Flood Of The Century – April 18, 1997
Click on the link here for Audio Player – CBS World News Roundup – April 18, 1997 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection
The weather was big news on this particular April 18th in 1997. In what was dubbed “The Flood of the Century“, much of North Dakota and Minnesota were under water on this day, with key rivers overflowing their banks and turning the states into a series of lakes; flooding towns, ruining crops and drowning some 100,000 head of cattle. The Red River was expected to crest on this day in Grand Forks, North Dakota at a minimum of 50 1/2 feet, two feet over the record. Lots of worry to go around and way too much water to deal with. Morale, so far, was good.
The subject of disasters was also on the minds of many on Capitol Hill as a round of budget and job cuts were threatened at the National Hurricane Center. Some staff members were slated to be fired, but five of the twelve got a reprieve, but only through the 1997 Hurricane season. After that was anybody’s guess.
In other parts of the world – two suspected IRA bombs went off in Britain. No casualties, but the emotional impact was big. There were warnings, and the Police took measures to prevent casualties by closing down the main North-South Highways linking England and Scotland, and closing the railroads in Northern England – in short, paralyzing the transportation system in the country, stranding commuters and truckers. The assumption it was the IRA’s attempts at disrupting the British election campaigns brought condemnation of the attacks from all the candidates and their parties.
Italy’s Intelligence Service issued warnings of possible terrorist activities around Europe when it was learned Iranian terrorists were moving their base of operations out of Germany to Italy. Airports and Pope John Paul II were reported to be special targets.
There was concern too, that Federal, civilian and military installations would be targets in the U.S., as the country headed into the anniversary of the Waco assault and the Oklahoma City Bombings. A special set of nerves were being generated all over the city of Atlanta, bracing for Freaknik. Some 100,000 students were expected to descend on the city for the annual Spring Break blow-out, and tensions were running past the breaking point, since 3 bombings had taken place in that town in the previous 9 months.
The murder case of Ennis Cosby was getting murky, with reports of no credible eyewitnesses and no fingerprints on the murder weapon surfacing. The accused suspect pleaded not guilty. And a judge in San Diego set aside the murder conviction of a man described as “the neighborhood bully”, who became the recipient of two clips of ammunition by a man describing the victim, John Harper as “a jerk who had it coming to him”. Instead of facing 15-life for the murder, the judge reduced it to 8 1/2 years for retired Navy Commander Danny Palm.
And the state of Texas was investigating Kaiser-Permanente for allegedly cutting costs to the point where the quality of healthcare was severely affected. Texas threatened to pull Kaiser’s license to operate.
And that’s just a little of what went on this Friday, April 18, 1997 as reported by The CBS World News Roundup.