Home Decades 1990s 1996

1996

19 June. Muhammad Ali lights the flame that opens the Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia.

January

02 – US peacekeepers pour into Bosnia to try to keep the peace between Bosnian Serbs and Muslims, following the signing of the Dayton peace plan last month.

05 – Yahya Ayyash – thought to be behind a wave of Islamic suicide bombings against Israel – is killed in Gaza by a booby-trapped cellular telephone.

07 – One of the biggest blizzards in US history hits the eastern side of the country causing more than 100 deaths.

08 – Former French president Francois Mitterand dies at the age of 79.

16 – Jamaican authorities open fire on Jimmy Buffet’s seaplane, which is carrying Buffet and singer Bono from U2. They later apologise, explaining that they mistakenly thought the plane belonged to a drug trafficker.

18 – Lisa Marie Presley files for divorce from Michael Jackson.

20 – Polls open in the first-ever election for a Palestinian President and parliament. Yasser Arafat wins the poll for President, taking 88% of the vote.

22 – Andreas Papandreou, Prime Minister of Greece, resigns due to health problems. A new government forms under Costas Simitis.

26 – US First Lady Hillary Clinton testifies before a grand jury in relation to the Whitewater scandal.

31 – 91 people are killed and another 1,400 injured in a Tamil Tiger suicide attack in the capital of Sri Lanka.

February

05 – The first genetically modified, or GM, food goes on sale in British supermarkets.

09 – The IRA ceasefire ends when a one-ton bomb explodes in London’s Canary Wharf district, killing two people.

9 February. The aftermath of the IRA bomb at Canary Wharf, London.

10 – A chess computer called ‘Deep Blue’ defeats the world chess champion, Garry Kasparov, for the first time. Although the IBM machine wins one game – the first computer to win a chess game against a reigning world champion – Kasparov wins the overall match.

15 – In south-west Wales, the oil tanker Sea Empress runs aground, spilling 73,000 tonnes of crude oil, killing many birds.

16 – A Chicago-bound Amtrak train, the Capitol Limited, collides with a commuter train bound for Washington DC, killing 11 people.

18 – IRA bomber Edward O’Brien is killed and eight are hurt after a bomb explodes on a double-decker bus in the heart of London’s West End. O’Brien is blown up and killed by his own device when it accidentally detonates.

March

02 – Australian Labor Prime Minister Paul Keating loses to Liberal leader John Howard in federal elections.

06 – Chechen rebels attack the Russian government headquarters in Grozny. 70 Russian soldiers and policemen and 130 Chechen fighters are killed.

09 – Comedian George Burns dies after a long and distinguished career. He is 100.

13 – Former scout leader Thomas Watt Hamilton enters a primary school assembly hall in Dunblane, Scotland at 9:30 AM, firing bullets all around him and killing 16 children and their teacher before turning the gun on himself. The massacre persuades the British government to ban the sale and use of handguns.

13 – The Liggett Group, the smallest of America’s five major tobacco companies, shocks the tobacco industry by settling a class-action lawsuit over the detrimental health effects of smoking.

16 – Robert Mugabe is re-elected as President of Zimbabwe, although only 32% of the electorate actually vote.

16 – Long past its glory years, London’s famed Marquee Club closes down without even a final concert. The last event is a dance club night.

17 – Sri Lanka wins the Cricket World Cup by beating Australia.

19 – Sarajevo becomes a united city again after four years when Moslem-Croat authorities take control of the last district held by the Serbs.

19 – Nelson Mandela is granted a divorce from Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

20 – The British government announces that the disease BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) – more commonly known as “mad cow disease” – found in British cattle, could be transmitted to humans and that at least ten people had died from the disease.

22 – Sweden’s Finance Minister Göran Persson becomes the new Prime Minister of Sweden.

28 – Three British soldiers are found guilty of the manslaughter of Danish tour guide Louise Jensen in Cyprus. Allan Ford, Justin Fowler and Geoffrey Pernell receive life sentences for her rape and murder in September 1994.

April

02 – Former Solidarity leader Lech Walesa – who became Poland’s first post-war democratic president – resumes his old job as an electrician at the Gdansk shipyard.

03 – Theodore J Kaczynski, a 53-year-old loner, is arrested and charged with being the so-called Unabomber. His 18-year bombing campaign killed 3 people and injured 23 others.

3 April. The arrest of Unabomber, Theodore J Kaczynski.

03 – US Secretary of Commerce Ronald H Brown perishes, along with 34 others, when his military plane crashes into a mountain in Dubrovnik, Croatia.

03 – Massacres of Hutus by Tutsis in Burundi take place with more than 450 killed within a few days.

09 – In a common statement, the European Union officially recognises the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

11 – Israeli planes and helicopters launch airstrikes against targets in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, for the first time in nearly 14 years – codenamed “Operation Grapes of Wrath”. At least five people are killed and several wounded in the attacks on the Syrian-controlled Beka’a Valley.

16 – Prince Andrew and his wife Sarah announce they are to divorce after ten years of marriage.

