01 – Fidel Castro completes 30 years in power in Cuba.
02 – The US and Canada sign a comprehensive free trade agreement which eliminates tariffs and other barriers to trade and investment.
04 – Two US Navy jets shoot down two Libyan MiG-23 fighters 112 kilometres off the Libyan coast. The Pentagon says they fired in self-defence.
05 – Former Ugandan leader Idi Amin, now persona non grata in Saudi Arabia, is detained in Kinshasa after arriving on a false passport.
07 – Emperor Hirohito of Japan dies at age 87 from cancer of the duodenum. He is succeeded by his son, Crown Prince Akihito, 54.
08 – In another major British air disaster, only 18 days after Lockerbie, a British Midland Boeing 737 airliner crashes next to the M1 motorway between Nottingham and Leicester, killing 44 of the 125 onboard. The pilot of the 737, on a flight from Heathrow to Belfast, had reported engine difficulties and was lining up for an emergency landing at East Midlands airport. But the plane came down in flames less than half a mile away from the village of Kegworth. A report by the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch later finds the flight crew had shut down the wrong engine.
11 – Assistant commissioner of the Australian Federal Police, Colin Winchester, 55, is shot dead in the driveway of his Canberra home. He is the highest-ranking Police officer to be assassinated in Australia.
12 – Former Ugandan leader Idi Amin is deported from Zaire to Senegal.
15 – In Bangladesh, 170 people are killed and 1,000 injured when a passenger train and a mail train collide 20 miles north of Dhaka.
13– The “Friday the 13th” computer virus threatens hard disks around the world.
16 – Three days of rioting begin in Miami after a Hispanic policeman shoots and kills an unarmed black man fleeing arrest.
16 – In Prague, hundreds of riot police storm Wenceslas Square and attack demonstrators demanding freedom.
17 – Six children are shot dead by a gunman at Cleveland Elementary School in Stockton, California. The gunman, 26-year-old former pupil Patrick Purdy, injures 35 others before killing himself.
18 – South African president P W Botha, aged 73, suffers a mild stroke in Cape Town.
20 – George Bush is sworn in as the 41st US President.
23 – 274 people die after a powerful earthquake strikes the Soviet Central Asian republic of Tajikistan.
23 – Spanish artist Salvador Dali dies in his hometown of Figueras, aged 84. He is buried two days later in the museum devoted to his work.
24 – Notorious serial killer Ted Bundy dies in the electric chair in Florida.
26 – Lone round-the-world yachtswoman Kay Cottee is named ‘Australian of the Year’.
02 – Last Soviet troops leave Kabul. All 120,000 Soviet military personnel will have left Afghanistan within the next ten days.
02 – F W de Klerk replaces President Botha as South Africa’s Nationalist Party leader.
02 – Alfredo Stroessner, the brutal dictator of Paraguay for 34 years, is overthrown by General Andres Rodriguez.
02 – Sir William Stephenson, who headed British Intelligence operations during the Second World War – and who was codenamed “Intrepid” by Winston Churchill – dies in Bermuda, aged 93.
05 – Rupert Murdoch’s Sky Television satellite network is launched in the UK with four new services: Sky News, Sky Entertainment, Sky Movies and Eurosport.
07 – It rains sardines over the Australian town of Ipswich, 30 miles inland from Brisbane, after a violent storm causes updraughts to drag the fish into the sky from the coastal waters.
12 – Prominent Catholic solicitor Pat Finucane – accused of being “unduly sympathetic” to the IRA – is shot dead at his home in north Belfast. The killers burst in as he is eating his Sunday dinner with his wife and three children and shower them with 14 bullets. Loyalist paramilitary group the Ulster Freedom Fighters admits the killing the following day.
14 – Iranian Muslim leader Ayatollah Khomeini issues a fatwa ordering the death of British writer Salman Rushdie for alleged blasphemy in his novel Satanic Verses.
15 – Soviet troops complete their withdrawal from Afghanistan nine years after they swept into the country. A convoy of Soviet armoured vehicles travels the 260-mile (418km) journey to the USSR border while other soldiers leave aboard an Ilyushin 76 transport aircraft.
