Calendar of 1998

Calendar of 1998
▪ 1999


January 1
      At the stroke of the new year, the Russian ruble is worth a thousand times less than before as three zeros are removed from its value; about six new rubles equal one U.S. dollar.

      Foreign Minister David Levy threatens to resign from the government of Israel because of differences regarding the state budget; he quits on January 4.

      A rebel group allegedly led by Hutu forces based in Rwanda attacks a military camp outside the Burundian capital, Bujumbura, killing at least 150 civilians and 10 soldiers.

January 2
      The new caretaker government of Prime Minister Josef Tosovsky, which was formed after the resignation in 1997 of Vaclav Klaus, takes office in Prague.

      Following elections in November 1997, Toronto and five surrounding municipalities amalgamate to form a new metropolis of Toronto with a population of 2.4 million people.

January 3
      Mexican Pres. Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León reshuffles his Cabinet, replacing Interior Minister Emilio Chuayffet, who had been involved in negotiations with the rebel Zapatista National Liberation Army; the governor of Chiapas state, the rebels' stronghold, leaves office on January 7.

January 4
      Valdas Adamkus, a citizen of the U.S. and former federal government official, is elected president of Lithuania by a narrow margin in a runoff election.

      At the media preview of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the newly redesigned Chevrolet Corvette is named the Car of the Year and the Mercedes ML 320 the Truck of the Year; the show, which opens to the public on January 10, also showcases fuel-efficient vehicles and Volkswagen AG's new Beetle.

January 5
      Several days of fierce ice storms, followed by freezing cold, sweep across Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick, Canada, as well as several New England states in the U.S.; damages are in the billions of dollars, and as many as three million people are without power, many for two weeks or more.

      Daniel arap Moi is sworn in as president of Kenya for his fifth consecutive term following his win in contested elections in December 1997.

January 6
      One of Denmark's most famous tourist attractions, the bronze statue of Hans Christian Andersen's heroine the Little Mermaid, which rests on a rock in Copenhagen Harbour, is decapitated by vandals; the missing head is returned two days later, however.

      Lunar Prospector, a 300-kg (660-lb) unmanned spacecraft, is launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida (see March 5).

      Apple Computer acting chief executive Steve Jobs announces that the company will show a $45 million profit for the first quarter of fiscal year 1998, astounding industry analysts.

January 7
      The government of Canada formally apologizes to its indigenous peoples for having instituted assistance programs over the past 150 years that did more harm than good to the native communities; Canada also promises a $245 million "healing fund" to help victims.

January 8
      Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, convicted of involvement in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City, is sentenced to life in prison by a U.S. district judge in New York.

      International health officials announce that some 450 recent deaths originally feared to have been caused by the Ebola virus in Somalia and Kenya were due to an epidemic of Rift Valley fever.

January 9
      Philippine Pres. Fidel Ramos rejects a proposal that would have returned to the people much of the billions of dollars taken from them by former ruler Ferdinand Marcos and his family; the money would have been returned in exchange for a general amnesty for the Marcos family.

      Prime Minister Lionel Jospin of France says he will create an emergency relief fund totaling F 1 billion ($166 million) to assist the country's hard-core unemployed (see January 17).

      Anatoly Karpov of Russia soundly defeats Vishwanathan Anand of India, defending his title as Fédération Internationale des Échecs champion in a match in Lausanne, Switz.

January 10
      An earthquake of magnitude 6.2 hits Hebei province, China, killing at least 50 people and leaving tens of thousands homeless in freezing temperatures.

      Shamil Basayev, the field commander whose troops shamed the Russian army during the Chechen secession struggle, assumes leadership of the government of Chechnya.

      American figure skater Michelle Kwan wins the U.S. women's championship in Philadelphia; Todd Eldredge wins the men's title on January 8.

January 11
      Torrential rains and flooding overcome Townsville, Queen., Australia; at least one person is killed and 120 are homeless.

January 12
      UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan announces the appointment of Louise Fréchette, Canada's deputy defense minister, to the newly created post of deputy secretary-general of the United Nations.

      The government of Iraq again prevents UN arms inspectors, led by U.S. personnel, from continuing their search for chemical and biological weapons.

      Ronaldo, the star striker for the Inter Milan association football (soccer) team, wins the Fédération Internationale de Football Association's World Player of the Year award for the second year in a row, a first.

January 13
      Scientists led by Andrea G. Bodnar of Geron Corp., Menlo Park, Calif., and Michel Ouellette of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, announce that they have genetically altered human cells to defeat the cells' programmed self-destruction due to aging, which could possibly lead to the extension of the human life span; their results are published in the January 16 issue of Science.

      The government of Guyana bans street demonstrations following weeks of public protests by parties opposed to Pres. Janet Jagan.

      Officials of the National Football League and four U.S. television networks, CBS, ABC, Fox, and ESPN, sign agreements on fees for coverage of NFL football games during eight seasons beginning in 1998-99 for the record amount of $17.6 billion; on January 14 the NBC network agrees to pay Warner Brothers Television $13 million per episode for the popular "ER" series.

January 14
      With Japan as the 26th signatory state, a 50-year treaty banning mining and mineral extraction on the Antarctic continent and surrounding seabed enters into force.


      The American Academy of Arts and Letters announces that the first recipient of its new Charles Ives Living Prize, which provides $75,000 a year for three years so that a composer can devote his full time to his work, is Martin Bresnick of Yale University.

January 15
      President Suharto accedes to the demands of the International Monetary Fund and signs an agreement to enact reforms, including divesting himself and his large family of some of their accumulated wealth, in order to stabilize Indonesia's economy, which was unsteady in late 1997.

      As the 5,000-member United Nations peacekeeping force departs from the city of Vukovar and its hinterland, sovereignty of the Eastern Slavonia region reverts to Croatia; the area had been occupied by the Serbs since 1991.

January 16
      Turkey's highest court bans the Welfare Party, saying that the country's largest political party has a subversive agenda to replace Turkey's secular democracy with an Islamic regime; the ban enters into effect in February.

      The Greek-owned freighter Flare breaks up off the coast of Newfoundland, killing at least 15 crewmen; 4 persons are rescued.

      Sen. John Glenn of Ohio, at age 77, is selected by NASA to make a space shuttle flight in October 1998 to test the effects of space travel on aging; Glenn was one of the original team of U.S. astronauts and in 1962 was the first American to orbit the Earth.

January 17

      Pres. Bill Clinton spends six hours in the office of his attorneys formally answering questions from the lawyers representing Paula Corbin Jones in connection with her sexual harassment suit; this is the first time a sitting U.S. president has been a defendant in a civil court case (see April 1).

      Mass demonstrations in Paris and other cities call for France's Socialist government to do something about the legions of unemployed, said to number three million (see January 9).

January 18
      Pope John Paul II appoints 22 new cardinals, including 2 Americans and 2 whose names will be kept secret for fear of political reprisals; investiture will take place on February 21.

      Serb nationalists boycott elections to the Bosnian Serb parliament and lose their majority to a pro-West moderate, Social Democrat Milorad Dodik; Dodik is sworn in on January 31.

      In The Hague, Pakistani Zia Mahmood and Briton Tony Forrester win the Cap Gemini world top pairs competition in contract bridge by 21 victory points.

January 19

      At a meeting in Rio de Janeiro, Ecuador and Peru agree to begin peace talks to end more than 50 years of hostile relations between the two countries and to demarcate their common border (see October 26).

      Food riots break out in Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe, and the government of Pres. Robert Mugabe, under increasing economic pressure, deploys national troops for the first time since independence.

      Two large oil companies in Russia, AO Yukos and AO Sibneft, announce that they are merging to form AO Yuksi, the 11th largest oil company in the world.

January 20
      Vaclav Havel is reelected president of the Czech Republic by the national legislature to serve a second five-year term.

      The government of Nigeria seizes and closes 26 banks that have been on the brink of bankruptcy or have already ceased operations.

January 21
      Pope John Paul II arrives in Havana for a five-day visit, his first to Cuba; extraordinary preparations are made by the Cuban government for the pontiff's stay, during which he criticizes the U.S. embargo policy and Cuba's communist government's long suppression of religion.

January 22

      Theodore Kaczynski pleads guilty to charges that he is the "Unabomber," the man who led a terrorist mail-bomb campaign aimed against high technology in American society; in the agreement with the court, Kaczynski is to be sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of release or appeal (see May 4).

      In a ceremony at Muela, Lesotho, King Letsie III of Lesotho and Pres. Nelson Mandela of South Africa formally inaugurate the Lesotho Highlands Water Project and mark the delivery of the first water from the project to South Africa.

      The space shuttle Endeavour lifts off for the 12th time, carrying a crew of seven, including Australian-born Andrew S.W. Thomas, to the space station Mir; Thomas is the last American scheduled to work on the Russian-built station.

January 23
      P.W. Botha, the former president of South Africa (1978-89), appears before a court in George, S.Af., to answer charges that he refused to testify before the country's Truth and Reconciliation Commission about his role in abuses during the final years of the apartheid system; he pleads not guilty on February 24.

      On the island of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea, the rebel forces and the local and national governments agree on a cease-fire to take effect on April 30 and end the savage nine-year conflict.

      The largest and the third largest banks in Canada—the Royal Bank of Canada and the Bank of Montreal—announce plans to merge and thereby create the second largest bank in North America when measured by assets (see April 17).

January 24

      In a gesture aimed at reopening talks with the rebel Zapatista National Liberation Army, the government of Chiapas state in Mexico releases 300 persons from jail in Chiapas; most, however, are not political prisoners.

      Three human rights activists appear in court in Mauritania on charges that they participated in the filming of an illegal documentary about the slave trade in this West African country.

      The Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, announces that five former players will be inducted: linebacker Mike Singletary, tackle Anthony Muñoz, centre Dwight Stephenson, wide receiver Tommy McDonald, and safety Paul Krause.

January 25

      Three suicide bombers kill themselves and eight others at the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy, the holiest Buddhist shrine in Sri Lanka; the act is ascribed to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, who have waged a secessionist war for 15 years (see February 4).

      The Denver Broncos, led by star quarterback John Elway, upset the Green Bay Packers by a score of 31-24 in Super Bowl XXXII in San Diego, Calif.

      In Karlsruhe, Ger., Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia runs the 3,000-m race in 7 min 26.14 sec, breaking his previous indoor world record by 4.58 sec.

      The Sundance Film Festival ends in Park City, Utah (opened January 15); the Grand Jury Prize for a dramatic film goes to Slam by Marc Levin, and the Grand Jury Prize for a documentary is shared by The Farm by Jonathan Stack and Liz Garbus and Frat House by Todd Phillips and Andrew Gurland.

January 26
      President Clinton asserts, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky," his bluntest and most direct denial of the accusations being made about his relationship with the former White House intern.

      A comprehensive law banning nearly all handguns enters into effect in Great Britain.

      In the second largest merger in Canadian history, two of the nation's biggest energy firms, TransCanada PipeLines Ltd. and Nova Corp., announce plans to form a company with Can$21 billion in assets.

January 27
      Carlos Flores Facussé is sworn in as president of Honduras.

      German Roman Catholic bishops announce that they will accede to the instruction of Pope John Paul II and stop counseling pregnant women about abortion.

      Gro Harlem Brundtland, a physician and former prime minister of Norway, is elected director general of the World Health Organization by the WHO executive body; she succeeds Hiroshi Nakajima of Japan.

January 28
      Japanese Finance Minister Hiroshi Mitsuzuka resigns in the wake of a bribery scandal and in the midst of a growing financial crisis; Vice Minister Takeshi Komura follows suit on January 29.

      Major banks in South Korea agree to extend the payment schedule on a number of short-term loans totaling some $24 billion, an important boost to the restructuring plans of the new government.

      The Amoco Corp. announces that it has made the most important new find of crude oil in the past quarter century; the company estimates the reserves in the new field southeast of Trinidad at as much as 70 million bbl.

January 29
      British Poet Laureate Ted Hughes's new collection, Birthday Letters, detailing the years of his marriage to poet Sylvia Plath, who committed suicide in 1963, is published; Hughes wins the Whitbread Book of the Year Award on January 27 for his Tales from Ovid but succumbs to cancer on October 28.

January 30
      The U.S. Department of State issues its annual human rights report; the most important change is a notable moderation in U.S. criticism of the human rights situation in China.

January 31
      Martina Hingis easily defends her Australian Open women's tennis title with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Conchita Martínez.


February 1
      Miguel Angel Rodríguez Echeverría, a conservative economist representing the opposition Social Christian Unity Party, is elected president of Costa Rica.

      Petr Korda of the Czech Republic trounces Marcelo Rios of Chile 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 to win the men's title at the Australian Open tennis competition.

February 2
      A Cebu Airlines DC-9 jetliner on an internal flight in the Philippines crashes in Mindanao, killing all 104 persons aboard.

      U.S. Pres. Bill Clinton proposes a balanced federal budget to Congress; the country has not had a balanced budget in almost three decades.

      In a federal court in Phoenix, Fife Symington, the former governor of Arizona, receives a sentence of 2 1/2 years in prison after being convicted of fraud in real estate dealings in the 1980s and 1990s.

February 3
      A cable car at a ski area near Cavalese, Italy, falls 80 m (260 ft), killing 20 persons aboard, after a U.S. Marine Corps training jet from the NATO air base at Aviano cuts the cable while flying too low.

      Pres. Levon Ter-Petrosyan of Armenia is forced to resign by the country's military leaders; the prime minister, Robert Kocharyan, is made acting president.

      Despite extraordinary international appeals and protests, Karla Faye Tucker, convicted of the pickax murder of two persons in Houston 15 years ago, becomes the first woman to be executed in the state of Texas since the Civil War.

      Farmers and civil servants in Greece take part in several days of protests and rallies brought about by the government's stringent economic measures.

February 4

      Sri Lanka officially celebrates the country's 50th anniversary in Colombo, the capital; the ceremonies were originally planned for Kandy but were hurriedly moved in light of the recent terrorist bombing incident there (see also January 25 and March 5).

      Alfred E. Mann, the founder of a number of medical device companies, announces that he will give $100 million each to the University of Southern California and the University of California, Los Angeles, for the purpose of establishing biomedical research institutes.

February 5
      Eight African states—Burkina Faso, Chad, Egypt, Libya, Mali, Niger, The Sudan, and Tunisia—meeting in Tripoli, Libya, agree to form the Sahara-Sahelian Community States Rally to promote multilateral cooperation; Algeria, Mauritius, Morocco, Nigeria, and Senegal do not participate.

      The government of Sweden announces that it plans to close one of the two nuclear reactors at Barseback in conjunction with the nation's total phaseout of nuclear energy by 2010.

February 6
      The exhibit "China, 5,000 Years" opens at the two Guggenheim museums in New York City.

      President Clinton signs a bill to rename Washington, D.C.'s National Airport in honour of former president Ronald Reagan.

February 7
      The Winter Olympic Games open in Nagano, Japan; featured in the ceremony is a performance of the "Ode to Joy" from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony sung simultaneously by choruses in Australia, China, Germany, South Africa, and the U.S.

      The Rev. Jesse Jackson, special U.S. envoy for the promotion of democracy and human rights in Africa, begins a five-day tour of Kenya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Liberia.

      In another failed attempt at an around-the-world balloon flight, a three-man European crew lands the Breitling Orbiter II in a rice paddy north of Yangon (Rangoon), Myanmar (Burma), after an 8,525-km (5,294-mi) flight; the craft did, however, set a number of records.

February 8
      Claude Erignac, the top government official in the French territory of Corsica, is shot and killed outside a theatre in Ajaccio, apparently by two members of a separatist group that opposes his policy of encouraging tourism on the island.

      Chicago Bulls superstar Michael Jordan is presented the Most Valuable Player award, his third, at the 48th annual National Basketball Association All-Star Game in New York City.

      Within a few minutes of each other, three speed skaters—Bart Veldkamp (Belgium), Rintje Ritsma, and Gianni Romme (both of The Netherlands)—all using the newly adopted clapskates, set successive world records for the 5,000-m race at the Winter Olympic Games.

      The Council of Fashion Designers of America holds its annual award ceremonies in New York City; Narciso Rodriguez and Sandy Dalal win the Perry Ellis Award for new talent in the women's and men's fashion categories, respectively, and Elizabeth Taylor is recognized for a lifetime of glamour.

February 9
      A terrorist attack using antitank grenades on the motorcade of Georgian Pres. Eduard Shevardnadze in the capital, Tbilisi, kills one bodyguard and injures two.

      Israel's chief rabbinate, historically controlled by the Orthodox Jewish movement, strongly rejects a proposal from the Conservative and Reformed Jewish movements to cooperate in determining policies on conversions and religious rites.

February 10
      In a deal valued at $2.4 billion, the Canadian National Railway Co. announces it will buy the Illinois Central Corp., creating a network spanning Canada and running from Chicago to New Orleans.

      David Satcher, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Ga., is confirmed by the U.S. Senate as surgeon general.

February 11
      The U.S. Senate defeats a bill, introduced by leading Republicans, that would ban human cloning.

      Gambling casinos are closed in Turkey at midnight following a vote by the Grand National Assembly in June 1997 aimed at controlling crime and illegal activities in the country.

      A U.S. district judge in Oregon rules that the Professional Golfers' Association may not prevent Casey Martin, who suffers from a partial disability in one leg, from using a cart during PGA tournaments; nonhandicapped players must walk.

February 12
      The first vice president of The Sudan, Maj. Gen. az-Zubayr Muhammad Salih, and at least 12 other officials are killed in an airplane crash in Nasir, in the southern part of the country.

      U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan rules that the line-item veto, passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton in 1996, is unconstitutional; the provision will be forwarded to the U.S. Supreme Court for consideration.

      Claudio Abbado, chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic since 1989, announces that he will not seek a renewal of his contract when it expires in 2002.

February 13
      Nigerian-led forces take Freetown and capture dozens of senior Sierra Leonean junta officials who have fled the country to Liberia.

      A constitutional commission votes 89-52, with 11 abstentions, to make Australia a republic before the end of the millennium, severing formal ties with Great Britain; a referendum on the issue is planned for 1999.

      A tentative agreement is announced between United Auto Workers and Caterpillar Inc. to end 6 1/2 years of disagreement, the longest major labour dispute in U.S. history; the workers reject the agreement in a vote on February 22.

February 14
      Two men, Larry Wayne Harris and William Job Leavitt, Jr., are arrested in Las Vegas, Nev., for possession of what is at first believed to be deadly anthrax toxin for use as a weapon.

      A series of bomb explosions during election campaigning in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu state, India, kills between 30 and 50 people.

      Te Papa Tongarewa, New Zealand's grand and costly new national museum, opens in Wellington amid much fanfare.

      The Picture Makers, a play by Swedish playwright Per Olov Enquist and directed by Ingmar Bergman, premieres at the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm.

February 15
      Voters in Greek Cyprus narrowly reelect Glafcos Clerides to his second five-year term as president.

      Mexico wins the Gold Cup, the championship of the Confederation of North American, Central American, and Caribbean Association Football, in a 1-0 contest over the U.S.

      The 40th running of the Daytona 500 automobile race is won by Dale Earnhardt; this race is his 20th attempt to win the title.

February 16
      All 197 persons aboard a China Airlines flight from Bali, Indon., are killed, as are at least 7 persons on the ground, when the plane crashes upon landing at Taipei, Taiwan.

      The Biswa Ijitema, a yearly three-day mass gathering of the Muslim faithful, second in size only to the hajj, begins in Tongi, Bangladesh; an estimated two million people, including the president and prime minister of Bangladesh and pilgrims from 70 other countries, participate.

      The 22nd annual Laurence Olivier Awards for excellence in theatre are presented in London; Richard Eyre is tapped as best director, Ian Holm and Zoë Wanamaker are named best dramatic actor and actress, and Philip Quast and Ute Lemper are named best actor and best actress in a musical.

February 17
      Voyager 1 becomes the man-made object farthest from the Earth; the spacecraft was launched on Sept. 5, 1977, and is still functioning.

