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§World Weather

The World temperature was extremely high while precipitation was far above normal.



The Sidi-Hamed massacre took place on the night of January 11th, (the last day of Ramadan), in the town of Sidi-Hamed (or Sidi-Hammad), 30 km south of Algiers. An estimated fifty gunmen poured in, attacking children and adults alike; they bombed a cafe where films were being watched and a mosque in nearby Haouche Sahraoui, slaughtering those who fled, and stormed houses to slaughter those within. According to official figures, 103 were killed and seventy injured, including two pro-government fighters and five of the attackers. Other sources indicate a higher toll; AFP supposedly counted over 120 corpses, and some Algerian newspapers claimed 400. Thirty girls were reportedly kidnapped. The massacre was generally blamed on the GIA. One newspaper claimed that survivors blamed it on the AIS (al-Jabhah al-Islāmiyah lil-Inqādh, or Islamic Salvation Front).

March 26 - Oued Bouaicha massacre in Algeria: 52 people are killed with axes and knives, 32 of them babies under the age of 2.

§Burkina Faso

President Blaise Compaoré was re-elected in a landslide victory. A coup against the president was foiled in 2003, and he was reelected a third time in 2005.


June 8 - President Sani Abacha of Nigeria dies of apparent heart failure.

§South Africa

October 29 - Apartheid: In South Africa, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission presents its report, which condemns both sides for committing atrocities.


August 20 - The August 1998 bombings of Sudan (code-named Operation Infinite Reach by the United States) were American cruise missile strikes on a pharmaceutical factory in Sudan on August 20, 1998. The attack was in retaliation for the bombings of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania which killed 224 people (including 12 Americans) and injured 5,000 others.



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

July - The Yangtze River experiences massive flooding as the government of the People's Republic of China sends in the Army for flood relief efforts.

July 6 - The new Hong Kong International Airport at Chek Lap Kok opens, while the historic Hong Kong Kai Tak Airport closes.

August 7 - Yangtze River Floods: In China the Yangtze River breaks through the main bank; before this, from August 1-5, periphery levees collapsed consecutively in Jiayu County Baizhou Bay. The death toll exceeds 12,000, with many thousands more injured.


February 7–22 - The 1998 Winter Olympics are held in Nagano, Japan.

April 5 - In Japan, the Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge linking Shikoku with Honshū and costing about US$3.8 billion, opens to traffic, becoming the largest suspension bridge in the world.

July 25 - Wakayama Arsenic poison case: 63 are sickened and 4 killed by arsenic in a festival in the town in Wakayama Prefecture in Japan; Masumi Hayashi is arrested for murder.


June 2 - The CIH virus is discovered in Taiwan.

October 28 - An Air China jetliner is hijacked by disgruntled pilot Yuan Bin and flown to Taiwan. After landing the plane safely, Yuan Bin is arrested.

§Central America

October 29 - Hurricane Mitch makes landfall in Central America, killing an estimated 18,000 people.


Hurricane Mitch caused such massive and widespread loss that former Honduran President Carlos Roberto Flores claimed that fifty years of progress in the country were reversed. Mitch obliterated about 70% of the crops and an estimated 70-80% of the transportation infrastructure, including nearly all bridges and secondary roads. Across the country, 33,000 houses were destroyed, an additional 50,000 damaged, some 5,000 people killed, 12,000 injured, and total loss estimated at $3 billion USD.



May 11 - The first euro coins are minted in Pessac, France. Because the final specifications for the coins were not finished in 1998, they will have to be melted and minted again in 1999.

June 10 - The 1998 FIFA World Cup begins in France.

July 12 - France defeats Brazil 3-0 to win the 1998 FIFA World Cup.


June 3 - The Eschede train disaster was the world's deadliest high-speed train accident. It occurred near the village of Eschede in the Celle district of Lower Saxony, Germany with 101 dead and 88 injured.

December - Klaus-Peter Sabotta sabotaged German railways. He claimed to represent former employees of the German railway operator Deutsche Bahn who had been made redundant, and demanded a ransom of DM10 million. His motive for the crime was a need to pay off heavy debts he had incurred in his business activities.

