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1997 is far from over, but here are some of the major stories that have happened to date:

  • Simpson liable for deaths
  • The Hale-Bopp Comet
  • Mass Suicide in California
  • Peruvian army rescues 71 hostages
  • The McVeigh Trial

  • Simpson liable for deaths -- February 4, 1997

    A jury in O.J. Simpson's wrongful death civil trial blames the former football star for the June 12, 1994 murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. It awards Fred Goldman, his father, and Sharon Rufo, his mother, $8.5 million in compensatory damages for the loss of their son's love and support. The following week, the same jury added $12.5 million in punitive damages to Goldman and his ex-wife and another $12.5 million in punitive damages to Nicole Brown Simpson's estate. Simpson was found not guilty of the killings in a 1995 criminal trial.

    The verdict:
    1.8M QuickTime Movie (160x120) 6M QuickTime Movie (320x240)

    The plaintiffs react:
    2.5M QuickTime Movie (160x120) 8M QuickTime Movie (320x240)

    The jurors speak:
    2M QuickTime Movie (160x120) 6.8M QuickTime Movie (320x240)

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    The Hale-Bopp Comet - Late March - April

    Discovered by two Americans in 1995, the Hale-Bopp comet was billed as the biggest, brightest comet in the last century. It was so spectacular that backyard stargazers could see it on the horizon every morning before dawn. Hale-Bopp never got any closer to the Earth than 122 million miles, but it was so big -- 25 miles in diameter -- that its tail stretched across a third of the sky when it reached its peak brilliance in late March and early April. Born 4.6 billion years ago, at the same time as our solar system, comets like the Hale-Bopp have hardly changed, giving us a chance to look backward at our origins. The next time it swings by will be 2,000 to 3,000 years from now.

    700K QuickTime Movie (320x240)
    Telescopic images:
    494K QuickTime Movie (160x120) 1.1M QuickTime Movie (320x240)

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    Mass Suicide in California - March 26, 1997

    Thirty-nine members of the Heaven's Gate cult - including the cult's leader Marshall Herff Applewhite -- were found dead March 26 in a mansion in Rancho Santa Fe, a suburb of San Diego. Applewhite, an unemployed music teacher, convinced others to follow him on a quest to leave the "Human Kingdom" in a spaceship traveling behind the Hale-Bopp comet and join the "Kingdom of Heaven" in outer space. Cult members appeared to have taken fatal doses of phenobarbital by mixing the drugs in applesauce or pudding, then washing them down with vodka. A cult document outlined a procedure by which the cult members would commit suicide in shifts. Autopsies showed that some of the cult members, including Applewhite, had been castrated.

    The events surrounding the suicide:
    773K QuickTime Movie (160x120) 1.2M QuickTime Movie (320x240)

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    Peruvian army rescues 71 hostages - April 22, 1997

    Peruvian army commandos stormed the Japanese ambassadors residence in Lima, which had been occupied since December 1996 by Tupac Amaru rebels holding 72 Japanese businessmen and Peruvian government officials hostage. During the four-month stalemate, the Marxist rebels had attempted to force the government of President Alberto Fujimori to release hundreds of their comrades from Peruvian prisons. Commandos approached through secret tunnels, and at 3:30 p.m. launched simultaneous attacks through the front door, back door and roof. One hostage was killed; the remaining were freed. Two soldiers and 14 rebels died in the attack.

    The attack:
    1.9M QuickTime Movie (160x120) 3.3M QuickTime Movie (320x240)

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    McVeigh found guilty in Oklahoma City bombing -- June 2, 1997

    After five weeks of testimony and nearly 24 hours of deliberation over four days, a federal jury in Denver found Timothy McVeigh guilty on 11 counts of conspiracy and murder for his part in the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil. Prosecutors contended McVeigh plotted with his Army buddy Terry L. Nichols and others to use a truck bomb to destroy the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995. The jury also found McVeigh guilty of the murder of eight federal law-enforcement agents who were working in the building that day. On June 13, the seven men and five women unanimously voted that McVeigh should die by lethal injection. The bombing killed 168 people and injured more than 500.

    The verdict:
    1.2M QuickTime Movie (160x120) 3.2M QuickTime Movie (320x240)

    The penalty phase:
    1.2M QuickTime Movie (160x120) 3.1M QuickTime Movie (320x240)

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