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Thursday, December 31, 1998
- The ceremonial ball will drop at midnight in Times Square in New York. Sang Lan, the 17-year-old Chinese gymnast paralyzed at last summer's Goodwill Games, will help Mayor Rudolph Giuliani do the honors.
- Residents of Port Clinton, Ohio, will usher in the New Year with the annual dropping of the "Walleye" - an 8-foot-long fiberglass fish lowered from a crane at the stroke of midnight. This year marks the debut of "Wylie Walleye" - a 500-pound fish-shaped specimen with eyes made from glass casserole dishes and flesh of fiberglass.
- In Columbus, Ohio, New Year's revelers will join lips at midnight, trying to beat the world record for the most people kissing at the same time at one location. Columbus Mayor Greg Lashutka and his wife, Catherine Adams, will lead the effort. Participants must hold the kiss for at least ten seconds. The current record is 1,420 couples.
- On Friday, January 1, the euro, a single European currency, is scheduled to be launched.
- On Saturday, January 2, the NFL Wild Card playoffs begin.
- On Sunday, January 3, Prince Charles and other members of
British royal family are scheduled to arrive in Switzerland for a week-long ski holiday.
- On Monday, January 4, the civil trial for former au pair Louise Woodward is scheduled to begin to determine the amount of damages she must pay for the death of 8-month-old Matthew Eappen.
- On Tuesday, January 5, House Republicans meet to nominate new House Speaker. U.S. Rep. J. Dennis Hastert, R-Illinois, is expected to get the nod.
For a virtual New Year's Eve in Times Square, click here.
- Actress Rosalind Cash is 60.
- Actor Val Kilmer is 39.
- Actor Ben Kingsley is 55.
- Actor Tim Matheson is 50.
- Actress Sarah Miles is 57.
- Folk singer Odetta is 68.
- Singer Donna Summer is 50.
- Fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg is 53.
- 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 1879, Thomas Edison gave the first public demonstration of an electric incandescent lamp in Menlo Park, New Jersey.
- In 1911, Marie Curie received her second Nobel Prize for her work on radioactive elements.
- In 1923, in London, the BBC broadcast the chimes of the clock Big Ben for the first time.
- In 1938, Dr. R.N. Harger's "drunkometer," the first breath test for car drivers, was officially introduced in Indianapolis.
- In 1946, in the United States, President Truman formally declared an end to all hostilities in the Second World War.
- 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 Flt. Lt. Jerry Rawlings.
- In 1994, Bosnia's Muslim-led government signed an agreement for a four-month cease-fire 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.
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