      A group of wrestlers from the U.S., the first Americans to visit Iran officially since 1979, arrive in Tehran to participate in an international tournament.

February 18
      Former Zambian president Kenneth Kaunda is charged with concealing information about a coup attempt against the government of Pres. Frederick Chiluba in October 1997; Kaunda led his nation to independence and was president for 27 years.

      In Sweden the official inquiry into the worst maritime disaster in European history, the sinking of the ferry Estonia off the coast of Finland in September 1994, is closed; no charges are pressed against anyone.

February 19
      Japan reports its first monthly trade deficit with the countries of Asia in eight years, although its trade surplus with the U.S. grew again to a total of $3 billion.

      Seventy groups active in the campaign to ban land mines meet in Frankfurt to decide how to divide their half of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize award and who will coordinate the movement; Jody Williams, the recipient of the other half of the prize, announces her resignation as coordinator of the International Campaign to Ban Land Mines on February 6.

      For the first time in history, a Canadian senator, Andrew Thompson, is suspended without pay for his poor attendance record.

February 20
      With three cables already out, the fourth of the main cables that supply power to Auckland fails, and nearly all of New Zealand's largest city is left without electricity.

      Tara Lipinski, 15, becomes the youngest athlete ever to win a gold medal in an individual event in the Winter Olympics when she emerges ahead of favoured Michelle Kwan in the women's figure-skating event.

      Danish choreographer Peter Martins's new ballet Stabat Mater, to music by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, is premiered by the New York City Ballet in New York.

February 21
      In Moscow, Russia and Japan sign an agreement that regulates fishing quotas for Japan in the waters off the disputed Kuril Islands.

      Longtime American civil rights activist Julian Bond is elected chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to replace Myrlie Evers-Williams.

February 22
      The United Nations announces the terms of the agreement reached by Secretary-General Kofi Annan with Iraqi Pres. Saddam Hussein, saying that Iraq will now permit UN arms inspectors unconditional access to possible weapons sites.

      An internal U.S. Central Intelligence Agency report on the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba is released to the public; the report is highly critical of the agency itself, citing its institutional arrogance and incompetence.

      Central do Brasil, by the young Brazilian director Walter Salles, wins the Golden Bear award, the top film honour at the Berlin Film Festival, and Neil Jordan of Ireland wins the best director award for his work in The Butcher Boy.

February 23
      Tornadoes rip through several counties in central Florida, causing at least 42 deaths and a record amount of tornado damage for the state.

February 24
      Prime Minister Khamtay Siphandon is elevated to the post of president of Laos by the National Assembly; Vice Pres. Sisavath Keobounphanh is named prime minister.

      Danny Yatom, the head of Mossad, Israel's intelligence agency, resigns in the wake of criticism of the agency, once considered among the best in the business, for a series of humiliating failures, notably a botched 1997 assassination attempt in Jordan and another in Switzerland in mid-February 1998.

      The motion picture Titanic surges past Jurassic Park to become the highest-grossing motion picture in U.S. history, with box-office receipts of $919.8 million worldwide; the trade magazine Variety, however, calculates that in ticket prices adjusted to 1998 levels, Titanic still lags far behind number one movie Gone with the Wind (1939), which grossed almost $1.3 billion in domestic theatres alone.

February 25
      Kim Dae Jung, a former dissident and longtime opposition leader, is formally inaugurated as president of South Korea.

      In a referendum more than 90% of the residents of Anjouan approve a new constitution that grants the Indian Ocean island independence from the Comoros Islands.

      The 40th annual Grammy awards ceremony of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences is held in Radio City Music Hall, New York City; record of the year and song of the year awards go to Shawn Colvin's "Sunny Came Home," and veteran Bob Dylan's Time out of Mind wins the album of the year and contemporary folk album awards.

      The $40,000 Neustadt International Prize for Literature is awarded to novelist Nuruddin Farah of Somalia; the award is given every other year by the journal World Literature Today and the University of Oklahoma.

February 26
      Oprah Winfrey is exonerated by a federal jury in Amarillo, Texas, from charges by a Texas cattlemen's group; the group had charged that remarks she made on her popular television program about the relationship of "mad cow" disease to the American beef industry were slanderous and had caused a drop in cattle prices, costing the cattlemen millions of dollars.

      In the area of the former Yugoslav federation, obstacles to rail transportation are removed for the first time in six years and a freight train moves through territory controlled by the Serbs, the Croats, and the Muslims.

February 27
      Queen Elizabeth II tells Parliament that she approves of plans to change the law of primogeniture, by which the eldest son of the reigning monarch is first in line to ascend to the throne; such a change would give the eldest child, male or female, of a British king or queen that right.

      The International Court of Justice in The Hague rules that it has jurisdiction to settle the dispute over the venue for the trial of two Libyan nationals accused of the bombing of Pan American Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scot., in 1988 (see August 26).

      HarperCollins Publishers Inc., apparently concerned about an adverse reaction from the Chinese government, announces that it will not publish the memoir of former British Hong Kong governor Chris Patten as planned.

February 28
      The governments of Hungary and Slovakia agree on plans to build a large hydroelectric dam across the Danube River, putting new life into the controversial Gabcikovo-Nagymaros project and precipitating vocal protests in Budapest, the Hungarian capital.

      The Russian government votes to bury the remains of Tsar Nicholas II and his family in the royal crypt in St. Petersburg.


March 1
      The Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), led by Gerhard Schröder, premier of Lower Saxony, wins comfortably in elections in the German state and clinches Schröder's position as SPD candidate to run against Chancellor Helmut Kohl in the federal election (see September 27).

      Owens-Illinois, one of the largest manufacturers of glass and plastic containers in the Americas, announces plans to acquire BTR PLC, a British company whose holdings include a top supplier of glass containers in Australia, New Zealand, and Great Britain, for $3.6 billion in cash.

March 2

      A protest demonstration by some 30,000 ethnic Albanians in Pristina, the capital of Serbia's province of Kosovo, is forcefully broken up by Serbian police; 24 civilians have died at the hands of Serbian police and paramilitary forces.

      Kim Jong Pil, the choice of South Korea's Pres. Kim Dae Jung for prime minister, is rejected by the National Assembly but is appointed anyway in an acting capacity; meanwhile, the government of North Korea admits that the country is facing a severe famine and that food stocks have been all but exhausted.

      For the first time, a single chef is the recipient of six stars from France's Michelin guide to restaurants; Alain Ducasse wins the top three-star rating for the Alain Ducasse restaurant in Paris as well as his Louis XV in Monte-Carlo.

March 3
      The U.S. Federal Trade Commission votes to block the planned mergers of two pairs of wholesale drug sellers—McKesson Corp. with Amerisource Health Corp. and Cardinal Health Inc. with Bergen Brunswig—on antitrust grounds.

      Time, an American weekly news magazine, celebrates its 75th anniversary with a gala party at Radio City Music Hall that brings together 1,190 guests from among the powerful, rich, and famous.

March 4
      Ruling in Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Services, Inc., et al., the U.S. Supreme Court finds that same-sex harassment in the workplace is a violation of federal civil rights law, just as is male-female harassment.

      Sir Sigmund Sternberg, a British businessman and philanthropist, is named as the recipient of the 1998 Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion; Sternberg, who is Jewish, has been active in promoting interfaith understanding.

March 5
      At the opening of the National People's Congress in China, Premier Li Peng announces a major reduction in the central bureaucracy; the cutback includes, among other measures, a reduction in the number of ministries from 40 to 29.

      Some 32 people are killed and more than 300 injured when at least two shrapnel bombs explode on a bus in Colombo, Sri Lanka; terrorists of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam are suspected (see February 4, September 30).

      Scientists at the Lunar Research Institute in Gilroy, Calif., report that the U.S.Lunar Prospector spacecraft, launched on January 6, has discovered evidence of the existence of water at the Moon's north and south poles in the form of ice crystals mixed with soil (see January 6).

March 6
      Cécile, Annette, and Yvonne, 63, the three surviving members of the Dionne quintuplets, accept from the Ontario government a settlement of $2.8 million and promises of an inquiry into their treatment during their childhood, when they were made wards of the state and used by the government for promotional purposes.

      Elisabeth Gehrer, Austrian minister of culture, breaks rank with museum officials in Europe and America when she announces that Austria is prepared to return art treasures taken by the Nazis from Jews during World War II and kept in state-run museums (see April 14).

      The government of Ecuador passes the Galápagos Conservation Law, which includes provisions for the expansion of a marine sanctuary extending 65 km (40 mi) out to sea and the banning of "industrial-scale fishing" from the area around the ecologically unique island group.

March 7
      An avalanche in the Salang region of Afghanistan 110 km (68 mi) north of Kabul kills as many as 70 persons.

      Hermann Maier of Austria wins the men's title in Alpine skiing World Cup competition at Kvitfjell, Nor.; Germany's Katja Seizinger wins the women's title on March 13 at Crans Montana, Switz.

      And now for something completely different—the original Monty Python group is reunited, for the first time since the death of troupe member Graham Chapman in 1989, at the United States Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colo.

March 8
      Legislative elections in Colombia return the incumbent Liberal Party to power despite a succession of scandals over corruption charges.

      In ceremonies at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C., Christopher Mihelich of Carmel, Ind., is named the winner of the annual Westinghouse Science Talent Search for high-school students; Mihelich wins a $40,000 college scholarship.

March 9
      The Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa), the largest producer of aluminum in the U.S., announces it will purchase the third largest aluminum company, Alumax Inc., for $2.8 billion in cash and stock.

March 10

      The elected president of Sierra Leone, Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, returns from 10 months in exile; his return follows the ejection, by an international military force led by Nigeria, of the military government formed after a coup by Maj. Johnny Paul Koromah.

      Indonesian President Suharto is reelected by the People's Consultative Assembly for a seventh term of office and is given additional powers to deal with economic and security problems in the country (see May 21).

      Viswanathan Anand of India clinches a victory at the Linares Supertournament chess championship in Spain.

March 11
      Legal authorities raid the Bank of Japan, the country's central bank, and arrest a top official on charges of accepting bribes; the bank's director, Yasuo Matsushita, resigns on March 12 and is replaced by Masaru Hayami on March 20.

      In Denmark Prime Minister Poul Nyrup Rasmussen and his centre-left coalition partners win a narrow victory in legislative elections, controlling the Folketing (parliament) by one vote.

      Brian Marsden of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Mass., makes news when he announces that there is a chance that the Earth will be hit by an asteroid in the year 2028; a day later NASA announces that additional calculations suggest there is no risk at all.

March 12
      A government official says that fires burning out of control in the Amazonas area of Brazil since mid-January have consumed more than 51,780 sq km (20,000 sq mi) and are threatening the reservation of the Yanomami, a Stone Age people, in Roraima state.

      The U.S. Congress passes the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which will exempt exports from the nations of sub-Saharan Africa from U.S. duties and trade quotas for 10 years and promote the creation of a U.S.-sub-Saharan free-trade zone.

      The Houston (Texas) Ballet premieres the $1.2 million, three-act ballet The Snow Maiden in Houston.

March 13
      President Kim of South Korea, himself a former political prisoner, declares a general amnesty affecting the police records, mostly for minor offenses, of 5.5 million people and frees a number of political prisoners.

      Astronomers at the Keck Observatory in Hawaii announce that they have observed light from an object located 12.2 billion light-years from Earth, the most distant object yet discovered.

March 14
      King Hassan II appoints a new coalition government for Morocco headed by Prime Minister ʿAbd ar-Rahman al-Youssoufi.

March 15
      An unusually strong and long-lasting khamsin (sand and dust storm) engulfs a portion of the eastern Mediterranean area from Egypt to Syria.

      The Columbus Quest defeats the Long Beach StingRays 86-81 to win the second American Basketball League championship for women in Columbus, Ohio.

March 16
      The giant national health insurance provider Aetna Inc. announces a $1,050,000,000 deal to buy the health care division of the New York Life Insurance Co.

      Obeid ibn Saif an-Nasiri of the United Arab Emirates is named head of OPEC.

      Sonia Gandhi, the Italian-born widow of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, is unanimously elected to lead India's Congress Party.

March 17
      During the March 5-17 session of the Chinese National People's Congress, Vice-Premier Zhu Rongji is elected to the post of premier, replacing Li Peng.

      Washington Mutual, Inc., the largest savings and loan in the United States, buys H.F. Ahmanson, the second largest savings unit, in a $9.9 billion stock merger; the purchase creates a new company with $149.2 billion in assets, making it the seventh largest firm in the industry.

      Jeff King of Denali Park, Alaska, wins the 1,790-km (1,110-mi) Anchorage-to-Nome Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race for the third time; his time is 9 days 5 hours 52 minutes.

March 18
      A Formosa Airlines airplane with 12 people aboard disappears and is presumed crashed into the sea off Taiwan.

March 19
      Atal Bihari Vajpayee of the Bharatiya Janata Party is sworn in as Indian prime minister; he will lead a coalition government comprising 20 parties.

      The sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers professional baseball team to media magnate Rupert Murdoch's Fox Group for $311 million is approved by the major league baseball owners at their annual meeting.

      The Promise Keepers, an all-male evangelical Christian group, reports that for financial reasons it will lay off its entire paid staff.

March 20
      The government of Botswana announces the completion of the last 600-km (370-mi) stretch of the 1,600-km (1,000-mi) Trans-Kalihari Highway; the highway runs from Windhoek, Namibia, to Maputo, Mozambique, and is the first direct link between the Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean coasts of Africa.

      For the first time, the intelligence budget of the U.S. is made public; Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet reveals that the U.S. plans to spend $26.7 billion on intelligence activities in fiscal year 1998.

March 21
      Pope John Paul II begins a three-day visit in Nigeria.

March 22
      Voting informally and, the Serbians say, illegally, the residents of Kosovo decide to elect a legislature and a president for their breakaway region of Yugoslavia.

March 23
      Russian Pres. Boris Yeltsin abruptly fires his entire Cabinet, including Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, and proposes former minister of energy Sergey Kiriyenko as the next prime minister (see August 23).

      President Clinton arrives in Accra, Ghana, beginning a 12-day sojourn in six countries of Africa.

      Bertelsmann AG, which already owns Bantam Doubleday Dell and other American media companies, announces that it will buy Random House Inc. for about $1.5 billion, which will make the German publishing giant the largest publishing company in the U.S. (see October 6).

      Juan Somavía, Chile's chief delegate to the United Nations, is elected director general of the International Labour Organisation.

March 24
      Prime Minister Apas Jumagulov of Kyrgyzstan resigns and is replaced on March 25 by Kubanychbek Jumaliyev.

      Two boys, aged 11 and 13, are taken into custody in Jonesboro, Ark., after 4 students and a teacher are killed and 11 people are wounded by gunshots as they leave a school building following a false fire alarm.

      In the first awards of the National Book Critics Circle to allow non-American entries, British author Penelope Fitzgerald wins for her novel The Blue Flower; other laureates are James Tobin in biography for Ernie Pyle's War: America's Eyewitness to World War II, Anne Fadiman in general nonfiction for The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, and Charles Wright for poetry with his Black Zodiac.

March 25
      The first award ceremony for the "Eisies," the Alfred Eisenstaedt Awards for Magazine Photography in 20 categories, is held in New York City.

      Kruger National Park in South Africa celebrates 100 years of wildlife conservation.

March 26
      Viagra, a drug developed by the pharmaceutical firm Pfizer Inc. to treat male impotence, is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration; the drug is an immediate best-seller.

      Switzerland's three major banks agree to negotiate plans for a global settlement with Holocaust victims and vow to organize a compensation fund in the U.S. to make restitution for World War II atrocities; the fund could reach $3 billion (see June 19).

      Imelda Marcos, the widow of former president Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines, reveals for the first time the amount of her personal wealth held in foreign banks: $800 million.

March 27
      At a meeting of the National Security Council in Ankara, Turkish generals demand that Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz take action against religious-oriented movements in an effort to separate religion and politics.

March 28
      Cyber Promotions, Inc., the biggest sender of junk mail on the Internet, agrees to pay $2 million in reparations to settle lawsuits filed by Internet service providers.

      Venus Williams of the U.S. defeats Russian-born Anna Kournikova to clinch the Lipton Championship tennis tournament in Key Biscayne, Fla.

      Silver Charm, the 1997 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner, noses past Swain to win the Dubayy World Cup horse race and its $2.4 million prize, more than doubling his previous earnings.

March 29
      Pat Hurst wins the Nabisco Dinah Shore golf tournament at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif.; Lee Trevino finishes two strokes ahead of Mike McCullough and captures his first golf title since 1996 at the Southwestern Bell Dominion Professional Golfers' Association Senior tour event in San Antonio, Texas.

      In Kansas City, Mo., the University of Tennessee defeats Louisiana Tech 93-75 to win the NCAA women's basketball championship for the third straight year.

      In Reno, Nev., the Vanderbilt Knockout Team Championship in contract bridge is won for the second year in a row by a team led by Richard Schwartz.

March 30
      Prime Minister Robert Kocharyan is elected president of Armenia in the second stage of an election process that is marked with irregularities.

      Former prime minister Norodom Ranariddh returns to Cambodia from exile to run for reelection against Hun Sen, the coup leader who ousted him in June 1997.

      Donald Kalpokas is elected prime minister of Vanuatu.

      Prime Minister Victor Ciorbea of Romania resigns; Gavril Dejeu is appointed to replace him in a caretaker role.

March 31
      Reacting to the violent suppression of dissidence in the province of Kosovo by Serbian authorities, the United Nations Security Council votes 14-0 to impose an arms embargo on Yugoslavia (see March 2, May 9).

      Six European countries—Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Poland, and Slovenia—begin negotiations with the European Union in Brussels for membership in the union.


April 1

      Citing a lack of evidence to prove sexual misconduct, Judge Susan Webber Wright of Federal District Court dismisses the lawsuit filed by Paula Corbin Jones against Pres. Bill Clinton (see January 17).

      Festus Mogae is sworn in as president of Botswana, replacing Sir Ketumile Masire.

      The Japan Prizes are awarded in ceremonies in Tokyo; Leo Esaki, president of the University of Tsukuba, Sakura, Japan, wins in the area of materials science, and two Belgians, Jozef Schell of the Max Planck Institute, Cologne, Ger., and Marc Van Montagu of the Flanders Interuniversity Institute for Biotechnology, Ghent, Belg., win in the area of agricultural biotechnology.

      The 57th annual George Foster Peabody Awards for excellence in radio and television broadcasting are announced; the ABC comedy series "Ellen" and the CBS news program "60 Minutes" are among the recipients.

      The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves Sucralose, a new no-calorie sweetener 600 times as sweet as sugar and the only artificial sweetener made from sugar.

April 2
      Douglas F. Groat, former veteran officer of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, is arrested for espionage and accused of having revealed U.S. secrets to two foreign nations.

      Maurice Papon, former member of the collaborationist government in Vichy, France, is convicted of war crimes for having turned Jews over to the Nazis during World War II.

      Jean-Marie Le Pen, leader of the far right in France, is convicted of having assaulted an opponent while campaigning in France; Le Pen was later declared ineligible to run in European parliamentary elections in 1999.

April 3
      Leaders of 10 Asian nations and 15 member states of the European Union gather in London for the second Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM); discussions focus on the Asian economic crisis.

      The Swiss National Bank, Switzerland's central bank, announces its intention to fight an American lawsuit accusing the bank of having aided Nazi Germany in the acquisition of looted assets during World War II (see August 12).

April 4
      Approximately 280 people are believed dead when a boat en route to Gabon capsizes in rough waters off the coast of Nigeria.

      American figure skater Michelle Kwan wins her second world figure-skating championship in Minneapolis, Minn.; Russian Aleksey Yagudin had won the men's title two days earlier.

      Earth Summit wins the Grand National steeplechase in Liverpool, Eng.

April 5
      The world's longest suspension bridge, the 3.9-km (2.4-mi) Akashi Kaikyo Bridge linking Japan's Shikoku and Honshu islands, is officially opened; the bridge has been built to withstand earthquakes of magnitude 8.5.

