Chronology: APRIL 2 Belarus signs accord Belarusian Pres. Alyaksandr Lukashenka and Russian Pres. Boris Yeltsin signed a treaty creating an "integrated political and economic community." Even though the two nations agreed to form the union, for the present they remained totally independent and sovereign. Nothing had been decided about merging at some future date. Belarus, Russia, Kazakstan, and Kyrgyzstan earlier had signed a pact that committed them to strengthening economic ties. Speaking mainly to those who were pondering the significance of growing cooperation between the former Soviet republics, Yeltsin remarked, "Those who do not lament the disintegration of the Union do not have a heart. But those who are dreaming of its restoration do not have a brain." 3 Unabomber suspect nabbed U.S. federal agents in Montana apprehended Theodore J. Kaczynski, who they believed was the serial killer known as the "Unabomber." On April 4 Kaczynski, a former university professor, was charged with the federal felony of possessing materials used in destructive devices. Over a period of 17 years, the Unabomber had killed 3 persons and injured 23 with explosives sent through the mail. Kaczynski was tracked down after his brother notified the FBI that in his mother's house he had come across papers suggesting that Theodore might be the long-sought terrorist. Ron Brown dies in crash U.S. Secretary of Commerce Ronald Brown died, along with 32 other Americans and 2 Croatians, when a U.S. Air Force jet crashed into a mountain in Croatia. Brown was visiting Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina with other U.S. government officials and businessmen. The purpose of their visit was to secure contracts to help rebuild the war-damaged nations. There were indications that human error and bad judgment had caused the accident. Afrikaners go to prison Five members of the Afrikaner Resistance Movement were sentenced to 26 years in prison for killing 21 persons in three 1994 bombings. The white extremists were part of an effort by right-wing elements to disrupt South Africa's first all-race parliamentary elections. Of the 13 others who were put on trial, 4 were acquitted and 5 given prison sentences of a minimum of three years. The sentencing of four others was suspended because they had escaped. U.K. to hold referendum British Prime Minister John Major announced that his Cabinet had agreed to a national referendum to decide whether Great Britain should join the European Monetary Union and accept a common European currency. Kenneth Clarke, chancellor of the Exchequer, had threatened to resign if the Cabinet sought public approval of its policy in a referendum, the first ever sanctioned by a ruling Conservative Party government. Clarke agreed to stay on after Major assured him that he would force the resignation of any Cabinet member who publicly advocated rejection of the referendum before the voters had cast their ballots. 4 U.S. trims farm supports President Clinton signed legislation that would eliminate or drastically reduce federal subsidies and price supports that benefited farmers. The Freedom to Farm Act, which had received strong support in both the Senate (74-26) and the House of Representatives (318-89), was expected to save the government some $2 billion over seven years. Among other things, under the new law, which took into account many different situations, subsidies that farmers had been paid not to grow crops that were in oversupply would be reduced gradually for seven years, at which time they would cease. Sugar, peanut, and tobacco farmers were among those who would not be affected by the new policy. 6 Chaos reigns in Liberia The worst factional fighting in more than three years turned Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, into a battlefield. It also disrupted a peace plan designed to end the civil conflict. Following the declaration of a cease-fire, a six-man Council of State had been established to run the government while the warring parties disarmed and preparations were made for elections in August. The uncertain calm gave way to violence when the council ordered the arrest of faction leader D. Roosevelt Johnson on murder charges. When his followers began seizing Lebanese women and children as well as West African peacekeeping personnel, the U.S. quickly moved to evacuate hundreds of its citizens and other foreign nationals whose lives were in jeopardy. A new cease-fire was announced on April 19, but it did not solve the problems of the more than one million people--half the population--who remained homeless. 7 Korean DMZ violated North Korean troops ended three days of military exercises in the demilitarized zone that separated North and South Korea. Because there was no sign of an impending attack against the South, political analysts speculated that the North was merely attempting to convince UN officials that it would be in their interest to conclude a bilateral treaty with the North formally ending the Korean War. North Korea had previously stipulated that South Korea was to be excluded from the treaty negotiations. 