July 1997 News and Events

Updated February 11, 2017 | Infoplease Staff

1997 News Month-By-Month


  • Cambodia Faction Claims Victory (July 6): One of two prime ministers, Hun Sen, former Communist, ousted his rival co-prime minister, Prince Norodom Ramariddh. (July 15): At least 40 executed and hundreds arrested in widespread Cambodian purge against political opponents of Hun Sen.
  • Governing Party Defeated in Mexico (July 6): Voters sweepingly reject Institutional Revolutionary Party, which had controlled Parliament and the nation for seven years. However, President Ernesto Zedillo wins. Opposition had credited him with taking a major step toward consolidating Mexico's democracy.
  • NATO Invites Three Eastern Nations (July 8): Madrid conference votes to add Poland, Czech Republic, and Hungary, eight years after West won cold war. NATO leaders invite them to join alliance in time for its 50th anniversary in 1999. President Clinton calls action great day “for the cause of freedom.”
  • NATO Troops Kill Serbian War-Crimes Suspect (July 10): Also seize another in shootout in northwestern Bosnia in first attempt to arrest suspects at large.
  • Bosnian Serb Sentenced for Atrocities (July 14): U.N. war-crimes tribunal metes 20-year prison term to Dusan Tadic, 41, for crimes against humanity in “ethnic cleansing” campaign against civilians.
  • I.R.A. Announces New Cease-Fire (July 19): Move by Irish Republican Army could lead to resumption of negotiations for peace in Northern Ireland.
  • Yeltsin Vetoes Bill to Restrict Religions (July 22): Rejects Parliament's measure to protect Orthodox Church from competition from other denominations.
  • Swiss Publish List of Bank Accounts (July 23): Reveal some 2,000 dormant ones from World War II era, including many Holocaust victims. List contains more than twice the number of such accounts banks had identified as recently as 1996. Worldwide publication is break with Swiss tradition of bank secrecy.
  • Terrorist Blast Kills Many in Jerusalem (July 30): Two men carrying bombs perish with at least 13 others in crowded market. More than 150 wounded, many seriously. Militant Islamic organization Hamas takes responsibility. Suicide bombing is worst since Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu took office.
  • Israelis Threaten Crackdown in Arab Areas (July 31): Israelis reportedly send commandos into Palestinian zones and to decree punitive measures against Palestinian authorities in response to suicide bombing.


  • Inquiry Finds White House Aide Was Suicide (July 15): Whitewater independent counsel upholds findings that Vincent W. Foster, Jr. took his own life in 1993.
  • Clinton Picks Head of Joint Chiefs of Staff (July 16): Chooses Army Gen. Henry H. Shelton as nominee after months of search impeded by Pentagon's response to sexual misconduct of service officers.
  • Senate Panel Grants Immunity to Witnesses (July 23): Justice Department rebuffed by bipartisan action in investigation of campaign finance abuses.
  • Republican Ex-Chairman Defends Fund-Raising (July 24): Haley Barbour, countering Democrats, tells Senate inquiry that party did not accept illegal foreign campaign contributions while he was leader.
  • White House and G.O.P. Agree on Budget (July 28): Congressional Republicans and Clinton Administration agree on how to balance budget for first time in nearly three decades. They also agree on methods of cutting taxes for first time since 1981.
  • Congress Approves Major Fiscal Measures (July 31): House and Senate vote largest tax cuts since 1981, with reduction of $96 billion over five years, reducing capital gains and real estate levies. Senate, 85–15, passes bill to balance budget by 2002. Measure already approved by House, 346–85.


  • Space Shuttle Accomplishes Research (July 1): Columbia orbits to complete gravity experiments cut short by power failure in April. (July 17): Columbia and crew of seven land at Cape Canaveral, Fla. Commander, Air Force Lieut. Col. James D. Halsell, Jr., reports successful completion of mission.
  • Mississippi Settles Tobacco Suit (July 3): Four major cigarette makers agree to pay state $3.4 billion over 25 years to resolve case over health-care costs associated with smoking.
  • Two Major Arms Producers Merge (July 3): Lockheed Martin Corporation announces it is buying Northrop Grumman Corporation for $9.3 billion.
  • U.S. Spacecraft Lands on Mars (July 4): Pathfinder makes perfect landing after seven-month journey and begins studies of planet's makeup and whether life could have existed. Carries moving vehicle Sojourner to collect data on surface of Mars.
  • Russia Sends Supplies to Crippled Mir (July 5): Spacecraft contains badly needed supplies to repair the space station, which was damaged in June.
  • Nevada Panel Suspends Mike Tyson's License (July 9): State commission revokes boxing license and fines him $3 million for biting Evander Holyfield's ear in heavyweight title fight on June 25.
  • O. J. Simpson Home Sold at Auction (July 14): Hawthorne Savings bank buys former football star's Los Angeles estate for $2,631,259 in foreclosure action.
  • Mir Commander Reports Illness (July 14): Chief of Russian space station says he is experiencing heart irregularities. Repair mission faces delay.
  • Famed Fashion Designer Shot Dead (July 15): Gianni Versace, 50, slain as he opens gate of palatial South Beach home in Miami Beach, Fla. (July 24): Officials confirm Andrew P. Cunanan, 27, sought in killing of Versace and four other men, had killed himself.
  • Error Disables Russian Space Station (July 17): Astronaut mistakenly disconnects cable on Mir, cutting off guidance system that gathers solar energy.
  • Episcopal Leaders Vote Accord With Lutherans (July 18): Overwhelmingly approve pact to bring church into “full communion” with Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Pooling of resources would result.
  • Deaf Mexicans Held in Forced Labor (July 19): New York City police discover two houses filled with men, women, and children immigrants compelled to work 18 hours a day selling trinkets in subways and airports.
  • Floods Devastate Central Europe (July 20 et seq.): About 100 dead in Poland and Czech Republic. Heavy rains swell rivers to flood levels from the Danube in Hungary and Austria to the Inn and the Salzach in Bavaria.
  • Carroll O'Connor Cleared in Slander Suit (July 25): Jury in Los Angeles rejects claim by drug supplier that TV star had slandered him by blaming him for causing death of O'Connor's son in drug-induced suicide.
  • Two Guilty in Bill Cosby Extortion (July 25): Autumn Jackson, 22, and two others convicted of trying to extort $40 million from TV star, whom she claimed was her father. She faces long prison term.
  • Roman Shipwrecks Found in Deep Sea (July 30): Scientists using once-secret nuclear submarine locate ancient hulls in Mediterranean off Sicily.

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