the compensatory damages of $8.5 million (see February 4).

      Jury selection for the retrial of Heidi Fleiss, "the Hollywood madam," begins in Los Angeles.

      At the annual Milia multimedia fair in Cannes, France (February 8-12), Peter Gabriel's CD Eve is awarded the Milia d'Or grand prize.

February 11
      The Media Research Center concludes its survey of the new American television rating system and judges it a failure in providing guidance to parents about suitability of programming for children.

      Parsifal Di Casa Netzer ("Pa"), a champion standard schnauzer owned by Rita Holloway and Gabrio Del Torre, wins the best-in-show honours at the 121st annual Westminster Kennel Club Show in New York City.

      Diane Wood, a nurse from Shrewsbury, Mass., wins $1 million, the largest payout from a bingo game in history.

February 12
      Fabián Alarcón Rivera is sworn in as interim president of Ecuador following the dismissal of President Bucaram and a week of constitutional chaos (see February 9).

      A proposal for a constitutional amendment setting term limits for members of the U.S. Congress is defeated in the House of Representatives, which effectively ends a movement that had begun in the 1980s.

      The reward being offered by Iran's 15th Khordad Foundation for the assassination of author Salman Rushdie is raised another $500,000 to a total of $2,500,000.

      Japan's Institute of Space and Astronautical Science launches the MUSES-B (renamed HALCA) satellite radio telescope, described as one million times more powerful than the U.S.'s Hubble telescope and the largest astronomical "instrument" ever created.

      Moroccan runner Hicham al-Guerrouj breaks the indoor record for the mile with a time of 3:48.45; the previous record of 3:49.28, set by Irishman Eamonn Coghlan, had stood for 14 years and was the sport's oldest record.

February 13
      Sinqobili Mabhena, a 23-year-old native of Bulawayo, Zimb., is elected nduna (chief) of the Ndebele tribe, the first women to hold that position.

      Former representative Bill Richardson from New Mexico is sworn in as U.S. ambassador to the UN.

      The Dow Jones industrial average, continuing its fastest rise ever, tops 7,000 points for the first time.

      The New England Journal of Medicine reports that a study by two University of Toronto researchers indicates that the risk of a traffic accident is four to five times greater for persons who use car phones—virtually the same risk as driving drunk.

February 14
      A chain of 220,000 people extending more than 96 km (60 mi) in Germany protests planned reductions in government coal subsidies.

      It is announced in Sydney that an Australian farmer accidentally discovered a 220 million-year-old fossil of what is believed to be a new type of amphibian on a rock that he was using to landscape his garden.

February 15
      At a conference in Geneva, 67 countries agree to open their telecommunications markets to all competition.

      Tara Lipinski, 14, in competition in Nashville, Tenn., becomes the youngest American figure-skating champion in history; in Lausanne, Switz., on March 22, she goes on to become the youngest woman to win a world championship.

February 16
      Jeff Gordon, driving a Chevrolet sponsored by DuPont Refinishes, wins the 39th annual running of the Daytona 500 NASCAR auto race in Florida.

      The Laurence Olivier Theatre Awards for the 1996 season are announced in London; Tommy (outstanding musical production) and Stanley (best new play) take many of the top prizes.

February 17
      Sharif is formally elected and sworn in as Pakistan's prime minister (see February 3).

      Christophe Auguin, a former high-school teacher from Normandy, wins the Vendée Globe sailing race and sets a record for a solo round-the-world sail: 105 days 20 hours 31 minutes.

      The Virginia House of Delegates votes unanimously to retire the state's official song, "Carry Me Back to Old Virginny" (written by James A. Bland, a black composer and minstrel), which has been criticized for text that glorifies slavery.

      Blackjack (also known as variety QA 194), the darkest tulip ever bred, is presented by its developers in Bovenkarspel, Neth.

February 18
      Author E.L. Konigsberg wins the Newbery Medal and illustrator David Wisniewski receives the Caldecott Medal in the annual awards for children's literature from the Association for Library Service to Children.

      A mud slide strikes two mountain villages southeast of Lima, Peru; at least 300 people are feared dead.

      The outlawed Confederation of Trade Unions begins a series of nationwide strikes in South Korea.

February 19
      China's paramount leader, Deng Xiaoping, who introduced market-opening econimic reforms in 1978, dies in Beijing.

      Gen. Jesús Gutiérrez Rebollo, the head of Mexico's National Drug Agency, is arrested on charges of being in the pay of a leading drug trafficker; Oscar Malherbe de León, leader of the "Gulf Cartel" is arrested on February 26.

      DESY, the German Electron Synchrotron in Hamburg, Ger., reports that two teams may have discovered the hybrid "leptoquark," which possesses the characteristics of both leptons and quarks and would be the heaviest known subatomic particle.

February 20
      Frank Williams, a Formula One team chief, and five others go on trial for manslaughter in the 1994 death of Brazilian driver Ayrton Senna.

      The spacecraft Galileo makes its closest pass to Jupiter's moon Europa; photos taken seem to show large blocks of ice and suggest a large subsurface ocean.

      An eight-member panel convened by the U.S. National Institutes of Health reports that some seriously ill patients may derive therapeutic benefits from smoking marijuana.

February 21
      Serbian Democratic Party leader Zoran Djindjic takes over as mayor of Belgrade; this is the highest post to be won by the opposition to Serbian Pres. Slobodan Milosevic and his Socialist Party.

      Jeanne Calment of Arles, France, believed to be the world's oldest person, celebrates her 122nd birthday; she dies in August 1997, and the Guinness Book of Records finds that Marie-Louise Febronie Meilleur, 116, of Quebec is now the oldest person.

February 22
      Brasil Raça ("Brazil Race"), a new magazine for that country's blacks, is launched; the 250,000 copies of the first issue sell out in two days.

      The third annual Screen Actors Guild Awards ceremony takes place in Los Angeles; winners include Geoffrey Rush, Frances McDormand, Dennis Franz, and Gillian Anderson.

February 23
      Palestinian Ali Abu Kamak opens fire on the observation deck of the Empire State Building in New York City, killing one tourist and wounding six before taking his own life.

      A fire rages through temporary structures erected for the followers of Swami Nigamananda near Baripada, Orissa state, India, and kills more than 110 people.

      It is announced that Ian Wilmut and colleagues at the Roslin Institute, near Edinburgh, have accomplished the first successful cloning of an adult mammal; the result is a sheep named Dolly.

February 24
      Qatar's emir inaugurates Ras Laffan, one of the world's largest gas-exporting facilities, comprising an industrial port and the Persian Gulf state's first gas-liquefaction plant.

      U.S. Robotics announces that it has begun shipping its new 56,000-bits-per-second (56K) modems, the fastest on the market.

      The Whitbread Book of the Year Award is given to Irish poet Seamus Heaney's The Spirit Level.

      The Golden Berlin Bear award of the Berlin International Film Festival goes to Milos Forman's The People vs. Larry Flynt; the festival opened on February 13.

February 25
      South Korean Pres. Kim Young Sam makes a public apology on television for the scandal surrounding the collapse of the Hanbo Group; Kim's own son has been implicated in the affair (see January 23 (Calendar of 1997 )).

      The fourth International Non-Governmental Organization Conference on Land Mines opens in Maputo, Mozambique (through February 28).

February 26
      Amid controversy and condemnation from several quarters, the Israeli government approves the establishment of a Jewish settlement at Har Homa, a hill in East Jerusalem that links the West Bank with East Jerusalem, an area claimed by the Palestinians.

      The 39th annual Grammy awards are presented in New York City; among the winners are Eric Clapton, LeAnn Rimes, Celine Dion, Kenneth ("Babyface") Edmunds, Toni Braxton, Hillary Clinton, and Pete Seeger.

February 27
      Ireland officially lifts the ban on divorce.

      Nature magazine reports that archaeologists excavating in a coal mine near Hannover, Ger., have discovered wooden spears believed to be the oldest intact hunting weapons used by humans.

      Anna Lelkes, a harpist who had played with the Vienna Philharmonic for 26 years, becomes the first official female member after the orchestra votes to end its all-male policy.

February 28
      New regulations to cut down smoking among teenagers—requiring that persons up to age 27 prove that they are at least 18 years old when purchasing tobacco products—go into effect in the U.S.

      Science magazine reports that scientists have dated stone tools found near Yakutsk, Siberia, to 300,000 years—a much earlier date than had been thought possible for primitive humans to have lived that close to the Arctic Circle.

      The federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Republika Srpska, the entity formed by the Bosnian Serbs, sign an agreement to establish "special ties."


March 1
      The Albanian People's Assembly declares a state of emergency because of continuing violence in the southern regions of the country; Sali Berisha (who is reelected president on March 3) orders the government of Prime Minister Aleksander Meksi to resign.

      Some 5,000 skinheads in Munich, Ger., protest an art exhibit that links the German army with atrocities during World War II.

      The 15th biannual Pan-African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO) concludes in the Burkina Faso capital; the winner of the Grand Prize-Etalon de Yennenga is the film by Gaston Kaboré, Buud Yam.

March 2
      Stock and other financial trading is suspended in Thailand as several financial institutions teeter on the brink of collapse (see August 11 (Calendar of 1997 )).

      The Nordic world skiing championships close in Norway (they began on February 20); Yelena Vyalbe of Russia is the first ever to sweep the five gold medals in women's cross-country events.

March 3
      U.S. Pres. Bill Clinton announces a ban on federal funds for human cloning research pending a report from the National Bioethics Advisory Committee (see February 23 (Calendar of 1997 )).

      The discovery of remnants off Beaufort Inlet, N.C., presumedly of Queen Anne's Revenge, the flagship of the English pirate Blackbeard, which foundered in 1718, is announced by a team of marine archaeologists.

      In its annual rating of the restaurants of France, the Guide Michelin awards its top honours—three stars—to 18 establishments, the same number as last year; Alain Ducasse becomes the first chef ever to win five stars (for two restaurants).

March 4
      In a U.S. federal court, Harold J. Nicholson pleads guilty to charges of spying for Russia, the highest-ranking U.S. CIA official ever to do so; his trial begins in Alexandria, Va., on March 10.

      The flooding Ohio River rises to its highest crest in 30 years; floods affect several states, with at least 30 persons dead and property damage exceeding $500 million.

      The Svobodny cosmodrome, 100 km (60 mi) north of the city of Blagoveshchensk, is inaugurated as Russia's new space launch facility with the liftoff of a satellite-bearing rocket.

March 5
      The charter establishing the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IORAEC) is signed by representatives of Australia and 13 countries of Africa and Asia meeting in Port Louis, Mauritius.

      It is announced that Pandurang Shastri Athavale of Bombay (Mumbai) will receive the 1997 John M. Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion, valued at $1.2 million.

      President Clinton signs a directive requiring that legal immigrants wishing to purchase a handgun prove residence of 90 days in the state of purchase.

March 6
      It is announced that Great Western Financial, a large savings institution, will be acquired by Washington Mutual in a $6.6 billion deal that creates the largest savings and loan institution in the U.S.

      Queen Elizabeth II of England inaugurates the Royal Web site (http://www.royal. with a message to students at the Nakina (Ont.) Public School.

March 7
      Pres. Boris Yeltsin appoints Anatoly B. Chubais, who is widely disliked among Russian government officials, first deputy prime minister to oversee the country's economic reform program (see February 9 (Calendar of 1997 )).

      Using mitochondrial DNA analysis techniques, scientists in Great Britain prove a genetic link between a 9,000-year-old skeleton known as Cheddar Man and a schoolteacher who lives in the same neighbourhood where the remains were found.

March 8
      The first international conference on maternal mortality attracts some 2,500 researchers to Marrakech, Mor.

      James N. Burmeister is sentenced to two life terms in the penitentiary without possibility of parole after being convicted in February of the random murder of a black couple as part of a racist skinhead initiation.

March 9
      The world indoor athletic (track and field) championships end in Paris (began March 7); Wilson Kipketer, who was born in Kenya but is running for Denmark, sets a world record of 1:42.67 in the 800 m.

March 10
      The Progressive Citizens' Party of Liechtenstein withdraws from the coalition that has governed the Alpine principality since 1938, and the government collapses (see April 9 (Calendar of 1997 )).

March 11
      Bashkim Fino, a member of the opposition Socialist Party of Albania and former mayor of the southern city of Gjirokastër, is appointed prime minister; the popular Socialist leader Fatos Nano is released from prison on March 13 (see March 1, April 12 (Calendar of 1997 )).

      Strikes by miners in Germany reach a peak when about 20,000 workers besiege Bonn and paralyze the city for one day; steelworkers in the industrial Ruhr area strike on March 18 and 24.

      A fire and explosion at the Tokaimura nuclear-waste-reprocessing plant in Japan exposes 37 workers to low-level radioactivity.

      The Columbus Quest defeats the Richmond Rage 77-64 to win the first-ever championship of the women's professional American Basketball League in Columbus, Ohio.

      Martin Buser wins the 1,770-km (1,100-mi) Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska, in 9 days 8 hours 31.75 minutes; five dogs die in the competition, which refuels protests from animal rights groups.

March 12
      A court in Lagos, Nigeria, accuses Wole Soyinka, the Nobel Prize-winning novelist, and 14 others of high treason; two days earlier Soyinka had publicly criticized the regime of Gen. Sani Abacha.

      Two large insurance brokers, Marsh & McLennan Companies and Johnson & Higgins, announce that they are merging in a $1.8 billion deal that will form the largest insurance brokerage in the world.

March 13
      French police announce that they have arrested more than 250 people and confiscated thousands of videocassettes in connection with a crackdown on child pornography.

      Sister Nirmala, a 63-year-old Indian-born nun, is selected to take over the Order of Missionaries of Charity, the mission established by Mother Teresa (see September 5 (Calendar of 1997 )).

March 14
      President Clinton undergoes surgery on a knee after having sustained an injury in the early hours of the morning when he missed a step and stumbled at a friend's home in Florida.

      The journal Genome Research reports that David Schlessinger and a team of scientists at the Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Mo., have completed a high-resolution map of the X chromosome, one of the major goals of the Human Genome Project.

      Sprinter Michael Johnson, world record holder in the 200-m dash, wins the Sullivan Award as the best amateur athlete of 1996.

March 15
      The strategically important city of Kisangani, Zaire, falls to rebel forces (see March 24).

      In Canada Giles Duceppe is elected leader of the Bloc Québecois, succeeding Michel Gauthier.

      Dean Smith, coach of the University of North Carolina basketball team, wins his 877th game, a new record for a college coach.

March 16
      Demonstrations in Brussels bring out tens of thousands of workers disgruntled with job losses and what they consider inhumane conditions at their companies and an uncaring government.

March 17
      Anthony Lake, who had been nominated by President Clinton to become director of central intelligence, withdraws his candidacy, calling the process of confirmation by the U.S. Senate a "political circus."

      The Ford Motor Co announces that after 43 years it will stop production of the Thunderbird.

March 18
      Israel begins construction of 6,500 houses for Jewish settlers at Jabal Abu Ghaneim in East Jerusalem, defying international opposition and precipitating weeks of demonstrations in the area.

      "Henry Dreyfuss Directing Design," a major show of the late American industrial designer, opens at New York City's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.

March 19
      Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos visits Macedonia, the first Cabinet-level official to do so; Greece has resisted the use of the name Macedonia and other manifestations of sovereignty by the former Yugoslav republic.

      Mansoor Sarfarazi of the University of Connecticut Health Center and his coworkers report that they have identified the major gene responsible for primary congenital glaucoma.

March 20
      Presidents Yeltsin and Clinton begin a two-day summit meeting in Helsinki, Fin.; the top item on the agenda is the expansion of the NATO alliance to include countries of Eastern Europe.

      Liggett Group Inc., one of the top five American tobacco manufacturers, breaks ranks with the other leading companies and admits that smoking is addictive and that it causes lung cancer, heart disease, and emphysema.

      Archaeologists excavating in eastern Dominican Republic discover a city of the Taino, the indigenous people who met Columbus in 1492; the city may be the same one whose destruction was described by the early missionary Bartolomé de Las Casas.

March 21
      A U.S. district judge approves a record $176 million settlement of the race-discrimination lawsuit reached between Texaco Inc. and its African-American employees (see January 1 (Calendar of 1997 )).

      The discovery of tiny fragments of the Spanish flu virus that killed 20 million people around the world in 1918 is announced in the journal Science; scientists hope to determine what made the virus so deadly.

      The Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Brussels marks its centennial until July 27; a special exhibit of 250 works by Belgian artist Paul Delvaux opens.

March 22
      The Dalai Lama begins his first visit ever to Taiwan (through March 27); following the visit, the Tibetan government in exile opens a liaison office in Taipei.

