January 2, 1998 – What the world was looking like, 21 years ago.
In Kenya, elections were over and it appeared the incumbent President Daniel Moi won re-election for a third and last term. However, all was not backslapping and happy, as Kenya’s biggest newspaper called the elections “A national disgrace”. Widespread allegations throughout Kenya reported of vote-rigging emerged as unofficial results came in, with 75% of votes being counted giving Moi a clear majority over his closest rival Mwai Kabaki, leader of the Democratic Party. Moi’s ruling party KANU was also doing well in the Parliamentary elections, although observers were noting the final results may have been less than those KANU hoped for. Also reported were charges of voter intimidation, corruption and violence with many voters expressing frustration that it was “business as usual”.
Police patrols in Northern Ireland had been stepped up, the result of sectarian killings which had taken place days earlier when an attack on a Roman Catholic bar in Belfast left one patron dead, making for the third murder in a week. An emergency meeting took place between Ronnie Flanagan and British Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Mo Mowlam. The meeting came at a time when there was growing concern over the Northern Ireland Peace process and whether an increase in these violent incidents would lead to a general breakdown in the ceasefire being observed by most paramilitary groups. A Protestant paramilitary group claimed responsibility for the bar attack in Belfast on New Years Eve, but there was widespread suspicion that other Protestant paramilitary groups were involved, as a reaction for the what the groups contended was an excessive number of concessions the British government were giving to the IRA.
And Scientists in Hong Kong were carrying out tests to determine if dogs, cats and rats were carrying the virus which caused Bird Flu, a form of Influenza spread by Chickens. Animals were seen tearing open bags and eating the carcasses of dead chickens, slaughtered in an attempt to stop the spread of Bird Flu. Officials were critical of the procedures being taken, saying there were failings in the way the mass slaughter was carried out. The slaughter was supposed to take place over a period of 24 hours, but five days later, chickens were seen wandering close to public housing. The birds were thought to have escaped from nearby farms where they had survived the gas used in the slaughter. There had also been delays in disposing of the carcasses of the slaughtered poultry leading to scene were dogs, cats and rats were actively feeding on the dead birds.
And that’s just a small slice of what went on in this world for the 2nd of January 1998 as reported via the BBC World Service and Newshour.