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.
01 – Austria, Finland and Sweden join the European Union.
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”.
16 – The village of Súðavík in Iceland is hit by an avalanche. 14 people are killed.
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.
25 – Russia almost launches a nuclear attack on the West after finding a Norwegian scientific missile in its airspace.
25 – Footballer Eric Cantona assaults a spectator in the front row during the Manchester United vs Crystal Palace game. He is banned from playing for eight months by the FA and stripped of his captaincy of the French national team has lost his place in the side. Cantona’s attack of the Palace fan is dubbed the “Kung Fu Kick” by newspapers covering the incident. The French striker is sentenced to two weeks in prison for the attack (reduced on 31 March to 120 hours of community service).
29 – Super Bowl XXIX is won by the San Francisco 49ers who beat the San Diego Chargers at Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami, Florida. The 49ers are the first National Football League franchise to win five Super Bowls.
01 – Richey Edwards of the Manic Street Preachers walks out of the Embassy Hotel in Bayswater, 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.
09 – Michael Foale – originally from Lincolnshire – becomes the first British-born American to walk in space when he steps out into the open cargo bay of the space shuttle Discovery at 12:10 GMT. He is joined on the walk by Dr Bernard Harris, the first black astronaut.
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.
17 – Colin Ferguson, who opened fire on a Long Island train in 1993 is convicted of six counts of murder and 19 counts of attempted murder. He later receives a 315-year 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 by speculating 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.
01 – US Marines lead the evacuation of the last peacekeepers from Mogadishu, Somalia.
02 – The Japanese city of Kobe is shaken by an earthquake.
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 – Notorious British gangland killer Ronnie Kray dies in hospital two days after collapsing in his ward at Broadmoor where he is serving a life sentence for murder.
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.
26 – The Schengen Agreement goes into effect across several European nations. This agreement eases cross-border travel as border checks are no longer required.
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.
31 – 60 people aboard TAROM Flight 371 from Bucharest to Brussels are killed as it crashes shortly after take-off.
08 – British-born Nicholas Ingram is executed in the electric chair in the US after two appeals to the US Supreme Court are turned down. Sentenced for murder, Ingram is the first Briton to die in the electric chair. Asked whether he wished to make a final statement, Ingram replied simply: “Let’s get on with it”.
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.
14 – Team New Zealand wins the America’s Cup in San Diego, beating Stars and Stripes 5–0.
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.
17 – Shawn Nelson, 35, steals an M60A3 Patton tank from a US National Guard armory in San Diego, California, and goes on a rampage. He destroys numerous cars, fire hydrants and an RV before being shot and killed by a policeman.
27 – Former Superman actor Christopher Reeve is paralysed from the neck down after being thrown from a horse in a jumping event in Charlottesville, Virginia.
06 – US astronaut Norman Thagard breaks NASA’s space endurance record of 14 days, 1 hour and 16 minutes, aboard the Russian space station Mir.
09 – 26-year-old Andrew Richards is jailed for life for the attempted rape of another man, in the first case of its kind in Britain. Judge Richard Lowry uses new powers provided by last year’s Criminal Justice Act.
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!”
24 – South Africa wins the Rugby World Cup.
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 – American and Russian spacecraft successfully dock in orbit for the first time in 20 years. The US space shuttle Atlantis delivers a relief crew of two cosmonauts to the Russian Mir space station, signalling a new era of space co-operation between the two former Cold War rivals.
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.
04 – Prime Minister John Major wins his battle to remain leader of the Conservative Party.
11 – Bosnian Serbs march into the United Nations “safe area” of Srebrenica, forcing Dutch UN peacekeepers to leave, and precipitating the massacre of 7,000 Muslim men in what has been described as the worst atrocity in Europe since World War II.
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.
23 – Britain sends 1,200 troops to relieve the besieged Bosnian capital, Sarajevo.
25 – Four people die and 60 more are injured when a bomb is detonated on the Paris Metro.
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.
03 – eBay is founded.