      Sunset Boulevard, the musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber, closes on Broadway after nearly a two-and-a-half-year, 977-performance run; the elaborately staged production did not make a profit.

March 23
      Comet Hale-Bopp makes its closest approach, about 193 million km (120 million mi) from Earth.

      Belarus expels a U.S. diplomat who was monitoring an antigovernment rally in the capital, Minsk; the U.S. recalls Ambassador Kenneth Yalowitz and expels a Belarusian diplomat on March 26 in retaliation.

      Bunny, Bunny, a play based upon the life of popular American television personality Gilda Radner, opens on Broadway; Radner died in 1989.

March 24
      Prime Minister Léon Kengo wa Dondo of Zaire resigns under pressure; Pres. Mobutu Sese Seko returns to the limelight after months of absence from the country to undergo cancer treatment and begins consultations to form a new government (see March 15, April 2 (Calendar of 1997 )).

      The English Patient wins nine awards, including those for best picture and best director, at the 69th annual Academy Awards ceremonies in Hollywood.

March 25
      Former U.S. president George Bush, 72, fulfills a pledge that he made to himself when he first parachuted out of an airplane (in that case, a burning bomber in the Pacific Ocean during World War II) by repeating the feat at the Yuma (Ariz.) Proving Ground.

      An international arrest warrant is issued for Gen. Leopoldo Galtieri, a president of Argentina in the 1980s, for the murder of three people and the "disappearance" of several hundred others.

      Sofia Figueroa, a three-year-old Peruvian girl, sets a record of some sort by swimming about 915 m (1,000 yd) in 48 minutes without stopping.

March 26
      In Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., the bodies of 39 members of the Heaven's Gate cult are discovered, the largest incident of mass suicide in U.S. history.

      Sir Julius Chan, prime minister of Papua New Guinea, resigns; he is accused of having hired foreign mercenaries to put down the rebellion on the island of Bougainville; a caretaker government is appointed on March 27.

      The U.S. Army announces it will appoint its first female three-star general; Maj. Gen. Claudia Kennedy is promoted to lieutenant general.

March 27
      Russia experiences the largest strikes since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, as millions of trade union workers take to the streets.

      A district court in Sapporo, Japan, rules against the central government and in favour of the Ainu people, the first time that the Ainu, the aboriginal people of Hokkaido, have been officially recognized in Japan.

      Quaker Oats Co. agrees to sell the Snapple beverages business to Triarc Companies Inc. for $300 million; Quaker acquired Snapple in 1994 for $1.7 billion.

March 28
      The Commonwealth of Independent States holds its fifth summit meeting in Moscow and reelects Russian President Yeltsin chairman of its Council of Heads of State.

      President Clinton announces new guidelines to prevent the U.S. government from conducting medical experiments on humans using dangerous substances without their informed consent.

      Dexter Scott King, the son of Martin Luther King, Jr., tells a court in Nashville, Tenn., that the family of the assassinated civil rights leader believes that James Earl Ray, who is in prison for the crime, is innocent (see February 20 (Calendar of 1997 )).

      Robert Pinsky is named poet laureate of the U.S.

March 29
      The far-right National Front opens its 10th congress in Strasbourg, France; tens of thousands of protesters demonstrate against the party (see February 9 (Calendar of 1997 )).

      Cambridge beats Oxford by two lengths in the 143rd annual rowing race on the River Thames, their fifth win in a row.

March 30
      Pope John Paul II delivers his annual Easter address in the Vatican City and calls for the world to find the "courage of forgiveness and reconciliation."

      Ascend Communications Inc. announces it will acquire Cascade Communications Corp. for $3.7 billion in stocks.

      Canadian Jacques Villeneuve, driving a Williams-Renault, wins the Brazilian Grand Prix auto race at São Paolo.

March 31
      The trial of Timothy J. McVeigh, accused of the bombing of the federal office building in Oklahoma City, Okla., in 1995, opens in Denver, Colo. (see April 24 (Calendar of 1997 )).

      President Clinton names U.S. Army Gen. Wesley K. Clark commander of NATO and all U.S. forces in Europe.

      Soprano Michele Crider makes her Metropolitan Opera debut as Cio-Cio-San in Giacomo Puccini's opera Madama Butterfly.

      NASA shuts off the power on the Pioneer 10 spacecraft, which has traveled 10 billion km (6.2 billion mi) from Earth since its launch on March 2, 1972.


April 1
      Étienne Tshisekedi, a long-time political enemy of Zaire's president, Mobutu Sese Seko, is elected prime minister by the parliament (see March 24 (Calendar of 1997 )).

      An arbitrator appointed by the U.S. Supreme Court recommends that historic Ellis Island be divided between the states of New Jersey and New York.

April 2
      The presidents of Russia and Belarus sign a charter leading in the direction of the unification of the two states (see June 10 (Calendar of 1997 )).

      Capt. Craig Button breaks formation in his A-10 Thunderbolt fighter airplane, carrying four bombs, over Arizona, flies off toward the Rocky Mountains, and crashes into a mountainside in Colorado.

      The state of Michigan reports 153 cases of hepatitis traced to strawberries imported from Mexico; several other states are also at risk.

      Gary Sheffield signs the largest deal in baseball history—a $61 million six-year extension of his contract with the Florida Marlins.

April 3
      Helmut Kohl announces that he will seek a record fifth four-year term as chancellor of Germany.

      Swiss police reveal that the government is preparing to seize $100 million held in bank accounts by Raúl Salinas de Gortari, brother of the former president of Mexico, who has been implicated in drug trafficking (see April 9).

      The Dubayy World Cup horse race, with a prize of $4 million, is won by Singspiel, owned by Sheikh Muhammad and ridden by American Jerry Bailey.

April 4
      The U.S. space shuttle Columbia, with a crew of seven, lifts off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on a planned 16-day mission to research the effects of lack of gravity.

April 5
      American poet Allen Ginsberg dies in New York City.

      The running of the Grand National steeplechase at Aintree, Eng., is postponed because of a bomb threat from the Irish Republican Army.

April 6
      A parcel bomb explodes at the home of Lieut. Gen. Tin Oo, a top official of the ruling junta in Myanmar (Burma), killing Tin Oo's daughter.

      The Nicorette, a 24.4-m (80-ft) yacht, skippered by Finnish captain Ludde Ingvall, breaks the record for Atlantic crossing by nonmotorized monohull vessels that had stood since 1905; the time is 11 days 13 hours 22 minutes from Sandy Hook, N.Y., to Lizard Point, Cornwall, Eng.

April 7
      Under heavy pressure because of mounting evidence of police brutality against civilians, the Brazilian government adopts legislation classifying torture as a crime and establishes an official Human Rights Secretariat to monitor police conduct.

      The Pulitzer Prizes are announced in New York City; among the winners are Lisel Mueller's Alive Together: New and Selected Poems for poetry and Wynton Marsalis's jazz opera Blood on the Fields, the first jazz composition to win a Pulitzer Prize for music.

      Pres. Hashemi Rafsanjani of Iran formally opens the $1.1 billion Tabriz petrochemical complex.

      French Polynesia reports a 46% growth in the sale of black pearls in 1996; pearl sales contribute 90% of the territory's import revenues.

April 8
      President Mobutu declares an emergency situation in Zaire and imposes military rule as forces led by rebel leader Laurent Kabila consolidate and expand their control in the east of the country (see May 16 (Calendar of 1997 )).

      Roman Catholic Archbishop Francis E. George of Portland, Ore., is named archbishop of Chicago, replacing Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, who died in November 1996; he is formally installed on May 7.

April 9
      A new government under Prime Minister Mario Frick is announced in Liechtenstein (see March 10 (Calendar of 1997 )).

      Prosecutors in Mexico City present evidence suggesting that former president Carlos Salinas de Gortari covered up the role of his brother Raúl in a 1994 political assassination (see April 3).

      Lockheed Martin rolls out its new F-22 fighter jet for the U.S. Air Force in Marietta, Ga.

April 10
      A German court announces its findings that the highest circles in Iran ordered the killing of exiled Iranian Kurdish leaders in Berlin in 1992; all European Union nations withdraw their ambassadors from Tehran in protest.

      A report published by the World Wildlife Fund warns that apes are under such environmental pressure, especially from war and deforestation, that they could become extinct.

April 11
      In India the government of Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda resigns after losing a vote of confidence in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of Parliament.

      The San Giovanni Cathedral in Turin, Italy, is gutted by fire, but the most famous relic housed in its Guarini Chapel, the Shroud of Turin, is not damaged.

      The journal Science publishes a report that suggests that life began on Earth around a volcano, where the chemical and thermal conditions for the first biochemical compounds exist.

April 12
      Pope John Paul II arrives in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, for a two-day visit during which he meets separately with representatives of the three ruling factions and conducts mass in a football stadium on April 13.

      The Museum of African American History opens in Detroit.

April 13
      Tiger Woods breaks multiple records when he shoots a 270—18 under par—in the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga.

      Jacques Villeneuve, driving a Williams-Renault, wins the Argentine Grand Prix auto race at Buenos Aires.

April 14
      James McDougal, a former business associate of Pres. Bill Clinton, is sentenced to a three-year prison term plus $4.3 million in fines for having illegally obtained federal loans for the Whitewater land-development project.

      Sverre Fehn, whose work is little known outside his native Norway, is named the recipient of the Pritzker Architecture Prize for 1997.

      The Indigenous Parliament of the Americas, an institution pledged to promote the interests of the native populations of Latin-American countries, opens its 12th congress in Guatemala City, Guat.

April 15
      In Belgium the parliamentary committee set up to investigate the murders by pedophiles of a number of children accuses the police and judicial system of gross incompetence in handling the affair.

      The inspector general of the U.S. Department of Justice reports "extremely serious and significant problems" with the research conducted in the crime labs of the FBI, including laboratory results used in some very prominent recent trials.

April 16
      Rolf Bloch, head of the Swiss Federation of Hebrew Congregations, is named by the Swiss government to oversee a fund for Holocaust victims (see January 23 (Calendar of 1997 )).

April 17
      About 50,000 people, including many landless peasants who marched 1,000 km (600 mi) in 70 days across the country, demonstrate in Brasília, the Brazilian capital, against the land policies of Pres. Fernando Henrique Cardoso.

      Hundreds of demonstrators gather in Cayenne, French Guiana, to protest the arrest of eight pro-independence militants and clash with police; the actions continues on April 22-23.

      Two paleontologists report in the journal Nature that they have discovered fossil remains of a very primitive snake that has short but well-developed hind legs; the creature lived in a shallow sea in present-day Israel about 95 million years ago.

April 18
      A diplomatic impasse between the U.S. and Russia develops in Washington, D.C., over an exhibit of Tsarist jewels that was to have been shown in Houston, Texas, but has been recalled to Moscow for the celebration of its 850th anniversary (see September 5 (Calendar of 1997 )).

      Researchers at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Cambridge, Mass., report that they have discovered the harpoonlike mechanism by which the AIDS virus penetrates cells.

      The Newseum, a museum dedicated to the news in all forms, opens in Arlington, Va.

April 19
      Bulgaria holds a general election in which the centre-right United Democratic Forces coalition wins decisively; the UDF nominates its chairman, Ivan Kostov, for prime minister.

      American actress Brooke Shields and American tennis player Andre Agassi are married in Monterey, Calif.

April 20
      Citing lack of evidence, state prosecutors in Israel drop charges against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he improperly appointed Attorney General Roni Bar-On.

      Sweden defeats Germany to win the men's crown in the world curling championships in Bern, Switz.; Canada defeated Norway in the women's event on April 19.

April 21
      Bomb threats from the Irish Republican Army paralyze London during the morning rush hour; terrorist activity has increased during the run-up to the May 1 British general elections.

      A 40-man contingent of the People's Liberation Army from China quietly assumes its post in Hong Kong, the first deployment of an expected 10,000-man PLA force to be stationed there.

      In accord with the wishes of "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry and counterculture guru Timothy Leary, their ashes, as well as those of 22 others, are launched into orbit aboard the Spanish MiniSat research satellite.

April 22
      Peruvian government commandos free 72 hostages held for four months in the Japanese ambassador's residence in Lima; one hostage is wounded and later dies of a heart attack, and all 14 rebels from the Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement perish in the action.

      The Armed Islamic Group is blamed for the brutal massacre of 93 villagers 19 km (12 mi) south of Algiers, the Algerian capital.

      Chinese Pres. Jiang Zemin begins a four-day visit in Russia; on April 24 the presidents of China, Russia, Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan sign an agreement to reduce the number of troops stationed along the former Sino-Soviet border.

      The Ontario government votes to merge the six municipalities of Metropolitan Toronto as of Jan. 1, 1998.

April 23
      The city of Gdansk, Pol., begins the celebration of its 1,000th anniversary on the Feast Day of Swiaty Wojciech (St. Adalbert), who was martyred in 997.

      After 145 years of spirited in-person trading, the floor of the Toronto Stock Exchange closes; trading will henceforth be conducted on the TSE electronically.

April 24
      The prosecution opens its case against Timothy J. McVeigh, accused of the bombing of the federal office building in Oklahoma City, Okla., in 1995 (see March 31 (Calendar of 1997 ), June 2) (Calendar of 1997 ).

      A group of paleontologists announces the discovery of a trove containing a large number of fossilized dinosaurs in northeastern China.

April 25
      District Judge William Osteen of North Carolina rules that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has the authority to regulate tobacco as a drug although it lacks the authority to regulate tobacco advertising and promotion.

April 26
      In South Africa Winnie Madikizela-Mandela wins reelection as president of the African National Congress Women's League (see December 17 (Calendar of 1997 )).

      The Super National Scholastic Chess Championships open in Knoxville, Tenn., drawing some 4,300 junior chess players to the largest chess tournament ever held in the U.S.

April 27
      The crest of the flooding Red River, which caused heavy damage in the north-central U.S., especially North Dakota, crosses the border into Manitoba (see August 9 (Calendar of 1997 )).

      The Lantau Link, comprising the Tsing Ma suspension bridge and the Kap Shui Mun cable bridge, officially opens part of a chain of projects linking Hong Kong and the new Chep Lap Kok airport, which is now under construction.

      Arceli Keh, a woman in southern California, reveals that she had given birth to a baby girl in 1996 at the age of 63; she is believed to be the oldest woman ever to give birth.

April 28
      Russia's Pres. Boris Yeltsin signs a series of economic decrees designed by his new team of aides and intended to restrict the energy and transport monopolies.

      Richard L. McLaren and members of his secessionist Republic of Texas movement free two hostages after police deliver a member who had been jailed (see May 3 (Calendar of 1997 )).

April 29
      The worldwide Chemical Weapons Convention takes effect after ratification by 88 countries; the U.S. ratified the treaty on April 24, but Russia and a number of other states known to possess such weapons have failed to do so.

      U.S. astronaut Jerry M. Linenger and Russian cosmonaut Vasily Tsibliyev complete the first-ever Russo-American space walk, a five-hour excursion from the Russian space station Mir (see January 14 (Calendar of 1997 )).

      Sgt. Delmar Simpson, the first of 12 U.S. Army drill instructors at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, to stand trial for sexual misconduct, is convicted on 18 of 19 counts of rape.

April 30
      The so-called Mothers of Plaza de Mayo gather in Buenos Aires to commemorate the 20th anniversary of their protest of the disappearance of their children, the desaparecidos, at the hand of Argentina's military government.

      Alexis Herman is confirmed by the U.S. Senate as secretary of labour after her nomination was delayed by concerns about her fund-raising activities in 1996, when she held a high political post.

      Ellen Morgan, the character played by Ellen DeGeneres on the television sitcom "Ellen," announces that she is a lesbian, the first openly homosexual lead character in an American prime-time television series.


May 1
      Tony Blair and his Labour Party rout the Conservatives in the British elections, winning a majority of some 177 seats in Parliament.

      Two British astronomers, Simon Goodwin and John Gribbin, announce their conclusion, based on interpretation of data from the Hubble Space Telescope, that the universe is at least 13 billion years old.

      U.S. Secretary of Energy Federico Peña announces that he is revoking the contract of Associated Universities, Inc., to run Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, N.Y., and calls for a major environmental-safety inspection.

      Mongolia becomes the only country in the world to impose no taxes on trade; the radical decision to abolish these taxes was taken in a session of the Great Hural (parliament) on April 18.

May 2
      A large (3-ha [7.5-ac]) monument to former U.S. president Franklin D. Roosevelt is dedicated in Washington, D.C., amid controversy over the appropriateness of not depicting FDR, who was partially paralyzed by poliomyelitis in 1921, in his customary wheelchair.

