Top News Stories from 2001

World Events

World Statistics

Population: 4.378 billion
population by decade
Nobel Peace Prize: United Nations and Kofi Annan
More World Statistics...
  • Congo president Laurent Kabila assassinated by bodyguard (Jan. 16). Son Joseph Kabila takes over amid continuing civil war.
  • Ariel Sharon wins election in Israel (Feb. 6). Right-wing leader chosen overwhelmingly as nation's fifth prime minister in just over five years during worst Israeli-Palestinian violence in years. Background: Middle East.
  • The long-simmering resentment of Macedonia's ethnic Albanians erupts into violence in March. The rebels seek greater autonomy within Macedonia. After six months of fighting, a peace agreement is signed (Aug. 13). British-led NATO forces enter the country and disarm the guerrillas. Background: Macedonia and the Balkans.
  • U.S. spy plane and Chinese jet collide (April 2); Sino-American relations deteriorate during a standoff. The 24 crew members of the U.S. plane were detained for 11 days and released after the U.S. issued a formal statement of regret.
  • Former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic is delivered to UN tribunal in The Hague to await war-crime trial (June 29).
  • Without U.S., 178 nations reach agreement on climate accord, which rescues, though dilutes, 1997 Kyoto Protocol (July 23).
  • In response to Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, U.S. and British forces launch bombing campaign on Taliban government and al-Qaeda terrorist camps in Afghanistan (Oct. 7). Bombings continue on a daily basis. Background: Afghanistan.
  • Irish Republican Army announces that it has begun to dismantle its weapons arsenal, marking a dramatic leap forward in Northern Ireland peace process (Oct. 23). Background: Northern Ireland Primer.
  • At a UN-sponsored summit in Bonn, Germany, Afghani factions meet to create a post-Taliban government (Nov. 27). Hamid Karzai is selected as head of the transitional government (Dec. 5). Background: Who's Who in Afghanistan.
  • Taliban regime in Afghanistan collapses after two months of bombing by American warplanes and fighting by Northern Alliance ground troops (Dec. 9).
  • Israel condemns the Palestinian Authority as a "terror-supporting entity" and severs ties with leader Yasir Arafat following mounting violence against Israelis (Dec. 3). The Israeli Army begins bombing Palestinian areas. Background: Middle East.

U.S. Events

U.S. Statistics

President: George W. Bush
Vice President: Richard Cheney
Population: 281.4 million
More U.S. Statistics...
  • Bush signs new tax-cut law, the largest in 20 years (June 7). Background: Economic Downturn and a Tax Cut.
  • Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh executed (June 11).
  • In final days of presidency, Bill Clinton issues controversial pardons, including one for Marc Rich, billionaire fugitive financier (Jan. 20).
  • George W. Bush is sworn in as 43rd president (Jan. 20).
  • U.S. submarine Greeneville sinks Japanese fishing boat, killing 9 (Feb. 9).
  • FBI agent Robert Hanssen is charged with spying for Russia for 15 years (Feb. 20).
  • Race riots in Cincinnati continue for several days following a shooting of an unarmed black man by a white police officer (April 7 et seq.).
  • Four are declared guilty in 1998 terrorist bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania (May 29). Background: U.S. Embassy Bombings.
  • Balance of the Senate shifts after Jim Jeffords of Vermont changes his party affiliation from Republican to Independent. The move strips Republicans of control of the Senate and gives Democrats the narrowest of majorities (50-49-1) (June 5).
  • Budget surplus dwindles. The Congressional Budget Office attributes this rapid change in the nation's fortunes to the slowing economy and the Bush tax cut (Aug. 22). Background: Economic Downturn and a Tax Cut.
  • Terrorists attack United States. Hijackers ram jetliners into twin towers of New York City's World Trade Center and the Pentagon. A fourth hijacked plane crashes 80 mi outside of Pittsburgh (Sept. 11). Toll of dead and injured in thousands. Within days, Islamic militant Osama bin Laden and the al-Qaeda terrorist network are identified as the parties behind the attacks.
  • Anthrax scare rivets nation, as anthrax-laced letters are sent to various media and government officials. Several postal workers die after handling the letters (throughout October).


