- Rebels Seize Peacekeepers in Sierra Leone (May 4): UN intervention erupts into violence as Revolutionary United Front rebels kill seven and capture at least 500 of UN force. (May 17): Rebel leader Foday Sankoh captured and arrested outside his Freetown home. (May 29): UN reports rebels have released all 500 seized personnel.
- British Prime Minister Rebuffed (May 5): Despite appeals from Tony Blair, London voters elect left-wing populist Ken Livingstone as city's first elected mayor.
- New Russian President Sworn In (May 6): Vladimir V. Putin takes oath in nation's first free transfer of power. (May 10): Putin appoints Mikhail M. Kasyanov as prime minister.
- Putin Orders Controls over Provinces (May 13): Russian president rules that the 89 provinces be organized into seven large administrative districts each to be overseen by a powerful Kremlin representative.
- Serbian Government Seizes TV Station (May 17): Charges main opposition outlet with encouraging an uprising. Thousands jam Belgrade streets to protest action.
- New President of Taiwan Sworn In (May 20): Chen Shui-bian, member of the Democratic Progressive Party, inaugurated, ending 50 years of rule by the Nationalist Party that fled China under Chiang Kai-shek.
- Israel Withdraws from Lebanon (May 24): Israeli troops abandon Lebanese security zone after 22 years of occupation.
- Chile Ends Pinochet's Immunity (May 24): Chilean court clears way for trial on charges of kidnapping, murder, and torture of thousands during 17 years as dictator.
- Belgrade Opposition Divided (May 25): Democratic leaders divided over how to respond to government's takeover of television station. Split imperils image of unity they seek to project to voters and to West.
- Reform Parliament Convenes in Iran (May 27): First since Islamic revolution to include majority of members eager to challenge conservative clergy's dominance.
- Fujimori Wins in Peru's Runoff (May 28): President's victory tarnished as opposition candidate Alejandro Toledo withdrew, alleging vote fraud and campaign irregularities. (May 29): U.S. and allies warn that Fujimori reelection jeopardizes Peru's position in international community.
- Israeli President Under Attack (May 28): Ezer Weizman charged by state prosecutors with financial misdealings. He plans to resign in July.
- Suharto under House Arrest (May 29): Former Indonesian president, 78, faces charges of corruption and abuse of power.
- Britain Again Grants Parliamentary Powers to Northern Ireland (May 30): Sinn Fein again pledges to disarm, paving way for restoration of Belfast parliament, suspended Feb. 12.
- McCain Endorses Former Rival (May 9): G.O.P. united as senator pledges to help Texas governor George W. Bush in campaign for presidency.
- CD Price-Fixing Case Settled (May 10): Federal Trade Commission announces end to antitrust action against five music companies. Considerable price cuts for compact discs are expected.
- Moms March for Gun Control (May 14): Hundreds of thousands rally in Washington and several other cities to demand stricter gun laws.
- South Carolina Removes Confederate Flag (May 18): Both houses of General Assembly vote to take it from Capitol dome. Smaller flag will be flown in front of building.
- Panel Requests Clinton Be Disbarred (May 22): Arkansas court disciplinary committee recommends penalty because of “serious misconduct” in Paula Jones sexual harassment case.
- Army Cancels General's Appointment (May 22): Holds up naming of Maj. Gen. Larry G. Smith as deputy inspector general in wake of sexual harassment charges brought by Lieut. Gen. Claudia J. Kennedy.
- House Votes to Lift Trade Curbs on China (May 24): In victory for President Clinton, House votes, 237–197, to give Beijing permanent normal trading privileges.
- Cable Blackout Affects Millions (May 1): Time Warner contract dispute with Disney, parent company of ABC, results in blackout of network in 3.5 million homes.
- Archbishop of New York Dies (May 3): Cardinal John O'Connor, 80, was considered Vatican's most influential spokesman in U.S.
- Virus Disrupts Worldwide Computers (May 4): Invasive software program with “I love you” message crashes e-mail systems and destroys data on hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide.
- Jobless Rate Lowest since 1970 (May 5): Unemployment level falls below 4%. In continuing boom, employers hire hundreds of thousands of workers.
- Thousands Flee New Mexico Fire (May 8 et seq.): Control blaze set by National Park Service blown out of control in densely wooded area by 50-mile-an-hour winds. Blaze forces evacuation of as many as 25,000 and destroys hundreds of homes in Los Alamos.
- Saline Breast Implants Approved (May 10): Seven years after questioning safety, FDA allows two largest manufacturers to market devices despite new evidence of serious health risks.
- Two Winners Share Record Lottery Jackpot (May 10): Total in Big Game seven-state drawing is $366 million, biggest lottery jackpot in U.S. history.
- Ford Admits Flaws in SUVs (May 11): Company concedes that profitable sport utility vehicles cause serious safety and environmental problems.
- Vatican Names New York Archbishop (May 11): Appoints Bishop Edward Michael Egan of Bridgeport, Conn., to succeed Cardinal John O'Connor.
- Federal Reserve Acts against Inflation (May 16): Raises short-term interest rates half a percentage point.
- Two Charged in 1963 Church Bombing (May 17): Thomas E. Blanton and Bobby Frank Cherry held in Birmingham, Ala., as murder suspects in deaths of four black girls at Baptist church.
- U.S. Takes Blame for Los Alamos Fire (May 18): Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt admits errors and vows to compensate victims.
- Thalidomide Proves Useful in Treating Disease (May 21): Specialists report promising role treating AIDS, leprosy, and some cancers. Drug banned worldwide in the 1960s for harming thousands of children.
- Giant Airline Merger Planned (May 23): United, world's largest, agrees to acquire biggest carrier in Northeast, US Airways, for $4.3 billion.
- Space Shuttle Atlantis Completes Mission (May 29): Lands in darkness at Cape Canaveral, Fla., after repairing International Space Station, replacing batteries, and installing other equipment.