Chronology: APRIL 1 tienne Tshisekedi, a long-time political enemy of Zaire's president, Mobutu Sese Seko, is elected prime minister by the parliament (see March 24). An arbitrator appointed by the U.S. Supreme Court recommends that historic Ellis Island be divided between the states of New Jersey and New York. 2 The presidents of Russia and Belarus sign a charter leading in the direction of the unification of the two states (see June 10). Capt. Craig Button breaks formation in his A-10 Thunderbolt fighter airplane, carrying four bombs, over Arizona, flies off toward the Rocky Mountains, and crashes into a mountainside in Colorado. The state of Michigan reports 153 cases of hepatitis traced to strawberries imported from Mexico; several other states are also at risk. Gary Sheffield signs the largest deal in baseball history--a $61 million six-year extension of his contract with the Florida Marlins. 3 Helmut Kohl announces that he will seek a record fifth four-year term as chancellor of Germany. Swiss police reveal that the government is preparing to seize $100 million held in bank accounts by Ral Salinas de Gortari, brother of the former president of Mexico, who has been implicated in drug trafficking (see April 9). The Dubayy World Cup horse race, with a prize of $4 million, is won by Singspiel, owned by Sheikh Muhammad and ridden by American Jerry Bailey. 4 The U.S. space shuttle Columbia, with a crew of seven, lifts off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on a planned 16-day mission to research the effects of lack of gravity. 5 American poet Allen Ginsberg dies in New York City. The running of the Grand National steeplechase at Aintree, Eng., is postponed because of a bomb threat from the Irish Republican Army. 6 A parcel bomb explodes at the home of Lieut. Gen. Tin Oo, a top official of the ruling junta in Myanmar (Burma), killing Tin Oo's daughter. The Nicorette, a 24.4-m (80-ft) yacht, skippered by Finnish captain Ludde Ingvall, breaks the record for Atlantic crossing by nonmotorized monohull vessels that had stood since 1905; the time is 11 days 13 hours 22 minutes from Sandy Hook, N.Y., to Lizard Point, Cornwall, Eng. 7 Under heavy pressure because of mounting evidence of police brutality against civilians, the Brazilian government adopts legislation classifying torture as a crime and establishes an official Human Rights Secretariat to monitor police conduct. The Pulitzer Prizes are announced in New York City; among the winners are Lisel Mueller's Alive Together: New and Selected Poems for poetry and Wynton Marsalis's jazz opera Blood on the Fields, the first jazz composition to win a Pulitzer Prize for music. Pres. Hashemi Rafsanjani of Iran formally opens the $1.1 billion Tabriz petrochemical complex. French Polynesia reports a 46% growth in the sale of black pearls in 1996; pearl sales contribute 90% of the territory's import revenues. 8 President Mobutu declares an emergency situation in Zaire and imposes military rule as forces led by rebel leader Laurent Kabila consolidate and expand their control in the east of the country (see May 16). Roman Catholic Archbishop Francis E. George of Portland, Ore., is named archbishop of Chicago, replacing Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, who died in November 1996; he is formally installed on May 7. 9 A new government under Prime Minister Mario Frick is announced in Liechtenstein (see March 10). Prosecutors in Mexico City present evidence suggesting that former president Carlos Salinas de Gortari covered up the role of his brother Ral in a 1994 political assassination (see April 3). Lockheed Martin rolls out its new F-22 fighter jet for the U.S. Air Force in Marietta, Ga. 10 A German court announces its findings that the highest circles in Iran ordered the killing of exiled Iranian Kurdish leaders in Berlin in 1992; all European Union nations withdraw their ambassadors from Tehran in protest. A report published by the World Wildlife Fund warns that apes are under such environmental pressure, especially from war and deforestation, that they could become extinct. 11 In India the government of Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda resigns after losing a vote of confidence in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of Parliament. The San Giovanni Cathedral in Turin, Italy, is gutted by fire, but the most famous relic housed in its Guarini Chapel, the Shroud of Turin, is not damaged. The journal Science publishes a report that suggests that life began on Earth around a volcano, where the chemical and thermal conditions for the first biochemical compounds exist. 12 Pope John Paul II arrives in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, for a two-day visit during which he meets separately with representatives of the three ruling factions and conducts mass in a football stadium on April 13. The Museum of African American History opens in Detroit. 13 Tiger Woods breaks multiple records when he shoots a 270--18 under par--in the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga. Jacques Villeneuve, driving a Williams-Renault, wins the Argentine Grand Prix auto race at Buenos Aires. 