1999 News and Interesting History Tidbits

West Nile Virus Appears in Western hemisphere
The West Nile Virus first appears in the United States. The virus is spread by infected mosquito's who then bite birds allowing the virus to spread over longer distances. The virus affects many animals but the most often and severely affected are horses with a number of cases also found in humans. Because of the high rate of infections in horses a vaccine does exist and is widely used. Since it appeared there have been about 30,000 cases of humans affected in the US with about 1,000 deaths from the disease.

Turkey Earthquake
A 7.4-magnitude earthquake strikes the city of Izmit in Turkey one the country's most densely populated areas leaving more than 17,000 people dead and hundreds of thousands more left injured or homeless.

Total Eclipse Of The Sun
The total eclipse of the sun is seen around beginning in the Atlantic, a few hundred miles east of Boston, and seen throughout Europe, Asia, The Middle East, below is a small image of the path of the eclipse

Deadly Train Crash In India
A deadly train crash in Eastern India between an express train bound for Delhi and the stationary Awadh-Assam Express at Gaisal station has left the death toll at over 500, the cause of the crash is believed to be faulty signals which allowed the express train to plough into the stationary train and due to ammunition belonging to an army unit exploding a fire swept through the carriages where thousands of passengers were burned alive.

Melissa e-mail virus
David Smith is arrested and charged with originating the "Melissa" e-mail virus, which infected more than 1 million computers worldwide and caused more than $80 million in damage.

Melissa is classified as a computer worm and shut down Internet mail systems that got clogged with infected e-mails propagating from the worm. Melissa was spread via the word processors Microsoft Word 97 and Word 2000 through the use of an inbuilt macro placed in the template and could mass-mail itself from e-mail client Microsoft Outlook 97 or Outlook 98.

Air Strikes Against Serb Forces
Following the continued ethnic cleansing by Serbian forces on Kosovar Albanians, The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) commences air strikes against Yugoslavia bombing of Serbian military positions in the Yugoslav province of Kosovo.

Following a peace plan Yugoslav forces pull out of Kosova as part of the plan and more evidence emerges of the mass killings committed by Serb Forces on ethnic Albanians in Kosova.
The peace plan has called for the withdrawal of Serb Forces and the disarming of the Kosovo Liberation Army KLA.

Walmart Buys ASDA In the UK
The world's biggest retailer, Wal-Mart and the UK supermarket chain ASDA have agreed to a £6.72bn ($10.8bn) for supermarket group Asda beating out the offer from the Kingfisher group.

Scottish Parliament Opened By Queen
The new Scottish Parliament is opened by the queen, this is the first time Scotland has had its own parliament for nearly 300 years.

Al-Qaeda terrorist base in Afghanistan
Osama bin Laden who is on the FBI's "10 most wanted list" is now believed to have established his Al-Qaeda terrorist base in Afghanistan. He is wanted by the US on charges of international terrorism in connection with the 1998 bombing of American embassies in Africa and last year's attack on the USS Cole in Yemen.
Osama bin Laden has called for a holy war against the United States, saying it was the duty of Muslims to free their land of American occupation.
This was 2 years before his involvement in the 9/11 suicide attacks by al-Qaeda members upon the United States.

Trillion Dollar Surplus
Following nine straight years of economic growth in the US, the US Government says that its budget surplus will be $1,000bn which it plans to use for strengthening Medicare and paying off some of the countries $3,700bn national debt.
The current National debt is $9.0 trillion or $9,000.0 billion or nearly 3 X what it was 9 years ago.

Value Of The Dollar Continues To Climb
Following the increase in US interest rates the dollar hits new highs of:

$1.56 to the Pound

$1.0149 to the Euro

Oil is trading at close to $25.00 a barrel

US consumer price Inflation Rate index (CPI) 2.1%

US Interest Rates 5.25%

To put this in perspective 9 years later in 2008

$1.96 to the Pound

$1.57 to the Euro

US consumer price Inflation Rate index (CPI) 4.5%

US Interest Rates 2.50%

Oil is trading at $145.00 a barrel

India and Pakistan Shelling Kashmir
Increased artillery shelling and mortar fire between India and Pakistan along the Line of Control, in the disputed territory of Kashmir is creating an increased number of refugees who are fleeing the area.

Columbine High School Shooting
Two students wearing balaclavas go through Columbine High School in Denver, Colorado, firing automatic weapons and throwing homemade bombs killing 13 and wounded 24 others today before the two students committed suicide.

Gun Control Bill Rejected
Following the recent increase of high school shootings including the Columbine High School murders in Colorado. A new gun control bill has been rejected by Congress, the bill was rejected by the Republican side who felt the new controls went too far and the Democrats, who felt the new controls did not go far enough.

Dr. Jack Kevorkian
Dr. Jack Kevorkian, was found guilty of second-degree murder for giving a lethal injection to a terminally ill man and airing it on the television program "60 Minutes."