      Charlotte Bacon receives the 1998 Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award for her short-story collection, A Private State, at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston.

April 6
      President Clinton imposes a permanent ban on importing 58 types of military-style assault weapons.

      The World Trade Organization orders the U.S. to cease prohibiting imports from countries that do not try to preserve endangered sea turtles by keeping them out of shrimp nets, which the WTO considers a restriction on free trade.

      Citicorp Bank and Travelers Group Insurance, two of the largest companies in the U.S., agree to a $70 billion stock merger.

      Gramophone magazine, perhaps the most respected voice in classical music journalism, celebrates its 75th anniversary in ceremonies in London.

April 7
      Tara Lipinski, U.S. figure skater and gold medalist at the 1998 Winter Olympics, announces that she will turn professional.

      At Barbican Hall in London, British composer Andrew March receives the first Masterprize at the conclusion of an 18-month international competition designed to encourage new classical works; the prize, supported by a number of British cultural organizations, is valued at £25,000.

April 8
      The Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis Pharma announces that it has earmarked $250 million for the creation of the Novartis Institute for Functional Genomics in La Jolla, Calif., to track down and record the function of genes as they are discovered.

      American architect I.M. Pei is named the recipient of the Edward MacDowell Medal for his contributions to the arts; Pei is the first architect to receive the award in its 38-year history.

      The results of a survey conducted for more than 20 years by botanists and conservationists around the world are announced in Washington, D.C.; the study finds that 12.5% of the 270,000 known plant species are at risk of extinction.

April 9
      More than 100 Muslim pilgrims die in a stampede in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, while participating in a religious event known as "stoning the devil" during the last day of the annual hajj.

      Powerful tornadoes rip through Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia, killing 39 people and leaving many homeless.

      A federal jury in New York City awards Sandra Ortiz-Del Valle $7,850,000 in damages for sex discrimination at the hands of the National Basketball Association, which prevented her from becoming a referee.

      The National Prisoner of War Memorial Museum, situated on the grounds of the Civil War prison at Andersonville, Ga., is officially dedicated.

April 10

      The Northern Ireland peace talks in Belfast produce an agreement between Catholic and Protestant representatives that will allow members of both religions to govern jointly in a 108-seat national assembly in Northern Ireland (see May 22).

April 11
      Talks between North and South Korea about the provision of agricultural assistance by Seoul open in Beijing; the meeting collapses with no resolution regarding relief aid needed by North Korea or the South's desire to reunite family members split by the 1945 division of the Korean peninsula.

April 12
      Girija Prasad Koirala is appointed prime minister by King Birendra of Nepal; Koirala takes office on April 15.

      Heavy rains flood mine shafts at the Mererani tanzanite mines in Tanzania, killing at least 55 workers.

      Some of the worst storms and flooding of the century hit eastern England and cause at least four deaths.

      The first emergency shipment of American water-purification equipment arrives in the Marshall Islands, which have experienced a severe shortage of freshwater because of freakish El Niño-related weather.

      American Mark O'Meara wins the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., his first major title, by one stroke and finishes nine under par.

April 13
      Nationsbank Corp. of Charlotte, N.C., and the BankAmerica Corp. of San Francisco, in a merger worth an estimated $60 billion, create the nation's first coast-to-coast banking institution.

      The celebrity sheep Dolly, the first mammal to be cloned, gives birth—naturally; the lamb is named Bonnie.

April 14

      Russian Pres. Boris Yeltsin signs a law prohibiting the return to Germany of art objects that were looted by the Red Army during World War II (see March 6).

      The Hindu ceremony of Mahakumbh, held every 12 years, brings more than 10 million pilgrims to Hardwar, Uttar Pradesh state, India, to bathe in the holy Ganges River; the ceremony, believed to be the largest convocation in the world, has often been the scene of sectarian violence in the past.

      The Pulitzer Prizes are announced in New York City; among the winners are Philip Roth's American Pastoral for fiction and Aaron Jay Kernis's String Quartet No. 2, Musica Instrumentalis for music.

      The Gillette Co. introduces the Mach 3, a shaver featuring three blades rather than two; Gillette's $300 million marketing budget is one of the largest advertising campaigns ever.

April 15

      The trial on contempt charges of the former president of South Africa, P.W. Botha, opens in George, Western Cape province.

      Economist Radu Vasile is confirmed as prime minister of Romania; Vasile is the nominee of the Christian Democratic National Peasants' Party of Romania.

      Pol Pot, the leader of the Khmer Rouge revolutionary movement in Cambodia, who is held responsible for the murder of a million civilians in his country, dies of a heart attack in captivity.

April 16
      In what may be an attempt to disrupt peace talks between Chechnya and Moscow, gunmen kill Russian Lieut. Gen. Viktor Prokopenko in North Ossetia, a republic in the north Caucasus region of Russia.

      Tornadoes ravage Arkansas, Tennessee, and Kentucky, killing 10 and injuring more than 110 people.

April 17
      It is reported that a 40 × 5-km (25 × 3-mi) chunk of the Larsen B ice shelf in Antarctica has broken off; scientists are concerned that global warming will cause additional crumbling of the ice shelves.

      Ambassador to the UN Bill Richardson receives a cordial welcome in Kabul, Afg., on the first high-level visit by a U.S. official in 25 years; Richardson meets with Taliban leaders in the capital and with the opposition Northern Alliance in the town of Sheberghan.

      The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and the Toronto-Dominion Bank, two of Canada's largest banking institutions, propose a $15.9 billion merger; the merger will consolidate Canada's already-compressed banking system, leaving just four major national banks (see January 23).

      Israeli violinist Pinchas Zukerman is named conductor of the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa; he succeeds Briton Trevor Pinnock.

April 18
      In Kilbuye, Rwanda, two Roman Catholic priests, the Rev. Jean-François Kayiranga and the Rev. Edouard Nkurikiye, are sentenced to death for their collaboration with Hutu militants in the deaths of 2,000 Tutsi during the 1994 genocide.

      The Shroud of Turin, believed by some to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ and by others to be a medieval hoax, is placed on public display; some three million pilgrims view the cloth before the exhibit closes on June 14.

April 19
      Chinese dissident Wang Dan, a leader of the 1989 Tiananmen democracy movement, is exiled to the United States by the Chinese government.

      Thomas Klestil is reelected president of Austria in a landslide vote.

      Italian Renzo Piano, designer of the Pompidou Centre in Paris and the new Kansai Air Terminal in Japan, is named the winner of the 1998 Pritzker Architecture Prize.

      Fire destroys the 9th-century Taktsang Monastery, the oldest Himalayan Buddhist shrine in Bhutan.

April 20
      The Cabinet of Prime Minister Armen Darbinyan (who was appointed on April 10) is approved by Armenian Pres. Robert Kocharyan.

      Moses Tanui of Kenya wins the 102nd annual Boston Marathon, for the second time in three years, with a time of 2 hr 7.34 min; Ethiopian Fatuma Roba wins the women's division for the second year in a row with a runaway time of 2 hr 23.21 min.

April 21
      American astronomers working in Chile and Hawaii report having observed a complete planetary disk, the best evidence yet of the formation of planets around a young star.

      The 1997 Heinz Awards are presented to John Harbison for arts and humanities, Amory Lovins for the environment, Carol Gilligan for the human condition, Ernesto Cortés, Jr., for public policy, and Ralph Gomory for technology, the economy, and employment.

April 22
      Animal Kingdom, an $800 million theme park from the Disney Co., officially opens in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.; there is some criticism of the operation in mid-May when it is revealed that at least 29 of the animals died in transit or in the park.

      The new Berlin Prize fellowships are awarded to 16 American scholars by the American Academy in Berlin; playwright Arthur Miller is designated the distinguished inaugural senior fellow.

      The Red Army Faction, the terrorist organization of the 1970s, announces its dissolution because their cause is "now history."

      The National Academy of Sciences disassociates itself from a statement and petition circulated by former NAS president Frederick Seitz, which attacks the theory of global warming and enjoins the U.S. government to reject the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.

April 23
      Konstantinos Karamanlis, a prominent politician in Greece for more than half a century, dies at age 91.

      James Earl Ray, convicted killer of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., dies in Nashville, Tenn.

April 24
      The Russian Parliament approves Sergey Kiriyenko, President Yeltsin's choice for prime minister, with a vote of 251 to 25; a government restructuring ensues (see August 23).

      In Rwanda 22 people convicted of genocide during the nation's civil war are executed by firing squads.

April 25
      A pyrite mine reservoir at Los Frailes mine on the Guadiamar River in Spain ruptures, flooding the valley with contaminated mine wastes and threatening the Coto Doñana National Park, the largest nature preserve in Europe.

      Upon releasing the results of a poll of its members, the Sierra Club announces that it will not endorse any policy on federal limits on immigration; the issue had radically split the environmental group's membership.

April 26
      A prominent Guatemalan bishop, Juan Gerardi Conadera, is beaten to death with a concrete block in the garage of his home two days after he delivered a report on human rights violations during the country's 36-year civil war.

      In an effort to restore civilian rule, Nigeria holds parliamentary elections; fear of violence and distrust for Gen. Sani Abacha, however, keeps 50 million registered voters from the polling places (see June 8).

April 27
      U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher releases a report on the dangers of tobacco use among minority groups; American Indians and Alaskan natives are found to be especially vulnerable.

      The Actors Studio of New York celebrates its 50th anniversary (through May 18).

April 28
      Over U.S. and Turkish opposition, Russia agrees to deliver S-300 advanced antiaircraft missile systems to the Greek Cypriot government in August.

April 29
      Russian financial mogul Boris Berezovsky is appointed chief executive of the Commonwealth of Independent States at the organization's summit meeting.

      Brazil agrees to set aside about 25 million ha (62 million ac), approximately 10%, of the Amazon rain forest for conservation (see June 17).

      Vickers PLC, owner of the British Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, accepts a $566 million takeover offer from German car manufacturer BMW.

      It is revealed in Oslo that in experiments conducted for decades until 1994, Norwegian and American researchers used mentally ill or retarded Norwegians in tests of the biological and genetic effects of X-ray radiation on the body.

April 30
      A cease-fire agreement is signed at Arawa, capital of the island of Bougainville, potentially ending the decade-long movement of many islanders to secede from Papua New Guinea.

      It is announced that the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto will become the only site in North America to exhibit what many consider to be the rarest collection of Impressionist and Postimpressionist paintings; the show, from June 10 to September 21, will include works by Manet, Monet, Renoir, Cézanne, van Gogh, Degas, Gauguin, and Seurat.

      Four hundred years ago Don Juan de Oñate of Spain crossed the Rio Grande and entered what is now New Mexico, introducing the first Spanish settlements to the Southwest; the anniversary is celebrated by Hispanics in New Mexico and Texas.


May 1

      At the UN War Crimes Tribunal in Arusha, Tanz., Jean Kambanda, a former prime minister of Rwanda, pleads guilty to charges of genocide in connection with the 1994 massacres in his country.

      Tisseel, the nation's first commercial surgical glue for the control of bleeding caused by surgery or trauma, is approved for use in the U.S. by the Food and Drug Administration.

      Folkways Records, a pioneer in recording folk music of the U.S. and the world, celebrates its 50th anniversary with a concert at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

May 2

      Real Quiet wins the Kentucky Derby in Louisville, Ky., defeating Victory Gallop by half a length; the win marks horse trainer Bob Baffert's second consecutive win in the derby.

      King Hussein celebrates the 45th anniversary of his reign; the day is celebrated as a national holiday in Jordan.

      Natasha Gelman, widow of film producer Jacques Gelman, dies in Cuernavaca, Mex., and bequeaths her collection of 85 works of modern art valued at more than $300 million to New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art.

May 3
      In London The Sunday Times newspaper reports that Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary Robin Cook allegedly had known that a British company, Sandline International, sent arms to Sierra Leone earlier in the year despite a UN arms embargo; a government flap ensues.

      "The Sèvres Road" by the 19th-century French landscape painter Camille Corot is stolen from the Louvre in Paris.

      The opening of the American Ceramic Society's annual meeting in Cincinnati, Ohio, commemorates the 100th anniversary of the society's founding.

May 4
      Lionel Jospin, prime minister of France, arrives in New Caledonia to sign an accord allowing the French colony to form a government; a vote on sovereignty is to be postponed for 20 years.

      Confessed "Unabomber" Theodore J. Kaczynski receives four life sentences plus 30 years in prison for four of the bombings he carried out during his 17-year bombing spree, which killed 3 people and injured 22 (see January 22).

      In Vatican City State, hours after being appointed commander of the pope's Swiss Guards, Col. Alois Estermann and his wife are shot to death by another guard, who then takes his own life.

      Combating its worst drought in its recorded history, Fiji imposes water-usage restrictions across the nation.

May 5
      A series of mud slides on Mt. Sarno in Italy kill at least 135 people and leaves thousands homeless.

      More than 50 years after the last prisoners were freed from Austria's biggest Nazi death camp in Mauthausen, the nation holds its first-ever national day of remembrance for Holocaust victims.

      The Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center on Federal Triangle in Washington, D.C., is formally dedicated; designed by James Ingo Freed, it is the second largest U.S. government building (after the Pentagon) ever built.

May 6
      It is announced in Washington, D.C., that astronomers have detected evidence of a huge explosion, unpredicted in cosmic theory, that took place at the farthest reaches of the universe about 12 billion years ago and is thought to have been second in magnitude only to the theoretical "big bang" that created the universe.

      Pres. Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakstan signs a decree formally changing the name of Aqmola, the capital since 1997, to Astana, which means capital in Kazak.

May 7
      Daimler-Benz AG, the German manufacturer of Mercedes-Benz autos, and the American Chrysler Corp. announce plans to merge in a $36 billion deal that would create DaimlerChrysler, with combined 1997 sales of about $131 billion.

      The U.S. Senate votes unanimously in favour of a bill to overhaul the Internal Revenue Service and create a board to oversee the tax-collecting agency.

May 8
      Prime Minister Adrien Houngbedji of Benin resigns; Pres. Mathieu Kérékou appoints a new government, without filling the prime minister post, on May 14.

      A study published in the American Journal of Human Genetics suggests that a specific gene mutation, occurring only in people of European descent, may provide complete immunity to the AIDS virus.

      Wired magazine is purchased by Condé Nast, a unit of Advance Publications Inc., which publishes magazines such as Vogue, Vanity Fair, and GQ for an upscale market.

May 9

      The G-8 group of industrialized countries, with the exception of Japan and Russia, imposes a ban on investment in Serbia and freezes that country's overseas assets because of the failure of Serbian troops to withdraw from the province of Kosovo (see June 29).

      Roman Catholic Bishop Zeng Jingmu, who had been imprisoned in China for holding illegal religious services, is released by the government.

May 10
      Paraguay goes to the polls and reelects the Colorado Party, which has ruled the country for 51 years, and elects its candidate for president, Raúl Cubas Grau.

      It is announced that the Stone Container Corp. will be bought by Jefferson Smurfit Corp. for $2 billion in stock, creating a giant in the paper-based packaging industry.

      Louis Luyt, the president of the South African Rugby Football Union, resigns in Johannesburg under intense pressure and charges of racism and corruption in the management of the sport.

May 11

      India detonates three nuclear devices at a test site in the northwest of the country; in the face of strong international objections, two more underground tests are conducted on May 13 (see May 28).

      SBC Communications Inc. announces that it plans to acquire Ameritech Corp. in a $62 billion deal that would create the largest local telephone company in the U.S.

      The Sunbeam Corp., reeling from huge losses and questionable business strategies, announces plans to lay off 40% of its workforce, or 6,400 employees (see June 15).

May 12
      At the annual pageant, in Honolulu, Hawaii, Wendy Fitzwilliam of Trinidad and Tobago is crowned the 47th Miss Universe.

      American soul singer Ray Charles and Indian sitar virtuoso Ravi Shankar are awarded the Swedish Academy of Music's Polar Music Prize for 1998.

      American violinist Axel Strauss wins the Walter W. Naumburg International Violin Competition; in addition to a cash prize, the award includes two recitals at New York City's Lincoln Center and a recording contract.

May 13
      The Environmental Protection Agency issues a license to the federal Department of Energy authorizing the burial of Cold War-era nuclear waste in the $2 billion Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) situated in excavated salt beds near Carlsbad, N.M.

      Gro Harlem Brundtland, former prime minister of Norway, is confirmed as the new director general of the World Health Organization; she will assume the post July 21.

May 14
      Popular American entertainer Frank Sinatra dies in Los Angeles at age 82.

      Yemen's Pres. ʿAli Abdallah Salih names ʿAbd al-Karim al-Iryani prime minister.

      A group of scientists working in London and publishing in Psychological Science has discovered for the first time a gene that is linked to high intelligence.

May 15
      Leaders of the G-8 nations, the world's largest industrial countries (and for the first time officially including Russia), gather at an estate outside Birmingham, Eng., and discuss international crime and additional financial support for the world's poorest nations.

May 16

      Real Quiet, the winner of the Kentucky Derby, comes from behind to beat Victory Gallop by 2 1/4 lengths in the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore, Md., the second win in thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown.

      In the English Football Association Cup final played in London's Wembley Stadium, London Arsenal defeats Newcastle United 2-0; having earlier won the Carling Premier League championship, Arsenal achieves a "double," a rare accomplishment.

      Rafi Zabor is awarded the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction; the prize is valued at $15,000.

May 17
      The outspoken Gen. Aleksandr Lebed, a candidate for the presidency of Russia in the last (and possibly the future) election, wins the governorship of Krasnoyarsk kray, a vast, sparsely populated area in Siberia.

      A deal is struck whereby the education division of American publisher Simon & Schuster will be acquired from Viacom by Pearson PLC, the largest publisher in Great Britain and owner of the Penguin group, for $3.6 billion, and Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst Inc., a Texas investment firm, will buy the reference, business, and professional divisions for $1 billion.

      David Wells of the New York Yankees pitches a perfect game (no opposing player gets on base), only the 15th such feat in the history of major league baseball.

      South Korean golfer Pak Se Ri, a rookie on the professional circuit, wins the McDonald's Ladies Professional Golf Association championship at 11 strokes under par for the tournament at the DuPont Country Club in Wilmington, Del. (see July 6).

May 18
      The U.S. government indicts three large Mexican banks and a host of banking officials on charges of laundering money from cocaine and marijuana trafficking.

      The greats of golf gather in St. Augustine, Fla., to celebrate the induction of Johnny Miller and Nick Faldo into the new Golf Hall of Fame and to inaugurate a luxurious new golf complex, World Golf Village.

May 19

      Three armed men subdue the guards at Rome's National Gallery of Modern Art and make off with three masterpieces valued at $34 million: "Le Jardinier" and "L'Arlésienne" of Vincent Van Gogh and "Le Cabanon de Jourdan" of Paul Cézanne; the paintings are later recovered (see July 6).

      The murder trial of Patrizia Reggiani, called the "Black Widow" in the Italian press, opens in Milan; Reggiani is convicted of having contracted for the death of her ex-husband, Maurizio Gucci, heir to the high-fashion leather goods company, on November 6.

May 20
      After celebrating its 100th anniversary on May 16, the American Academy of Arts and Letters inducts 14 new members and awards 4 honorary memberships to foreign notables; the academy's gold medals are awarded to artist Frank Stella and playwright Horton Foote.

      Retired electrician Frank Capaci and his wife, Shirley, of Streamwood, Ill., win the largest-ever lottery jackpot in the U.S., $195 million, in the Powerball lottery (see July 30).

May 21

      Suharto, Indonesia's president for 30 years, steps down following weeks of growing economic, social, and political unrest; a close associate, Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie, immediately replaces him (see March 10).

      Marion Barry, the controversial mayor of Washington, D.C., announces that he will not seek a fifth four-year term.

      Daniel arap Moi, president of Kenya, fires David Western, the director of the Kenyan Wildlife Service; no explanation is given, but Western believes it is because he refused to permit mining in the parks.

