WORLD

World in 1999: Chronicle of Events

ALMATY, Jan 10 (THE GLOBE)

January

1st Eleven EU countries, i.e. 290 million of people received the New Year present – EURO, the single currency. EURO 1 was equal to US$ 1.17. EURO was introduced as a transmission currency, but from January 2002 real banknotes will be circulating.

13th An economic crisis began in Brazil. On that day the Brazilian national currency – real – devaluated by 10%. Almost all large world stock exchanges, especially in Latin America, were in panic. Within the day US$ 1.2 billion were exported from Brazil. The stock exchanges calmed down on January 15, when the Brazilian government announced the introduction of the real’s free-floating rate.

15th BIMST-EU, a new sub-regional economic organization was created in South Asia. It consists of Bangladesh, India, Burma, Sri Lanka and Thailand. The main objective of the organization is to widen concrete issues on the economic cooperation, and to develop business and trade in the region.

20th The UK Prime Minister Tony Blair bravely tried to change the constitutional structure. He started to change basically the multi-centuries Chamber of Lords. As if to abandon privileges and for the sake of democracy the PM is going to get rid of hereditary peers and replace them with candidates elected by people.

February

3rd The official Uzbekistan announced that it was going to break off the CIS Collective Security Treaty. “Presently the treaty neither meets the current necessity nor complies with its functions,” the official representative of the Uzbek Minister of Foreign Affairs stated. He added that “Tashkent does not agree with the Russia’s military activity in some SIC countries.”

15th In Kenya officers of the Greek Embassy and the local security organizations delivered up Abdullah Ojalan, the leader of the Working Party of Kurdistan (WPK) to the Turkish special forces. The Turkish government blamed him for terrorism. On the next day the Kurds almost in all European countries, as well as in some other states held a mass protest meeting to express their resentment with the arrest. Mainly these meetings were against Turkish and Greek embassies, as well as Kenyan embassies.

16th A terrorist act happened in Tashkent. In the central city square, where governmental buildings are located, at 11.45 a.m. (local time) 5 explosions were heard. 16 people killed, over 130 wounded.

Some Uzbek governmental buildings were seriously damaged. According to the official version, the terrorist act was directly against the President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov. Some observers paid attention to the fact that explosions happened after the official Tashkent declared its breaking off the CIS Security Treaty.

March

1st Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia became members of the Shengen Agreement with limited rights. Presently the Shengen zone includes 10 countries; however, Spain and the Benelux states (the Union of Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg) are still closed for the Baltic countries. People from the 3 Baltic States may visit other countries of the Shengen agreement only as tourists and businessmen.

4th Chinese archeologists found a secret grave of the first emperor from the Min dynasty, his wife and 46 concubines. Scientists managed to determine the location of the underground grave near the stone mausoleum of the Emperor Hun Vu in the eastern China. In the country people compare this finding with the Emperor Kin’s army of terracotta warriors. No signs of stealing found, that proved how thoroughly the funeral ceremony had been held in 1398.

19th A Russian cargo plane AN-124 Ruslan with weapons arrested in Azerbaijan. There were 6 dismantled fighters MiG-21 on the board of the plane that belonged to the Russian company Polyot. The Azerbaijani President’s main advisor blamed Russia for illegal supplies of weapons to Yugoslavia. However, the official Moscow refuted the accusations and stated that the cargo belonged to Kazakhstan and the planes were to be delivered not to Yugoslavia, but to Bratislava, the Slovak capital.

24th NATO forces began to bomb military objects in Yugoslavia. First Tomahawk rockets launched from ships and submarines, as well as from bombers B-52 exploded in the suburbs of the Kosovo capital Pristine. Then blows were observed near Belgrade. Later objects in Chernogoria were stricken. NATO forces chose the anti-rocket defense stations, radar, as well as the general headquarter of the Yugoslavian army.

April

1st In Canada for the first time during 50 years internal administrative borders changed. Aborigines of the northern areas of the country the Inuits (Eskimos) received the land where they had been living from ancient times. The area of the new formation is 2 million square kilometers. Laws and the administration system will completely meet the Eskimos’ traditions and customs.