May 3
      Georgian Pres. Eduard Shevardnadze ends his first official visit to neighbouring Armenia; during his two-day stay, a number of cooperative agreements are signed.

      Richard McLaren and his militant separatist Republic of Texas movement surrender to police near Fort Davis, Texas; two members of the group escape into the woods.

      Silver Charm, ridden by jockey Gary Stevens, wins the 123rd running of the Kentucky Derby horse race at Churchill Downs, Louisville, Ky., in a photofinish.

      Katrina and the Waves, representing the United Kingdom, win the annual Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin with their entry "Love Shine a Light."

May 4
      Ceferino Jiménez Malla, known as "El Pele," a horse trader who was shot by a Republican forces firing squad during the Spanish Civil War, is beatified by Pope John Paul II, the first Roma (Gypsy) to be so honoured.

May 5
      The Wajay Free Trade Zone, near Havana's international airport, the first of four planned zones to open in Cuba, is formally inaugurated.

      A gold-speculation bubble begins to burst when it is revealed that gold samples from the Busang mine in East Kalimantan province, Borneo, Indon., collected by Bre-X Minerals, a Canadian mining concern, had been tampered with and their gold content enhanced.

      A court in Florida rules in favour of the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. in a suit brought by a relative of a lifelong smoker who had not tried to quit smoking and who had died of lung cancer.

      Pat Henry of Bloomington, Ill., becomes the first American woman to sail solo around the world; she began the 43,000-km (27,000-mi) trip on May 4, 1989, from Acapulco, Mex.

May 6
      U.S. Pres. Bill Clinton begins an official visit in Mexico, the first by an American head of state in almost 20 years.

May 7
      In The Hague the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia convicts Dusan Tadic, a Bosnian Serb, of killing two police officers and torturing and persecuting Muslim civilians in 1992; he is the first person to be tried by an international tribunal since the war-crimes trials after World War II.

      Intel Corp. launches the Pentium II processor chip for personal computers; the chip runs at clock speeds up to 300 MHz.

      The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves the first laser device for hard-tissue dental procedures such as repairing cavities in teeth.

May 8
      Top government officials of six Central American countries, the Dominican Republic, and the U.S. meet in San José, Costa Rica, for a summit entitled "Bridge into the 21st Century."

      In Moscow Moldovan Prime Minister Petru Lucinschi and Ivan Smirnov, leader of Moldova's secessionist Trans-Dniester region, sign an agreement they reached on April 10 to normalize relations.

May 9
      Douglas ("Pete") Peterson, a Vietnam War veteran, arrives in Hanoi to begin his duties as U.S. ambassador to Vietnam, the first person to hold that post since the end of the Vietnam War.

      More than 100 corporate and government leaders from 25 countries, including U.S. Vice Pres. Al Gore, attend the "CEO Summit" convened in Seattle, Wash., by the Microsoft Corp. and discuss applications of technology in business.

May 10
      An earthquake of magnitude 7.1 strikes the northeastern region of Iran; at least 1,560 people perish.

      Pope John Paul II arrives in Lebanon, his first visit to the Middle East; on May 11 he celebrates mass for a crowd of about 300,000 in Beirut.

      Fourteen heads of state of Caricom, the Caribbean community, as well as those of the U.S. and Haiti hold a summit meeting in Barbados on economic and trade issues.

      Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands formally inaugurates the Storm Surge Barrier across the Meuse-Rhine estuary, the last link in the elaborate system the country has built to prevent disastrous flooding from North Sea storms.

May 11
      Alpha Oumar Konaré wins reelection as president of Mali in the first round of voting with over 95% of the vote; the planned second round of the election is canceled.

      In the general elections in Burkina Faso, Pres. Blaise Compaoré's party, the Congress for Democracy and Progress, wins 97 of the total of 111 seats in the National Assembly.

      Hundreds of thousands of Muslims demonstrate in Istanbul in protest against the secular military government's plans to close Islamic schools.

      World chess champion Garry Kasparov concedes defeat after 19 moves of his game with Deep Blue, a computer program developed by a team of engineers and chess experts assembled by the IBM Corp., losing the match by 3 to 2 games.

May 12
      Presidents Boris Yeltsin of Russia and Aslan Maskhadov of Chechnya sign an agreement aimed at ending violence while avoiding the key question of whether Chechnya will eventually become independent of Russia.

      The U.S. Supreme Court rules that employers may not release employees and "outsource" services as a way to reduce the financial burden of employee benefits.

May 13
      Representatives of Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan—members of the Economic Cooperation Organization—gather in Ashgabat (formerly Ashkhabad), Turkmenistan, for a two-day summit meeting.

      It is reported that seven climbers have died in storms in the past few days on Mt. Everest.

May 14
      Following the April 27 elections in Yemen, the first since the 1994 civil war, Pres. Ali Abdallah Salih names Faraj Said ibn Ghanem prime minister; Ghanem's government is formed on May 15.

      The government of Turkey launches a major military campaign against the forces of the Kurdistan Workers' Party and their bases in northern Iraq.

      Canada defeats Sweden two games to one in the Pool A final at the 61st world ice hockey championship in Helsinki, Fin.

May 15
      German Finance Minister Theo Waigel raises a storm of protest by proposing a reevaluation of the country's currency reserves in order to support public finances and conform to plans for European economic and monetary union; calls for Waigel's resignation continue past the month's end.

      Dirk Coetzee, the South African police officer who first called attention to the covert war against antiapartheid activists conducted by the former South African government, is convicted of murder in Durban.

May 16
      Pres. Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire relinquishes power and flees the capital, Kinshasa, as rebel forces led by Laurent Kabila take the city (see April 8, (Calendar of 1997 ) May 17).

      A bipartisan agreement to balance the U.S. budget by the year 2002 is announced; a series of budget resolution bills pass through Congress in the days that follow.

      President Clinton formally apologizes to the participants in the "Tuskegee experiment," a group of African-American men whom the U.S. government used as subjects, without their knowledge or consent, in 1932-72 in studies of the effects of untreated syphilis.

May 17
      Zairean rebel leader Laurent Kabila declares himself head of state and changes the name of the country to the Democratic Republic of the Congo; deposed Pres. Mobutu Sese Seko had renamed the country Zaire in 1971 (see May 16).

      Kim Hyung Chul, the second son of South Korean Pres. Kim Young Sam, is arrested on charges of bribery and tax evasion.

May 18
      Natsagiyn Bagabandi, leader of the opposition Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party, emerges victorious in the presidential elections, easily defeating incumbent Punsalmaagiyn Ochirbat and his Democratic Alliance coalition.

      New York City's news zipper, which flashed headlines to viewers in Times Square, is closed down and taken to a museum, to be replaced by a high-tech electronic version a few weeks later.

      A box of 25 Cohiba cigars that once belonged to Cuban Pres. Fidel Castro brings $11,500 in a sale at Christie's auction house.

May 19
      In Malaysia Mahathir bin Mohamad begins a two-month leave of absence as prime minister, reportedly to rest, travel, and finish writing a book.

      The U.S. Department of Defense completes its quadrennial defense review and publishes a report that calls for further military base closings and reductions of service personnel into the 21st century.

      The American Medical Association publishes a report that supports the proposed federal ban on "partial-birth" abortions; the U.S. Senate approves the ban on May 20.

      Joan Kroc, the heiress to the McDonald's restaurant chain, is revealed as the "Angel of Grand Forks," the person who anonymously donated $15 million to flood victims in that North Dakota city.

May 20
      A group of Chinese fishermen is arrested by a Philippines naval vessel off the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea; six nations in the area have claimed the uninhabited island group.

      Fernando Novas of the Museum of Natural History in Buenos Aires, Arg., announces that 20 fossil bones of a 90 million-year-old lizard suggest that the animal, though flightless, had flappable wings.

May 21
      Ivan Kostov is formally elected prime minister in Bulgaria and his Cabinet is approved by the National Assembly.

      The American Academy of Arts and Letters in New York City inducts six new members: writers Daniel Aaron, Philip Levine, Albert Murray, and Studs Terkel and composers John Adams and Ornette Coleman.

      A two-day auction at Sotheby's of the contents of the homes of Pamela Harriman, U.S. ambassador to France, who died in February, brings in $8.7 million.

May 22
      President Yeltsin dismisses two top Russian military leaders, Defense Minister Igor N. Rodionov and Chief of General Staff Gen. Viktor N. Samsonov, for their unresponsiveness to the president's reforms and moves to economize.

      The Lost World: Jurassic Park, the sequel to the 1993 hit film Jurassic Park, opens in 3,000 theatres (5,000 screens) across the U.S. and sets new four-day opening records for attendance.

May 23
      A moderate cleric, Mohammad Khatami, is elected president of Iran despite the opposition to his candidacy by the ruling ayatollahs; he takes office on August 3.

      The Eritrean Constitutional Assembly completes deliberations and votes to accept the country's first constitution.

      In the American Tour de Sol race in Portland, Maine, a converted Geo Metro auto sets a distance record for an electric vehicle by traveling 398 km (249 mi) without recharging.

May 24
      The far northern stronghold of Mazar-e Sharif in Afghanistan falls to the Taliban religious fighters, which virtually completes their drive to reunite the country under conservative Muslim law.

May 25
      Sierra Leone's Pres. Ahmad Tejan Kabbah flees the country in the wake of a military coup by junior army officers; Maj. Johnny Paul Koroma declares himself head of state.

      Poland holds a national referendum and approves a new constitution by a narrow margin; the Roman Catholic Church in Poland has opposed the draft constitution principally because it lacks a ban on abortion.

      Strom Thurmond, 94, a Republican from South Carolina, breaks the record for the longest tenure—41 years and 10 months—in the U.S. Senate; the previous record holder was Carl Hayden of Arizona.

      Jacques Villeneuve, driving a Williams-Renault, wins the Spanish Grand Prix auto race at Barcelona.

May 26
      Kenny Anthony takes over as prime minister of St. Lucia after his centre-left St. Lucia Labour Party handily defeated the incumbent United Workers' Party in elections on May 23.

      Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche Holding Ltd. announces plans to acquire Boehringer Mannheim GmbH., a German manufacturer of drugs and diagnostic equipment, for about $11 billion.

May 27
      In Paris leaders of NATO nations and President Yeltsin of Russia sign the Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security, an agreement that establishes a new basis for the relationship between the former adversaries.

      Twenty-two British women on a relay expedition reach the North Pole, the first all-female group to do so.

      The season opens at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre; the new facility opened near the original site of the Globe Theatre in London.

May 28
      The first medfly (Mediterranean fruit fly) is discovered in Tampa, Fla., triggering a pitched assault on the insect, which could devastate the state's citrus fruit and other crops.

      Linda Finch, a businesswoman from Texas, lands at Oakland, Calif., after having re-created the flight planned by famed aviator Amelia Earhart 60 years earlier; Earhart and her navigator disappeared over the Pacific Ocean.

May 29
      Not unexpectedly, in elections in Indonesia the Golkar alliance of President Suharto increases its legislative majority.

May 30
      Science magazine reports that investigators from institutions in Madrid and Tarragona, Spain, have identified what is believed to be the last common ancestor of humans and Neanderthals; the new hominid species is named Homo antecessor.

May 31
      In Kiev on his first official visit to Ukraine in seven years, Russian President Yeltsin signs a 10-year treaty of friendship and cooperation with Pres. Leonid Kuchma; on May 28 agreement was reached on the disposition of the Black Sea Fleet, which had been a bone of contention since the breakup of the U.S.S.R.

      Confederation Bridge, the 13-km (8-mi) span that joins Prince Edward Island to the Canadian mainland, is officially opened.

      A new U.S. national park in the Flint Hills area of Kansas, Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, is formally dedicated.


June 1
      Betty Shabazz, the widow of Black Muslim leader Malcolm X, is severely burned (and later dies) in a fire in her New York City apartment believed to have been set by her emotionally disturbed grandson.

      The 1997 Antoinette Perry (Tony) Awards are given out in New York City: The Last Night of Ballyhoo wins the best play award, and Titanic, which wins a total of five awards, is chosen the best musical.

June 2
      In Denver, Colo., Timothy J. McVeigh is found guilty of the April 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Okla.; on August 14 the judge sentences him to death by lethal injection (see April 24 (Calendar of 1997 )).

      The Canadian general election returns Prime Minister Jean Chrétien to power; it is the first overall majority for the Liberal Party in two successive elections in more than 40 years.

      Amid continuing uncertainty following the military coup in Sierra Leone (see May 25 (Calendar of 1997 )), vessels of the Nigerian navy shell Freetown, the capital, and Nigerian ground forces battle troops loyal to coup leader Maj. Johnny Paul Koroma.

June 3
      Lionel Jospin, leader of France's Socialist Party, is sworn in as prime minister following his party's narrow victory in the legislative elections held on May 25 and June 1.

      Ehud Baraq is elected to lead the Israeli opposition Labour Party, replacing Shimon Peres.

June 4
      The report of an Italian parliamentary constitutional reform commission calls for the direct election of the president and enhanced powers for that office.

      The Bulgarian National Assembly approves a government plan to peg the Bulgarian monetary unit, the lev, to the Deutsche Mark at a rate of 1,000 to one.

      A panel of the Institute of Medicine reports that Americans are not being provided adequate care and sympathetic treatment of their needs when their lives are nearing an end and when death has become unavoidable; the study calls for improved palliative health care.

June 5
      Elections held in Algeria for a new National Assembly result in a victory for the National Democratic Rally but are tainted by reports of irregularities; Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia announces the new government on June 25.

      In a significant personal political victory, Pres. Fernando Henrique Cardoso of Brazil signs into law a constitutional amendment that allows the president and certain other key officials to run for a second term.

      Harold J. Nicholson, the highest-ranking U.S. intelligence officer ever tried for espionage, is sentenced to 23 years 7 months in prison for selling secrets to Russia (see March 4 (Calendar of 1997 )).

      The F.W. Olin Foundation announces what is believed to be the largest gift ever—$200 million—to an American institution of higher education for the establishment of a new college of engineering near Boston.

June 6
      Germany imposes a yearlong nationwide watch by the police and counterintelligence units on the Church of Scientology because of the government's suspicions of the group's antidemocratic intent.

June 7
      It is reported that the Eye of the Needle, a natural stone arch in the federally administered Upper Missouri National Wild and Scenic River in Montana, has been destroyed by vandals.

      Touch Gold inches past Silver Charm in the Belmont Stakes to deprive the latter horse, which had already won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, of thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown.

June 8
      In a nationwide referendum Swiss voters reject by a three-to-one margin a proposal that would ban the export of arms.

      Brazil makes its mark in another international sport as unseeded Gustavo Kuerten wins the men's competition in the French Open tennis tournament; ninth-seeded Iva Majoli of Croatia had defeated Martina Hingis in the women's final June 7.

June 9
      Haitian Prime Minister Rosny Smarth resigns under criticism of doing too little for the poor in the country.

      Pol Pot, head of the Khmer Rouge organization in Cambodia, orders a purge of the top leadership; Son Sen, a key official, is murdered shortly thereafter (see January 24 (Calendar of 1997 ), July 25 (Calendar of 1997 )).

June 10
      Russia and Belarus sign a treaty of union that brings the two countries closer together in some vague ways; the treaty is welcomed on the Belarusian side and among Russian conservative groups concerned about Russia's loss of influence in recent years.

      At a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Winston-Salem, N.C., a team of astrophysicists led by William Blair of Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md., presents unique images of colliding supernovas taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.

June 11
      Russian Pres. Boris Yeltsin announces his intention to remove Yevgeny I. Nazdratenko as governor of Primorsky kray in the extreme southeastern part of the country for his autocratic mismanagement of the region.

      Sweden's Riksdag (parliament) votes to begin closing down the country's 12 nuclear power plants; a referendum approving the move had passed in 1980.

      Media executive Rupert Murdoch, who owns the Fox television network, announces that he plans to purchase International Family Entertainment Inc., the holding company for religious leader Pat Robertson's Family Channel, for $1.9 billion.

      The U.S. Army's Mobile Army Surgical Hospital at Camp Humphreys, South Korea, which inspired the motion picture and television series M*A*S*H, is closed.

      The British House of Commons votes a total ban on handguns of all calibres; the new law will be one of the strongest in the world.

June 12
      The U.S. Congress approves an $8.6 billion disaster relief bill; the vote by the Republican-dominated Congress is seen as a victory for Pres. Bill Clinton.

      Secretary-General Kofi Annan names Mary Robinson, the president of Ireland, as United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights; she is approved by the UN General Assembly on June 17.

      The U.S. Treasury issues a redesigned $50 bill with new technology designed to deter forgery.

