02 – USA officially withdraws from UNESCO.
07 – Nine striking miners in the UK are jailed for arson.
10 – Sir Clive Sinclair’s ill-fated C5 battery-operated tricycle takes to the road.
10 – Eight die when a gas explosion wrecks a block of flats in Putney, South London.
13 – 390 people are killed when an Ethiopian train bound for Addis Ababa falls into a ravine.
14 – Israeli cabinet decides on a three-stage withdrawal from occupied Lebanon, beginning in February.
20 – President Reagan and Vice-President Bush are inaugurated for their second terms.
21 – A record cold snap kills 40 people in 15 US states.
25 – New Zealand refuses US warships entry to ports.
25 – South African president Botha opens a three-chamber parliament for whites, Indians and coloureds.
25 – Bernhard Goetz, who has admitted to shooting four black youths on a New York subway on December 22 last year, is to face illegal weapons charges only. Goetz is regarded as a hero by many New Yorkers, and a dangerous racist by others.
29 – Dons at Oxford University refuse to grant Mrs Thatcher an honorary degree.
05 – Libya releases four detained UK nationals after negotiations by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s envoy, Terry Waite.
07 – Four secret police officers in Poland are convicted of the murder of Fr J Popieluszko.
11 – 17 RAF bandsmen are killed when their bus collides with a tanker carrying 1,300 gallons of aviation fuel near Munich, Germany.
14 – Concorde makes the 10,600-mile flight to Sydney, Australia, in a record-breaking time of 17 hours 3 minutes and 45 seconds.
15 – The world chess championship in Moscow is abandoned amid protests from challenger Gary Kasparov. The titleholder, Anatoly Karpov, is said to be on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
16 – Israel begins withdrawal from Lebanon.
17 – Cricket is played under lights for the first time at the MCG (Melbourne Cricket ground). Australia defeats England by seven wickets.
19 – All 148 passengers and crew are killed when an Iberian Boeing 727 crashes into a mountain shortly before it is due to land at Bilbao airport.
23 – An army patrol shoots dead three IRA terrorists, one of them a 16-year-old boy, near Strabane in Northern Ireland. Three rifles, two grenade launchers and about 30 Molotov cocktails are recovered.
26 – Michael Fairley, the hooded rapist known as The Fox, is given six life sentences.
28 – Nine officers of the Royal Ulster Constabulary are killed in an IRA mortar attack on a police station in Newry, Northern Ireland.
03 – UK miners end their year-long national strike.
07 – Two IRA men – Thomas Quigley and Paul Kavanagh – are jailed for 35 years for planning the month-long IRA bombing campaign in London in 1981.
10 – Soviet President Konstantin Chernenko dies aged 73.
11 – Mikhail Gorbachev is appointed as the new Communist Party leader following the death of President Chernenko.
11 – The Egyptian Al-Fayed brothers win control of House of Fraser, owners of Harrods.
21 – 19 people die in Uitenhage, South Africa when police fire on crowds on the 25th anniversary of Sharpeville.
27 – The South African Broadcasting Corporation bans Stevie Wonder’s music in response to Wonder dedicating the Oscar he had won the night before, for I Just Called To Say I Love You to Nelson Mandela.
28 – Painter Marc Chagall (born Moyshe Shagal in 1887) dies.
30 – ‘Last Suspect’ wins the Grand National.
15 – South Africa abolishes ban on mixed marriages.
18 – The first ever western pop album is released in China. It is by Wham!.
21 – Steve Jones of Wales wins the London Marathon and breaks the course record with a time of 2 hours 8 minutes 16 seconds.
23 – Coca-Cola announces that it will release its new formula for the soft drink Coke within the next month. “New Coke” will look the same but taste different.
26 – Australian bantamweight boxer Jeff Fenech becomes world champion after defeating Japan’s Satoshi Shingaki in Sydney.
01 – In Poland, 10,000 Solidarity supporters clash with police during a May Day parade.
02 – Britain’s unemployment figures rise to 3,177,200 – a new record level.
05 – Reagan‘s wreath-laying visit to Bitburg war cemetery in Germany (which contains the graves of 49 Nazi SS Soldiers) angers Jews.
10 – Sikh extremists bomb three cities in India, killing 84 people.
11 – Over 50 soccer fans die as fire sweeps through the packed main stand at the Bradford City football ground during a match against Lincoln City. More than 150 others are injured (pictured at right).
