August 1999 News and Events

Updated July 10, 2020 | Infoplease Staff

1999 News Month-By-Month


  • China Launches Long-Range Missile (Aug. 2): Announcement is unusual. Beijing attacks U.S. for sale of military equipment to Taiwan in middle of crisis.
  • NATO Appoints Secretary General (Aug. 4): George Robertson, 53, British Defense Secretary, named senior civilian official for Brussels office.
  • U.N. Asserts Authority in Kosovo (Aug. 8): Mission seeks role as government of province to fill vacuum exploited by Kosovo Liberation Army and followers.
  • Yeltsin Ousts Prime Minister (Aug. 9): Replaces Sergei Stepashin with Vladimir Putin in fourth government shake-up in 17 months.
  • China Rejects Visit by Pope (Aug. 9): Turns down efforts by Vatican. Beijing reported to base decision on papal ties with Taiwan and not with mainland.
  • Indians Shoot Down Unarmed Pakistani Plane (Aug. 10): All 16 aboard plane killed by fighter craft near disputed border. Both India and Pakistan claim jet was over their territory. Tensions increase between the rival nuclear powers.
  • Yugoslav Cabinet Reshuffled (Aug. 12): Prime Minister Momir Bilatovic acts in face of antigovernment demonstrations. Brings in strongly nationalist Serbs.
  • Adolf Eichmann Memoirs Published (Aug. 12): Nazi agent wrote “obeying an order” was most important value.
  • Fraud by Bosnian Leaders Alleged (Aug. 16): Muslim, Croatian, and Serbian nationalists accused by international agency of stealing up to $1 billion from public funds or international aid projects.
  • Uganda and Rwanda Reach Accord (Aug. 17): Leaders agree on immediate cease-fire to end three days of fighting between their troops in Congo. The usually friendly nations support rival rebel factions against Congolese president Laurent Kabila.
  • New Russian Political Alliance Formed (Aug. 17): Yevgeny Primakov, prime minister ousted by Yeltsin in May, re-enters scene as head of group likely to lead in election campaign.
  • Thousands Perish in Turkish Earthquake (Aug. 17): Magnitude 7.4 quake in northwest region kills more than 17,000 and leaves 600,000 homeless. Damages estimated at $6.5 billion. (Aug. 18): More than 1,000 relief workers from nineteen countries join search for victims.
  • Russian Money Laundering Charged (Aug. 18): Law enforcement officials say billions of dollars have been channeled through Bank of New York in the last year in what is believed to be a major operation by organized crime figures in Russia.
  • North Korean Famine Reported Eased (Aug. 19): U.N. report says international food aid has helped nation emerge from prolonged severe period. Experts say years of hunger have cost millions of lives.
  • Thousands Exhort Milosevic to Quit (Aug. 19): Tens of thousands rally outside Belgrade Federal Parliament to demand resignation. Opposition leaders divided.
  • Full-Scale Relief Under Way in Turkey (Aug. 22): Soldiers and police join volunteers to help survivors after days of confusion.
  • Kosovo Albanians Block Russian Troops (Aug. 23): Use farm vehicles to halt peacekeeping force from advancing to take charge of city of Orahovic.
  • Russia Regains Dagestan Territory (Aug. 25): Federal troops raise Russian flag over Dagestan mountain villages seized three weeks previously by Islamic militants from secessionist republic of Chechnya.
  • Bosnian Serb Army Chief Arrested (Aug. 25): Gen. Momir Talic seized in Vienna on secret indictment, charged with crimes against humanity in 1992–1995 war.
  • U.N. Envoy Works for Peace in Kosovo (Aug. 29): Richard C. Holbrooke urges ethnic Albanian leaders to help build free, law-abiding, and democratic society.
  • East Timor Votes for Independence (Aug. 31): Hundreds of thousands of voters reject autonomy, choosing to break away from Indonesia, which had been in control in 1975. U.N. helps monitor elections.


