04 – Karni Bheel, who boasted the longest moustache in India at 2.3m (7ft 10in) from tip to tip, is found decapitated.
06 – 16-year-old Darren Fowler goes berserk with a double-barrelled shotgun at Ferrers School in Higham Ferrers, Northamptonshire, injuring a number of staff and pupils. Fowler had been expelled from the school at the end of 1987.
17 – President Ortega offers a cease-fire to US-backed Contra rebels in Nicaragua, hoping to stop American aid.
19 – Writer Christopher Nolan, who cannot move or speak because of an accident at birth, wins the Whitbread Book of the Year. The 21-year-old Dubliner, who has cerebral palsy, is awarded this year’s £18,750 prize at the brewery’s London headquarters for his autobiographical view of his life, Under the Clock.
20 – Two earthquakes, one registering seven on the Richter scale, are felt from Adelaide to Cairns in Australia.
24 – Arthur Scargill is narrowly re-elected as President of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).
25 – Prince and Princess of Wales visit Australia.
26 – The biggest crowd Australia has ever seen crushes around Sydney Harbour to commemorate the arrival of the First Fleet 200 years ago. More than 1.5 million people cram every vantage point on the Harbour to watch the Bicentenary spectacular. An estimated 10,000 small craft fill the Harbour and are entertained by an RAAF flypast and a gigantic fireworks display that sees the Sydney Harbour Bridge shooting off light like a Roman Candle and the sky ablaze with colour.
27 – Australian Reserve Bank issues a polymer $10 note.
28 – An appeal by six Irishmen convicted of the Birmingham pub bombing in 1975 is rejected at the Old Bailey.
29 – Kenneth Erskine is jailed for life at the Old Bailey for murdering seven elderly people in London in 1986. The judge recommends that Erskine – dubbed the “Stockwell Strangler” – should serve a minimum of 40 years.
31 – The Washington Redskins beat the Denver Broncos 42-10 in Super Bowl XXII at the Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego.
01 – Jewish settlers on the West Bank kill two Palestinians as violence escalates.
05 – Panama’s General Noriega is arrested on drug charges.
05 – Gorbachev rehabilitates 21 “un-persons” executed and erased from history by Stalin.
05 – “Red Nose Day” in Britain is hailed as a great success as the Comic Relief charity raises £6.75 million in aid of famine relief in Africa.
07 – At least 127 are feared killed by floods and mudslides in Rio de Janeiro.
21 – Only a year after calling Jim Bakker a “cancer on the body of Christ,” Evangelist Jimmy Swaggart makes a tearful television confession to an illicit affair with Debra Murphree, a Louisiana prostitute.
24 – South African government announces new curbs on the anti-apartheid movement.
25 – A policeman is shot and wounded as an armed gang escapes with more than £600,000 from a security van in Stoke Newington, London.
26 – Gorbachev makes a television appeal for calm following nationalist unrest in Armenia.
26 – Former British Rail carpenter John Duffy receives seven life sentences at the Old Bailey for murdering two teenagers and committing five rapes. Mr Justice Farquharson describes the so-called “railway killer” as “nothing more than a predatory animal”.
29 – Archbishop Desmond Tutu and 100 clergy are arrested in Cape Town while petitioning parliament.
29 – Two IRA terrorists are killed near the border village of Crossmaglen when their own bomb explodes. One of the dead men is Brendan Burns who is top of the RUC’s wanted list.
02 – Armed robbers escape with more than £1 million after a raid on a security van near Millwall Football Club in south London. A security guard was forced to cooperate with the gang when they took his wife as a hostage.
03 – US Senate approves support for the Nicaraguan Contras and aid for children caught in the fighting.
03 – Afghanistan and Pakistan agree a nine-month timetable in Geneva for a Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan.
06 – Three IRA terrorists – Mairead Farrell, Daniel McCann and Sean Savage – are shot dead in Gibraltar by British SAS forces after the security forces uncovered a plot to detonate a bomb in the town centre
08 – In Marbella, Spanish police discover the car used by the IRA terrorists killed in Gibraltar. It contains 140lb of explosives.