14 James McDougal, a former business associate of Pres. Bill Clinton, is sentenced to a three-year prison term plus $4.3 million in fines for having illegally obtained federal loans for the Whitewater land-development project. Sverre Fehn, whose work is little known outside his native Norway, is named the recipient of the Pritzker Architecture Prize for 1997. The Indigenous Parliament of the Americas, an institution pledged to promote the interests of the native populations of Latin-American countries, opens its 12th congress in Guatemala City, Guat. 15 In Belgium the parliamentary committee set up to investigate the murders by pedophiles of a number of children accuses the police and judicial system of gross incompetence in handling the affair. The inspector general of the U.S. Department of Justice reports "extremely serious and significant problems" with the research conducted in the crime labs of the FBI, including laboratory results used in some very prominent recent trials. 16 Rolf Bloch, head of the Swiss Federation of Hebrew Congregations, is named by the Swiss government to oversee a fund for Holocaust victims (see January 23). 17 About 50,000 people, including many landless peasants who marched 1,000 km (600 mi) in 70 days across the country, demonstrate in Braslia, the Brazilian capital, against the land policies of Pres. Fernando Henrique Cardoso. Hundreds of demonstrators gather in Cayenne, French Guiana, to protest the arrest of eight pro-independence militants and clash with police; the actions continues on April 22-23. Two paleontologists report in the journal Nature that they have discovered fossil remains of a very primitive snake that has short but well-developed hind legs; the creature lived in a shallow sea in present-day Israel about 95 million years ago. 18 A diplomatic impasse between the U.S. and Russia develops in Washington, D.C., over an exhibit of Tsarist jewels that was to have been shown in Houston, Texas, but has been recalled to Moscow for the celebration of its 850th anniversary (see September 5). Researchers at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Cambridge, Mass., report that they have discovered the harpoonlike mechanism by which the AIDS virus penetrates cells. The Newseum, a museum dedicated to the news in all forms, opens in Arlington, Va. 19 Bulgaria holds a general election in which the centre-right United Democratic Forces coalition wins decisively; the UDF nominates its chairman, Ivan Kostov, for prime minister. American actress Brooke Shields and American tennis player Andre Agassi are married in Monterey, Calif. 20 Citing lack of evidence, state prosecutors in Israel drop charges against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he improperly appointed Attorney General Roni Bar-On. Sweden defeats Germany to win the men's crown in the world curling championships in Bern, Switz.; Canada defeated Norway in the women's event on April 19. 21 Bomb threats from the Irish Republican Army paralyze London during the morning rush hour; terrorist activity has increased during the run-up to the May 1 British general elections. A 40-man contingent of the People's Liberation Army from China quietly assumes its post in Hong Kong, the first deployment of an expected 10,000-man PLA force to be stationed there. In accord with the wishes of "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry and counterculture guru Timothy Leary, their ashes, as well as those of 22 others, are launched into orbit aboard the Spanish MiniSat research satellite. 22 Peruvian government commandos free 72 hostages held for four months in the Japanese ambassador's residence in Lima; one hostage is wounded and later dies of a heart attack, and all 14 rebels from the Tpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement perish in the action. The Armed Islamic Group is blamed for the brutal massacre of 93 villagers 19 km (12 mi) south of Algiers, the Algerian capital. Chinese Pres. Jiang Zemin begins a four-day visit in Russia; on April 24 the presidents of China, Russia, Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan sign an agreement to reduce the number of troops stationed along the former Sino-Soviet border. The Ontario government votes to merge the six municipalities of Metropolitan Toronto as of Jan. 1, 1998. 23 The city of Gdansk, Pol., begins the celebration of its 1,000th anniversary on the Feast Day of Swiaty Wojciech (St. Adalbert), who was martyred in 997. After 145 years of spirited in-person trading, the floor of the Toronto Stock Exchange closes; trading will henceforth be conducted on the TSE electronically. 24 The prosecution opens its case against Timothy J. McVeigh, accused of the bombing of the federal office building in Oklahoma City, Okla., in 1995 (see March 31, June 2). A group of paleontologists announces the discovery of a trove containing a large number of fossilized dinosaurs in northeastern China. 25 District Judge William Osteen of North Carolina rules that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has the authority to regulate tobacco as a drug although it lacks the authority to regulate tobacco advertising and promotion. 