      The Seagram Co., originally a spirit and wine firm, announces that it plans to acquire Polygram NV, a music company, for $10.6 billion in cash and stock; Seagram, which also owns Universal Studios, stands to become a leading force in the entertainment industry.

May 22

      Voters in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland overwhelmingly support the so-called Good Friday agreement of April 10.

      The World's Fair opens to the public in Lisbon, with pavilions from 146 nations and a general theme of protecting the world's oceans.

May 23
      The ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy wins a lopsided election victory, taking 78 of 80 seats in the National Legislature; party leader Bethuel Pakalitha Mosisili is sworn in as prime minister on May 29.

      At the Queen Elizabeth Stadium in Hong Kong, the Chinese women's badminton team wins its record sixth Uber Cup; on May 24 the Indonesian men's team wins the Thomas Cup for the third consecutive year and gains its 11th championship.

May 24
      Hong Kong holds elections for the 60-seat Legislative Council; the vote is the first since Hong Kong reverted to Chinese control in 1997.

      The Swedish yacht EF Language, with an international crew of 12, arrives in Southampton, Eng., the winner of the Whitbread Round the World Race.

      At the Cannes International Film Festival, Greek director Theo Angelopoulos wins the Palme d'Or, the top prize, for his Eternity and a Day; Italian comedian and director Roberto Benigni wins the Grand Prize for Life Is Beautiful.

      Eddie Cheever, in his first major racing victory, wins the 82nd running of the Indianapolis 500 auto race.

May 25
      In Spain a former interior minister and 11 other top government officials begin their trial on charges of having waged a "dirty war" in the 1980s against ETA, the Basque separatist organization.

      Egypt officially celebrates the conclusion of a 10-year, multimillion-dollar restoration of the Great Sphinx.

      William J. Ivey, a folklorist and ethnomusicologist who had been director of the Country Music Federation in Nashville, Tenn., is confirmed as chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, succeeding actress Jane Alexander.

May 26
      Australia marks its first National Sorry Day to remember the hundreds of thousands of Aboriginal children, the so-called stolen generations, who were forcibly taken from their families in the past in an attempt to integrate them into white society.

May 27
      The Russian central bank raises its Lombard rate (the interest rate for loans to commercial banks) from 50% to 150% in an attempt to relieve pressure on the ruble and avert a devaluation.

      Thousands of workers in South Korea strike to protest layoffs and the replacement of regular workers with temporaries.

      The Grand Princess, the world's largest and most expensive cruise ship ever built (approximately $450 million), departs from Istanbul's Golden Horn on its maiden voyage.

May 28

      Pakistan becomes the world's seventh nuclear power just 17 days after India joined the nuclear club (see May 11), detonating five nuclear devices at its Chagai Hills test site in Baluchistan.

      Jody-Anne Maxwell of Kingston, Jam., wins the 71st annual Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.

      The world premiere performance of David Del Tredici's cantata, The Spider and the Fly, written to celebrate the New York Philharmonic Orchestra's 150th anniversary in 1992, takes place in Avery Fisher Hall in New York City.

May 29
      Joseph Estrada is declared the winner of the presidential election in the Philippines; he formally takes over from Fidel Ramos on June 30.

      It is reported that Comoros Pres. Mohamed Taki Abdoulkarim has dismissed the entire government and Prime Minister Nourdine Bourhane; antigovernment rioting had broken out in Moroni, the capital, earlier in the month.

May 30
      A magnitude-6.9 earthquake shakes Takhar and Badakhshan provinces in northeastern Afghanistan, leaving an estimated 5,000 people dead and 50,000 homeless.

      The Social Democratic Party announces that it will leave the coalition that has governed Japan since 1994.

May 31

      The U.S. pledges support for an international plan to stabilize the Russian ruble; the International Monetary Fund has intervened to bail out the Russian economy on four occasions in recent months.

      Geri Halliwell (Ginger Spice) of the Spice Girls announces that she has resigned from the popular British singing group (see October 20).


June 1
      American Home Products Corp. and Monsanto Co. announce plans to merge in a transaction valued at more than $35 billion; if finalized, the merger would be the largest ever between two pharmaceutical companies.

      In Chicago the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announces the 29 recipients of this year's MacArthur fellowships.

      Susie Maroney of Australia becomes the first person to swim from Mexico to Cuba, across the Yucatán Channel, a distance of about 200 km (125 mi); the swim, most of it in a shark cage, took 38 hr 33 min.

June 2
      The first Friedrich Kiesler Prize for Architecture and the Arts, a new $60,000 award to honour the memory of the Austrian-born architect, is presented to Canadian-born American architect Frank O. Gehry, designer of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, the Samsung Museum of Modern Art in South Korea, and the American Center in Paris, among many other buildings.

June 3
      The high-speed InterCity Express (ICE) train crashes into an overpass near Eschede, Ger., at a speed of about 200 km/h (125 mph), killing at least 100 persons; a faulty wheel is later determined to have been the cause of the crash.

      VaxGen Inc. announces that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted it permission to begin full-scale human trials of its vaccine Aids Vax, which may completely prevent HIV infections.

June 4
      The U.S. Supreme Court rejects a request from independent counsel Kenneth Starr to speed its review of legal privilege claims advanced by Pres. Bill Clinton and members of his administration in Starr's investigation into alleged presidential misdeeds.

      The U.S. space shuttle Discovery docks with the Russian space station Mir and retrieves American astronaut Andrew Thomas; the station is being shut down and will be destroyed in December 1999.

June 5
      Workers at a General Motors metal-stamping plant in Flint, Mich., go on strike; employees at other GM facilities in North America follow suit in the days to come.

      A group of Japanese and American scientists meeting at the Neutrino '98 conference in Takayama, Japan, announces that for the first time they have found firm evidence that the neutrino, a subatomic particle with a neutral charge, has mass.

June 6
      The president of Burundi, Pierre Buyoya, signs into law the Transitional Constitutional Act, an interim constitution to replace the decree imposed when Buyoya took over the country in a military coup in July 1996.

      Victory Gallop wins the Belmont Stakes, barely nosing out Real Quiet and spoiling that horse's bid to win thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown (see May 2, May 16).

June 7
      A referendum proposed by the Green Party and a variety of other environmental and consumer groups in Switzerland to restrict research in genetic engineering is soundly rejected by the electorate; the referendum is believed to be the first ever on genetic engineering.

      Art, by Yasmina Reza, is declared the best play at the Tony award ceremonies at New York City's Radio City Music Hall; The Lion King wins in six categories, including best musical, and Ragtime, another musical, takes home Tonys in four categories.

      Spanish tennis players dominate the French Open tournament as Carlos Moya defeats countryman Alex Corretja 6-3, 7-5, 6-3 for the men's title; on June 6 Arantxa Sánchez Vicario defeated Monica Seles of the U.S. for the women's title.

June 8
      The U.S. space shuttle Discovery undocks from the Russian space station Mir, ending three years of cooperative research by scientists and astronauts from the two countries.

      Strongman Gen. Sani Abacha dies suddenly in the Nigerian capital, Abuja; Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar, the defense minister, is swiftly sworn in as Abacha's replacement (see April 26, July 7).

      European fisheries officials meeting in Luxembourg agree to a ban on drift-net fishing in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean beginning in 2002; conservation organizations have sought a ban on huge drift nets because of the damage they cause to marine mammals and noncommercial fish populations.

      In the latest of a series of large bank mergers, Norwest Corp. of Minneapolis, Minn., and the San Francisco-based Wells Fargo & Co. agree to merge, forming Norwest-Wells Fargo, the seventh largest bank in the U.S., holding some $191 billion in assets.

      A Swiss, Joseph ("Sepp") Blatter, is elected president of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, the governing body of world professional soccer, replacing long-time incumbent João Havelange of Brazil.

June 9
      The Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in the U.S., adopts a change to its basic document on the structure of the family, asserting that the husband should "provide for, protect and lead his family," whereas the wife should "submit herself graciously" to his leadership.

June 10
      The World Cup soccer tournament opens in Paris after an Air France strike is settled and following a noisy and colourful evening of festivities; the games will be played in 10 locations throughout France.

      The Supreme Court of Wisconsin rules that the city of Milwaukee may use tax revenue to pay for pupils to attend parochial or other religious schools; the decision is regarded as the most significant test yet of the trend toward school vouchers, a form of financial aid.

June 11
      The genome, or DNA structure, of the tuberculosis bacterium, which comprises 4,411,529 elements, is successfully decoded by a team of French and British scientists, as reported in the journal Nature.

      About 1,000 Ukrainian miners, on strike for back pay, conclude a march from the coal-producing region in eastern Ukraine to Kiev, the capital, and demand government action.

      Mitsubishi Motors Corp. agrees to pay $34 million, a record amount in a sexual harassment settlement, in a suit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of employees at the Mitsubishi auto plant in Normal, Ill.

June 12
      In Manila, Pres. Fidel Ramos leads the celebrations of the 100th anniversary of Philippine independence from Spain; the Philippines came under U.S. hegemony following the Spanish-American War and gained full independence in 1946.

      An important exhibition of the work of Civil War-era photographer Mathew Brady opens at the International Center of Photography Midtown, New York City.

June 13
      Billed as the largest benefit concert since Live Aid in 1985, the two-day Tibetan Freedom Concert opens in Washington, D.C.'s RFK Stadium; although the first day is aborted because of weather, on Sunday fans enjoy a lineup of top rock groups assembled to protest China's occupation of Tibet.

      The International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for 1998, at $150,000 believed to be the largest prize for a single work of fiction, is presented to Herta Müller, a native of Romania who writes in German, for her novel The Land of Green Plums.

June 14
      The Chicago Bulls win the National Basketball Association championship for the third year in a row, defeating the Utah Jazz 87-86 in the final game; Michael Jordan is named Most Valuable Player of the series.

      A Canadian long-distance telephone company, Teleglobe Inc., announces it will buy Excel Communications Inc., the fifth largest U.S. telecommunications company, for $3.5 billion.

June 15

      The board of the Sunbeam Corp. decides to fire its chairman, Albert J. Dunlap; Dunlap earned the nickname "Chain Saw Al" for his technique of radically downsizing companies that he was called in to rescue from financial peril (see May 11).

      Billy Ray Cyrus is the big winner (five awards, including best single) at the TNN/Music City News Country Awards ceremony in Nashville, Tenn.; Neal McCoy is named Entertainer of the Year, and Porter Wagoner is identified as a "living legend."

June 16
      The Detroit Red Wings defeat the Washington Capitals in Washington, D.C., to win the Stanley Cup of the National Hockey League for the second consecutive year; Detroit's captain, Steve Yzerman, wins the Conn Smythe Trophy for most valuable player in the tournament.

      The government of North Korea acknowledges publicly for the first time that it has sold missiles abroad and intends to continue doing so; the founder of South Korea's Hyundai Group, Chung Ju Yung, leads a convoy of trucks delivering 500 head of cattle to the hard-pressed North.

      The ruling Council of the Lutheran World Federation approves the "Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification," aimed at bridging a doctrinal difference and repairing relations with the Roman Catholic Church, which have been strained for some 400 years.

      The Islamic fundamentalist Taliban group that controls Afghanistan announces the closing of 100 more schools for girls, which the UN tried to keep open despite the proclaimed policy that women and girls are to remain in the home.

June 17
      In London, Amnesty International releases its annual report detailing human rights abuses in 141 countries; 1998 is the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

      The government of Suriname announces that it is setting aside about 12% of the country's area for the creation of a huge Central Suriname Wilderness Nature Reserve in order to conserve the Amazon rain forest (see April 29).

      An antitobacco bill before the U.S. Congress that would have raised the price of a pack of cigarettes by more than a dollar in an attempt to discourage teenagers from smoking is jettisoned in the Senate when support proves insufficient to pass certain procedural hurdles.

June 18
      Pres. Leonel Fernández of the Dominican Republic begins a visit to Haiti, with which the Dominican Republic uneasily shares the Caribbean island of Hispaniola; this is the first overnight visit by a Dominican head of state since 1936.

      President Clinton announces that he is appointing Richard C. Holbrooke, the chief U.S. negotiator of the Dayton peace accords for Bosnia and Herzegovina, as ambassador to the United Nations; Holbrooke replaces Bill Richardson, who becomes secretary of energy.

June 19
      An attempt by the Organization of African Unity to mediate the growing discord between Ethiopia and Eritrea and promote a U.S.-backed peace plan ends in failure in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

      Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc., an investment holding company, acquires General Re Corp., a reinsurance company, for $22 billion; Berkshire Hathaway thereby becomes the largest insurance company in the world.

      Three of the largest banks in Switzerland agree to set up a $600 million fund for the victims of the Holocaust who had deposited money in the banks but were unable to retrieve it after World War II; Jewish groups were generally not impressed (see March 26).

June 20
      Pres. B.J. Habibie indicates that the government of Indonesia might be willing to release rebel leader José Xanana Gusmão from custody if the disputed East Timor area is recognized as Indonesian property.

      The U.S., Great Britain, Germany, Japan, France, and other countries announce that they will withdraw diplomats from Minsk; the withdrawals come after the government of Belarusian Pres. Alyaksandr Lukashenka tried to force the diplomats from their homes in the diplomatic compound by using various tactics, including shutting off utilities.

June 21
      Andrés Pastrana Arango of the Social Conservative Party and former mayor of Bogotá easily defeats Horacio Serpa, the candidate of incumbent Ernesto Samper's Liberal Party, for the presidency of Colombia.

      At even par, Lee Janzen edges past Payne Stewart to win the U.S. Open golf tournament at the Olympic Club in San Francisco by one stroke.

      The battleship USS Missouri, the ship on which the Japanese surrender was accepted by the United States at the end of World War II, is towed into Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, where it will be turned into a museum.

June 22
      The government of Bosnia and Herzegovina introduces its new currency, the marka, to replace an assortment of banknotes in circulation in various parts of the country; the marka is pegged 1:1 to the Deutsche Mark.

      Scientists at a meeting in Victoria, B.C., report that they have discovered a planet orbiting the low-mass red-dwarf star Gliese 876, which, at a distance of only 15 light-years, is very near the Sun.

      The Learning Company announces that it will purchase Brøderbund Software Inc., another manufacturer of computer software, for some $420 million in stock.

June 23
      The Bangabandhu Jamuna Multipurpose Bridge across the Jamuna River, at 4.8 km (2.9 mi) the longest bridge in South Asia, is formally opened by Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed.

      Scientists report at a press conference at the National Geographical Society in Washington, D.C., that recent fossil finds in northeastern China provide a definitive link between carnivorous dinosaurs and birds.

June 24
      AT&T Corp. announces that it will acquire Tele-Communication Inc. (TCI), a cable television company, for $37 billion.

      In a major setback in Chinese-American cultural relations, negotiations between the directors of the Lincoln Center Festival in New York City and Ma Bomin, director of the Bureau of Culture in Shanghai, fail to secure Ma's approval for the staging of the classic Chinese opera Peony Pavilion.

      In Århus, Den., two new agreements to control and reduce long-range air pollution caused by heavy metals and persistent organic pollutants are signed by 33 countries.

June 25
      The U.S. Supreme Court rules 6-3 that the line-item veto, whereby the president vetoes selected items from a bill passed by Congress, is unconstitutional.

      Windows 98, the upgrade of the popular Windows 95 personal computer operating system of Microsoft Corp., goes on sale.

June 26
      The U.S. Supreme Court hands down two decisions that significantly clarify the responsibility of employers and the rights of employees in regard to sexual harassment.

      In the small town of Lens, France, police, some in riot gear, arrest or expel some 400 football hooligans before England's match against Colombia in the World Cup football (soccer) play-off.

June 27
      President Clinton meets with Pres. Jiang Zemin in Beijing; Clinton arrived in China on June 25 for a state visit.

      The National Steinbeck Center, a museum to honour popular novelist and native son John Steinbeck, opens in Salinas, Calif.

June 28
      The government of Thailand announces that henceforth every March 13 will be National Elephant Day to honour the gentle endangered beast that has been Thailand's national animal since 1963.

      Two statues designed by Robert Shure to commemorate the famine in Ireland in the 1840s and 1850s are dedicated in Boston.

June 29

      Following weeks of unrest in the Serbian province of Kosovo, which is dominated by ethnic Albanians, the government inaugurates a major attack on positions occupied by the secessionist Kosovo Liberation Army (see May 9 and July 19).

      Slavko Dokmanovic, a Serb and former mayor of the town of Vukovar, who is on trial for a mass murder in former Yugoslavia, commits suicide in his cell at the UN War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague (see August 1).

      The U.S. government informs the family of Lieut. Michael J. Blassie, who was killed in action in Vietnam in 1972, that the remains of a previously unknown serviceman that had lain in the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington, Va., has been identified as their son.

June 30
      A new constitution for The Sudan is signed into law by Pres. Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir on the ninth anniversary of the coup that brought him to power.

      The new Congolese franc is entered into circulation, exchanging at 1.40 to the U.S. dollar.


July 1
      Ace-K, an artificial sweetener, is approved for use in soft drinks by the Food and Drug Administration; shortly after the announcement, PepsiCo Inc. announces plans to introduce a new soft drink containing the sweetener in October.

      The tax-evasion case against Webster L. Hubbell, longtime friend of Pres. Bill Clinton who is believed to hold incriminating evidence against Clinton and his wife, Hillary, in the Whitewater case, is thrown out by a Federal District Court judge citing independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr's abuse of authority.

      At the Tchaikovsky music competition in Moscow, Russian musicians finish with top honours in piano, violin, and cello.

July 2

      David Trimble, leader of the Protestant Ulster Unionist Party, is elected chief minister of Northern Ireland, and Seamus Mallon is chosen deputy minister at the inaugural meeting of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

      The Star Banc Corp. announces plans to buy Firstar Corp. for $7.2 billion in stock, creating a banking company with $38 billion in assets and locations in 10 states.

July 3
      At the 33rd Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the Czech Republic, Michael Douglas receives the Special Prize for Outstanding Contribution to World Cinema, and Lauren Bacall and Rod Steiger are honoured with Life Achievement Awards.

      The 42nd season of the Santa Fe (N.M.) Opera begins with a production of Puccini's Madama Butterfly in a new theatre building designed by James Stewart Polshek and Associates.

July 4
      Jana Novotna of the Czech Republic beats Nathalie Tauziat of France 6-4, 7-6 for the women's title at the All-England championships at Wimbledon; on July 5 American Pete Sampras ties Bjorn Borg's record of five wins at Wimbledon, defeating Goran Ivanisevic of Croatia in five sets.

      The 12th World AIDS Conference ends in Geneva, Switz., still offering little hope for the 34 million persons worldwide who are infected with HIV or who have developed AIDS.

      The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center, a museum that focuses on the Native American cultures encountered by the pioneering expedition in 1804-05, officially opens in Great Falls, Mont.

      Archaeologists excavating at the historic Tintagel Castle in Cornwall in southwestern England, reputedly the birthplace of King Arthur, find a stone bearing the Latin inscription Pater Coliaui ficit Artognov, which they are quick to connect to the legendary king.

July 5
      The Observer newspaper publishes a report that lobbyists with ties to the Labour Party have been receiving money in exchange for privileged communications with government officials in what is called the "cash for access" scandal.

      Americans win four of the Henley Royal Regatta trophies in rowing; Jamie Koven captures the single-sculling title, Harvard University's heavyweight varsity squad wins the Ladies Challenge Plate, the U.S. national quadruple-sculling team wins the Queen Mother Challenge Cup, and doubles team Steve Tucker and Greg Ruckman clinch the Double Sculls Challenge Cup.

July 6

      Pak Se Ri of South Korea wins the U.S. Women's Open golf tournament in Kohler, Wis., the second major win for the 20-year-old rookie in two months (see May 17).

      Two van Gogh paintings and a Cézanne are recovered on the outskirts of Rome seven weeks after they were stolen from the National Gallery of Modern Art in Rome (see May 19).

