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Events of 1997
- January 1 - An off duty Israeli soldier identified as Pvt. Noam Friedman, 22, fires at a group of fleeing Palestinians at a vegetable market in Hebron. He was stopped when five other Israeli soldiers tackled him after he injured five Palestinians. He shot at the Palestinians because he felt that "they hate Jews".
- January 9 - Yachtsman Tony Bullimore is found alive, five days after his boat capsized in the Southern Ocean.
- January 16 - Ennis Cosby, the only son of actor Bill Cosby, is killed by a gunman while changing a flat tire in Los Angeles, California.
- January 17 - A Delta II rocket carrying a military GPS payload explodes, shortly after liftoff from Cape Canaveral.
- January 18 - In northwest Rwanda, Hutu militia members kill three Spanish aid workers, three soldiers, and seriously wound another.
- January 19 - Yasser Arafat returns to Hebron after more than 30 years, and joins celebrations over the handover of the last Israeli-controlled West Bank city.
- January 20 - President Bill Clinton is inaugurated.
- January 21 - Newt Gingrich becomes the first Speaker of the United States House of Representatives to be internally disciplined for ethical misconduct.
- January 22 - Madeleine Albright becomes the first female Secretary of State, after confirmation by the United States Senate.
- January 23 - Mir Aimal Kasi receives the death sentence for a 1993 assault rifle attack outside CIA headquarters that killed two and wounded three.
- January 26 - The Green Bay Packers win the NFL Championship for the first time since 1967, defeating the New England Patriots 35-21 in Super Bowl XXXI at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.
- February 4 - O.J. Simpson is found liable in civil court for the death of Ron Goldman and for the battery of Nicole Brown Simpson. Simpson is ordered to pay $35,000,000 in damages to the families of the two victims.
- February 4 - On their way to Lebanon, 2 Israeli troop-transport helicopters collide, killing 73.
- February 4 - After at first contesting the results, Serbian President Slobodan Milošević recognizes opposition victories in the November 1996 elections.
- February 4 - Ipswich Town footballer Adam Tanner, who had recently failed a drugs test, is banned from football for three months at an FA hearing. Tanner received a relatively lenient punishment as he had admitted taking drugs at the first attempt and shown remorse for his behaviour.
- February 4 - British Home Secretary Michael Howard informs Moors Murderer Myra Hindley that she will never be released from prison. Mr Howard made the decision in agreement with a recommendation made by his predecessor David Waddington in 1990.
- February 5 - The so-called "Big Three" banks in Switzerland announce the creation of a $71 million fund to aid "Holocaust" survivors and their families.
- February 5 - Morgan Stanley and Dean Witter Reynolds investment banks announce a $10 billion merger.
- February 10 - The United States Army suspends Sgt. Major Gene C. McKinney, its top-ranking enlisted soldier, after hearing allegations of sexual misconduct.
- February 10 - Sandline affair: Australian newspapers publish stories that the government of Papua New Guinea has brought mercenaries onto Bougainville Island.
- February 13 - STS-82: Tune-up and repair work on the Hubble Space Telescope is started by astronauts from Space Shuttle Discovery.
- February 13 - The Dow Jones Industrial Average closes above 7,000 for the first time, gaining 60.81 to 7,022.44.
- February 19 - The last of the People's Republic of China's major revolutionaries, Deng Xiaoping, dies at age 92.
- February 22 - In Roslin, Scotland, scientists announce that an adult sheep named Dolly had been successfully cloned, and was born in July 1996.
- February 23 - A large fire occurs in the Russian space station Mir.
- February 28 - The North Hollywood shootout takes place between two heavily armed bank robbers and officers of the Los Angeles Police Department.
- February 28 - WFAA-TV becomes the first TV station in the US to start broadcasting their newscasts in HDTV on a VHF channel.
- March 1 - The Osaka Dome opens in Chiyozaki, Nishi-ku, Osaka, Japan.
- March 1 - The Nintendo 64 is released in Europe and Australia.
- March 4 - U.S. President Bill Clinton bars federal funding for any research on human cloning.
- March 6 - Pablo Picasso's Tête de Femme is stolen from a London gallery (recovered a week later).
- March 6 - In Sri Lanka, Tamil Tigers overrun a military base and kill more than 200.
- March 11 - An explosion at the Tokaimura nuclear waste reprocessing plant in Japan exposes 35 workers to low-level radioactive contamination, in the worst nuclear accident in Japan's history.
- March 12 - Mikail Markhasev is arrested in Los Angeles, California and charged with shooting Bill Cosby's 27-year-old son, Ennis Cosby.