The first act of tampering, near Wilmersdorf was detected and repaired before any train passed, while a second attack on the InterCityExpress line at the small town of Uchtspringe, 60 kilometres north of Magdeburg, failed to derail its intended target.

The third act of sabotage, near Anklam resulted in the derailment of a northbound freight train. Had a passenger train due at the time not been half an hour late, it would have smashed into the wreckage of the freight train.


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


May 21 – 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, which 12 million people attended.


April 25 - A waste reservoir at the Los Frailes mine in Andalusia, Spain ruptures, discharging heavy metal waste into the Guadiamar River. The pollution threatens the sensitive ecosystem and endangered species of Doñana National Park, Spain's largest nature reserve, but is diverted into the Guadalquivir River. Up to 100 km² of farmland are ruined by the spill.

§United Kingdom

April 10 - Good Friday: 18 hours after the end of the talks deadline, the Belfast Agreement is signed between the Irish and British governments and most Northern Ireland political parties, with the notable exception of the Democratic Unionist Party.

May 9 - Dana International, a transexual singer from Israel, wins the Eurovision Song Contest 1998 in Birmingham, UK.


May 11 - India conducts 3 underground nuclear tests in Pokhran, including 1 thermonuclear device.

May 13 - India carries out 2 more nuclear tests at Pokhran. The United States and Japan impose economic sanctions on India.

§Middle East


August 20 - bombings of Afghanistan (code-named Operation Infinite Reach by the United States) were American cruise missile strikes on purported terrorist bases in Afghanistan. The attack was in retaliation for the bombings of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania which killed 224 people (including 12 Americans) and injured 5,000 others.

The missiles were launched from US warships in the Red Sea. Several hit the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory, which the United States claimed was helping Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the embassy attacks, build chemical weapons. Dozens were wounded in Sudan by the strike.


March 14 - An earthquake measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale hits southeastern Iran.


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.


April 6 - Pakistan tests medium-range missiles capable of hitting India.

May 28 - Nuclear testing: In response to a series of Indian nuclear tests, Pakistan explodes 5 nuclear devices of its own in the Chaghai hills of Baluchistan, prompting the United States, Japan and other nations to impose economic sanctions.

May 30 - Nuclear testing: Pakistan conducts 1 more nuclear explosion following its first test.

June - Javed Iqbal Mughal, a serial killer from Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan began an 18 month murderous rampage. He claimed he killed 100 boys during this 18 month period. He had been arrested in June 1998 for sexually abusing 2 boys for money. He went off on bail, and began murdering boys shortly afterwards. Iqbal found boys on the street, charmed them into his confidence, and then drugged, raped, and strangled them. He then cut the body into pieces and put them in a vat filled with hydrochloric acid. Once all of the remains were liquified, he dumped them. He first used the sewer, until neighbors complained of an acrid stench. He then decided to use the Ravi River. The partially liquified remains of two boys, one of whom was named Ijaz, were the only ones found of Iqbal’s victims. He kept the rest in an acid drum outside his house. He also kept clothing and shoes as trophies of his crimes. When he got to his fiftieth victim, he started taking pictures of them.

§Saudi Arabia

April 9 - More than 118 pilgrims are killed in a stampede at Mina.

§North America

January - A massive winter storm, caused by El Niño, strikes New England, southern Ontario and Quebec, resulting in widespread power failures, severe damage to forests, and numerous deaths.


Hurricane Mitch formed in the western Caribbean Sea on October 22, and after drifting through extremely favorable conditions, it rapidly strengthened to peak at Category 5 status, the highest possible rating on the Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Scale. After drifting southwestward and weakening, the hurricane hit Honduras as a minimal hurricane. It drifted through Central America, reformed in the Bay of Campeche, and ultimately struck Florida as a strong tropical storm.

Due to its slow motion from October 29 to November 3, Hurricane Mitch dropped historic amounts of rainfall in Honduras, Guatemala, and Nicaragua, with unofficial reports of up to 75 inches (1,900 mm). Deaths due to catastrophic flooding made it the second deadliest Atlantic hurricane in history; nearly 11,000 people were killed with over 11,000 left missing by the end of 1998. Additionally, roughly 2.7 million were left homeless as a result of the hurricane. The flooding caused extreme damage, estimated at over $6 billion (1998 USD, $8.56 billion 2013 USD).

