01 – Fred West, the Gloucestershire builder charged with 12 murders, commits suicide in his prison cell. Prison officers discover the 53-year-old’s body hanging from strips of clothing at Winson Green prison near Birmingham.
02 – The most distant galaxy yet discovered is found by scientists using the Keck telescope in Hawaii. It’s estimated to be 15 billion light years away.
03 – The US postal service raises the price of the first-class stamp to 32 cents.
09 – Breaking the record for the longest continuous time spent in space, Russian cosmonaut Valeri Poliakov (51) completes his 366th day aboard the Mir space station.
11 – Michael Jackson releases a statement attacking unsubstantiated rumours of a video depicting Jackson ‘fooling around’ with a young boy. He says “I will no longer stand by and watch reckless members of the media try to destroy my reputation”.
17 – More than 6,000 people are killed after an earthquake hits Kobe, Japan. It measures 6.9 on the Richter scale and is the worst to hit the country in over 70 years. The quake lasts only 20 seconds but around 300,000 people lose their homes and tens of thousands are injured.
24 – The OJ Simpson trial begins in the US, with live television coverage.
01 – Richey Edwards of the Manic Street Preachers walks out of the Embassy Hotel in West London, climbs into his Vauxhall Cavalier car and is never seen again. Two weeks later police find his car abandoned near the Severn Bridge in Wales.
15 – The FBI arrests Kevin Mitnick and charges him with hacking into some of the nation’s most protected computers. He will eventually receive a five-year jail sentence.
21 – The US sends an aid package of $20 billion to Mexico to help keep the country from collapse after the peso drops in value.
26 – Britain’s oldest banking firm, Barings, collapses after a 28-year-old dealer called Nick Leeson loses $1.4 billion on Tokyo stock prices. Leeson is arrested four days later.
01 – The European parliament rejects legislation aimed at allowing biotechnology companies to patent new life forms.
03 – Having recently collapsed onstage, R.E.M drummer Bill Berry undergoes life-saving surgery in Lausanne, Switzerland, to repair a ruptured aneurysm on the right side of his brain.
03 – A stalker is arrested while trying to break into Roberta Flack‘s New York apartment.
14 – US astronaut Norman Thagard becomes the first American to go into space in a Russian spacecraft.
17 – Gerry Adams becomes the first leader of Sinn Fein (the political wing of the IRA) to be received at the White House.
20 – 12 people are killed and more than 5,000 hospitalised when the poisonous gas Sarin is leaked on five subway trains in Tokyo. A secretive, apocalyptic religious cult – Aum Shinrikyo – is found to be behind the attacks.
28 – Police subdue an angry crowd when Latoya Jackson refuses to strip nude as specified in her contract at Al’s Diamond Cabaret in Pennsylvania.
19 – A truck bomb explodes in a federal office building in Oklahoma City in the US, killing 168 people. Suspects Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols are indicted on 10 August. McVeigh is eventually sentenced to death.
25 – Dance legend Ginger Rogers dies in Los Angeles.
30 – In an attempt to discourage Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, Clinton announces an embargo against all trade and investment with the country. Japan and many European nations join in the embargo.
07 – Jacques Chirac wins the French presidential election, beating Socialist opponent Lionel Jospin and ending a 14-year Socialist hold on the French presidency.
16 – Japanese police besiege the headquarters of the Aum Shinrikyo cult near Mount Fuji in Japan following the Sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway. Cult leader Shoko Asahara is found hidden in a ceiling and arrested.
27 – Former Superman actor Christopher Reeve is paralysed after being thrown from a horse in a jumping event in Charlottesville, Virginia.
11 – Phil Collins‘ touring crew is held at gunpoint by Venezuelan police in a mix-up over tax payments totalling some $900,000.
14 – Chechen rebels take 2,000 people hostage in a hospital in Russia.
15 – In court, OJ Simpson puts on the bloodstained gloves of the murderer and announces; “See? Too small! Too small!”
27 – English actor Hugh Grant is arrested in Los Angeles for engaging in ‘lewd behaviour’ with a prostitute in a rented BMW.
