01 – The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) comes into effect.
06 – Champion figure skater Nancy Kerrigan is attacked by a ‘mystery assailant’ five weeks before the Lillehammer Olympic games. Her skating rival, Tonya Harding, pleads guilty to conspiracy to assault Kerrigan. Though huer leg is injured in the attack, she still skates away with the silver medal. Harding comes in eighth.
11 – The Irish government announces the end of a 20-year broadcasting ban on the IRA and its political arm, Sinn Fein.
16 – Singer Harry Nilsson dies at the age of 52 at his home in Agoura Hills, near Los Angeles, California.
17 – A massive earthquake strikes Los Angeles, killing 51 people and injuring over 5,000. The quake registers between 6.6 and 6.8 on the Richter Scale and causes at least $15 billion in damage.
25 – Michael Jackson settles out of court in a civil lawsuit which accuses him of molesting 13-year old Jordan Chandler during sleepovers at his California ranch.
31 – German car manufacturer BMW announces the purchase of Rover from British Aerospace, ending nearly a century of independent mass car production in Britain.
05 – Serbs fire artillery shells into a Sarajevo market, leaving 68 dead and more than 200 injured.
17 – An earthquake measuring 6.7 on the Richter scale in the Northridge area of Los Angeles leaves 57 dead.
24 – Police in Gloucester, UK, begin excavations at the Cromwell Street home of Frederick and Rosemary West. The couple are arrested four days later and charged with 12 murders. Fred West will commit suicide while awaiting trial. His wife receives ten life sentences.
28 – US warplanes shoot down four Serb aircraft over Bosnia in the first NATO use of force in the troubled area.
03 – The Mexican government reach a peaceful agreement with the Chiapas rebels.
04 – Four Muslim fundamentalists are found guilty of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing in New York. Each is sentenced to 240 years in prison.
05 – Jefferson Airplane singer Grace Slick is arrested for pointing a shotgun at police at her home in Tiburon, California.
10 – White House officials begin testifying about Whitewater, a controversial real estate transaction by Bill Clinton and his wife Hilary in Arkansas.
12 – A photograph of the Loch Ness Monster by Marmaduke Wetherell is confirmed to be a hoax. It is, in fact, a toy submarine with a head and neck attached.
31 – A skull of Australopithecus afarensis, humankind’s earliest ancestor, is found in Ethiopia.
04 – Netscape Communications – one of the big early names of the Internet revolution – is founded.
07 – Civil War erupts in Rwanda, Central Africa, between the Patriotic Front rebel group and government soldiers. Hundreds of thousands will die in the following months fighting.
08 – The body of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain is found at his home in Seattle, Washington. Cause of death is given as a self-inflicted gunshot wound. It’s thought he has lain undiscovered for three days.
15 – Global commerce forum the World Trade Organisation is established.
19 – A Los Angeles jury awards $3.8 million to Rodney King for the violation of his civil rights (not to mention being beaten up by police).
26 – The first multi-racial elections are held in South Africa.
28 – Former CIA official Aldrich Ames, who gave US secrets to Russia, pleads guilty to espionage and tax evasion and is sentenced to life in prison.
01 – Ayrton Senna, three times world Formula One racing champion, dies after a high-speed crash in the San Marino Grand Prix.
06 – Channel Tunnel opens between England and France.
10 – Nelson Mandela becomes South Africa’s first black president (after more than 300 years of white rule) following the country’s first fully democratic election.
19 – Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis dies in New York, aged 64.
26 – President Clinton signs a law protecting abortion clinics, making it a federal crime to attack or blockade clinics, their operators or their patrons.
13 – Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman are found stabbed to death outside Nicole’s condominium in Brentwood, Los Angeles
17 – After a televised car chase, former American football star OJ Simpson is arrested and charged with the double murder of his ex-wife and Ronald Goldman. Simpson is found to have been carrying a gun, a passport, thousands of dollars in cash and a fake beard in the car
21 – Colombian soccer player Andres Escobar accidentally scores an own goal in an important World Cup match against the USA, contributing to Colombia’s unexpectedly sudden early exit from the competition. Ten days later he is shot 12 times and killed at home in Medellin, allegedly by a drug cartel who have lost a heavy bet on the match.