§United States

January 1 - Smoking is banned in all California bars and restaurants.

January 8 - Ramzi Yousef is sentenced to life in prison for planning the World Trade Center bombing.

January 29 - In Birmingham, Alabama, a bomb explodes at an abortion clinic, killing 1 and severely wounding another. Serial bomber Eric Rudolph is the prime suspect.

February 6 - Washington National Airport is renamed Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

February 7 - Roger Nicholas Angleton commits suicide in a prison cell in Houston, Texas by cutting himself with razor blades. He admits to murdering socialite Doris Angleton in her River Oaks home in his suicide note.

February 14 - United States authorities announce that Eric Rudolph is a suspect in an Alabama abortion clinic bombing.

February 15 - Dale Earnhardt wins the Daytona 500 on his 20th attempt.

February 18 - Two white separatists are arrested in Nevada, accused of plotting biological warfare on New York City subways.

February 23 - Florida El Niño Outbreak: Tornadoes in central Florida destroy or damage 2,600 structures and kill 42.

March 24 - The Jonesboro massacre, 2 young boys (aged 11 and 13 years) fire upon students at Westside Middle School while hidden in woodlands near the school. 4 students and 1 teacher are killed, and 10 are injured.

March 29 - A series of 3 tornadoes in southern Minnesota kills 3 people.

April 16 - An F3 tornado passes through downtown Nashville, Tennessee - the first significant tornado in 11 years to directly hit a major city. An F5 tornado travels through rural portions south of Nashville (see 1998 Nashville tornado outbreak).

May 21 - 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 and wounding 25 others, after killing his parents at home.

May 21 -In Miami, Florida, 5 abortion clinics are hit by a butyric acid attacker.

June 2 - California voters approve Proposition 227, abolishing the state's bilingual education program.

June 7 - Three white supremacists murder James Byrd Jr. in Jasper, Texas.

June 8 - Actor Charlton Heston becomes president of the National Rifle Association.

June 14 - The Chicago Bulls win their 6th NBA title in 8 years when they beat the Utah Jazz, 87-86 in Game Six. This is also Michael Jordan's last game as a Bull, clinching the game in the final seconds on a fadeaway jumper.

June 16 - The Detroit Red Wings sweep the Washington Capitals in 4 games in the 1998 Stanley Cup Finals.

July 24 - Russell Eugene Weston Jr. bursts into the United States Capitol and opens fire, killing 2 police officers. He is later ruled incompetent to stand trial.

July 25 - The United States Navy commissions the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman and puts her into service.

August 14 - Gary C. Evans, infamous in New York's Capital Region for killing 5 people, escapes police custody and kills himself by jumping off a bridge.

September 8 - St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Mark McGwire breaks baseball's single-season home run record, formerly held by Roger Maris. McGwire hits #62 at Busch Stadium in the 4th inning off of Chicago Cubs pitcher Steve Trachsel.

October 6 - College student Matthew Shepard is found tied to a fence near Laramie, Wyoming, a victim of gay-bashing. He died at Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado, on October 12, from severe head injuries, becoming a symbol of gay-bashing victims and sparking public reflection on homophobia in the US.

October 17–18 - severe flooding takes place in south Central Texas.

October 21 - The New York Yankees defeat the San Diego Padres to sweep them in the World Series. The Yankees finished with 114 regular-season wins and 11 postseason victories (125 total - the most by any team in 123 years of Major League baseball).

December 16–19 - Iraq disarmament crisis: U.S. President Bill Clinton orders American and British airstrikes on Iraq. UNSCOM withdraws all weapons inspectors from Iraq.

§U.S. Business

January 28 - Ford Motor Company announces the buyout of Volvo Cars for $6.45 billion.

February 2 - The Standard & Poor's 500 index closed above 1,000 for the first time, rising 20.99 points, or 2.14%, closing at 1,001.27.