- March 13
- March 16 - Sandline affair - On Bougainville Island, soldiers of commander Jerry Singirok arrest Tim Spicer and his mercenaries of the Sandline International.
- March 18 - The tail of a Russian An-24 charter plane breaks off while en-route to Turkey, causing the plane to crash, killing all 50 on board, and resulting in the grounding of all An-24s.
- March 21 - In Zaire, Etienne Tshiksekedi is appointed new prime minister; he ejects supporters of Mobutu Sese Seko from his cabinet.
- March 21 - Mercenaries of Sandline International withdraw from Papua New Guinea.
- March 22 - Tara Lipinski, 14, becomes the youngest women's world figure skating champion.
- March 22 - The comet Hale-Bopp makes its closest approach to Earth.
- March 26 - In San Diego, California, 39 Heaven's Gate cultists commit mass suicide at their compound.
- March 26 - The survey of a claimed gold site of Bre-X Minerals in Indonesia reveals it is worthless; Bre-X complains and accuses Internet rumours.
- March 26 - Julius Chan resigns as prime minister of Papua New Guinea, ending the Sandline affair.
- April 3 - The Thalit massacre in Algeria: All but one of the 53 inhabitants of Thalit are killed by guerrillas.
- April 11 - Fire damages the Turin Cathedral in Italy.
- April 14 - Fire breaks out in a pilgrim camp on the Plain of Mena, 7 miles from Mecca; 343 die.
- April 14 - Former SS Captain Erich Priebke is retried; on July 22 he is sentenced to five years in prison.
- April 16 - Houston, Texas socialite Doris Angleton is murdered in her River Oaks home. Roger Angleton later admits to the crime in his suicide note. Despite being found innocent of the crime by a Texas jury, he is later arrested by the United States Department of Justice on similar charges.
- April 18 - The Red River of the North breaks through dikes and floods Grand Forks, North Dakota and East Grand Forks, Minnesota, causing US$ 2 billion in damage.
- April 21 - A Pegasus rocket carries the remains of 24 people into earth orbit, in the first space burial.
- April 22 - Haouch Khemisti massacre in Algeria; 93 villagers killed.
- April 22 - A 126-day hostage crisis at the residence of the Japanese ambassador in Lima, Peru ends after government commandos storm and capture the building, rescuing 71 hostages. One hostage dies of a heart attack, two soldiers are killed from rebel fire, and all 14 Tupac Amaru rebels are slain.
- April 22 - France supports the new transitional government in Zaire, withdrawing its support of Mobutu Sese Seko.
- April 23 - Omaria massacre in Algeria; 42 villagers killed.
- April 27 - Andrew Cunanan murders Jeffrey Trail, beginning a murder spree that will last until July and end with the murder of fashion designer Gianni Versace.
- May 1 - Tasmania becomes the last state in Australia to decriminalize homosexuality.
- May 1 - United Kingdom general election, 1997: The United Kingdom's Labour Party ends 18 years of Conservative rule.
- May 1 - HM Prison Pentridge in Melbourne, Australia, is officially closed.
- May 2 - Tony Blair is appointed Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
- May 10 - An earthquake near Ardekul, in northeastern Iran, kills at least 2,400.
- May 11 - IBM's Deep Blue defeats Garry Kasparov in the last game of the rematch, the first time a computer beat a chess World champion in a match.
- May 12 - The Russian-Chechen Peace Treaty is signed.
- May 14 - The Star Alliance is formed between Air Canada, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines System, Thai Airways International and United Airlines.
- May 14 - Laurent Kabila does not attend a second meeting with Mobutu.
- May 15 - United States government acknowledges existence of "Secret War" in Laos and dedicates Laos Memorial in honor of Hmong and other "Secret War" veterans.
- May 16 - Mobutu Sese Seko leaves Kinshasa (eventually settles in Morocco).
- May 16 - U.S. President Bill Clinton issues a formal apology to the surviving victims of the Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male and their families, 25 years after the 40-year "study" was exposed by reporter Jean Heller.
- May 17 - Troops of Laurent Kabila march into Kinshasa.
- May 22 - Women in the military: Kelly Flinn, the U.S. Air Force's first female bomber pilot certified for combat, accepts a general discharge in order to avoid a court martial.
- May 25 - Strom Thurmond becomes the longest serving member in the history of the United States Senate (41 years and 10 months).
- May 25 - A military coup in Sierra Leone replaces President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah with Major Johnny Paul Koromah.
- May 27 - Jarrell Tornado: The second deadliest tornado of the 1990s hits in Jarrell, Texas, killing 27 people.
