1996 events in history

Jan 1 Curaçao gains limited self-government, though it remains within free association with the Netherlands
Jan 3 The Motorola StarTAC, the first flip phone and one of the first mobile phones to gain widespread consumer adoption, goes on sale
Jan 8 An Antonov An-32 cargo aircraft crashes into a crowded market in Kinshasa, Zaire, killing up to 237 on the ground; the aircraft's crew of 6 survive the crash
Jan 9 First Chechen War: Chechen separatists launch a raid against the helicopter airfield and later a civilian hospital in the city of Kizlyar in the neighboring Dagestan, which turns into a massive hostage crisis involving thousands of civilians
Jan 11 Space Shuttle program: STS-72 launches from the Kennedy Space Center marking the start of the 74th Space Shuttle mission and the 10th flight of Endeavour
Jan 17 The Czech Republic applies for membership of the European Union
Jan 19 The barge North Cape oil spill occurs as an engine fire forces the tugboat Scandia ashore on Moonstone Beach in South Kingstown, Rhode Island
Jan 24 Polish Prime Minister Józef Oleksy resigns amid charges that he spied for Moscow
Jan 25 Billy Bailey becomes the last person to be hanged in the USA
Jan 27 Germany first observes International Holocaust Remembrance Day
Jan 27 In a military coup Colonel Ibrahim Baré Maïnassara deposes the first democratically elected president of Niger, Mahamane Ousmane
Jan 29 President Jacques Chirac announces a "definitive end" to French nuclear weapons testing
Jan 29 La Fenice, Venice's opera house, is destroyed by fire
Jan 31 An explosives-filled truck rams into the gates of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka in Colombo, Sri Lanka killing at least 86 and injuring 1,400
Jan 31 Comet Hyakutake is discovered by Japanese amateur astronomer Yuji Hyakutake
Feb 1 The Communications Decency Act is passed by the U.S. Congress
Feb 4 Major snowstorm paralyzes Midwestern United States, Milwaukee, Wisconsin and ties all-time record low temperature at −26 °F (−32.2 °C)
Feb 6 Birgenair Flight 301 crashed off the coast of the Dominican Republic, and all 189 people inside the airplane are killed. This is the worst accident/incident involving a Boeing 757
Feb 6 Willamette Valley Flood of 1996: Floods in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, United States, causes over US$500 million in property damage throughout the Pacific Northwest
Feb 8 The U.S. Congress passes the Communications Decency Act
Feb 8 The massive Internet collaboration "24 Hours in Cyberspace" takes place
Feb 9 The Provisional Irish Republican Army declares the end to its 18-month ceasefire and explodes a large bomb in London's Canary Wharf
Feb 10 The IBM supercomputer Deep Blue defeats Garry Kasparov in chess for the first time
Feb 15 At the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in China, a Long March 3 rocket, carrying an Intelsat 708, crashes into a rural village after liftoff, killing many people
Feb 17 NASA's Discovery Program begins as the NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft lifts off on the first mission ever to orbit and land on an asteroid, 433 Eros
Feb 17 In Philadelphia, world champion Garry Kasparov beats the Deep Blue supercomputer in a chess match
Feb 24 The last occurrence of February 24 as a leap day in the European Union and for the Roman Catholic Church
Feb 29 Faucett Flight 251 crashes in the Andes, all 123 passengers and crew died
Mar 4 A derailed train in Weyauwega, Wisconsin, US, causes the emergency evacuation of 2,300 people for 16 days
Mar 13 Dunblane massacre: in Dunblane, Scotland, 16 primary school children and one teacher are shot dead by spree killer Thomas Watt Hamilton who then commits suicide
Mar 18 A nightclub fire in Quezon City, Philippines kills 162 people
Mar 23 Taiwan holds its first direct elections and chooses Lee Teng-hui as President
Mar 25 The European Union's Veterinarian Committee bans the export of British beef and its by-products as a result of mad cow disease (Bovine spongiform encephalopathy)
Mar 25 An 81-day-long standoff between the anti-government group Montana Freemen and law enforcement near Jordan, Montana, begins
Apr 3 A United States Air Force airplane carrying United States Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown crashes in Croatia, killing all 35 on board
Apr 3 Suspected "Unabomber" Theodore Kaczynski is captured at his cabin in Montana, United States
Apr 4 Comet Hyakutake is imaged by the USA Asteroid Orbiter Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous
Apr 18 In Lebanon, at least 106 civilians are killed when the Israel Defense Forces shell the United Nations compound at Quana where more than 800 civilians had taken refuge
Apr 24 In the United States, the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 is passed into law
Apr 27 The 1996 Lebanon war ends
Apr 28 Whitewater controversy: President Bill Clinton gives a 4½ hour videotaped testimony for the defense
May 6 The body of former CIA director William Colby is found washed up on a riverbank in southern Maryland, eight days after he disappeared
May 11 The 1996 Mount Everest disaster: on a single day eight people die during summit attempts on Mount Everest
May 11 After the aircraft's departure from Miami, Florida, a fire started by improperly handled chemical oxygen generators in the cargo hold of Atlanta-bound ValuJet Flight 592 causes the Douglas DC-9 to crash in the Florida Everglades killing all 110 on board
May 13 Severe thunderstorms and a tornado in Bangladesh kill 600 people
May 20 Civil rights: The Supreme Court of the United States rules in Romer v. Evans against a law that would have prevented any city, town or county in the state of Colorado from taking any legislative, executive, or judicial action to protect the rights of gays and lesbians
May 21 The Trappist Martyrs of Atlas, kidnapped during the Algerian Civil War and held for two months, are found dead
May 21 The ferry MV Bukoba sinks in Tanzanian waters on Lake Victoria, killing nearly 1,000
May 27 First Chechnya War: the Russian President Boris Yeltsin meets with Chechnyan rebels for the first time and negotiates a cease-fire
May 28 U.S. President Bill Clinton's former business partners in the Whitewater land deal, Jim McDougal and Susan McDougal, and the Governor of Arkansas Jim Guy Tucker, are convicted of fraud