July 7

      Moshood ("MKO") Abiola, Nigeria's most famous political prisoner, suffers a heart attack while meeting with American and Nigerian officials in Abuja and dies in a hospital shortly afterward; Abiola's family and associates express suspicion of government involvement in his death (see June 8).

      In a transatlantic crossing from New York City to Lizard Point, England, French yachtsman Christophe Auguin breaks the record for monohull yachts with a time of 9 days 22 hr 59 min 30 sec, beating the previous record by more than a day.

      The last turbine of the Yacyretá Hydroelectric Station on the Paraná River, which serves as the border between Argentina and Paraguay, is dedicated by those countries' respective presidents, Carlos Menem and Juan Carlos Wasmosy.

July 8
      After a 10-year legal battle, the Dow Corning Corp. and lawyers for tens of thousands of women who claim to have been injured by silicone breast implants made by Dow agree to a $3.2 billion settlement.

      Poet, translator, and environmental activist W.S. Merwin is named the winner of the 1998 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, which carries an award of $75,000; he is honoured by the Modern Poetry Association July 28 at the Arts Club of Chicago.

July 9
      Jeffrey P. Koplan, president of Prudential Health Care Research in Atlanta, Ga., is chosen by the Clinton administration to be director of the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; he will assume the post October 5, replacing David Satcher.

      The 10th annual Praemium Imperiale prizes for outstanding lifetime achievement in the arts are awarded by the Japan Arts Association in Munich, Ger.; the prizes of ¥15 million (about $110,000) go to Robert Rauschenberg of the U.S. for painting; Dani Karavan of Israel in sculpture; Alvaro Siza, Portugal, architecture; Sofia Gubaidullina, Russia, music; and Sir Richard Attenborough, Great Britain, theatre and film.

July 10
      Russian Pres. Boris Yeltsin appeals to Western leaders to support a multibillion-dollar aid package to uphold Russia's rapidly deteriorating currency (see May 31 and July 13).

      The Three Tenors (Luciano Pavarotti, Plácido Domingo, and José Carreras) give a concert in Paris in connection with the association football (soccer) World Cup.

July 11
      Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki's Credo receives its world premiere at the Oregon Bach Festival in Eugene.

July 12
      In Ballymoney, N.Ire., three Roman Catholic boys are burned to death in their home after a flaming gasoline bomb is thrown into a downstairs window; the arson attack is believed to be the work of Protestants.

      In the championship match of the World Cup soccer tournament in Saint-Denis, Fr., France wins its first World Cup title, defeating the favoured Brazilians 3-0.

      Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto says he will resign, citing his inability to "live up to the people's expectations"; he does so on July 13.

July 13

      An accord is reached between the Russian government and international lenders under which $17.1 billion will be advanced over the next two years, principally by the International Monetary Fund.

      Italian media tycoon and former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi receives a sentence of two years four months and a $5.6 million fine for making illegal political donations only a week after receiving convictions for bribery and tax fraud; because Berlusconi is a member of Parliament, however, he has immunity and is not required to serve a jail sentence.

      Stephen G. Smith is named to replace James Fallows as editor of U.S. News & World Report, and David Remnick is named editor of The New Yorker, replacing the controversial Tina Brown, who resigned on July 8 to join the Disney Corp.

      Chris Smith, culture secretary of Great Britain, announces the appointment of David Puttnam as chairman of Britain's new National Endowment for Science, Technology, and the Arts.

July 14
      Zhu Lilan, China's minister of science and technology, arrives in Taipei, Taiwan, to discuss official science and technology exchanges; he is the highest-ranking Chinese official to visit since the establishment of the nationalist Chinese government on the island.

      At the Golden Gala track meet in Rome, Moroccan runner Hicham al-Guerrouj sets the world record for 1,500 m with a time of 3 min 26 sec.

July 15

      A three-month cease-fire is declared between the Islamic government of The Sudan and Christian rebels in the south to allow food shipments to reach hundreds of thousands of starving people (see October 1).

      The Clinton administration imposes trade sanctions on nine Russian companies and institutions believed to be aiding Iran's missiles and weapons programs.

July 16
      After a long and contentious debate, the Polish Sejm (parliament) votes in favour of a compromise plan that would replace the country's 49 provinces with 16 larger, stronger ones.

July 17
      The remains of the last tsar of Russia, Nicholas II, and most of his family are laid to rest in St. Petersburg, the former imperial capital, in a ceremony without the participation of Patriarch Aleksey II of the Russian Orthodox Church but supported by Pres. Boris Yeltsin.

      At the Tour de France bicycle race, all nine members of Festina from Italy, the world's top team, are disqualified after their coach admits to issuing illegal performance-enhancing drugs to the riders (see August 2).

      Following a magnitude-7.0 earthquake 20 km (12 mi) offshore, a tsunami washes away several beach villages on the northern coast of Papua New Guinea, killing at least 2,500 people and leaving 4,500 homeless.

July 18
      Pres. Nelson Mandela of South Africa observes his 80th birthday and marries Graça Machel, his longtime companion and the widow of former Mozambique president Samora Machel.

July 19

      Ethnic Albanians in the Serbian province of Kosovo announce the capture of the town of Orahovac from Yugoslav forces; the town is recaptured on July 22, however.

      Professional American golfer Mark O'Meara clinches his second major championship of the year at the British Open in Southport, Eng.

      In celebration of the 150th anniversary of the first women's rights convention in the U.S., which convened on this date in 1848, the Women's Rights National Historical Park opens in Seneca Falls, N.Y.

July 20
      Nigerian ruler Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar promises to hold elections in the first three months of 1999 and ultimately hand over power to a civilian president.

      PepsiCo announces that it will buy the Tropicana juice business from Seagram Co. in a $3.3 billion cash purchase, PepsiCo's largest acquisition to date.

      James Joyce's Ulysses is voted by a panel of scholars and writers the finest English-language novel published this century.

July 21
      In a $3.5 billion cash deal, health care manufacturer Johnson & Johnson Inc. agrees to buy DePuy Inc., maker of orthopedic mechanisms, which will make Johnson & Johnson one of the largest makers of artificial joints and devices.

      A group of scientists reports in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that they have identified a new type of fungus that they believe may be causing the massive die-offs of frog populations in Australia, Panama, and elsewhere.

July 22
      Ryuzo Yanagimachi and Teruhiko Wakayama, biologists at the University of Hawaii, announce the creation of more than 50 cloned mice; the announcement comes a year after the cloning of Dolly the sheep in Scotland.

      Ukrainian Pres. Leonid Kuchma and U.S. Vice Pres. Al Gore sign a five-year agreement that will establish the International Radioecology Laboratory in the city of Chernobyl, near the site of the nuclear power station accident in 1986, to study the effects of radiation on the environment and humans.

July 23
      Gholamhossein Karbaschi, the mayor of Tehran and a major supporter of moderate Iranian Pres. Mohammad Khatami, is sentenced to five years in prison on corruption charges; he was arrested on April 4.

      Iran successfully tests a medium-range missile believed to have been purchased from North Korea; experts worry that Iran's acquisition of such devices could alter the balance of power in the Middle East.

      Pope John Paul II releases an apostolic letter intended to increase Rome's control over the 108 bishops' conferences worldwide.

July 24
      The foreign ministers of the ASEAN nations of the Asian and Pacific region gather for their annual meeting in Manila, amid gloomy forecasts for the economic health of their area.

      Russell Weston, Jr., opens fire in the United States Capitol, killing Officer Jacob J. Chestnut and Detective John M. Gibson, before he himself is shot to death by Capitol guards.

      The U.S. defeats Canada by a score of 15-14 in the International Lacrosse Federation world championships in Baltimore, Md.; Australia beats the Iroquois Nation for third place.

      The Alte Pinakothek, a major art museum in Munich, Ger., specializing in the Old Masters, reopens after a 52-month, $41.7 million renovation of its physical plant.

July 25
      President Clinton is subpoenaed by Whitewater independent counsel Kenneth Starr to testify before the federal grand jury regarding his relationship with Monica Lewinsky; this makes Clinton the first incumbent president ever to appear before a federal grand jury.

      Seven for Luck, John Williams's song cycle for soprano and orchestra, receives its world premiere in a performance by the Boston Symphony Orchestra at the Tanglewood Music Center in Massachusetts.

July 26
      Despite accusations by opponents of fraudulent voting, the Cambodian People's Party, led by Second Prime Minister Hun Sen, easily wins in Cambodia's first parliamentary election in five years.

      The AT&T Corp., the largest American communications company, and British Telecommunications PLC, Great Britain's leading telecommunications provider, announce plans to merge most of their international operations into a new company worth $10 billion.

July 27
      The new constitution of Fiji enters into force; the document enhances the rights of the non-Melanesian portion of the population, mostly persons of Indian descent.

      The boards of Bell Atlantic Corp., which provides local telephone service in the northeastern U.S., and GTE Corp., the largest independent local and long-distance company, agree to Bell Atlantic's acquisition of GTE for $52.8 billion in stock.

July 28
      The United Automobile Workers union agrees to end its eight-week strike, which has shut down General Motors plants across North America and affected hundreds of thousands of workers.

July 29
      In Madrid, José Barrionuevo and Rafael Vera, two officials in the 1980s government of Prime Minister Felipe González, are sentenced to 10 years in prison for the kidnapping of a French furniture dealer whom they mistook for a Basque terrorist.

      In a $19 billion deal, Brazil sells control of most of its telephone system, Telebrás, to Telefónica SA of Spain, Portugal Telecom, and MCI Communications Corp.

      On Little Galloo Island in Lake Ontario, New York, state biologists discover the bodies of more than 800 cormorants believed to have been executed by people whose livelihood depends on the aquatic life in the lake.

July 30
      The Japanese Diet (parliament) elects Keizo Obuchi of the Liberal Democratic Party as prime minister; he served as foreign minister in the previous government.

      A single ticket purchased by 13 assembly-line workers from Westerville, Ohio, wins them $295.7 million from the Indiana Powerball, the biggest American lottery jackpot ever (see May 20).

July 31
      Commercial Bank of Korea and Hanil Bank announce their intention to merge and thereby create the largest bank in South Korea, with some $83 billion in assets.

      Astronomers in Australia report in Science the discovery of strongly polarized radiation in a star-forming cloud 1,500 light-years away; the radiation may be similar to the type responsible for the twisting of molecules in living organisms.


August 1

      Milan Kovacevic, a Bosnian Serb medical doctor and civic leader who ran three detention camps near Prijedor, dies of an apparent heart attack in his cell at The Hague; on July 6 Kovacevic became the first defendant at the UN War Crimes Tribunal to be charged with genocide (see June 29).

      After meeting in Kiev, Ukrainian officials and representatives of the International Monetary Fund report that the way has been cleared for the IMF to pay the first of three tranches of a $2.2 billion loan to Ukraine.

August 2

      Disturbances against the central government of Pres. Laurent Kabila break out in several towns in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo near the Rwandan border (see August 13.)

      Fifteen years after his troops fled a U.S. invasion in Grenada, Cuban Pres. Fidel Castro visits the Caribbean island, the last of three stops on a six-day tour of the region.

      Marco Pantani wins the Tour de France, the first victory by an Italian since 1965; festivities are subdued, however, because of the drug scandal that haunted the year's running of the world's most important cycling race (see July 17).

August 3
      The Indian Cabinet approves a proposal to create three new states: Uttarakhand from the existing Uttar Pradesh state, Vananchal from Bihar, and Chattisgarh from Madhya Pradesh; the measure later ran into opposition from the affected states, however.

      Albertson's Inc., a grocery store chain, announces that it will acquire American Stores Co. for $8.3 billion in stock, forming the largest supermarket corporation in the U.S. (see October 19).

      Figures released by the Department of Justice indicate that the prison population in the U.S. has grown by more than 60% since 1990 and by 1997 totaled 1,250,000 in state and federal institutions.

August 4

      The Dow Jones industrial average drops almost 300 points, reflecting, experts believe, a delayed reaction to the Asian economic crisis (see August 31).

      The government of Canada and the Nisga'a Indian Nation sign an agreement that would give the Nisga'a title to 2,000 sq km (770 sq mi) of land and a cash settlement of some $100 million over 15 years in return for their renouncing any other present or future land claims; this is the first such agreement between the Canadian government and a native people.

August 5
      At the United Nations in New York City, Indonesia and Portugal initial a settlement of the problem of the island of Timor that would give the secessionist Portuguese province of East Timor self-government and limited autonomy within Indonesia.

      Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein announces that his country is ceasing all cooperation with the United Nations arms inspectors; criticism from the UN and elsewhere is quick and sharp.

      In Canterbury, Eng., the Lambeth Conference, a gathering of Anglican bishops from 160 countries held every 10 years, adopts a resolution against the ordination of homosexuals.

August 6

      Monica Lewinsky admits to having had an affair with Pres. Bill Clinton; she had denied this in earlier sworn testimony (see August 17).

      Swimmer Michelle Smith-de Bruin, the first Irish swimmer and first Irish female athlete to win an Olympic gold medal, is banned from further competition for having tampered with a urine sample in a test for illegal drugs she may have used.

August 7

      Bombs explode nearly simultaneously in the U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanz.; about 270 people, mostly local citizens, are killed.

      In Colombia, Andrés Pastrana Arango is sworn in as president together with his Cabinet; Santafé de Bogotá is under heavy security during the ceremonies.

August 8
      Forces of the Islamic Taliban overrun the city of Mazar-e Sharif, the last major stronghold of the United Islamic Front for the Salvation of Afghanistan.

      It is announced in China that the worst floods in 40 years are threatening major cities in the central part of the country; more than 3,000 people have died and 5,000,000 homes have been destroyed to date.

August 9
      The government of Brazil announces a reform of the country's labour laws; the reform is designed to introduce greater flexibility into labour contracts and to make part-time employment more common.

August 10
      In a colourful ceremony in the capital, Bandar Seri Begawan, Prince al-Muhtadee Billah, the eldest son of the sultan of Brunei, is officially installed as crown prince.

      The partners of the private investment bank Goldman, Sachs & Co., valued at $28 billion, vote to offer the company to public trading.

      In Chicago two boys aged 7 and 8 are charged with the sexual molestation, robbery, and killing of an 11-year-old girl; the boys apparently wanted the girl's bicycle; the charges were later dropped.

August 11

      Garth H. Drabinsky, cofounder of Livent Inc., which has produced several successful Broadway theatrical productions in recent months, is suspended after the discovery of what the New York Times calls "serious accounting problems involving millions of dollars."

      Twenty years to the day after the first crossing of the North Atlantic in a helium-and-hot-air balloon, adventurer Steve Fossett becomes the first to cross the South Atlantic in a flight from Mendoza, Arg., to the southern tip of Africa; Fossett continues his second attempt of the year to circumnavigate the globe but fails again on August 17 when his balloon, Solo Spirit, is punctured and plunges 9 km (5.6 mi) into the Coral Sea.

      The Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center, a high-tech facility to promote knowledge of the history and culture of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, opens near Mashantucket, Conn.; the $135 million facility is funded with receipts from the Foxwoods Resort Casino owned and operated by the tribe.

August 12

      Two large Swiss banks, the World Jewish Congress, and lawyers representing 31,500 survivors of the Holocaust announce in New York that they have reached an agreement on compensation for the survivors' claims; the banks agree to pay the claimants $1,250,000,000 over three years, and the Holocaust survivors will drop claims against the banks and other Swiss institutions.

      Myanmar (Burma) opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is halted by police outside Yangon (Rangoon) and prevented from meeting with supporters; in protest, she refuses to leave the minibus she is traveling in until August 24, when she is finally forced to return home (see September 6).

August 13

      Rebels press in on Kinshasa, capturing the strategically important Inga Hydroelectric Dam and cutting power to the capital (see August 2).

August 14
      The government of Thailand announces a series of measures involving outlays of $7,240,000,000 to put the country's financial institutions back on a sound footing.

August 15
      A car bomb explodes in the town of Omagh, N.Ire., west of Belfast, killing 28 persons and injuring more than 200 in the worst terrorist incident since the signing of the Ulster peace agreement (see April 10).

      Raúl Cubas Grau assumes the office of president of Paraguay and swears in his Cabinet.

August 16
      It is announced in Amman that King Hussein of Jordan, currently undergoing treatment for cancer at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., has delegated significant responsibilities for the conduct of state business to his brother and heir to the throne, Crown Prince Hassan.

      Vijay Singh, a native of Fiji, wins the Professional Golfers' Association of America championship with a score of 271, 9 under par, at the Sahalee Country Club near Seattle, Wash.

August 17

      Under increasing economic pressures, the Russian government effectively devalues the ruble by more than one-third until the end of 1998, places a 90-day moratorium on repayment of foreign debts, and institutes other stringent measures. (see July 13, August 23).

      Following his testimony to a grand jury, President Clinton goes on national television and admits, contrary to earlier sworn statements, "I did have a relationship with Miss Lewinsky that was not appropriate. In fact, it was wrong" (see August 6).

      Having been delayed by rains, the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am golf tournament is completed six and a half months after it began; Phil Mickelson wins with a score of 14 under par.

August 18
      Winston Peters leads his New Zealand First Party out of the centre-right coalition four days after he was dismissed as deputy prime minister by Prime Minister Jennifer Shipley.

      As she tacks her 36-ft yacht into San Diego, Calif., Karen Thorndike of Washington state becomes the first woman to have sailed solo around the world; the 61,116-km (33,000-naut mi) trip has taken two years and two weeks.

August 19
      The 1998 Fields Medals for achievement in mathematics are awarded at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Berlin; the winners are Richard E. Borcherds, William T. Gowers, Maxim Kontsevich, and Curtis T. McMullen; a special award goes to Andrew Wiles of Princeton University, and Peter Shor of AT&T Laboratories in Florham Park, N.J., receives the Nevanlinna Prize.

      An official of the Taliban indicates that the Islamic fundamentalist organization would be willing to talk to U.S. officials about granting access to Osama bin Laden, the Saudi Arabian businessman suspected of having masterminded the Nairobi and Dar es Salaam embassy bombings, if hard evidence of his involvement can be produced (see August 7, August 20).

August 20

      Missiles fired from U.S. warships and a submarine in the Indian Ocean destroy a chemical factory believed to be producing components of nerve gas in The Sudan and terrorist training camps in Afghanistan thought to be Osama bin Laden's refuge.

      The Supreme Court of Canada rules that the province of Quebec does not have the constitutional right to secede from Canada but that the confederation must negotiate with Quebec if secessionists in the largely French-speaking province win a referendum on the issue.

August 21
      Former South African president P.W. Botha is convicted on contempt charges for refusing to testify before the country's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (see April 15).

      A court in Hattiesburg, Miss., finds Sam H. Bowers, former imperial wizard of the Mississippi White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, guilty of murder in the Jan. 10, 1966, firebombing of the house of Vernon Dahmer, Sr., near Hattiesburg.

August 22
      Leaders of the 16 countries of the Caribbean Community, including Cuba's Pres. Fidel Castro, sign a free-trade agreement in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic; the accord will eventually remove all tariffs among the signatories.

      Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar, military ruler of Nigeria, swears in a new Federal Executive Council (Cabinet); Nigeria has been without a government since the earlier FEC was dissolved on July 8.

August 23

      Frustrated and disgusted with their inability to halt the growing economic crisis, Russian Pres. Boris Yeltsin fires all his top government economic officials and invites former prime minister Viktor S. Chernomyrdin to assume the top post again.

      The Nepali Congress Party (NCP) and the United Communist Party of Nepal-Marxist and Leninist agree to form a coalition government; the country has been led by a minority NCP government since April 1998.

August 24
      Workers who walked off their jobs on July 20, in protest against plans by South Korean automaker Hyundai to lay off more than 1,500 employees, return to work after a compromise solution is found.

      Plans by the U.S. Bureau of the Census to use statistical sampling to enhance the efficiency of the 2000 census run aground when a federal court declares the plan a violation of federal law.

August 25
      Marco Aurelio Días Alcántara, a former policeman in Rio de Janeiro, is convicted of complicity in the murder and attempted murder in the killings of eight street children in 1993.