25 – Five festival goers at the normally peaceful Glastonbury Festival in the UK are shot by a crazed gunman.
21 – Tony Blair is confirmed as the new leader of the British Labour Party after the sudden death of John Smith. Blair (41) is the youngest leader of the Labour Party since WWII.
23 – An asteroid orbiting between Mars and Jupiter is named ‘Zappafrank’ in honour of late musician Frank Zappa.
25 – Israel and Jordan end the state of war which has existed between the two countries since 1948.
05 – Singer Billy Idol is admitted to hospital following a drug overdose at his Hollywood Hills home.
10 – Three men are arrested at Munich airport in Germany after being caught smuggling Russian plutonium into the country.
11 – Horror movie veteran Peter Cushing dies in Canterbury, England.
26 – Arthur Cornhill is given the world’s first battery-operated artificial heart in a pioneering operation in the UK. Unfortunately, he will die in nine months’ time from kidney failure.
31 – A ceasefire is declared by the IRA after 15 years of bloodshed in Northern Ireland.
31 – Russia officially ends its military presence in the former East Germany after half a century.
09 – The US agrees to accept 20,000 Cuban immigrants every year in return for a promise from Cuba to halt the influx of refugees.
12 – Frank Corder is killed when he crashes a stolen Cessna light aircraft on the South Lawn of the White House.
15 – President Clinton tells Haiti’s military leaders “Leave now or we will force you from power”. A month later they do so, averting a US invasion.
21 – The Los Angeles and Santa Barbara Prosecutors Offices announce that charges will not be laid against Michael Jackson, but the case will remain open until 1999.
28 – A car and passenger ferry with 950 people onboard sinks in the Baltic Sea on its way from Estonia to Sweden. Fewer than 100 people survive the disaster.
09 – The US sends troops and warships to the Persian Gulf in response to Saddam Hussein sending thousands of troops and hundreds of tanks toward the Kuwaiti border.
21 – The US and North Korea sign an agreement to freeze North Korea’s nuclear reactor program.
27 – The US Justice Department announces that the prison population has exceeded one million for the first time in American history.
29 – Francisco Martin Duran fires at the White House while standing on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC. He is later convicted of trying to kill President Clinton.
05 – Former President Reagan announces that he has Alzheimer’s disease.
05 – George Foreman becomes boxing’s oldest heavyweight champion at 45 when he knocks out Michael Moorer in Las Vegas.
08 – In US congressional elections, the Republican party wins control of the Senate and the House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years. The election results are thought to be indicative of voter dissatisfaction with the Clinton Administration.
19 – Launch of the National Lottery in Britain.
20 – Musician David Crosby gets a much-needed liver transplant at UCLA’s Medical Center.
23 – Singer/songwriter Tommy Boyce (of Monkees fame) commits suicide, shooting himself at his Nashville home.
30 – Rapper Tupac Shakur, still on trial for sex and weapons charges, heads for New York’s Quad Recording Studio in Times Square to record a track. As he enters the Manhattan studio, three men follow him into the elevator and try to rob him. Tupac pulls a gun but is shot in the head, groin and arm. The robbers get away with $45,000 of jewellery, including Tupac’s $30,000 diamond ring. The rapper undergoes surgery on his right leg at Bellevue Hospital but later checks himself out.
04 – Of the 400 UN peacekeepers being held by Bosnian Serbs, 53 are released. The rest are retained as insurance against further NATO air-strikes.
08 – President Clinton fires Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders after she tells a conference that masturbation should be discussed in school as a part of human sexuality classes.
09 – Representatives of the IRA and the British government begin peace talks.
11 – Russia invades Chechnya.
26 – French anti-terrorist police storm a hijacked jet at Marseille, killing all four Islamic fundamentalist hostage-takers and freeing 170 passengers and crew.
Also This Year . . .
- XVII Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway