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International Year of the Ocean
* January: A massive ice storm, caused by El Ni–o, strikes New England,
southern Ontario and Quebec, resulting in widespread power failures,
severe damage to forests, and a number of deaths.
* January 1 - Smoking is banned in all California bars and restaurants
* January 2 - Russia begins to circulate new rubles to stem inflation and
* January 6 - The Lunar Prospector spacecraft is launched into orbit
around the moon and later found evidence for frozen water on the moon's
* January 8 - Ramzi Yousef is sentenced to life in prison for planning
the World Trade Center bombing.
* January 8 - Cosomolgists announce that the expansion rate of the
universe is increasing.
* January 12 - 19 European nations agree to forbid human cloning.
* January 14 - Researchers in Dallas, Texas present findings about an
enzyme the slows aging and cell death (apoptosis).
* January 15 - The stalker of Howard Stern, Lance Carvin, is sentenced to
2 1/2 years for threatening to kill Stern and his family.
* January 16 - NASA announces that John Glenn will return to space when
Space Shuttle Discovery blasts off in October 1998.
* January 17 - Paula Jones accuses President Bill Clinton of sexual
* January 22 - Suspected "Unabomber" Theodore Kaczynski pleads guilty and
accepts a sentence of life without the possibility of parole.
* January 26 - Lewinsky scandal: On American television, Bill Clinton
denies he had "sexual relations" with former White House intern Monica
* January 26 - Compaq buys Digital Equipment Corporation
* January 27 - American First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton appears on the
Today show calling the attacks against her husband were part of a "vast
* January 28 - Ford Motor Company announces the buyout of Volvo for $6.45
* January 28 - Gunmen hold at least 400 children and teachers hostage for
several hours at an elementary school in Manila, Philippines.
* January 29 - In Birmingham, Alabama a bomb explodes at an abortion
clinic killing one and severely wounding another. Serial bomber Eric
Rudolph is suspected as the culprit.
* February - Iraq disarmament crisis: The United States Senate passes
resolution 71, which urged President Bill Clinton to "take all
necessary and appropriate actions to respond to the threat posed by
Iraq's refusal to end it's weapons of mass destruction programs."
* February - Roger Nicholas Angleton committed suicide in a prison cell
in Houston, Texas by cutting himself with razor blades. He admitted to
murdering socialite Doris Angleton in her River Oaks home in his
* February 3 - A United States Military pilot causes the death of 20
skiers in Italy riding on a lift suspended by a cable snapped by the
* February 3 - Karla Faye Tucker is executed in Texas becoming the the
first woman executed in the United States since 1984.
* February 4 - An earthquake measuring 6.1 on the Richter Scale in
northeast Afghanistan kills more than 5,000.
* February 6 - Washington National Airport is renamed Ronald Reagan
Washington National Airport.
* February 6 - Crown Prince Abdullah becomes the ruler of Jordan by
decree of his father, King Hussein.
* February 10 - A college dropout becomes the first person to be
convicted of a hate crime committed in cyberspace.
* February 10 - Voters in Maine repeal a gay rights law passed in 1997
becoming the first U.S. state to abandon such a law.
* February 12 - The presidential line-item veto is declared
unconstitutional by a United States federal judge.
* February 14 - Authorities in the United States announce that Eric
Rudolph is a suspect in an Alabama abortion clinic bombing.
* February 18 - Two white separatists were arrested in Nevada and accused
of plotting a biological attack on New York City subways.
* February 20 - Iraq disarmament crisis: Iraqi President Saddam Hussein
negotiates a deal with U.N. secretary-general Kofi Annan, allowing
weapons inspectors to return to Baghdad, preventing military action by
the U.S. and Britain.
* February 23 - Tornadoes in central Florida destroy or damage 2,600
structures and kill 42.
* February 28 - Serbian police begin to wipe out so-called "terrorist
gangs" in Kosovo.
* March 2 - Data sent from the Galileo spaceprobe indicates that
Jupiter's moon Europa has a liquid ocean under a think crust of ice.
* March 4 - Gay rights: The Supreme Court of the United States rules that
federal laws banning on-the-job sexual harassment also apply when both
parties are the same sex.
* March 5 - NASA announced that that the Clementine spaceprobe orbiting
the moon had found enough water in polar craters to support a human
colony and rocket fueling station.
* March 5 - NASA announces the choice of United States Air Force Lt. Col.
Eileen Collins as commander of a future Space Shuttle Columbia mission
to launch an X-ray telescope making Collins the first woman commander
of a space shuttle mission.
* March 10 - American troops stationed in the Persian Gulf begin to
receive the first vaccinations against anthrax.
* March 14 - An earthquake measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale hits
* March 23 - At the Academy Awards ceremony Titanic wins 11 Oscars.
* March 24 - In Jonesboro, Arkansas, two young boys (aged 11 and 13
years) fire upon students at Westside Middle School while hidden in
woodlands near the school. Four students and one teacher are killed and
* March 27 - The FDA approves Viagra for use as a treatment for male
impotence, becoming the first pill to be approved to treat this
condition in the United States.