June 13
      Russia announces that it will close the Molodyozhnaya station, its main research base in Antarctica, in two or three years as an economic move.

      The Chicago Bulls win their fifth National Basketball Association championship in seven years with a 90-86 victory over the Utah Jazz.

June 14
      Pres. Ibrahim Baré Maïnassara of Niger names a new government under Prime Minister Amadou Boubacar Cissé.

      The Microsoft Corp. announces that it will spend some $80 million to establish a research laboratory in Cambridge, Eng., to be headed by a University of Cambridge professor, Roger Needham.

June 15
      Officials from the world's eight largest Muslim states—Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Turkey—meet to form the "D8" group to promote economic and political cooperation.

      Franjo Tudjman, leader of the nationalist Croatian Democratic Union, wins a second five-year term as president of Croatia with over 60% of the vote.

      The Venice Biennale officially opens after three days of previews; the U.S. is represented by artist Robert Colescott, the first African-American to be so honoured.

June 16
      Heads of government of the European Union nations convene for a two-day summit meeting in Amsterdam; observers remark on the optimism about EU projects by Great Britain's Labour-led government and the unusual restraint by German Chancellor Helmut Kohl.

      Genesis Health Ventures Inc. announces that it will acquire Multicare Companies Inc. for $1,060,000,000 in cash; the resulting venture becomes a major provider of health care and outpatient services for the elderly in the northeast and mid-Atlantic areas.

      The new edition of James Joyce's classic Ulysses, heavily revised by Danis Rose, is published on the 75th anniversary of the original and is greeted with a storm of controversy.

June 17
      Two giants in telecommunications, Lucent Technologies and Philips Electronics NV, announce that they plan to combine their production of wireless telephones to form a new venture with $2.5 billion in anticipated revenue.

      In South Africa, Afrikaner Resistance Movement leader Eugene Terreblanche is sentenced to six years in prison for two instances of assault against black men in 1996.

      U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Claudia Kennedy becomes the first woman to hold the rank of lieutenant general (three-stars); she is the highest-ranking officer in U.S. Army Intelligence.

June 18
      Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan of Turkey resigns amid growing political unrest and rumours of a possible military coup; a new government with Mesut Yilmaz of the Motherland Party as prime minister is approved on June 30.

      The Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in Dallas, Texas, votes to boycott the Walt Disney Co., which controls a wide variety of popular media and entertainment enterprises, for what the church group calls its "anti-Christian and anti-family" direction.

June 19
      William Hague is elected leader of the British Conservative Party to replace John Major; at 36, Hague is the youngest person to become leader of a major British political party in 214 years.

      Hideo Sakamaki, former president of Nomura Securities Co., the largest brokerage firm in Japan, is indicted for allegedly having made payments to an organized crime syndicate and other irregular financial dealings.

      The long-standing worldwide ban on trading in elephant ivory enacted by a UN environmental committee is loosened to permit Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe to sell a total of 58 tons of stockpiled ivory to Japan.

      With its 6,138th performance, Lord Lloyd-Webber's musical Cats becomes the longest-running Broadway production, passing A Chorus Line.

June 20
      The Summit of the Eight leading industrial nations, comprising the former Group of Seven plus new member Russia, convenes for a summit meeting in Denver.

      American tobacco companies agree to pay a total of $368.5 billion over 25 years and institute major changes in their marketing practices; the companies, in turn, will be free from liability for past wrongdoing.

June 21
      The "Treasures from Mount Athos" exhibit opens at the Museum of Byzantine Culture in Thessaloniki, Greece, which has been designated the culture capital of Europe for 1997.

      The eight-team Women's National Basketball Association debuts; the rival American Basketball League had completed its first season in March (see March 11 (Calendar of 1997 )).

June 22
      Ernie Els wins his second major golf tournament in as many weeks, outshooting Jeff Maggert by two strokes in the Buick Classic in Harrison, N.Y.

June 23
      The UN Conference on Environment and Development, a follow-up to the 1992 "Earth Summit" in Rio de Janeiro, convenes in New York City; delegates mostly bemoan the lack of progress on environmental initiatives begun in Rio and the continuing differences of approach between developed and less-developed countries.

      Representatives of India and Pakistan meeting in Islamabad, Pak., agree to negotiate the future of Kashmir, an area that has been disputed between the two countries since they gained independence 50 years ago.

      The Russian Duma (legislature) approves a bill that severely limits the activities of religious groups that have not practiced in the country for at least 50 years and that do not operate in at least half the regions.

      Private companies begin operations in Lake Superior to recover some of the hundreds of thousands of sunken logs lost during logging operations in the 19th century; the old-growth logs have been preserved well in the cold waters of the lake.

June 24
      A court in Egypt overturns a year-old law by the Ministry of Health banning, in state and private clinics, the ritual cutting of female genitals; the practice is favoured by some Islamic leaders and opposed by feminists and human rights advocates.

      The Matthew, a replica of the ship in which explorer John Cabot sailed from Bristol, Eng., in 1497, arrives at Bonavista, Nfd., in celebration of the 500th anniversary of the voyage.

June 25
      The Russian space station Mir is damaged when the unmanned cargo ship Progress rams into it in space; three astronauts—two Russians and a British-born American—are aboard Mir.

      Soufrière Hills, a volcano on Montserrat, begins to expel large amounts of superheated gas, rock, and ash, killing at least 19 people and causing evacuation of several villages (see July 31 (Calendar of 1997 )).

      At Christie's in New York City, cocktail and evening dresses culled from the closet of Diana, princess of Wales, are sold at an auction for the benefit of cancer and AIDS charities; the 79 dresses bring in $3,250,000.

June 26
      Bertie Ahern of the Fianna Fail becomes prime minister of Ireland as head of a minority coalition government; the FF won 77 of the 166 seats in the Dail (parliament) in the June 6 election.

      Tensions between Congolese Pres. Laurent Kabila and chief opposition leader Étienne Tshisekedi peak as Tshisekedi is arrested in his home by government troops (see May 17 (Calendar of 1997 )).

      The U.S. Supreme Court votes to overturn the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which had sought to restrict indecency on the Internet, on the grounds that all provisions of the law violate the First Amendment to the Constitution.

June 27
      In Moscow Pres. Imomali Rakhmonov of Tajikistan, United Tajik Opposition leader Sayed Abdullo Nuri, and the UN special envoy to Tajikistan, Gerd Merrem, sign a peace treaty that could end the civil war in that country.

      The U.S. Supreme Court rules that a provision of the 1993 Brady Handgun Violence Protection Act that compels local law-enforcement agencies to run full background checks of prospective handgun buyers is unconstitutional.

June 28
      The World Boxing Association heavyweight title fight in Las Vegas, Nev., is ended by the referee as challenger Mike Tyson is disqualified after he twice bites the ears of titleholder Evander Holyfield (see July 9 (Calendar of 1997 )).

June 29
      Elections in Albania result in a victory for the opposition Socialist Party.

      Michael Schumacher, driving a Ferrari, wins the French Grand Prix auto race at Magny-Cours.

June 30
      The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upholds a lower court finding that the General Electric Co. had violated the patents of Raymond V. Damadian, the inventor of technology used in magnetic resonance imaging machines.


July 1
      Hong Kong reverts to Chinese sovereignty, and the former colony becomes a special region of China; Prince Charles and Gov. Chris Patten leave aboard the royal yacht Britannia.

      Luxembourg assumes the six-month European Union presidency.

July 2
      The Diamond Grace, a Panamanian-registered supertanker, runs against a reef in Tokyo Bay and spills an estimated 13,400 tons of crude oil; it is called the worst oil spill in Japanese history.

      The U.S. cruise line Royal Caribbean International announces that it will buy Celebrity Cruise Lines Inc. in a cash, stock, and debt-assumption deal worth $1,315,000,000.

July 3
      Four American tobacco companies agree to settle a lawsuit with the state of Mississippi over the costs of health care programs associated with smoking.

      Aerospace industry giant Lockheed Martin Corp. announces that it will buy Northrop Grumman Corp. for $8.3 billion in stock and will assume an additional $3.3 billion in debt.

July 4
      The U.S. spacecraft Mars Pathfinder reaches Mars and lands on the surface successfully; it is the first spacecraft to land on the red planet in 21 years.

      Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia runs the 10,000-m race in 26 min 31.32 sec, a world record, in the Bislett Games Grand Prix in Oslo.

July 5
      The Lilith Fair, a concert tour featuring women singers, musicians, and songwriters, opens in George, Wash.

      On this day 50 years ago, a ranch hand discovers remains of an unidentified flying object that crashed 280 km (75 mi) north of Roswell, N.M.; the U.S. Army Air Force announces that the fragments are those of a flying saucer but later retracts that statement.

July 6
      In parliamentary elections in Mexico, the Institutional Revolutionary Party loses its absolute majority in the Chamber of Deputies; residents of Mexico City vote for a mayor for the first time, and opposition leader Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas Solórzano wins in a landslide.

      Hun Sen, second prime minister of Cambodia, declares victory over the forces of his rival, First Prime Minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh, after two days of civil violence in the capital, Phnom Penh (see July 16).

      American Pete Sampras wins the men's competition for the fourth time in the All England Championships in tennis at Wimbledon; on July 5 Martina Hingis, 16, of Switzerland had won the women's, the youngest winner in 110 years.

July 7
      The government of Kenya reacts sharply to protesters calling for constitutional reforms, and at least seven people are killed; two days later violence breaks out at the University of Nairobi.

      Montgomery Ward & Co., the ninth largest retail chain in the U.S., files for bankruptcy.

July 8
      Formal invitations to join NATO in April 1999 are extended to Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary.

July 9
      Two large financial firms in Russia, the Renaissance Capital Group and the International Company for Finance and Investment, announce that they will merge, forming the largest investment bank in the country, with total assets of more than $2 billion.

      Gilbert F. Amelio, chairman and chief executive officer of troubled Apple Computer, Inc., resigns unexpectedly.

      The Nevada Athletic Commission votes to revoke the boxing license of Mike Tyson and impose a $2,980,000 fine for his conduct during a heavyweight title fight 11 days earlier (see June 28 (Calendar of 1997 )).

July 10
      It is announced that Joe Camel, the flashy and popular advertising symbol launched in 1988 by the RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co., will be retired.

      The crew of the French research submersible Nautile discovers a large volcanic vent field in the Atlantic Ocean southwest of the Azores.

July 11
      The journal Cell reports that Svante Paabo of the University of Munich, Ger., and associates, working on the basis of DNA analysis, have determined that Neanderthal man should not be placed in the direct evolutionary lineage of humans.

      Scientists in Gainesville, Fla., for the first time transplant fetal tissue into the spine of a person suffering from syringomyelia, a rare degenerative spinal cord condition.

July 12
      The remains of Cuban revolutionary leader Ernesto ("Che") Guevara are returned to his adopted homeland for burial after having been discovered at an airstrip in south-central Bolivia; Guevara was killed in 1967 (see October 17 (Calendar of 1997 )).

      The murder of Miguel Angel Blanco, a town official, apparently by the Basque guerrilla group ETA, touches off several days of street demonstrations across Spain—some over a million strong—against ETA.

July 13
      To commemorate Capt. Baron Georg von Trapp, who died in 1947, a service that includes representatives of the Austrian government is held in Stowe, Vt.; the Trapp family's flight from Austria is the subject of the stage musical and film The Sound of Music.

      Jacques Villeneuve, driving a Williams-Renault, wins the British Grand Prix auto race at Silverstone.

July 14
      Indian national and state legislatures vote for a new president and elect K.R. Narayanan; for the first time, the Indian president is a member of the Dalits, the lowest Hindu caste; he assumes office on July 25.

      To accommodate a two-year renovation project, the historic Main Reading Room of the New York Public Library is closed for the first time.

July 15
      In a secret kept remarkably well for a week, South African Pres. Nelson Mandela, on a visit to Jakarta, persuades his host, Indonesian Pres. Suharto, to convene a meeting with Mandela and José Alexandre ("Xanana") Gusmão, the imprisoned leader of the East Timorese Fretilin resistance group, in an attempt to find a resolution to the continuing problem in East Timor, a former Portuguese colony.

      Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace is shot and killed in front of his mansion in Miami Beach, Fla. (see July 23).

July 16
      Foreign Minister Ung Huot is selected to replace ousted Ranariddh as first prime minister of Cambodia (see July 6).

      Russian Pres. Boris Yeltsin signs a decree reducing the Russian armed forces by nearly one-third, to 1.2 million.

July 17
      U.S. Army Gen. Henry Shelton is selected to become the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

      The Woolworth Corp. announces plans to close more than 400 of its five-and-dime stores, the last in the United States; Woolworth's first store opened in Lancaster, Pa., in 1879.

      The first World Congress on Breast Cancer concludes its five-day session in Kingston, Ont.

      The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum opens in Santa Fe, N.M.; more than 80 pieces of O'Keeffe's art are on display in the adobe structure, a converted Spanish Baptist church.

July 18
      The Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center, designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright, opens in Madison, Wis.; Wright died in 1959.

July 19
      Liberia holds presidential and parliamentary elections that are judged fair, partly owing to the presence of Ghanaian and Nigerian troops; guerrilla leader Charles G. Taylor wins comfortably.

      Bosnian Serbs expel Pres. Biljana Plavsic as leader of the Serb Democratic Party and demand, unsuccessfully, that she resign as president of Republika Srpska, the Serb part of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

      At odds over salmon fishing rights with their counterparts in the United States, Canadian fishermen begin a blockade of an American ferry and prevent it from leaving the British Columbia port of Prince Rupert.

July 20
      Vietnam holds elections for the 450-seat National Assembly.

      First Union Corp. of Virginia says it will buy Signet Banking Corp. of Richmond, Va., in a $3.3 billion deal (see November 19).

      American Justin Leonard wins the British Open golf tournament at the Royal Troon Golf Club in Troon, Scot., with a score of 272, 12 under par.

July 21
      The two largest banks in Bavaria (the fourth and fifth largest in Germany), Bayerische Vereinsbank AG and Bayerische Hypotheken und Wechselbank, announce plans to merge in a $10 billion deal that will create Europe's second largest bank.

      Bishop Frank T. Griswold III of Chicago is elected presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church at that body's triennial General Convention in Philadelphia.

July 22
      President Yeltsin vetoes the bill on religion that would have protected the Russian Orthodox Church but that was opposed by religious and human rights organizations and governments outside Russia (see June 23 (Calendar of 1997 )).

      The Mormon Pioneer Trail wagon train, a reenactment of the 1,770-km (1,100-mi) trek made by Brigham Young and his followers 150 years ago from Omaha, Neb., arrives at Salt Lake City, Utah.

      Maidenform Worldwide Inc., manufacturer of women's undergarments, files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

July 23
      Slobodan Milosevic assumes the presidency of the Yugoslav federation, heretofore a symbolic post, resigning as president of Serbia, one of the two constituent republics in the federation (see October 19 (Calendar of 1997 )).

      Pres. Alberto Fujimori, under strong political pressure in recent weeks, receives another blow when the opposition makes public documents that show that Fujimori may not have been born in Peru, a requirement for the president.

      The body of a suicide victim found aboard a houseboat in Miami Beach, Fla., is identified as that of Andrew Cunanan, who was being sought throughout the United States for five murders, including that of Versace a few days earlier (see July 15).

      British Prime Minister Tony Blair announces that, beginning in 1998, the government will no longer support free university education in the U.K.

July 24
      The Scottish scientists who cloned a sheep (see February 23 (Calendar of 1997 )) announce that they have made a lamb, named Polly, all of whose cells contain a human gene, an important step in the production of biological products for use on or in humans.

July 25
      In Cambodia leaders of the Khmer Rouge revolutionary movement under Gen. Ta Mok hold a "people's tribunal" for the movement's longtime leader, Pol Pot, and sentence him to life imprisonment; he disappears shortly thereafter (see June 9 (Calendar of 1997 )).

July 26
      The Pro Football Hall of Fame inducts four new members: Don Shula, Baltimore Colts and Miami Dolphins coach; center Mike Webster of the Pittsburgh Steelers; cornerback Mike Haynes of the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Raiders; and New York Giants owner Wellington Mara.

July 27
      National Airport in Washington, D.C., reopens after extensive renovations that cost approximately $1 billion; the complex features a dramatic new main terminal building designed by architect Cesar Pelli, as well as works by 30 American artists.

      Jan Ullrich of Germany wins the Tour de France bicycle race with a commanding lead of 9 min 9 sec.

      Gerhard Berger, driving a Benetton, wins the German Grand Prix auto race at Hockenheim; Alex Zanardi in a Reynard-Honda wins the U.S. 500 race in Brooklyn, Mich.