06 – NATO air strikes against Bosnian Serb forces continue, after repeated attempts at a solution to the Bosnian War fail.
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 “Not Guilty” verdict that stuns the world.
09 – An Amtrak train, the Sunset Limited, bound for California is derailed in the Arizona desert. One Amtrak employee dies and more than 100 people are injured. The cause of the derailment is found to be sabotage of the tracks and – though notes are left – the perpetrator is never found.
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.
25 – A commuter train slams into a school bus in Fox River Grove, Illinois, killing seven students.
30 – Quebec votes not to separate from Canada.
02 – Former South African defence minister General Magnus Malan is arrested with 10 other former senior military officers and charged with murdering 13 black people in 1987 as part of a conspiracy to create a war between the African National Congress (ANC) and the Zulu Inkhata Freedom Party. All are acquitted after a trial in 1996.
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.
04 – Russian President Boris Yeltsin makes a major change in his nation’s leadership by handing most of his power to the Russian Prime Minister.
06 – British actor, Paul Eddington of Yes, Minister fame, loses his battle with skin cancer and dies at his London home, aged 68.
07 – ‘Typhoon Angela’ strikes the Philippines and Vietnam. The category 5 typhoon leaves 882 dead and causes over $315 million in damage.
10 – Writer and human rights activist, Ken Saro-Wiwa, is executed in Nigeria despite worldwide pleas for clemency. Mr Saro-Wiwa and eight other dissidents are taken in chains to a prison in the southern city of Port Harcourt and hanged. Nigeria is suspended from the Commonwealth the following day.
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 Karadžić with genocide during the Bosnian War.
16 – The Queen Mother has her right hip replaced in an operation in London.
20 – Nearly 23 million people tune in to watch an interview on BBC 1 with Diana, Princess of Wales. She discusses her children, her depression and bulimia in candid detail with reporter Martin Bashir, and admits to an adulterous affair with her riding instructor, James Hewitt.
21 – The Beatles‘ song Free as a Bird is released simultaneously across the world.
22 – Rose West is sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering 10 women and children, including her daughter and stepdaughter. The judge recommends she is never released.
30 – President Bill Clinton receives a rapturous welcome from the people of Northern Ireland. The president and the first lady are mobbed by ecstatic crowds both on the Protestant Shankill Road and the Catholic stronghold of the Falls Road. He is the first serving US president to visit the country
02 – Former futures trader Nick Leeson is jailed for 6½ years for his part in the collapse of Barings – Britain’s oldest merchant bank.
05 – Sri Lankan troops drive the Tamil Tiger guerrillas out of their heartland capital of Jaffna after a 49-day operation.
07 – Singer Michael Jackson collapses on stage during a rehearsal at the Beacon Theater in New York. He is hospitalised with dehydration and low blood pressure.
08 – Headteacher Philip Lawrence is stabbed outside St George’s Catholic School in Maida Vale, west London, after going to help a 13-year-old pupil who is being attacked by a gang just outside the school gates. He dies in hospital from his injuries. 15-year-old Learco Chindamo is found guilty of murdering Mr Lawrence and sentenced to life imprisonment.
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.
13 – Following the death of a young black man in police custody, riots break out in Brixton, London. 22 people are arrested and three police officers are injured.
14 – The Dayton Peace Agreement is signed in Paris and the 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.
15 – After being banned for 34 years, Playboy magazine can now be sold in Ireland.
20 – American Airlines Flight 965 goes off course while travelling from Florida to Cali, Colombia. The Boeing 757 crashes into a mountain near Buga, killing 160 of the 164 people on board.
20 – The Queen urges the Prince and Princess of Wales to seek “an early divorce”. The prince is in agreement with his mother but the princess has yet to respond.
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 . . .
- Everton beat Manchester United 1–0 to win the FA Cup
- AFC Ajax win the UEFA Champions League, defeating AC Milan 1–0
- Frank Bruno takes the World Boxing Championship heavyweight title, beating Oliver McCall in 12 rounds