- May 31 - Official opening of the Confederation Bridge; the 13 kilometer bridge is the world's longest bridge spanning ice covered waters, between Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick, Canada.
- May 31 - A 150m race was contested between 1996 Olympic 100 m champion Donovan Bailey and 1996 Olympic 200 m (and 400 m) champion Michael Johnson for the title of "World's Fastest Man". Bailey won the race on default when Johnson withdrew at the 110-meter mark after pulling a quadricep.
- June 1 - Iraq disarmament crisis: Iraqi military escorts on board an UNSCOM helicopter try to physically prevent the UNSCOM pilot from flying the helicopter in the direction of its planned destination, threatening the safety of the aircraft and their crews.
- June 1 - Mexico's Soccer League: Chivas wins their 10th Verano '97 championship 7-2 against Toros Neza.
- June 1 - Hugo Banzer wins the Presidential elections in Bolivia.
- June 2 - In Denver, Colorado, Timothy McVeigh is convicted on 15 counts of murder and conspiracy for his role in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.
- June 5 - Kim Hyun Chul, son of Kim Young Sam, president of South Korea, is charged with bribery and corruption related to the awarding of government contracts.
- June 6 - Priory Meadow Shopping Centre -Hastings was opend by HM The Queen on this day.
- June 6 - In Lacey Township, New Jersey, high school senior Melissa Drexler kills her newborn baby in a toilet.
- June 7 - A computer user known as "_eci" publishes his Microsoft C source code on a Windows 95 and Windows NT exploit, which would later become WinNuke. The source code gets wide distribution across the internet, and Microsoft is forced to release a security patch.
- June 7 - The Detroit Red Wings win their first Stanley Cup championship in 42 years, defeating the Philadelphia Flyers four games to none. Red Wings goaltender Mike Vernon is awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.
- June 8 - A United States Coast Guard helicopter crashes near Humboldt Bay, California. All four crewmembers perish.
- June 10 - Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot orders the killing of his defense chief, Son Sen, and 11 of Sen's family members, before Pol Pot flees his northern stronghold (the news does not reach outside Cambodia for 3 days).
- June 11 - The British House of Commons votes for a total ban on handguns.
- June 12 - The United States Department of the Treasury unveils a new $50 bill, meant to be more counterfeit-resistant.
- June 13 - A jury sentences Timothy McVeigh to the death penalty for his part in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.
- June 13 - The Chicago Bulls win their fifth NBA championship by defeating the Utah Jazz in the best-of-seven series four games to two.
- June 16 - Dairat Labguer massacre in Algeria; some 50 people killed.
- June 19 - The fast food chain McDonald's wins a partial victory in its libel trial, known as the McLibel case, against 2 environmental campaigners. The judge decides it was true that McDonald's targeted its advertising at children, who pestered their parents into visiting the company's restaurants.
- June 25 - An unmanned Progress spacecraft collides with the Russian space station Mir.
- June 26 - Bertie Ahern is appointed as the 10th Taoiseach of the Republic of Ireland and Mary Harney is appointed as the 16th, and first female, Tánaiste, after their parties, Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats respectively, won the 1997 General Election.
- July 1 - The United Kingdom hands sovereignty of Hong Kong to the People's Republic of China.
- July 4 - NASA's Pathfinder space probe lands on the surface of Mars.
- July 5 - In Cambodia, Hun Sen of the Cambodian People's Party overthrows Norodom Ranariddh in a coup.
- July 6 - A major wildfire burns approximately 40% of Seich Sou, a forest just north of Thessaloniki, also posing a significant threat to several areas in the city.
- July 8 - Mayo Clinic researchers warn that the dieting drug "fen-phen" can cause severe heart and lung damage.
- July 8 - NATO invites the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland to join the alliance in 1999.
- July 10 - In London, scientists report their DNA analysis findings from a Neanderthal skeleton, which support the out of Africa theory of human evolution, placing an "African Eve" at 100,000 to 200,000 years ago.
- July 10 - Miguel Ángel Blanco is kidnapped in Ermua, Spain and murdered by the ETA.
- July 11 - 90 die in Thailand's worst hotel fire at Pattaya.
- July 13 - The remains of Che Guevara are returned to Cuba for burial, alongside some of his other comrades.
- July 15 - Serial killer Andrew Cunanan shoots fashion designer Gianni Versace to death outside Versace's Miami, Florida residence.
- July 16 - The Dow Jones Industrial Average gains 63.17 to close at 8,038.88. It is the Dow's first close above 8,000. The Dow has doubled its value in 30 months.