10 Clinton veto criticized President Clinton's veto of a bill that would have outlawed "partial-birth" abortions was denounced, as expected, by pro-life groups. The House of Representatives had approved the legislation by more than the two-thirds majority required for overriding a veto, but the Senate had not. The medical procedure, performed only after 20 weeks of a pregnancy, involved the partial removal of a fetus and the crushing of the skull or the sucking out of the brain. Sen. Bob Dole summed up his position, saying, "A partial-birth abortion blurs the line between abortion and infanticide and crosses an ethical and legal line we must never cross. President Clinton now stands on the wrong side of this line." Clinton defended his veto on the grounds that such abortions were rare and resorted to only when the mother or fetus had serious medical problems that were discovered after it was too late to perform other types of abortion. China turns to Europe China's offer to buy 30 passenger planes from Airbus Industrie, a European consortium, was formally approved by French Prime Minister Alain Jupp during a meeting in Paris with Chinese Premier Li Peng. Because the U.S.-owned Boeing Co. dominated the Chinese market, it appeared that Chinese officials were venting their displeasure with the U.S. for its criticism of China's human rights record and, among other things, its perceived reluctance to crack down on Chinese companies pirating copyrighted materials. 11 Africa bans nuclear arms During a meeting in Cairo, representatives from virtually all of the African nations signed a treaty banning nuclear arms from the continent. The signatories pledged not to test, build, or stockpile nuclear weapons of any kind. To give added meaning to the treaty, China, France, the U.K., and the U.S. signed protocols promising not to test or use nuclear weapons in Africa or use the continent as a dumping ground for nuclear waste. Russia, the only other nation that publicly acknowledged having a nuclear capability, objected to parts of the treaty, including a section that excluded the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia, where the U.S. maintained a military base. Kim's party flounders South Korean Pres. Kim Young Sam's New Korea Party lost its majority in the National Assembly, but it did not suffer the stinging defeat many had predicted before the legislative election. This was due in part, some analysts believed, to a desire on the part of many voters to support the government in the face of provocations from North Korea. Kim had cited North Korea's military exercises in the demilitarized zone as a reminder that the nation must be ever vigilant. The balance of power in the new legislature was such that Kim would be able, with expected support from independents, to continue his program of economic and political reforms without having to form a coalition government. 12 Pakistan gets U.S. arms In a letter to Congress, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott revealed that the Clinton administration had decided to deliver $368 million worth of military equipment to Pakistan. The shipment would not include the 28 F-16 fighter jets Pakistan had already paid for. A 1985 amendment to a U.S. foreign aid bill had prohibited the sale of military items to countries thought to be developing nuclear weapons. The president, consequently, had to certify that Pakistan was qualified to receive the shipment, which had been delayed because Pakistan had purchased from China 5,000 ring magnets that could be used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons. 17 Brazilian police kill 19 At least 19 members of Brazil's landless peasant movement were killed when Par state police tried to open a highway they were blocking. Police claimed that they had fired on the crowd only after peasants had fired at them. A professionally shot videotape, shown on national television, proved otherwise. On countless occasions members of the landless movement had occupied unused sections of large rural estates to press their case for land redistribution. Many of the local police ordered to evict the trespassers were said to be paid by the estate owners. The peasants and their cause had a friend in Pres. Fernando Henrique Cardoso, who had signed decrees expropriating rural land from large estates. 18 Israeli shells hit camp More than 100 civilians were killed and numerous others injured when Israeli soldiers fired artillery shells into a UN camp at Qana, Leb., that housed Lebanese refugees. For days Israeli warplane and helicopter gunships had been hitting various targets in Lebanon as part of a military operation against Hezbollah (Party of God) guerrillas who had launched rockets into northern Israel. On April 26 both Israel and Hezbollah signed a cease-fire agreement. Tourists killed in Egypt Islamic militants shot and killed 18 Greek tourists outside their hotel about 30 km (20 mi) from Cairo. There was some evidence that the terrorists had mistakenly thought that the tourists were Israelis. The attack, like others before it, was an attempt to cause turmoil in Egypt and destabilize the pro-Western government of Pres. Hosni Mubarak. The Muslim Brotherhood, tolerated but officially banned, called the murders "a disgrace to humanity." The police later rounded up 1,500 Islamic fundamentalists in a sweep through three poor areas of Cairo. 