26 In South Africa Winnie Madikizela-Mandela wins reelection as president of the African National Congress Women's League (see December 17). The Super National Scholastic Chess Championships open in Knoxville, Tenn., drawing some 4,300 junior chess players to the largest chess tournament ever held in the U.S. 27 The crest of the flooding Red River, which caused heavy damage in the north-central U.S., especially North Dakota, crosses the border into Manitoba (see August 9). The Lantau Link, comprising the Tsing Ma suspension bridge and the Kap Shui Mun cable bridge, officially opens part of a chain of projects linking Hong Kong and the new Chep Lap Kok airport, which is now under construction. Arceli Keh, a woman in southern California, reveals that she had given birth to a baby girl in 1996 at the age of 63; she is believed to be the oldest woman ever to give birth. 28 Russia's Pres. Boris Yeltsin signs a series of economic decrees designed by his new team of aides and intended to restrict the energy and transport monopolies. Richard L. McLaren and members of his secessionist Republic of Texas movement free two hostages after police deliver a member who had been jailed (see May 3). 29 The worldwide Chemical Weapons Convention takes effect after ratification by 88 countries; the U.S. ratified the treaty on April 24, but Russia and a number of other states known to possess such weapons have failed to do so. U.S. astronaut Jerry M. Linenger and Russian cosmonaut Vasily Tsibliyev complete the first-ever Russo-American space walk, a five-hour excursion from the Russian space station Mir (see January 14). Sgt. Delmar Simpson, the first of 12 U.S. Army drill instructors at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, to stand trial for sexual misconduct, is convicted on 18 of 19 counts of rape. 30 The so-called Mothers of Plaza de Mayo gather in Buenos Aires to commemorate the 20th anniversary of their protest of the disappearance of their children, the desaparecidos, at the hand of Argentina's military government. Alexis Herman is confirmed by the U.S. Senate as secretary of labour after her nomination was delayed by concerns about her fund-raising activities in 1996, when she held a high political post. Ellen Morgan, the character played by Ellen DeGeneres on the television sitcom "Ellen," announces that she is a lesbian, the first openly homosexual lead character in an American prime-time television series. Chronology: AUGUST 1 Two aerospace giants, the Boeing Co. and McDonnell Douglas Corp., merge in a $16.3 billion deal, creating the world's largest aerospace group. The United States lifts a ban on the sale of high-tech weapons to Latin-American countries; the prohibition on sales dates from 1977. Queen Elizabeth II dedicates the American Air Museum in Duxford, Cambridgeshire, Eng., a memorial to American air power in the 20th century, especially the U.S. 8th Air Force, which flew bombing missions against Nazi Germany from Great Britain. 2 Charles G. Taylor is inaugurated as president of Liberia; he led one of the military factions in the protracted civil war and is the first elected president of Liberia in 12 years. William S. Burroughs, American author who helped to define the Beat movement, dies in Lawrence, Kan., aged 83. 3 Separatists on the Indian Ocean island of Anjouan declare the island's independence from Comoros; two days later they name Abdallah Ibrahim president (see September 3). China announces the discovery of a previously unknown colony of some 30 pandas in Gansu province; reportedly fewer than 1,000 pandas in about 20 discrete groups survive in the wild in China. 4 Negotiations in Washington, D.C., break down between the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and United Parcel Service, and the union goes on strike; UPS handles 80% of the parcels delivered in the U.S. (see August 19). For the first time since the Korean War, a telephone link between North Korea and South Korea is opened. It is reported that a U.S. government advisory panel recommends dismantling the Immigration and Naturalization Service and spreading its responsibilities among the Departments of Justice, State, and Labor. 5 The Bolivian Congress confirms Gen. Hugo Bnzer Surez as president; he had served in that office once previously. The budget bill signed by U.S. Pres. Bill Clinton includes a radical reduction of "home rule," the governmental autonomy of the District of Columbia, for at least four years but provides for an infusion of about $1 billion into the capital's treasury. 