* April 5 - In Japan, the Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge linking Shikoku with
Honshu and costing cost about US$3.8 billion, opens to traffic,
becoming the largest suspension bridge in the world.
* April 6 - Pakistan tests medium-range missiles capable of hitting
* April 7 - Citicorp and Travelers Group announce plans to merge creating
the largest financial-services conglomerate in the world, Citigroup.
* April 8 - Iraq disarmament crisis: UNSCOM reports to the UN Security
Council that Iraq's declaration on its biological weapons program is
incomplete and inadequate.
* May 7 - Apple Computer unveils the iMac.
* May 7 - Mercedes-Benz buys Chrysler for US$40 billion and forms
DaimlerChrysler in the largest industrial merger in history.
* May 11 - Nuclear testing: In the Rajasthan Desert, India conducts its
second series of underground nuclear tests (the first were in 1974) and
inflaming its rival neighbor Pakistan (who already has nuclear
* May 13 - Following India's second round of nuclear tests the United
States and Japan impose economic sanctions on the nation.
* May 15 - Iraq disarmament crisis: UNSCOM learns that an Iraqi
delegation has travelled to Bucharest to meet with scientists who can
provide the country with missile guidance systems.
* May 18 - Microsoft antitrust case: The United States Department of
Justice and 20 U.S. states file an antitrust case against Microsoft.
* May 21 - School shooting: At Thurston High School in Springfield,
Oregon, Kipland Kinkel (who was suspended for bringing a gun to school)
shoots a semi-automatic rifle into a room filled with students killing
2 wounding 25 others after killing his parents at home.
* May 21 - Reproductive rights: In Miami, Florida, five abortion clinics
are hit by a butyric acid attacker.
* May 21 to September 30 - Expo '98 is held in Lisbon, Portugal, with the
title "Oceans, an Heritage for the Future". UNESCO had previously
declared 1998 to be the International Year of the Oceans due to the
Expo. 12 million people attend the world fair.
* May 22 - Lewinsky scandal: A federal judge rules that United States
Secret Service agents can be compelled to testify before a grand jury
concerning the scandal.
* May 23 - Explorer I ceases transmission.
* May 27 - Oklahoma City bombing: Michael Fortier is sentenced to 12
years in prison and fined $200,000 for failing to warn authorities
about the terrorist plot.
* May 28 - Nuclear testing: Pakistan responds to a series of Indian
nuclear tests with six of its own promting the United States, Japan and
other nations to impose economic sanctions.
* May 30 - A 6.6 magnitude earthquake hits northern Afghanistan killing
up to 5,000.
* June 3 - Eschede train disaster: an ICE high speed train derails,
causing 101 deaths.
* July 5 - Japan launches a probe to Mars, and thus joins the United
States and Russia as a space exploring nation.
* July 10 - The DNA-identified remains of United States Air Force 1st Lt.
Michael Joseph Blassie arrive home to his family in St. Louis, Missouri
after being in the Tomb of the Unknowns since 1984.
* July 10 - Catholic priests' sex abuse scandal: The Diocese of Dallas
agrees to pay $23.4 million to nine former altar boys who claimed they
were sexually abused by former priest Rudolph Kos.
* July 17 - In St. Petersburg, Nicholas II of Russia and his family are
buried in St. Catherine Chapel 80 years after he and his family were
killed by Bolsheviks.
* July 17 - A tsunami triggered by an undersea earthquake destroys 10
villages in Papua New Guinea killing an estimated 1,500, leaving 2,000
more unaccounted for and thousands more homeless.
* July 17 - Biologists report in the journal Science how they sequenced
the genome of the bacterium that causes syphilis, Treponema pallidum.
* July 24 - Russel Eugene Weston Jr. bursts into the United States
Capitol and opens fire killing two police officers. He is later ruled
to be incompetent to stand trial.
* July 25 - The United States Navy commissions the aircraft carrier USS
Harry S. Truman and puts her into service.
* July 28 - Monica Lewinsky scandal: Ex-White House intern, Monica
Lewinsky receives transactional immunity in exchange for her grand jury
testimony concerning her relationship with US President Bill Clinton.
* August 5 - Iraq disarmament crisis: Iraq officially suspends all
cooperation with UNSCOM teams.
* August 7 - 1998 U.S. embassy bombings: Bombing of the United States
embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya kills 224
people and injures over 4,500.
* August 17 - Monica Lewinsky scandal: US President Bill Clinton admits
in taped testimony that he had an "improper physical relationship" with
White House intern Monica Lewinsky. On the same day he admits before
the nation that he "misled people" about his relationship.
* August 20 - The Supreme Court of Canada states Quebec can not legally
secede from Canada without the federal government's approval.
* August 20 - 1998 U.S. embassy bombings: The United States military
launches cruise missile attacks against alleged al-Quaida camps in
Afghanistan and a suspected chemical plant in Sudan in retaliation for
the August 7 bombings of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The
al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory in Khartoum is destroyed in the attack.
