August 31. The IRA announced "a complete cessation of
military operations." Relief swept across the province as the
terrorists apparently turned their backs on 30 years of the Troubles
which had cost 3,000 lives, and decided to enter the democratic
It was not to be. The ceasefire held for a few months but, frustrated
at the lack of progress towards their dream of a united Ireland,
the IRA were soon planting bombs again. And throughout this first
ceasefire, the old street-level violence continued across Ulster
with "punishment" beatings and other acts of barbarism.
Yet the seeds for a lasting settlement had been sown. Ulster
people briefly enjoyed driving without having to stop at road
blocks and shopping without the need for bomb checks at every
store. They wanted more. The August 1994 announcement may have
been an imperfect peace but it was a step in the right direction.
Without the IRA renouncing violence, Sinn Fein could not have
been admitted to the talks which would lead to the Good Friday
Agreement of 1998.
June 3. Cricket fans held their breath as the remarkable
Warwickshire batsman Brian Lara notched up his historic 501 runs
at Edgbaston, becoming the first cricketer to score more than
500 runs in a first-class innings. As the match against Durham
was drawing to close, the umpire informed Lara - then on 497 -
that he had just two more balls in which to break the 1959 record
of 499 runs.
The 25-year-old left-hander obliged with his next delivery -
an imperious off-drive against Durham's captain Phil Bainbridge
- and the match ended in a draw. It was one world record to another
- just seven weeks earlier the talented Trinidadian eclipsed the
Test record score for a single innings. He had now scored 1,161
for the West Indies and his adopted county.
14. American football legend OJ Simpson was being quizzed
by police after his ex-wife and a man friend were killed outside
her luxury home in Los Angeles. Simpson, who had turned film actor,
was not under arrest. His lawyer said the 46-year-old former athlete
was "devastated" by the discovery of the bodies just after midnight
and was co-operating with police.
But detectives soon built up a formidable case against him and
his subsequent trial received live media coverage. In particular,
the court heard of a blood-stained glove found in Simpson's home
that allegedly matched another at the murder scene. The story
had already become something of a media circus with a car chase
involving the police and Simpson receiving blanket TV coverage.
Simpson eventually gave himself up.
The case divided America along racial lines, with African-Americans
claiming he was being victimised and could not receive a fair
trial from the white-dominated legal system.
June 30. Football star Diego Maradona, regarded by some
as the greatest player in the world, was banned from the World
Cup in America after testing positive for drugs. He admitted afterwards
his roller-coaster career was at an end. The ban came shortly
before the Argentina-Bulgaria game from which he was excluded.
His team lost 2-0.
The 33-year-old player, who was banned for 15 months in 1991
for using cocaine, tested positive to five drugs, according to
FIFA. The disgraced star claimed he had no idea how he took them,
saying he did not need any kind of stimulant. He added: "My soul
is broken. They have retired me from soccer."
August 31. Hopes for an end to the bitter civil war in
Rwanda rose with the Tutsi-led Rwandan Patriotic Front wresting
control from the Hutus. More than a million Rwandans had lost
their lives in the dreadful massacre and nearly two million refugees
fled the country. The bloodshed had gone on for 16 months since
the assassination of the central African country's president whose
plane was shot down. The next day the Prime Minister was gunned
The slaughter that followed was reported to be a deliberate
attempt at the genocide of the minority Tutsi. Debate raged over
America and Europe's refusal to send troops to a United Nations