11 – A man is killed during violent clashes at a Birmingham City v Leeds United football (soccer) match.
13 – Philadelphia police toss a knapsack filled with plastic explosives onto the roof of the HQ of Move, a black political organisation. The explosion destroys two city blocks, kills 11 people and leaves 240 homeless.
14 – 146 die during Tamil separatist attacks in the holy city of Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka.
18 – Manchester United beat Everton 1-0 to win the FA Cup Final.
26 – At least 34 die when two oil tankers explode at the port of San Roque in Spain.
28 – Tidal wave and cyclone batter Bangladesh. More than 10,000 dead.
29 – Liverpool soccer fans riot at Heysel Stadium in Brussels during the European Cup Final match with Juventus. The ensuing crush leaves 38 Belgian and Italian supporters dead and several hundred injured.
31 – The Football Association bans English clubs from playing in Europe next season.
02 – The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) bans English soccer clubs from playing in Europe “indefinitely”.
04 – Actor Stacey Keach returns to the US after serving six months in a British prison for cocaine smuggling.
06 – Corpse of Josef Mengele is exhumed near Sao Paolo, Brazil. Nicknamed the “Angel of Death”, Mengele aided in the torture of 4 million Jews in Auschwitz.
10 – Israel completes withdrawal from Southern Lebanon apart from a ‘security zone’.
14 – Shi’ite Muslim gunmen hijack a TWA airliner after taking off from Athens, and demand the release of over 700 prisoners held by Israel.
15 – First mixed-race marriage is performed in South Africa.
23 – Mystery bomb kills all 325 onboard an Air India Jumbo flying from Canada. The plane plunges into the sea about 120 miles off the Irish coast.
30 – 39 TWA hostages freed after 17 days.
30 – Frenchman Bernard Hinault wins Tour de France for a fifth time.
02 – Andrei Gromyko is named president of the USSR. Eduard Shevardnadze becomes foreign minister.
04 – Girl prodigy Ruth Lawrence wins a first-class degree at Oxford after completing the course in only two years. She is 13 years old.
06 – Martina Navratilova beats Chris Lloyd in the women’s single final at Wimbledon.
07 – 17-year-old West German Boris Becker beats Kevin Curren to become the youngest Wimbledon men’s champion in history.
10 – The Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior is blown up in Auckland Harbour, New Zealand while protesting against French nuclear testing in the area. One crew member is killed. French secret agents eventually confirm their responsibility.
13 – Rock star Bob Geldof organises two simultaneous Live Aid concerts (London and Philadelphia) watched on TV by over 1.5 billion people worldwide and raising over £50 million for famine victims in Mozambique, Chad, Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali, the Sudan and Ethiopia.
13 – President Reagan has a cancerous tumour removed from his intestine.
16 – New Jersey teens hack into Pentagon computers.
19 – Over 260 people die after 55 million gallons of water flood from a burst dam and engulf the village of Stava in the Italian Dolomites.
20 – Following increasing unrest and rioting in the black townships, the South African government declares a state of emergency and imposes stringent new controls in 36 districts in the Eastern Cape. More than 500 people were killed in 18 months.
21 – A bomb explodes in a Jehovah’s Witness church in Sydney, Australia, killing one person and injuring 64.
25 – Actor Rock Hudson is admitted to the American Hospital in Neuilly, France, where he continues his battle against AIDS.
27 – In Uganda, President Obole is overthrown in a military coup led by Brigadier-General Basilic Okello, 71. Two days of looting and rioting follow.
30 – Australian cricketers banned for touring South Africa.
31 – Dr Geoffrey Edelsten buys Sydney Swans football club in Australia for AU$6.5 million to become the first private owner of a VFL club.
02 – 140 die when a Delta Airlines Lockheed Tristar crashes on landing during a storm at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport.
03 – 35 people are killed and 48 injured when a Paris-bound express train collides with a local train at Flaujac, 80 miles south of Toulouse.
06 – Giant Australian retailer G J Coles buys the Myer department store chain. The new retail giant, Coles-Myer, will be Australia’s biggest retailer.
09 – Arthur James Walker, 50, retired naval officer, is convicted by a federal judge of participating in Soviet spy ring operated by his brother, John Walker.
10 – Duran Duran vocalist Simon Le Bon’s 77-foot yacht Drum capsizes in a force eight gale three miles off Falmouth during the annual 608-mile Fastnet race around the southern tip of Britain. The singer has to be airlifted to safety.