6 A Korean Airlines Boeing 747-300 crashes on the island of Guam, killing at least 225. The Cambodian National Assembly confirms the appointment of Foreign Minister Ung Huot as first prime minister without, however, having formally dismissed the ousted incumbent, Prince Norodom Ranariddh (see July 16). In a development that stuns the crowd at the Macworld Expo in Boston, it is announced that the Microsoft Corp., seen as a key rival, will purchase a $150 million nonvoting share in Apple Computer, Inc. 7 Four of the five former presidents of Central American countries who 10 years earlier signed the Esquipulas (Guat.) peace agreement to end the series of civil wars and unrest that were raging in the region--Oscar Arias of Costa Rica, Vinicio Cerezo of Guatemala, Jos Azcona of Honduras, and Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua (the fifth, Jos Napoleon Duarte was deceased)--reunite for the anniversary in the small Guatemalan town. On the Roman Catholic Feast Day of Saint Cajetan of Thiene, more than one million people stream through San Cayetano church in Buenos Aires, Arg., to pray to the patron of bread and work; the extraordinary turnout is seen as a protest against high unemployment and declining salaries in the country. Jean-Franois Tomb and scientists at the Institute for Genomic Research in Rockville, Md., report in the journal Nature that they have mapped the genes of the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, which is instrumental in causing ulcers and other stomach diseases. A consortium led by the Nova Corp. of Canada formally opens a $325 million natural gas pipeline across the Andes on a 465-km (290-mi) route from Argentina to Chile. 8 In order to avoid international trade conflicts with the European Union, the U.S. agrees to change a law that required a country's identification on the label of clothes made from cloth woven in that country; the law would have affected European houses that make fine apparel from silk imported from China. The journal Cell publishes two articles (and a third appears in Neuron in August) that report the discovery of the cause of cell death in Huntington's disease and several related disorders; the finding is considered a major medical breakthrough. The government of Greece announces that archaeologists have discovered the Demosion Sima, a cemetery in Athens dating to Greece's Golden Age, which may contain the graves of many classical figures. 9 Ground is broken for a levee to contain flooding from the Mississippi River at the historical city of Sainte Genevieve, Mo.; three days earlier $201 million in federal funds had been promised for recovery from the spring flooding in North Dakota (see April 27). 10 At the sixth world track and field championships in Athens, Sergey Bubka of Ukraine wins his sixth straight world pole vault championship, double the total of anyone else in a single event. Greg Maddux, a pitcher for the Atlanta Braves, signs a five-year contract for $57.5 million, the highest ever in baseball. The U.S. wins the Walker Cup, defeating the British-Irish team by 18-6 at the Quaker Ridge Golf Club in Scarsdale, N.Y. Jacques Villeneuve wins the Hungarian Grand Prix auto race at Budapest. 11 Eliminating three relatively minor provisions in a budget bill, President Clinton makes the first use of the line-item veto, a power the president was granted by Congress in 1996. The International Monetary Fund, Japan, and a group of other Asian countries offer a package that is eventually worth $17.2 billion to stabilize the tottering economy of Thailand. Crdit Suisse, Switzerland's second largest bank, announces plans to buy the Winterthur Group for about $9 billion in stock. 12 Hudson Foods, Inc., producers of beef for hamburgers, recalls 9,070 kg (20,000 lb) of ground beef patties after 20 cases of illness are reported, apparently caused by contamination of some of the company's products by Escherichia coli bacteria; on August 21 an additional 11,340,000 kg (25 million 1b) of beef are recalled and the company announces it will close its plant in Nebraska. It is announced that the Lin Television Corp. of Providence, R.I., will be bought by Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst Inc. in a deal worth more than $1.7 billion. 13 Violence breaks out in and near Mombasa, Kenya, as elections approach; several dozen persons die in weeks of clashes principally involving youths and police. The government of Ontario announces that it plans to close seven nuclear power plants near the U.S. border, primarily out of concern for the safety of the facilities. The United States defeats defending champion Italy to win the Champagne Mumm Admiral's Cup yachting race at Cowes, Isle of Wight, Eng.; this is the first American win since 1969. At the Weltklasse track and field meet in Zrich, Switz., three world records are broken: Kenyan-born Wilson Kipketer betters the 16-year-old time for the 800 m at 1 min 41.24 sec; another runner, Wilson Boit Kipketer of Kenya, runs the 3,000-m steeplechase in 7 min 59.08 sec; and Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia improves on his own record by running the 5,000-m race in 12 min 41.86 sec. 14 Several days of violence that result in the deaths of at least 70 people precede the 50th anniversary of the founding of the country of Pakistan from part of British India. Sony Corp., Philips Electronics NV, and the Hewlett-Packard Co. announce that they will not support the proposed standards for the rerecordable DVD-RAM disc technology, which threatens further instability in the home electronics market. The W.R. Grace Co. announces that it will divest itself of its packaging business, most of which will be eventually purchased by the Sealed Air Corp. for about $5 billion. Lee Berger of the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, S.Af., announces that his team has discovered footprints of an anatomically modern human on the shore of a lagoon in South Africa in sandstone dated at 117,000 years old, the oldest such record known. 