January 1998 News and Events

Updated February 11, 2017 | Infoplease Staff

1998 News Month-By-Month


  • Netanyahu Survives Parliamentary Test (Jan. 4): Israeli Prime Minister's majority threatened by resignation of Foreign Minister David Levy. (Jan. 5): Netanyahu blocks challenge to government when Parliament approves 1998 budget by vote of 58 to 52.
  • Kenya's President Wins Fifth Term (Jan. 4): Daniel arap Moi re-elected for final period of 20-year-old administration known for corruption.
  • Major Hong Kong Bank Shuts Down (Jan. 12): Peregrine Investments Holdings is first major casualty of Asia's economic and currency crisis.
  • Israel Sets Stringent Terms for Withdrawal (Jan. 13): Demands Palestinians accept new conditions before any further Israeli departure from West Bank.
  • Iraq Blocks Weapons Inspection (Jan. 13): Charges American in charge, William Scott Ritter Jr., is a spy. (Jan. 17): President Saddam Hussein threatens to expel United Nations arms inspectors in six months if Iraq is not cleared of suspicion of arms violations and U.N. sanctions are not lifted.
  • Drastic Economic Reforms for Indonesia (Jan. 15): President Suharto signs agreement with International Monetary Fund for economic bailout in exchange for curbs on spending and dismantling of monopolies that enriched family and friends.
  • Turkish Court Orders Islamic Party Disbanded (Jan. 16): Highest tribunal rules that nation's largest political party works to overthrow the secular government.
  • Clinton Signs Charter With 3 Baltic Nations (Jan. 16): Affirms partnership with presidents of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania and pledges United States support for their aspirations to join NATO.
  • Two Big Russian Oil Companies Merge (Jan. 19): Politically powerful enterprise, Yuksi, is world's 11th largest producer, controlling vast reserves.
  • Clinton Offers Netanyahu Withdrawal Plan (Jan. 20): In White House conference, President proposes phased pullout of Israel from West Bank. Netanyahu insists that redeployment depends on compliance with Israeli demands, including rights of settlers.
  • Pope Visits Cuba for Five Days (Jan. 21?25): John Paul II preaches against abortion and for improved education, calls for release of political prisoners, stresses human rights, and criticizes U.S. embargo.
  • Clinton and Arafat Confer (Jan. 22): Palestinian leader, in Washington, rejects as insufficient Israeli offer of phased withdrawal from West Bank. Moves toward some concessions on revision of Palestinian charter and on security.
  • U.S. and Japan Settle Major Trade Dispute (Jan. 30): Agree to remove most restrictions on air traffic between them, and to provide more service.


  • Clinton Will Propose Balanced Budget (Jan. 6): Plans to halt deficit spending three years ahead of schedule and projects a surplus in fiscal 1999.
  • Clinton Proposes Expanding Medicare (Jan. 6): Offers plan for system to cover hundreds of thousands of early retirees, laid-off workers and uninsured Americans between ages of 55 and 65.
  • Clinton Proposes Funds for Child Care (Jan. 7): Seeks to spend $21 billion in grants and tax breaks over next five years. Republican opposition likely.
  • Asian Crisis Pushes U.S. Stocks Down (Jan. 9): Dow Jones average falls nearly 3 percent as fears over effect on U.S. economy spur selling wave.
  • President Questioned in Paula Jones Case (Jan. 17): In six-hour session, defends himself under oath against allegation of sexual misconduct when Governor.
  • White House Sex Scandal Charged (Jan. 21, et seq.): President Clinton denies allegations of sexual affair with intern, Monica S. Lewinsky. Whitewater Independent Counsel Ken Starr presses investigation of new charges. (Jan. 27): President's wife brands investigation part of a ?vast right-wing conspiracy.? (Jan. 29): U.S. judge in Arkansas forbids use of Lewinsky evidence in sexual harassment suit against President.


  • Sonny Bono Killed in Skiing Accident (Jan. 5): Crashes into tree on California slope. Was U.S. representative, singer, and television star.
  • U.S. Balloonist Fails in World Flight (Jan. 5): Steve Fossett, pilot, abandons attempt to be first to ride a balloon around globe nonstop when the Solo Spirit lands in Russian wheat field after mishaps.
  • Space Agency Dispatches Rocket to Moon (Jan. 6): Unmanned Athena launched to orbit moon in search of evidence of frozen water, minerals and gases.
  • U.S. Jury Blocks Death Penalty in Second Bombing Trial (Jan. 7): Jury divided on extent of Terry L. Nichols's role in Oklahoma City bombing. Panel had convicted him of conspiracy but not of committing terrorist act. Judge to decide on prison term.
  • Unabomber Pleads Guilty (Jan. 8): Case of Theodore J. Kaczynski thrown into turmoil with report that he had attempted suicide. (Jan. 22): In Sacramento Federal Court, he admits to having killed and maimed people with package bombs. With his request to represent himself denied by a judge, he agrees to plead guilty to all U.S. charges. Kaczynski accepts unconditional sentence of life in prison without parole and gives up right to appeal.
  • Storm Cripples Northeast (Jan. 9): Floods and freezing rain knock out power lines for more than a million people in upstate New York, New England, and Canada. (Jan. 12): Fifteen dead in Eastern Canada as dangerous cold spell adds to havoc.
  • Bombing Mastermind Gets Life (Jan. 9): U.S. judge sentences Ramzi Ahmed Yousef to solitary confinement for role in 1993 bombing of New York's World Trade Center.
  • Quake Kills 47 in Rural Northern China (Jan. 11): Tens of thousands of poor farmers left homeless. Soldiers rush medicine and supplies to area near Great Wall.
  • U.S. Astronaut Leaves Mir for Space Walk (Jan. 15): David Wolf quits Russian spaceship for first time in three months to inspect station's outer hull.
  • Flu From Australia Spreads in U.S. (Jan. 15): Wide outbreaks reported in New York, Texas, and Tennessee.
  • John Glenn, 77, to Return to Space (Jan. 16): Senator, first American to orbit Earth, chosen for place on shuttle flight in experiment on aging process.
  • Pope Appoints 22 New Cardinals (Jan. 18): List includes two Americans, Francis Eugene George, 61, Archbishop of Chicago, and James Francis Stafford, 65, Archbishop Emeritus of Denver.
  • Two Calves Cloned by New Method (Jan. 20): Scientists in Massachusetts announce genetically engineered births that may offer broad medical benefits.
  • Killer of Two at C.I.A. Sentenced to Death (Jan. 23): Mir Alimal Kansi, 33, Pakistani immigrant, found guilty in Virginia court in shooting of two Central Intelligence Agency employees in 1993.
  • Court Bars Dismissal of Gay Sailor (Jan. 26): U.S. judge accuses Navy of ?search and outing? mission against chief petty officer who posted on-line computer message describing marital status as gay.
  • Two Teachers' Groups Plan Merger (Jan. 26): Leaders of National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers announce preliminary plan for 3.2-million-member union, nation's largest ever.
  • German Bishops Obey Pope on Abortion Issue (Jan. 27): Obey papal request to withhold counseling certificates required by nation's legal procedures for granting abortions.
  • One Dead in Women's Health Clinic Bombing (Jan. 29): Off-duty police officer killed and nurse seriously wounded by explosion in Birmingham, Ala., believed to be the first fatal blast at a clinic in the nation.

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