Federal spending: $1,864 billion
Federal debt $5,807 billion
Consumer Price Index: $177.1
Unemployment: 4.8 %
Cost of a first-class stamp: $0.34


Super Bowl
Baltimore d. NY Giants
World Series
Arizona d. NY Yankees
NBA Championship
LA Lakers d. Philadelphia
Stanley Cup
Colorado d. New Jersey
Women: Venus Williams d. Justine Henin (6-1 3-6 6-0)
Men: Goran Ivanisevic d. Patrick Rafter (6-3 3-6 6-3 2-6 9-7)
Kentucky Derby Champion
NCAA Basketball Championship
Duke d. Arizona


Entertainment Awards

Academy Award, Best Picture: Gladiator, Douglas Wick, David Franzoni, and Branko Lustig, Producers
Nobel Prize for Literature: V. S. Naipaul (UK)
Album of the Year: Two Against Nature, Steely Dan (Giant Records)
Song of the Year: "Beautiful Day," U2
Song of the Year: "Beautiful Day," U2, songwriters
Miss America: Angela Perez Baraquio, Honolulu, Hawaii
More Entertainment Awards...


  • Gladiator takes five Oscars, including those for Best Picture and Best Actor (Russell Crowe). Julia Roberts finally wins her gold statue for her performance in Erin Brockovich. Double nominee Steven Soderbergh defies expectations with his Best Director win for Traffic; many had expected his nominations for Traffic and Erin Brockovich to cancel each other out. For a full list of winners see Academy Awards (March 25).
  • Tina Wesson, a 40-year-old nurse from Tennessee, becomes the second Survivor to win the grand prize of $1 million. She edges out fellow southerner Colby Donaldson. Nearly 34 million viewers tune in to the two-hour live event (May 3).
  • Pearl Harbor, the bloated World War II epic, opens (May 25) and tallies a somewhat disappointing $75 million three-day box office.
  • The Producers cleans up at the Tony Awards, taking a record 12 trophies, including Best Musical, Best Book, Best Score, Best Director, and Best Leading Actor. Proof wins Best Play. For a full list of winners, see Tony Awards (June 3).
  • After two postponements in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the Emmy Awards are finally presented. NBC's The West Wing takes the award for Best Drama and HBO's Sex and the City nabs the Best Comedy prize (Nov. 4).
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone opens (Nov. 16) in 8,200 theaters nationwide, about one-quarter of all those available. Lukewarm reviews didn't discourage audiences; the film took in an unprecedented $93.5 million on its opening weekend.
  • See Year in Entertainment for more events.
  • See 2001 People in the News for biographies of newsmakers.





Nobel Prizes in Science

Chemistry: One-half jointly to William S. Knowles (U.S.) and Ryoji Noyori (Japan).
Physics: Wolfgang Ketterle (Germany), Eric A. Cornell, and Carl E. Wieman (both U.S.)
Physiology or Medicine: Leland H. Hartwell (U.S.), R. Timothy Hunt, and Paul M. Nurse (both UK).
More Nobel Prizes in 1998...
  • Cloning animals results in defects. Scientists report mounting evidence of random genetic errors that threaten similar efforts to duplicate humans (March 24).
  • New class of cancer drug announced. Researchers at San Francisco conference report new drug, Gleevec, shows promise in treating patients who do not respond to chemotherapy (May 13).
  • Report by National Academy of Sciences announces that global warming is on the rise. Leading scientists reaffirm mainstream view that human activity is largely responsible (June 6).
  • Artificial heart implanted in man. Surgeons in Louisville, Ky., report success of first operation for self-contained organ (July 3).
  • Embryos created to harvest stem cells at Virginia clinic. Move breaks medical taboo and stirs national debate. Stem cells show promise in being able to regenerate human tissue of various kinds, with notable success in treating neurological diseases and conditions, such as Parkinson's disease and spinal cord damage (July 10).
  • In address to the nation, President Bush approves the use of federal funds for studies on human embryos, but says that research with such funds must be limited to cells that have already been extracted. He declares government will not finance destruction of new embryos (Aug. 9).
  • Bigger supply of stem cells urged by scientists. Experts conclude that more embryonic material is needed to advance research (Sept. 10).


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