January 2000 News and Events

Updated July 10, 2020 | Infoplease Staff


  • Acting President Takes Charge of Kremlin (Jan. 3): In one of his first actions, Vladimir V. Putin dismisses Tatyana Dyachenko, daughter of former president Boris N. Yeltsin, and other staff members who had been loyal to Yeltsin. (Jan. 10): Putin distances himself from allegedly corrupt Yeltsin regime by demoting two high-ranking officials. Selects experienced debt negotiator Mikhail M. Kasyanov as first deputy prime minister.
  • Pro-Western Bloc Elected in Croatia (Jan. 3): Center-left opposition, composed of Social Democrats and Social Liberals, emerges victorious in parliamentary balloting, overthrowing the nationalist Croatian Democratic Union. Former Communist Party leader Ivica Racan will become prime minister.
  • China to Resume Military Talks with U.S. (Jan. 5): Agrees to continue communications suspended after American planes bombed Chinese embassy in Yugoslavia on May 7.
  • Hong Kong Vows Smuggling Crackdown (Jan. 11): Will step up effort to prevent Chinese migrants from hiding in containers on cargo ships bound for the U.S. and Canada. Nearly 100 people arrested since Dec. for attempting this method of illegal immigration.
  • Space Station Opening Again Delayed (Jan. 11): Flaws in Russian booster rocket further hold up multibillion dollar international project. Russia's reluctance to provide funding for essential crew compartment has caused great delays.
  • Pinochet Ruled Medically Unfit for Trial (Jan. 11): British Home Secretary Jack Straw, reviewing medical reports, says the ailing 84-year-old Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, who had spent 15 months under house arrest in London, is unfit to stand trial in Spain on charges of war crimes stemming from his 17-year rule in Chile.
  • Britain Ends Military Homosexual Curbs (Jan. 12): Obeys European court ruling that it could no longer keep gays from serving in armed forces.
  • Europe Plans Food Safety Agency (Jan. 12): After series of food scares, European Commission proposes all-European body to confront problem. Plan receives criticism in its call for a small advisory board composed of scientists instead of a powerful independent regulator.
  • Russia Tightens Nuclear Arms Policy (Jan. 14): Wording of new security strategy suggests wariness of the U.S. and Europe. Russian military may now turn to nuclear arms “if all other means of resolving the crisis have been exhausted.”
  • War Crimes Tribunal Sentences Five (Jan. 14): Hague court convicts Bosnian Croat militiamen for part in 1993 massacre of 116 Muslims in the central Bosnian village of Ahmici.
  • Socialist President Elected in Chile (Jan. 16): Ricardo Lagos wins by narrow margin to become first Socialist executive in 27 years.
  • Israel and Syria Postpone Talks (Jan. 17): Scheduled conference in W. Va. hits snag over Syrian demand that Golan Heights issue be settled. Both nations will send experts, rather than heads of state, to Washington to comment on draft peace treaty.
  • Helmut Kohl Quits German Party Post (Jan. 18): Former chancellor resigns as honorary chairman of opposition Christian Democrats amid controversy over his refusal to identify donors of more than $1 million in secret payments during his tenure as party leader.
  • Russian Force Enters Chechen Capital (Jan. 18): Battle intensifies as Russian troops and Islamic rebels fire at each other at close range in Grozny. Russian officers speak of recapturing city before March presidential election. Finance Minister Mikhail Kasyanov says Russia spent 50% more on the war against the breakaway republic in 1999 than it had planned.
  • Jesse Helms Rebukes UN on Policies (Jan. 20): Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee warns Security Council that Congress has right to determine conditions on which U.S. will pay off its debt to the organization.
  • Greece and Turkey Reach Accord (Jan. 20): Foreign ministers sign series of agreements four years after their countries came close to entering war over tiny Aegean island. Accords cover range of areas including commerce, immigration, and the environment.
  • Protesters March in Madrid (Jan. 23): One million people rally against Basque separatist group, E.T.A.
  • Elián González Meets with His Grandmothers (Jan. 26): Six-year-old Cuban sees grandmothers for first time since he was rescued from the Atlantic Ocean in Nov.
  • China Issues Controls on Internet (Jan. 26): Bans posting and dissemination of “state secrets,” a vague term the government applies to any information it has not approved.