20 Bolivians end strike A month-long strike came to an end when the Bolivian Workers' Central, which represented most of the country's public-sector workers, reached an agreement with the government. It included a 13% pay raise for teachers and a 9% increase for other workers. The state-employed teachers had walked out on March 18 to protest their low wages and government plans to privatize some state-owned industries. The teachers were then joined by students, health care personnel, public transportation employees, and workers in the oil industry. On April 2 some 50,000 strikers had created chaos in the streets of La Paz, the capital, by looting stores and hurling sticks of dynamite at police. 21 Italy holds election For the first time in Italian history, a leftist coalition emerged from parliamentary elections with a plurality of seats in both the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies. The victorious Olive Tree coalition, led by Romano Prodi, included the Democratic Party of the Left (PDS) and the Italian Renewal Party formed by Prime Minister Lamberto Dini. Massimo D'Alema, the popular leader of the PDS, was urged to seek the prime ministership, but he declined. He said he believed that Prodi would be a better choice and would be well received by the electorate, in part because most Italians did not associate him with a political system that they considered corrupt. 22 Eurotunnel reports loss Sir Alastair Morton, cochairman of the Anglo-French authority that operated the Channel Tunnel (Eurotunnel), reported a loss of $1.4 billion during 1995. Morton said that the tunnel's 225 creditor banks had not yet responded to proposals for restructuring the debt, but he expressed optimism about the future because the tunnel was handling about 45% of the freight and passenger traffic moving across the English Channel. 24 PLO revokes basic policy Fulfilling a pledge Yasir Arafat had made to Israel at the signing of a second-stage peace accord in September 1995, the Palestine National Council voted 504-54, with 14 abstentions, to rescind clauses in the Palestine Liberation Organization's (PLO's) charter that called for guerrilla warfare against Israel and the destruction of the Jewish state. Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres referred to Arafat, the newly elected president of the Palestine National Authority, as an integral partner in Israel's search for peace. He also characterized the modifications made in the PLO charter as the most important change in ideology in a century. Chechen leader slain Secessionists in Russia's autonomous republic of Chechnya confirmed reports that Pres. Dzhokhar Dudayev had been killed three days earlier when his jeep was hit by a rocket fired from a Russian plane. At the time, Dudayev was reportedly using a cellular phone to converse with a Russian negotiator. The phone signal was evidently used to target the rocket. A Russian official later took credit for the "assassination." Dudayev, a former general in the Soviet air force, had led the fight for Chechen independence after being elected president in 1991. His death, some felt, would motivate Chechens to resist the Russian army with renewed determination. French doctors strike Three of the four French doctors unions, upset that access to the public health system would be restricted by some of the budget-cutting reforms announced by Prime Minister Alain Jupp, called a protest strike even though they knew the ordinances would take effect after being debated in the National Assembly. When Jupp first unveiled his proposals in 1995, the social security budget deficit was projected to reach $3.3 billion. Subsequent calculations nearly doubled that figure. The government concluded that the only feasible solution was to adopt a managed-care system similar to those now widely used by U.S. health care providers. Under Jupp's plan, patients would have to consult general practitioners before visiting specialists. Records, moreover, would identify those who overused the public health system. 26 Germany cuts welfare Faced with a budget deficit that was becoming intolerable, German Chancellor Helmut Kohl announced a series of welfare reforms and spending cuts. Earlier in the month he had failed to persuade employers and workers to back his proposals. He continued to argue, however, that Germany's generous welfare system could no longer be financed because of recent downturns in the economy. The plan he presented included a reduction in the "solidarity surcharge" earmarked for the development of former East Germany as well as cuts in such areas as state pensions, benefits accorded certain immigrants, and wages received by workers during long-term illnesses. 