11 – More than 125 people are treated in hospital after aldicarb oxine – a chemical of the same category as methyl isocyanate, which killed more than 2,000 people in Bhopal, India, in December 1984 – leaks from a Union Carbide plant at Institute, West Virginia.
12 – JAL’s Boeing 747 Flight 123 crashes into a mountainside west of Tokyo. 524 passengers and crew die, making this the worst single-plane crash in aviation history.
15 – In South Africa, President Botha reaffirms commitment to apartheid and rules out the possibility of parliamentary representation for blacks.
15 – With a new Atlantic crossing record almost in sight, Richard Branson’s powerboat Virgin Atlantic Challenger sinks just 100 miles from home.
16 – Madonna celebrates her 27th birthday by marrying Sean Penn in Malibu two weeks after her first UK #1 with Into The Groove.
16 – The Tube‘s five-hour Summer Special is cancelled because of a lightning strike by auxiliary staff at Tyne Tees Television.
20 – The moderate Sikh leader of the Punjabi Akali Dal Party, Sant Harchand Singh Longowal, is killed by four Sikh extremists at a shrine in Sherpur.
22 – A British Airtours Boeing 737 bound for Corfu bursts into flames during an aborted take-off in Manchester killing 54 people.
24 – A five-year-old boy is accidentally shot dead by police during a raid on a flat in Birmingham in a search for armed robbers.
31 – 43 people are killed and 38 seriously injured when an express train jumps the rails in central France and is hit by a mail train travelling in the opposite direction. The driver of the train admits that he had been travelling at 60mph in a 20mph restricted area and is charged with manslaughter the following day.
01 – Wreck of the Titanic is found in 12,460 feet of water off Newfoundland by US and French researchers, 73 years after it went down. The seafloor is littered with wine bottles, saucepans, spoons, safes, shoes, boilers and the two halves of the ship itself.
01 – 120 prisoners at Spike Island Jail, Cork Harbour, Ireland, destroy about three-quarters of the prison in a day of rioting in protest against overcrowding.
02 – England wins the sixth test against Australia at the Oval by an innings and 94 runs to take the Ashes series by 3 Tests to 1, with 2 drawn.
03 – 19 British tourists, seven of them deaf, are injured in a grenade attack on the swimming pool of a hotel near Athens. The Revolutionary Organisation for Socialist Muslims claims responsibility.
03 – Novelist and former MP Jeffrey Archer is appointed Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party.
04 – The IRA mortar bomb a police station in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, injuring 30 people.
05 – Andrew Peacock resigns as Australian Opposition Leader. John Howard is new leader.
06 – A DC9 airliner crashes after taking off from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, killing all 31 passengers on board.
09 – President Reagan announces comparatively mild sanctions – a ban on the sale of computers and the importing of Krugerrands – against South Africa in protest of apartheid.
09 – An attempted military coup in Bangkok, Thailand, in which four people are killed (including two journalists) is quelled by government forces after 10 hours.
10 – Wales and Scotland draw 1-1 in the World Cup soccer qualifying match at Cardiff. Scottish team manager Jock Stein, 62, collapses and dies of a heart attack at the end of the match.
11 – At least 46 people are killed and 100 injured when an express train collides with a local train in Viseu, northern Portugal.
11 – England draws 1-1 with Rumania in their World Cup qualifying match at Wembley.
13 – Britain expels 25 Soviet diplomats for alleged spying. The next day the USSR expels 25 British diplomats.
13 – European rocket Ariane III explodes nine minutes into flight.
13 – The US successfully tests a weapon designed to destroy space satellites.
17 – Welsh-born fashion designer Laura Ashley (b. 1925) dies in a fall at her home.
19 – Mexico earthquake – Death toll reaches 2,000.
22 – French Defence Minister resigns over Rainbow Warrior attack after admitting that French agents bombed the Greenpeace vessel.
28 – Rioting breaks out in the South London suburb of Brixton. Over 200 arrests are made.
28 – Essendon 26.14 (170) defeat Hawthorn 14.8 (92) in the Australian VFL Grand Final.
29 – Canterbury Bankstown defeat St George 7-6 in the Australian Rugby League Grand Final.
01 – Israeli air force planes bomb the PLO headquarters in Tunis, killing 60 people in retaliation for the murder of three Israelis in Cyprus.
02 – Actor Rock Hudson dies of AIDS at 59.
