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World Events
  • Hebron agreement signed; Israel gives up large part of West Bank city of Hebron (Jan. 16). Israeli government approves establishment of Jewish settlement in East Jerusalem, a setback in Middle East peace process (Feb. 26). Background: Middle East Peace Negotiations

  • US, UK, and France agree to freeze Nazis' gold loot (Feb. 3).

  • Hong Kong returns to Chinese rule (June 30).

  • Khmer Rouge hold trial of longtime leader Pol Pot (July 25).

  • Swiss plan first payment to Holocaust victims (Sept. 17).

  • European Union plans to admit six nations (Dec. 13).
U.S. Events
  • US shuttle joins Russian space station (Jan. 17).

  • O. J. Simpson found liable in civil suit (Feb. 5).

  • Heaven's Gate cult members commit mass suicide in California (March 27).

  • US Appeals Court upholds California ban on affirmative action (April 8).

  • Clinton exercises new line-item veto (Aug. 11).

  • Timothy J. McVeigh sentenced to death for Oklahoma City bombing (Aug. 14).

  • Two convicted in New York Trade Center bombing (Nov. 12).

US GDP (1998 dollars):   $8,110.90 billion
Federal spending:   $1635.33 billion
Federal debt:   $5498.9 billion
Median Household Income
(current dollars):  
Consumer Price Index:   160.5
Unemployment:   4.9%
Cost of a first-class stamp:   $0.32


Super Bowl
Green Bay d. New England (35-21)

World Series
Florida Marlins d. Cleveland (4-3)

NBA Championship
Chicago d. Utah (4-2)

Stanley Cup
Detroit d. Philadelphia (4-0)

Women: Martina Hingis d. J. Novotna (2-6 6-3 6-3)
Men: Pete Sampras d. C. Pioline (6-4 6-2 6-4)

Kentucky Derby Champion
Silver Charm

NCAA Basketball Championship
Arizona d. Kentucky (84-79 OT)

NCAA Football Champions
Michigan (AP) (12-0) & Nebraska (ESPN/USA) (13-0)



  • The controversial television ratings system debuts on cable stations and broadcast networks. The ratings, TV-Y, TV-G, TV-Y7, TV-PG, TV-14 and TV-M, appear for 15 seconds in the upper left-hand corner of the screen at the beginning of each show, except news and sports programs, which are not rated.

  • Titanic crashes into theaters. It is the most expensive film of all time, costing between $250 and $300 million to produce and market.

  • Ellen DeGeneres outs herself. She becomes the first openly gay woman to have her own sitcom.

  • The Prince of Pop is born to Michael Jackson and wife Debbie Rowe. The child's name is Prince Michael Junior.

  • J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Philospher's Stone is published in the U.K. It comes to U.S. in 1998 as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.


  • As Good as It Gets, The Full Monty, Good Will Hunting, The Ice Storm, L.A. Confidential, Titanic


  • Don DeLillo, Underworld

  • Charles Frazier, Cold Mountain

  • Rick Moody, Purple America

  • Philip Roth, American Pastoral

  • Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things

  • Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook

  • A team led by Drs. Ian Wilmut and Keith Campbell (UK) create the first sheep with a human gene in every cell of its body. The genetically engineered lamb is named Polly.

  • Scientists at Oregon Regional Primate Research Center (US) create the first primates —two rhesus monkeys named Neti and Ditto— from DNA taken from cells of developing monkey embryos. Background: Cloning Milestones

  • Comet Hale-Bopp is the closest it will be to Earth until 4397 (March 22). Background: comets

  • US spacecraft begins exploration of Mars (July 4). Background: US Unstaffed Planetary and Lunar Programs

  • US company launches first commercial spy satellite (Dec. 24).
  • William S. Burroughs

  • Jacques Cousteau

  • Xiaoping Deng

  • John Denver

  • Princess Diana

  • Allen Ginsberg

  • Mother Theresa

  • James A. Michener

  • James Stewart

  • Gianni Versace

  • Dr. Charles B. Huggins