16 – Author Salman Rushdie cancels a three-week trip to America and goes into hiding under police guard after Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran urges Muslims to kill him. On Teheran radio, the Ayatollah says, “. . . the author of The Satanic Verses book, and all involved in its publication, are sentenced to death”.
17 – British police confirm the Lockerbie air crash on 21 December 1988 was caused by a bomb hidden in a radio cassette player.
20 – IRA bombers attack Clive army barracks at Tern Hill in Shropshire. Fifty members of the 2nd Battalion the Parachute Regiment escape injury when sentry Lance Corporal Alan Norris spots two men acting suspiciously in the early hours of this morning and raises the alarm. The barracks are evacuated shortly before two bombs detonate.
21 – Two members of Winnie Mandela’s bodyguard (“Mandela United Football Club”) in Soweto, South Africa, are charged with the abduction, assault and murder of 14-year-old Stompie Moeketsi.
21 – Indian tribal leaders gather in the Amazon town of Altamira in a campaign to stop a hydroelectric dam project which will further deplete the Amazon rainforest.
24 – Nine people die in a freak accident when they are sucked from a Boeing 747 and dumped 22,000 feet into the Pacific Ocean. An explosion, believed caused by structural failure, ripped a huge hole in the right side of the United Airlines plane shortly after take-off from Honolulu. The victims and a section of seats were blown through the gaping hole as air rushed through the plane. One horrified passenger, seated across the aisle from the blast, grabbed an air hostess to stop her from being sucked from the plane. Passengers cheered when the Auckland-bound plane returned to Honolulu and landed safely.
25 – Mike Tyson retains his world heavyweight title, stopping British challenger Frank Bruno in the fifth round at the Las Vegas Hilton.
01 – Australian Pensioner Gwendolin Mitchelhill is the first victim of Sydney’s ‘Granny Killer‘. Six elderly women are murdered over a 13 month period at Mosman on Sydney’s North Shore.
01 – A dusk to dawn curfew is imposed in Venezuela after 100 die in riots sparked by big increases in consumer prices.
04 – Six people die and 80 are injured, some of them seriously, in a train crash at Purley in Surrey when a train travelling from Horsham to London is hit from behind by another train going from Littlehampton to London.
07 – China declares martial law in Tibet.
09 – Kermit Beahan, the bombardier who dropped the A-bomb on Nagasaki in 1945 killing 70,000, dies aged 70 in the USA.
10 – 16 die in Tibet in riots to mark the 30th anniversary of the first rebellion against Chinese rule.
14 – Former world chess champion Anatoly Karpov is elected to the revamped Soviet parliament.
20 – Two senior RUC officers – Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and Superintendent Bob Buchanan – negotiating cross-border security cooperation in south Armagh are ambushed and shot dead by the IRA.
20 – Australian PM Bob Hawke cries on television and admits marital infidelity.
22 – Professional US baseball player and manager Pete Rose is accused of betting on baseball. If convicted, it will trivialise his nomination into the hall of fame as well as suspend him from the league for an indefinite amount of time.
24 – Oil supertanker Exxon Valdez runs aground on a reef off the Alaskan coast, releasing gallons of crude oil into the sea. The 11 million gallon spill is the worst in history.
25 – The 135th Boat Race – the first in which both coxes are women – is won by Oxford.
26 – Soviet people cast ballots in the first free national election since the October Revolution in 1917.
28 – Reformist Boris Yeltsin wins in USSR election.
31 – Captain Joseph Hazelwood is fired because of an excessive blood alcohol reading at the time of the Exxon Valdez oil spill.
04 – Exxon apologises for the Alaskan oil spill.
05 – In Warsaw, Lech Walesa and the Polish Interior Minister, General Kiszczak, sign an accord legalising the trade union Solidarity and introducing wide-ranging political reforms.
08 – 28-1 outsider ‘Little Polveir’ wins the 150th Grand National at Aintree.
09 – 42 Soviet sailors die after an explosion and fire sinks their nuclear-powered submarine off the coast of Sweden.