July 28
      Latvian Prime Minister Andris Skele resigns amid deepening political and economic problems in the Baltic land.

      The International Youth Festival, the first such left-wing celebration since the fall of the Soviet Union, is opened in Havana by Pres. Fidel Castro; although in violation of U.S. law, the 740-person American delegation is the largest national group attending.

July 29
      Gen. Ronald R. Fogelman, U.S. Air Force chief of staff, announces his retirement, which is linked in the press to the likelihood that high-ranking air force officers will be held responsible for the bomb attack on a U.S. base in Saudi Arabia in 1996.

      Yatsushiro Bay, off the Japanese industrial city of Minamata, is declared free of mercury, and a 40-year ban on consuming fish from the bay is lifted.

July 30
      Two bombs explode in a market in Jerusalem, killing at least 15 people, including the bombers; the militant Islamist organization Hamas acknowledges responsibility.

      Lebanon's Baalbek Festival opens; the cultural festival had not been held since 1974 because of civil unrest.

      Oceanographer and undersea explorer Robert Ballard announces the discovery of eight ancient vessels, five from Roman times, sunk in deep water between Sicily and Sardinia; this is the largest find of old vessels in deep water ever.

July 31
      Montserrat's Soufrière Hills volcano begins erupting, and by mid-August a succession of small eruptions has devastated the southern part of the island (see June 25 (Calendar of 1997 ), September 15 (Calendar of 1997 )).

      Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, report in Nature that they have discovered "quantum vibrations," a fundamental property of superfluids analogous to the Josephson effect in superconductors.


August 1
      Two aerospace giants, the Boeing Co. and McDonnell Douglas Corp., merge in a $16.3 billion deal, creating the world's largest aerospace group.

      The United States lifts a ban on the sale of high-tech weapons to Latin-American countries; the prohibition on sales dates from 1977.

      Queen Elizabeth II dedicates the American Air Museum in Duxford, Cambridgeshire, Eng., a memorial to American air power in the 20th century, especially the U.S. 8th Air Force, which flew bombing missions against Nazi Germany from Great Britain.

August 2
      Charles G. Taylor is inaugurated as president of Liberia; he led one of the military factions in the protracted civil war and is the first elected president of Liberia in 12 years.

      William S. Burroughs, American author who helped to define the Beat movement, dies in Lawrence, Kan., aged 83.

August 3
      Separatists on the Indian Ocean island of Anjouan declare the island's independence from Comoros; two days later they name Abdallah Ibrahim president (see September 3 (Calendar of 1997 )).

      China announces the discovery of a previously unknown colony of some 30 pandas in Gansu province; reportedly fewer than 1,000 pandas in about 20 discrete groups survive in the wild in China.

August 4
      Negotiations in Washington, D.C., break down between the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and United Parcel Service, and the union goes on strike; UPS handles 80% of the parcels delivered in the U.S. (see August 19).

      For the first time since the Korean War, a telephone link between North Korea and South Korea is opened.

      It is reported that a U.S. government advisory panel recommends dismantling the Immigration and Naturalization Service and spreading its responsibilities among the Departments of Justice, State, and Labor.

August 5
      The Bolivian Congress confirms Gen. Hugo Bánzer Suárez as president; he had served in that office once previously.

      The budget bill signed by U.S. Pres. Bill Clinton includes a radical reduction of "home rule," the governmental autonomy of the District of Columbia, for at least four years but provides for an infusion of about $1 billion into the capital's treasury.

August 6
      A Korean Airlines Boeing 747-300 crashes on the island of Guam, killing at least 225.

      The Cambodian National Assembly confirms the appointment of Foreign Minister Ung Huot as first prime minister without, however, having formally dismissed the ousted incumbent, Prince Norodom Ranariddh (see July 16 (Calendar of 1997 )).

      In a development that stuns the crowd at the Macworld Expo in Boston, it is announced that the Microsoft Corp., seen as a key rival, will purchase a $150 million nonvoting share in Apple Computer, Inc.

August 7
      Four of the five former presidents of Central American countries who 10 years earlier signed the Esquipulas (Guat.) peace agreement to end the series of civil wars and unrest that were raging in the region—Oscar Arias of Costa Rica, Vinicio Cerezo of Guatemala, José Azcona of Honduras, and Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua (the fifth, José Napoleon Duarte was deceased)—reunite for the anniversary in the small Guatemalan town.

      On the Roman Catholic Feast Day of Saint Cajetan of Thiene, more than one million people stream through San Cayetano church in Buenos Aires, Arg., to pray to the patron of bread and work; the extraordinary turnout is seen as a protest against high unemployment and declining salaries in the country.

      Jean-François Tomb and scientists at the Institute for Genomic Research in Rockville, Md., report in the journal Nature that they have mapped the genes of the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, which is instrumental in causing ulcers and other stomach diseases.

      A consortium led by the Nova Corp. of Canada formally opens a $325 million natural gas pipeline across the Andes on a 465-km (290-mi) route from Argentina to Chile.

August 8
      In order to avoid international trade conflicts with the European Union, the U.S. agrees to change a law that required a country's identification on the label of clothes made from cloth woven in that country; the law would have affected European houses that make fine apparel from silk imported from China.

      The journal Cell publishes two articles (and a third appears in Neuron in August) that report the discovery of the cause of cell death in Huntington's disease and several related disorders; the finding is considered a major medical breakthrough.

      The government of Greece announces that archaeologists have discovered the Demosion Sima, a cemetery in Athens dating to Greece's Golden Age, which may contain the graves of many classical figures.

August 9
      Ground is broken for a levee to contain flooding from the Mississippi River at the historical city of Sainte Genevieve, Mo.; three days earlier $201 million in federal funds had been promised for recovery from the spring flooding in North Dakota (see April 27 (Calendar of 1997 )).

August 10
      At the sixth world track and field championships in Athens, Sergey Bubka of Ukraine wins his sixth straight world pole vault championship, double the total of anyone else in a single event.

      Greg Maddux, a pitcher for the Atlanta Braves, signs a five-year contract for $57.5 million, the highest ever in baseball.

      The U.S. wins the Walker Cup, defeating the British-Irish team by 18-6 at the Quaker Ridge Golf Club in Scarsdale, N.Y.

      Jacques Villeneuve wins the Hungarian Grand Prix auto race at Budapest.

August 11
      Eliminating three relatively minor provisions in a budget bill, President Clinton makes the first use of the line-item veto, a power the president was granted by Congress in 1996.

      The International Monetary Fund, Japan, and a group of other Asian countries offer a package that is eventually worth $17.2 billion to stabilize the tottering economy of Thailand.

      Crédit Suisse, Switzerland's second largest bank, announces plans to buy the Winterthur Group for about $9 billion in stock.

August 12
      Hudson Foods, Inc., producers of beef for hamburgers, recalls 9,070 kg (20,000 lb) of ground beef patties after 20 cases of illness are reported, apparently caused by contamination of some of the company's products by Escherichia coli bacteria; on August 21 an additional 11,340,000 kg (25 million 1b) of beef are recalled and the company announces it will close its plant in Nebraska.

      It is announced that the Lin Television Corp. of Providence, R.I., will be bought by Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst Inc. in a deal worth more than $1.7 billion.

August 13
      Violence breaks out in and near Mombasa, Kenya, as elections approach; several dozen persons die in weeks of clashes principally involving youths and police.

      The government of Ontario announces that it plans to close seven nuclear power plants near the U.S. border, primarily out of concern for the safety of the facilities.

      The United States defeats defending champion Italy to win the Champagne Mumm Admiral's Cup yachting race at Cowes, Isle of Wight, Eng.; this is the first American win since 1969.

      At the Weltklasse track and field meet in Zürich, Switz., three world records are broken: Kenyan-born Wilson Kipketer betters the 16-year-old time for the 800 m at 1 min 41.24 sec; another runner, Wilson Boit Kipketer of Kenya, runs the 3,000-m steeplechase in 7 min 59.08 sec; and Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia improves on his own record by running the 5,000-m race in 12 min 41.86 sec.

August 14
      Several days of violence that result in the deaths of at least 70 people precede the 50th anniversary of the founding of the country of Pakistan from part of British India.

      Sony Corp., Philips Electronics NV, and the Hewlett-Packard Co. announce that they will not support the proposed standards for the rerecordable DVD-RAM disc technology, which threatens further instability in the home electronics market.

      The W.R. Grace Co. announces that it will divest itself of its packaging business, most of which will be eventually purchased by the Sealed Air Corp. for about $5 billion.

      Lee Berger of the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, S.Af., announces that his team has discovered footprints of an anatomically modern human on the shore of a lagoon in South Africa in sandstone dated at 117,000 years old, the oldest such record known.

August 15
      The 50th anniversary of India's declaration of independence from British rule is marked.

      Pres. Eduard Shevardnadze of Georgia and Vladislav Ardzinba of the breakaway territory of Abkhazia issue statements renouncing violence in the settlement of the Caucasian territories' dispute.

August 16
      The Turkish Grand National Assembly passes a law that would require attendance at secular schools for eight years, rather than the former five, an attempt to limit the influence of Muslim religious schools.

      An estimated 50,000 fans congregate in Memphis, Tenn., to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the death of rock idol Elvis Presley, who would have been 62 in 1997.

August 17
      Golfer Davis Love III wins the Professional Golfers' Association of America championship with an 11-under-par score of 269 at the Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y.

August 18
      The Churchwide Assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, meeting in Philadelphia, votes to draw closer to three other Protestant churches—the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the United Church of Christ, and the Reformed Church in America—and offer full communion among them.

      In the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City, the durable Rolling Stones announce a new 35-city tour in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico to begin in September.

August 19
      The two-week strike by the Teamsters Union against UPS ends (see August 4).

      President Clinton spends his 51st birthday on the Massachusetts resort island of Martha's Vineyard.

      The world target championships begins in Victoria, B.C.

August 20
      Without opposition, NATO troops in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina, take over police buildings in the city and find caches of arms believed to have been assembled for a possible coup against Pres. Biljana Plavsic.

      In Iran the legislature approves the Cabinet of Pres. Mohammad Khatami.

      Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar suddenly and unexpectedly announces that he will not again seek public office.

August 21
      The sporting-goods manufacturer Speedo releases a new mask for swimming competitions that reduces drag around the head and goggles of the swimmer and is expected to become standard equipment in top competitions.

      The General Motors Corp. celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Oldsmobile; the company was established by Ranson E. Olds in Lansing, Mich., in 1897.

August 22
      A federal judge in Little Rock, Ark., sets a date in May 1998 for jury selection to begin in the sexual harassment suit brought by Paula Jones against President Clinton.

August 23
      The new Arthur Ashe Stadium, part of the renovation and expansion of the U.S. Tennis Association National Tennis Center at Flushing Meadows, Queens, N.Y., opens; it is officially dedicated on August 25, during the U.S. Open tournament (see September 7 (Calendar of 1997 )).

      In the 1997 Little League Baseball World Series, Linda Vista from Guadalupe, Nuevo León, Mex. (Latin America region), defeats South Mission Viejo from Mission Viejo, Calif. (U.S. West region), 5-4.

August 24
      Egon Krenz, the last leader of the former East Germany, is found guilty of manslaughter for his complicity in the shooting deaths by border policemen of persons trying to escape the country; on August 25 he is sentenced to prison for six and a half years.

      Cardinal Health Inc. agrees to buy the Bergen Brunswig Corp. for more than $2.4 billion plus $386 million in debt; the resulting company will be the largest drug wholesaler in the U.S.

      Michael Schumacher, driving a Ferrari, wins the Belgian Grand Prix auto race at Spa-Francorchamps.

August 25
      Five major American cigarette manufacturers agree to pay $11.3 billion to settle a lawsuit by the state of Florida over the cost of health care due to smoking-related illnesses.

      North Korea's ambassador to Egypt, Chang Sung Gil, and his brother, Chang Sung Ho, the country's chief trade official in France, defect to the U.S.

August 26
      F.W. de Klerk, former president of South Africa and co-recipient with Nelson Mandela of the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize, announces his resignation as head of the National Party and his retirement from politics.

August 27
      Two gangs engage in battle in the El Dorado penal centre in Venezuela, killing 29 and injuring 13; the prison system in the country has been plagued by overcrowding and poor conditions for some years.

      The Asatru, a Nordic pagan sect, holds a consecration ceremony on the banks of the Columbia River at Kennewick, Wash., where in June 1996 an ancient skull—called the Kennewick Man—was discovered; the skull and its future are contested by the U.S. Corps of Engineers, custodians of the land on which the skull was discovered, Native American groups that assert the Kennewick man is an ancestor, scientists who believe the remains are of a Caucasoid man, and the pagans.

August 28
      In California the first state law in the U.S. reversing affirmative action (legal encouragement to hire and promote the welfare of women and minorities) takes effect as thousands demonstrate against the new situation.

      The freestyle wrestling world championships begin in Krasnoyarsk, Russia.

August 29
      Islamist terrorists wreak havoc in the village of Rais, Alg., brutally killing dozens of people and abducting at least 20 women.

      The oldest nuclear power plant in the U.S., the Big Rock Point facility near Charlevoix, Mich., is closed because it is no longer economical to run.

      A U.S. federal judge reduces the punitive damages awarded by a lower court in a controversial case by Food Lion supermarkets against the ABC television network and others from $5,500,000 to $315,000; two TV reporters had falsified their applications to get jobs in a supermarket in order to report on unsanitary handling of food products.

      New guidelines for handling doctrinal differences within the Roman Catholic Church are made public in Rome.

August 30
      The names of chemical elements 101-109 become official as the Council of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry ends a long selection procedure.

      The World Amazigh Congress, dedicated to the promotion of Berber identity throughout North Africa, completes its inaugural four-day meeting in Tafira, Canary Islands.

      The Houston Comets defeat the New York Liberty 65-51 in the inaugural Women's National Basketball Association championship in Houston, Texas; Cynthia Cooper of the Comets is chosen Most Valuable Player (see March 11 (Calendar of 1997 )).

August 31
      Diana, princess of Wales, her friend Emad Mohamed al-Fayed, and their driver are killed in an automobile crash in a Paris highway tunnel.

      Indigenous leaders from Venezuela, Brazil, and Guyana end a five-day meeting in Boa Vista, Braz., with a statement urging their native peoples to be more vocal in discussing large-scale development projects that affect their lives and welfare.

      A five-day celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Zionist movement ends in Basel, Switz., where on Aug. 29, 1897, Thedor Herzl convened the first Zionist congress to work for a Jewish homeland in Palestine.


September 1
      Physicists at Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, N.Y., and other facilities in the U.S. and Russia announce that they have discovered a new particle, which they call the "exotic meson"; the team speculated that the exotic meson might comprise four quarks, unlike all other known particles, which have three.

September 2
      At a summit meeting of Central American presidents in Managua, Nic., it is decided to create an economic union on the model of the European Community in order to improve economic conditions within the region and trade status with other countries.

September 3
      Troops from Comoros land on the island of Anjouan in an attempt to put down the secessionist movement; both sides suffer many casualties (see August 3 (Calendar of 1997 )).

      Gov. Fife Symington of Arizona resigns, effective September 5, after he is convicted of seven counts of fraud dating from the time, before he was elected governor, that he was a real-estate developer.

      The Rev. Henry J. Lyons retains the presidency of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., after his supporters thwart a strong move to unseat him because of allegations that he had misappropriated church funds.

      Citizens in Newfoundland vote overwhelmingly to end church control of public schools in the Canadian province; local Roman Catholic organizations are expected to appeal the vote in court.

      Philanthropist George Soros closes the offices of the Soros Foundation in Minsk, Belarus, under pressure from the government.

September 4
      Three suicide bombers set off explosions in a shopping area in Jerusalem; at least 4 persons are killed, and at least 180 are wounded.

September 5
      Mother Teresa, Nobel Peace Prize winner, dies in Calcutta at age 87; in a break with tradition, the Indian government gives her a state funeral on September 13.

      The International Olympic Committee chooses Athens as the host city of the 2004 Summer Olympic Games; other contenders were Buenos Aires, Arg., Cape Town, Rome, and Stockholm.

      Following a meeting of the Southern African Development Community in Blantyre, Malawi, ministers from several countries in the region warn that bovine pleuropneumonia, a cattle disease, has reached epidemic proportions and could soon affect local economies, which rely heavily on livestock breeding and farming.

      The National University of Samoa is officially opened in the capital, Apia.

      The city of Moscow celebrates its 850th anniversary with a three-day gala that includes parades, concerts, and pageantry throughout the city.