10 – The Prince of Wales narrowly escapes death near Klosters in Switzerland as an avalanche sweeps into the group with whom he is skiing. The snow slide sweeps one member of the royal ski party to his death and seriously injures another as what the Prince describes as “a whirling maelstrom” catches them as they ski off-piste. The dead man is Major Hugh Lindsay, 34, a former equerry to the Queen and a close friend of Prince Charles. The injured woman is Mrs Palmer Tomkinson, wife of one of the Prince’s oldest friends.
10 – Singer Andy Gibb dies at the age of 30 of inflammation of the heart.
11 – Robert C McFarlane, former US National Security Adviser, pleads guilty in Iran-Contra case.
15 – In South Africa, President Botha rules that the Sharpeville Six, who took part in the killing of a black councillor, must die.
15 – Sydney Sun newspaper ceases publication.
16 – Over 3,000 people are killed and between 7,000 and 10,000 injured in a poison gas attack on a Kurdish city in northern Iraq. Up to 20 aircraft, said to include Iraqi Migs and Mirages, are seen overhead at around 1100 local time in Halabja.
16 – Mayhem erupts as the three IRA members who were killed in Gibraltar, are buried in Belfast. Michael Stone, a lone loyalist gunman, kills three mourners and injures at least 50 people attending the funeral. He also throws four grenades into the crowd of 10,000 people gathered at Milltown Cemetery in Roman Catholic west Belfast. Stone is later caught by the mourners and handed over to the RUC after being beaten up.
16 – Lt. Col. Oliver North is indicted by a federal grand jury on charges that he conspired to defraud the government in connection with the Iran-Contra Affair. Two days later, North resigns from the Marine Corps.
17 – More than 3,000 US troops are flown into Honduras to display support for the Contras.
18 – British radio and television gardening personality, Percy Thrower, dies aged 75.
19 – Two British soldiers blunder into an IRA funeral cortege in West Belfast and meet their deaths at the hands of a lynch mob in full view of television cameras. No explanation is given by the Army of why the two men are driving through the staunchly Republican area of the city at the very time the burials were taking place. Corporal Derek Wood, aged 24, and Corporal David Howes, aged 23, are caught up in the melee and unable to escape. Although they draw their guns, they are dragged out of the car and severely bludgeoned. They are then driven to some waste ground where, despite spirited resistance observed by a hovering but helpless Army helicopter, they are stripped and shot.
19 – France beats Wales 10-9 at Cardiff Arms Park to share the Five Nations Championship and England beats Ireland 35-3 at Twickenham.
20 – 54 men die in an Iraqi attack on an Iranian oil terminal at Kharg Island.
21 – Mike Tyson successfully defends his world heavyweight boxing title by knocking out Tony Tubbs in the second round of their fight in Tokyo – which means Tyson earns $10 million for less than six minutes’ work.
01 – Iran claims Iraq is dropping mustard gas on Kurdish villages in north-west Iraq.
02 – Oxford beats Cambridge by five and a half lengths in the 134th Boat Race. It is their 12th victory in 13 years.
03 – Rajiv Gandhi seals the border between Punjab and Pakistan.
03 – Ethiopia and Somalia conclude a peace agreement, ending 11 years of border disputes.
03 – Alain Prost wins the Brazilian Grand Prix.
04 – Four British boys on a school holiday in Austria fall 300 feet to their deaths on the snow-covered Untersberg mountain near Salzburg. Two of their friends escape by clinging on to trees.
04 – Shirley Banks is found dead in a shallow stream in the Quantock Hills, Somerset, six months after she disappeared while shopping in Bristol. Businessman John Cannan is charged with her murder.
04 – Crossroads, the soap opera set in a motel near Birmingham, ends after 23 years and 4,510 episodes.
05 – 24 women passengers and one man with a heart condition are released by Shia Muslim terrorist hijackers who took control of a Kuwait Airways jumbo jet as it travelled from Bangkok in Thailand to Kuwait.
09 – A Kuwaiti military officer is taken from among the passengers on the hijacked Kuwait Airways 747 and shot.