15 The 50th anniversary of India's declaration of independence from British rule is marked. Pres. Eduard Shevardnadze of Georgia and Vladislav Ardzinba of the breakaway territory of Abkhazia issue statements renouncing violence in the settlement of the Caucasian territories' dispute. 16 The Turkish Grand National Assembly passes a law that would require attendance at secular schools for eight years, rather than the former five, an attempt to limit the influence of Muslim religious schools. An estimated 50,000 fans congregate in Memphis, Tenn., to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the death of rock idol Elvis Presley, who would have been 62 in 1997. 17 Golfer Davis Love III wins the Professional Golfers' Association of America championship with an 11-under-par score of 269 at the Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y. 18 The Churchwide Assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, meeting in Philadelphia, votes to draw closer to three other Protestant churches--the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the United Church of Christ, and the Reformed Church in America--and offer full communion among them. In the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City, the durable Rolling Stones announce a new 35-city tour in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico to begin in September. 19 The two-week strike by the Teamsters Union against UPS ends (see August 4). President Clinton spends his 51st birthday on the Massachusetts resort island of Martha's Vineyard. The world target championships begins in Victoria, B.C. 20 Without opposition, NATO troops in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina, take over police buildings in the city and find caches of arms believed to have been assembled for a possible coup against Pres. Biljana Plavsic. In Iran the legislature approves the Cabinet of Pres. Mohammad Khatami. Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar suddenly and unexpectedly announces that he will not again seek public office. 21 The sporting-goods manufacturer Speedo releases a new mask for swimming competitions that reduces drag around the head and goggles of the swimmer and is expected to become standard equipment in top competitions. The General Motors Corp. celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Oldsmobile; the company was established by Ranson E. Olds in Lansing, Mich., in 1897. 22 A federal judge in Little Rock, Ark., sets a date in May 1998 for jury selection to begin in the sexual harassment suit brought by Paula Jones against President Clinton. 23 The new Arthur Ashe Stadium, part of the renovation and expansion of the U.S. Tennis Association National Tennis Center at Flushing Meadows, Queens, N.Y., opens; it is officially dedicated on August 25, during the U.S. Open tournament (see September 7). In the 1997 Little League Baseball World Series, Linda Vista from Guadalupe, Nuevo Len, Mex. (Latin America region), defeats South Mission Viejo from Mission Viejo, Calif. (U.S. West region), 5-4. 24 Egon Krenz, the last leader of the former East Germany, is found guilty of manslaughter for his complicity in the shooting deaths by border policemen of persons trying to escape the country; on August 25 he is sentenced to prison for six and a half years. Cardinal Health Inc. agrees to buy the Bergen Brunswig Corp. for more than $2.4 billion plus $386 million in debt; the resulting company will be the largest drug wholesaler in the U.S. Michael Schumacher, driving a Ferrari, wins the Belgian Grand Prix auto race at Spa-Francorchamps. 25 Five major American cigarette manufacturers agree to pay $11.3 billion to settle a lawsuit by the state of Florida over the cost of health care due to smoking-related illnesses. North Korea's ambassador to Egypt, Chang Sung Gil, and his brother, Chang Sung Ho, the country's chief trade official in France, defect to the U.S. 26 F.W. de Klerk, former president of South Africa and co-recipient with Nelson Mandela of the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize, announces his resignation as head of the National Party and his retirement from politics. 27 Two gangs engage in battle in the El Dorado penal centre in Venezuela, killing 29 and injuring 13; the prison system in the country has been plagued by overcrowding and poor conditions for some years. The Asatru, a Nordic pagan sect, holds a consecration ceremony on the banks of the Columbia River at Kennewick, Wash., where in June 1996 an ancient skull--called the Kennewick Man--was discovered; the skull and its future are contested by the U.S. Corps of Engineers, custodians of the land on which the skull was discovered, Native American groups that assert the Kennewick man is an ancestor, scientists who believe the remains are of a Caucasoid man, and the pagans. 