1997 News and Interesting History Tidbits

New York Stock exchange Closed
In response to a 554.26 point free fall, New York Stock Exchange officials invoked the "circuit breaker" rule and put a halt to trading. Traders complained bitterly so later in November the rules were changed so that only when Dow Jones industrial average dropped by at least 10 or 20 percent would the circuit breaker be used. It must be remembered that 554.26 as a percentage of the Dow Jones industrial was considerably less than 10% .

Hong Kong Handover from British Rule
Hong Kong is handed back to the Chinese authorities after 156 years as a British colony. Tung Chee-hwa was sworn in as Hong Kong's new leader.

USS Constitution ( Old IronSides
Thousands watched as the USS Constitution, known as Old Ironsides, celebrated 200 years by sailing from Marblehead, Massachusetts, under its own power for the first time in 116 years.

Microsoft Buys Stake in Apple Computers
Microsoft buys a minority stake in struggling Apple Computers for $150 million and they agree to share technology. The deal helped Apple on Wall Street, sending the company's stock up to close at its highest price in over a year.

Kyoto Protocol Agreed
150 countries agreed at a global warming conference in Kyoto, Japan, to take steps to control the greenhouse gas emissions, The objective of the Kyoto Protocol is to achieve "stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system

Notorious B.I.G. Shot
A rapper known as Notorious B.I.G. (Christopher Wallace) was shot to death in a drive by shooting while sitting at a stoplight in Los Angeles. This murder was thought to be brought upon by a rift between rival rappers from both the East and West Coast. Notorious B.I.G. was killed only a few weeks before his latest album entitled Life after Death was scheduled to be released. A similar incident occurred in Las Angeles only six months prior (rapper Tupac Shakur killed by drive-by shooter).

Japanese Embassy Siege
After a 126-day siege of the Japanese embassy in Peru, troops storm the embassy and free all but one of 72 hostages held inside, ending a four-month siege of the building by Tupac Amaru rebels.

"Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone"
JK Rowling's first Harry Potter book UK "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" in the UK. The book is not released in the US until September 1998 as "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone". The book has now had over 120 million copies sold ( 2008 ).

New $50 Bill
The US Treasury Department unveil a new $50 bill with a security thread which glows yellow under ultraviolet light making the bill more counterfeit-resistant.

First Death From Avian Flu A(H5N1)in Hong Kong
The first victim of Avian Flu A(H5N1) a three-year-old boy has died in Hong Kong.

By the end of the year there were 18 recorded cases with six of the victims dying. Authorities slaughter 1.6 million chickens and other domestic fowl in Hong Kong hoping to prevent further spread of the disease.

The World Health Organization and other interested parties are still concerned that the Avian Flu Virus could mutate further causing a similar pandemic to the 1918/1919 Spanish flu pandemic which killed anywhere from 20 to 100 million worldwide, Or between 2.5 to 5% of the worlds human population.

Mike Tyson Bites Evander Holyfield's ear
Mike Tyson was disqualified after biting off part of Evander Holyfield's ear
Later he is banned by from boxing and has to re-apply for his licence to fight

Flooding Grand Forks North Dakota
Major floods in Grand Forks North Dakota caused by the Red River breaching a dike gave way causing flooding in the city and 50,000 residents were forced to leave homes and in some areas only roofs of houses were seen when the river broke it's banks and could not be held up any longer.

Flooding Towns and Villages In Europe
Following torrential rains causing rivers including the Rhine and Oder to overflow with 40% of the population from Poland and the Czech Republic experiencing flood conditions due to many of the levees failing causing mass flooding to villages and towns in Europe.

Deaf Illegal Mexican Immigrant Ring Broken New York
A crime ring using 60 smuggled deaf Mexicans into the United States to sell trinkets in the subways and airports of New York, Chicago, Boston and other cities has been broken after 2 of the deaf immigrant workers go to a police station and with sign language and interpreters give police the information they need to break the ring and place charges. The Mexicans are given immunity from prosecution and work visa's for helping police.

Tornado Jarrell, Texas
An F5 tornado ( Winds Greater Than 260 MPH )and almost 800 feet wide strikes Jarrell, Texas, destroying the town and killing 27 people.

First Statewide Tobacco Firm Settlement
The first of the Statewide Tobacco Firm Settlement was the settlement was made between the state of Minnesota and the tobacco industry. A total of $3.4 billion was awarded to this state to be received over a period of 25 years. This was the first statewide lawsuit made against a tobacco company in an effort to cover tobacco-related health costs.

Hemophiliacs / Aids Cases Settled
Bayer and the other three manufacturers of blood products agree to pay $660 million to settle cases on behalf of more than 6,000 hemophiliacs infected in United States in the early 1980s, paying an estimated $100,000 to each infected hemophiliac.