11 – A second Kuwaiti army officer is murdered by the Shia Muslim terrorists who have hijacked a Kuwait Airways 747.
12 – The Kuwaiti 747 hijacked on 5 April by Shi’ite terrorists is refuelled and flown to Algiers following negotiations by PLO leader Yasser Arafat. Twelve hostages are released and two later reveal direct Iranian complicity in the hijacking.
14 – The Soviet Union signs an agreement pledging to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan. The pact has been drawn up in negotiations between the United States, the USSR, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
14 – John Stonehouse, the former Labour MP and cabinet minister who faked his own death in 1974, dies of a heart attack aged 62.
15 – Carry On star Kenneth Williams dies aged 62.
16 – PLO deputy Abu Jihad is assassinated in Tunisia by a suspected Israeli hit squad.
18 – Retired US car worker John Demjanjuk, 68, is found guilty of Nazi war crimes. Three Israeli judges rule that Demjanjuk was the sadistic executioner known as “Ivan the Terrible” at the Treblinka death camp in Poland during World War II where 870,000 people died.
18 – US forces destroy two Iranian oil installations, sink a patrol boat and cripple two frigates in retaliation for Iranian damaging of a US frigate on 14 April.
20 – The 31 remaining hostages on the hijacked Kuwaiti 747 are released while the hijackers are allowed to go free (despite objections from the Algerian authorities by the British and US governments). The 16-day ordeal is the longest plane hijacking to date.
20 – Senate votes 69-27 to give $20,000 and an official apology to each of the Japanese-Americans interned during World War II who are still living.
23 – US Stealth bomber officially unveiled.
25 – 68-year-old John Demjanjuk – found guilty of being the executioner “Ivan the Terrible” at the Treblinka death camp in Poland during World War II – is sentenced to death by Judge Zvi Tal.
30 – Switzerland beats Britain in the Eurovision Song Contest by one point.
30 – Massive crowds flock to Expo in Brisbane, Australia.
01 – The IRA murder three RAF servicemen spending a night off-duty in the Netherlands.
04 – The Queen opens Darling Harbour, a new tourist retail park in Sydney, Australia.
04 – Australian yacht designer Ben Lexcen (born Robert Miller) dies.
05 – At least 30 monks are clubbed to death when Chinese police, attempting to quell a riot, storm the main temple in the Tibetan capital Lhasa.
05 – Polish riot police smash shipyard and steelworks strikes.
06 – Graeme Hick, Worcestershire’s 21-year-old Zimbabwean batsman, scores more than 400 runs in a county championship cricket match – the highest innings in England this century.
09 – The Queen opens Australia’s new Parliament House.
10 – Michel Rocard, 57, a moderate Socialist, replaces Jacques Chirac as French Prime Minister.
10 – The Icelandic government repeals a 73-year ban on beer.
11 – Kim Philby, the spy who betrayed Britain to the Soviets, dies in Moscow, aged 76.
12 – World Heavyweight Champion Mike Tyson gives away a $183,500 Bentley to two New York policemen after he scrapes one of the mudguards.
13 – Jazz great, Chet Baker dies.
14 – Iraqi Mirage aircraft bomb Iran’s Larak oil terminal, destroying the world’s largest ship – the 564,739-tonne Seawise Giant – and badly damaging three others.
14 – Wimbledon beats League Cup winners Liverpool 1-0 in the FA Cup final at Wembley.
14 – America beats Australia in the World Boomerang Throwing Championship in Barooga, New South Wales. France comes third.
16 – Communist President Najibullah thanks Soviet troops in Kabul who are beginning their withdrawal from Afghanistan.
18 – Sikh militants give up their siege of the Golden Temple at Amritsar after ten days.
18 – Patrick McVeigh, a suspected IRA bomber, is immediately rearrested on his release from Portlaoise prison in Ireland so that he can face trial in Britain. He is the first terrorist accused of offences in Britain to face extradition since a dispute with the Irish government six months ago.
19 – Unemployment in Britain falls below 2.5 million – the lowest level for nearly seven years.
19 – Wilberforce, the tabby cat who served at Downing Street for 14 years, dies in his sleep.