27 Pipeline deal sealed Kazakstan, Oman, and Russia signed an agreement to build a 1,400-km (900-mi) oil and gas pipeline running from western Kazakstan through Russia to the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiysk. The three nations would hold a 50% interest in the consortium. The other 50% would be owned by eight oil companies. The major participants would be Chevron Corp. with a 15% interest, the Russian oil company Lukoil with 12.5%, and Mobil Corp. with 7.5%. The project, expected to cost at least $1.2 billion, was scheduled for completion in the year 2001. 28 Gunman slays 35 In what was described as the worst massacre in Australian history, a gunman killed 35 people in Port Arthur, Tasmania. The incident occurred at an old colonial prison frequented by tourists. After killing 20 people in a small cafe, he used a semiautomatic rifle to murder 12 more people visiting the prison ruins. He then held three persons hostage in a guest cottage, which he set afire the next morning. The man was captured when he fled the burning building, but the three hostages had burned to death. Chronology: AUGUST 1 Aydid dies of wounds The leader of the most powerful clan in strife-torn Somalia, Gen. Muhammad Farah Aydid, died from wounds he had sustained on July 24 in factional fighting. A few days later Hussein Muhammad Aydid, his son, was named his successor. Aydid had been instrumental in overthrowing the president, Gen. Muhammad Siad Barre, in January 1991. When the dictator departed, he left behind a nation facing economic ruin and riven by rival clans vying for political power. In 1992 the UN authorized a humanitarian mission to alleviate mass starvation. The effort was hailed as a major success, but Aydid's forces so bedeviled the UN forces that the Security Council ordered Aydid's arrest, to no avail. In March 1995 the UN finally abandoned its goal of bringing peace to the region and establishing a functioning government. 2 Korean airspace opened The International Air Transport Association announced that after 16 months of negotiations, North Korea had agreed to grant overflight privileges to international airlines. All parties to the agreement would benefit financially because North Korea would collect overflight dues and airlines would save substantial quantities of fuel by flying more direct routes to certain destinations. Although North and South Korea remained political enemies, South Korean aircraft would also be allowed to fly over North Korean territory after the pact went into effect in December. 4 Summer Olympics end After 16 days of competition, closing ceremonies for the Summer Olympic Games were held in Atlanta, Ga. Some 10,000 athletes representing 197 Olympic federations had participated in the athletic events. Officials were pleased that for the first time in history, all the invited delegations had attended what was the centenary of the modern Olympic Games. Among many other memorable moments, Josia Thugwane finished just three seconds ahead of Lee Bong Ju of South Korea in the marathon. It was the closest such finish in Olympic history and the first time a black South African had won an Olympic gold medal. 6 Epidemic strikes Japan Health authorities in Japan announced that the 9,000 cases of food poisoning reported from several regions of the country constituted an epidemic. Medical personnel then began to implement measures to protect the general public. The rare bacterium that caused the outbreak was identified as E. coli O157:H7. This caused concern because the infection could cause kidney failure and brain damage even though its visible symptoms (vomiting, fever, diarrhea, cramps) were generally classified as minor. Seven deaths had already been reported. Tainted radishes were thought to be the source of the problem because students in state-run schools in Sakai and residents of a retirement home in Habikino had become sick after eating the suspect radishes provided by the same supplier. NASA assesses meteorite Daniel Goldin, head of NASA, reported that scientists had made "a startling discovery that points to the possibility that a primitive form of microscopic life may have existed on Mars more than three billion years ago." He noted that the evidence, while compelling, was not conclusive. The 1.9-kg (4.2-lb) meteorite studied by the scientists was the oldest of 12 meteorites found on Earth and identified as having come from Mars. The one being analyzed had been found in Antarctica in 1984. If the meteorite did indeed provide evidence of primitive life, it would be the first direct indication that life had existed beyond Earth. William Schopf, an expert on ancient Earth bacteria, remarked during a news conference that in his opinion it was "unlikely" that the meteorite contained evidence of biological activity. 