28 In California the first state law in the U.S. reversing affirmative action (legal encouragement to hire and promote the welfare of women and minorities) takes effect as thousands demonstrate against the new situation. The freestyle wrestling world championships begin in Krasnoyarsk, Russia. 29 Islamist terrorists wreak havoc in the village of Rais, Alg., brutally killing dozens of people and abducting at least 20 women. The oldest nuclear power plant in the U.S., the Big Rock Point facility near Charlevoix, Mich., is closed because it is no longer economical to run. A U.S. federal judge reduces the punitive damages awarded by a lower court in a controversial case by Food Lion supermarkets against the ABC television network and others from $5,500,000 to $315,000; two TV reporters had falsified their applications to get jobs in a supermarket in order to report on unsanitary handling of food products. New guidelines for handling doctrinal differences within the Roman Catholic Church are made public in Rome. 30 The names of chemical elements 101-109 become official as the Council of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry ends a long selection procedure. The World Amazigh Congress, dedicated to the promotion of Berber identity throughout North Africa, completes its inaugural four-day meeting in Tafira, Canary Islands. The Houston Comets defeat the New York Liberty 65-51 in the inaugural Women's National Basketball Association championship in Houston, Texas; Cynthia Cooper of the Comets is chosen Most Valuable Player (see March 11). 31 Diana, princess of Wales, her friend Emad Mohamed al-Fayed, and their driver are killed in an automobile crash in a Paris highway tunnel. Indigenous leaders from Venezuela, Brazil, and Guyana end a five-day meeting in Boa Vista, Braz., with a statement urging their native peoples to be more vocal in discussing large-scale development projects that affect their lives and welfare. A five-day celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Zionist movement ends in Basel, Switz., where on Aug. 29, 1897, Thedor Herzl convened the first Zionist congress to work for a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Chronology: DECEMBER 1 Two banks in the U.S. Midwest, National City Corp. of Cleveland, Ohio, and the First of America Bank Corp. of Kalamazoo, Mich., announce a $6.7 billion merger that creates the 13th largest bank in the U.S. It is announced that the Walt Disney Co. will donate $25 million to Los Angeles for the construction of the Walt Disney Concert Hall, a major new facility for the city centre. 2 In London, representatives of 41 countries convene to discuss the whereabouts of gold and other valuable assets that were seized by the Nazi government from Jews in Germany and occupied countries before and during World War II and to plan for their restitution to the survivors of the Holocaust. Government spokesmen announce in Tegucigalpa that Carlos Flores Facuss of the centre-right Liberal Party has won the presidential election in Honduras; he defeated Nora de Melgar of the National Party and is scheduled to take office in January 1998. The annual Turner Prize, which is given to a British artist under the age of 50, is awarded to Gillian Wearing in ceremonies at the Tate Gallery in London. 3 In Ottawa, delegates from 131 countries meet to begin signing the Convention on the Prohibition, Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines; 123 nations, not including China, Russia, or the U.S., sign within a few days (see September 17). Authorities in South Korea agree to a $55 billion international package of aid to fund the retooling of the country's economy; meanwhile, activities are suspended at nine banks; five others are affected on December 10 as the Korean currency, the won, continues to fall on world markets (see December 6). 4 Eight groups of four national teams each constitute the draw for the 1998 World Cup football (soccer) finals in Marseille, France; favoured Brazil is placed in Group A with Morocco, Norway, and Scotland. Top health officials in Europe vote to ban most forms of advertising of tobacco beginning in four to five years. 5 The submission by Yoshio Taniguchi, a Japanese architect little known in the U.S., is chosen in the design competition for the expansion and remodeling of New York City's Museum of Modern Art. 6 Halla Group, a large South Korean chaebol (conglomerate), collapses, the sixth such failure in 1997 (see December 3, 18). It provides further evidence that the collapse of the East Asian economies that began in Thailand is now widespread. The Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia's Far East is hit with one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded, measuring a magnitude of 8.5 to 9; Kamchatka is sparsely settled, and, consequently, there are no reports of loss of life. 7 At a gala celebration, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., issues its annual awards to Jessye Norman, soprano; Lauren Bacall, actress; Bob Dylan, singer-songwriter; Charlton Heston, actor; and Edward Villella, dancer. 