September 6
      Diana, princess of Wales, is buried at her family's estate in Northamptonshire following a formal funeral at Westminster Abbey (see August 31 (Calendar of 1997 )).

      An American astronaut and a Russian cosmonaut venture outside the Mir space station to repair damage incurred in a collision with a cargo ship on June 25; a succession of computer failures and other problems have plagued the space station during the year.

September 7
      Australian Patrick Rafter defeats Briton Greg Rusedski to win the men's competition in the U.S. Open tennis tournament in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.; Martina Hingis (Switz.) beats Venus Williams (U.S.) to win the women's title.

      David Coulthard, driving a McLaren-Mercedes, wins the Italian Grand Prix auto race at Monza.

September 8
      A ferry sinks off the west coast of Haiti, and at least 172 persons are killed.

      WorldCom, Inc., announces that it will buy CompuServe Inc. for $1.2 billion and then sell CompuServe's on-line services, which include about 2.6 million customers, to industry leader America Online, Inc.

September 9
      In anticipation of the peace talks for Northern Ireland on September 15, Sinn Fein, the political wing of the Irish Republican Army, formally renounces violence and agrees, in the words of the party's leader, Gerry Adams, "to take all the guns out of Irish politics."

      At a time when figures in Pres. Bill Clinton's administration are undergoing close political scrutiny for allegedly having used U.S. government facilities for party fund-raising activities, Donald L. Fowler, national chairman of the Democratic National Committee during the 1996 election, admits that he assisted in arranging meetings between key party supporters and high U.S. government officials.

September 10
      Maj. Gen. Robert D. Shadley, former director of the Aberdeen Ordnance Center and School, Maryland, the site of alleged incidents of sexual harassment that racked the U.S. Army earlier in the year, receives a reprimand; on September 11 the army announces that its investigation has confirmed reports of widespread sexual harassment in the organization.

September 11
      In a referendum Scotland votes overwhelmingly in favour of establishing a parliament independent of the British government in London to oversee domestic affairs in the country (see September 18).

      In a follow-up to the spacecraft Mars Pathfinder's mission, NASA-led Mars Global Surveyor enters the planet's orbit; it will spend two years mapping the surface of the red planet (see July 4 (Calendar of 1997 )).

      Film actor and vice president of the National Rifle Association Charlton Heston, speaking at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., comes out forcefully in favour of private citizens' right to own guns, calling that right the "first among equals" in the U.S.

September 12
      In a radical departure from the socialist form of centralized control of industry but studiously avoiding the word privatization, the Chinese government announces an agreement to sell off 10,000 of the country's 13,000 large and medium-sized state enterprises.

      Mary Robinson steps down as president of Ireland in order to accept the position of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (see June 17 (Calendar of 1997 )).

September 13
      Two days of municipal elections begin in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

      Oscar de la Hoya defeats Hector ("Macho") Camacho in a World Boxing Council welterweight title fight in Las Vegas, Nev.

      The first annual World Air Games opens in Ankara, Tur.; included are events for powered and nonpowered aircraft, ballooning, model airplanes, and parachuting.

      The Toronto International Film Festival closes; In & Out and FairyTale: A True Story receive their world premieres during the festival.

September 14
      The government of New Zealand formally returns the 1,150-ha (2,842-ac) Onewhero Forest on North Island to the Maori people; this land, along with other tracts, had been seized from the Maoris during the British colonial period.

      A train derailment on a bridge in Madyah Pradesh, India, kills at least 80 persons and injures hundreds.

      Television's Emmy awards are given out in ceremonies at Pasadena, Calif.; "Law & Order" wins for best drama, and "Frasier" takes the Emmy for best comedy.

      The Washington Redskins professional football team plays its first game in the new Jack Kent Cooke Stadium, the largest open-air facility in the National Football League.

September 15
      Former Massachusetts governor William F. Weld, who had been nominated by President Clinton to be U.S. ambassador to Mexico, withdraws his candidacy after encountering withering opposition from Sen. Jesse Helms, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

      Two popular diet drugs, fenfluramine and dexfenfluramine, are withdrawn from the market by their manufacturers after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) establishes a possible link between the preparations—often used in combination with another appetite suppressant, phentermine—and heart-valve damage.

      The Museum of Jewish Heritage, located in New York City near Battery Park, is opened to the public; included are items of Jewish culture from Europe, North America, and Israel, as well as exhibits on the Holocaust.

September 16
      The German sportswear company adidas AG announces plans to buy Salomon SA, a French sports-equipment manufacturer, for $1.4 billion.

      A report presented by scientists from the U.S. National Cancer Institute and the FDA and based on a review of medical studies finds no link between silicone breast implants and incidence of breast cancer.

      In a report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, scientists at the Johns Hopkins University School of medicine, Baltimore, Md., report that broccoli sprouts contain 30-50 times the amount of chemicals that stimulate the growth of antitoxic enzymes that fight cancer as are found in mature broccoli plants.

September 17
      In Oslo representatives of 100 nations sign the draft treaty banning the use, sale, stockpiling, and production of antipersonnel land mines (see December 3 (Calendar of 1997 )).

      Tran Duc Luong, a mining engineer from Quang Ngai province, is elected president of Vietnam by the Vietnamese Communist Party; Phan Van Kai replaces Vo Van Kiet as prime minister on September 25 (see December 30 (Calendar of 1997 )).

      The World Health Organization reports that Cambodia is suffering the highest infection rate from HIV in Southeast Asia and that 40,000 deaths from related causes are expected in that country by the year 2000.

      Japanese and Peruvian archaeologists uncover a royal tomb in northern Peru that contains a number of gold ornaments believed to be the oldest known items in the Americas.

September 18
      Media mogul Ted Turner announces that he will establish a foundation and through it donate $1 billion—$100 million a year for 10 years—to programs that are approved by the United Nations.

      A referendum held in Wales on the question of establishing an assembly passes narrowly, unlike the enthusiastic support a similar proposal received earlier in Scotland (see September 11).

      A bomb attack on a tourist bus in downtown Cairo kills 10, mostly German tourists.

      Two accounting firms, Coopers & Lybrand and Price Waterhouse, announce plans to merge; the resulting company will be the world's largest accounting firm, with some $11.8 billion in annual revenue (see October 20 (Calendar of 1997 )).

September 19
      The American Medical Association announces that three of its top executives are leaving; on December 4, P. John Seward, the AMA's chief executive, resigns, acknowledging that a serious mistake was made when the influential organization agreed to a commercial endorsement agreement with the Sunbeam Corp.

      The 40th Monterey (Calif.) Jazz Festival opens; it is the longest-running jazz festival in the U.S.

September 20
      The 28th meeting of the South Pacific Forum concludes in Rarotonga, Cook Islands.; among a variety of issues discussed is the effort to bring peace to the island of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, where a violent secessionist movement continues.

September 21
      In the Polish elections the centre-right Solidarity coalition regains power from the Socialists after four years.

      In Yugoslavia the Socialist Party of Serbia of Pres. Slobodan Milosevic wins legislative elections but loses a number of seats such that for the first time it will have to form a coalition government.

      The Whitbread Round the World race begins as 10 yachts from six countries depart on the first leg from Southampton, Eng., for Cape Town; the full race will take eight months.

September 22
      The exchange rate for the Malaysian ringgit reaches a 26-year low, falling to 3.122 to the U.S. dollar.

      The computer aboard the Mir space station fails again; two other failures had crippled the ship in recent weeks.

      The 52nd annual Albert Lasker Medical Research Awards go to Mark S. Ptashne of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City and Victor A. McKusick and Alfred Sommer, both of Johns Hopkins University.

      The Seagram Co. Ltd. announces it will buy the remainder of the USA Network—the 50% share it does not already own—from Viacom Inc. for $1.7 billion.

September 23
      A massacre in which at least 85 people are slaughtered takes place on the outskirts of Algiers and is attributed by the government to the Armed Islamic Group, which was also held responsible for a similar incident on August 29 (Calendar of 1997 ) (q.v.).

      Students hold an illegal demonstration in Mongolia to protest rising costs of tuition and lodging in universities; Prime Minister Mendsaikhan Enkhsaikhan orders universities to lower these fees on September 24.

      Elton John's recording of his "Candle in the Wind 1997," the song he rewrote and performed at the funeral of Diana, princess of Wales, goes on sale in New York City; 37 days later the single compact disc becomes the best-selling single recording ever (almost 32 million copies).

September 24
      The Travelers Group of financial companies announces that it will buy Salomon Inc. for $9 billion, creating a new giant corporation on the New York City financial scene.

September 25
      Andy Green, a British fighter pilot, breaks the world land-speed record that had stood since 1983 in the jet Thrust SuperSonic Car, attaining an average speed of 1,149.3 km/h (714.14 mph) on the required two runs on a course in Black Rock Desert, Nevada; on October 15 he becomes the first driver to exceed the speed of sound in a land vehicle.

      The International Court of Justice in The Hague finds both Hungary and Slovakia at fault in their squabble over the diversion of water from the Danube River at the Gabcikovo-Nagymaros Project.

September 26
      Two earthquakes shake central Italy, killing 11 people and causing heavy damage to the priceless 13th- and 14th-century frescoes in the vaulted ceiling of the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi.

      Salvatore Riina and 23 other officials of the Sicilian Mafia are sentenced to life in prison for the murder in 1992 of Giovanni Falcone, the courageous prosecutor of organized crime in Italy.

      Southcom, the headquarters for all U.S. military operations in Latin America south of Mexico, closes its base at Quarry Heights, Pan., and moves to Miami, Fla.; the base at Quarry Heights had opened in 1916.

September 27
      Taliban leaders seize Kabul, the capital, and declare Afghanistan a "complete" Islamic state.

      The Adelaide Crows defeat St. Kilda by a score of 19.11 (125) to 13.16 (94) in the grand final of the Australian Football League in Melbourne.

September 28
      The 400th anniversary of the dedication of the Mimizuka, or "Ear Mound," in Kyoto, Japan, which contains the noses and ears taken as trophies from tens of thousands of Koreans by invading Japanese samurai, is commemorated.

      By a score of 14 to 13 Europe defeats the U.S. to win the Ryder Cup at Valderrama Golf Club, Sotogrande, Spain, the first time the biennial golf tournament has been held outside the U.S. or the U.K.

      Jacques Villeneuve, driving a Williams-Renault, wins the Luxembourg Grand Prix auto race at Nürburgring.

September 29
      Combivir, a medication that combines AZT and 3TC, two common AIDS-therapy preparations, becomes the first combination drug for AIDS to win approval by the U.S. FDA.

      Little, Brown & Co., Inc., which had planned to publish a book by the 13th-century Italian-Jewish merchant Jacob d'Ancona, who purportedly visited China four years before the voyage of Marco Polo, announces it will postpone publication because it is suspected of being a hoax.

September 30
      The Roman Catholic Church of France apologizes to the Jewish people for not having spoken up against the repression of Jews during the period of French collaboration with Nazi Germany.

      Toys "R" Us, Inc., the leading U.S. toy retailer, is found guilty of colluding with manufacturers to control the distribution of popular items, such as Barbie and GI Joe dolls, and keep prices artificially high.


October 1
      The month of October has been dedicated by Pres. Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan to the celebration of the 2,500th anniversary of the city of Khiva.

      Leland's auction house in New York City opens the largest-ever sale of memorabilia from the television show "Howdy Doody"; the marionette figure, beloved by millions of young viewers, also celebrates his 50th birthday in 1997.

October 2
      It is reported in the journal Nature that scientists from two institutions in Japan have discovered the human "period gene," which regulates the body's biological clock, or circadian rhythms.

      The Ford Motor Co. announces plans to build a new factory in southern Brazil that could cost up to $1 billion.

October 3
      The Guggenheim Museum, housed in a spectacular titanium-clad building designed by American architect Frank Gehry, is inaugurated in the Basque city of Bilbao, Spain; it opens to the public on October 19.

      U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno rejects allegations made by Republican representatives of misdeeds on the part of Pres. Bill Clinton in connection with campaign financing.

October 4
      In a spate of attacks in three separate Algerian villages by rival Islamist organizations, more than 100 civilians, many of them children, are brutally massacred (see April 22 (Calendar of 1997 )).

      Hundreds of thousands of Promise Keepers, evangelical Christian men dedicated to making themselves better husbands and fathers, convene on the Mall in Washington, D.C., in what is believed to be the largest religious gathering in U.S. history.

      Princess Cristina Federica de Borbón y Grecia, daughter of King Juan Carlos I of Spain, and Iñaki Urdangarín, a commoner and professional team handball player from the Basque Country in northwestern Spain, are married in Barcelona.

October 5
      French jockey Olivier Peslier rides Peintre Celebre to victory in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe horse race at Longchamp, Paris.

      The 50th anniversary of the death of German physicist Max Planck (Oct. 4, 1947) is commemorated with a special exhibition about his life and work, sponsored by the Max Planck Society and the German Physical Society at Magnus House, Berlin.

October 6
      Ten Bosnian Croats accused of war crimes, including Dario Kordic, especially sought for his role in the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and Herzegovina, turn themselves in to the international war crimes tribunal in The Hague; Croatia has come under criticism and international pressure for its lack of cooperation in helping bring Croat war criminals to justice.

      Stanley B. Prusiner is awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for his discovery and study of prions, a previously unknown type of disease-causing agent.

October 7
      Sun Microsystems, Inc., owner and inventor of the Java Internet application development language, brings suit in San Jose, Calif., accusing the Microsoft Corp., which has developed its own, incompatible version of Java, of trademark infringement and breach of contract, among other wrongful practices.

      A team of astronomers from the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Md., and the University of California, Los Angeles, reports finding the Pistol Star, perhaps the brightest and most massive (up to 450.6 million km [280 million mi] in diameter) body ever observed, near the centre of the Milky Way Galaxy in the direction of the constellation Sagittarius.

      The National Academy of Engineering announces that Vladimir Haensel, inventor of "platforming" (platinum reforming), a catalytic process for producing clean and efficient high-performance fuels from petroleum, has been awarded the biennial Charles Stark Draper Prize; the award is valued at $450,000.

October 8
      Kim Jong Il assumes the post of general secretary of the Korean Workers' (Communist) Party; the post, as well as that of president of North Korea, have been unfilled since the death more than three years ago of Kim Jong Il's father, longtime leader Kim Il Sung.

      Canada announces that Muskwa-Kechika, a one million-hectare (2.5 million-ac) area of wilderness in northern British Columbia, will be set aside and protected from development; in addition, the area is to be surrounded by a buffer zone, where only limited economic exploitation will be permitted.

October 9
      Dario Fo, Italian playwright and performer, wins the Nobel Prize for Literature.

      Unexpectedly, the German Bundesbank raises its repo rate for the first time in five years, which puts pressure on other European countries and prompts increases also in France, The Netherlands, and Belgium.

      A hurricane rakes the Mexican coastline at Acapulco, killing hundreds and leaving thousands of people homeless, mostly those who were living in poorly built structures on the hillsides above the popular resort town.

October 10
      The Nobel Prize for Peace is awarded to the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and to its coordinator, American Jody Williams.

      Pres. Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakstan removes from office Prime Minister Akezhan Kazhegeldin, a reformist, who left the country for medical treatment, and replaces him with a tractable, low-key ally, Nurlan Balgimbayev.

      Prime Minister Lionel Jospin presents a proposal to cut the workweek in France from 39 to 35 hours, without any corresponding drop in pay, in order to stimulate job growth.

      An Argentine DC-9 airliner crashes and explodes in Uruguay, killing all 75 people aboard.

      Actress and animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot is fined $1,600 by a French court for protesting the sacrificial slaughter of sheep by Muslims.

October 11
      Meeting in Strasbourg, France, the Council of Europe adopts an agreement that would create a common social model for all of Europe that emphasizes human rights, civil rights, and protection from crime.

      Following $140 million in renovations, the Teatro Real, Madrid's 19th-century opera house, is formally reopened to opera performances after a lapse of 72 years; the world premiere of Antón García Abril's opera Divinas Palabras, with the lead role sung by Spanish tenor Plácido Domingo, takes place on October 18.

October 12
      Paul Biya easily wins reelection as president of Cameroon with about 80% of the vote in an election that was carefully controlled by his government and that the main opposition parties boycotted.

      Laurent Brochard of France wins the 256.5-km (159-mi) world road championship bicycle race in San Sebastián, Spain, with a time of 6 hr 16 min 48 sec.

October 13
      The Christian Democratic Union, Chancellor Helmut Kohl's party, begins its annual party congress in Leipzig, Ger.

      The women's World Open squash championship begins in Sydney, Australia, and is dominated by the home team.

