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Thursday, January 1, 1998

  • Today's Events
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  • "I'm hoping for a swing from political correctness to people just getting along and being nice to be nice."

    -- -- Minnesota resident Margie Binder on her hopes for 1998

    Today's events

  • Britain assumes presidency of the European Union.

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    On the horizon

  • On Friday, January 2, World Chess Championship finals begin in Lausanne, Switzerland.

  • On Saturday, January 3, NFL divisional playoffs begin.

  • On Sunday, January 4, the Palestinian Authority is scheduled to announce the results of the first West Bank and Gaza Strip census.

  • On Monday, January 5, Iraq faces deadline to submit a new aid distribution plan to be executed under the oil-for-food plan.

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    On this day

  • In 1502, Portuguese navigators landed at a port on the coast of South America and named it Rio de Janeiro (River of January).

  • In 1515, Francis, Duke of Angouleme, became Francis I of France on the death of Louis XII.

  • In 1660, Samuel Pepys began his famous diary.

  • In 1776, George Washington unveiled the Grand Union Flag, the first national flag in America after King George III of England called on American forces to surrender.

  • In 1785, the Times newspaper was first published in Britain as the Daily Universal Register.

  • In 1801, the Act of Union between Great Britain and Ireland became effective, creating the United Kingdom.

  • In 1804. after leading a rebellion against the French, Jean-Jacques Dessalines declared Haiti independent.

  • In 1808, Sierra Leone became a British crown colony.

  • In 1833, Britain claimed sovereignty over the Falkland Islands.

  • In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation formally freeing all slaves in the Confederate States.

  • In 1877, Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India.

  • In 1886, Britain annexed Upper Burma.

  • In 1901, the Commonwealth of Australia came into being with Edmund Barton as its first prime minister.

  • In 1913, in the United States, parcel post started for the first time; the previous weight limit had been four pounds.

  • In 1914, the British colony of Nigeria was formed.

  • In 1915, the British battleship Formidable was sunk by a torpedo in the English Channel, killing 547.

  • In 1919, the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic was established.

  • In 1923, a confederation of Russia, Byelorussia, Ukraine and Transcaucasia was established; the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics came into effect the following July.

  • In 1925, the capital city of Norway, known as Christiana or Kristiana since 1674, resumed its name of Oslo.

  • In 1942, in Washington, 26 countries signed the "Declaration of the United Nations," affirming opposition to Axis powers and confirming that no co-signatory would make a separate peace.

  • In 1956, Sudan became an independent republic.

  • In 1958, the European Economic Community, known as the Common Market, came into being.

  • In 1959, Fidel Castro seized power in Cuba after dictator Fulgencio Batista fled to the Dominican Republic.

  • In 1960, Cameroon achieved independence from France.

  • In 1962, the Beatles auditioned for Decca records, only to be rejected because the company felt "groups of guitars are on the way out."

  • In 1966, President David Dacko of the Central African Republic was overthrown in a coup by Jean-Bedel Bokassa.

  • In 1972, Maurice Chevalier, French singer and actor, died; he starred in a number of films including "Love Me Tonight" and "Gigi."

  • In 1973, Britain, Ireland and Denmark became members of the EEC.

  • In 1975, in the Watergate scandal, John Ehrlichman, H.R. Haldeman and John Mitchell were found guilty of obstruction.

  • In 1978, an Air India jumbo jet exploded in mid-air near Bombay, killing 213.

  • In 1979, the United States and China established diplomatic relations, 30 years after the foundation of the People's Republic.

  • In 1981, Greece was admitted as the 10th member of the EEC.

  • In 1984, Brunei became an independent state.

  • In 1992, the Salvadorean government and the rebel Farabundo Marti Liberation Front reached a cease-fire accord in El Salvador's 12-year civil war.

  • In 1992, Egyptian Boutros Boutros Ghali succeeded Javier Perez de Cuellar of Peru as U.N secretary-general.

  • In 1993, Czechoslovakia broke into separate Czech and Slovak republics.

  • In 1994, actor Cesar Romero died; he went from the New York stage to more than 100 movies and fame in the 1960s "Batman" television series.

  • In 1995, suspected serial killer Frederick West, accused of murdering 12 women and girls in Britain's notorious "House of Horrors" case, was found hanged in his jail cell.

  • In 1996, Saudi Arabia's King Fahd handed over the running of the country to his younger brother Crown Prince Abdullah after suffering a stroke.

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    For more than a century, Pasadena, California, has hosted a party on this day -- a "greeting to the world." Find out more about the Tournament of Roses and the Rose Bowl Game.


    Holidays and more

  • Today is New Year's Day.

  • Cuba celebrates Anniversary of the Revolution and Independence Day.

  • It is Independence Day in Haiti.

  • It is Independence Day in Sudan.

  • Actress Ellen DeGeneres is 40.

  • U.S. Sen. Ernest Hollings is 76.

  • Actor Frank Langella is 58.

  • Comedian Don Novello is 55.

  • Author J.D. Salinger is 79.

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    Sources: Associated Press,
    Chase's Calendar of Events 1998, J.P. Morgan

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