      A group of conservation organizations publishes the World List of Threatened Trees, which finds that more than 8,750 of the 80,000-100,000 known species of trees are at risk of extinction, 1,000 of them critically so.

August 26

      The government of Libya conditionally accepts an offer from the U.S. and Great Britain to try two Libyan nationals alleged to have been involved in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scot., in 1988.

      William S. Ritter, Jr., the longest-serving U.S. official on the UN arms inspection team to Iraq, resigns, claiming that lack of support from the UN secretary-general and the Clinton administration undercuts the team's efforts.

      Previously unknown text from the diary of Anne Frank, the Dutch girl who perished at the hands of the Nazis after the occupation of The Netherlands in World War II, are published in the Amsterdam newspaper Het Parool; five pages were removed from the manuscript by Anne's father because they contained unflattering descriptions of the Frank family's relations with each other.

August 27
      Investors desert Russia in droves after its central bank stops supporting the ruble; it is announced in New York that the investment company owned by financier George Soros has lost $2 billion in Russian markets during the crisis. (see August 17).

      An intense blast of cosmic radiation—gamma rays, X-ray radiation, and high-energy particles—from a magnetic flare on a star 20,000 light-years away strikes Earth's upper atmosphere and causes perturbations in radio transmissions and Earth satellites.

August 28
      In the Pakistani National Assembly, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif proposes a constitutional amendment to introduce Islamic law throughout the country; the proposal is quickly criticized by the opposition and human rights leaders.

      Boris Yeltsin goes on national television to assure his countrymen that he will finish his term as president, which is scheduled to expire in 2000; many observers believe that politics, economics, or ill heath will intervene.

August 29
      The Air Line Pilots Association goes on strike against Northwest Airlines, underlining a long history of differences between pilots and management in this industry.

      The baseball team from Toms River, N.J., defeats the team from Kashima, Japan, 12-9 to capture the 52nd annual Little League Baseball World Series.

August 30
      Only 8 of the 22 Formula One autos entered in the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa finish in an unusually accident-ridden race.

      The September issue of The American Psychologist carries a report by a team of scientists at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pa., that home Internet use adversely affects social involvement and personal well-being, with those who use the Internet more reporting higher levels of depression and loneliness.

August 31

      The Angolan National Assembly, dominated by the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola, expels the opposition National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), the former rebel movement, because UNITA has not disarmed as prescribed in the 1994 peace accord (see October 28).

      A German court finds Rolf Glaeser, a swimming coach in the former East Germany, guilty of causing bodily harm by administering performance-enhancing drugs to women team members; this is the second such court decision in Germany.

      Japan protests a violation of its airspace and suspends food-aid deliveries after North Korea tests what is first believed to be a ballistic missile; North Korea replies on September 4 that the event was not a missile launch but rather the country's first launch of an artificial Earth satellite.

      The Dow Jones industrial average drops 512 points, or 6.4%, the largest fall since October 1987 (see August 4).


September 1
      Russian and U.S. heads of state confer at a restrained summit meeting in Moscow; both men are under enormous domestic pressures, Bill Clinton politically and Boris Yeltsin both economically and politically.

      The death penalty is abolished in Poland when a new penal code comes into effect.

      The Houston Comets defeat the Phoenix Mercury 80-71 to win the Women's National Basketball Association championship for the second year in a row.

September 2
      Anwar Ibrihim, deputy prime minister of Malaysia, who had been widely expected to become prime minister, is abruptly fired by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad; Ibrahim is arrested on charges of sexual indecency on September 20.

      Malaysia fixes the ringgit's exchange rate indefinitely at 3.80 to the U.S. dollar, a point it had not reached since May.

      A Swissair jetliner trying to make an emergency landing crashes off the coast of Nova Scotia, killing 229 persons.

      The UN tribunal convened in Arusha, Tanz., to investigate mass killings in Rwanda finds Jean-Paul Akayesu, the former mayor of a small town, guilty of genocide, the first time an international court has delivered such a verdict; on September 4 former Rwandan prime minister Jean Kambanda is sentenced to life in prison for genocide. (see May 1).

September 3
      Pressures on Brazil's economy increase after Moody's, an American financial ratings agency, downgrades the country's sovereign debt rating from B1 to B2.

      The 12th summit conference of the Non-Aligned Movement ends its two-day session in Durban, S.Af.; most of the discussions of the 113-member organization concern regional conflicts and disputes.

September 4
      Reacting to a statement on September 3 by Sen. Joseph Lieberman that the president's actions in the Monica Lewinsky scandal were "immoral" and "disgraceful," President Clinton, on a visit to Ireland, acknowledges that he "basically" agrees with the senator.

      A report from the U.S. Office of Management and Budget indicates that seven government agencies are expected to have exceptional difficulties dealing with the "millennium bug," or "year 2000 (Y2K) problem" (the inability of some computers to recognize the year 2000), and that expenses involved in combating the problem will run to about $5.4 billion.

September 5
      North Korea declares Kim Il Sung, who died four years ago, "eternal president" and names his son, Kim Jong Il, "great leader," the highest post of the state but one that apparently is something less than "president."

      Support beams give way, and the roof of the Universal Church in Osasco, a suburb of São Paulo, Braz., collapses, killing at least 20 people and injuring about 500.

September 6

      The government of Myanmar (Burma) cracks down on the National League for Democracy, the opposition party of human rights and political activist Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, arresting 110 members (see August 12).

      Former Maltese prime minister Eddie Fenech Adami returns to that office following a victory in elections on September 5 in the Mediterranean island republic.

September 7

      Sergey K. Dubinin, the leader of Russia's central bank, resigns under pressure over his handling of the country's financial crisis; meanwhile, the State Duma rejects Viktor S. Chernomyrdin, President Yeltsin's candidate for prime minister, for a second time (see September 11).

      Students in Indonesia demonstrate in large numbers for the first time since the fall of President Suharto; about 1,000 students enter the grounds of the legislature in Jakarta and demand the resignation of Pres. B.J. Habibie and the reduction of food prices.

September 8

      Mark McGwire of the St. Louis Cardinals breaks Roger Maris's 1961 record for most home runs hit in a regular professional baseball season by hitting his 62nd of the season; ironically, the record-breaking homer comes in a game against the Chicago Cubs, whose Sammy Sosa has also been in contention to break Maris's record (see September 27).

      The Great Silk Road Conference, an international trade gathering, convenes in Baku, Azerbaijan, bringing together representatives of Asian countries, the European Union, and Central Asian and Black Sea trade and economic promotion groups.

September 9

      Special Prosecutor Kenneth W. Starr sends to Congress the long-awaited 445-page report on his investigation into the actions of President Clinton in the Whitewater affair and subsequent matters; the report, with indications of perjury and obstruction of justice on Clinton's part, notably concerning Clinton's improper sexual relationship with Lewinsky, is made public on September 11 and is said by Starr to provide grounds for impeachment (see September 12).

      A team of scientists at a fertility center in Fairfax, Va., announces in the journal Human Reproduction that they have devised a method, involving sorting sperm according to the amount of genetic material they contain (Y chromosomes, which produce a male, have less genetic material), to determine the sex of a baby at conception.

September 10
      Burkina Faso becomes the 40th state to ratify the international treaty banning land mines; this was the last signature required for the treaty to enter into effect in March 1999.

      In recognition of the contribution of his film Schindler's List to an understanding of the Holocaust, American filmmaker Steven Spielberg receives the Officer's Cross of the Order of Merit from German Pres. Roman Herzog in ceremonies in Berlin.

September 11

      Foreign Minister Yevgeny M. Primakov is confirmed by the Russian State Duma as prime minister by a comfortable margin; the Duma had twice previously rejected President Yeltsin's nomination of Chernomyrdin for the post (see September 7, September 22).

      Pres. Liamine Zeroual of Algeria announces that he will not serve out his full term, which runs until 2000, but will call elections before March 1999.

      Volkswagen AG, the largest employer in Germany, announces plans to set up a DM 20 million (U.S. $11.2 million) fund to compensate survivors of workers who were employed under forced-labour conditions by the auto manufacturer during the Nazi era; another large German firm, Siemens, follows suit on September 23.

September 12

      Attorneys for President Clinton fiercely attack the report of Special Prosecutor Starr as a "hit-and-run smear campaign" without substance and refute, point by point, the 11 grounds for possible impeachment adduced by Starr (see September 9).

      Lindsay Davenport of the U.S. unseats favoured Martina Hingis of Switzerland 6-3, 7-5 to win the women's title in the United States Open tennis tournament; on September 13 Patrick Rafter of Australia defeats his countryman Mark Philippousis 6-3, 3-6, 6-2, 6-0 to win the men's competition for the second year in a row.

September 13
      Ultranationalist Serb Nikola Poplasen wins the presidency of Republika Srpska, the Serb-controlled entity in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the two-day elections, ousting the moderates led by Biljana Plavsic, the clear favourites of the Western powers.

      The Venice Film Festival closes as Gianni Amelio's The Way We Laughed wins the Gold Lion and Warren Beatty is honoured for lifetime achievement.

      ABC's "The Practice" and NBC's "Frasier" win recognition for the best drama series and best comedy series, respectively, at the 1998 Emmy award ceremonies in Los Angeles; the award for "Frasier" is the show's fifth in a row, a record.

September 14
      The Northern Ireland Assembly holds its first working meeting in Belfast, N.Ire.; discussion involves mostly procedural matters, such as which flags will fly over the assembly and what languages will be official (see July 2).

      Top economic officials from the last Soviet communist government of Mikhail Gorbachev, including Leonid Abalkin, Nikolay Petrakov, and Oleg Bogomolov, are recalled to the Kremlin to advise President Yeltsin on the current economic crisis.

September 15
      Scientists at several institutions who have been studying the rings around the planet Jupiter announce that they are made of dust from the impacts of cosmic bodies that crashed into Jupiter's moons.

      The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., announces the creation of the Mark Twain Prize for American humour and names as its first recipient comedian Richard Pryor; the award ceremony is held on October 20.

September 16
      ETA, the secessionist Basque terrorist organization in Spain, declares an "indefinite and total" truce.

      Toys "R" Us, a toy retailer, announces plans to close 90 stores internationally and eliminate as many as 3,000 jobs.

September 17
      The U.S. says that the Kurdish Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, two feuding factions in the Kurdish area of Iraq, have agreed to unite their efforts against Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

      The French government blocks plans by the Coca-Cola Co. to acquire Orangina, a French soft-drink brand, fearing excessive dominance by Coca-Cola in the French market.

      A remote-controlled research submersible owned by Odyssey Marine Exploration films the remains of what is believed to be a Phoenician merchant ship from the 5th century BC in 900 m (3,000 ft) of water east of Gibraltar; the ship, named Melkarth (the Phoenician god of sailors) by the crew, is the oldest deep shipwreck discovered to date.

September 18
      The Swiss police have determined that Raúl Salinas, brother of former Mexican president Carlos Salinas, was deeply involved in the Mexican cocaine trade, using his contacts to arrange protection for drug dealers and diverting drug revenues to his brother's campaigns.

September 19
      A ferry with 453 persons aboard sinks in heavy weather in Manila Bay; at least 50 people die.

      Great Britain launches HMS Vengeance, the last of its four planned Trident missile-carrying submarines.

September 20
      Voters in Sweden keep the coalition government led by the Social Democratic Labour Party under Göran Persson in power by a slim margin.

      In a strategic business shift for the defense-contract company, Lockheed Martin Corp. announces that it will acquire the Comsat Corp., a communications satellite company, for $2.7 billion.

      Brazilian Ronaldo da Costa breaks the 10-year-old world record for the marathon by 45 seconds with a time of 2 hr 6 min 5 sec in the Berlin Marathon.

      Cal Ripken, Jr., third baseman for the Baltimore Orioles, who in 1995 broke Lou Gehrig's record for most consecutive games played, sits out his first major league baseball game since 1982; the new record stands at 2,632.

September 21

      Before devastating the Dominican Republic and Haiti, Hurricane Georges, the strongest storm in 70 years, slams into Puerto Rico, causing an estimated $2 billion in damage; at least 300 people in the Caribbean area are killed (see September 25).

      The videotapes of President Clinton being interrogated by Special Prosecutor Starr and his associates before a grand jury on August 17 are broadcast on television to the nation.

September 22
      South African troops invade the kingdom of Lesotho, a state that is completely surrounded by South African territory, to put down a rebellion against the government; the rebels resist stoutly, casualties on both sides rise to more than 65, and the Lesotho capital, Maseru, is devastated.

      Russian President Yeltsin restructures his government and creates an inner Cabinet comprising the prime minister and six other top officials (see September 11).

September 23
      Sagging under heavy debts and losses of revenue and unable to resolve a labour dispute, Philippine Airlines (PAL) ceases operations.

      Philanthropist Joan Kroc, widow of the founder of the McDonald's fast-food chain, announces that she will donate $80 million to the San Diego, Calif., chapter of the Salvation Army, the largest single gift ever to the religious organization.

September 24
      The government of Iran announces that it no longer supports the fatwa, or sentence of death, on British author Salman Rushdie; the U.K. responds by reinstating full diplomatic relations with Iran, broken since 1989.

      In an unusual twist, Kenyan Pres. Daniel arap Moi reinstates as head of the Kenya Wildlife Service anthropologist Richard Leakey, who resigned the post in 1994 over disagreements with Moi (see May 21).

      The journal Nature reports that two specimens of the coelacanth, a fish with antecedents older than the dinosaurs, were caught in July off Celebes (Sulawesi) island, Indonesia; the rare species had previously been seen only off the coast of southern Africa.

September 25

      Hurricane Georges reaches the Florida keys, bringing winds of over 160 km/h (100 mph), traverses the Florida Gulf coast, and then slams into the area between Panama City, Fla., and New Orleans on September 27 (see September 21).

      The Albert Lasker Medical Research Awards of the Albert & Mary Lasker Foundation are presented in a ceremony in New York City to Lee Hartwell, Toshio Masui, Paul Nurse, Alfred G. Knudson, Jr., Peter C. Nowell, and Janet D. Rowley; the foundation's special achievement award goes to Daniel E. Koshland, Jr., of the University of California, Berkeley.

September 26
      Some 34 persons are reported massacred by Serbian military and police officials in three villages around Gornje Obrinje as violence continues unabated in the province of Kosovo.

      The New York Times reports that Cornell University is investigating allegations of falsification of scientific data in the research of John L. Ho, a leading immunologist and AIDS investigator in the university medical school laboratories in New York City.

September 27

      Social Democrat Gerhard Schröder leads his party to a stunning victory in German elections, unseating Christian Democrat Helmut Kohl, who has occupied the chancellorship for 16 years, Europe's longest-ruling politician.

      The Adelaide Crows win their second championship in a row in the Australian Football League grand final match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground; they defeat the favoured North Melbourne Kangaroos 15.15 (105) to 8.22 (70).

      The Vietnam Era Educational Center, believed to be the first museum dedicated solely to the Vietnam War, opens in Holmdel, N.J.; the facility, which cost $3.8 million, is funded largely by donations from casinos in Atlantic City, N.J.

      McGwire ends the 1998 National League baseball season in style, hitting two more home runs for a new record total of 70 during a regular season (see September 8).

September 28
      Continuing the political and economic confusion in the country, Russian President Yeltsin fires his main economic adviser and chief tax collector, Boris G. Fyodorov.

      The Gillette Co., anticipating poor third-quarter business results, announces that it will cut 4,700 jobs, 11% of its workforce around the world (see April 14).

      California Gov. Pete Wilson signs a bill to move the primary elections in the state three weeks earlier to the first Tuesday in March; earlier primaries will increase the importance of the nation's most populous state in the selection process for presidential candidates.

September 29
      The U.S. Federal Reserve reduces interest rates by one-quarter point, to 5.25%, to help insulate the economy against pressures of the international financial crisis; this is the first reduction in rates since January 1996.

      The ruling Socialist Party in Albania selects 31-year-old Pandeli Majko to replace Fatos Nano, who resigned as prime minister on September 28.

      New Zealand scientists report that the size of the hole in the ozone layer of the atmosphere over Antarctica has increased by 5% in the past two years and is now the largest it has ever been.

September 30
      At the end of the country's fiscal year, the U.S. Treasury reports a surplus of $70 billion, the first budgetary surplus in 29 years and the largest ever.

      Following a week of pitched battles in Sri Lanka, Red Cross officials report more than 1,300 dead on both sides in the government's continuing battles against the Tamil rebels in the northern part of the country (see March 5).


October 1

      With attacks by the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army on the increase, the government of The Sudan imposes a blanket ban on relief flights to the southern part of the country where the SPLA is based (see July 15).

      New York City's Grand Central Terminal, an architectural landmark dating from 1913, is rededicated after an extensive $196 million renovation.

October 2
      Sanjaasurengiyn Zorig, a minister in the Mongolian government and a leading candidate to become prime minister, is brutally murdered in his home in Ulaanbaatar; the motive for the killing is not immediately clear.

      NASA, the U.S. space agency, announces that it will purchase thousands of hours of cosmonaut time in space aboard the International Space Station from the financially straitened Russian Space Agency for $60 million.

      Cleveland, Ohio's Allen Theater reopens after a yearlong, $15 million reconstruction; the theatre is the last of four historic buildings to undergo refurbishment in Playhouse Square Center, a large performing arts facility.

October 3
      The conservative-led coalition government of Prime Minister John Howard wins reelection in Australia; Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party does unexpectedly poorly, taking only 8.4% of the vote.

      Qatar begins voter registration for municipal elections, the first in this or any of the other five Persian Gulf states.

      In connection with general elections, Latvians vote to ease regulations for ethnic Russians to acquire Latvian citizenship; the existing laws were criticized as unduly harsh and were seen as a barrier to Latvian integration into Europe.

October 4
      Pres. Fernando Henrique Cardoso of Brazil is comfortably reelected to office in the first round with 53% of the vote; his nearest rival, the Workers Party's Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, wins 31.7%.

      Ethnic violence, fueled by conflicting claims to potentially oil-rich lands in southern Nigeria, break out between the Ijaw people and the Ilaje clan of the Yoruba; hundreds of people are reportedly killed and thousands displaced from their homes.

      The blockbuster art exhibition "Van Gogh's Van Goghs," comprising some 70 paintings on loan from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, opens to the public at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

October 5
      The Judiciary Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives recommends impeachment hearings against Pres. Bill Clinton; by a vote of 258 to 176, on October 8 the full U.S. Congress decides to hold such hearings.

      With no end in sight to the labour dispute between owners and players that began with a lockout of players on July 1, officials of the National Basketball Association cancel all preseason exhibition games; on October 13 the NBA announces cancellation of the first two weeks of the 1998-99 season, which was to begin on November 3.

October 6
      Amnesty International, the London-based human rights organization, publishes a report highly critical of the United States, which, according to the report, has "a persistent and widespread pattern of human rights violations," notably in the criminal justice system.

      The Philippine Supreme Court overturns the 1993 conviction of Imelda Marcos, wife of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos, on fraud charges; she expresses relief that "justice prevailed."

      German publishing giant Bertelsmann AG acquires a 50% stake in the on-line bookselling operations of Barnes & Noble and announces that it is discontinuing its plans to set up a competing on-line service in the U.S.; Bertelsmann launches an on-line bookstore in Germany, Great Britain, Spain, and The Netherlands, however, on November 15, whereas, a U.S.-based competitor, inaugurates its new service in Britain and Germany on October 15.

      The winners of the 1998 Lannan Literary Awards, totaling $850,000 and including a lifetime achievement award to author John Barth, are announced.

October 7
      Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif accepts the resignation of army chief Gen. Jehangir Karamat and replaces him with another top general; the incident is significant because the generals have generally exercised supreme power in Pakistan.

      Drivers on the Paris Métro strike, demanding improved protection against violent passengers.