09 – Wayne Gardner wins the inaugural Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix at Phillip Island.
12 – American boxer Sugar Ray Robinson dies.
13 – American writer and anti-war protester Abbie Hoffman dies.
15 – A police officer orders a gate to be opened at a football stadium to allow in a tightly packed crowd of fans to watch an FA Cup semi-final. The result is the worst-ever disaster in Britain’s sporting history. 94 people perish and 170 are injured when Liverpool supporters rush onto the already crowded section of the west stand at Hillsborough in Sheffield during a match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest. Victims are crushed in the entrance tunnel, on the steps up to the terraces and against the perimeter fence.
18 – Chinese students begin mass pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square, Beijing.
19 – An explosion kills 47 sailors aboard the American battleship USS Iowa. The ship was 300 miles north of Puerto Rico at the time.
19 – British novelist Daphne du Maurier dies.
21 – 150,000 gather in Tiananmen Square, Beijing, to mourn former leader Hu Yaobang and to demand reform.
28 – In Brussels, 14 Liverpool football fans are convicted of manslaughter for their part in the terrace stampede at the city’s Heysel stadium in 1985 when 39 people were killed. Each is given a three-year prison sentence with half of the term suspended, but they are allowed to return to England pending directions by their lawyers on whether to appeal. Ten other fans are acquitted.
09 – Pablo Picasso’s self-portrait sells for $47.9 million in London.
14 – Carlos Menem elected as Argentina’s President.
15 – Bond University in Australia takes first students.
24 – A British jury awards Sonia Sutcliffe, wife of the Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe, £600,000 damages for a libel by the satirical magazine Private Eye.
25 – Mikhail Gorbachev is elected president of USSR by the new Congress of People’s Deputies.
26 – Arsenal wins the Football League Championship after beating Liverpool 2-0.
27 – An anti-Salman Rushdie march by 20,000 Moslems in the UK ends in 101 arrests and clashes with police.
28 – Australian entrepreneur Dick Smith completes round-the-world flight.
29 – Boris Yeltsin is elected to the Supreme Soviet following popular outrage at his being denied a seat.
30 – Students erect a 30-foot-high Statue of Liberty in Tiananmen Square, Beijing.
30 – Tim Anderson is charged with the 1978 bombing of the Hilton Hotel in Sydney.
01 – Two IRA men – Harry Maguire and Alexander Murphy – are sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder in March 1988 of British soldiers, Corporal Derek Wood and Corporal David Howes, who had inadvertently driven their car into the path of an IRA funeral.
02 – Bill Wyman of The Rolling Stones, 52, marries Mandy Smith, 18, after dating her for five years.
02 – Sosuke Uno is sworn in as Japanese Prime Minister.
03 – Ayatollah Khomeini dies in Iran. Frenzied mourning reaches a climax at the funeral on 6 June when his body is tipped from its coffin as devoted followers struggle with Revolutionary Guards to snatch a shred of the burial shroud.
04 – Several hundred civilians are shot dead as Chinese troops massacre protesters in Peking’s (Beijing) Tiananmen Square. Tanks rumble through the capital’s streets as the People’s Liberation Army moves into the square from several directions, randomly firing on unarmed protesters.
04 – The first partially democratic elections in Poland since World War II are held.
04 – Children setting out on their summer holidays are among the victims of what is probably the worst rail disaster in Soviet history. Shortly after 1.00 am two passing trains on the Trans-Siberian Railway, both brimful of passengers, are destroyed by an explosion of gas from a leaking pipeline. The death toll could be more than 800. Hours before the disaster a smell of leaking gas was noticed up to five miles from the pipeline. Instead of looking for the leak, an employee turned up the pressure of the liquefied gas. The crossing of the trains kindled the catastrophe.
05 – Solidarity inflicts a crushing defeat on the Communist Party in Polish elections.
06 – 7,000 troops are sent to the Soviet Central Asian Republic of Uzbekistan and a curfew is imposed following three days of ethnic violence in which at least 38 people are killed and 200 injured.