9 Burundi faces embargo Zaire formally declared an embargo against its neighbour Burundi. Among all the nations that had committed themselves to such action during an emergency meeting of the Organization of African Unity on July 31, Zaire was the last to make a public announcement. The aim of the sanctions was to force Maj. Pierre Buyoya, who had been named president after a successful coup on July 25, to restore democracy. Buyoya, a member of the Tutsi clan, had traveled to Uganda and Tanzania in late July to ask for understanding, but his pleas for help were ignored despite repeated assurances that he would restore democracy eventually and make no distinction in his treatment of Tutsi and the rival Hutu. Tobacco firm loses case After two days of deliberations, a six-member jury in Jacksonville, Fla., ordered Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. to pay $750,000 in damages to a man who had developed lung cancer after smoking the company's cigarettes for some 40 years. In only one of numerous earlier cases had a jury decided that a cigarette manufacturer was guilty of marketing a defective product and of not adequately informing the public of the danger of smoking. The jury's verdict in that case had been overturned on appeal. 16 Gorilla rescues child An eight-year-old female gorilla called Binti Jua astonished attendants at the Brookfield Zoo near Chicago when she rescued a three-year-old boy who had fallen over the guardrail and into the gorilla pit 5 m (18 ft) below. The gorilla gently picked up the injured boy and carried him to an entrance so that zoo personnel could easily reach him. Zookeepers speculated that Binti Jua's unusual behaviour may have been affected by the care she had received from humans after she was abandoned by her mother shortly after birth. The young ape had later been transferred from the Cincinnati (Ohio) Zoo to one in San Francisco, then to the Brookfield Zoo, where she had continued to be hand reared. Zookeepers believed that it was the rapport Binti Jua had established with humans that caused her to treat the injured boy with apparent tenderness. They also noted that the mother gorilla carried her 17-month-old daughter on her back as she moved slowly to the entrance of the pit. 19 Australians protest cuts Hundreds of Australian students, workers, and Aborigines, some using sledgehammers and a battering ram, forced their way into the Parliament building in Canberra, the capital. Police battled the protesters for some two hours before order was restored. About 60 people were injured in the melee. The rioters had broken off from a group of 15,000 demonstrators who had taken to the streets to vent their anger over planned budget cuts that Prime Minister John Howard had said were needed to balance the federal budget by fiscal year 1998-99. Before the Liberal Party-National Party coalition government assumed power in March, Howard had pledged not to raise taxes if he was elected. Instead, he proposed to balance the budget by cutting various programs, including some that affected the sick, the elderly, students, employees, and Aborigines. The treasury minister called the cuts "balanced, strong, and fair." Others called them draconian. 20 India vetoes treaty During a UN-sponsored conference on disarmament in Switzerland, India vetoed a draft of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which outlawed all testing of nuclear weapons. China, France, the U.K., Russia, and the U.S.--the five nations that admitted possessing nuclear weapons--had already endorsed the treaty. India, however, was able to effectively kill the treaty because there was an understanding that the treaty would not take effect unless 44 specified nations (which included India) signed it. The list included Israel and Pakistan, both of which were believed capable of producing nuclear weapons. Pakistan had expressed no reservations about the treaty itself but announced that it would not be party to the arms treaty so long as India refused to add its name to the list of signatories. Students riot in Seoul South Korean police finally ended a violent student protest that began on August 12 at Yonsei University in Seoul, the nation's capital. After thousands of police surrounded two university buildings occupied by some 1,500 students, police in riot gear stormed one of the buildings. Students then evacuated the other building, aware that they could not resist such force. Before the confrontation ended, however, more than 1,000 students and police sustained injuries. The ultimate goal of the students was reunification with communist North Korea. For achievement of that goal, they demanded that the U.S. withdraw all its troops from South Korea and negotiate a bilateral treaty with the North. South Korea was to have no role in the negotiations. The positions taken by the students were judged by most people to be so extreme that few thought anything could be gained by addressing their demands directly. Russia leads arms sales The U.S. Congressional Research Service, according to a report published in the New York Times, had calculated that in 1995 Russia led all other countries in arms sales to developing nations. (For purposes of the study, the term "developing nations" included all nations except Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, and the members of NATO.) Russian arms sales were estimated to have been worth about $6 billion, more than 60% higher than in the previous year. By comparison, U.S. sales to developing nations in 1995 were worth $3.8 billion. Although developing nations accounted for more than half of all recent arms purchases, their expenditures for weapons had been declining for five straight years. Minimum wage raised President Clinton signed legislation raising the minimum wage in the U.S. to $4.75 an hour from $4.25, effective October 1, and to $5.15 on Sept. 1, 1997. On August 2 the House of Representatives had passed the bill by a vote of 354-72 and the Senate by a margin of 76-22. The new law allowed employees to pay a "training wage" of $4.25 an hour to workers under the age of 20 during their first 90 days on the job. The wage for workers who received gratuities remained at $2.13 an hour. Republicans generally opposed the new law, saying that it would ultimately result in layoffs for many minimum-wage workers. 