21 – Seven women members of the Ethiopian royal family, kept in rat-infested conditions for 14 years, are released.
22 – Three lesbian demonstrators invade the BBC newsroom during the Six O’Clock News and handcuff themselves to desks and cameras to protest against Clause 28 of the Local Government Act. Anchorwoman Sue Lawley remains unruffled.
25 – Iraq takes Basra from Iran, a reversal of fortunes in the Gulf War.
02 – Australian High Court approves the publication of Peter Wright’s book Spycatcher despite UK government opposition.
05 – Australian Kay Cottee, 34, becomes the first woman to sail around the world non-stop.
05 – 25 prisoners escape from Haverigg Prison in Cumbria in a mass break-out.
06 – Former top jockey Lester Piggott, serving three years in jail for tax evasion, is stripped of his OBE.
08 – Broadcaster and interviewer Russell Harty dies of hepatitis B and acute liver failure, aged 53.
11 – More than 80,000 people pack into Wembley Stadium in London for a day-long concert to mark Nelson Mandela‘s 70th birthday (his actual birthday is five weeks later on 18 July).
15 – Six soldiers are killed and nine civilians injured when an IRA bomb blows up an unmarked army van after a charity fun run in Lisburn, Co Antrim.
20 – The body of Marie Wilks, the 22-year-old pregnant woman who disappeared after her car broke down on a motorway, is found near the M50 in Worcestershire, two days after she vanished.
20 – Patrick McLaughlin and Liam McCotter, IRA members who planned a prolonged campaign of violence in Britain with enough explosives to make 25 bombs, are given jail sentences totalling 37 years.
20 – The Australian $2 coin goes into circulation.
21 – The West Indies cricket team beats England by 134 runs in the Second Test at Lords.
24 – 16-year-old Darren Fowler is ordered to be detained for life after injuring teachers and pupils at Ferrers Comprehensive school in Higham Ferrers, Northamptonshire, with seven blasts of a shotgun in January. He is said to be an “unstable and dangerous” teenager.
26 – Three people die and 133 are injured when an Airbus A320 aircraft crashes near the Swiss-French border while flying low over trees during a demonstration flight. Investigators blame the pilot for flying too low.
27 – Mike Tyson takes all of 91 seconds to win $20 million by defeating Michael Spinks in an Atlantic City championship fight.
01 – The National Conference of the USSR Communist party resolves to implement Perestroika (reform of the Soviet system).
02 – 19-year-old West German Steffi Graf beats Martina Navratilova 5-7 6-2 6-1 to win the women’s lawn tennis championship at Wimbledon.
03 – US warship Vincennes patrolling in the Persian Gulf shoots down an Iranian passenger Airbus A300 and kills all 290 people aboard. The Americans claim to have confused the 177 ft aircraft on their radar screens for a 62 ft F-14 Tomcat.
04 – Stefan Edberg, the 22-year-old Swede, beats 20-year-old West German Boris Becker to win the men’s singles lawn tennis finals at Wimbledon.
05 – US Attorney General Edwin Meese, under fire for various alleged criminal misdeeds, announces his resignation.
06 – 167 people die in an explosion and fire on the North Sea oil rig Piper Alpha, 120 miles (193km) off the north-east coast of Scotland. Well-known oil troubleshooter Red Adair is called in to tackle the fire.
07 – An IRA bomb intended for an army patrol explodes in a Belfast swimming pool, killing two civilians. Bomb disposal expert John Howard dies when a second bobby trapped bomb explodes.
08 – Comedian Jimmy Edwards – who played the disreputable headmaster in Whack-O! – dies aged 68.
09 – Barbara Woodhouse, the animal trainer, famous for her ringing catchword “Walkies!”, dies aged 78.
10 – Ayrton Senna of Brazil wins the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Briton Nigel Mansell takes second place.
10 – Ethnic disputes flare up in Burundi between the dominant Tutsi and the Hutus, leaving thousands dead.
11 – Terrorists hurling grenades and firing submachine guns on the Greek ferry City of Poros kill nine tourists and injure at least 98 people.
18 – Velvet Underground chanteuse Nico dies.