07 – ‘Nashwan’, the 5-4 favourite ridden by Willie Carson, wins the 210th Derby in England.
13 – The wreck of the German battleship Bismarck, which was sunk in 1941, is found in the Atlantic Ocean 600 miles west of the French port of Brest.
14 – Former US President Ronald Reagan receives an honorary knighthood from the Queen at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
16 – Former Communist prime minister Imre Nagy, the man who symbolises the 1956 Hungarian uprising, is given a formal public funeral 31 years after he was executed.
20 – 600 passengers are evacuated into lifeboats and taken to safety by a Norwegian coastguard vessel and helicopters when their ship, the Soviet luxury liner Maxim Gorky hits an iceberg 200 miles off the Spitzbergen Islands in the Greenland Sea.
22 – 24 student heroes of the democracy campaign have been executed in the Chinese government’s ruthless clampdown.
26 – A Soviet nuclear-powered submarine is crippled 200 miles south of Norway’s Bear Island when one of its reactors fails.
05 – Oliver North is sentenced to two years probation and 1,200 hours of community service for his part in the Iran-Contra affair. The decorated Vietnam veteran is convicted of three – out of 12 – charges relating to illegal United States’ support for the Contra rebels in Nicaragua in the mid-1980s.
06 – Chris Evert plays her last match at Wimbledon, losing to Steffi Graf in a semi-final.
09 – Steffi Graf beats Martina Navratilova in three sets to win the ladies’ final at Wimbledon. Boris Becker takes the men’s title, beating the defending champion Stefan Edburg.
10 – Reverend Jerry Falwell officially disbands the Moral Majority, stating that his goal of getting fundamentalist Christians involved in national politics has been achieved.
10 – “That’s All Folks!” – Mel Blanc, the voice of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig and over 400 other characters, dies aged 81 in Los Angeles.
10 – Cockney comedian and former chairman of Fulham Football Club, Tommy Trinder, dies aged 80.
10 – A series of nationwide strikes by coal miners starts in the Soviet Union.
11 – Acting great Sir Laurence Olivier passes away at his West Sussex home in England, aged 82.
12 – 29-year-old Judy Leden from Derbyshire becomes the first woman to cross the English Channel by hang-glider, completing the flight in 25 minutes.
14 – 16-year-old Claire Leighton dies in the UK’s trendiest club, The Haçienda in Manchester, after taking Ecstasy.
14 – About 500 people are involved in scuffles in the Place de la Bastille in Paris as hundreds of thousands of revellers take to the streets of the French capital to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the storming of the Bastille.
14 – A controversial glass pyramid outside the Louvre, Paris, is opened.
17 – The US B-2 Stealth Bomber makes its long-delayed maiden flight from an air force base in California.
19 – Of the 298 people aboard United Airlines flight 232, only 150 survive when the DC-10 crashes as it makes an emergency landing at Sioux City airport, Iowa.
21 – 100,000 coal miners end crippling 10-day strike after Gorbachev warns they are threatening perestroika.
21 – Comedian/singer Ken Dodd is found not guilty of defrauding the Inland Revenue at the close of a 23-day trial at Liverpool Crown Court.
25 – The Princess of Wales opens a new AIDS centre in south-east London. She gives director Jonathan Grimshaw – diagnosed HIV positive five years ago – a firm handshake before going inside the Landmark Centre in Tulse Hill for a private tour.
27 – A South Korean DC-10 crashes while attempting to land in fog at Tripoli airport in Libya. 78 people are killed but 113 escape.
28 – Israeli commandos kidnap Sheikh Abdul Karim Obeid, a senior figure in Hezbollah, from Lebanon.
28 – Pravda attacks Gorbachev‘s reforms.
31 – Arab terrorists hang US Lieutenant-Colonel William Higgins after their demands that Israel releases Sheikh Abdul Karim Obeid are not met.
01 – The oldest person in Britain celebrates her 112th birthday. Charlotte Marion Hughes, from Marske in Cleveland, was born on 1 August 1877 – the same day that Alexander Bell founded his first telephone company.