  • Suspect Denies Atomic Security Charges (Aug. 1): Scientist dismissed from Los Alamos National Laboratory says he did not betray nuclear secrets to China.
  • Senate Votes “Sweepstakes” Curbs (Aug. 2): Approves new restrictions and penalties for companies that seek to tempt people to buy magazine subscriptions.
  • F.C.C. Relaxes TV Station Ownership Rules (Aug. 5): For first time, allows single company or network to own two broadcasting stations in nation's largest cities.
  • Senate Confirms U.N. Appointment (Aug. 5): After 14 months, approves Richard C. Holbrooke to be chief American delegate. After months of opposition by Republican leaders, the final obstacle, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) relents.
  • Republicans Attempt to Raise Donation Standard (Aug. 8): Goal for 2000 election is to get 100 donors to contribute $250,000 per year or $1 million every four years.
  • Carters Awarded Medal of Freedom (Aug. 9): Clinton honors former president and wife for public service.
  • Pentagon Revises Policy on Homosexuals (Aug. 13): Requires troops to receive more training to prevent harassment of homosexuals.
  • F.B.I. Reveals New Details on Waco Standoff (Aug. 25): Admits to possibility that pyrotechnic tear-gas canisters were used against Branch Davidian sect on last day of 1993 stand-off in Texas. More than 80 people were killed when compound caught fire. Source of fire remains a mystery, as F.B.I. denies the devices were responsible. (Aug. 26): Attorney General calls for new investigation of case.


  • Train Crash in India Kills Hundreds (Aug. 2): Cars crushed in head-on collision, killing more than 250.
  • Christian Coalition Wins Court Ruling (Aug. 2): Federal judge rejects most charges in lawsuit accusing group of illegally distributing voting guides.
  • E.P.A. Limits Use of a Pesticide (Aug. 2): Acts to protect children from methyl parathion, used on fruits and vegetables.
  • $16 Million Paid for Assassination Film (Aug. 3): Arbitrators rule U.S. must reimburse heirs of Abraham Zapruder for record of Kennedy shooting.
  • Parents Cautioned on Children's TV (Aug. 5): American Academy of Pediatrics warns that television viewing can affect mental, social, and physical health of children.
  • $23 Million Verdict in Diet Pill Case (Aug. 5): Texas jury awards sum to woman who said she suffered heart damage after using fen-phen. Verdict is first in thousands of cases pending across country.
  • Nevada Nuclear Waste Site Found Safe (Aug. 6): Preliminary U.S. report concludes that little radiation would leak from storage project and that it would be as safe as, and much cheaper than, continuing to collect material at dozens of sites around nation.
  • Laws to Shield Doctors (Aug. 8): States beginning to pass legislation preventing physicians from being persecuted for prescribing powerful medications.
  • Gunman Opens Fire in L.A. (Aug. 10): White supremacist Buford Furrow, Jr., 37, wounds five at North Valley Jewish Community Center. Upon fleeing, he shoots and kills a Filipino-American postal worker. (Aug. 11): Furrow surrenders in Las Vegas, admitting to murder.
  • Tornado Damages Salt Lake City (Aug. 11): Rare twister kills one and injures more than 70 in Utah capital. Mayor estimates $150 million in property damage.
  • Evolution Rejected in Kansas (Aug. 14): State Board of Education votes to delete virtually any mention of theory from state's science curriculum.
  • Lutherans Vote Episcopalian Link (Aug. 19): Evangelical group enters agreement under which churches will recognize each other's members and sacraments.
  • Wildfires Rage on West Coast (Aug. 20 et. seq.): Major blazes ravage more than 150,000 acres in seven states and poison air over Northern California.
  • Decline in AIDS Deaths Slows (Aug. 26): Health experts report in new study that drop in AIDS death rate from 1997 to 1998 was 20%, half that of the previous year's decline. Number of new HIV infections in 1998 continues to hold steady from previous several years, at roughly 40,000.
  • Liquid Discovered in Object From Space (Aug. 26): NASA scientists find water trapped in four-and-a-half billion year old meteorite that landed in Tex. in 1998.
  • Last Full Crew Leaves Russian Space Station (Aug. 28): Two Russians and a French cosmonaut climb into escape capsule for descent to Earth from 13-year-old Mir. Lack of funding makes it likely spacecraft will be programmed to burn up and land in ocean.
  • DDT Defended as Malaria Weapon (Aug. 28): Public health officials say pesticide, facing increasing bans, is necessary to stop worldwide spread of disease.
  • AT&T Lowers Long-Distance Rates (Aug. 30): Follows two rivals, MCI Worldcom and Sprint. Moves benefit consumers but threaten phone companies' profits.

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