October 14
      The Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science is awarded to Robert C. Merton and Myron Samuel Scholes for their work on devising a formula to evaluate stock options.

      Queen Elizabeth II of England, on a visit to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Indian independence, lays a wreath at a memorial dedicated to the nearly 400 unarmed Indian civilians massacred by British soldiers in 1919 at Amritsar.

      The five delegates who constitute the legislature of the Caribbean island of Nevis vote unanimously to leave the federation with St. Kitts; a referendum on the issue is required.

      The Booker Prize is awarded in London to Indian writer Arundhati Roy for her novel The God of Small Things.

      Sir Paul McCartney's (see January 1 (Calendar of 1997 )) full-length symphonic poem Standing Stone receives its world premiere at the Royal Albert Hall, London, with Lawrence Foster leading the London Symphony Orchestra; the piece was recorded earlier and tops the U.S. classical music charts.

October 15
      The Nobel Prize for Physics is awarded to Steven Chu, William D. Phillips, and Claude Cohen-Tannoudji for having developed a method to slow down atoms for study; winners of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry are Paul D. Boyer, John E. Walker, and Jens C. Skou for their studies of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a molecule that stores energy.

      Brazzaville, the capital, and Pointe-Noir, the second largest city of the Republic of Congo, fall to advancing rebel forces; on October 19 Pres. Pascal Lissouba flees the country.

      A truck bomb in Colombo, the Sri Lankan capital, kills 18 people and wounds approximately 100, many of them foreign tourists; at least 2 members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, a Tamil-speaking separatist group in Sri Lanka, are killed by police following the bombing.

      Amid concerns about the possible danger of launching the vehicle because its reactor uses plutonium, the Cassini spacecraft is launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and begins a seven-year trek to the planet Saturn.

October 16
      The U.S. Federal Maritime Commission orders the Coast Guard to prohibit the entry of Japanese ships into American ports and to prohibit Japanese ships already in port from leaving, the latest round in a trade dispute between the two countries.

      A clinic in Atlanta, Ga., reports success in freezing human eggs, thawing them, fertilizing them, and bringing the resultant set of twins to full-term pregnancy and birth; the procedure opens the possibility that young women could preserve their eggs for fertilization later in their lives.

      The 1997 Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize, which honours outstanding contributors to the arts, is presented to singer-songwriter Bob Dylan at a ceremony in New York City; the 1996 award went to theatre director Robert Wilson.

October 17
      Jerzy Buzek is named prime minister of Poland; his right-wing Solidarity-linked government takes over after four years of rule by the former communists.

      The remains of Argentine-born revolutionary Ernesto ("Che") Guevara are buried at the base of a monument to the leader of the Cuban Revolution in Santa Clara, Cuba; Pres. Fidel Castro Ruz speaks in homage to his former comrade-in-arms (see July 12 (Calendar of 1997 )).

October 18
      The Women in Military Service for America Memorial on the grounds of the Arlington (Va.) National Cemetery outside Washington, D.C., is dedicated; some 1.8 million women have served in the U.S. armed forces.

October 19
      Milo Djukanovic, a political opponent of Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic, is elected president of Montenegro, one of the two constituent republics of the rump Yugoslav state.

      Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, spiritual leader of the world's Eastern Orthodox churches, arrives in Washington, D.C., for a month-long pastoral visit that will take him to 16 cities in the U.S.

October 20
      The U.S. government files a petition in a federal court, stating that the Microsoft Corp., by requiring personal computer manufacturers to install its Internet browser software together with the predominant Microsoft Windows operating system, is in violation of an antitrust agreement that the two parties had reached earlier; on December 11 a federal judge rules in favour of the government.

      KPMG Peat Marwick LLP and Ernst & Young LLP, two of the world's largest accounting firms, announce plans to merge, creating the largest such company in the world, even after the Coopers & Lybrand/Price Waterhouse union (see September 18 (Calendar of 1997 )).

      Starwood Lodging Trust of Phoenix, Ariz., becomes the largest hotel corporation in the world when it acquires the Sheraton chain from its owner, ITT Corp., for $9.8 billion.

      "Sue," the fossilized skeleton of a 65 million-year-old Tyrannosaurus rex that was sold at auction on October 4 in New York City for $8,360,000, arrives at the facilities of the high bidder, Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History.

October 21
      A nurse and a doctor in Copenhagen are charged with having administered lethal injections—on the grounds of euthanasia—to 22 patients in a nursing home over a four-year period; the week before, on October 14, the U.S. Supreme Court had elected not to review the constitutionality of an Oregon law that permits terminally ill persons to seek the assistance of a physician to end their own lives.

October 22
      The government of South Korea announces that it will take over the Kia Motors Corp., the country's third largest auto manufacturer.

      Two young American conductors, Alan Gilbert and David Robertson, are awarded the $100,000 Seaver/National Endowment for the Arts Conductors Award.

      Nike, the manufacturer of sports footwear, announces that it has signed a sponsorship deal with the professional U.S. Soccer Federation, agreeing to pay a $120 million subsidy over an eight-year period.

October 23
      After the Hong Kong Monetary Authority nearly doubles the overnight lending rate to 20% in order to stop widespread foreign sell-offs of the Hong Kong dollar, stocks fall sharply; the Hang Seng index is down 765.33, and a ripple effect is set off in the Japanese and other Asian markets, European bourses, and the U.S. exchanges throughout the day; the U.S. Dow Jones industrial average (DJIA) finishes down 2.3%.

October 24
      The nomination of Hershel Gober to the top post in the United States Department of Veterans Affairs is withdrawn by the White House when it becomes clear that the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs will not approve Gober, who was accused of sexual misconduct in 1993.

      Biologists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, reporting in the journal Science, present evidence, based on the development of the wing structures of embryonic birds, that modern birds are not evolved from dinosaurs, as is widely believed.

October 25
      Continuing the recent American trend of mass rallies that had begun with the Million Man March in October 1995 and had continued with the convocation of the Promise Keepers (see October 4), the Million Woman March attracts several hundred thousand African-American women from throughout the U.S. to Philadelphia to listen to speeches on aspects of "repentance, resurrection and restoration."

October 26
      Mika Hakkinen of Finland, driving a McLaren-Mercedes, wins the European Grand Prix in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain; with his third-place finish in this race—and after having collided with German driver Michael Schumacher, who did not finish the race—Canadian driver Jacques Villeneuve accrues enough points to edge past Schumacher, a two-time winner, for the Formula One world title.

October 27
      Stock prices fall worldwide, and trading on the New York Stock Exchange is halted under a rarely used procedure to decelerate price falls; the DJIA is down some 554 points, and markets in Asia also close sharply down.

      In the 11th inning of the 7th game (which extended past midnight) in Miami, Fla., the Florida Marlins, a team barely five years old, defeats the Cleveland Indians in professional baseball's World Series.

October 28
      The roller-coaster stock market in the United States, jittery over the instabilities in the Asian markets, lurches sharply upward, and the DJIA registers a 337-point gain, the greatest single-day rise in history.

      Pres. Frederick Chiluba of Zambia announces that a brief coup attempt has been put down and the mid-level officers responsible have been arrested.

October 29
      Presidents Jiang Zemin of China and Clinton meet in the White House and arrive at a number of commercial agreements but disagree on many human rights and social issues; Jiang arrives in Hawaii on October 26 and concludes his highly publicized trip to the U.S. on November 3.

October 30
      The government of Iraq refuses to admit into the country three citizens of the United States who are part of United Nations weapons-inspection teams, causing yet another standoff between Iraq and the U.S. to be precipitated.

      In a court in Cambridge, Mass., Louise Woodward, a 19-year-old British au pair, is found guilty of the second-degree murder of an eight-month-old child in her care; the case arouses intense controversy in Great Britain as well as in U.S. legal circles (see November 10 (Calendar of 1997 )).

      The Juilliard String Quartet, itself newly renovated with Joel Smirnoff in the role of first violinist and Ronald Copes as second, plays a public concert to reopen the refurbished Coolidge Auditorium at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

October 31
      Mary McAleese becomes the second woman in a row to be elected president of Ireland; she enjoys the additional distinction of being the first person from Northern Ireland to win this position.

      The U.S. offers $3 billion in funds to help stabilize the economy of Indonesia, which, like other countries in Southeast Asia, is coming under financial pressure; the International Monetary Fund is also providing $15 billion in emergency aid loans.


November 1
      Martin Luther King III, the eldest son of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a prominent American civil rights organization.

      McLain Ward of Brewster, N.Y., riding Amity, wins the Budweiser Grand Prix equestrian jumping event during the 114th National Horse Show at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

      At the end of the world team bridge championships in Hammamet, Tunisia, France is awarded the Bermuda Bowl for open teams for its victory over the U.S., and an American team beats the Chinese for the Venice Cup for women's teams.

November 2
      Brazil's maiden space launch from the facility at Alcântara, Maranhão state, is aborted about a minute after liftoff because one of the four engines does not fire; the booster rocket carries an environmental research satellite.

      David Duval wins the Professional Golfers Association Tour championship in Houston, Texas, the final event of the PGA Tour; Duval's posting of three wins in PGA Tour events in 1997 is second only to Tiger Woods's four.

      Canadian figure skater Elvis Stojko wins the Nations Cup title at Gelsenkirchen, Ger.

      John Kagwe of Kenya wins the New York Marathon with a time of 2 hr 8 min 12 sec; the fastest woman is Francziska Rochat-Moser of Switzerland, with a time of 2 hr 28 min 43 sec.

November 3
      Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, prime minister of Thailand, resigns after having proved unable to bring order to a fractious coalition government or stability to the faltering economy.

      Truckers in France go on strike and set up blockades on a number of arterial highways throughout the country, disrupting international as well as local freight traffic.

      Ellen Highstein is appointed director of the Tanglewood Music Center in the Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and an important training facility for musicians; relations between Tanglewood management and Seiji Ozawa, music director of the Boston Symphony, which owns the facility, have been strained for more than a year.

November 4
      New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani is decisively elected to a second term; he will be sworn in on New Year's Day 1998.

      Might and Power, a four-year-old gelding ridden by jockey Greg Hall, wins the Melbourne Cup in a photo finish over the 1995 winner, Doriemus.

November 5
      An expert panel convened by the U.S. National Institutes of Health concludes that acupuncture is an effective therapy for certain medical conditions, especially those that involve pain and nausea, and recommends that it be considered when a treatment is being selected.

November 6
      The George Bush Library, the 11th presidential library in the U.S., is inaugurated at Texas A & M University; except for ailing Ronald Reagan, all current and past presidents and their wives are present for the dedication ceremonies.

      After American best-selling author Stephen King decides to leave Viking, his longtime publishing house, and search for a new deal with another publisher, Simon & Schuster announces that they have offered an unusual three-book deal that will give King a smaller advance but a greater percentage of the profits on his books.

November 7
      Fred Meyer Inc., a large retail grocery company, announces that it will acquire Quality Food Centers Inc. and the Ralphs Grocery Co. for a total of $2 billion, creating the fourth largest supermarket chain in the United States.

      It is announced that a judge in Tampa, Fla., has granted asylum to a member of the Church of Scientology on the grounds that she would be subjected to religious persecution if she returned home to Germany (see June 6 (Calendar of 1997 )).

      Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin, a new museum of modern art on Berlin's famed Unter den Linden, opens to the public.

November 8
      Engineers at the site of the Three Gorges Dam in China divert the waters of the Chang Jiang (Yangtze River) from its normal channel in order to begin construction work; the controversial dam will be the largest in the world.

      The capital of Kazakstan is formally transferred from Almaty (formerly Alma-Ata) in the southeast to Akmola in the north-central part of the country.

      American heavyweight boxer Evander Holyfield strips the International Boxing Federation title from Michael Moorer, knocking him down five times in the process; Holyfield also retains his World Boxing Association title in the eight-round technical knockout in Las Vegas, Nev.

      The Breeder's Cup Classic race at Hollywood Park racetrack in Inglewood, Calif., is won by Skip Away, ridden by jockey Mike Smith; Countess Diana, with Shane Sellers in the saddle, wins the Juvenile Fillies race.

      The Miho Museum, designed by Chinese-born American architect I.M. Pei on a commission from Shinji Shumeikai, a small Japanese religious order, opens near Kyoto, Japan; the museum, approximately 80% of which is located underground, houses works of East and West Asian art.

November 9
      The U.S. Congress, at the end of its term, approves a new charter for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that will allow this powerful body to streamline and speed up its procedures for approving new drugs.

      Fortovase, a new, stronger version of the widely prescribed protease inhibitor saquinavir, a drug used in the treatment of AIDS, is approved by the FDA; the drug goes on sale on November 17.

      The British Broadcasting Corporation begins News 24, a 24-hour news channel in Great Britain; an international news service, BBC World, has been in operation for three years.

      Rodney Eyles of Australia defeats Peter Nicol of Scotland to win the men's world open squash championship in Petalan Jaya, Malaysia.

November 10
      Meeting in Beijing, Russian and Chinese leaders sign an agreement regulating the 4,300-km (2,580-mi) border between the two countries and another agreement to build a 3,000-km (1,800-mi) pipeline between Siberia and northeastern China.

      MCI Communications, the second largest long-distance telephone company in the U.S., agrees to be acquired by Worldcom Inc. for $36.5 billion in cash and stock; the transaction will be the largest merger ever in the United States, and the resulting company, MCI WorldCom, with $30 billion in annual revenues, will be the world's second largest international voice carrier.

      In Cambridge, Mass., Judge Hiller B. Zobel abruptly changes the second-degree murder conviction of British au pair Louise Woodward in the death of her eight-month-old charge to involuntary manslaughter and sentences her to prison time already served (see October 30 (Calendar of 1997 )).

      A record for a single-owner sale is set at Christie's auction house in New York City as the Victor and Sally Ganz collection of modern art brings a total of $206.5 million; the top price, $48 million, is brought by Pablo Picasso's "The Dream."

November 11
      Roger Clemens of the Toronto Blue Jays wins the American League Cy Young Award as the best pitcher in the league for the fourth time; he is the first American League player and only the third major league player to win the award four times.

November 12
      Two defendants, Ramzi Ahmed Yousef and Eyad Ismoil, are found guilty of involvement in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City; four other men were convicted in 1994.

      The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation informally announces that it has concluded its investigation into the crash of TWA Flight 800 in 1996, finding "absolutely no evidence" of a criminal act; the FBI's formal announcement follows on December 18.

      Oil begins to flow from the oil fields in the Caspian Sea off the Azerbaijani capital of Baku by pipeline to the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiysk for the first time since the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the independence of Azerbaijan; the obstructions have been political and strategic, since the pipeline runs through the breakaway Russian republic of Chechnya (see December 29 (Calendar of 1997 )).

November 13
      Iraq expels the American members of the UN team that had been dispatched by the international organization to verify Iraq's compliance with UN directives.

      The U.S. Congress rules that the National Academy of Sciences is exempt from the Federal Advisory Committee Act and may conduct its advisory committee deliberations in closed session but that it must make procedures for selection of committee members less confidential.

      With much fanfare and large advance-ticket sales, The Lion King, a stage adaptation of the 1994 hit movie designed and directed by Julie Taymor, opens in the restored New Amsterdam Theatre on Broadway.

November 14
      Sara E. Lister, the assistant secretary of the army for manpower and reserve affairs, resigns after apologizing for having spoken of the U.S. Marine Corps as "extremists."

November 15
      The 19th CableAce awards, American cable television's annual awards ceremony, is telecast from the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles; voted best dramatic series was "Oz" on HBO, best comedy series was "The Larry Sanders Show" (HBO), best miniseries was "George Wallace" (TNT), and best movie was Miss Evers' Boys (HBO).

November 16
      In a referendum the citizens of Hungary vote overwhelmingly (85% of the vote) in favour of joining NATO.

      Meeting in Hanoi, representatives of 50 Francophone countries agree to form a loose political bloc; former UN secretary-general Boutros Boutros-Ghali is appointed its first spokesman.

      The Toronto Argonauts defeat the Saskatchewan Roughriders by a score of 47-23 to win their second successive Grey Cup championship of the Canadian Football League in Edmonton, Alta.

      Finishing only 17th in the Napa 500 auto race at the Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway, Jeff Gordon barely wins Nascar's $1.5 million Winston Cup; Gordon needed to finish 18th or better to accrue enough points for the title.

November 17
      Six Islamist militants open fire on a group of tourists, mostly from Switzerland, Germany, and Japan, at Luxor, Egypt, killing 60; 10 additional fatalities, including the gunmen, are reported after a three-hour gunfight.