01 – 16 English cricketers – led by former England captain Mike Gatting – announce they will tour South Africa during the next northern winter.
04 – At his first press conference, Emperor Akihito defends the right of people to accuse his father, Hirohito, of war atrocities.
05 – The All Blacks defeat the Wallabies 24 – 12 in Auckland, New Zealand.
06 – New Zealand Prime Minister David Lange resigns. Deputy Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer is selected as his successor.
08 – After eight years of guerrilla warfare, the US-backed Contras are to be demobilised in Nicaragua.
09 – US Army General Colin R. Powell, the son of Jamaican immigrants, becomes the first black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
09 – President Bush signs a bill appropriating $166 billion over ten years to bail out troubled savings and loan associations. 75% of the money will be taken from the income taxes of US citizens.
10 – 99 people are killed in Mexico when a train plunges off a bridge into a flooded river.
10 – Toshiki Kaifu is sworn in as Japanese Prime Minister amid media reports of money and sex scandals.
11 – Australian actor John Meillon dies (b. 1/5/1934).
13 – Two hot air balloons collide at a height of 2,000 ft over Alice Springs in Australia, killing 13 people.
14 – South African president P W Botha resigns and is succeeded by F W de Klerk, who begins to dismantle the apartheid system.
15 – Australian missionary Jacqueline Hamill is shot dead while being held hostage at a Philippines jail.
18 – Manchester United Football Club is sold for £20m in the biggest takeover deal in the history of British football. The new owner is Isle of Man-based property tycoon and former footballer, Michael Knighton.
20 – 51 people drown when the pleasure cruiser Marchioness – packed with young party-goers – collides with the dredger Bowbelle on the River Thames. Both vessels are moving downriver towards Southwark Bridge in the early hours of Sunday morning when they collide. The 90-ton Marchioness is struck by the 2,000-ton dredger, forcing it directly into the larger vessel’s path. The Bowbelle then runs over the cruiser forcing it underwater “like a bicycle being run over by a lorry”.
21 – George Adamson, the naturalist whose work in hand-rearing orphaned lions was made famous in the film Born Free (1966) – is shot dead by bandits near his home in the Kora National Reserve in Kenya. He is 83.
23 – Hundreds of thousands of Latvians, Lithuanians, and Estonians form a 380-mile human chain to protest against their annexation by the Soviet Union.
24 – Poland becomes the first Eastern Bloc country to appoint a non-Communist Prime Minister (Tadeusz Mazowiecki) and end one-party rule.
24 – 1,645 Australian airline pilots resign en masse.
25 – The unmanned Voyager 2 spacecraft sends back the first close-up pictures of Neptune and its satellite planets.
30 – US scientists identify the cystic fibrosis gene.
31 – Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips announce they have decided to separate after 16 years of marriage.
03 – 45 of the 54 on board a Boeing 737 survive when the plane crash lands in the Amazon jungle.
03 – The US begins shipping military aircraft and weapons worth $65 million, to help Colombia in its fight against drug lords.
07 – A shipment of 100,000 Australian sheep is rejected by Saudi Arabia on the grounds that they are diseased.
07 – Legislation is approved by the US Senate that prohibits discrimination against the disabled in employment, public accommodation, transportation and communications.
11 – Hungary is the first to lift the Iron Curtain, opening its borders with Austria, allowing thousands of East German refugees to make their way to West Germany.
13 – 20,000 participate in the biggest anti-apartheid march in Cape Town for 30 years, a week after the National Party is re-elected.
14 – After nearly 30 years in exile, SWAPO President Sam Nujoma returns home to Namibia.
14 – Police Inspector Raymond Codling is shot dead at a service station on the M62 in Greater Manchester. His killer, Anthony Hughes – a convicted armed robber and rapist – later shoots himself in the head
18 – A Gorbachev adviser says that “Pravda tells lies and should be closed down”.
19 – The San Diego Yacht Club is ruled winner of the 1988 America’s Cup, reversing a decision that gave the prize to New Zealand’s Mercury Bay Boating Club.