He allowed the airing of a videotape on "60 Minutes." that he had made which depicted the voluntary euthanasia of Thomas Youk, 52, an adult male with full decision capacity who was in the final stages of ALS.

He was sentenced to to serve a 10-25 year prison sentence by the judge, he was released on parole in 2007 on the condition that he cannot help anyone else die. He no longer assists in voluntary euthanasia but does campaign that the law is changed ( currently the only US State that allows legalized doctor-assisted suicide for terminally ill people is Oregon. )

Global Millennium Party
The world prepares to have a global party with fireworks and special events around the world to welcome in the third millennium.

Mapping of Human Chromosome 22
An international consortium of sequencing cent res and collaborators from the chromosome 22 genetics community released into the public domain the genetic code of the 33.5 million bps that comprise the euchromatic portion of human chromosome 22.

UK Introduces Minimum Wage
Britain introduces it's first ever legally binding minimum rate of pay. From April 1st all adults must be paid at least £3.60 an hour and workers under the age of 22 must get no less than £3 an hour.

I have created a small chart below giving an idea of some of the yearly earnings based ( equiv in US Dollars ) on minimum wage for an Adult Working Full Time in that country in 2006. If the figures depend on State of Province or by trade and profession we have taken the lowest figure paid.

Country Annual wage based on Minimum Wage In Equiv US Dollars

Algeria 3,799

Angola 973

Argentina 9,266

Australia 18,382

Belarus 1,987

Belgium 17,879

Brazil 3,130

Burundi 11

Canada 10,196

Chad 1,638

China No Minimum Wage Exists

Costa Rica 4,505

Czech Republic 7,168

Dominican Republic 2,305

El Salvador 1,747

Ethiopia 1,656

France 16,668

Haiti 1,497

Hungary 6,504

India No Minimum Wage Exists

Indonesia 1,369

Ireland 18,842

Jamaica 2,544

Japan 10,599

Kazakhstan 1,619

Kenya 1,785

Libya 1,143

Luxembourg 21,070

Malawi 594

Mexico 1,557

Netherlands 17,015

New Zealand 15,822

Nigeria 831

Poland 5,918

Portugal 7,258

Russia 871

Slovakia 5,400

South Africa 3,794

Switzerland 15,466

Uganda 206

United Kingdom 22,368

United States 12,168

Many Many Countries including China and India who are listed above do not have minimum wages and the countries range from very westernized countries like Germany, Finland and Norway through to some of the poorest countries in the World like Bangladesh, North Korea and Rwanda.

The figures do not mean workers will only earn that per year but are the minimum set if there is a minimum.

For much more detail and including many countries not listed here check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_minimum_wages_by_country

Hot Air Balloon Record
Bertrand Piccard of Switzerland and Brian Jones of Britain complete non-stop balloon circumnavigation around the world.

They had set off from Switzerland on 1st March 1999 travelling 45,755 kilometres lasting 19 days, 21 hours and 47 minutes and landing in Egypt on 20th March 1999.

British Miners Win Compensation
Ex-miners in England have won their case for compensation in a deal worth £2 billion for lung disease caused through working underground in the coal mining industry.

Legal representation for the miners claimed it had been known for decades dust produced in the coal mining process could cause lung disease but not enough was done to protect them.

Many of these miners were working underground in the 50's before health and safety laws ensured there were dust masks and showers at collieries.

The Amero Replacement For The US Dollar
The Amero was proposed as the replacement for the US Dollar in 1999 by Canadian economist Herbert G. Grubel. A senior fellow of the Fraser Institute think-tank as part of the North American currency union, which would be modelled on the the euro "European Union Currency" .

The Amero is part of a much bigger master plan by those who propose it where the North American Union (abbreviated NAU) is a theoretical continental union of Canada, Mexico and the United States similar in structure to the European Union .

The ideas of the Amero and the NAU is mainly discussed in academic and scholarly circles but many have tried to tie it into "The Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America" which is an intergovernmental group set up to provide greater cooperation on security and economic issues with the leaders of the U.S. ( President Bush ), Canada ( Prime Minister Harper ) and Mexico ( President Fox ) all having attended meetings .

There is quite a bit of reading on the net for this subject but in general those who are discussing it appear to be extremely biased one way or the other so the best I can recommend is the Wikipedia Article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_American_Union.

The last and possibly most interesting fact is how little this has been talked about in the main stream media

Is this because it is a non event or other reasons

Libya Surrenders Terrorists For Pan Am Flight 103
Libya surrendered two suspects in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Scotland to a U.N. representative.

Tornado Strikes Salt Lake City
A rare tornado has struck Salt Lake City, Utah causing severe damage in the city with at least one death reported. The tornado struck the downtown area of Salt Lake City with winds exceeding 100 mph. The US has a reported 1,000 to 2,000 tornado touchdowns power year but of those very few strike city center's and even less in Utah.

