April 1998 News and Events

Updated July 10, 2020 | Infoplease Staff

1998 News Month-By-Month


  • “Orders” Blamed in San Salvador Killings (April 2): Four imprisoned guardsmen reported to have said they obeyed authority from above in slaying three American nuns and one lay worker 17 years previously.
  • Indonesia Reaches Third Pact With I.M.F. (April 7): Agreement offers new proposals for rescuing economy. It is new effort to get Indonesia to meet conditions allowing $43 billion in aid.
  • Experts Dispute Iraq's Germ Warfare Stand (April 9): After review, independent team rejects contention by Saddam Hussein that Baghdad has made progress in eliminating biological weapons.
  • Northern Ireland Accord Reached (April 10): Landmark settlement exacts concessions from both Protestants and Roman Catholics. Under plan, both groups will govern jointly. Britain retains Ulster, with Republic gaining voice in affairs. Two referendums scheduled.
  • Japanese Propose Economic Stimulus (April 10): Prime Minister suggests $75 billion package of tax cuts and new spending to reverse economic decline.
  • Pope's Easter Message Sounds Warning (April 12): John Paul II decries “fratricidal strife and slaughter” that are “sowing in the earth the seed of death.”
  • Iraq Executes at Least 1,500 During Year (April 13): Most were for political reasons, according to report for United Nations Human Rights Commission.
  • Algeria Eases Abortion Ban (April 13): Under pressure from women's groups, officials make exception for those abducted and raped by militant Islamic rebels.
  • Somali Gunmen Kidnap Nine Foreigners (April 15): Capture Red Cross workers in the capital, Mogadishu, even as main faction leaders reach agreement in Nairobi conference to set up a new government.
  • Israel Improves Human Rights Standards (April 15): Releases Ahmad Quatamesh, 46, longest-serving Palestinian prisoner held without trial. He was jailed on suspicion of being a leader of Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
  • Pol Pot, 73, Dies in Cambodia (April 15): Heart attack fatal to founder and leader of Khmer Rouge movement that killed more than a million people in 1970s. (April 18): Khmer Rouge rebels rush body to cremation without chance for an autopsy.
  • Free Trade Zone for Americas Planned (April 19): Leaders of 34 nations schedule talks and set goal of signing agreement in 2005.
  • China Releases a Top Dissident (April 19): Wang Dan, a leader in Tiananmen Square democracy movement, enters exile in United States. Move viewed as step to win favor with Clinton administration.
  • Europeans Drop Challenge to Cuban Embargo (April 20): Union withdraws legal opposition to U.S. penalties on Havana over properties seized by Castro.
  • Irish Parliament Backs Peace Agreement (April 22): Gives nearly unanimous approval to accord for British Ulster reached by Protestants and Roman Catholics.
  • U.S. Bans Arms Exports to Britain (April 22): Revokes all pending licenses in first step to halt sales of weapons to all 15 nations of European Union.
  • Parliament Approves Yeltsin Appointee (April 24): Lower house votes 251–25, after long dispute, to confirm Sergei Kiriyenko, 35, as Russian Prime Minister.
  • Crowds View Rwanda Executions (April 24): Tens of thousands watch as police shoot 22 prisoners convicted of genocide crimes. Government had rejected international appeals for stay of executions.
  • Canadian Wins Concession in Havana (April 27): Prime Minister Jean Chrétien gets agreement from Castro for foreign investment protection.
  • U.N. Extends Sanctions Against Iraq (April 27): Security Council ignores threats from Baghdad of disruption of future arms inspections.
  • Yeltsin Keeps Many Ministers (April 28): Russian President, confirming predictions, renames heads of Foreign, Defense, and Finance Ministries. He also reappoints Boris Y. Nemtsov, young champion of economic reform, as one of three Deputy Prime Ministers.
  • Israel Reaches 50th Anniversary (April 29): Many indifferent to jubilee because of internal divisions, high unemployment, lack of security, and other factors.