21 – Hurricane Hugo sweeps across South Carolina and Georgia in the US causing $8 billion of damage and many deaths. Hugo also devastates Montserrat, Antigua, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
22 – An IRA bomb kills 10 young bandsmen at the Royal Marine School of Music in Deal, Kent. 22 men are also injured in the explosion, eight seriously.
22 – Irving Berlin – who gave America some of its greatest popular songs, including God Bless America, Easter Parade and White Christmas – dies at the age of 101. When he stopped producing hits at the age of 75, he had outsold his great competitors Gershwin, Kern and Porter with an output of 900 songs. His real name was Israel Baline and his family emigrated from Siberia when he was four.
23 – Lithuania votes to declare invalid the 1940 Soviet annexation of the republic.
24 – The Canberra Raiders defeat Balmain 19 – 14 in the Australian Rugby League Grand Final.
26 – A farewell ceremony in Phnom Penh marks the withdrawal of the last Vietnamese troops from Cambodia following an 11-year occupation which began in 1978 when Vietnam invaded to oust the Khmer Rouge.
28 – The FDA announces that it will allow DDI (dideoxyinosine), an experimental AIDS drug, to be prescribed to AIDS patients while it is still being tested. To date, over 106,000 cases of AIDS have been reported in the US, and over 61,000 Americans have died of the disease.
28 – Exiled former Philippines leader Ferdinand Marcos dies in Hawaii, aged 72.
29 – In the largest single drug seizure in history, US federal agents discover 20 tons of cocaine (with a street value of $2 billion) in a warehouse in California’s San Fernando Valley.
01 – Pakistan rejoins the British Commonwealth after a 17-year absence.
02 – Three Anglican clergymen disrupt a church service in Rome attended by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Robert Runcie, accusing him of betraying Protestant Britain. The demonstrations are part of an ongoing campaign against Archbishop Runcie’s vision of universal primacy.
03 – Panamanian military dictator General Manuel Noriega survives an attempted coup when troops loyal to his regime defeat rebel officers after a day of heavy fighting at military headquarters in Panama City.
04 – Graham Chapman, a member of the Monty Python comedy team, dies of cancer aged 48.
05 – The Dalai Lama is named the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for his advocacy of non-violence in the struggle to liberate Tibet from Chinese rule.
05 – US television evangelist Jim Bakker is found guilty of fleecing his followers of some $158 million.
06 – Screen veteran Bette Davis dies in Paris, France, aged 81.
07 – Gorbachev begins a visit to East Germany and tells his hosts it’s time for change.
17 – Eighty-three people are believed to have died and a further 650 injured when at 5.04 pm local time an earthquake, triggered by the San Andreas fault, strikes the San Francisco Bay area. The quake, which measures 6.9 on the Richter scale, wrecks homes and offices, cuts off vital services and brings chaos to the cities of San Francisco and neighbouring Oakland. The bulk of the deaths come when a half-mile section of the double-decker Interstate 880 motorway collapses, crushing those in vehicles travelling on the lower deck. California declares a state of emergency and the cost of the damage may total $10 billion.
17 – A global ban on ivory trading is ratified in Switzerland by the Endangered Species convention.
18 – The Communist leader of East Germany, Erich Honecker, is forced to step down as leader of the country. The official reason for his departure is said to be “ill health” but failure to deal with the tide of discontentment sweeping the country and the party is thought to be the real reason.
19 – Hungarian parliament legalises opposition parties.
19 – The “Guildford Four” – Paul Hill, Gerard Conlon, Patrick Armstrong and Carole Richardson – are released and have their convictions quashed by the Court of Appeal following an extensive inquiry into the original police investigation. The four were jailed for life in 1975 for bombing pubs in Guildford in attacks that left five people dead and over 100 injured. They each served 15 years in prison.
19 – Unemployment in Britain falls to 1,702,895 – the lowest since June 1980.
20 – Actor Sir Anthony Quayle dies of cancer, aged 76.
23 – A new Hungarian republic is declared.
23 – In Melbourne, Australia, Footscray Football Club supporters raise $1.1 million to stave off a merger with the Fitzroy club.