21 De Klerk repeats apology During lengthy testimony before South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, F.W. de Klerk, the last president to head a white-minority government under apartheid, reiterated his apology for the pain and suffering many had endured under the official policy of racial segregation. De Klerk, however, refused to accept personal responsibility for human rights abuses, saying that he had never issued an order sanctioning torture or murder. He placed the blame on rogue security forces and on the social and political conditions of the times, which he said were conducive to violations of human rights. He claimed, moreover, that the African National Congress and other black groups were partly responsible for the hostile attitudes that then prevailed. Some days later Eugene de Kock was found guilty on 89 of 121 criminal charges, including 6 counts of murder. He had committed the crimes while serving as a high-ranking police officer during the apartheid era. 22 U.S. reforms welfare President Clinton signed a welfare reform bill that, he contended, would "make welfare what it was meant to be: a second chance, not a way of life." At the same time, he acknowledged that the new legislation was "far from perfect." He then promised to work to have certain provisions of the law amended. On July 31 the House of Representatives had passed the measure by a vote of 328-101; the vote in the Senate the next day was 78-21. The new law, which was expected to save the federal government $55 billion over six years, replaced the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program with lump sum payments to the states. They would, within certain limitations, determine how their welfare programs would be designed and administered. Most families that had been on welfare for a total of five years would be denied benefits. Heads of households who failed to find jobs within two years would have their benefits reduced. Most welfare benefits would be denied to legal immigrants who were not citizens. These and other provisions of the highly complex legislation were vociferously denounced by the National Organization for Women, the Children's Defense Fund, and others. Hindus die in storm Several hundred Hindus lost their lives in the Himalayas after being trapped by a sudden snowstorm that had begun on August 22. Six days earlier the first of some 80,000 Hindus had set out on an annual pilgrimage to the Amarnath Cave to pay homage to an ice statue of Shiva, the paramount Hindu god, who is both destroyer and restorer. Because many of those making the trek were lightly clothed and walking barefoot, officials sought to call off the pilgrimage once they became aware of the magnitude of the storm, but many of the worshipers had already made their way into the mountainous state of Jammu and Kashmir. 23 Police invade church French riot police used axes to break down the doors of a Roman Catholic church in Paris in order to remove some 300 illegal African immigrants who had taken refuge inside. Armed with tear gas and night sticks, the police entered St. Bernard de la Chapelle and forcibly evicted those who resisted. More than 200 illegal immigrants were then transported to detention centres, but those who had grown weak from a prolonged hunger strike were taken to military hospitals for treatment. A few of the aliens were immediately deported to Africa. Popular reaction to the raid was mixed. Some expressed sympathy for the immigrants, especially for those who had lived in France for years. By August 26 most of the detainees had been released, but the government indicated that the majority would not be granted permanent residence in France. 