August 1997 News and Events

Updated July 10, 2020 | Infoplease Staff

1997 News Month-By-Month


  • Israel Steps Up Pressure on Palestinians (Aug. 1): Arrests dozens in wake of suicide bombing in crowded market. Delays drastic action against Palestinian leaders.
  • Guerrillas Rain Rockets on Northern Israel (Aug. 19): Islamic forces seek to avenge attack by militiamen aligned with Israel. No retaliation planned.
  • NATO Troops Raid Bosnian Serb Base (Aug. 20): Capture six police bases in Banja Luka, neutralizing power center held by Radovan Karadzic, Bosnian Serb leader wanted for trial on war crimes charges.
  • Pope Cheered on Paris Visit (Aug. 24): A million hear John Paul II officiate at open-air mass concluding six-day youth festival. Youths from 160 countries hear plea to build “civilization of love.”
  • Former East German Leader Sentenced (Aug. 25): Berlin court metes six-year prison term to Egon Krenz, last hard-line Communist, charged with responsibility for deaths of hundreds trying to flee to West.
  • North Korean Envoy Defects to U.S. (Aug. 25): Chang Sung Gil, Ambassador to Egypt, is first top diplomat to abandon Communist state. (Aug. 26): U.S. announces it will grant defector political asylum. (Aug. 28): North Korea quits arms conference, leaves Washington talks on its export of missiles, in violent protest against U.S. asylum for diplomat.
  • National Party Chief Resigns in South Africa (Aug. 26): F. W. de Klerk, former president, retires from politics. He negotiated an end to apartheid but failed to make his party a multi-racial organization.
  • Israel Ends Blockade of Bethlehem (Aug. 27): Removes four-week military ban to end irritant in Israeli-Palestinian relations. Action follows several days of clashes with Palestinian youths.
  • Two G.I.s Hurt in Clash With Serbs (Aug. 28): Hundreds attack peacekeeping troops trying to seize control of police station in Brcko, Bosnia, from forces loyal to Radovan Karadzic, wartime Bosnian Serb leader.
  • Sinn Fein Invited to New Peace Talks (Aug. 29): Britain extends bid to Irish Republican Army representatives for first time since outbreak of sectarian violence in Northern Ireland 28 years previously.


  • Clinton Exercises Line-Item Veto (Aug. 11): Becomes first President to exercise new power by striking down two narrow tax breaks and provision to help New York State get more Medicaid money. Challenge on constitutional grounds appears likely.
  • Clinton Postpones Amtrak Strike (Aug. 21): Moves to delay for 60 days possible nationwide walkout, invoking Railway Labor Act. Emergency panel set up.
  • Former Agriculture Secretary Indicted (Aug. 27): Federal grand jury charges Mike Espy, 43, Cabinet member in 1993–94, with mail and wire fraud, taking illegal gratuities, witness tampering, and other offenses.


  • Strike Cripples United Parcel Service (Aug. 3): Some 185,000 members of Teamsters Union walk out as union and shipping company fail to reach agreement on pension funds and use of part-time workers. Businesses and customers across nation inconvenienced. (Aug. 18): After 80 hours of intense negotiations, company and union announce tentative agreement to end 15-day strike. U.P.S. says it had feared bigger losses.
  • Plane Crash Kills 225 on Guam (Aug. 5): South Korean jet liner, Boeing 747-300, crashes in hill jungle. (Aug. 8): Evidence said to suggest pilot error.
  • Microsoft Pays Apple $150 Million (Aug. 6): Apple company announces financial and business partnership with its archrival, Microsoft Corporation.
  • Relief Craft Links to Russian Space Station (Aug. 7): Guidance system fails on spaceship carrying relief crew to repair the damaged Mir. However, space station crew manually guides relief craft to docking. (Aug. 14): Russian commander and flight engineer return to Earth after six months of highly publicized disasters.
  • Exploration of Mars a Success (Aug. 8): Pathfinder spacecraft has transmitted thousands of pictures in more than a month on planet. Its roving vehicle Sojourner has explored wide area of landing site.
  • Earliest Human Footprints Discovered (Aug. 14): Scientists report finding fossilized footprints of anatomically modern human in 117,000-year-old sandstone on shores of South African lagoon.
  • Timothy J. McVeigh Sentenced to Death (Aug. 14): Federal judge in Denver metes penalty decreed by jury in Oklahoma City bombing. Prisoner quotes cryptically from dissenting opinion by Supreme Court Justice Brandeis on powers of government.
  • Canadian Is World's Oldest Person (Aug. 14): Title given by Guinness Book of World Records to Marie-Louise Febronie Meilleur of Northern Ontario, aged 117.
  • Minority Contract Program Modified (Aug. 14): In major change, Administration moves to make it easier for white companies to qualify for government jobs.
  • Russian Space Station Suffers More Troubles (Aug. 18): The Mir's main computer fails during docking maneuver and sends station spinning out of control. Crew uses engines of Mir's space capsule to push wobbling station toward its orbit to align with sun and recharge batteries. (Aug. 22): Crew conducts six-hour mission to restore electrical cables cut off June 25 in docking crash with cargo ship.
  • Dow Chemical Loses Breast Implant Case (Aug. 18): Jury in Louisiana finds company deceived women by hiding information about health risks of silicone used in devices. Panel heard first class-action suit brought against a company involved in implant industry.
  • Lutherans Vote Ties With Others (Aug. 18): Evangelicals approve historic agreement for close cooperation with Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), United Church of Christ, and Reformed Church in America. Lutheran leaders reject similar ties with Episcopal Church.
  • Valujet and F.A.A. Faulted in Crash (Aug. 19): National Transportation Safety Board holds Federal Aviation Administration and airline responsible for fire that caused 110 deaths in Everglades in 1995.
  • Teamsters' Election Ruled Invalid (Aug. 22): Federal official orders new ballot after overturning Ron Carey's 1996 election as president of International Brotherhood. U.S. election overseer finds Carey's campaign received illegal contributions.
  • Cigarette Makers Settle With Florida (Aug. 25): Agree to pay $11.3 billion in lawsuit related to smoking toll and to undertake wide public health moves. Pact will also affect similar cases in Mississippi.
  • Record Bank Merger Announced (Aug. 30): Nationsbank to acquire leading Florida franchise, Barnett Banks, for $15.5 billion in stock, a record in banking.
  • Princess Diana, 36, Killed in Car Crash (Aug. 31): Divorced wife of Britain's Prince Charles and glamorous good-will ambassador for AIDS and land-mine victims. Fatally injured with two others in Paris in accident involving car being pursued by photographers on motorcycles. (Aug. 31): Prince Charles brings Princess Diana's remains back from Paris. There is worldwide mourning.

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