8 The Union Bank of Switzerland and the Swiss Bank Corp. announce plans to merge, creating the world's second largest bank (after the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi), with assets of some $600 billion. Jenny Shipley is sworn in as prime minister of New Zealand; the first woman to occupy the post, Shipley upset Jim Bolger in elections in November. 9 Gold prices on the London exchange fall $4.80 per troy ounce to a 19-year low of $282.90 (see November 26). In Madrid it is announced that Guillermo Cabrera Infante, a Cuban-born writer resident in London, has been awarded the Cervantes Prize, considered the top honour in Spanish-language literature. 10 The Swiss high court rules that $100 million of the money that had been salted away in banks by former dictator Ferdinand Marcos will be returned to the government of the Philippines; another $400 million in Swiss banks is expected to be returned later as well. Yugoslav and Bosnian Serb delegates walk out of a meeting of the Peace Implementation Council, the consultative mechanism set up after the Dayton peace accords in 1995, in protest against the council's reference to the Serbian area of Kosovo, over which, the Serbs say, the council has no mandate. The Palestinian Authority begins the first census of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. 11 Delegates from more than 150 countries meeting at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Kyoto, Japan, approve the Kyoto Protocol, which calls for the industrial countries to reduce emissions of industrial gases into the Earth's atmosphere; the ratification procedure is to begin in March 1998. A federal judge in Washington, D.C., rules that the Microsoft Corp. may not bundle Microsoft Internet Explorer, its Internet browser software, with the Windows 95 operating system; Windows software dominates the market worldwide. 12 Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, on a visit to Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, expresses the support of the U.S. government for the fledgling country and its leader, Laurent Kabila, despite some concerns about reported violations of human rights and democratic principles (see June 26). 13 International trade receives a boost as the members of the World Trade Organization sign an agreement to liberalize financial services in banking, insurance, asset management, and brokerage around the world. The Getty Center, a monumental $1 billion new museum complex designed by architect Richard Meier and built on a hilltop overlooking Los Angeles, is officially opened; it opens to the public on December 16. 14 With an eye to the planned visit to Cuba by Pope John Paul II in early 1998, Pres. Fidel Castro announces that Christmas will be an official holiday for the first time since 1968. The 1997 National Finals Rodeo concludes (began on December 5) at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas; Dan Mortensen of Manhattan, Mont., wins the world champion all-around cowboy award for his season earnings of $184,559. 15 The U.S. Department of Defense orders that all 1.4 million men and women in uniform be inoculated against anthrax, a virulent biological agent; about a dozen countries are believed to have biological warfare capabilities that include delivery of anthrax. A Tajik charter airline crashes in the United Arab Emirates, killing 85 persons aboard. 16 More than 700 children in Japan are admitted to hospitals having lost consciousness, complaining of convulsions, or vomiting blood after a televised cartoon (and later a videotape version) triggers a condition called "light epilepsy" or "Nintendo epilepsy," which is caused by intense intermittent flashes of light viewed from close to the source. Czech Pres. Vaclav Havel appoints Josef Tosovsky, director of the central bank, to the post of prime minister (see November 30). The highest wind speed ever measured--380 km/h (236 mph)--is recorded by an anemometer at Anderson Air Force Base on Guam as Typhoon Paka slams into the Pacific island. 17 Reeling from a series of recent political reversals and seeing her support in the party much reduced, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela announces that she will not run for the position of deputy president of the African National Congress; the post is filled by Jacob Zuma, and South African Pres. Nelson Mandela's right-hand man, Deputy Pres. Thabo Mbeki, is elected party leader. As New Jersey becomes the first state in the United States to permit homosexual couples to adopt children, Jon Holden and Michael Galluccio legally adopt Adam, a two-year-old former ward of the state, who has been in their care since he was three months old. 18 South Koreans elect long-time leftist opposition leader Kim Dae Jung president; it is the first time in the nations's history that a member of the opposition has defeated the candidate of the tightly knit New Korea Party and its predecessors. The 10-km (6-mi) Tokyo Bay tunnel connecting the cities of Kawasaki and Kisarazu is opened; the project took eight and a half years to complete and cost $17 billion. Katja Seizinger of Germany ties skier Jean-Claude Killy's 1967 record of six consecutive wins in downhill ski races when she claims the top spot in the super G race at the World Cup competition in Val d'Isre, France. 