Charles M. Schulz, creator of the classic comic
strip Peanuts, dies at age 77 from cancer. He had announced his retirement
on December 14, 1999 in an open letter to fans and he died just hours
before the last original strip hit newsstands on February 13.
Pope John Paul II travels to Israel, the first pontiff to do so since
Paul VI in 1964. The ailing pope offered prayers at the Western Wall of
the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and apologies for sins committed against
Jews by members of the Roman Catholic Church throughout history.
Vladimir Putin, anointed in 1999 by Russian President Boris Yeltsin as
his successor, is formally elected president in March. Putin's election
was greeted by mixed international reaction, as some feared a return to
a more authoritarian--and expansionist--Russia.
Chile's Augusto Pinochet is mentally and physically unfit to be extradited
to Spain on charges of human rights abuses, ruled British Home Secretary
Jack Straw. The 84-year-old former dictator returned to Chile after four
years of house arrest in Great Britain. However, he was soon stripped
of immunity from prosecution within Chile for murder and kidnapping.
Software mega-giant Microsoft is found guilty of antitrust violations
and ordered to break up into two separate companies. Microsoft CEO Bill
Gates appealed the ruling.
Syria's President Hafez al-Assad dies at age 69. After almost 30 years
in office, the authoritarian leader, nicknamed "The Lion of Damascus,"
was mourned by Syrians and lionized by world leaders as a major player
in Mideast peace negotiations, despite having been hostile to Israel.
An international consortium of genetic researchers--collectively called
the Human Genome Project--announce a scientific breakthrough: they had
completely mapped the genetic code of a human chromosome, raising a plethora
or medical, legal, and ethical questions.
Elian Gonzalez, the six-year-old Cuban boy snatched from the sea after
his mother and 10 others drowned in an attempt to flee the Castro regime
and reach Florida in 1999, returns to Cuba with his father.
Israel explodes in waves of violence as a new intifada ("uprising")
is launched by Palestinian Arabs in response to Israeli General Ariel
Sharon's provocative visit to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem (also sacred
to Muslims as the site of the al-Aqsa Mosque). Israeli Prime Minister
Ehud Barak and PLO Chairman Yasir Arafat took tentative steps to rethink
a new peace plan.
Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic steps down from office in the former
Yugoslavia. "The Butcher of the Balkans," notorious for his
"ethnic cleansing" of non-Serbs in Kosovo and elsewhere, stepped
down after domestic protests, general strikes, and international appeals.
South Korean President Kim Dae-jung wins the Nobel Peace Prize for his
efforts at cooperation and reconciliation with communist North Korea.
Nasdaq, the over-the-counter, technology-heavy stock index, declined 39
percent over the year, the w orst one-year slide in its history. The primary
causes for the tumble were a slowing economy, rising federal interest
rates, and the collapse of many dot.com companies.
Baseball's New York Yankees become the first team to win three World Series
championships in a row since the Oakland Athletics (1972-74).
Hillary Rodham Clinton wins her bid for the U.S. Senate, becoming the
first First Lady to be elected to public office. Mrs. Clinton relocated
to New York to run for the Senate.
President Bill Clinton becomes the first American president to visit Vietnam
since Richard Nixon in 1969. Clinton, a one-time anti-Vietnam War protester,
encouraged the Vietnamese to open themselves up to trade and freedom.
Republican George W. Bush is finally declared the president-elect more
than a month after Election Day, having lost the popular vote but having
obtained the necessary number of electoral votes. A convoluted recount
process in Florida ended when the U.S. Supreme Court, by a 5-4 majority,
declared the recount constitutionally problematic, effectively handing
the election to Bush late on December 12.
The worst drought in 100 years strikes India, affecting about 130 million
people. Ironically, later in the year, flooding became a problem in regions
hit by monsoon rains.