05 – Cynthia Jarrett, an African-Caribbean woman, dies of heart failure during a police search at her home in North London. The event sparks riots in the Broadwater Farm housing estate in Tottenham, north London.
05 – Police officer PC Keith Blakelock is hacked to death during rioting in the Broadwater Farm housing estate in Tottenham, north London. He is stabbed 43 times – while protecting firefighters who were themselves under attack from rioters – and an attempt is made to decapitate him.
07 – The US announces that it will no longer automatically comply with World Court decisions, charging that its procedures have been “abused for political ends”.
07 – Palestinians seize the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro and murder a US hostage.
10 – Orson Welles dies at age 70 in Hollywood, California.
10 – Actor Yul Brynner (born Taidje Kahn in 1915) dies of lung cancer.
16 – Italian government toppled by a political crisis over Achille Lauro hijacking.
21 – 13 die in Britain’s worst motorway accident when a coach bursts into flames in an M6 pile-up at Forton, near Lancaster.
24 – The Greenpeace vessel Vega is seized by French commandos after it enters French territorial waters around the Mururoa Atoll shortly before the successful test of a nuclear warhead.
27 – Prince Charles and Princess Diana visit Australia.
27 – In Australia, Ayers Rock and the Uluru National Park are handed back to Aborigines.
28 – John A. Walker and his son, Michael I. Walker, 22, are sentenced in a US Navy espionage case after pleading guilty to selling secrets to the Soviet Union.
01 – American comedy legend Phil Silvers dies in California.
04 – French secret service agents Major Alain Mafart and Captain Dominique Prieur plead guilty in Auckland, New Zealand, to manslaughter and arson on the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior in Auckland Harbour in July after charges of murder against them are dropped.
05 – ‘What A Nuisance’ wins Melbourne Cup.
06 – Anibal Cavaco SIlva is sworn in as Prime Minister of Portugal.
07 – 80 Soviet soldiers are killed in a day-long battle after a mutiny by Russian troops from Tadzhikistan at a base in Afghanistan.
08 – In England, 25-year-old Kevin Whitton is sentenced to life imprisonment for football hooliganism. It is the first time in Britain that a judge has imposed such a harsh sentence for fan violence. Whitton’s sentence is cut to just three years on appeal in May 1986.
08 – 475 alleged members of the Mafia are sent for trial in Palermo, Italy.
09 – Gary Kasparov, 22, becomes world chess champion, beating Anatoly Karpov in the 24th and final match of the world chess championship.
13 – In Columbia, at least 25,000 people die when the Nevado del Ruiz volcano erupts for the first time since 1845.
21 – The two French agents who bombed the Rainbow Warrior are jailed for ten years.
23 – Five terrorists hijack an Egyptian Boeing 737 with more than 90 passengers and crew aboard en route from Athens to Cairo, force it to land at Luqa Airport, Malta, and begin to shoot passengers when authorities refuse to allow it to refuel. The following evening, a force of 25 Egyptian commandos storm the aircraft and 59 people, including four of the hijackers, are killed in the ensuing battle.
27 – Three gunmen shoot and wound Giani Sahib Singh, the highest priest of the Sikh religion, inside the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India.
29 – Crack, a type of Cocaine becomes the drug of choice in New York City.
03 – The Liberal Party wins a general election in Quebec, returning to power after nine years of rule by the separatist Parti Québécois.
05 – The US and UK conduct a joint underground nuclear test in Nevada.
06 – Britain joins the ‘Star Wars’ project.
12 – Jetliner carrying American soldiers home for the holidays crashes.
30 – Martial law ends in Pakistan.
30 – Palestinian terrorists kill 14 people in attacks at Rome and Vienna airports.
31 – Former US teen idol Ricky Nelson is killed in a plane crash on New Years Eve. He is 45 years old.
Also this year . . .
- The CD-ROM is invented – You can now put 270,000 pages of text on a CD.
- Cellular telephones go into cars.
- US TV networks begin satellite distribution to affiliates.
- Sony builds a radio the size of a credit card.
- ‘Pay-per-view’ TV channels open for business.
- The A H Robbins Company, producer of the Dalkon Shield IUD, declares bankruptcy as thousands of women file lawsuits claiming they were injured or made infertile by the birth-control device.
Quote of the year
“I am not prepared to lead white South Africans on a road to abdication and suicide”
South African President P W Botha