Home Decades 1990s 1998

1998

January

01 – A new law comes into effect in California, prohibiting people from smoking in bars and restaurants.

05 – Sonny Bono (of Sonny & Cher fame) dies in a skiing accident at South Lake Tahoe’s Heavenly Ski Resort after colliding with a tree on an intermediate slope.

07 – Former White House intern Monica Lewinsky signs an affidavit denying that she had a sexual relationship with President Bill Clinton.

08 – Scientists announce their discovery that the galaxies are accelerating and moving apart at even faster speeds.

08 – Ramzi Yousef is sentenced to life in prison for planning the New York World Trade Center bombing in 1993.

11 – Islamic extremists massacre over 400 people in an attack on two villages in the north-west of Algeria as part of an ongoing civil war that claims over 100,000 lives.

19 – American singer-songwriter Carl Perkins dies at the age of 65 at Jackson-Madison County Hospital in Jackson, Tennessee from throat cancer.

22 – Suspected Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski pleads guilty and accepts a sentence of life without the possibility of parole.

26President Clinton denies an affair with Monica Lewinsky, stating, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman”.

28 – Gunmen hold at least 400 children and teachers hostage for several hours at an elementary school in Manila, Philippines.


February

03 – A low-flying United States Marine Corps EA-6B Prowler aircraft severs the cable holding a cable car in the Dolomites (Italy), causing the death of the 20 people inside. The pilot is jailed in 1999 for conducting unauthorised manoeuvres.

04 – An earthquake in northern Afghanistan leaves thousands dead, injured or homeless. The earthquake is centred on the city of Rostaq in the remote province of Takhar, close to the border with Tajikistan.

06Beach Boys guitarist Carl Wilson dies of lung cancer aged 51. Carl’s death leaves Brian Wilson the last surviving brother of the group.

07 – Opening ceremony of the XVIII Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan.

08 – British politician Enoch Powell dies aged 85 at the King Edward VII Hospital for Officers in Westminster, London.

16 – China Airlines Flight 676 crashes into a residential area near Chiang Kai-shek International Airport, killing 202 people (all 196 onboard and 6 on the ground).


March

01 – Titanic becomes the first film to gross US$1 billion.

02 – Images from the spacecraft Galileo reveal that Jupiter’s moon Europa has a liquid ocean and interior heat source.

12 – English reggae and ska musician Judge Dread dies from a heart attack as he walks off stage after performing at The Penny Theatre in Canterbury.

24 – A school shooting at Westside Middle School in Arkansas leaves five dead and another ten injured. The suspects are identified as Mitchell Johnson (13) and Andrew Golden (11). Both suspects are students at the school.

27 – US authorities approve the drug Viagra, saying it helped two-thirds of impotent men.


April

01 – A US Federal judge dismisses the sexual harassment lawsuit brought by Paula Jones against President Clinton.

03 – Record producer Frank Farian finds 32-year-old Rob Pilatus – one-half of disgraced pop duo Milli Vanilli – dead from a drink/drugs overdose in a hotel room in Frankfurt, Germany.

Akashi Kaikyō Bridge.

04 – The longest suspension bridge in the world – the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge in Japan – opens linking Shikoku and Honshu. The 3910-metre bridge cost about $3.8 billion to build.

05 – Top drummer Cozy Powell dies in a car crash, age 50.

06 – Wendy O Williams, the outrageous vocalist with The Plasmatics, dies in woods near her home in Connecticut from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

07George Michael is arrested in Will Rogers Park, Beverly Hills, for showing his penis to an undercover police officer in a public restroom.

10 – After 30 years of bloody conflict and two years of peace talks, Great Britain and Ireland finally reach an agreement over Northern Ireland. The solution, known as the “Good Friday Agreement”, involves the creation of a Northern Ireland Assembly.

15Pol Pot, the former dictator of Cambodia, dies of a suspected heart attack a year after being deposed as the leader of the Khmer Rouge. He is 73.

17 – Linda McCartney, the wife of ex-Beatle Paul, dies of breast cancer in Tucson, Arizona, at 56.


May

06 – Apple launches the iMac – the product to revolutionise their fortunes over the next five years. Created by British designer Jonathan Ive, the iMac’s clean simple lines and iconic design are a huge hit.

11 – India undertakes its first underground test of an atomic device, in direct violation of a global ban on nuclear testing.

