U.S. agrees to ease restrictions on Cuba(Jan. 4). Dennis Hastert elected to replace Newt Gingrich as Speaker of the House (Jan. 6). NBA ends 191-day labor dispute (Jan. 6). International Olympic Committee expels six members as bribery scandal widens (Jan. 24). King Hussein of Jordan dies (Feb. 7). Senate acquits President Clinton of impeachment charges (Feb. 12). Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo elected president of Nigeria (Feb. 28). First nonstop balloon flight around world completed in 20 days by Bertrand Piccard (Switzerland) and Brian Jones (UK) (March 1–20). Marine pilot acquitted in killing of 20 in 1998 Italian ski gondola accident; Italians outraged (March 4). U.S. accuses China of stealing nuclear secrets (March 5). Joe DiMaggio dies at age 84 (March 8). Czech Republic, Poland, and Hungary join NATO (March 12). NATO launches air strikes on Serbia to end attacks against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo (March 24). Dr. Jack Kevorkian convicted of second-degree murder in assisted-suicide case (March 26). “Melissa” computer virus spreads through the Internet (March 27). Libya hands over two suspects in 1988 Pan Am jet bombing (April 5). Two Colo. students go on shooting spree in Columbine High School, killing 15, including themselves (April 20). NATO bombs mistakenly hit Chinese embassy in Belgrade (May 7). Citadel graduates its first woman (May 8). Crime rate in U.S. falls for seventh consecutive year (May 16). Ehud Barak defeats Benjamin Netanyahu in Israeli prime minister election (May 17). U.S. inspects suspected nuclear weapons site in North Korea, finds nothing (May 20–24). Serbs sign agreement to pull troops out of Kosovo after 11 weeks of NATO air attacks (June 9). Nelson Mandela retires as president of South Africa; succeeded by Thabo Mbeki (June 16). Britain's Prince Edward marries Sophie Rhys-Jones (June 19).Kurd leader Abdullah Ocalan sentenced to death for treason in Turkey (June 29). White supremacist goes on shooting spree in Midwest, killing three including self and wounding eight (July 2–5). U.S. soccer team tops China for women's World Cup (July 10). Taiwanese leader Lee Teng-hui challenges “One China” policy (July 11). Serial killer Rafael Reséndez-Ramirez surrenders himself to U.S. authorities (July 13).John F. Kennedy, Jr., wife Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, and sister-in-law Lauren Bessette killed in plane crash off coast of Martha's Vineyard (July 16). Col. Eileen Collins becomes first female to head a space shuttle mission (July 16). Falun Gong meditation sect banned by Chinese government (July 22). Day-trader kills 9 and wounds 13 in two Atlanta brokerage offices before committing suicide (July 29). Yeltsin replaces Prime Minister Stepashin with Vladimir Putin in fourth government shakeup in 17 months (Aug. 9). Islamic militants declare independence for Dagestan and announce holy war against Russia (Aug. 10). White supremacist opens fire at Jewish community center in LA, wounding five and killing one as he flees (Aug. 10). More than 17,000 people die in 7.4 earthquake in Turkey (Aug. 17). Attorney General Janet Reno reopens investigation of 1993 Waco, Tex., stand-off (Aug. 25). People of East Timor vote for independence from Indonesia (Aug. 31). Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak and PLO leader Yasir Arafat announce peace accord (Sept. 4). Larry Gene Ashbrook goes on rampage in Tex. church, killing seven and himself (Sept. 15). NASA accidentally loses $125 million spacecraft as it orbits Mars (Sept. 23). Dozens of people exposed to radiation in Japan's worst nuclear accident (Sept. 30). Russia sends ground troops to Chechnya as conflict with Islamic militants intensifies (Oct. 1). World population reaches six billion milestone (Oct. 11). Military coup led by Gen. Pervez Musharraf overthrows Pakistani government (Oct. 12). Tobacco companies admit to harm caused by cigarette smoking (Oct. 13). Senate rejects 1996 nuclear test-ban treaty; international leaders upset by U.S. stand (Oct. 13). Indonesia elects Muslim leader Abdurrahman Wahid president (Oct. 20). Pro golfer Payne Stewart and five others killed in plane crash (Oct. 25). EgyptAir flight crashes over Atlantic, killing all 217 on board (Oct. 31). Judge finds Microsoft to be a monopoly (Nov. 5). U.S. and China reach landmark trade agreement (Nov. 15). China launches first spacecraft (Nov. 21). Five-year-old Cuban refugee Elián González gets caught in politically charged custody battle (Nov. 25). World Trade Organization conference disrupted by violent protests in Seattle (Nov. 29 et seq.). New Northern Ireland government begins self-rule for first time in 25 years (Dec. 2). Muslim terrorists hijack Indian Airlines jet with 189 on board (Dec. 24).