February 2001 News and Events

Updated February 11, 2017 | Infoplease Staff


  • Congo's New President Addresses UN (Feb. 2): Joseph Kabila, son of slain president Laurent Kabila, promises Security Council he will open dialogue with opponents in an effort to end his nation's long civil war.
  • Russia Frees Chechnya Relief Worker (Feb. 4): Releases Kenneth Gluck, a director of Doctors Without Borders. He was held for three weeks and emerges in good health.
  • Ariel Sharon Wins Election in Israel (Feb. 6): Right-wing leader chosen overwhelmingly as nation's fifth prime minister in just over five years. Sharon, 72, victorious amid worst Israeli-Palestinian violence in years. Takes 62.5% of vote to Ehud Barak's 37.4%.
  • Russia Vows to Destroy Chemical Weapons (Feb. 8): Promises to begin destruction of 40,000 tons of lethal weapons, largest stockpile in the world.
  • Errant Bus Kills Eight Israelis (Feb. 14): Palestinian driver plows into crowd of soldiers and civilians at bus stop in Azur, Israel. Seventeen wounded. Rush-hour assault thought to be terrorist attack.
  • Europe Approves Strict Food Controls (Feb. 14): Union Parliament tightens rules governing genetically modified organisms. Vote is 338?52.
  • U.S. and Britain Attack Iraq (Feb. 16): Planes target radar stations and air defense command centers, including sites near Baghdad. Calls action a necessary response to Iraqi provocation.
  • Britain Fights Foot-and-Mouth Disease (Feb. 21): Suspends all exports of live animals, milk, and meat.
  • Ehud Barak Quits Politics (Feb. 21): Resigns as Israeli Labor Party chairman, leaves Parliament seat, and refuses invitation by prime minister?elect Ariel Sharon to become defense minister.
  • Three Serbs Convicted in Wartime Rapes (Feb. 22): UN war crimes tribunal, in first trial dealing solely with sex crimes, finds former Bosnian Serb soldiers guilty of attacking and torturing Muslim women and girls.
  • Israel Laborites Vote to Join Cabinet (Feb. 26): Party leaders agree to support unity government led by rightist prime minister Ariel Sharon.


  • Senate Confirms Attorney General, 58?42 (Feb. 1): Approves John Ashcroft, President Bush's nominee. Vote ends hostile five-week battle in which many Democrats criticized Ashcroft for his conservative views and legislative record.
  • Clintons to Reimburse 27 Gift Donors (Feb. 2): Former president and wife to pay $86,000 following a storm of criticism from both Democrats and Republicans.
  • Bush Orders Nuclear Arms Review (Feb. 8): President takes first step toward unilateral cut in weapons that he outlined during campaign.
  • Bush Drops Clinton's Mideast Peace Plan (Feb. 8): Administration calls former president's proposals out of date and out of step with regime of Ariel Sharon, new Israeli prime minister.
  • Bush Asks Increased Benefits for Military (Feb. 12): Seeks to shift $5.7 billion in Pentagon spending for increased pay, improved health care, and better housing.
  • President Plans to Introduce New Weapons (Feb. 13): Intends to break with Pentagon convention and invest ?in a new architecture for the defense of America and our allies.? in existing systems.
  • Social Security Agency Criticized (Feb. 18): Federal advisory panel reports deterioration of service in recent years that is likely to grow worse with retirement of millions of baby boomers.
  • Clinton Defense of Pardons Attacked (Feb. 18): Leaders of House and Senate investigating committees critical of article by former president defending his actions and say it merits investigation.
  • FBI Agent Charged as Spy for Russia (Feb. 20): Robert Hanssen accused of handing over highly classified information to Moscow for 15 years. As a senior agent he had worked as a counterintelligence supervisor.
  • President Outlines Agenda and Budget (Feb. 27): In televised address, Bush calls his proposed $1.6 trillion tax cut reasonable and responsible. (Feb. 28): In budget message he presents $1.96 trillion budget for next year that would reduce taxes and increase spending on education, medical research, and military. Scaled-back programs include corporate subsidies, health-care grants for poor areas, and agricultural research.


  • California Votes Power Purchase (Feb. 1): Legislature approves $10 billion outlay as shortage of electricity reaches 17th day. Long-term contracts planned.
  • Reagan, 90, Celebrates Birthday Quietly (Feb. 6): Former president has simple observance because of Alzheimer's disease and recovery from a broken hip.
  • U.S. Submarine Sinks Japanese Ship (Feb. 9): Nuclear vessel, the Greeneville, strikes fishing trawler when surfacing during drill off Honolulu. Many on ship rescued, nine missing after search. Civilian visitors sat at sub's controls. (Feb. 15): Navy tightens rules governing civilians on submarines. (Feb. 17): Navy plans court of inquiry to investigate collision. (Feb. 28): Scott Waddle, commander of sub, sends letters of apology to victims' families.
  • Court Backs Curb on Music Copying (Feb. 12): Federal appeals judges in San Francisco deliver blow to Napster, a software program that has shaken record industry by allowing millions to share music for free over the Internet.
  • New Earthquake Rocks El Salvador (Feb. 13): More than 100 killed, and more than 1,000 injured by massive disaster, second within a month.
  • Stock Car Racing Star Killed in Crash (Feb. 18): Dale Earnhardt, 49, swerves into wall in last lap of sport's premier event, Daytona 500, at Daytona Beach, Fla.
  • Bush Dedicates Oklahoma City Museum (Feb. 19): Views mementos of explosion on April 19, 1995, worst act of domestic terrorism in American history.
  • Pope Elevates 44 as Cardinals (Feb. 21): Promotes largest number in history in Vatican ceremony. John Paul II has now appointed 155 cardinals.
  • Earthquake Jolts Pacific Northwest (Feb. 28): Tremor lasting 40 seconds is worst for area in 52 years. Damages heavy in Seattle and elsewhere.

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