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Timeline: 1997

Madeleine Albright

Madeleine Albright

Jan 22  Madeleine Albright becomes the first female US Secretary of State. She has been a close friend of First Lady Hillary Clinton.

Feb 17  Nawaz Sharif, 47, of the Pakistan Muslim League, a conservative member of the wealthy establishment, has won an election with more than 90 percent of the votes, which is questioned by Benazir Bhutto's political party. Sharif becomes prime minister.

Mar 4  President Clinton bars federal funding for research on human cloning.

Mar 6  In Sri Lanka, Tamil Tigers overrun a military base and kill more than 200.

Mar 26  US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright says that even if Iraq complies with its "obligations concerning weapons of mass destruction," sanctions will not be lifted unless Iraq proves its peaceful intentions by "complying with all of the Security Council resolutions to which it is subjected." She says that "the evidence is overwhelming that Saddam Hussein's intentions will never be peaceful."

Apr 4  In Algeria a new constitution has inspired an upsurge in violence by Islamic extremists. In the dark early morning hours they massacre 52 of the 53 inhabitants of the village of Thalit and people in other villages.

Apr 22  In Algeria before dawn, Islamic militants kill 93 in the village Haouch Khemisti.

Apr 22  In Peru, government commandos storm a building, ending a 126-day hostage crisis. They kill all of the hostage takers, members of the Tupac Amaru, and rescue all of the 71 hostages.

Apr 23  In Algeria, Islamic militants kill 42 in the village Omaria. In the 3-hour attack there are mutilations, the burning of bodies and a pregnant women is cut open and her baby hacked apart.

May 12  President Yeltsin and the elected president of Chechnya, Aslan Maskhadov, sign a formal peace treaty.

Maskhadov and Yeltzin shake hands

Maskhodov and an always earnest and red-faced Yeltzin

May 16  In Zaire, the army of the Mobutu Sese Seko is collapsing as the rebel leader, Laurent Kabila, pushes from the eastern part of Zaire to the outskirts of the capital, Kinshasa. Mobuto, in power since 1965, had taken a name that meant "The all-powerful warrior who, because of his endurance and inflexible will to win, goes from conquest to conquest, leaving fire in his wake." He flees to Morocco. Kabila will replace the name Zaire with the Democratic Republic of Congo.

May 25  A military coup in Sierra Leone replaces President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah with Major Johnny Paul Koromah.

May 27  A lawsuit filed by Paula Jones in 1994, concerning an alleged incident in 1991, has reached the Supreme Court. The justices unanimously allow the lawsuit to proceed in the lower courts.

Jun 10  Mass killers are now killing each other. In his stronghold in northern Cambodia, Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot orders the killing of his defense chief, Son Sen, and eleven of Sen's family members.

Jun 11  The British House of Commons votes for a total ban on handguns.

Jul 1  Britain's 99-year lease on Hong Kong ends. It turns the region over to the People's Republic of China.

Jul 13  From Bolivia, the remains of Che Guevara and some of his comrades are returned for burial in Cuba.

Princess Diana

Princess Diana

Jul 23  Slobodan Milosevic steps down as Serbia's president because he is allowed only two terms. He becomes Yugoslavia's third president since 1992.

Jul 27  In Algeria, guerrillas kill an estimated 50 people in the Si Zerrouk Massacre.

Aug 3  In Algeria, guerrillas kill from 40 to 76 villagers in the Oued El-Had and Mezouara Massacres.

Aug 20  In Algeria, guerrillas kill more than 60 people and kidnap 15 in the Souhane Massacre.

Aug 29  In Algeria, guerrillas kill more than 98 and possibly 400. It will be called the Rais Massacre.

Aug 31  In Paris, Diana, Princess of Wales, is pronounced dead following a car crash.

Sep 7  Mobuto Sese Seku dies in Morocco. His age was 66. He is reported to have been suffering from prostrate cancer.

Sep 19  In Algeria there is division among the Islamic militants. Islamic militants are said to be responsible for killing 53, mainly women and children, in the village of Guelb El-Kebi to punish the village for supporting rival Islamic militants – the AIG.

Sep 23  At night in Algeria, AIG guerrillas go from house to house for six hours, butchering an estimated 200 people before leaving unmolested.

Oct 12  In Algeria, guerrillas kill an estimated 43 people in the Sidi Daoud Massacre.

Oct 17  The remains of Che Guevara are laid to rest with full military honors in a mausoleum in the city of Santa Clara, Cuba, where he won a decisive battle 39 years before.

Oct 27  Stock markets around the world crash because of a global economic crisis scare. The Dow Jones Industrial Average follows suit and plummets 554.26, or 7.18%.

Oct 29  Iraq is moving to protect what it describes as its national sovereignty. It says it will begin shooting down Lockheed U-2 surveillance planes being used by the UN weapons inspectors.

Nov 11  Mary McAleese, a Roman Catholic born in Belfast, succeeds Mary Robinson as President of Ireland.

Nov 17  In Luxor, Egypt, six Islamic militants kill 62 people outside the Temple of Hatshepsut. Tourism in Egypt is about to decline.

Dec 3  In Ottawa, Canada, representatives from 121 countries sign a treaty prohibiting the manufacture and deployment of anti-personnel land mines. The United States, the People's Republic of China and Russia do not sign the treaty.

Dec 11 Nations meeting in Japan conclude the Kyoto Protocol Agreement, designed to reduce greenhouse gasses that cause climate change. Its strictures are to become effective on February 16, 2005.

Dec 24  In Algeria, guerrillas slaughter from 50 to 100 people in the village of Sid El-Antri.

Dec 30  In Algeria, guerrillas kill an estimated 400 people in four villages, to be known as the Wilaya of Relizane Massacres.

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