19 The UN General Assembly acts positively on a suggestion by Secretary-General Kofi Annan and votes to create the post of deputy secretary-general. Te motion picture Titanic, directed by James Cameron, opens in U.S. theatres to generally favourable reviews (see January 20). 20 American figure skater Tara Lipinski wins the Champions Series Final in Munich, Ger.; Ilya Kulik of Russia wins the men's competition. 21 A disastrous fire sweeps through Tokyo's Tsukiji wholesale fish market, destroying more than a hundred shops and stores. The Louvre Museum in Paris reopens its Egyptian galleries, which have been closed for restoration. 22 Members of a pro-government militia attack the village of Chenalh in Chiapas state, Mex., and kill 45 people, including a number of children; violence between pro-government and antigovernment Indian groups has simmered in the state since January 1994. 23 Milan Milutinovic, a Socialist ally of Slobodan Milosevic, easily defeats ultranationalist Vojislav Seselj in elections for the presidency of Serbia. In this position Milutinovic replaces Milosevic, who was elected president of Yugoslavia; Serbia is one of the two parts of Yugoslavia (see July 23). Terry Nichols, the second defendant in the Oklahoma City, Okla., bombing trials to stand trial, is found guilty of conspiracy and involuntary manslaughter--but not first-degree murder--by a jury in Denver, Colo. A court in Germany convicts financier Jrgen Schneider of fraud and sentences him to six years and nine months in prison in connection with the collapse of his commercial empire at the end of the reunification building boom. 24 Ilich Ramrez Snchez, the terrorist and international assassin known as Carlos, is convicted of the murder of three men in Paris in 1975 and sentenced to life in prison by a French court. Earlybird 1, the first privately owned spy satellite, is placed in Earth orbit from a Russian launch rocket at an altitude of 471 km (293 mi); photos from the satellite are for sale by Earthwatch, Inc., the American company that built the craft. 25 Pope John Paul II delivers his annual Christmas message; the pontiff calls for the well-off in the world not to neglect the "new poor" and to hear "the imploring calls for freedom and harmony" in places beset by ethnic and political violence. Queen Elizabeth II gives her annual holiday address; observers note the changed tone from previous addresses as she speaks personally of a year of "joy and woe"--i.e., the 50th anniversary of her marriage and the death of Diana, princess of Wales, respectively. Comedian Jerry Seinfeld announces that his popular television show, "Seinfeld," will cease production at the end of the season. 26 Jean-Marie Le Pen, leader of France's far-right-wing National Front, is convicted of the crime of denying that Nazi war crimes took place, an offense he has been convicted of on previous occasions; he is ordered to pay about $50,000. 27 Billy Wright, a prominent Protestant guerrilla leader from Northern Ireland, is shot and killed in a maximum-security prison in Belfast by other inmates loyal to a splinter group of the Irish Republican Army. Windsor Castle is reopened to the public after 36.5 million in restoration work is completed under budget and six months before the target date; 100 rooms in the royal palace were damaged in a fire in 1992. 28 Local officials in Hong Kong announce that all chickens in the territory will be destroyed in an attempt to eradicate carriers of the avian flu, which has already killed several people; more than a million chickens, ducks, and geese are involved. 29 Pres. Saparmurad Niyazov of Turkmenistan and visiting Pres. Mohammad Khatami of Iran formally open a 200-km (125-mi) gas pipeline between the two countries, the first facility to move gas from the Caspian Sea area bypassing Russia; a few days earlier the Royal Dutch Shell petroleum company had concluded a contract with those two countries and Turkey for the construction of a $1.6 billion pipeline to transport gas from Turkmenistan to European markets (see November 12). The European Union elects not to renew trade benefits to Yugoslavia beyond the end of 1997; EU officials cite concerns about human rights and democratic practices in the country. 30 Gen. Le Kha Phieu, a hard-liner formerly responsible for maintaining political discipline in the military, is named to lead the Vietnamese Communist Party (see September 17). Pamela C. Rasmussen of the United States National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., announces that she and two associates have recently sighted the Indian forest owlet (Athene blewitti), which has not been seen since 1884 and had been thought extinct. 31 Muslims celebrate the beginning of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting; as in past years, Islamist terrorists in Algeria pick up the pace of the massacres of innocents; 80 are killed in the villages of Shari and Sidi al-Antar on December 23, another 59 in Algiers and Tiaret on December 24, and 27 more in Zouabria on December 25. Mohammed Rafiq Tarar, a supp

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