2nd In India the head of the US Congress delegation Richard Gephard announced that soon India would join the Treaty on complete banning nuclear tests. However, a month ago the Indian Foreign Minister Jasvant Singh declared that India was not going to sign the Treaty and the position of the Cabinet of Ministers regarding this issue was form.

5th Nelson Mandela, the South Africa first black President made a speech before the Parliament and announced that he was leaving his post.

13th For the first time Dr. Kevorkyan, who is more known as ‘Dr. Death’ was sentenced to prison for the murder of the deadly ill person, according to his request. The authorities tried to make him answerable for each of 130 known cases, but he was always clear juridically. This time at the national TV channel Dr. Death demonstrated the film about how his patient was dying. For the purposeful murder Dr. Kevorkyan was sentenced to 10 to 25 years with the right to appeal against the sentence only after 6 years of imprisonment.

May

2nd The Morse alphabet was replaced as a mean to transmit signals from ships that have shifted to the satellite signals system. Now in case of a danger they have just to press a button on the control board, and the signal of the International Security system will be received in ‘real time’ regime by all ashore services.

12th The Russian President Boris Yeltsin dismissed the Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov after he had worked in this post for eight months. Yeltsin preferred Sergei Tereschenko, the Minister of Internal Affairs and the first deputy of the PM.

On May 6 for the first time within 300 years the Scottish Parliament held its conference in Edinburg, while in Cardiff – the Wales Legislative Assembly to administer the oath to parliamentarians and to elect speakers. The main roles of the Parliament is to distribute US$ 24 billion allotted annually to the region from the UK national budget.

19th In Israel the general Ehud Baraque, the former chief who headed the left-winged party Avoda, won the election to the post of the Prime Minister. He collected 56% of votes.

June

3rd Yugoslavia approved the international peaceful plan presented by the special representative of the Russian President Victor Chernomyrdin and the EU spokesman, the Finish President Martti Ahtisaari. After 72 days of bombing, Belgrade agreed with stricter conditions, than it rejected at the eve of the war. After negotiations between Chernomyrdin and Ahtisaari with Milocevich, the advisor of the Russian messenger Valentin Sergeev called them hopeful.

18th The Latvian Seim elected the 61-years-old Latvian Falk-researcher and the Doctor of Psychology Vaira Vike-Freiberg the President of the country. A day before the election she refused from the Canadian citizenship.

23rd at the Parliamentary session of the EU Assembly the new EU General Secretary was elected in Strasbourg. He was 57-years-old Austrian democrat Walter Schvimmer, who had defeated his opponent the British laborist Tarry Davis by only 2 votes.

July

6th The English Bank held an auction to sell 25 tons of gold from the national gold reserves. From that time similar auctions will be held monthly. Banks and international fiscal institutions having accounts in the British central bank, as well as members of the London Gold Market Association will participate in the auctions.

16th A one-engine aircraft Piper Saratoga in which John F. Kennedy Jr. flew to his cousin’s wedding. Along with John Kennedy there were his wife Caroline and her elder sister Loren. The authorities announced they had managed to find wreckage and Loren’s bag. On July 21 approximately seven miles from the island bodies of Kennedy Jr., his wife and her sister found.

25th The Japanese Parliament voted for restoration of the empire symbols: the Hinomara flag (see photo) and the Kimigao hymn, that many Japanese people associate with the country’s martial and expansionist past.

The direct reason to discuss this issue in the Parliament was the recent suicide of the school principal Tohishir Ishikawa, who failed to get permission to perform the ancient hymn at the final ceremony.

August

2nd The European Commission decided to abandon a significant part of prohibitions on embargo on the export beef from the UK. The embargo was introduced in 1996 due to the cattle’s epidemic in Great Britain.

The reason for the infection was the bone-meat flour that was added to the cattle’s food till August 1, 1996, when it was prohibited.

4th The NATO General Assembly elected the inheritor of the NATO General Secretary Havier Solana, who is to leave the post in September to October, as he would work for the EU. The new head of the alliance will be the UK Defense Minister Jorge Robertson.

12th The international community celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Geneva Conventions, which are supposed to protect civil population during the war, the wounded and captured people, to restrict military campaigns and to propagandize standards of the international humanitarian rights.