March 27 - The Food and Drug Administration approves V iagra for use as a treatment for male impotence, the first pill to be approved for this condition in the United States.

April 7 - Citicorp and Travelers Group announce plans to merge, creating the largest financial-services conglomerate in the world, Citigroup.

April 22 - The Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park at Walt Disney World opens to the public for the first time.

June 5 - A strike begins at the General Motors Corporation parts factory in Flint, Michigan, quickly spreading to 5 other assembly plants and lasting 7 weeks.

June 25 - Microsoft releases Windows 98 (First Edition).

September 7 - Google, Inc. is founded, in Menlo Park, California, by Stanford University Ph.D. candidates Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

September 15 - Telecommunications companies MCI Communications and WorldCom complete their $37 billion merger to form MCI WorldCom.

September 25–28 - Major creditors of Long-Term Capital Management, a Greenwich, Connecticut-based hedge fund, after days of tough bargaining and some informal mediation by Federal Reserve officials, agree on terms of a re-capitalization.

October 15 - American Airlines becomes the first airline to offer electronic ticketing in all 44 countries it serves.

November 24 - America Online announces it will acquire Netscape Communications in a stock-for-stock transaction worth US$4.2 billion.

§U.S. Law

February 3 - Karla Faye Tucker is executed in Texas, becoming the first woman executed in the United States since 1984 and the first to be executed in Texas since the American Civil War.

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 24 - Hustler publisher Larry Flynt is acquitted on charges of defaming Jerry Falwell.

March 4 - Gay rights: Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Services: 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 7 - The Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan is fined for burning a cross in his garden and infringing air regulations in California.

April 7 - George Michael is arrested in a restroom at Will Rogers Memorial Park for committing a lewd act in front of a police officer. This incident leads to him coming out as gay.

May 18 - United States v. Microsoft: The United States Department of Justice and 20 U.S. states file an antitrust case against Microsoft.

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.

June 4 - Terry Nichols is sentenced to life in prison for his role in the Oklahoma City bombing.

June 25 - Clinton v. City of New York: The United States Supreme Court rules that the Line Item Veto Act of 1996 is unconstitutional.

October 7 - The United States Congress passes the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, which gives copyright holders 20 more years of copyright privilege on work they control. This effectively freezes the public domain to works created before 1923 in the United States.

October 12 - The Congress of the United States passes the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

October 14 - Eric Robert Rudolph is charged with 6 bombings (including the 1996 Olympic bombing) in Atlanta, Georgia.

November 9 - In the largest civil settlement in United States history, a federal judge approves a US$1.03 billion settlement requiring dozens of brokerage houses (including Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, and Salomon Smith Barney) to pay investors who claim they were cheated in a wide-spread price-fixing scheme on the NASDAQ.

§U.S. Politics

January 17th the "Drudge Report" released information that a White House intern had an affair with President of the United States Bill Clinton while she worked at the White House. It became known that Monica Lewinsky had an affair with Bill Clinton in 1995-1996. Its repercussions in the Impeachment of Bill Clinton and the surrounding scandals of 1997-99 became known as the Lewinsky scandal or "Monicagate." It severely affected Clinton's second term, and gave Lewinsky notoriety.

January 26 - Lewinsky scandal: On American television, President Bill Clinton denies he had "sexual relations" with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

January 27 - U.S. First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton appears on The Today Show, calling the attacks against her husband part of a "vast right-wing conspiracy."

February - Iraq disarmament crisis: The United States Senate passes Resolution 71, urging U.S. President Bill Clinton to "take all necessary and appropriate actions to respond to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs."

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.

On December 19th the US House of Representatives impeached President Clinton charging him with perjury and obstruction of justice during the investigations into the Monica Lewinsky scandal. It was apparent that the public considered the investigations to be driven by partisan politics and irrelevant to national affairs.

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 U.S. President Bill Clinton.

August 19 - Monica Lewinsky scandal: On the day of his 52nd birthday, U.S. President Bill Clinton admits in taped testimony that he had an "improper physical relationship" with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. He also admits before the nation that night in a nationally televised address that he "misled people" about his sexual affair with Lewinsky.

