December 2000 News and Events

Updated July 10, 2020 | Infoplease Staff


  • Mexico President Inaugurated (Dec. 1): Vicente Fox Quesada promises to share power as the country's first opposition president in 71 years.
  • Europe Acts to Curb Mad Cow Disease (Dec. 4): Union enacts strict measures to halt spread of fatal illness. Emergency action bans feed laced with animal products for all farm animals and calls for the removal of cattle over age two-and-a-half unless tests prove them to be disease-free.
  • Chilean Judge Orders Pinochet's Arrest (Dec. 4): Former dictator charged with kidnapping opponents after 1973 overthrow of President Salvador Allende. (Dec. 5): Appeals court suspends arrest order.
  • American Convicted in Moscow as Spy (Dec. 6): Former navy intelligence officer Edmond Pope sentenced to 20 years.
  • Tighter Afghanistan Sanctions Asked (Dec. 7): U.S. and Russia call on U.N. Security Council to toughen policy against Taliban government.
  • Ukraine Wins Loans for Nuclear Plants (Dec. 7): European Bank for Reconstruction and Development provides country with $215 million to expand two power stations, which will replace electricity lost when the last Chernobyl reactor is shut down later in month.
  • Russia to Curtail Arms Sales to Iran (Dec. 8): Assures U.S. it will give Tehran only defensive weapons.
  • Israeli Prime Minister Resigns (Dec. 9): Ehud Barak's unexpected move hastens new election and prevents Benjamin Netanyahu from running.
  • Accord on European Treaty Reached (Dec. 11): Leaders agree on treaty to incorporate changes expanding functions of 15-nation European Union. One change would extend majority voting to 29 areas.
  • Clinton Speaks for Peace in Ireland (Dec. 12): Addresses tens of thousands in his last appeal for an end to the strife.
  • Serbs Vote for New Regime (Dec. 23): Overwhelmingly approve 18-party democratic coalition, sweeping away last remnants of Slobodan Milosevic regime. Zoran Djindjic to become prime minister.
  • Clinton Offers Mideast Peace Plan (Dec. 25): Outlines broad proposals for accord between Israelis and Palestinians. One would be for Israel to give up sovereignty over Temple Mount and for Palestinians to surrender right of refugees to return to Israel.
  • U.S. Signs World Criminal Treaty (Dec. 31): Clinton defies Pentagon objections to U.N. proposal for tribunal to try atrocities. Senate approval unlikely with strong Republican objections.


  • Cole Personnel Faulted in Blast (Dec. 8): Navy inquiry finds captain and crew of destroyer Cole failed to observe strict security procedures before explosion in Yemen.
  • Supreme Court Seals Bush Victory (Dec. 12): By 5–4 vote, justices overturn Florida bench and rule there can be no further counting of disputed Florida ballots in presidential election. (Dec. 13): Vice President Al Gore concedes election to George W. Bush, governor of Texas.
  • Congress Votes $450 Billion Spending Bill (Dec. 15): Ends session after President Clinton reaches accord with Alaska senator to protect Alaska sea lion species. Senate approves bill by voice vote; House by 292–60.
  • Bush Assembles Cabinet (Dec. 16): Appoints retired Gen. Colin L. Powell to be secretary of state. President-elect calls for foreign policy addressing global challenges “in spirit of national unity.” (Dec. 29): In final choices, Bush rounds out cabinet with conservative appointees.
  • Federal Reserve Changes Goal (Dec. 19): Shifts from fighting inflation to preventing possible recession. Interest rates unchanged.
  • Bush Meets with Clinton and Gore (Dec. 19): Speaks for nearly two hours with president. Principal topic is foreign affairs. Republican victor then briefly calls on Vice President Al Gore.
  • New Rules Cut Diesel Pollution (Dec. 20): President approves control standards to drastically reduce heavy-duty bus and truck emissions over next 10 years.
  • Liberals to Fight Bush Nominee (Dec. 25): Democrats and interest groups vow to fight confirmation of former senator John Ashcroft as attorney general because of his record on civil rights and abortion.
  • White House Kills Drug-Import Plan (Dec. 26): Declares congressional measure for low-cost prescription drugs would neither be safe and nor cut costs.
  • Clinton Appoints Black Judge (Dec. 27): Names first black to U.S. Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va. President disregards Republican opposition.
  • Rise in U.S. Budget Surplus Predicted (Dec. 28): President announces that surplus is expected to swell to nearly $5 trillion over a ten-year period.
  • Census Bureau Sets U.S. Population (Dec. 28): Officially announces total of 281,421,906 people in nation. Figure is a 13.2% increase in the last ten years.
  • U.S. Employees Get Added Benefit (Dec. 31): Clinton order gives nine million improved mental health benefits.


  • Space Shuttle Returns to Earth (Dec. 11): Endeavour and crew of five end NASA's most difficult space-station construction mission to date.
  • Antismoking Law Voted in Maryland (Dec. 12): Measure called nation's toughest enacted in Washington suburb of Friendship Heights.
  • Detroit Newspaper Strike Ends (Dec. 17): Two local Teamsters unions ratify contract. Tie-up had lasted five-and-a-half years.
  • Fire in China Kills 309 (Dec. 26): Police arrest two suspects in disco blaze in Luoyang.
  • Heart Removed in Rare Surgery (Dec. 25): Woman recovering from Nov. 14 operation is happy to celebrate Christmas. In Houston operation, surgeon removed her heart, removed tumors, and replaced her heart.
  • Blizzard Pummels Northeast (Dec. 31): Heavy winds and snow whiteouts spread damage in New York City and elsewhere. Snow depths reach 20 inches.

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