18 – Over 100 Lebanese civilians are killed after Israel shells the United Nations compound in Qana.

18 – Seventeen Greek tourists and an Egyptian tour guide are killed by gunmen in Cairo.
Another 15 are injured, three critically, when the attackers open fire on a group outside the Europa Hotel. The Islamic group, al-Gamaa al-Islamiya, admits it was behind the attack, in reaction to the Qana Massacre.

21 – A general election in Italy proclaims a new centre-left government headed by Romano Prodi, replacing Silvio Berlusconi.

24 – The PLO changes its charter to omit the commitment to destroying Israel. The Israeli government responds by dropping a similar clause concerning the existence of Palestine.

28 – Martin Bryant shoots dead 32 people in the tourist town of Port Arthur in Tasmania (Australia). Bryant is captured after a 16-hour siege in which he kills a further three people. He is found guilty of murder in November 1996 and sentenced to life imprisonment with no possibility of parole.

May

09 – South Africa’s National Party pulls out of the coalition government formed two years earlier, and the African National Congress assumes full political control.

10 – A sudden storm engulfs Mount Everest with several climbing teams high on the mountain, leaving eight people dead. By the end of the month, at least four other climbers die in the worst season of fatalities on the mountain to date.

10 – The Australian government introduces a nationwide ban on the private possession of both automatic and semi-automatic rifles, in response to the Port Arthur massacre on 28 April.

11 – When The Smashing Pumpkins play at The Point Depot in Dublin, Eire, a crush develops in front of the stage. Injured audience member Bernadette O’Brien is pulled out of the crush but dies the following day.

23 – Göran Kropp reaches the Mount Everest summit alone without oxygen, after having cycled there from Sweden.

June

07 – An IRA gang kills Detective Garda Jerry McCabe during a botched armed robbery in Adare, County Limerick.

08 – China sets off an underground nuclear blast.

13 – After an 81-day standoff, 16 members of the Freemen, a right-wing extremist group, surrender to FBI officers in Montana. 14 members are charged with threatening federal officers and defrauding banks and businesses of more than $1.8 million.

14 – Guernsey (one of the UK’s Channel Islands) votes to legalise abortion. The previous law from 1910 meant women faced life imprisonment if found guilty of having a termination.

15 – The IRA detonates a 1,500-kilogram (3,300 lb) lorry bomb on Corporation Street in the centre of Manchester, England. It is the biggest bomb detonated in Britain since the Second World War. More than 200 people are injured but there are no fatalities.

15 June. The aftermath of the IRA bomb in Manchester, England.

23 – Archbishop Desmond Tutu is given an official farewell at his retirement service.

25 – A truck bomb kills 19 American soldiers and wounds 300 people in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. No suspects are apprehended.

29 – The Prince’s Trust concert is held in Hyde Park, London, and is attended by 150,000 people. The Who headlines the event in their first performance since 1989.

July

01 – Actress Margaux Hemingway commits suicide in her apartment at Santa Monica, California. Four other members of her family have previously taken their own lives, including her famous grandfather, writer Ernest Hemingway.

08 – Three young children and four adults are attacked by a man with a machete at an infant school in Wolverhampton. Horrett Irving Campbell, 33, is found guilty and sent to a secure mental hospital for an indefinite period, suffering from severe schizophrenia.

17 – A TWA Boeing 747 explodes off the coast of Long Island shortly after takeoff from New York’s Kennedy International Airport, killing all 230 people aboard. Theories about the blast onboard Flight 800 blame mechanical failure, fuel tank explosion, terrorist action or accidental downing by a missile from a nearby military base, but findings remain inconclusive.

19 – Muhammad Ali – displaying the typical shaking symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease – lights the flame that opens the XXVI Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia.

19 – Bosnian Serb President Radovan Karadžic resigns after being indicted on war crimes charges and the issue of an international arrest warrant.

25 – An explosion on the Paris Metro underground rail system marks the start of a bombing campaign by the Armed Islamic Group. The attacks continue until October, killing eight people and wounding hundreds.

27 – A bomb explodes in a park in Atlanta, Georgia, during Summer Olympics festivities, killing one person and injuring 100. Security guard Richard Jewell is briefly held as a suspect, then released. He later files defamation suits against the FBI and various media outlets.

August

04 – Josia Thugwane becomes the first black South African to win an Olympic gold medal, after finishing first in the marathon.

09 – Boris Yeltsin is sworn in at the Kremlin for a second term as President of Russia.

13 – Data sent back from the Galileo space probe indicates that there may be water on one of Jupiter’s moons, heightening the possibility it could once have supported life.

17 – Texan billionaire Ross Perot announces he intends to stand as the Reform Party’s presidential candidate.

28 – The marriage of Prince Charles and Princess Diana officially comes to an end with the granting of a divorce decree nisi. Diana loses her royal title (Her Royal Highness) and is now known simply as Diana, Princess of Wales.

28 August. Divorce of Princess Diana and Prince Charles.

29 – A Russian Tupolev 154 jetliner crashes into a mountain as it approaches the airport at Spitsbergen, Norway, killing all 141 people on board.