Napster Begins Operating
Napster the online music file sharing service begins operation quickly attracting the attention of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which proceeded to file a lawsuit alleging massive copyright violations. One of the side effects of the suit was to provide Napster with a great deal of publicity which increased it's user base 10 fold.

Napster was eventually shut down in 2001

Series of Nail Bombs In London
A nail bomb outside a busy supermarket in Brixton, south London, has injured dozens.
This was the fist in a series of bombs planted by a right-wing extremist David Copeland, 22, who was captured after a nail bomb in a central London pub killed three people.

NATO Mistakenly Bomb Ethnic Albanian Refugees
NATO mistakenly bombed a convoy of ethnic Albanian refugees on a stretch of road between Đakovica and Dečani in western Kosovo, killing 73 civilians.

NATO and U.S. spokespersons initially claimed the target was a military convoy but later admitted mistakenly firing on what they believed to be military trucks, and expressed "deep regret."

Joe DiMaggio dies
Joe DiMaggio dies at age 84.

He played his entire MLB career May 3, 1936 ---- September 30, 1951 for the New York Yankees. The only break he had was to join United States Army Air Forces from 1942 - 1946 during World War II

He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1955

He was married to Marilyn Monroe in 1954, but they were married for less than 12 months.

Prince Edward Marries
Prince Edward married commoner Sophie Rhys-Jones at St. George's Chapel, Windsor.
Following the wedding they take the titles of His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex and Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex. Prince Edward is seventh in the line of succession to the British Throne .

Nigeria Election
Voters in Nigeria have elected a civilian president ( Olusegun Obasanjo ) which ends 15 years of military rule.

Avalanche Austria
An avalanche in the Austrian Alps buries homes and kills 13 people in Valzur

James Byrd Jr
A jury in Jasper, Texas, convicted the first of those accused ( John William King ) of murder in the dragging death of a black man, James Byrd Jr.

John William King, found guilty of kidnapping and murder on February 23 and was sentenced to death on February 25.

Shawn Allen Berry, found guilty of kidnapping and murder on February 23 and was also sentenced to death.

Lawrence Russell Brewer, was spared the death penalty and given a life sentence in prison

Julia ( Butterfly ) Hill
Environmental activist Julia "Butterfly" Hill came down after spending two years living in a 180-foot-tall, 600-year-old California Redwood tree nicknamed ( LUNA )for 738 days between December 10, 1997 to December 18, 1999. to prevent loggers of the Pacific Lumber Company from cutting it down. She agreed to vacate the tree when the Pacific Lumber Company agreed to preserve Luna and all trees within a 3-acre buffer zone.

Europe Coca-Cola Scare
Following 100 Belgian schoolchildren falling ill due to drinking Coca-Cola which triggered a blood disorder that caused the destruction of red blood cells.

Many Coca-Cola products has been taken off the shelves in four European countries.

Belgium have removed all beverages made by the company from the shelves.

Luxembourg have removed all beverages made by the company from the shelves.

France has withdrawn drinks bottled at Coca-Cola plant at Dunkirk near the Belgian border.

Netherlands, the Coca-Cola company has withdrawn all Belgian-produced beverages.

Venezuela Mudslides Caracus
Heavy rains cause flooding and mudslides which kill thousands in shantytowns on the outskirts of Caracas .

Dow Jones Breaks 10,000 Barrier
On March 29, 1999, the Dow Jones average closed above the 10,000 mark

Beef on The Bone T-Bone Steaks Go Back On Sale
The ban of beef on the bone put in place during the BSE crisis is lifted and T bone steaks and rib of beef will be on sale by Christmas.

Australia Votes To Keep The Queen
Australian voters decided to keep the queen and not become a republic.

President Bill Clinton Found Guilty Of Contempt
President Bill Clinton is found in contempt of court by U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright for giving "intentionally false" testimony in a lawsuit filed by Paula Jones about his relationship with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

The London Eye
Thousands assemble to watch a giant Ferris wheel ( One of the UK's Largest Millennium Projects ) move into position as a new landmark on the London skyline the South Bank of London between Waterloo station and Westminster Bridge. The Millennium Wheel, better known now as the London Eye. ( The London Eye stands 135 meters high and has become one of the most successful Millennium projects attracting an average of 10,000 visitors a day and is the biggest Ferris wheel in the world ).

Paddington Rail Crash
Two trains collide near Paddington Station in west London at the height of the morning rush hour. There are so far 8 confirmed dead, 40 seriously injured and 200 with minor injuries. ( It was later confirmed that 31 died in the accident which was caused by one of the trains going through a red stop light )

1998 Previous Year ---- ( Current Year Is 1999 ) ---- Following Year 2000

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