      Hokkaido Takushoku Bank Ltd., the 10th largest bank in Japan, announces it will close because of bad debts; one other large Japanese bank has already received heavy government subsidies, and other large national and local banks are believed to be at risk.

November 18
      Five persons believed to have been working under the direction of Libyan intelligence go on trial in Berlin for the 1996 bombing of a nightclub in which three persons were killed.

      The National Book Awards are announced at a ceremony in New York City; the winners were Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain for fiction, Joseph Ellis's American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson for nonfiction, William Meredith's Effort at Speech: New and Selected Poems for poetry, and Han Nolan's Dancing on the Edge for young people's literature.

November 19
      Bobbi McCaughey gives birth to septuplets in Des Moines, Iowa, the first time in the U.S. that seven babies have been born and survived.

November 20
      In Frankfurt, Ger., 29 leading industrial nations working under the auspices of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development formally agree to outlaw the practice of bribing officials of foreign governments.

      Over resistance from the right-wing deputies, the Socialist government of France passes a law granting automatic right to citizenship to children who were born in France of non-French parents and who have lived in France for at least five of the past seven years.

      The New England Journal of Medicine publishes a study that finds that consumption of trans fatty acids correlates strongly with increased risk of heart disease and that these lipids, found principally in stick margarine and hardened vegetable fats, are actually worse in this regard than saturated fats such as those found in animal products.

      The Mauritius Ball Envelope, which includes a penny postage stamp issued on the British Indian Ocean colony 150 years ago, brings Sw F 2 million at auction in Switzerland.

November 21
      The government of South Korea announces that it will seek $20 billion-$60 billion in assistance from the International Monetary Fund to help stabilize its economy (see November 17); an IMF loan valued at $55 billion is announced on December 3.

      Pres. Boris Yeltsin replaces Anatoly B. Chubais, the top planning official in Russia who has been implicated in an influence-peddling scandal, as finance minister; Chubais retains his position as first deputy prime minister, however.

November 22
      Amistad, a new opera by Anthony Davis, receives its world premiere at the Lyric Opera of Chicago to mixed reviews; Steven Spielberg's film of the same name on the same subject, a revolt by African slaves aboard a 19th- century Spanish slave ship and the ensuing legal battles and moral decisions, opens in U.S. theatres on December 10.

      New Zealanders Robert Hamill and Phil Stubbs arrive in Barbados from the Canary Islands in their 23-foot fibreglass boat, Kiwi Challenge, after 41 days 1 hr 55 min, a new record for rowing across the Atlantic.

November 23
      Avigdor Lieberman, the chief of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's staff, resigns.

      Former prime minister John Major is appointed by Prince Charles as the legal and financial protector of Princes William and Harry in the settlement of the estate of Diana, princess of Wales; some £8.4 million in inheritance taxes is believed to be at stake from Diana's estate, variously estimated to be worth £20 million to £40 million.

November 24
      The large old Japanese brokerage firm Yamaichi Securities Co. declares bankruptcy and announces it will close; it is called the largest business failure in postwar Japanese history.

      The Williams Companies, a large natural gas pipeline company, announces it will acquire Mapco Inc., a butane and propane pipeline company, for $2,650,000,000 in stock and another $750,000,000 in Mapco debts.

November 25
      The annual three-day Asia Pacific summit meeting ends in Vancouver, B.C.; most of the talk has centred on the precarious situation of several Asian economies and the recent slide in value of the Japanese yen.

      Ron Carey, the president of the powerful International Brotherhood of Teamsters labour union, resigns his office; Carey's management of union funds has been under close scrutiny by labour and U.S. government officials, and on November 17 he is barred from seeking reelection as Teamsters president.

      Popular ballerina Merrill Ashley gives her last performance with the New York City Ballet, with which she has been associated for 30 years.

November 26
      The international price of gold in New York City falls to $298 per ounce, the lowest level in 12 years.

      UNAIDS, part of the United Nations medical office in Paris, reports that the spread of HIV, the virus linked with AIDS, is proceeding much faster than they had earlier thought, with as many as 16,000 new infections worldwide each day.

November 27
      Tens of thousands of students fill the streets of Bonn to protest the decline of Germany's higher education system and the inattention of the government that has led to overcrowded classrooms and outdated textbooks.

November 28
      Play begins in tennis's Davis Cup tournament in Göteborg, Swed.; the resounding Swedish victory, a clean sweep, is already clear on November 29 after the American team has lost the first two singles matches as well as the doubles competition.

November 29
      Prime Minister I.K. Gujral, leader of India's fourth government in a year and a half, resigns.

      In a ceremony that is broadcast around the world by satellite, some 28,000 couples gather in Washington, D.C.'s RFK Stadium for a "wedding" by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon of the Unification Church.

November 30
      The government of Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus of the Czech Republic resigns; Klaus's Civic Democratic Party has been accused of having accepted contributions from foreign sources that may have affected the government's privatization decisions.


December 1
      Two banks in the U.S. Midwest, National City Corp. of Cleveland, Ohio, and the First of America Bank Corp. of Kalamazoo, Mich., announce a $6.7 billion merger that creates the 13th largest bank in the U.S.

      It is announced that the Walt Disney Co. will donate $25 million to Los Angeles for the construction of the Walt Disney Concert Hall, a major new facility for the city centre.

December 2
      In London, representatives of 41 countries convene to discuss the whereabouts of gold and other valuable assets that were seized by the Nazi government from Jews in Germany and occupied countries before and during World War II and to plan for their restitution to the survivors of the Holocaust.

      Government spokesmen announce in Tegucigalpa that Carlos Flores Facussé of the centre-right Liberal Party has won the presidential election in Honduras; he defeated Nora de Melgar of the National Party and is scheduled to take office in January 1998.

      The annual Turner Prize, which is given to a British artist under the age of 50, is awarded to Gillian Wearing in ceremonies at the Tate Gallery in London.

December 3
      In Ottawa, delegates from 131 countries meet to begin signing the Convention on the Prohibition, Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines; 123 nations, not including China, Russia, or the U.S., sign within a few days (see September 17 (Calendar of 1997 )).

      Authorities in South Korea agree to a $55 billion international package of aid to fund the retooling of the country's economy; meanwhile, activities are suspended at nine banks; five others are affected on December 10 as the Korean currency, the won, continues to fall on world markets (see December 6).

December 4
      Eight groups of four national teams each constitute the draw for the 1998 World Cup football (soccer) finals in Marseille, France; favoured Brazil is placed in Group A with Morocco, Norway, and Scotland.

      Top health officials in Europe vote to ban most forms of advertising of tobacco beginning in four to five years.

December 5
      The submission by Yoshio Taniguchi, a Japanese architect little known in the U.S., is chosen in the design competition for the expansion and remodeling of New York City's Museum of Modern Art.

December 6
      Halla Group, a large South Korean chaebol (conglomerate), collapses, the sixth such failure in 1997 (see December 3, 18). It provides further evidence that the collapse of the East Asian economies that began in Thailand is now widespread.

      The Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia's Far East is hit with one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded, measuring a magnitude of 8.5 to 9; Kamchatka is sparsely settled, and, consequently, there are no reports of loss of life.

December 7
      At a gala celebration, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., issues its annual awards to Jessye Norman, soprano; Lauren Bacall, actress; Bob Dylan, singer-songwriter; Charlton Heston, actor; and Edward Villella, dancer.

December 8
      The Union Bank of Switzerland and the Swiss Bank Corp. announce plans to merge, creating the world's second largest bank (after the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi), with assets of some $600 billion.

      Jenny Shipley is sworn in as prime minister of New Zealand; the first woman to occupy the post, Shipley upset Jim Bolger in elections in November.

December 9
      Gold prices on the London exchange fall $4.80 per troy ounce to a 19-year low of $282.90 (see November 26 (Calendar of 1997 )).

      In Madrid it is announced that Guillermo Cabrera Infante, a Cuban-born writer resident in London, has been awarded the Cervantes Prize, considered the top honour in Spanish-language literature.

December 10
      The Swiss high court rules that $100 million of the money that had been salted away in banks by former dictator Ferdinand Marcos will be returned to the government of the Philippines; another $400 million in Swiss banks is expected to be returned later as well.

      Yugoslav and Bosnian Serb delegates walk out of a meeting of the Peace Implementation Council, the consultative mechanism set up after the Dayton peace accords in 1995, in protest against the council's reference to the Serbian area of Kosovo, over which, the Serbs say, the council has no mandate.

      The Palestinian Authority begins the first census of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

December 11
      Delegates from more than 150 countries meeting at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Kyoto, Japan, approve the Kyoto Protocol, which calls for the industrial countries to reduce emissions of industrial gases into the Earth's atmosphere; the ratification procedure is to begin in March 1998.

      A federal judge in Washington, D.C., rules that the Microsoft Corp. may not bundle Microsoft Internet Explorer, its Internet browser software, with the Windows 95 operating system; Windows software dominates the market worldwide.

December 12
      Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, on a visit to Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, expresses the support of the U.S. government for the fledgling country and its leader, Laurent Kabila, despite some concerns about reported violations of human rights and democratic principles (see June 26 (Calendar of 1997 )).

December 13
      International trade receives a boost as the members of the World Trade Organization sign an agreement to liberalize financial services in banking, insurance, asset management, and brokerage around the world.

      The Getty Center, a monumental $1 billion new museum complex designed by architect Richard Meier and built on a hilltop overlooking Los Angeles, is officially opened; it opens to the public on December 16.

December 14
      With an eye to the planned visit to Cuba by Pope John Paul II in early 1998, Pres. Fidel Castro announces that Christmas will be an official holiday for the first time since 1968.

      The 1997 National Finals Rodeo concludes (began on December 5) at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas; Dan Mortensen of Manhattan, Mont., wins the world champion all-around cowboy award for his season earnings of $184,559.

December 15
      The U.S. Department of Defense orders that all 1.4 million men and women in uniform be inoculated against anthrax, a virulent biological agent; about a dozen countries are believed to have biological warfare capabilities that include delivery of anthrax.

      A Tajik charter airline crashes in the United Arab Emirates, killing 85 persons aboard.

December 16
      More than 700 children in Japan are admitted to hospitals having lost consciousness, complaining of convulsions, or vomiting blood after a televised cartoon (and later a videotape version) triggers a condition called "light epilepsy" or "Nintendo epilepsy," which is caused by intense intermittent flashes of light viewed from close to the source.

      Czech Pres. Vaclav Havel appoints Josef Tosovsky, director of the central bank, to the post of prime minister (see November 30 (Calendar of 1997 )).

      The highest wind speed ever measured—380 km/h (236 mph)—is recorded by an anemometer at Anderson Air Force Base on Guam as Typhoon Paka slams into the Pacific island.

December 17
      Reeling from a series of recent political reversals and seeing her support in the party much reduced, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela announces that she will not run for the position of deputy president of the African National Congress; the post is filled by Jacob Zuma, and South African Pres. Nelson Mandela's right-hand man, Deputy Pres. Thabo Mbeki, is elected party leader.

      As New Jersey becomes the first state in the United States to permit homosexual couples to adopt children, Jon Holden and Michael Galluccio legally adopt Adam, a two-year-old former ward of the state, who has been in their care since he was three months old.

December 18
      South Koreans elect long-time leftist opposition leader Kim Dae Jung president; it is the first time in the nations's history that a member of the opposition has defeated the candidate of the tightly knit New Korea Party and its predecessors.

      The 10-km (6-mi) Tokyo Bay tunnel connecting the cities of Kawasaki and Kisarazu is opened; the project took eight and a half years to complete and cost $17 billion.

      Katja Seizinger of Germany ties skier Jean-Claude Killy's 1967 record of six consecutive wins in downhill ski races when she claims the top spot in the super G race at the World Cup competition in Val d'Isère, France.

December 19
      The UN General Assembly acts positively on a suggestion by Secretary-General Kofi Annan and votes to create the post of deputy secretary-general.

      Te motion picture Titanic, directed by James Cameron, opens in U.S. theatres to generally favourable reviews (see January 20 (Calendar of 1997 )).

December 20
      American figure skater Tara Lipinski wins the Champions Series Final in Munich, Ger.; Ilya Kulik of Russia wins the men's competition.

December 21
      A disastrous fire sweeps through Tokyo's Tsukiji wholesale fish market, destroying more than a hundred shops and stores.

      The Louvre Museum in Paris reopens its Egyptian galleries, which have been closed for restoration.

December 22
      Members of a pro-government militia attack the village of Chenalhó in Chiapas state, Mex., and kill 45 people, including a number of children; violence between pro-government and antigovernment Indian groups has simmered in the state since January 1994.

December 23
      Milan Milutinovic, a Socialist ally of Slobodan Milosevic, easily defeats ultranationalist Vojislav Seselj in elections for the presidency of Serbia. In this position Milutinovic replaces Milosevic, who was elected president of Yugoslavia; Serbia is one of the two parts of Yugoslavia (see July 23 (Calendar of 1997 )).

      Terry Nichols, the second defendant in the Oklahoma City, Okla., bombing trials to stand trial, is found guilty of conspiracy and involuntary manslaughter—but not first-degree murder—by a jury in Denver, Colo.

      A court in Germany convicts financier Jürgen Schneider of fraud and sentences him to six years and nine months in prison in connection with the collapse of his commercial empire at the end of the reunification building boom.

December 24
      Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, the terrorist and international assassin known as Carlos, is convicted of the murder of three men in Paris in 1975 and sentenced to life in prison by a French court.

      Earlybird 1, the first privately owned spy satellite, is placed in Earth orbit from a Russian launch rocket at an altitude of 471 km (293 mi); photos from the satellite are for sale by Earthwatch, Inc., the American company that built the craft.

December 25
      Pope John Paul II delivers his annual Christmas message; the pontiff calls for the well-off in the world not to neglect the "new poor" and to hear "the imploring calls for freedom and harmony" in places beset by ethnic and political violence.

      Queen Elizabeth II gives her annual holiday address; observers note the changed tone from previous addresses as she speaks personally of a year of "joy and woe"—i.e., the 50th anniversary of her marriage and the death of Diana, princess of Wales, respectively.

      Comedian Jerry Seinfeld announces that his popular television show, "Seinfeld," will cease production at the end of the season.

December 26
      Jean-Marie Le Pen, leader of France's far-right-wing National Front, is convicted of the crime of denying that Nazi war crimes took place, an offense he has been convicted of on previous occasions; he is ordered to pay about $50,000.

December 27
      Billy Wright, a prominent Protestant guerrilla leader from Northern Ireland, is shot and killed in a maximum-security prison in Belfast by other inmates loyal to a splinter group of the Irish Republican Army.

      Windsor Castle is reopened to the public after £36.5 million in restoration work is completed under budget and six months before the target date; 100 rooms in the royal palace were damaged in a fire in 1992.

December 28
      Local officials in Hong Kong announce that all chickens in the territory will be destroyed in an attempt to eradicate carriers of the avian flu, which has already killed several people; more than a million chickens, ducks, and geese are involved.

December 29
      Pres. Saparmurad Niyazov of Turkmenistan and visiting Pres. Mohammad Khatami of Iran formally open a 200-km (125-mi) gas pipeline between the two countries, the first facility to move gas from the Caspian Sea area bypassing Russia; a few days earlier the Royal Dutch Shell petroleum company had concluded a contract with those two countries and Turkey for the construction of a $1.6 billion pipeline to transport gas from Turkmenistan to European markets (see November 12 (Calendar of 1997 )).

      The European Union elects not to renew trade benefits to Yugoslavia beyond the end of 1997; EU officials cite concerns about human rights and democratic practices in the country.

December 30
      Gen. Le Kha Phieu, a hard-liner formerly responsible for maintaining political discipline in the military, is named to lead the Vietnamese Communist Party (see September 17 (Calendar of 1997 )).

      Pamela C. Rasmussen of the United States National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., announces that she and two associates have recently sighted the Indian forest owlet (Athene blewitti), which has not been seen since 1884 and had been thought extinct.

December 31
      Muslims celebrate the beginning of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting; as in past years, Islamist terrorists in Algeria pick up the pace of the massacres of innocents; 80 are killed in the villages of Shari and Sidi al-Antar on December 23, another 59 in Algiers and Tiaret on December 24, and 27 more in Zouabria on December 25.

      Mohammed Rafiq Tarar, a supporter of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, is chosen by Pakistan's electoral college to be the next president of the country.

      Former Zambian president Kenneth Kaunda is released from jail, where he had been sent on December 25 on suspicion of involvement in an abortive coup attempt.

      Beginning at midnight tonight in the state of California, it is illegal to smoke in all bars and nightclubs (as well as restaurants and cafés, which were already included in the ban).

* * *

Universalium. 2010.

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