30 – The attempted raising of a 15-tonne section of the RMS Titanic fails, as 1,700 spectators, including survivors of the wreckage, watch.

September

03 – The United States launches ‘Operation Desert Strike’ against Iraq in reaction to the attack on Arbil.

07 – 25-year-old American rapper Tupac Shakur is killed in a drive-by shooting following a feud between East and West coast gangs and rappers. New York rapper Notorious B.I.G. is shot dead in a revenge attack six months later.

11 – David Bowie becomes the first major artist to release a single (Telling Lies) which is only available on the Internet.

12 – Ricardo López sends a package, containing an acid bomb, to Icelandic singer Björk with the intention to kill or disfigure her, and then commits suicide. The package is intercepted by Scotland Yard four days later, before doing any harm.

18 – A North Korean Sang-O-class submarine runs aground in South Korea. The crew are described as spies by the South Korean government and killed by the South Korean military.

24 – The world’s major powers sign the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) to end all testing and development of nuclear weapons.

26 – Astronaut Shannon Lucid sets an American record for time in space after spending 188 days aboard Russia’s MIR space station.

27 – The Taliban seize control of Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, and kill former president Najibullah and his brother, publicly hanging their bodies from lamp posts. Strict Islamic dress becomes compulsory, including beards for men, while women are required to stay indoors.

October

02 – Former Prime Minister of Bulgaria, Andrey Lukanov, is assassinated.

08 – IRA terrorists plant bombs at a heavily secured British army base south-west of Belfast: 31 soldiers and civilians are injured.

08 – Demolition workers tear down the former home of mass murderers Fred and Rosemary West.

14 – Madonna gives birth to a baby girl, Lourdes, at the Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles.

23 – The civil trial of OJ Simpson opens in California.

26 – The New York Yankees win the World Series for the first time since 1978, defeating the Atlanta Braves 3–2 to win the series in six games.

November

05 – Bill Clinton is re-elected as US president. Clinton wins a second term after a presidential race against Republican Bob Dole, taking 48% of the vote.

05 – Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s government is dismissed by President Farooq Leghari after widespread allegations of corruption.

07 – A huge cyclone hits India, leaving fishing villages marooned after waves surge as far as 3 miles inland with wind speeds of up to 140 mph.

07 – NASA launches the Mars Global Surveyor.

11 – The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund unveils The Wall That Heals, a half-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, which will tour communities throughout the USA.

11 – 13 are killed and 70 wounded in a bomb blast in a Moscow cemetery during a service for veterans of the Afghanistan war.

14 – Michael Jackson marries Debbie Rowe (a nurse who allegedly works for his plastic surgeon) in Sydney, Australia. A few days earlier he announced that he and Debbie are expecting a child.

14 November. Marriage of Michael Jackson and Debbie Rowe in Sydney, Australia.

16 – Mother Teresa receives honorary US citizenship.

18 – A fire in the Channel Tunnel causes two injuries and one tunnel is closed for seven months for repairs.

19 – Space Shuttle Columbia conducts the longest mission of the Space Shuttle program.

19 – Martin Bryant is sentenced to 35 consecutive sentences of life imprisonment plus 1,035 years without parole for murdering 35 people in a shooting spree in Tasmania earlier this year.

23 – A hijacked Ethiopian passenger jet crashes into the Indian Ocean just 500 metres from land after running out of fuel. More than 100 people are killed.

26 – The Sands Hotel in Las Vegas is imploded to make way for the Venetian Hotel.

29 – Bosnian Serb army soldier Drazen Erdemovic is sentenced by a UN court to ten years in prison for his role in the massacre of 1,200 Muslims – the first international war crimes sentence since WWII.

30 – Tiny Tim, the eccentric ukulele-playing entertainer, dies at the age of 71.

December

04 – The Mars Pathfinder probe is launched.

05 – Clinton appoints Madeline Albright, US representative to the United Nations, to be his new Secretary of State. She becomes the first woman to hold the post.

09 – UN Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali approves a deal allowing Iraq to resume its exports of oil and easing the UN trade embargo imposed in 1990.

11 – South African President Nelson Mandela signs the country’s new constitution.

16 – Britain’s agriculture minister announces the slaughter of an additional 100,000 cows thought to be at risk of contracting BSE, in an effort to persuade the EU to lift its ban on British beef exports.

18 – The Oakland CA school board passes a resolution to treat black English, or “Ebonics”, as a second language. Controversy predictably ensues.

20 – Steve Jobs’ company NeXT is bought by Apple Computer, the company co-founded by Jobs.

25 – Crooner Dean Martin dies in Los Angeles.

26 – The body of six-year-old beauty pageant contestant JonBenét Ramsey is found dead in the basement of her Boulder, Colorado, home. Her death is originally thought to be the result of a bungled kidnapping, but when her wealthy parents John and Patsy refuse to cooperate with the investigation, speculation increases that they were somehow involved and that local police have bungled crucial evidence in the case.