* August 26 - Iraq disarmament crisis: Scott Ritter resigns from UNSCOM,
sharply criticized the Clinton administration and the U.N. Security
Council for not being vigorous enough about insisting that Iraq's
weapons of mass destruction be destroyed. Ritter told reporters that
"Iraq is not disarming," "Iraq retains the capability to launch a
* September 29 - Iraq disarmament crisis: The United States Congress
passes the "Iraq Liberation Act", which states that the U.S. wants to
remove Saddam Hussein from power and replace the government with a
* October 6 - Matthew Shepard, a Wyoming college student, is found tied
to a fence, the victim of a gay-bashing. He dies on October 12,
becoming a symbol of victims of gay-bashing and sparking public
reflection on homophobia.
* October 7 - Oslo Fornebu Airport closes.
* October 8 - Oslo Gardermoen Airport opens.
* October 31 - Iraq disarmament crisis: Iraq expels U.N. inspectors from
* November 13-14 - Iraq disarmament crisis: U.S. President Clinton orders
airstrikes on Iraq. Clinton then calls it off at the last minute when
Iraq promises once again to "unconditionally" cooperate with UNSCOM
* November 18 - Iraq disarmament crisis: UNSCOM inspectors return to
* November 23-26 - Iraq disarmament crisis: According to UNSCOM, Iraq
once again ends cooperation with the U.N. inspectors, alternately
intimidating and withholding information from them.
* December 11 - Iraq disarmament crisis: Iraq announces that U.N. weapons
inspections will no longer take place on Friday, the Muslim day of
rest. Iraq also refuses to provide test data from the production of
missiles and engines.
* December 16-19 - Iraq disarmament crisis: U.S. President Clinton orders
American and British airstrikes on Iraq. UNSCOM withdraws all weapons
inspectors from Iraq.
* December 19 - Iraq disarmament crisis: Iraqi vice-president Taha Yassin
Ramadan announces that Iraq will no longer cooperate and declares that
UNSCOM's "mission is over."
* December 21 - Iraq disarmament crisis: UN Security Council members
France, Germany and Russia call for sanctions to end against Iraq. The
three Security Council members also call for UNSCOM to either be
disbanded or for its role to be recast. The U.S. says it will veto any
* December 26 - Iraq disarmament crisis: Iraq announced its intention to
fire upon US and British warplanes that patrol the northern and
southern "no-fly zones".
* December 29 - Leaders of the Khmer Rouge apologize for the genocide in
Cambodia that claimed over 1 million in the 1970s.
* The third World Parliament of Religions is held in Cape Town
* United States Congress passes, the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension
Act, which gives copyright holders 20 more years of copyright privilege
on work which they control the copyright. This effectively freezes the
public domain to works created before 1923 in the United States.
Art, Culture & Fashion
* 1998 in film
o Shakespeare in Love
o Saving Private Ryan starring Tom Hanks
* 1998 in literature
o Building Western Civilization: From the Advent of Writing to the
Age of Steam - Alan I. Marcus
* 1998 in television
o Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? premieres in the U.K.. A year
later, Regis Philbin would host an American version.
o The Price is Right, airs his 5,000th episode on CBS
* January 4 - Mae Questel, actress
* January 5 - Sonny Bono, singer, actor, United States Representative
* January 8 - Michael Tippett, composer
* January 15 - Junior Wells, musician
* January 19 - Carl Perkins, guitarist
* January 21 - Jack Lord, actor
* February - Roger Nicholas Angleton, admitted to murdering Doris
Angleton on the suicide note
* February 6 - Carl Wilson, musician ("The Beach Boys")
* February 6 - Falco, singer
* February 7 - Lawrence Sanders, author
* February 24 - Henny Youngman, comedian
* February 27 - J.T. Walsh, actor
* March 8 - Ray Nitschke, American football star
* March 10 - Lloyd Bridges, actor
* March 12 - Beatrice Wood, artist/ceramist
* March 13 - Bill Reid, Canadian artist
* March 15 - Benjamin Spock, pediatrician, writer, Olympics gold medalist
* March 31 - Bella Abzug, American politician
* April 6 - Tammy Wynette, country musician
* April 15 - Pol Pot, Cambodian dictator
* May 9 - Alice Faye, actress
* May 14 - Frank Sinatra, singer, actor
* May 15 - Earl Manigault, basketball player
* May 19 - Uno Sosuke, Japanese prime minister
* May 28 - Phil Hartman, Canadian graphic artist, writer, actor and
* May 29 - Barry M. Goldwater, Arizona Senator
* June 11 - Catherine Cookson, author
* July 3 - Danielle Bunten Berry, a.k.a. Dan Bunten, software developer
* August 26 - Frederick Reines, physicist (1995 Nobel Prize
* September 6 - Akira Kurosawa, Japanese film director
* Physics - Robert B. Laughlin, Horst L. Stšrmer, Daniel C. Tsui
* Chemistry - Walter Kohn, John A Pople
* Medicine - Robert F Furchgott, Louis J Ignarro, Ferid Murad
* Literature - JosŽ Saramago
* Peace - John Hume and David Trimble
* Economics - Amartya Sen