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.
08 – Scientists announce their discovery that the galaxies are accelerating and moving apart at even faster speeds.
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.
22 – Suspected Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski pleads guilty and accepts a sentence of life without the possibility of parole.
28 – Gunmen hold at least 400 children and teachers hostage for several hours at an elementary school in Manila, Philippines.
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.
06 – Beach 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.
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).
02 – Images from the spacecraft Galileo reveal that Jupiter’s moon Europa has a liquid ocean and a source of interior heat.
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.
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.
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, outrageous vocalist with The Plasmatics, dies in woods near her home in Connecticut from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
07 – George 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 Accord, involves the creation of a Northern Ireland Assembly.
15 – Pol Pot, former dictator of Cambodia, dies of a suspected heart attack a year after he is deposed as the leader of the Khmer Rouge. He is 73.
06 – Apple launches the iMac – the product that is 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 the first of Europe’s new single currency coins, known as the Euro.
14 – Chairman of the Board Frank Sinatra dies of a heart attack in Los Angeles, aged 82.
28 – Tension between India and Pakistan is heightened when Pakistan tests five nuclear devices under the mountains near its border with Afghanistan.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
24 – Saving Private Ryan premieres in cinemas.
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.
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.
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.
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.
10 – Gary Glitter appears in court on child pornography charges.
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 that has been in force since 1989, stating that the Iranian government will “neither support nor hinder assassination operations on Rushdie”.
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 in Los Angeles.
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.
16 – UK police place former Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet under house arrest during his treatment for a medical condition in Britain.
03 – Batman 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. All 47 member states of the Council of Europe are bound by its judgments.
09 – The United Kingdom formally abolishes the death penalty.
13 – President Clinton agrees to pay Paula Jones $850,000 to drop her sexual harassment lawsuit.
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.
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.