11 – A mint in France produces Europe’s new single currency coins, known as the Euro. Because the final specifications for the coins were not finished in 1998, they will have to be melted and minted again in 1999.

14 – Chairman of the Board Frank Sinatra dies of a heart attack in Los Angeles, aged 82.

14 – Singer George Michael pleads no contest to committing a lewd act in a public toilet, is fined $810, given 80 hours of community service and ordered to undergo counselling.

14 – The final episode of Seinfeld airs.

19 – The Galaxy IV communications satellite fails, leaving over 80% of the world’s pagers without service.

24 – Philadelphia mayor Ed Rendell declares that 24 May will be Van Halen Day in Philadelphia.

28 – Tension between India and Pakistan is heightened when Pakistan tests five nuclear devices under the mountains near its border with Afghanistan.

30 – A 6.6 magnitude earthquake hits northern Afghanistan, killing up to 5,000.

31 – “Ginger Spice” Geri Halliwell announces she has split from The Spice Girls to pursue a solo career.


June

02 – Royal Caribbean Cruises pays $9 million to settle charges of dumping waste at sea.

03 – German Inter-City Express (ICE) train the Wilhelm Conrad Rontgen slams into an overpass near the village of Eschede in the Celle district of Lower Saxony, Germany, killing 101 people. The failure is traced back to a damaged wheel that disintegrated, causing cars to derail and impact the bridge’s supports. 

08 – The memorial service for Linda McCartney at London’s St Martin-in-the-Fields church brings together publicly the three surviving BeatlesPaul, George and Ringo – for the first time in 30 years. Other mourners include Elton John, George Martin, Billy Joel and Neil Tennant.

08 – Charlton Heston is elected president of The National Rifle Association in the US.

11 – The United Nations declares an official famine in Sudan when it becomes clear that more than a million people are likely to starve. It estimates up to 1.2 million people could die in the south of the country.

25 – Microsoft releases the Windows 98 computer operating system.


July

05 – Japan joins the space race after launching the Planet-B probe to Mars in another attempt to find out whether the red planet ever supported life.

08 – Afghans are given two weeks to hand in their televisions as the Taliban continue to enforce their strict, oppressive regime banning every aspect of ‘modern’ life.

08 – The Roy Orbison estate files a $12 million lawsuit for unpaid royalties against Sony.

12 – Three young brothers are murdered in a loyalist arson attack in Ballymoney, Northern Ireland. The boys – Richard Quinn, 11, Mark Quinn, 9, and Jason Quinn, 7 – are asleep in their beds when a petrol bomb is thrown through a window at the rear of their terraced house at about 04:30 BST.

12 – France beats Brazil 3–0 in the football World Cup final.

14 – Los Angeles sues 15 tobacco companies for $2.5 billion over the dangers of passive smoking.

17 – Pamela Keary, a 17-year-old girl serving 12 years for murder, absconds from a correctional institute in Shakopee, Minnesota, and goes to see Smashing Pumpkins play a free show in Minneapolis. She is re-arrested at the show.

17 – At a conference in Rome, 120 countries vote to create a permanent International Criminal Court to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression.

23 – More than 50 ‘carbon-copy’ mice are cloned by scientists at the University of Hawaii.

24Saving Private Ryan premieres in cinemas.

25President Clinton avoids a subpoena to appear before a federal grand jury regarding the Monica Lewinsky case by agreeing to give videotaped testimony.

31 – The spaceship Lunar Prospector, which has been orbiting the moon, is deliberately crashed into the polar ice cap in an effort to find water under the lunar surface. None is discovered.


August

04 – The Second Congo War begins. 5.4 million people die before it ends in 2003, making it the bloodiest war, to date, since World War II.

07 – Bombs explode outside the American embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The terrorist attacks, which kill 224 people, prompt the first military action by the US against Osama bin Laden when President Clinton orders a strike against Al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan.

12 – Swiss banks agree to pay $1.25 billion to the victims of the World War II Holocaust. The money represents funds placed in Swiss banks by German Jews during the war and not repaid to relatives.

15 – In Omagh, Northern Ireland, 29 people die and over 200 are injured when a massive car bomb explodes in the town centre. A breakaway republican group calling themselves ‘the Real IRA’ has planned and executed the attack.

17President Clinton finally admits on television that he had an “inappropriate” relationship with Monica Lewinsky.

