February 2000 News and Events

Updated July 10, 2020 | Infoplease Staff


  • Albright Meets New Russian Leader (Feb. 2): Secretary of State praises Vladimir V. Putin as “well-informed” and eager for a “normal position with the West.” War in Chechnya remains a point of dispute.
  • Israeli-Palestinian Summit Fails (Feb. 3): Leaders end Gaza Strip session without resolving disagreement on interim issues or setting new deadline for final accord.
  • Austria at Center of European Dispute (Feb. 3): After conservative People's Party forms coalition with the far-right Freedom Party, headed by Jörg Haider. A nationalist against immigration, Haider had made several controversial remarks praising some Nazi policies, which he has since recanted. The European Union condemns new coalition, freezes diplomatic contacts, and imposes sanctions, accusing Haider of being a racist and xenophobe. (Feb. 28): Under international pressure, Haider resigns as leader of Freedom Party.
  • Russia Pledges Plutonium Safeguard (Feb. 6): Agrees to $100 million joint research and aid package from United States. Russia will stop producing plutonium out of fuel from civilian power plants, cutting access of civilian nuclear sector. Plutonium can be used to produce nuclear weapons.
  • Hijackers Seize Afghan Plane (Feb. 6): Boeing 727 with 186 passengers makes erratic flight through Russia and Central Asia. Hijackers demand release of jailed opposition leader Ismail Khan. (Feb. 12): After negotiating with government, hijackers release hostages and land plane in Stansted, England. About half onboard plane, including hijackers, request asylum in Britain.
  • Yugoslav Defense Minister Slain (Feb. 7): Gunmen kill Pavle Bulatovic, 51, a member of Montenegro's Socialist People's Party, and a close ally of President Slobodan Milosevic. (Feb. 15): Milosevic appoints Serbian Gen. Dragoljub Ojdanic, 58, as new defense minister. Ojdanic and Milosevic were indicted in 1999 by the United Nations for suspected war crimes.
  • Kurdish Rebels End War on Turkey (Feb. 9): Announce plan to seek self-rule by nonviolent means. First step made by Kurdistan Workers Party in heeding captured leader Abdullah Ocalan's plea to lay down arms.
  • Britain Ends Self-Rule in Northern Ireland (Feb. 12): Britain suspends self-government in Belfast after Irish Republican Army misses disarmament deadline. I.R.A. takes action as a result, offering plan to disarm.
  • Russia Cuts Off Chechnya Capital (Feb. 14): Military orders surviving residents of Grozny to evacuate. City to be off-limits for two weeks while officials check for bombs and weapons.
  • Russia Reconciles with NATO (Feb. 16): Acting President Vladimir Putin signals desire for closer ties with West by agreeing to end 11-month estrangement. Some observers see Putin's move as an effort to gain money, technology, and other resources to rebuild Russia.
  • German Conservative Party Leader Resigns (Feb. 16): Wolfgang Schäuble steps down, deepening crisis for Christian Democratic Union. The party of former chancellor Helmut Kohl has been shaken by recent evidence of embezzlement and illicit payments.
  • NATO Chief Seeks More Kosovo Troops (Feb. 23): Gen. Wesley K. Clark calls for immediate dispatch of additional 1,800 to maintain order in Yugoslav province. Fighting between ethnic Albanians and Serbian nationalists has continued since June 1999 accord.
  • China Trade Talks Broken Off (Feb. 24): China and European Union fail to reach agreement on nation's bid to enter World Trade Organization.
  • U.S. Critical of China and Russia (Feb. 25): Charges leveled in State Department's annual report on human rights. Report especially harsh in criticizing China for what it calls marked deterioration in rights.
  • Reformists Win Control in Iran (Feb. 26): Gain firm control of parliament, with near sweep of Tehran district in final tally from Feb. elections. Hard-liners ousted from control for first time since 1979 Islamic revolution.
  • U.S. Expels Cuban Diplomat (Feb. 26): Accused spy José Imperatori gives up immunity and challenges officials to arrest him so that he can prove his innocence.
  • Taiwan Asks U.S. for Advanced Arms (Feb. 29): In bold move, seeks to buy defensive weapons to counter China's growing military power.


  • McCain and Gore Win in N.H. (Feb. 1): Sen. John McCain defeats Texas governor George W. Bush by unexpectedly large margin in first major Republican primary. Vice President Al Gore narrowly defeats former senator Bill Bradley in Democratic contest.
  • First Lady Enters N.Y. Senate Race (Feb. 6): Hillary Rodham Clinton officially declares candidacy.
  • Clinton Submits Year's Budget (Feb. 7): Outlines $1.84 trillion federal budget proposal. President calls for using much of projected surplus to bolster Medicare system over coming decade.
  • Bush and McCain Wage Angry Debate (Feb. 15): Contenders in Republican presidential primary in S.C. accuse each other of negative campaign tactics. Debate is most intense and fiercest of contest to date.
  • U.S. Agency Quits Internet (Feb. 17): Environmental Protection Agency closes off public access to environmental hazards databases and shuts down email. Action follows complaint from Representative Thomas Bliley, Jr. (R-Va.) that agency's network was easy target for hackers. Internet access to be restored after computer specialists install firewall for protection.
  • Mixed Results in Primaries (Feb. 19): In S.C., Gov. George W. Bush reclaims front-runner status in G.O.P. balloting. (Feb. 22): In Mich., Sen. John McCain rebounds to defeat Bush on wave of independent voters and Democrats. McCain also wins primary in home state of Ariz.
  • Labor Leaders Support Vice President (Feb. 20): Heads of A.F.L.-C.I.O. reaffirm support for Al Gore's presidential candidacy despite Gore's plan to support trade deal with China.
  • Reduction in Medical Errors Sought (Feb. 21): President Clinton plans to order all hospitals in nation to enforce means to reduce mistakes that cause thousands of deaths each year. States will be requested to implement systems in which hospitals will be required to report errors.


  • Federal Reserve Raises Two Key Rates (Feb. 2): Increases interest rates quarter of percentage point. Warns of further advances to keep strong economy from generating inflation.
  • Hackers Attack Several Web Sites (Feb. 7 et seq.): Internet's vulnerability demonstrated as several major commercial sites are crippled, including Yahoo, Amazon, and eBay.
  • U.S. Productivity Continues to Grow (Feb. 8): Labor Dept. reports rate advanced 5% in last half of 1999.
  • Spacecraft First to Orbit an Asteroid (Feb. 14): The NEAR links up with Eros to become first artificial satellite to circle an asteroid.
  • Tornadoes Kill Many in Georgia (Feb. 14): Eighteen die in overnight twister that caught area off-guard. More than 100 injured.
  • Cats Closing after 18 Years on Broadway (Feb. 19): Musical, which is Broadway's longest-running production, will shut down on June 25.
  • Endeavour Crew Finishes Earth Mapping (Feb. 22): Crew of six returns to Earth after gathering radar images that will be used to create highly accurate three-dimensional maps.
  • Medical Publication Admits Violating Policy (Feb. 23): New England Journal of Medicine apologizes for going against its own conflict-of-interest policy in choosing experts to review drug therapies. Three separate authors who contributed a total of 19 articles over the previous three years had told the journal they had financial ties to drug companies referenced in the articles.
  • Wary Investors Bring Stock Plunge (Feb. 25): Dow Jones Industrial Average falls below 10,000 level for first time in ten months. Investors dump shares in reaction to fears of higher interest rates.
  • First-Grader Accused of Killing Classmate (Feb. 29): Six-year-old boy shoots Kayla Rolland, also 6, at an elementary school in Mount Morris Township, Mich.

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