26 Chun sentenced to death Three judges representing the District Criminal Court in Seoul, S.Kor., sentenced former president Chun Doo Hwan to death after finding him guilty on charges related to the 1979 coup that brought him to power and to the massacres of pro-democracy demonstrators in the city of Kwangju in 1980. He was also convicted of bribery. Roh Tae Woo, who succeeded Chun, was sentenced to 22 1/2 years in prison for having supported the coup and accepted bribes. In addition, Chun was fined the equivalent of $270 million and Roh slightly more--the amount of money each was said to have received illegally. The judges also found dozens of businessmen and military officers guilty on a wide variety of charges, some related to bribery. Cuba convicts Vesco Robert Vesco, who had been wanted by U.S. authorities for more than 20 years on charges of embezzlement, drug trafficking, and making an illegal $200,000 contribution to Richard Nixon's 1972 presidential campaign, was convicted in Havana on charges of fraud and illicit economic activity. His partner in marketing the drug Trixolane without government approval was Donald Nixon, Jr., a nephew of the former president. Nixon was arrested along with Vesco, but he was released and allowed to return to the U.S. Trixolane had been marketed as a wonder drug capable of curing a wide range of diseases, including cancer and AIDS. 27 Illegals denied aid Implementing one provision of a referendum that had been approved by California voters in 1994, Gov. Pete Wilson signed an executive order that prohibited state agencies and state-funded institutions of higher learning from providing benefits to illegal immigrants. Wilson had delayed action until the courts had disposed of legal challenges. Illegal aliens could attend public primary and secondary schools and receive emergency medical care, but they remained ineligible for such benefits as public housing and prenatal care. The Justice Department had not yet decided how a person's legal status would be verified. Opponents of the referendum argued that the denial of ordinary health care would force illegal aliens to flock to more expensive hospital emergency rooms. 30 Farrakhan accepts reward The leader of the Nation of Islam, Louis Farrakhan, accepted a human rights award in Tripoli, the capital of Libya. He declined the $250,000 cash prize that accompanied the award because he had been informed by the U.S. Treasury Department that receiving such money would be a violation of U.S. law. Farrakhan vowed to take his case to the courts. After leaving Libya he visited Iran, Iraq, The Sudan, and Cuba, all of which had been classified by the U.S. government as sponsors of terrorism and put under economic sanctions. While in Cuba, Farrakhan called such punishment inhumane. 31 Peace comes to Chechnya Using the unrestricted authority he had been granted by Russian Pres. Boris Yeltsin, Aleksandr Lebed, secretary of Russia's Security Council, reached agreement with the commander of the Chechen secessionist army to cease hostilities and terminate the 21-month-old civil conflict. Gen. Aslan Maskhadov agreed that his people would set aside their demand for independence for five years. Lebed remarked that the two sides could then sort out their relationship "with cool heads, calmly and soberly." In the interim, a joint commission would monitor the withdrawal of all Russian troops from Chechnya and work to reduce crime and acts of terrorism in the region. Chronology: DECEMBER 1 Jiang visits India Chinese Pres. Jiang Zemin ended a four-day visit to India after he and Indian Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda had signed a series of accords aimed at reducing tensions between their countries. Among other things, the two leaders agreed to reduce the number of troops each country had stationed along the 4,000-km (2,500-mi) common border. In 1962 fierce border skirmishes had driven the two countries farther apart, but in 1976 the two nations restored diplomatic relations. After Jiang's visit serious differences remained, including China's reported sale of armaments and nuclear technology to Pakistan, India's longtime rival. Jiang's visit had special significance because he was the first Chinese head of state to visit India since the country became independent in 1947. Lucinschi wins election In a runoff election for the presidency of Moldova, Petru Lucinschi, a left-of-centre independent and the speaker of Parliament, defeated incumbent Pres. Mircea Snegur by capturing 54% of the vote. Lucinschi, who had been a member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union before Moldova became independent, promised to promote Moldovan neutrality and to respect the powers granted to Parliament. 2 OSCE to update pact During their fourth summit meeting in Lisbon, the 54 members of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) began discussions on updating the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty, which had been signed by NATO and the Warsaw Pact nations in 1990. With the Warsaw Pact no longer a reality and NATO preparing to expand its membership in Central and Eastern Europe, OSCE considered it an appropriate time to reset limits on tanks, artillery, and military aircraft deployed in Europe in order to allay Russian concerns about its security. 3 Gay unions become issue Kevin S.C. Chang, a circuit court judge in Honolulu, ruled that a state ban on same-sex marriages was unconstitutional and ordered the state to issue licenses for such unions. On the following day lawyers for the state were granted a stay pending the outcome of an appeal to the state Supreme Court. Anticipating Chang's ruling, in September the U.S. Congress had passed the Defense of Marriage Act, which denied federal recognition of same-sex marriages and federal benefits to partners in such unions. 