Carlos the Jackal
Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, the self-proclaimed leftist revolutionary and mercenary known as Carlos the Jackal, was sentenced by a French court to life in prison for the 1975 murders of two French investigators and a Lebanese national at the OPEC headquarters in Vienna.

Timothy McVeigh
Timothy McVeigh, a former U.S. Army soldier, is convicted on 15 counts of murder for his role in the 1995 terrorist bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City .

Schindler’s List
For the first time ever, a movie had been shown on television without commercial interruptions. The movie the Schindler’s List, a movie about the saving of the lives of Jewish factory workers in Germany, was aired on NBC on this date.

Princess Diana Upsets Many
Princess Diana angers defence ministers around the world after calling for an immediate international ban on landmines during a visit to Angola. The people took what she said to heart and agreed but not so many politicians agreed. ( The international Ottawa convention on banning landmines came into force on 1st March 1999 but key countries refused to sign, including the United States, Russia and China, making the convention worthless ) .

Princess Diana Dies In Car Accident
On 31 August 1997, Princess Diana died after a high speed car accident in the Pont d'Alma road tunnel in Paris along with Dodi Al-Fayed the car was driving at high speed to elude the paparazzi when it crashed into a pillar of the tunnel.

Princess Diana's funeral saw a genuine outpouring of grief by the people of England who still considered her the "People's Princess" even after her divorce from Prince Charles and thousands left flowers outside the gates of Kensington Palace.

Her Funeral was attended by all members of the royal family.

Her grave is on an island within the grounds of Althorp Park, the Spencer family home.

The death of Diana has been the subject of widespread conspiracy theories, supported by Mohamed Fayed, whose son died in the accident.

Newspapers and magazine continue to rehash stories because they will continue to sell newspapers due to people's fascination with the "People's Princess"

Independent BSE Inqiry Started
An independent inquiry into the BSE "disaster" and the devastation it wreaked on British farming has been announced by the government. Included in the Inquiry will be report on the origins and the way in which authorities responded to it and the development of its human equivalent Creutzfeldt Jakob disease, CJD.

The results of the inquiry published in October 2000 included

Poor enforcement of the 1989 ban on specified bovine offal (brain, spinal cord and other tissue)

The government at the time played down the links between BSE-infected beef and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD)

The government at the time misled the public about the risks posed by so-called mad cow disease

Steven Hoffen Jailed
Steven Hoffen the former chief of Towers Financial Corps who had sold off vast sums of "worthless" Tower-backed bonds to unsuspecting investors is given a 20 year jail sentence and ordered to pay out $462 million in restitution to the innocent investors he swindled.

Heaven's Gate cult Suicides
The bodies of 39 members of the Heaven's Gate cult were found dead in a California mansion all having committed suicide by ingesting a lethal mixture of phenobarbital and vodka.

The Heaven's Gate Cult led by Marshall Applewhite and Bonnie Nettles and the leader Applewhite convinced his followers to commit suicide so that their souls could take a ride on a spaceship that they believed was hiding behind the Comet Hale-Bopp ( Haleys Comet ) .

Divorce becomes legal Ireland
Divorce becomes legal in the predominantly catholic country of Ireland.

Titanic The Movie
The movie about the sinking of the RMS Titanic in 1912 staring Kate Winslet as Rose DeWitt Bukater and Leonardo DiCaprio as Jack Dawson in the movie Titanic about the ill fated voyage and how love conquers the divisions caused through class, and money . A great movie that becomes the highest grossing movie of all time. below are a few of the other top grossing movies from the last few years, with an idea of how much money they made.

Titanic $1,845 million ( 1997 )

The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy
Return Of The King $1,130 million ( 2003 )
The Two Towers $926 million ( 2002)
The Fellowship Of The Ring $872 Million ( 2001)

Harry Potter
Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone $985 million ( 2001 )
Harry Potter and the Goblet Of Fire $892 million ( 2005 )
Harry Potter and The Chamber Of Secrets $877 million ( 2002 )
Harry Potter and The Prisoner Of Azkaban $790 million ( 2004 )

Pirates Of The Caribbean
Dead Mans Chest $1,066 million ( 2006 )
The Curse Of The Black Pearl $653 million ( 2003 )

Star Wars
Episode 1 The Phantom Menace $925 ( 1999)
Episode III Revenge of The Sith $850 ( 2005 )
Episode IV A New Hope $775 ( 1977 )
Episode II Attack Of The Clones $649 ( 2002 )

Spider Man
Spider Man $821 ( 2002 )
Spider Man 2 $784 ( 2004 )
Spider Man 3 $750 ( 2007 )

Some Other Top Grossing Movies
Shrek 2 $920 ( 2004 )
Jurassic Park $919 ( 1993 )
Finding Nemo $864 ( 2003 )
Independence Day $817 ( 1996 )
E.T. $792 ( 1982 )
The Lion King $783 ( 1994 )
The DaVinci Code $759 ( 2006 )
Forest Gump $677 ( 1994 )
The Sixth Sense $672 ( 1999 )
Ice Age The Meltdown $650 ( 2006 )