October 8
      Pres. Kim Dae Jung of South Korea, on an official visit to Japan, hears Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi express "remorseful repentance and heartfelt apology" for the damage and pain Japan inflicted upon the Korean people earlier in the 20th century; Obuchi's statement is the most forceful acknowledgment yet of Japan's demeanour during the occupation of Korea from 1910 to 1945.

      The Swedish Academy in Stockholm announces that Portuguese novelist José Saramago is the recipient of the 1998 Nobel Prize for Literature.

      Following several weeks of rising tensions, shots are exchanged between the Islamist Taliban forces of Afghanistan and Iranian troops on the border between the two countries; heavy casualties are reported.

      Robert Wilson, theatre producer and designer, receives the 1998 Harvard Excellence in Design Award from the Harvard Graduate School of Design in recognition of the continuing influence of design in the work of an artist celebrated for vision and creativity in avant-garde theatre.

October 9
      Meeting in Lusaka, Zambia, the Commonwealth lifts sanctions imposed against Nigeria because of its human rights record and partially readmits Africa's most populous state to the organization.

      A court in London rules in favour of Yemen in its dispute with Eritrea over control of the Hanish islands in the Red Sea.

      John Cripton, director of the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, resigns because of differences with the government over arts funding in Canada.

October 10
      David Sheldon Boone, a longtime employee of U.S. Army Intelligence and the National Security Agency, is arrested in Arlington, Va., and later charged with having spied for the Soviet Union against the U.S. in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

October 11
      Pres. Heydar Aliyev of Azerbaijan is returned to office, easily defeating five contenders in presidential elections.

      Edith Stein, a Jewish woman who became a Carmelite nun and was killed by the Nazis in the Auschwitz concentration camp, is pronounced a saint and martyr of the Roman Catholic Church by Pope John Paul II in a ceremony in Vatican City.

      An airliner with 40 people aboard is shot down by a missile fired by rebels near Kindu in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo; all aboard are believed to have died.

October 12
      Americans Robert Furchgott of the State University of New York Health Science Center in Brooklyn, Louis J. Ignarro of the University of California School of Medicine in Los Angeles, and Ferid Murad of the University of Texas Medical School in Houston are named as winners of the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for their studies of the effect of nitric oxide in the human organism.

      The Japanese Diet (parliament) approves new regulations for banks in the country that permit the government to intervene and provide support for failing banks; a number of large Japanese financial institutions have failed in recent weeks.

      Matthew Shepard, a gay student at the University of Wyoming, dies in a hospital in Colorado, the victim of a brutal beating and exposure after being tied to a fence in near-freezing temperatures.

October 13
      The winners of the 1998 physics and chemistry Nobel Prizes are announced: the physics award goes to Americans Robert Laughlin of Stanford University and Daniel Tsui of Princeton University and German Horst L. Störmer of Columbia University, New York City; the chemistry prize is awarded to Americans Walter Kohn of the University of California, Santa Barbara, and John Pople of Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill.

      After a lengthy standoff and under threat of NATO air strikes, Pres. Slobodan Milosevic agrees to withdraw Yugoslav troops and police forces from the province of Kosovo (see December 24).

      Merrill Lynch & Co., a large New York City brokerage firm, announces that it will release 3,400 staff members, 5% of its workforce.

      "Mary Cassatt: Modern Woman," the first major retrospective of the work of the American Impressionist painter in three decades and featuring nearly 100 of her paintings, pastels, drawings, and prints, opens to the public at the Art Institute of Chicago.

October 14
      Indian Amartya Sen, master of Trinity College, Oxford, wins the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science for his work on famines and the ethical aspects of economic decision making.

      Nigeria's leading literary figure, Nobel Prize winner Wole Soyinka, returns home after nearly four years of self-imposed exile, much of which he spent teaching at Emory University, Atlanta, Ga.

      The new German coalition government announces that it will press for a revision of the country's tough citizenship laws to permit automatic citizenship for children born in Germany of foreign-born parents if one parent has lived in Germany since age 14.

      A 27,000-km (17,000-mi) overland fibre-optic cable, the longest in the world, is opened along the route of the ancient Silk Route, from Shanghai to Frankfurt, Ger., linking 20 countries in Central and West Asia and Eastern and Central Europe.

October 15
      The final touches are put on a $1.7 trillion U.S. budget, and the bill is approved by President Clinton and Congress; the budget includes the largest peacetime increase in military spending since 1985 (see October 20).

      In an unexpected move, the U.S. Federal Reserve Board cuts interest rates by a quarter of a point, which suggests a pessimistic view as to whether the economic boom in the country will continue.

      Youth unrest in France, which has been growing for two weeks and which involves half a million secondary-school students, breaks into violence after large numbers demonstrate in Paris and some of their number begin looting and burning cars.

      A major exhibition of the American painter John Singer Sargent opens in London's Tate Gallery.

October 16

      Gen. Augusto Pinochet is detained in London at the request of Spain, which seeks to try him for the murder of a number of Spanish and Chilean citizens during the 17 years that he led a right-wing military regime in Chile (see November 25).

      John Hume, leader of Northern Ireland's Roman Catholic Social Democratic and Labor Party, and David Trimble, leader of the Protestant Ulster Unionists, are jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of their efforts to bring peace to the British province.

      The 20th anniversary of the ascendancy to the papacy of Karol Cardinal Wojtyla of Poland as Pope John Paul II on Oct. 16, 1978, is commemorated; a papal encyclical, Fides et Ratio, is issued on October 15, and a high mass is celebrated in St. Peter's Square in Vatican City.

October 17
      An oil pipeline catches fire in Warri, southern Nigeria; sabotage is suspected in the incident, which leaves more than 700 people dead.

      Kaji Sherpa of Solukhumbhu, Nepal, reaches the summit of Mt. Everest (8,848 m, or 29,029 ft) in a record time of 20 hours 24 minutes, starting from his base camp at 5,350 m (17,552 ft).

October 18
      Rebel insurgents are blamed for the explosion and fire on a pipeline near Segovia, Antioquia province, Colom., that kills at least 45 people.

      A train jumps the tracks in a railway station near Alexandria, Egypt, killing dozens of people.

October 19
      The antitrust trial of the U.S. government against Microsoft Corp. opens in Washington, D.C.

      The Kroger Co., the second largest grocery dealer in the U.S., announces that it will buy Fred Meyer Inc., with $4.3 billion in debts, for $8 billion in stock, a transaction that will give the new company the top slot again (see August 3).

      Ernesto Bazan, who resides in Brooklyn and Cuba, is awarded the 1998 W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography; the award, given annually, is valued at $20,000.

      Heavyweight Mike Tyson is granted a boxing license by the state of Nevada; his license had been revoked after he bit the ear of Evander Holyfield in a World Boxing Association title bout in June 1997.

October 20

      As part of the U.S. budget bill Congress approves a subvention of $18 billion to the International Monetary Fund; passage had been delayed, largely by Republicans who were unhappy with the IMF's handling of the global financial upheavals.

      Geri Halliwell, the British pop music star formerly known as Ginger Spice of the Spice Girls, is named cultural ambassador for the United Nations Population Fund (see May 31).

October 21
      Following the confidence-vote loss by Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi on October 9, Massimo D'Alema of the Democrats of the Left Party is sworn in as prime minister; he is the first ex-communist to lead a government in Western Europe.

      President Clinton abolishes the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency and the U.S. Information Agency and places their activities under the U.S. Department of State; the U.S. Agency for International Development, formerly an independent agency, is now to report to the State Department.

      The Newell Co., a manufacturer of housewares with brands such as Mirro and Wearever cookware and Anchor Hocking glassware, announces that it will purchase Rubbermaid Inc., a well-known brand name in the kitchen accessories market, for about $5.8 billion.

      In the fourth game of a clean best-of-seven sweep, the New York Yankees beat the San Diego Padres to capture their 24th World Series victory.

October 22
      The largest stockbrokerage company in Japan, Nomura Securities Co., announces that it has posted a loss of $1,780,000,000 for the first half of 1998, largely because of reverses in its American real-estate repackaging business.

      Bankers Trust Corp. posts a hefty loss, $488 million, much of which is attributed to losses in Russian and other international markets (see November 30).

      The Fisher-Price Co. recalls 10 million toy vehicles in their Power Wheels line because certain models can catch fire or fail to stop when a child is riding on them; the recall is one of the largest ever in the toy industry.

October 23

      Israeli Pres. Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority (PA) Pres. Yasir Arafat sign an agreement in the White House—soon dubbed the "Wye Memorandum," after the Maryland estate at which the two sides negotiated for more than a week—that is expected to reenergize the Middle East peace process and essentially restate the terms of the 1993 and 1995 Oslo agreements whereby the PA would gain full control over additional territory in Palestine in exchange for the Palestinians' commitment to give up their anti-Israel activities.

      Elections to Iran's Majlis-e Khobregan (Assembly of Experts) result in a clear victory for the conservative supporters of the ruling ayatollahs, but their win seems inconsistent with the election just 17 months earlier of a moderate president, Mohammad Khatami.

      In Amherst, N.Y., Barnett Slepian, a doctor known for providing abortions, is shot dead in his kitchen by a sniper; police suggested this killing could be linked to similar murders of abortion doctors in New York and Ontario dating back to 1993.

October 24
      Germany's Green party agrees to the terms of a coalition agreement with the Social Democrats forming the first ruling "Red-Green" coalition in the country's history.

      The transatlantic sailing record is broken by nearly two and a half days by the 44.5-m (146-ft) Mari-Cha II, skippered by Bob Miller of Great Britain and Jef d'Estivaud of France, who sailed the two-master from New York Harbor to Britain in just under nine days.

October 25
      The European Union institutes a law that prohibits the buying and selling of personal financial data, such as is commonly done in the United States for marketing purposes.

      The Chicago Fire defeats D.C. United by a score of 2-0 for the U.S. Major League Soccer championship in Pasadena, Calif.; the victory is the first by any professional sports expansion team in its first year.

October 26

      Presidents Alberto Fujimori of Peru and Jamil Mahuad of Ecuador sign a peace accord in Brasília, Braz., ending decades of squabbling and three wars over the border between the two countries through the rugged Cordillera del Condór region (see January 19).

      The Yokohama BayStars defeat the Seibu Lions by a score of 2-1 to claim professional baseball's Japan Series; this was the BayStars' first win in the series since 1960.

      Catcher Mike Piazza signs a $91 million contract with the New York Mets; the contract, a record for a major league ballplayer, will bring Piazza some $13 million a season.

October 27
      In Great Britain the secretary of state for Wales, Ron Davies, resigns from the government to avoid potential embarrassment to the government and his family after being robbed at knifepoint at the home of a man he met at a park in south London known to be a homosexual meeting place.

      Hurricane Mitch strikes Honduras and Belize with 190-km/h (120-mph) winds.

      Ian McEwan is named recipient of the Booker Prize for fiction for his novel Amsterdam; the Booker Prize, considered Britain's top literary award, is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 1998.

      Toronto's fourth English-language daily newspaper, Conrad Black's National Post, publishes its first issue.

      The Cathedral of Hope, a gay and lesbian congregation based in Dallas, Texas, brings suit against WGN-TV, a television station in Chicago whose programs are rebroadcast nationally via satellite, for breaking an agreement to air an infomercial prepared by the church intended to attract homosexual members.

October 28
      The government of Brazil introduces a three-year, $84.5 billion plan, including tax increases, government spending cuts, and fiscal reorganization, to shore up its sagging economy.

      Because of continuing violence at the hands of the opposition National Union for the Total Independence of Angola rebels, their leader, Jonas Savimbi, is stripped of his "special status" in the Angolan legislature, which allowed him to operate as the leader of an opposition political party (see August 31).

      Archaeologist S. Thomas Parker of North Carolina State University tells the press that a church he discovered in 1997 near the Red Sea at Al-ʿAqabah, Jordan, has been dated older than AD 300, which makes it the earliest-known existing Christian church.

October 29
      Traveling aboard the U.S. space shuttle Discovery, 77-year-old American astronaut John Glenn returns to Earth orbit after having been the first American to orbit the Earth, in 1962.

      South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission releases its final report, precipitating controversy for its findings that nearly every political group as well as the apartheid government had been involved in violence, torture, and murder.

      The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves the use of the drug tamoxifen, manufactured by Zeneca Pharmaceuticals, in treating women who have a high risk of developing breast cancer.

      The German chemical company Hoechst AG sells paint manufacturer Herberts to the American chemical giant DuPont Co. for about $1.9 billion; the new company, with estimated sales of $3.7 billion, will be the largest manufacturer of automotive coatings.

October 30
      After more than a month of negotiations in Bratislava, Slovakia, a four-party coalition government under Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda of the Slovak Democratic Coalition is sworn in.

      At least 60 young people are killed and 190 injured in a fire in a discotheque in Göteborg, Swed.

October 31
      The first of 42 television stations throughout the continental U.S. begins broadcasting in digital high-definition television (HDTV); HDTV has been mandated as a federal standard and will replace current technologies in several years.

      The Tech Museum of Innovation, a $96 million, 12,250-sq m (132,000-sq ft) facility, opens to the public in San Jose in California's Silicon Valley, the location of many high-technology companies.

      Prince Naseem Hamed of Great Britain defends his World Boxing Organization featherweight title with a unanimous 12-round decision over Wayne McCullough of Northern Ireland in Atlantic City, N.J.


November 1
      A peace accord signed in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, calls for Pres. João Bernardo Vieira of Guinea-Bissau to set up a government of national unity and then leave the country; peace with the rebel forces under Asumane Mane is to be monitored by troops provided by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

      John Kagwe of Kenya wins the New York City Marathon with a time of 2 hr 8 min 45 sec, his second victory in a row; Franca Fiacconi of Italy is the fastest woman in the race, with a time of 2 hr 25 min 17 sec.

      Mika Hakkinen wins the Japanese Grand Prix auto race at the Suzuka International Racing Course and with it the Formula One title for 1998.

      Jeff Gordon wins the AC Delco 400 National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing race at the North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham, clinching his third NASCAR Winston Cup.

November 2
      Local officials in Central America estimate that the number of dead from Hurricane Mitch, which lashed Honduras and other countries with 320-km/h (200-mph) winds as well as the rains and mud slides that followed, will exceed 7,000.

      It is announced in New York City that the National Association of Securities Dealers Inc. (Nasdaq) and the American Stock Exchange (Amex) have completed all the requirements for their planned merger.

      Tenor Plácido Domingo is named artistic director of the Los Angeles Opera; he will retain his job as artistic director of the Washington (D.C.) Opera and begin the new assignment in 2000.

November 3

      Americans go to the polls; results of the U.S. congressional and local elections prove disappointing for the Republican Party.

      China's Xinhua news agency announces that a previously unknown 25-km (15.5-mi) segment of the Great Wall of China has been discovered in Mu Us desert, Ningxia province, about 700 km (435 mi) west of Beijing.

November 4

      The government of Russia admits that it cannot pay its foreign debts and plans to renegotiate its international loans.

      In Bangladesh, according to Ittefaq, the newspaper of the Islamist party Jamaat e Islami, a reward is being offered for the delivery of Taslima Nasrin, an author and women's rights advocate; Nasrin, who has been living in exile, returned to Bangladesh secretly on September 13 to visit her mother, who is seriously ill.

November 5
      The journal Nature publishes a report that DNA testing confirms that, as has long been alleged, Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the U.S., fathered at least one child by his slave Sally Hemings.

November 6
      Newt Gingrich, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, announces that he will not stand for reelection to the post and will leave Congress at the end of his term in January 1999 (see November 3).

      On a visit to South Africa, Rwandan Vice Pres. Paul Kagame admits for the first time that troops from his country are assisting the rebellion against Pres. Laurent Kabila in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo.

November 7
      The Breeders' Cup Classic, with a purse of $5.2 million, horse racing's richest prize, is won by Awesome Again, trained by Patrick Byrne and ridden by Pat Day.

November 8
      Sarah Fitz-Gerald defeats fellow Australian Michelle Martin 3-2 to win the World Open squash championship in Stuttgart, Ger.

      Jeff Gordon wins the NAPA 500 race, the final event in the NASCAR season, at the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga.

      Placing second (after Venezuelan Gilberto González) in the Australian round of the men's Triathlon World Cup at Noosa, Australia, Hamish Carter of New Zealand wins the overall 1998 men's title; Australian Loretta Harrop wins the women's title.

November 9
      In Bermuda the Progressive Labour Party, led by Jennifer Smith, wins 26 of the 40 seats in the parliament, the party's first victory in 30 years.

      Candidates of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party in Mexico win the governorships of three states, bringing the total victories in state elections in 1998 to 7 of 10 states.

      Kerry Wood, a right-handed pitcher for the Chicago Cubs baseball team, is named the National League's Rookie of the Year for 1998.

November 10
      It is reported that the Chinese government has cracked down on Christian "house churches," unofficial congregations that worship in private homes, arresting at least 140 church members in recent weeks.

      In France Paule Constant is awarded the Prix Goncourt for her novel Confidence pour confidence; Dominique Bona wins the Prix Renaudot for her novel Le Manuscrit de Port-Ébène.

      The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, names its 1999 inductees, who include performers Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Del Shannon, Curtis Mayfield, Dusty Springfield, Billy Joel, the Staple Singers, Charles Brown, and Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys as well as record producer George Martin; induction ceremonies will take place in March 1999.

      Two English cricketers, Graham Thorpe and Mark Ramprakash, set a record for the most runs for a partnership in a single match, 377, against South Australia in Adelaide.

November 11
      The Israeli Cabinet ratifies the Wye Memorandum, but not without intense debate and a number of caveats (see October 23).

      It is announced that the Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas at Austin will receive the Old Masters collection of William Suida and Bertina Suida-Manning, some 700 works valued at $30 million.

November 12
      The three groups contending for power in Cambodia come to an agreement brokered by King Norodom Sihanouk that would retain Hun Sen as prime minister and make the king's son, Prince Norodom Ranariddh, president of the National Assembly.

      Abdullah Ocalan, leader of the secessionist Kurdistan Workers Party, is arrested in Rome; the government of Turkey, where Ocalan is considered a criminal terrorist, files for extradition, but Italy declines because of a constitutional prohibition on extradition to countries that apply the death penalty.

      Paleontologist Paul Sereno of the University of Chicago reports the finding in the desert in Niger of a previously unknown species of dinosaur, Suhcomimus tenerensis, that was about 10.5 m (35 ft) in length and had crocodile-like jaws.

November 13
      Student protests in Indonesia turn violent, and at least eight persons are killed in clampdowns by police.

      The International Monetary Fund and a group of lender countries announce a loan package for Brazil totaling $42 billion.

      Pres. Bill Clinton agrees to a settlement with Paula Corbin Jones whereby he will pay her $850,000 but without any admission or apology, and she will drop charges that he made an indecent proposition to her in 1991.

November 14
      Charles, prince of Wales, celebrates his 50th birthday.

      England defeats The Netherlands 110-0 in the qualifying match for the European World Cup in rugby; the lopsided score is a record.

November 15
      President Clinton announces that Pres. Saddam Hussein has unconditionally agreed to cooperate completely with UN arms inspectors, averting air and missile attacks within hours of being launched by the U.S. and its allies.

      Allison Fisher of the U.K. defeats Franziska Stark of Germany 11-3 to win her third consecutive World Pool-Billiard Association title, the first time this has happened.

      American wrap artists Christo and his wife, Jeanne-Claude, expend 55,000 sq m (592,000 sq ft) of fabric and 22.5 km (14 mi) of rope to cover up 178 trees on the grounds of the Beyeler Museum in Riehen, near Basel, Switz.; the "Wrapped Trees" exhibit opens to the public on November 21.

November 16
      Monica Lewinsky chooses among the many opportunities to tell her side of her affair with President Clinton, announcing that she will be interviewed by Barbara Walters for the ABC television show "20/20" and has agreed to a $600,000 advance from St. Martin's Press for a book with the working title Monica's Story.

      Roger Clemens of the Toronto Blue Jays and Tom Glavine of the Atlanta Braves win the annual Cy Young Awards for pitchers in the American League and National League, respectively.