  • Federal Reserve Head Nominated Again (Jan. 4): Alan Greenspan chosen by President Clinton to serve fourth four-year term as chairman.
  • Clinton Expands National Park System (Jan. 11): Signs decree establishing three new national monuments and expanding Pinnacles National Monument (Calif.) by 7,900 acres. The addition of Grand Canyon–Parashant, a 1-million-acre area bordering the Grand Canyon's northern rim, comes despite opposition of many western Republican lawmakers. Designation prevents development of land, including mining and timber cutting. Other new sites are Agua Fria N.M. (71,000 acres in Ariz.) and California Coastal N.M. (encompasses islands and rocks along Calif. coast).
  • Drug Companies Drop Medicare Opposition (Jan. 13): Executives say they want to work with President Clinton and Congress to set plan for Medicare coverage of prescription drugs. Industry would accept such legislation as step toward comprehensive changes in Medicare program.
  • Antimissile Test Called Flawed (Jan. 13): Pentagon concedes that Oct. test was not as successful as first claimed. Technical mistakes caused the interceptor to lock in on decoy balloon before changing course at last minute to hit target mock warhead.
  • F.C.C. to Approve Low-Power Radio (Jan. 19): Ease in licensing rules will make airwaves more accessible to small broadcasters. F.C.C. hopes to increase diversity in broadcasting by allowing educational, religious, and community groups to run low-power FM stations.
  • Union Membership Gains (Jan. 19): Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 265,000 new members in 1999, bringing total to 16.5 million. Largest increase in two decades.
  • Bush and Gore Take Iowa Caucuses (Jan. 22): Texas governor is clear G.O.P. winner. On the Democratic front, Vice President Al Gore soundly defeats former senator Bill Bradley.
  • President Clinton Delivers Final Message to Congress (Jan. 27): In State of the Union speech, president hails nation's record prosperity. Proposes modest tax relief for lower and middle classes, especially for married couples.


  • World Enters New Century Smoothly (Jan. 1): Computer experts surprised by smooth transition after widespread fears that computers might not adapt to year 2000.
  • New Cervical Cancer Test Acclaimed (Jan. 5): Journal of the American Medical Association reports that newer laboratory test is more accurate and more accessible than Pap tests.
  • Electric Chair Replaced in Florida (Jan. 6): Legislature votes overwhelmingly for lethal injection as state's method of execution. Black Caucus fails in move for amendment to allow convicts to try to show that racial bias played role in death sentences.
  • Internet Thief Steals Credit Card Data (Jan. 9): Releases some customer information after Internet music retailer CD Universe refuses to meet $100,000 extortion demand.
  • Biggest Merger in History (Jan. 10): America Online agrees to buy Time Warner, largest traditional media company, for $165 billion.
  • Doctors Warned on New Influenza Drugs (Jan. 12): F.D.A. reports too-heavy reliance on Relenza and Tamiflu has kept patients from getting more aggressive treatment. Some patients have died as a result.
  • First Double Hand–Forearm Transplant (Jan. 13): International team of surgeons performs world's first such operation, in Lyon, France. Patient, a Frenchman who had lost hands in fireworks accident, reportedly doing well.
  • Human Gene Experiments Held Up (Jan. 21): Food and Drug Administration temporarily halts testing at University of Pennsylvania. Clinical testing practices believed to put human volunteers at risk after 18-year-old Arizona man died in Sept.
  • Ice Storm Wreaks Havoc in Southeast (Jan. 23): Fallen pines close hundreds of roads from Georgia to North Carolina. Storm causes more than 500,000 homes to lose power. Meteorologist calls ice storm worst in 18 years.
  • International Safety Rules for Biotech Food Established (Jan. 29): More than 130 nations establish first global treaty regulating trade in genetically modified products. Allows countries to refuse to import certain items that may threaten environment.
  • Jet Carrying 88 Crashes in Pacific (Jan. 31): Alaska Airlines flight from Mexico to San Francisco goes down northwest of Malibu. Pilot had reported problem with plane's stabilizer trim. All on board are killed.

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