29 – Over 500 people are killed and almost 1000 injured when the Sampoong department store suddenly collapses in Seoul, South Korea.
29 – Actress Lana Turner dies in California.
01 – Legendary US DJ Wolfman Jack dies of a heart attack in Belvidere, North Carolina. He is 57.
02 – Forbes magazine reports that Microsoft chairman Bill Gates is worth $12.9 billion, making him the world’s richest man. By 1999 this will have increased to $77 billion.
03 – Exclusive New York store Saks Fifth Avenue reveals it is suing soul legend Aretha Franklin for $263,000 in unpaid bills.
11 – Bosnian Serbs march into Srebrenica, forcing Dutch UN peacekeepers to leave, and precipitating the massacre of 7,000 Muslim men.
12 – A heat wave kills 733 people, most of them elderly, in one weekend in Chicago.
19 – Elvis Presley‘s former physician Dr George Nichopoulos loses his medical license for being ‘too liberal’ with his prescription pad.
02 – China orders the expulsion of two US Air Force officers who are said to have been caught spying.
06 – Thousands of glowing lanterns are set afloat on rivers in Hiroshima, Japan, on the 50th anniversary of the first atomic bombing.
14 – Alison Hargreaves, who became the first woman (and only the second person) to climb Mount Everest without oxygen or the help of Sherpas, is killed by an avalanche while climbing K-2.
24 – Microsoft launches Windows 95, Windows NT and Windows CE (for palmtop computing).
31 – The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is opened in Cleveland, Ohio.
19 – The New York Times and Washington Post print a rambling 35,000-word manifesto written by the “Unabomber” whose mail bombings have killed three and wounded 23 over the past seventeen years. The unidentified man has promised to stop the killings if his anti-technology statement is printed.
20 – Individual American states are allowed to set their own speed limits after the US House of Representatives votes to drop national controls.
01 – Sheik Omar Abdelrahman and nine other defendants are convicted in New York of conspiring to bomb various US buildings as part of a campaign against America’s policies in the Middle East.
03 – OJ Simpson is acquitted of all charges related to the murder of his ex-wife Nicole, and Ronald Goldman. The jury takes less than four hours to reach the unanimous verdict that stuns the world: Not Guilty
16 – The ‘Million Man March’ brings 40,000 black men to Washington DC to pledge their solidarity and their willingness to bring stronger leadership to their communities. The rally features a keynote speech by Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam.
17 – Sting’s former financial adviser is sentenced to six years in prison in the UK after being found guilty of embezzling $9.4 million from the musician.
20 – Britain, France and the US announce a treaty banning atomic tests in the South Pacific.
30 – Quebec votes not to separate from Canada.
04 – Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin is assassinated by Yigal Amir as he leaves a peace rally in Tel Aviv. Amir will later insist he was acting on God’s orders.
13 – 18-year-old Leah Betts from Essex, UK, collapses four hours after swallowing an ecstasy tablet and dies three days later without regaining consciousness. Her parents will become high-profile anti-drugs campaigners.
16 – A United Nations court charges Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic with genocide.
13 – China’s most influential and well-known democracy activist, Wei Jingsheng, who has already spent 16 years in prison, is sentenced to 14 more.
14 – The Dayton Peace Agreement is signed in Paris and war in Bosnia formally ends, though localised conflicts continue to erupt sporadically.
15 – Newly released classified documents from the White House reveal that the FBI spied on John Lennon and kept extensive files on his anti-war activities during the early 1970s, possibly in an attempt to have him deported.
31 – The US government shuts down in a dispute between President Clinton and the Republican-controlled Congress over balancing the budget. Over 260,000 federal employees are furloughed for two weeks and many public services are halted. House speaker Newt Gingrich and his fellow Republicans engineered the shutdown in an attempt to embarrass Clinton, but the plan backfires when the public blames Congress for the impasse.
Also This Year . . .
- Russia almost launches a nuclear attack on the West after finding a Norwegian scientific missile in its airspace.