November 17
      Earth witnesses the Leonid meteor storm.

      The Indianapolis (Ind.) Museum of Art announces that it has purchased a major collection of paintings and prints by French artist Paul Gauguin.

November 18
      The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum ends its session in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; the meeting was tarnished somewhat by a diplomatic uproar over a speech by U.S. Vice Pres. Al Gore in which he spoke favourably of pro-human rights forces opposing the host government and because of a disagreement between the U.S. and Japan over a trade pact.

      Winners of the 1998 National Book Awards are named in New York City: Alice McDermott in the fiction category for her novel Charming Billy and Edward Ball in nonfiction for his Slaves in the Family.

      Livent Inc., the Canadian theatre production company that brought a string of blockbuster hits to Broadway, files for bankruptcy (see August 11).

November 19
      Hearings in the U.S. House of Representatives over the impeachment of President Clinton begin; congressmen hear Special Prosecutor Kenneth W. Starr present his case.

      Congressional Republicans confirm their selection of Robert L. Livingston of Louisiana to succeed Newt Gingrich as speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives (see December 23).

      For the first time since the country was divided in two, a group of tourists from South Korea enters North Korea; 826 mostly elderly people arrive in the port of Chanjon aboard a luxury tour boat.

November 20

      Russia launches the 24-metric ton unmanned Zarya command and control module, the first stage in the International Space Station, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakstan; the space station will be assembled over the coming five years (see December 4).

      Galina Starovoytova, a prominent liberal politician and deputy in the Russian State Duma, is found shot to death in the entryway of an apartment building in St. Petersburg.

      American tobacco companies sign an agreement with the governments of 46 states to settle the states' claims for reimbursement of Medicaid funds they had expended to treat smoking-related illnesses; the settlement costs the tobacco manufacturers $206 billion beyond the $40 billion they agreed to pay four other states in 1997.

      German publishing giant Bertelsmann AG buys an 82% share of Springer-Verlag GmbH, the leading German scientific and technical publisher (see October 6).

November 21
      Talks begin in San Cristóbal de las Casas, the capital of Chiapas state, between representatives of the Mexican government and the rebel Zapatista National Liberation Army, but the meetings do not go well (see January 24).

      Speaking in Seoul, S.Kor., President Clinton calls on the leaders of North Korea to help strengthen ties to South Korea and the U.S. and to put aside their aspirations to nuclear technology.

November 22
      Riots break out in Jakarta, Indon., between Muslim residents and Catholic settlers from the island of Amboina and later involve attacks on ethnic Chinese.

      Dariush Farouhar, a prominent opposition leader, civil rights advocate, and former Iranian government official, and his wife are found murdered in their home in Tehran.

      A 5-m (16-ft)-high white marble stone, the foundation of the Khalsa Heritage Memorial Complex, is officially dedicated in Anandpur Sahib, Punjab state, India; the site will commemorate the 300th anniversary of the founding of the Sikh religion on April 13, 1699.

November 23
      Siebe PLC of Great Britain, a large company manufacturing industrial controls and automation equipment, announces plans to acquire rival BTR PLC for $6,130,000,000 in stock.

      Two large disability insurance companies, Maine-based UNUM Corp. and the Provident Companies of Tennessee, agree to merge in a deal that values the latter at $4,750,000,000.

      The B.F. Goodrich Co. announces it will buy Coltec Industries for $2.2 billion to form the largest supplier of aircraft landing gear.

      Tyco International, a manufacturer of security alarms and systems, announces it will buy AMP Inc., a manufacturer of electrical connectors, for $11.3 billion.

November 24
      Queen Elizabeth II, speaking at the annual ceremonies opening Parliament, announces that the right of hereditary peers to vote in the House of Lords will end; almost two-thirds of the membership of the upper house of Parliament have hereditary titles.

      The Gaza International Airport opens at Rafah, Gaza Strip, providing Palestinians their first direct international transportation link with the rest of the world.

      Yugoslav strongman Slobodan Milosevic fires Army Chief of Staff Momcilo Perisic, the latest in a purge of close aides and political cronies, which observers interpret as a sign of Milosevic's growing isolation and desperation.

      America Online Inc., a giant among Internet service providers, announces that it will buy Netscape Communications Corp., owner of the Netscape Navigator World Wide Web browser software, for $4.2 billion; also involved in the far-reaching new alliance is Sun Microsystems.

November 25

      The British House of Lords rejects the claims of former Chilean president Augusto Pinochet for immunity from arrest (see October 16); Spain is seeking his extradition to face charges of mass murder and terrorism.

      The centrist government of Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz, long under attack from both the military and Islamists, falls after a vote of no confidence.

      Jack Kevorkian, a physician and assisted-suicide activist, is charged with first-degree murder in Oakland county, Mich., after he administers a lethal injection to a terminally ill patient; the event was videotaped and shown on national television on November 22.

November 26
      Tony Blair, in the first speech ever by a British prime minister before the Irish Parliament, declares an end to the historic enmity between the two countries.

      A court in Harare, Zimb., finds Canaan Banana, a former president of the country, guilty of sodomy; Banana, a Methodist minister, denied the charges but fled the country and has reportedly asked for political asylum in Botswana.

      The government of Singapore lifts all restrictions it had placed on the political activities of Chia Thye Poh, an opposition leader, since his arrest and incarceration in 1966.

November 27
      The large German utility company Viag AG announces that it is buying Algroup AG of Switzerland for $8.7 billion in stock.

      Science magazine reports that a team of American and Chinese scientists working at a site 415 km (250 mi) northeast of Beijing has discovered the fossil remains of a 142 million-year-old plant believed to be the world's oldest flower.

November 28
      President Clinton responds to 81 questions submitted to him in connection with the impeachment hearings by the House Judiciary Committee.

      On the country's Independence Day, Pres. Rexhep Meidani signs into law Albania's first constitution since the collapse of communism in 1991.

November 29
      Returns from local elections in India show heavy reverses for the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, notably in the city of Delhi and Rajasthan state, and significant gains for the formerly dominant Congress Party.

      In papal bull Incarnationus Mysterium, Pope John Paul II announces a revival of the time-honoured practice in the Roman Catholic Church of granting indulgences, the early elimination of punishment for sins for persons who are judged truly penitent and perform a charitable act.

      The Musée d'Art et d'Histoire du Judaïsme formally opens in Paris's Marais district, the historical Jewish quarter, after 50 years of planning and controversy; the museum opens to the public on December 6.

November 30

      Deutsche Bank AG of Germany announces it will acquire Bankers Trust Corp. of the U.S. for $10 billion, which will make the new Deutsche Bank the largest banking company in the world (see October 22).

      Voters in Canada's predominantly French-speaking province of Quebec narrowly return the pro-secessionist Parti Qúebécois and its leader, Lucien Bouchard, to the provincial assembly.

      American Olympic gold-medal gymnast Dominique Moceanu, 17, is granted a temporary protective order from a court in Texas against her father, whom she accuses of mismanaging the money she made in her sports career as well as harassment of her and her friends; on October 28 the court awarded Moceanu adult status in order that she may manage her own financial affairs.


December 1
      The two largest oil companies in the world, Exxon and Mobil, say they will merge in an $80 billion deal that would create Exxon Mobil, the world's largest corporation, with some $200 billion in annual sales.

      The French petroleum company Total SA announces plans to acquire the Belgian petrochemical firm Petrofina SA in a stock swap valued at $13 billion.

      Two of Europe's largest chemical and pharmaceutical companies, Rhône-Poulenc SA of France and Hoechst AG of Germany, announce they are beginning a process of merging; a new company, called Aventis, will become the second largest pharmaceutical firm in the world and number one in agricultural chemicals.

December 2
      Gen. Radislav Krstic is arrested by Western troops in Bosnia and Herzegovina; he will be tried by the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague on charges of genocide for his leadership of the brutal attack on Srebrenica in 1995.

      Sanofi SA and Synthélabo SA, two large French pharmaceutical companies, announce they will merge to form a new entity, Sanofi-Synthélabo, in a deal valued at $10.4 billion.

December 3
      In anticipation of the introduction of the euro, the common European currency, and in response to the depressing effects on their economies by the Asian financial crisis, central bank authorities in 11 countries drop their lending rates to a uniform 3%, except for Italy, which drops to 3.5% (see December 31).

December 4

      A team of six American astronauts and a second piece of an international space station are launched into Earth orbit from Florida aboard the Endeavour; Endeavour's payload, the American-built Unity module, will be joined with a portion placed in orbit earlier by Russia (see November 20).

      Bill Bradley, former Rhodes scholar, professional basketball player, and Democratic senator from New Jersey, announces his interest in running for the presidency in 2000.

      The body of Mohammad Mokhtari, a prominent Iranian poet and anticensorship activist who had been reported missing, is found on the outskirts of Tehran; no cause of death is given, but suspicions fall on the ruling circles in the country.

December 5
      James P. Hoffa, son of James R. Hoffa, who led the International Brotherhood of Teamsters from 1957 to 1971 and disappeared under murky circumstances in 1975, is elected to lead the labour union.

December 6
      Hugo Chávez Frías, who led a coup attempt in 1992, sweeps to victory over the establishment candidate, Henrique Salas Römer, in the Venezuelan presidential elections.

      Playing in Milan, Italy, Sweden defeats Italy four matches to one to win the Davis Cup men's professional tennis championship for the second year in a row.

December 7
      Differences between Islamic fundamentalists and those eager to promote a greater economic role for women result in violent clashes in Bangladesh.

      Americans begin voting for one of six designs for a new gold-coloured one-dollar coin featuring Sacajawea, a 16-year-old Shoshone woman who traveled with the Lewis and Clark expedition through the Northwest in 1804-05, that will be introduced in 2000.

December 8
      The severed heads of one New Zealand and three British telecommunications engineers who had been working on a Russian telephone-installation project with the support of the local Chechen authorities are found 40 km (25 mi) south of Grozny, the Chechen capital; the bodies are recovered some weeks later.

      The AT&T Corp. announces that it will acquire the global data network of the International Business Machines Corp. for $5 billion in cash.

December 9
      The British pharmaceutical firm Zeneca Group PLC plans to merge with the large Swedish firm Astra AB to form AstraZeneca, the world's fourth largest drug company, with an estimated $14 billion in sales.

      Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the international convention against genocide, the United Nations General Assembly resolves for the first time to consider anti-Semitism as a form of racism.

      Ruth Dreifuss is elected president of Switzerland by the Swiss Federal Assembly, the first woman and the first Jew to hold the position.

      It is announced in Johannesburg, S.Af., that a virtually complete 3.5 million-year-old skull and skeleton of an Australopithecus has been discovered at Sterkfontein by Ronald J. Clark of the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

      Spanish poet José Hierro is awarded the Cervantes Prize for lifetime achievement in literature.

December 10
      On the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations Human Rights Prizes go to activists on five continents: Sunila Abeyesekera of Sri Lanka, Angelina Acheng Atyam of Uganda, former president Jimmy Carter of the U.S., José Gregori of Brazil, and Anna Sabatova of the Czech Republic.

      During its 50th anniversary assembly in Harare, Zimbabwe, the World Council of Churches rejects the membership application of the Celestial Church of Christ, established in Nigeria in 1947 and claiming more than five million members, because some of the church's longer-serving clergy have more than one wife.

December 11
      The Judiciary Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives votes in favour of impeachment of Pres. Bill Clinton on three counts; a fourth count is approved on December 12, and the recommendation is forwarded to the full House (see December 19).

      Science magazine reports that researchers at the Sanger Centre, near Cambridge, Eng., and Washington University, St. Louis, Mo., have successfully transcribed the complete genetic code of an animal; the genome of the microscopic worm Caenorhabditis elegans reportedly contains 97 million chemical units and 19,099 genes.

      Science also prints a report by scientists at Kinki University, Nara, Japan, stating that they have successfully cloned eight calves from cells gathered from a single adult cow (see December 16).

      The Mars Climate Orbiter spacecraft is launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida; the craft and its mate, the Mars Polar Lander (scheduled for launch in January 1999), will study Martian weather and look for evidence of water on the planet.

December 12
      Marc Hodler, a longtime International Olympic Committee official, alleges that four agents acting for a few of the 115 IOC members had for many years been "selling" blocs of votes to city organizations eager to win the fiercely competitive bidding for the Olympic Games; Salt Lake City, Utah, site of the 2002 Winter Games, for example, reportedly paid $400,000 in such a scheme.

      Saving Private Ryan is chosen best film of the year by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and its director, Steven Spielberg, best director; on December 16 the New York Film Critics Circle also chooses Saving Private Ryan as best picture but gives the director's award to Terrence Malick for The Thin Red Line.

December 13
      The United States is defeated soundly by the International team 20 1/2 -11 1/2 in the Presidents Cup professional golf tournament at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Australia.

      Ty Murray of Stephenville, Texas, wins a record seventh world all-round rodeo cowboy title at the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nev.

December 14
      The Canadian Ministry of Finance announces that it will not approve two planned major bank mergers that would have left the country's financial industry concentrated in too few institutions (see January 23, April 17).

      The General Motors Corp. announces that it has appointed Cynthia M. Trudell chairwoman and president of its Saturn operations, the first woman in any auto company to head a car division.

December 15
      Günter Dreyer, director of the German Archaeological Institute in Egypt, announces the discovery in the tomb of Egyptian King Scorpion I about 500 km (310 mi) south of Cairo of clay tablets containing what is believed to be the earliest example of writing.

      British magazine publishing firm Emap PLC says it will acquire the American Peterson Companies Inc., publisher of magazines for young men, for $1.2 billion.

December 16
      President Clinton calls for air strikes against Iraq, citing the continued refusal of that country to permit UN arms inspectors to do their work; the operation, called Desert Fox, is joined by Great Britain and continues for four days.

      Because of the attacks on Iraq, Republican leaders in the U.S. Congress postpone the impeachment vote against President Clinton that was to have begun on December 17.

      Researchers at Kyunghee University, Seoul, S.Kor., report that they have taken the first step toward cloning a human being by combining an egg and a cell from an infertile woman and creating a four-cell embryo (see December 11).

December 17
      The World Meteorological Organization reports that in 1998, for the 20th year in a row, the surface temperature of the Earth has been higher than the average of recent years; 1998 is the warmest year on record.

      Without changing its claims to sovereignty over the Falkland Islands, Great Britain eases the arms embargo against Argentina that it imposed in April 1982 at the time of the Argentine invasion of the islands, known as the Islas Malvinas in Spanish.

      The nomination of Jacques-Édouard Alexis as prime minister of Haiti is ratified by the Chamber of Deputies; final approval of his program and his government is still required.

December 18
      It is announced in Lusaka, Zambia, that the Anglo American Corp. of South Africa mining company will purchase three large state-owned copper mines in the country.

December 19

      The U.S. House of Representatives impeaches President Clinton on two articles of perjury and obstruction of justice; two other articles do not pass.

      Speaking during the impeachment hearings in the House of Representatives, Robert L. Livingston announces that he will not stand for the post of speaker of the House and will leave Congress in six months' time; on December 17 Livingston had admitted having had extramarital affairs in the past.

December 20
      Nkem Chukwu, a native of Nigeria, completes her delivery of octuplets—two boys and six girls with a total weight of 4.45 kg (9.8 lb)—in a hospital in Houston, Texas; this is the first case of octuplets' being born alive, but the smallest girl dies on December 27.

December 21
      Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yields to pressure from within his party and from the opposition, acknowledges the end of his government, and agrees to call early elections in 1999.

      Four days of icy temperatures grip southern California, destroying as much as one-third of the valuable citrus crop.

December 22
      Unable to compete with the better-funded and better-publicized Women's National Basketball Association, the American Basketball League terminates its schedule partway through the third season and says it will file for bankruptcy.

December 23
      The Belgian Supreme Court finds some of the best-known names in Europe's military-industrial sector, including French military aircraft manufacturer Serge Dassault, the Belgian former secretary-general of NATO, Willy Claes, and former officials of the Belgian Defense Ministry, guilty of corruption in connection with military contracts.

      Trade and Industry Minister Peter Mandelson, a close adviser of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, resigns after it is revealed that he improperly accepted a large personal loan from a wealthy businessman whose activities came under investigation by Mandelson's ministry.

      The government of the U.S. expels three Cuban diplomats for spying; the three were linked to the arrests of 10 suspected Cuban agents in Miami, Fla., in September.

December 24

      A two-month cease-fire in the Serbian province of Kosovo goes up in flames as Serbian units mount a concerted attack on Kosovo Liberation Army positions in the northern part of the province (see October 13).

December 25
      Presidents Boris Yeltsin of Russia and Alyaksandr G. Lukashenka of Belarus agree to begin integrating the two countries' economies closely and work toward a common currency in 1999.

      Yet another attempt at a nonstop circumnavigation of the globe in a hot-air balloon fails as the ICO Global Challenge, with American balloonist Steve Fossett, British businessman Richard Branson, and Per Lindstrand of Sweden aboard, dips into the Pacific near Hawaii.

December 26
      A UN-chartered plane carrying 14 people crashes near Huambo, Angola; Angolan government spokesmen claim it was shot down by rebel National Union for the Total Independence of Angola guerrillas.

      A storm with 145-km/h (90-mph) winds devastates the Sydney-to-Hobart yacht race off Australia's southeast coast, killing six sailors; the race continues, however, and the American 24.4-m (80-ft) maxi Sayonara finishes first on December 29.

December 27
      In a clampdown on human rights activities in the country and in the fourth such ruling in a week, a court in China condemns an activist to a 10-year prison term for having provided information about antigovernment demonstrations to Radio Free Asia, a U.S.-financed radio station.

December 28
      The 25th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act is noted; some 1,135 species of animals remain on the Endangered Species List.

      Preliminary data released by the Boston Consulting Group and, which monitored Internet retail sales during the holiday season, indicate shoppers made purchases of $5 billion via their computers, a figure more than two times higher than predicted and four times higher than during the corresponding period in 1997.

      The market value of Charles Schwab Corp. has reached $25.5 billion, which puts it in second place among stock brokerages, behind Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co.; Schwab's dramatic rise is attributed to its successful Internet trading strategy.

      In a matter of a few hours, five coaches of National Football League teams are fired: Dom Capers of the Carolina Panthers, Ray Rhodes of the Philadelphia Eagles, Dennis Erickson of the Seattle Seahawks, Dave Wannstedt of the Chicago Bears, and Ted Marchibroda of the Baltimore Ravens.

December 29
      Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen welcomes Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea, two top Khmer Rouge leaders who abandoned their opposition movement on December 26, back into Cambodian life; many in the country feel the Khmer Rouge leaders should be tried for crimes against the people, especially during the period when they ruled the country in the late 1970s.

      Russia fails to pay the $362 million due on a loan from a group of commercial banks; governments and lending organizations fear that the country may simply begin defaulting on other financial obligations (see November 4).

      Four British and Australian citizens are killed—but it is not clear by which side—as Yemeni government forces attack the headquarters of an Islamic militant gang that had kidnapped them and 12 other tourists on December 28.

December 30
      Rebels in Sierra Leone take two important towns in the northern part of the country and approach Freetown, the capital; some reports claim the rebels now control the entire northern province (see March 10).

      Several days of fighting between the left-wing Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and a right-wing paramilitary United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia in northern Colombia have resulted in at least 30 people dead, including noncombatants.

      Several days of religious violence between radical Hindu organizations and evangelical Christian congregations in India's Gujarat state lead to the destruction of a church in Madalbari village.

December 31

      In Brussels officials of the European Union fix the final rates of exchange for the currencies of 11 countries that will adopt the euro as official tender on Jan. 1, 1999.

      According to estimates published by the U.S. Bureau of the Census on December 29, the country's population stands at 271,645,214, an increase of 2,500,000 over the year.

      The year 1998 becomes slightly longer than 1997 as one "leap second" is added to the old year at the stroke of midnight Universal Time (7:00 PM, U.S. Eastern Standard Time).

* * *

Universalium. 2010.

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