20 – US Cruise missiles hit suspected terrorist bases in Afghanistan and the Sudan.

28 – The prime minister of Pakistan imposes an Islamic legal system based on the Koran.


September

01 David Bowie launches his internet service provider business, “Bowienet”, offering basic internet services and exclusive Bowie-related news and online content.

03 – Swissair Flight 111 from New York to Geneva crashes in the sea off the coast of Nova Scotia just over an hour after taking off. All 229 people on board the McDonnell Douglas MD-11 aircraft are killed.

04 – Google Inc. is founded in Menlo Park, California, by Stanford University PhD candidates Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

06 – Thirty years after its original release, The Pretty Things use the internet to broadcast the first full performance of their influential rock opera S F Sorrow, live from the Abbey Road studio in which it was recorded.

09 John Lydon (Johnny Rotten) appears as a defendant on the television court show Judge Judy. The action is brought by a former drummer who sues Lydon for allegedly head-butting him.

10Gary Glitter appears in court on child pornography charges.

13 – The New York Times has to close its website after hackers known as HFG (Hacking For Girlies) continually add offensive material.

22 – Thousands of civilians are forced to flee their homes in Kosovo after Serbian soldiers, police and armed civilians flood into the north of the province.

24 – Iranian President Mohammad Khatami retracts a fatwa against Satanic Verses author Salman Rushdie in force since 1989, stating that the Iranian government will “neither support nor hinder assassination operations Rushdie”.


October

02 – Veteran cowboy star Gene Autry dies in Los Angeles.

03 – Actor Roddy McDowall (famed for the series of Planet of the Apes movies) dies of pancreatic cancer at his home in Los Angeles, aged 70.

06 – 21-year-old Matthew Shepard is beaten and left to die in a cornfield in Laramie, Wyoming for being gay. His murder brings national and international attention to hate crime legislation and in October 2009, US Congress passes the Hate Crimes Prevention Act (commonly known as the “Matthew Shepard Act”), and President Barack Obama signs the legislation into law.

09Bruce Springsteen testifies in the High Court in London as part of an ongoing battle against bootleggers.

13 – The Crossroads Centre, a drug rehabilitation centre paid for by Eric Clapton, opens in Antigua.

16 – UK police place former Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet under house arrest during his treatment for a medical condition in Britain.

19 – Producer George Martin retires from the music business.

20 – Former Spice Girls vocalist Geri Halliwell – aka “Ginger Spice” – is appointed a goodwill ambassador by the United Nations.

22 – The UN reveals that two million children have been killed in wars in the last decade.


November

03Batman creator Bob Kane dies at the age of 83 in Los Angeles.

03 – Former professional wrestler Jesse Ventura is elected Governor of Minnesota.

07 – The European Court of Human Rights opens in Strasbourg, France. Its judgments bind all 47 member states of the Council of Europe.

09 – The United Kingdom formally abolishes the death penalty.

13President Clinton agrees to pay Paula Jones $850,000 to drop her sexual harassment lawsuit.


December

08 – The FBI opens its files on Frank Sinatra to the public, revealing more than 1,300 pages of material. The files contain unproven accusations of Communist Party and Mafia links.

10 – Astronauts open the doors to the new International Space Station positioned 250 miles above the Earth’s surface.

16 – The US and Great Britain launch a three-day bombing attack on Iraq, known as ‘Operation Desert Fox’. Coalition forces bomb 100 targets with the aim of ‘degrading’ Saddam Hussein‘s capacity to produce weapons of mass destruction.

19 – The US House of Representatives votes to impeach President Clinton on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice.

22 – Cabinet minister Peter Mandelson and Geoffrey Robinson resign over home loan scandal.

26 – Six sailors die and five yachts are lost in the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, the biggest disaster in the race’s history.

29 – Khmer Rouge leaders apologise for the genocide they were responsible for in Cambodia that claimed over 1 million lives in the 1970s.


Also this year . . .

  • International Year of the Ocean
  • France beats Brazil 3–0 in the FIFA World Cup Final

Quotes of the year

“I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Monica Lewinsky. I have never told anybody a lie, not a single time – never”.
President Clinton in a televised statement made on 26 January 1998.

“I did have a relationship with Miss Lewinsky that was not appropriate”.
President Clinton in a televised statement made on 17 August 1998.