November 3 - Jesse Ventura, former professional wrestler, is elected Governor of Minnesota.

November 5 - Lewinsky scandal: As part of the impeachment inquiry, House Judiciary Committee chairman Henry Hyde sends a list of 81 questions to U.S. President Bill Clinton.

November 19 - Lewinsky scandal: The United State House of Representatives' Judiciary Committee begins impeachment hearings against U.S. President Bill Clinton.

December 19 - Lewinsky scandal: President Bill Clinton is impeached by the United States House of Representatives. (He was later acquitted of any wrongdoing.)

§U.S. Religion

July 10 - Catholic priests' sex abuse scandal: The Diocese of Dallas agrees to pay $23.4 million to 9 former altar boys who claimed they were sexually abused by former priest Rudolph Kos.


January 2 - New rubles were circulated in January in an attempt to stem inflation and promote confidence.

July 17 - In Saint 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.

September 10 - A computer malfunction brings down a Ukrainian rocket carrying 12 commercial satellites, minutes after blast off from Baikonur.

Russia lowered the age of consent from 16 to 14


February 4 - An earthquake measuring 6.1 on the Richter scale in northeast Afghanistan kills more than 5,000 people.

February 23 - Osama bin Laden publishes a fatwa, declaring jihad against all Jews and Crusaders.

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


February 9 - Eduard Shevardnadze, the Georgian head of state, survives an assassination attempt in Tbilisi.


April 1 - Ukrainian serial killer Anatoly Onoprienko is sentenced to death for 52 murders.



March 11 - Danish parliamentary election, 1998: Prime Minister Poul Nyrup Rasmussen is unexpectedly re-elected.


October 29 - Gothenburg Nightclub fire in Gothenburg leaves 63 dead

§South America


September - The International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a $138 million loan for Bolivia to help the country control inflation and bolster economic growth. In compliance with IMF-drafted "structural reforms" for the nation, Bolivia agrees to sell off "all remaining public enterprises," including national oil refineries and Cochabamba's local water agency, SEMAPA.


On January 2nd, A gunman shot Antario Teodoro Filho, a Brazilian politician and radio presenter, during a broadcast.

February 22 - One third of the Tower block "Palace II" collapses in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

§South Pacific


May 22 - Murray Gleeson is appointed Chief Justice of Australia, succeeding Sir Gerard Brennan.


May 13–14 - Riots directed against Chinese Indonesians break out in Indonesia. Indonesian natives destroy and burn Chinese Indonesian-owned properties and kill and rape more than 1,000 Chinese Indonesians.

May 21 - Suharto resigns, after 32 years as President of Indonesia and his 7th consecutive re-election by the Indonesian Parliament (MPR). Suharto's hand-picked Vice President, B. J. Habibie, becomes Indonesia's third president.

§New Guinea

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.

§New Zealand

February 19 - 1998 Auckland power crisis: A 66-day blackout begins in Auckland, New Zealand.


June 30 - Philippine Vice President Joseph Estrada was sworn in as the 13th President of The Philippines.


On January 6th, the Lunar Prospector spacecraft was launched into orbit around the Moon, and later found evidence of frozen water, in soil that is permanently shadowed within craters near the Moon's poles.

January 8 - Cosmologists announce that the universe's expansion rate is increasing.

January 16 - NASA announces that John Glenn will return to space when the Space Shuttle Discovery blasts off in October.

March 5 - NASA announces that the Clementine probe orbiting the Moon has 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.

August 12 - The U.S. Titan rocket program is put on hold when a Titan 4A explodes soon after lift-off in one of history's most expensive space disasters. The cost of the rocket and its spy satellite cargo was put at more than $1 billion.

August 27 - A Delta 3 rocket carrying a U.S. communications satellite bursts into a $225 million fireball, soon after blast-off from Cape Canaveral on its maiden flight.

October 29 - STS-95: The Space Shuttle Discovery blasts off with 77-year-old John Glenn on board, making him the 2nd oldest person to go into space. (He became the first American to orbit the Earth on February 20, 1962).

November 7 - John Glenn returns to Earth aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery.


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