January 1999 News and Events

Updated February 11, 2017 | Infoplease Staff

1999 Month-By-Month


  • Opposition to Khmer Rouge Trial Denied (Jan. 1): Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen says earlier comments misinterpreted and that he supports investigation into mass killings during Khmer Rouge regime.
  • Israel Arrests Eight U.S. Cultists (Jan. 3): Charges Denver-based group with planning to mark millennium with mass suicide or by provoking catastrophic shootout in Jerusalem.
  • Iraqi Appeal Splits Arab Nations (Jan. 5): Saddam Hussein more isolated after calling for revolt against leaders who failed to support him in U.S. attacks in Dec.
  • U.S. and Iraqi Planes Clash (Jan. 5): Jet fighters battle for first time in six years over Iraqi no-fly zone.
  • Massacre in Eastern Congo Reported (Jan. 5): About 500 said to have been slain during previous week by soldiers aligned with Tutsi rebels. (Jan. 6): Rebel leaders admit soldiers had killed about 400 Hutu militiamen, but deny they had massacred 500 civilians.
  • U.S. Spied on Iraq Under U.N. Cover (Jan. 6): Washington officials say agents on arms inspection teams discovered secret weapons programs.
  • U.S. Penalizes Three Russian Technical Agencies (Jan. 12): Imposes sanctions on three institutions accused of helping Iran and possibly other nations to develop nuclear weapons and missiles.
  • Brazil Devalues Currency Eight Percent (Jan. 13): Action follows decline in stock market and resignation of central bank president.
  • Serbs Attack Albanian Rebels (Jan. 15): At least fifteen separatists killed and two peace workers wounded. British monitor and his translator are first international observers to be wounded in Kosovo conflict.
  • Mutilated Bodies of Ethnic Albanians Found (Jan. 16): International monitors shocked by discovery of 45 disfigured corpses in worst killing incident of nearly year-old conflict. Many shot at close range.
  • Striking Romanian Miners Battle Police (Jan. 19): Thousands climb over barricades and clash with officers in march to protest low wages and threat of layoffs. (Jan. 21): Strikers again attack police, taking up to 50 officers hostage.
  • India Foils Plot to Bomb U.S. Consulates (Jan. 20): Police arrest Bangladeshi man and three others charged with planning attacks in Madras and Calcutta.
  • U.N. Releases $81 Million for Iraq (Jan. 20): Approves funding to buy equipment to increase electric supply.
  • King Hussein Picks Heir to Throne (Jan. 25): Jordanian monarch designates eldest son, Abdullah, as successor. Days earlier, 63-year-old king had told brother, Crown Prince Hassan, that his designation would end.
  • Independence a Possibility for East Timor (Jan. 28): Indonesian officials at U.N.-sponsored talks say for first time that independence may be option if autonomy proposals fall through.
  • NATO Authorizes Kosovo Air Attack (Jan. 30): Threatens military action if Serbia does not agree to begin talks with ethnic Albanian leaders.


  • More Spacecraft Join Mission to Mars (Jan. 3): Robot lander and two piggybacked microprobes launched on second stage of NASA's project to probe soil of planet for water in form of ice crystals.
  • U.S. Plans to Ease Restrictions on Cuba (Jan. 4): New policy would let millions more dollars flow to Cubans and allow more direct flights, mail service, and trade.
  • Elizabeth Dole Looks to 2000 Election (Jan. 4): Resignation as head of the American Red Cross seen as a move for presidential race. Dole, a Cabinet member for Reagan and Bush, is married to 1996 G.O.P. presidential candidate Bob Dole.
  • Hastert Elected Speaker of the House (Jan. 6): In opening day for 106th Congress, Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) is chosen to replace Newt Gingrich.
  • Senate Opens Impeachment Trial (Jan. 7): Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist swears in senators to ?do impartial justice? in deciding whether to remove President Clinton from office for perjury and obstruction of justice.
  • Attorney General's Career Sets Record (Jan. 10): Having taken post in March 1993, Janet Reno becomes longest-serving, this century, in her position. All-time record belongs to William Wirt, who served from Nov. 1817 to March 1829.
  • Clinton Settles Paula Jones's Lawsuit (Jan. 12): Pays $850,000 to end legal action by former Arkansas employee who accused him of sexual misconduct.
  • Clinton's Defense Opens in Senate Trial (Jan. 19): Charles F. C. Ruff, White House counsel, denies charges against President and attacks House prosecutors. (Jan. 21): In eloquent speech, former senator Dale Bumpers concludes defense with appeal for acquittal of President and ?an end to this nightmare.?
  • Clinton Gives State of the Union Address (Jan. 19): President proposes that government invest in stock market to strengthen Social Security. Appears confident in address to Congress despite impeachment proceedings.
  • U.S. Seeks Revision of Missile-Defense Pact (Jan. 20): Clinton administration asks Russia to renegotiate 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty to allow limited national system of missile defenses.
  • Pope Visits North America (Jan. 22): Crowds greet John Paul II in Mexico. He says churches of all Americas should work together. (Jan. 26): President and Mrs. Clinton welcome Pontiff in St. Louis. (Jan. 28): In response to Pope's appeal, Mo. Governor commutes death sentence of convicted killer.
  • Monica Lewinsky Examined in Senate Trial (Jan. 24): House managers prosecuting President term her an ?impressive witness? in impeachment case.


  • Storm Cripples Midwest (Jan. 3): Chicago and other areas dig out after worst snowstorm in 30 years.
  • Agreement Saves Basketball Season (Jan. 6): Players and owners of National Basketball Association end 191-day tie-up and settle on abbreviated season.
  • Scandals Over Olympic Games Erupt (Jan. 8): Two Salt Lake City organizers of 2002 games resign as bribery charges emerge. (Jan. 24): President of International Olympic Committee expels six members for taking improper benefits in Salt Lake City scandal over bidding.
  • Michael Jordan Retires from Bulls (Jan. 13): Fans wish basketball legend well as he ends career that lasted 13 seasons and brought Chicago six NBA titles.
  • Female Genital Mutilation Banned in Senegal (Jan. 14): Parliament eradicates traditional practice that is painful, damaging, and sometimes lethal. About one-fifth of girls in Senegal had experienced circumcision.
  • Tornadoes Rage Through South (Jan. 17): At least eight are killed and 105 injured in Tennessee. Twisters noted in 12 counties and damage is reported in 16 others. (Jan. 22): Seven in Arkansas killed by powerful storm system. Eighth killed as tornado hits Tennessee. Property damage is heavy.
  • Hand Transplant Performed in U.S. (Jan. 24): Doctors in Louisville, Ky., replace left hand of N.J. man with one from a recently dead donor. It is first such procedure performed in U.S.
  • Hundreds Killed in Colombian Earthquake (Jan. 25): Nearly 1,000 dead and 4,000 injured in the city of Armenia. Quake is Colombia's worst in more than a century.
  • Ford Buys Volvo Operations (Jan. 28): Agrees to pay $6.45 billion for Swedish company in biggest step to become a major seller of luxury cars.
  • Settlement Bars Profit for Nanny in Manslaughter Case (Jan. 29): Louise Woodward, convicted British au pair, is penalized in civil action brought by baby's parents.
  • HIV Virus Traced to Chimpanzee Subspecies (Jan. 31): International team of scientists hopes discovery may help improve AIDS therapies and lead to vaccine.

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