  • Court Throws Out Paula Jones Case (April 1): In victory for President Clinton, Federal judge in Arkansas rules “there are no genuine issues for trial” in sexual misconduct case brought against the President by former state employee when he was Governor. (April 16): Jones announces she plans to appeal.
  • C.I.A. Accuses Dismissed Spy (April 3): Charges Douglas F. Groat, 50, sent two foreign nations secret U.S. information after failing in attempt to extort $500,000 from agency in exchange for loyalty.
  • Energy Secretary Resigns (April 6): Federico Peña, 51, former Transportation Secretary, will focus on his family.
  • Sonny Bono's Widow Succeeds Him (April 7): Mary Bono wins special election in California for Republican seat in Congress, defeating Ralph Waite, Democrat.
  • U.S. Treasury Seeks Economic Reforms (April 14): Secretary outlines plan for updating world financial systems to prevent future economic convulsions.
  • U.S. Appeals Court Bars Hiring Plan (April 14): Voids government program that requires radio and television stations to seek minority job applicants. Ruling called setback to affirmative action.
  • U.S. Trade Deficit Biggest in Decade (April 17): Exports to Japan plunged in February, showing wide effects of Tokyo's stagnant economy.
  • NOW Bars Support for Paula Jones's Appeal (April 22): Women's group says lawsuit against President charging sexual misconduct is legally weak and tainted by right-wing political motivations.
  • Senate Votes for Tax Breaks for Education Savings (April 23): Passes Republican measure for modest concessions for parents who save for school expenses.
  • Hillary Rodham Clinton Questioned on Legal Work (April 25): Interrogated for five hours by Whitewater prosecutors about connection with failed Arkansas savings and loan institution. Session videotaped for legal use.
  • U.S. Court Rejects Campaign Spending Limits (April 27): Appeals bench in Cincinnati holds restrictions are an unconstitutional limit on free speech.
  • Senate Votes for NATO Expansion (April 30): Decides, 80–19, in ballot crossing party lines, to accept resolution to add Poland, Hungary, and Czech Republic. U.S. will become fifth of 16 existing members supporting change in treaty dating from 1949.
  • Clinton Confidant Indicted (April 30): Webster L. Hubbell, former law partner of Hillary Rodham Clinton, charged by Whitewater special prosecutor with tax evasion, including failure to pay taxes and penalties of more than $850,000 over previous four years.


  • Third Toll-Free Code Put in Service (April 3): New 887 number will provide 8 million more lines for callers.
  • Dow Jones Average Exceeds 9,000 (April 6): Industrial index above level for first time. Increase spurred by news of biggest corporation merger in history, between Travelers and Citicorp.
  • More Side Air Bags Planned (April 7): Ford to become first major auto maker to install safety devices on all cars and minivans over next few years.
  • Insurance Panel Set Up for Holocaust Victims (April 8): Agreement reached by four European companies, state regulators, and two Jewish organizations.
  • Plant Species Reported Endangered (April 8): Study finds at least one of every eight varieties around world is threatened by extinction.
  • More Than 100 Muslim Pilgrims Killed in Stampede (April 9): Crushed to death at Mecca during religious practice of “stoning the devil.”
  • Tornadoes in South Kill Dozens (April 9): Rescue workers frantically seek survivors after storms destroy whole communities in Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia.
  • Paraguayan Executed in Virginia (April 14): Supreme Court denies clemency for Angel Francisco Breard, 32, for murder despite pleas from International Court of Justice and Paraguayan Government.
  • Reactions to Medications Often Found Fatal (April 14): Researchers report more than 100,000 people die yearly in American hospitals. Adverse reactions to medication called one of leading death causes.
  • Findings from Two New Studies on Breast Cancer Drug Released (April 20): Suggest that second substance, raloxifene, can prevent disease in short term but does not appear to raise danger of cancer of uterus.
  • Three Abortion Foes Found Liable (April 20): U.S. court jury in Chicago rules anti-abortion leaders violated Federal racketeering law by conducting nationwide campaign to intimidate clinics and patients.
  • Man Convicted of Killing Martin Luther King, Jr., Dies (April 23): James Earl Ray, 70, succumbs to liver disease and kidney failure. He was serving 99-year sentence for assassination of civil rights leader.
  • Sierra Club Rejects Anti-Immigration Stand (April 25): Influential environmental group reaffirms by wide margin policy against restrictions on immigration as means of controlling population growth.
  • Student Kills Chaperoning Teacher (April 25): Shoots science teacher at Edinboro, Pa., school's graduation dance. Wounds another teacher and two students.
  • Smoking by Minorities Reported Rising (April 27): Surgeon General warns of trend that threatens to reverse significant declines in incidence of cancer.

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