November 28, 1997 – It was a Friday, 21 years ago – and because it was the day after Thanksgiving in 1997, that meant it was the infamous Black Friday – a name which had its origins roughly around 1961 in Philadelphia (city of Brotherly Love, naturally . . .), but which had been known as the Official beginning of Christmas season since 1952. The day of the year where retailers slashed (or supposedly slashed) prices on goods for the express purpose of diving up holiday sales. And in 1997, it was no different. With crowds assembled outside stores, some in freezing cold and some for days ahead, the annual free-for-all got kicked off – and Christmas was officially upon us. For some retailers it was make-or-break, but for others it was a matter of life or death.
Meanwhile, in Baghdad; Iraqi newspapers said Baghdad hoped the offer to let foreign experts look for banned weapons in Presidential palaces would defuse the weapons inspection tiff with Washington. But given the makeup of Iraq’s guest list, it wasn’t likely. The UN Inspectors were off on their 7th day of work with no problems so far, but the Iraqi press did criticize them for working this day, which was the Muslim sabbath. The inspectors did not try to get into any of those so=called “sensitive sites” which may be why they didn’t have a problem. The Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister sent out invitations to 117 UN members to become “guests” in the Saddam Hussein palaces for up to a month, all expenses paid, to make sure there were no “weapons of mass destruction”. However the specialists, the UN Weapons Inspectors were not included on the list of invitees.
And the jury in the Oklahoma City Bombing trial taking place in Denver was getting ready to hear testimony by an FBI chemist who had a piece of metal the size of a sheet of paper. Prosecutors said it was from the truck which carried the bomb and was believed to contain ammonium nitrate crystals, the same material defendant Terry Nichols allegedly stored in his home.
All that, and so much more, for this November 28, 1997 as heard by The CBS World News Roundup: Late Edition.