18 – Nelson Mandela‘s 70th birthday.
18/21 – Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis is nominated for president by the Democratic National Convention. Texas Senator Lloyd Bensten, Jr is nominated as his running mate.
21 – Sydney monorail begins operating.
28 – The MP for Yeovil, Paddy Ashdown, is elected the first leader of the new Social and Liberal Democrat Party (later the Liberal Democrats).
02 – Three separate attacks by the IRA on security forces in Northern Ireland leave two dead and eight injured. One of those killed – off-duty soldier Roy Butler – is gunned down in front of his wife and daughter in a shopping centre in Belfast.
04 – The Queen Mother celebrates her 88th birthday, receiving dozens of posies from children and well-wishers gathered outside Clarence House.
08 – Iran-Iraq war ends in a ceasefire. The war has lasted eight years and more than one million people have died.
15/18 – The Republican National Convention nominates George Bush for president and Indiana Senator Dan Quayle for Vice-President.
17 – Pakistan president Zia-ul-Haq is killed when his plane explodes near Bahawalpur in eastern Pakistan. At least 30 other officials and military leaders are also killed. Sabotage is suspected and a state of emergency is declared.
21 – At least 500 people are killed and 3,000 injured when the strongest earthquake to hit the Himalayan foothills in over 50 years causes floods and landslides along the south-eastern stretch of the Indian/Nepalese border.
25 – Space probe Voyager II passes the planet, Neptune.
27 – IRA man Robert Russell, who escaped from the Maze prison in 1983, is extradited from the Republic of Ireland to Northern Ireland to complete his 20-year prison sentence.
28 – Over 40 people are killed and 300 injured when three Italian jets taking part in an air show at Ramstein, West Germany, collide in mid-air, sending debris and a fireball into the crowd of over 300,000.
04 – Floods devastate Bangladesh – 25 million people are left homeless.
09 – English cricket captain Graham Gooch and seven other members of his squad are refused visas to travel to India. The banned players – all of whom have played in South Africa – were due to take part in a tour to the subcontinent this winter, but it is now almost certain to be called off.
10 – The worst hurricane of the century, Hurricane Gilbert, hits the South of Mexico and the Caribbean causing widespread devastation.
10 – BBC television presenters Mike Smith and Sarah Greene are seriously injured in a helicopter crash in Gloucestershire. Miss Greene breaks both her legs and an arm when the helicopter her partner is piloting smashes into trees close to where he is attempting to land.
14 – In Lesotho’s capital, Maseru, a hijacked bus carrying nuns and pilgrims to see the Pope is stormed by South African commandos. Three of the hijackers and one woman hostage are killed in the shoot-out.
22 – One man dies but 66 others are rescued when the North Sea oil rig Ocean Odyssey explodes after a gas blow-out.
24 – The fastest men’s 100m in history is run at the Olympics with four athletes finishing in less than 10 seconds. Canada’s Ben Johnson comes first, but the gold medal is not his for long. Two days after the race, it is confirmed Johnson has failed a drug test for the anabolic steroid Stanozolol and he is stripped of the medal and the new world record. Johnson flies home to Canada in disgrace.
29 – The United States successfully launches its first manned space mission since the Challenger disaster two and a half years ago. The space shuttle, Discovery, lifts off from Cape Canaveral at 1637 BST after a 90-minute delay due to unsuitable weather conditions.
30 – Soviet premier Gorbachev is appointed President while retaining his position as General Secretary of the Communist Party.
01 – Mikhail Gorbachev is elected President of the USSR.
12 – Australian Police officers shot dead in a Melbourne street.
13 – Reagan signs a welfare reform bill requiring single parents with children over three years of age to get regular jobs, or enrol in job training or education courses if they can’t find work.
13 – The Turin Shroud, revered for centuries as one of Roman Catholicism’s most sacred relics, is declared a fake. Carbon dating tests conducted at Oxford University and elsewhere prove that the linen of the Shroud once believed to have wrapped the newly crucified Christ, actually dates from between 1260 and 1390. The church accepts the technical evidence, but even the scientists can not explain how this bloodstained piece of mediaeval cloth is imprinted with the image of a crucified man.