22nd Ten to fifteen km from the Tajik border, gunmen from Tajikistan captured two settlements and the geological camp in the Batken district of Kyrgyzstan. Terrorist captured seven people, including the commander of the internal army of Kyrgyzstan Anarbek Shamkeev, who accompanied soldiers, four Japanese geologists and an interpreter.

September

1st Libya celebrated its main national holiday – the Day of the Revolution. 30 years ago a group of servicemen headed by the colonel Muamar Kaddafi, made a coup when the king Idris I was in Turkey. So, Kaddafi came to power.

27th Indonesia officially entitled the multi-national peaceful corps headed by the Australian general Peter Cosgrove to restore peace and stability in the Eastern Timor. However, Indonesia will save its nominal military army (about 1,500 people) in Timor until November, when the People’s Consulting Congress, the Indonesian supreme state body, approves the results of the referendum and transfers the Eastern Timor to UNO for a temporary supervision.

30th In Japan the circuit court sentenced Masato Yokohama, one of the gunmen of Aum Sinrike sect, to death. In March 1995 he participated in the terrorist act in the Tokyo metro. Yokohama’s advocates failed to assure the court in his technical illiteracy. Soon some other members of the sect may be also sentenced to death.

October

1st The People’s Republic of China celebrated its 50th anniversary. The Communist Party properly prepared for this ‘historical event’. In the morning the military parade of 500,000 servicemen was held in the Tyananmen square.

3rd The President of Ecuador officially announced a partial default of the country. The state refuted to repay the so-called Brady’s bonds guaranteed by the US Federal Treasury.

8th Georgia became a WTO member. According to President Eduard Shevardnadze, this will not just help to attract more investments to the country’s economy, but also allow Georgia to supply its products to the world market. The President compared the WTO membership with the UNO one.

27th The Armenian Prime Minister Vazgen Sarkisyan, the Parliamentary Speaker Karen Demirtchan and other 6 politicians shot in the Armenian Parliament by a group of armed people who rushed into the House and fired. Hostages had been released, terrorists surrendered to the authorities ‘under President’s personal guarantees’, who promised them ‘an honest and fair court.’

November

13th The USA announced the start of ‘ a serious reorganization’ of the FBI. The anti-terrorist department has been separated from the FBI as an independent segment. In connection with this the FBI director Louis Free announced: “The FBI treats the protection of America from terrorists and national security as priority.”

14th In Ukraine Leonid Kuchma defeated the Ukrainian communist leader Pyotr Simonenko, who also strove for the President’s post at the second election round. Kuchma received about 20% of votes (i.e. over 5 million votes) more.

26th The Turkish Supreme Court approved the sentence made by the court four months ago to the leader of the Kurdish Working Party Abdullah Ojalan. The leader is blamed for a high treason, separatism and an indirect participation in killing of 30,000 people.

December

1st The UK Parliament officially transferred a part of its authority to the Legislative Assembly of the North Ireland. Thus, 25 years of London’s ruling in Ulster ceased. From now onwards the later has the right to govern its everyday life independently. Having signed the bill on devolution, the queen Elizabeth made the Executive Committee of the Assembly headed by the Protestants’ leader David Trimble, responsible for everything happening in North Ireland.

2nd A group of scientists from the UK, the USA and Japan deciphered the genetic code of one of the human chromosomes, i.e. described the succession of 33 million of pairs of basic amino acids forming its DNA. It is considered that namely the chromosome 22 is responsible for more than 30 diseases, including schizophrenia and some kinds of cancer.

20th Portugal lost its last colony – Macao that was returned to China in 446 years from the moment when Portuguese people landed there. Macao became a special administrative region Aomen. This tiny district right in the south of China 23 square kilometers in area and with the population of 430,000 people includes the peninsula Aomen and two islands – Danzy and Luhuan.

31st The first Russian President Boris Yeltsin made a sensational announcement that he had decided to voluntary leave the post. The PM Vladimir Putin was appointed the acting President of Russia. Thus, suddenly the term of the presidential election was shifted from the next summer to the forthcoming spring.


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