- July 17 - The F.W. Woolworth Company closes after 117 years in business.
- July 21 - The fully restored USS Constitution (aka "Old Ironsides") celebrates her 200th birthday by setting sail for the first time in 116 years.
- July 23 - Digital Equipment Corporation files antitrust charges against chipmaker Intel.
- July 25 - K.R. Narayanan is sworn in as India's 10th president and the first member of the Dalit caste to hold this office.
- July 27 - Si Zerrouk massacre in Algeria; about 50 people killed.
- August 1 - Boeing and McDonnell Douglas complete their merger.
- August 2 - Australian ski instructor Stuart Diver is rescued as the sole survivor from the Thredbo landslide in New South Wales, in which 18 lives were lost.
- August 3 - Oued El-Had and Mezouara massacre in Algeria; 40-76 villagers killed.
- August 4 - 185,000 Teamsters Union United Parcel Service drivers walk off the job.
- August 6 - Microsoft buys a $150 million share of financially troubled Apple Computer.
- August 6 - 228 die as Korean Air Flight 801 crash lands at Guam International Airport.
- August 13 - In Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Cruzeiro wins Sporting Cristal of Peru by 1-0 and are Copa Libertadores de América champions by second time.
- August 20 - Souhane massacre in Algeria; over 60 persons killed, 15 kidnapped.
- August 25 - Egon Krenz is convicted of a shoot-to-kill Berlin Wall policy.
- August 26 - Beni-Ali massacre in Algeria; 60-100 people killed.
- August 26 - The Independent International Commission on Decommissioning is set up in Northern Ireland, as part of the peace process.
- August 29 - Rais massacre in Algeria; over 98 (and possibly up to 400) people killed.
- August 31 - Diana, Princess of Wales, is taken to hospital after a car crash shortly after midnight in the Pont de l'Alma road tunnel in Paris. She is pronounced dead at 04:00.
- September 3 - Arizona Governor Fife Symington is convicted for various crimes tied to his real estate business, effectively forcing him out of office.
- September 4 - In Lorain, Ohio, the last Ford Thunderbird for three years rolls off the assembly line.
- September 5 - Beni-Messous massacre in Algeria; over 87 killed.
- September 5 - The International Olympic Committee picks Athens, Greece to be the host city for the 2004 Summer Olympics.
- September 6 - The funeral of Princess Diana takes place at Westminster Abbey, watched by over 2 billion people worldwide.
- September 6 - A Jean Michel Jarre Oxygene in Moscow concert, celebrating the city's 850th anniversary, draws 3.5 million people.
- September 7 - First test flight of the F-22 Raptor.
- September 11 - Scotland votes to create its own Parliament after 290 years of union with England.
- September 13 - Iraq disarmament crisis: An Iraqi military officer attacks an UNSCOM weapons inspector on board an UNSCOM helicopter while the inspector was attempting to take photographs of unauthorized movement of Iraqi vehicles inside a site designated for inspection
- September 15 - Norwegian parliamentary election, 1997
- September 17 - Iraq disarmament crisis: While waiting for access to a site, UNSCOM inspectors witness and videotape Iraqi guards moving files, burning documents, and dumping waste cans into a nearby river.
- September 18 - Wales votes in favour of devolution and the formation of a National Assembly.
- September 19 - Guelb El-Kebir massacre in Algeria; 53 killed.
- September 21 - The Islamic Salvation Army, the Islamic Salvation Fronts' armed wing, declares a unilateral ceasefire in Algeria.
- September 22 - Bentalha massacre in Algeria; over 200 villagers killed.
- September 25 - Iraq disarmament crisis: UNSCOM inspector Dr. Diane Seaman catches several Iraqi men sneaking out the back door of an inspection site, with log books for the creation of prohibited bacteria and chemicals.
- September 26 - An air crash in Indonesia kills 234 people (likely caused by smoke rising from numerous forest fires in the area). -see Garuda Indonesia Flight 152
- September 26 - An earthquake strikes the Italian regions of Umbria and Marche, causing part of the Basilica of St. Francis at Assisi to collapse.
- September 27 - The Catholic diocese of Požega is founded.
- October 2 - United Kingdom scientists Moira Bruce and John Collinge, with their colleagues, independently show that the new variant form of the Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is the same disease as Bovine spongiform encephalopathy.
- October 4 - One million men gather for Promise Keepers' "Stand in the Gap" event in Washington, DC.
- October 4 - The second largest cash robbery in U.S. history ($17.3 million, mostly in small bills) occurred at the Charlotte, North Carolina office of Wells Fargo. An FBI investigation eventually resulted in 24 convictions and the recovery of approximately 95% of the stolen cash.