"Candle In The Wind"
Elton John records "Candle In The Wind" in 1997 as a tribute to Princess Diana which goes on to become the bestselling single of all time with 37 million copies sold worldwide . Below are some of the others with estimated sales worldwide

Elton John 1997
"Candle In The Wind" 37 million sales

Bing Crosby 1945
"White Christmas" 30 million sales

Bill Haley and his Comets 1954
"Rock Around The Clock" 17 million sales

Elvis Presley 1960
"It's Now Or Never" 12 million sales

The Beatles 1963
"I Want To Hold Your Hand" 12 million sales

The Beatles 1968
"Hey Jude" 10 million sales

Whitney Houston 1992
"I Will Always Love You" 10 million sales

Paul McCartney Knighted
Paul McCartney from the Beatles is knighted by Queen Elizabeth II .

Handgun Legislation England
New legislation banning most handguns in Britain went into effect helping to make the strictest gun legislation in the world with self-defence not considered a valid reason to own a gun..

Morning After Pill Approved By FDA
The FDA name six brands of birth control as safe and effective "morning-after" pills for preventing pregnancy

Andrew Cunanan Murders Fashion Designer Gianni Versace
Andrew Cunanan already on the FBI Ten Most Wanted List kills William Reese, 45, a cemetery caretaker, while attempting to steal his Chevrolet pick-up.

Andrew Cunanan was already wanted for the murder of David Madson, Jeffrey Trail and Lee Miglin.

On July 15, he killed famous fashion designer Gianni Versace outside his South Beach mansion and one week later when he believed he was about to be captured committed suicide.

Cuba Christmas Holiday
Pope John Paul II is due to visit Cuba and the Cuban President Fidel Castro declares Christmas 1997 an official holiday, the first time since his takeover Christmas will be a public holiday.

Pathfinder Lands On Mars
NASA's Mars Pathfinder becomes the first U.S. spacecraft after 20 years to land on Mars after traveling 120 million miles in seven months .

Labour Party Wins British Elections
After nearly 20 years of Conservative government, British voters give the Labour Party, led by Tony Blair, a landslide victory in British parliamentary elections.

Space Shuttle Columbia
NASA aborts the latest space shuttle Columbia mission after problems with defective fuel cells are found. The mission was scheduled to last over 2 weeks but ends after just 4 days .

Dow Jones Breaks 7000 Barrier
The Dow Jones industrial average broke through the 7,000 barrier for the first time, closing at 7,022.44.

F.W. Woolworth's
F.W. Woolworth's, the original five-and-dime store that started in 1879, announced today that its last 400 stores would close in the United States.

O.J. Simpson Found Guilty
A civil jury panel in Santa Monica, California had determined that O.J. Simpson was guilty of the deaths of both his ex-wife Nicole Brown-Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. He had originally been acquitted by a criminal jury in 1995.

Terrorist Attack Luxor
A tourist bus visiting the temple of Hatshepsut in Luxor has been fired on by an Islamic extremist group leaving 60 Swiss and Japanese tourists dead. Following the attack there was a two hour gun battle with police where 6 gunmen were killed.

Louise Woodward
British au pair Louise Woodward has been freed from jail in the United States after her conviction for murdering a baby was reduced to manslaughter after Judge Zobel said he believed her actions were characterised not by malice but by confusion, inexperience and frustration.

Tiger Woods Wins Masters
Tiger Woods at 21 years old became the youngest ever golfer to win the US Golf Masters Tournament . Woods finished at 18-under-par 270, which was the lowest score ever shot during the Masters.

No Swearing in Public Places
A number of American servicemen have been falling foul of the law in Turkey which does not allow the use of profanity in public places and were arrested for shouting profanities during an argument with locals at a local bar, the local prosecutor did allow them off with a warning.

British MP Neil Hamilton accused of Corruption
A BBC veteran war reporter Martin Bell is campaigning as an independent candidate on a platform of "an anti-corruption candidate" ( Because of the allegations surrounding the sitting MP Neil Hamilton ) in the general election for the constituency of Tatton.

Mr Hamilton has been accused of taking cash in return for asking parliamentary questions and denied taking bribes from Mohamed Al Fayed, the owner of Harrods in the cash-for-questions scandal and failing to declare a luxury stay at the Paris Ritz, Mr Hamilton claimed innocence of all charges and filed a libel suit which failed and in 2001 he was declared bankrupt.

Mr Bell went on to win the seat with a majority of over 11,000, overturning what had once been the third biggest Tory majority in the country

1996 Previous Year ---- ( Current Year Is 1997 ) ---- Following Year 1998

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