Wednesday, December 31, 1997
Luxembourg relinquishes its six-month rotating presidency of
the European Union.
The ball drops over Times Square in New York City at
On the horizon
On Thursday, January 1, Britain assumes presidency of the
On Friday, January 2, World Chess Championship finals begin
in Lausanne, Switzerland.
On Saturday, January 3, NFL divisional playoffs begin.
On Sunday, January 4, the Palestinian Authority is scheduled
to announce the results of the first West Bank and Gaza
On Monday, January 5, Iraq faces deadline to submit a new
aid distribution plan to be executed under the oil-for-food
On this day
In 1600, Queen Elizabeth I granted a charter to the "company
of merchants of London trading to the East Indies" -- the
East India Company.
In 1719, John Flamsteed, who became England's first
Astronomer Royal, died; the Greenwich Observatory was built
In 1851, in Austria, the constitution of 1849 was abolished
leading to an increase in imperial power.
In 1879, the first public demonstration of an electric
incandescent lamp was given by Thomas Edison at Menlo Park,
In 1911, Marie Curie received her second Nobel prize for her
work on radioactive elements.
In 1923, in London, the chimes of the clock Big Ben were
broadcast for the first time by the BBC.
In 1938, Dr. R.N. Harger's "drunkometer," the first breath
test for car drivers, was officially introduced in
In 1946, in the United States, President Truman formally
declared an end to all hostilities in the Second World War.
In 1948, British racing driver Sir Malcolm Campbell died. He
broke land speed records nine times and in 1935 in Utah he
became the first to travel on land at over 300 miles (483
km) per hour.
In 1963, the Central African Federation of Rhodesia and
Nyasaland was formally dissolved.
In 1968, Russia's TU-144 supersonic airliner made its first
flight, several months ahead of the Anglo-French Concorde
which it closely resembled.
In 1971, Austrian Kurt Waldheim took over as U.N.
Secretary-General after U Thant retired.
In 1973, a three-day work week was introduced in Britain to
conserve energy during a miners' strike.
In 1981, in Ghana, President Hilla Limann's civilian
government was overthrown in a military coup led by Flight
Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings.
In 1994, Bosnia's Muslim-led government signed an agreement
for a four-month ceasefire in Bosnia, the 1,000th day of the
bitter Serb siege of Sarajevo.
In 1995, Algerian President Liamine Zeroual appointed Ahmed
Ouyahia as prime minister to replace Mokdad Sifi.
In 1995, American tanks and troops rolled into Bosnia to
keep the peace after U.S. army engineers beat the Balkan
winter and completed a pontoon bridge over the river Sava.
Can't get to New York to watch the ball drop in Times Square
tonight at midnight? No problem. Put on a party hat, fire up your computer and watch the ball drop live, thanks to AudioNet.
Holidays and more
Today is a bank holiday in Argentina, Bangladesh, Chile, El
Salvador, Japan, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines and Tahiti.
Azerbaijan Republic celebrates Solidarity Day.
Costa Rica celebrates a national holiday.
Malaysia celebrates Awal Ramadhan.
It is a festival day in Montserrat.
It is St. Silvester Day in San Marino and the Vatican City
It is Restoration Day in Switzerland.
Singer Rex Allen is 73.
Actress Rosalind Cash is 59.
Actor Val Kilmer is 38.
Actor Ben Kingsley is 54.
Actor Tim Matheson is 49.
Actress Sarah Miles is 56.
Folk singer Odetta is 67.
Actor James Remar is 44.
Singer Donna Summer is 49.
Fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg is 52.
Sources: Associated Press,
Chase's Calendar of Events 1997, J.P. Morgan