March 2000 News and Events

Updated July 10, 2020 | Infoplease Staff


  • Britain Frees Gen. Augusto Pinochet (March 2): Drops extradition charges because of general's poor health. Former dictator, 84, heads home to Chile, where he is likely to face trial on human rights charges. (March 3): Pinochet greeted as hero by military high command on return to Chile. Thousands of detractors and supporters stage competing demonstrations in Santiago.
  • Croatian General Sentenced for War Crimes (March 3): UN war crimes tribunal metes 45-year prison term to Gen. Tihomir Blaskic for directing attacks on Bosnian Muslim villagers between 1992 and 1994.
  • UN Plans Peacekeeping Study (March 7): Secretary General Kofi Annan announces set up of international panel to examine entire operation and recommend improvements in efficacy.
  • Pope Apologizes for Church Errors (March 12): John Paul II delivers unprecedented, broad papal apology for church errors over last 2,000 years.
  • Gunman Shoots an Iran Reform Leader (March 12): Wounds Saeed Hajjarian, newspaper editor who guided democratic reformers to victory in parliamentary election.
  • Iranian Capital Scene of New Attack (March 13): Mortar shells fired into residential area next to military base in Tehran. Radical leftist group, Mujahedeen Khala, claims responsibility.
  • U.S. Accepts New I.M.F. Head (March 13): Clinton reluctantly endorses Horst Köhler as next managing director of International Monetary Fund.
  • Agreement Reached on West Bank Control (March 15): Israelis and Palestinians resolve dispute on next area to be transferred to Palestinians. Israeli security cabinet approves the move.
  • U.S. Relaxes Sanctions on Iran (March 17): Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright lifts some economic penalties and vows to work toward normalized relations.
  • Taiwan Ends Nationalist Rule (March 18): Opposition leader Chen Shui-bian, who has supported independence from China, elected president. Some fear results may spark armed conflict with China.
  • Mass Murder Suspected in Uganda (March 18): More than 235 members of a doomsday cult, Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments, reported to have died in what first appeared to be mass suicide.
  • President Visits South Asia (March 19): Clinton welcomed in India on state visit. (March 26): In Geneva at end of tour, Clinton fails to persuade Syrian leader, Hafez al-Assad, to resume talks with Israel.
  • Vladimir V. Putin Elected in Russia (March 25): Acting president formally chosen for post.
  • OPEC Nations Plan Oil Output Increase (March 29): Rise less than U.S. had expected. Iran, second-largest producer, dissents. Later, Iran reverses action.
  • UN Eases Import Curbs on Iraq (March 31): Security Council votes unanimously to allow entry of $1.2 billion in spare parts and other equipment for oil industry to increase production to pay for civilian goods and services.
  • Putin to Preserve Russia's Nuclear Power (March 31): President-elect visits a leading nuclear weapons design center and promises to maintain strength. Emphasizes changes for efficiency, not to restart arms race. Supports ratification of Start II arms reduction treaty and opposes increase in arms output.


  • Curb on Social Security Ends (March 1): House, 422–0, votes to remove earnings limit on recipients while maintaining benefits. (March 22): Senate, 100–0, votes for measure. Clinton says he'll sign bill.
  • Gore and Bush Win in Primaries (March 7): Vice president trounces Bill Bradley in Democratic balloting. Texas governor prevails over Sen. John McCain in Republican voting. (March 9): McCain and Bradley concede.
  • White House Cleared in Files Inquiry (March 16): Independent Counsel Robert W. Ray announces that no criminal wrongdoing had been involved in acquisition of several hundred confidential F.B.I. papers, many of which concerned prominent Republicans.
  • F.D.A. Withdraws Diabetes Drug (March 21): Removes Rezulin from market because of link to liver failure.
  • Record Settlement for Sex Discrimination (March 22): U.S. to pay $508 million in action brought by 1,100 women who charged they were denied jobs and promotions at U.S. Information Agency from 1974 to 1984.
  • Roman Catholic Named House Chaplain (March 23): Speaker Dennis Hastert ends uproar by appointing Rev. Daniel Coughlin of Chicago as the House's first Roman Catholic chaplain.
  • Female General Charges Sexual Harassment (March 30): Lieut. Gen. Claudia J. Kennedy, the army's highest-ranking woman, files complaint charging a general, whose name was withheld, groped her in 1996.


  • Admission by Philip Morris (March 2): A top official of nation's largest cigarette maker alludes to nicotine as a “drug” and says company would be open to F.D.A.'s limited regulation of nicotine.
  • Ruling on Air Pollution Upheld (March 3): Panel of U.S. Court of Appeals upholds E.P.A. limit on nitrogen oxides that states can release into the atmosphere. Environmentalists applaud ruling.
  • Pope Announces Canonization (March 10): Sets Oct. 1 as canonization date for Mother Katharine Drexel, Philadelphia heiress who dedicated life and fortune to educating African Americans and Indians.
  • Coal Mine Blast Kills 80 in Ukraine (March 11): Methane gas explosion 530 miles east of Kiev kills more than 80 people; worst accident since independence.
  • Two Big Newspaper Companies Merge (March 13): Tribune Company and Times Mirror Company announce merger, ending 119 years of ownership of L.A. Times by Otis and Chandler families.
  • Court Blocks Florida's School Vouchers (March 14): Judge rules state constitution prohibits the use of taxpayers' money to send students to private schools.
  • Gay Rights Bill Voted in Vermont (March 16): House approves “civil unions” that give gay and lesbian couples nearly all benefits of marriage. When enacted, legislation will give state the nation's most sweeping rights for same-sex couples.
  • Gun Maker Accepts Restrictions (March 17): Smith & Wesson agrees to widen limits on how it makes, sells, and distributes hundreds of thousands of handguns annually. It acted in exchange for the end of some prohibitively expensive lawsuits.
  • Stolen Oscars Recovered (March 20): Fifty-two missing Hollywood statuettes recovered from trash bin by Willie Fulgear, a 61-year-old Los Angeles resident.
  • Tornadoes Sweep through Texas Cities (March 29): At least three reported dead and 100 injured after storms ravage Fort Worth and Arlington.

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