17 – 31 people are killed when a Uganda Airlines Boeing 707 crashes at Rome’s Fiumicino airport. The pilot, hampered by thick fog, is thought to have mistaken the lights of a nearby road for the runway.
21 – 390 English schoolchildren are rescued when their 10,000-tonne Greek liner, Jupiter, sinks after colliding with an Italian freighter in the port of Piraeus near Athens. Many of the children are saved after jumping overboard, but two crewmen are killed in the collision and two days later a 14-year-old girl and a teacher are declared missing presumed dead. The captain of the Italian ship, Flavio Caminale, is detained by the Greek authorities on manslaughter charges.
21 – Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos, former President and first lady of the Philippines, are indicted by a federal grand jury in New York City. The pair are accused of embezzling more than $100 million of their government’s money and using it to buy office buildings in Manhattan, as well as to add to Imelda’s ever-expanding shoe collection.
23 – A dog in Buenos Aires causes three deaths as it falls from a 13th-floor balcony. The dog inflicts a fatal blow as it lands on one woman. Another woman in the crowd that has gathered to watch is knocked over by a passing bus. A man who witnesses both deaths has a heart attack. The dog walks away unharmed.
27– Charles Hawtrey, the star of 23 Carry On films, dies in Kent aged 73.
28 – Three Irish terrorists who conspired to murder Tom King, the Northern Ireland Secretary, and other prominent people, are each sentenced to 25 years imprisonment at Winchester Crown Court.
28 – Two California grey whales, trapped for three weeks in Arctic ice near Barrow, Alaska, finally escape open sea after swimming through a channel cut for them by two Soviet ice-breakers. The huge rescue operation in which the Russians and the US National Guard work together costs an estimated $1 million.
08 – Vice-President George Bush wins the American Presidential election comfortably. The Republican candidate carries 40 states against only 10 for his Democratic opponent, Governor Michael Dukakis of Massachusetts. The President-elect and his controversial running mate, Senator Dan Quayle, receive 54 per cent of the popular vote.
10 – the UK resumes diplomatic links with Iran.
16 – Benazir Bhutto is elected prime minister of Pakistan, the first woman to lead a Muslim country.
02 – Thousands of people die from the most devastating cyclone to strike Bangladesh in almost 20 years. The United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs confirms 700 people are known to have died.
03 – Health minister Edwina Currie provokes outrage by saying during a television interview that most of Britain’s egg production is infected with the salmonella bacteria. The British Egg Industry Council is seeking legal advice on whether it can sue Mrs Currie over “factually incorrect and highly irresponsible” remarks.
07 – Roy Orbison dies aged 52.
07 – Gorbachev slashes Red Army troops by 500,000.
10 – Armenian earthquake results in cities “wiped off the face of the earth”. More than 100,000 people are dead, and ten times that amount are left homeless.
12 – Thirty-six people die when a packed train piles into the back of another just outside Clapham Junction in South-West London. Seconds later an empty train ploughs into the wreckage. It is Britain’s worst railway disaster for more than 20 years, with over 100 people injured in addition to those who died.
21 – A Pan American jumbo jet crashes onto the town of Lockerbie in the Scottish Borders, killing all 259 passengers on board and at least 11 people on the ground to make it Britain’s worst air disaster. As accident investigators begin examining the wreckage, it emerges that US Embassies had received a warning that a Pan Am flight would be a terrorist target for a bomb.
31 – Prime Ministers Rajiv Gandhi and Benazir Bhutto sign the first agreement between India and Pakistan in 16 years.
Also this year . . .
- XXIV Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea.
- XV Winter Olympics in Calgary, Canada.
- Iranian Mehran Nasseri gets stuck at Terminal One of Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris without his passport or a UN document identifying him as a refugee. Initially, he is seen as a victim of uncaring bureaucracy but a decade later the consensus grows that Nasseri actually likes living at the airport.
- British novelist Salman Rushdie publishes his controversial novel Satanic Verses.
- ‘Empire Rose’ wins Melbourne Cup.
- Yellowstone National Park suffers the worst fire in its history. 88,000 acres burned.