- October 11 - The mixed martial arts organization PRIDE Fighting Championships holds its inaugural event at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan. In the main event Rickson Gracie defeats Nobuhiko Takada by armbar.
- October 12 - Sidi Daoud massacre in Algeria: 43 are killed at a fake roadblock.
- October 15 - Andy Green sets the first supersonic land speed record for the ThrustSSC team, led by Richard Noble of the UK. ThrustSSC goes through the flying mile course at Black Rock Desert, Nevada at an average speed of 1,227.985 km/h (763.035 mph).
- October 15 - NASA launches the Cassini-Huygens probe to Saturn.
- October 16 - First color photograph on the front page of the New York Times appears.
- October 17 - The remains of Che Guevara are laid to rest with full military honours in a specially built mausoleum in the city of Santa Clara, Cuba, where he had won the decisive battle of the Cuban Revolution 39 years before.
- October 26 - Michael Schumacher commits the infamous Dry Sac corner incident at the Circuito Permanente de Jerez track, an act for which he was disqualified from the 1997 season by the FIA and crucified in the press.
- October 26 - The Florida Marlins win Game seven of the 1997 World Series against the Cleveland Indians 3-2 in 11 innings.
- October 27 - Stock markets around the world crash because of a global economic crisis scare. The Dow Jones Industrial Average follows suit and plummets 554.26, or 7.18%, to 7,161.15. The points loss exceeds the loss from Black Monday. Officials at the New York Stock Exchange for the first time invoke the "circuit breaker" rule to stop trading.
- October 28 - The bulls come running back as the DJIA gains a record 337.17 to 7,498.32. One billion shares are traded on the NYSE for the first time ever.
- October 29 - Iraq disarmament crisis: Iraq says it will begin shooting down Lockheed U-2 surveillance planes being used by UNSCOM inspectors.
- October 30 - In Newton, Massachusetts, British au pair Louise Woodward is found guilty of the baby-shaking death of eight-month-old Matthew Eappen.
- November 3 - In France, striking truck drivers blockade ports during a pay dispute.
- November 9 - BBC News 24 is launched.
- November 10 - Telecom companies WorldCom and MCI Communications announce a US$37 billion merger to form MCI WorldCom (the largest merger in US history).
- November 10 - A Fairfax, Virginia jury finds Mir Aimal Kasi guilty of murdering two CIA employees in 1993.
- November 11 - Mary McAleese is elected the eighth President of Ireland.
- November 12 - Ramzi Yousef is found guilty of masterminding the World Trade Center 1993 bombings.
- November 16 - The Toronto Argonauts win their second consecutive Canadian Football League title by defeating the Saskatchewan Roughriders 47-23 to win the 85th Grey Cup at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, Alberta.
- November 17 - In Luxor, Egypt, 62 people are killed by 6 Islamic militants outside the Temple of Hatshepsut.
- November 19 - In Des Moines, Iowa, Bobbi McCaughey, a resident of the nearby town of Carlisle, gives birth to septuplets in the second known case where all seven babies were born alive. They would go on to be the first set of septuplets to all survive infancy.
- November 27 - NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission is launched, the start of satellite component of the Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System.
- December 3 - In Ottawa, Canada, representatives from 121 countries sign a treaty prohibiting the manufacture and deployment of anti-personnel land mines. However, the United States, the People's Republic of China, and Russia, do not sign the treaty.
- December 12 - Demonstrations in state capitals of Australia against the WTO and IMF.
- December 16 - The "seizure" episode of Pokemon, Dennou Senshi Porygon, was shown and 385 Japanese kids either had seizures, temporary blindness, or the combination of the two.
- December 24 - Sid El-Antri massacre in Algeria: 50-100 villagers are killed.
- December 27 - Loyalist paramilitary leader Billy Wright is assassinated in Northern Ireland, inside Long Kesh prison.
- December 29 - Hong Kong begins to kill all the chickens within its territory (1.25 million) to stop the spread of a potentially deadly influenza strain.
- December 30 - Wilaya of Relizane massacres of December 30, 1997: In the worst incident in Algeria's insurgency, 400 people are killed from four villages in the wilaya of Relizane. Six days later they are followed by another set of local massacres.
- April 13 - Bryant W. Bowles - American white resistance leader and founder of the 1950s NAAWP (b. 1920)
- October 4 - Otto Remer, German general who foiled the July 20th plot against Hitler. (b. 1912)
- October 29 - Anton LaVey, Jewish founder of the Church of Satan (b. 1930)