4 U.S. launches Mars probe The unmanned space vehicle Mars Pathfinder began a seven-month voyage to Mars that was scheduled to reach its destination on July 4, 1997. Its main science mission was to study the Martian atmosphere and investigate the geology and chemical composition of the planet's rocks and soils. When Pathfinder took off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, it carried a 10-kg (22-lb) wheeled rover device dubbed Sojourner. The rover was designed to move slowly across the surface of Mars taking photographs, gathering other scientific data, and testing autonomous-vehicle technology on the Martian terrain. 5 Clinton fills Cabinet posts Madeleine Albright, well known in the international community as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, was nominated by President Clinton to replace Warren Christopher as secretary of state. There was near unanimous agreement that her appointment would be approved after a brief pro forma hearing before the Senate. Albright, who was born in Czechoslovakia, was regarded as an expert on European affairs. She had strongly backed U.S. military intervention in Haiti, Iraq, and Bosnia and Herzegovina and had supported the establishment of war-crimes tribunals to punish those responsible for atrocities committed in Rwanda and the Balkans. Other Clinton nominations included William Cohen for the post of secretary of defense and Anthony Lake as director of central intelligence. Taiwan reacts to setback John Chang, the foreign minister of the Republic of China on Taiwan, announced that his government was recalling its ambassador to South Africa, terminating $80 million in annual aid, and suspending most of the treaties the two had signed. Officials on Taiwan felt that they had no other choice after South Africa announced on November 27 that it was severing diplomatic ties with the Republic of China at the insistence of the People's Republic of China. South Africa had been one of 30 countries that maintained a formal diplomatic relationship with the government on Taiwan. 7 Ghanaians reelect Rawlings The people of Ghana reelected Jerry Rawlings president by giving him 57.2% of their votes. John Kufuor, his closest rival, was favoured by 39.9% of the electorate. In contests for seats in the unicameral House of Parliament, Rawlings's National Democratic Congress captured 130 of the 200 seats. The former air force pilot, after seizing power in 1981, had headed a military government until 1992. Then, after an election denounced as fraudulent by his opponents, he assumed the office of president as a civilian. International observers declared the most recent election free and fair. 9 Iraqi oil deal approved Boutros Boutros-Ghali, secretary-general of the United Nations, gave final approval to a plan that would allow Iraq to resume its exportation of oil in order to alleviate a serious shortage of food and medicine; some money would also be used to reimburse victims of Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait. A similar plan approved by the UN in May had been shelved after Iraq intervened militarily in a conflict between Kurdish factions in the northern part of the country. On December 10 Iraqi Pres. Saddam Hussein turned on a pumping station to symbolize Iraq's reentry into the world's oil markets. 10 Mandela signs new charter South African Pres. Nelson Mandela signed a new constitution that completed a transition from a long period of white-minority rule to full-fledged democracy. A broad bill of rights immediately became the law of the land, but certain other provisions of the charter would take effect in stages. Following recommendations made by the Constitutional Court, the final document gave somewhat greater powers to a 60-member Council of Provinces, which replaced the 90-member Senate as the upper house of the bicameral national legislature. The signing ceremony took place at Sharpeville, a township 55 km (35 mi) from Johannesburg. That site was chosen because it had been the scene of a 1960 massacre of antiapartheid demonstrators. Mandela remarked, "Out of the many Sharpevilles which haunt our history was born the unshakeable determination that respect for human life, dignity, and well-being must be enshrined as rights beyond the power of any force to diminish." 11 Hong Kong leader chosen A 400-member special election committee, approved by China, overwhelmingly chose Tung Chee-hwa to fill the office of chief executive of Hong Kong when the British crown colony reverted to Chinese sovereignty on July 1, 1997. Tung, who had been highly successful as head of the Orient Overseas International Ltd. shipping company founded by his father, was generally favoured by the business community, but his endorsement of China's plan to dissolve the colony's elected legislature and replace it with appointees had riled pro-democracy activists. The current governor of Hong Kong, Christopher Patten, challenged Tung to defend Hong Kong's interests after he assumed office

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