24 – Judge “Maximum Bob” Potter is true to his name in Charlotte, North Carolina, sentencing disgraced television evangelist Jim Bakker to 45 years imprisonment. He also fines Bakker $700,000 for swindling his followers.
24 – Hungarian-born actress Zsa Zsa Gabor is sentenced to three days in prison and 120 hours of community service for slapping a policeman.
25 – Communist party of Yugoslavia adopts a new policy of political pluralism.
26 – In West Germany, British airman Corporal Maheshkumar Islania and his six-month-old daughter are shot dead in their car by the IRA at a petrol station near the RAF base at Wildenrath. The following day, the IRA expresses “profound regret” for the baby’s murder.
26 – John Major becomes chancellor of the exchequer in the UK.
01 – Pakistan PM Benazir Bhutto narrowly survives a no-confidence motion.
02 – UK carmaker Jaguar is taken over by Ford America.
03 – Deposed Fijian Prime Minister Dr Timoci Bavadra dies (b. 1934).
04 – 500,000 people march in East Berlin and call for free elections.
06 – Satirical magazine Private Eye agrees to pay Sonia Sutcliffe (wife of the Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe) £60,000. The British High Court had originally awarded £600,000 for libel but the damages were reduced after an appeal from the magazine.
07 – East Germany’s Communist-dominated government resigns – the first time such an event has occurred in the country’s 40-year history.
07 – David Dinkins is elected as New York’s first black mayor.
08 – The Beatles‘ legal battle with EMI over royalty payments, which has dragged on for 20 years, is finally settled when the record company agrees to pay the group many millions of pounds – the precise amount remains undisclosed.
08 – Three people are killed and 15 others injured when the Harwich-bound passenger ferry Hamburg collides with a container ship, Nordic Stream, in heavy seas 30 miles from Hamburg.
09 – Few thought to see it happen in their lifetime, but at the stroke of midnight, thousands lining both sides of the Berlin Wall give a great roar and begin to pour through checkpoints as well as climbing over the wall. They dance and trumpet on top. They crowd onto the West Berlin streets, spraying champagne and sounding car horns until long past dawn. It all began quietly with mass protests and the flight of refugees continuing unabated, and Egon Krenz, the new leader, intent on showing sincerity about reform. It was declared yesterday that starting from midnight, East Germans would be free to leave the country, without special permission, at any point along the border, including the crossing points through the wall in Berlin. In 28 years, at least 75 people have met their death while trying to escape over the wall. Its last known victim died in March this year.
10 – 78-year-old Bulgarian President Todor Zhivkov – Eastern Europe’s longest-serving leader – resigns. He is replaced by Petar Mladenov.
16 – The South African government announces an end to apartheid on the country’s beaches.
17 – Riot police in Czechoslovakia arrest hundreds of people taking part in a protest march. More than 15,000 people, mostly students, take part in the demonstration, the biggest show of public dissent for two decades which comes in the wake of a wave of reform sweeping through other former Soviet bloc states.
18 – More than 50,000 people take to the streets of Sofia in Bulgaria demanding political reform. In the biggest demonstration in the country’s post-war history, protesters hold up banners and chant: “We want democracy now.”
21 – The British House of Commons is televised for the first time.
21 – Australian entrepreneur Christopher Skase’s Quintex empire goes bankrupt.
23 – A new National Unity Government is sworn in in Greece, led by Xenophon Zolotas.
24 – The Czech administration – the 24-person Czechoslovak Politburo – resigns following a week of violent anti-government demonstrations in Prague and elsewhere in the country.
25 – Elias Hrawi, a Christian, is the new president of Lebanon.
29 – Russian gymnast Nadia Comaneci, star of the 1976 Olympics, flees to Hungary. It is believed she is US-bound.
01 – Alliance leader Vishwanath Pratap Singh becomes India’s seventh Prime Minister.
01 – Mikhail Gorbachev meets Pope John Paul II in Rome, the first meeting between a Soviet leader and a Pontiff.
03 – President Bush and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev have their first summit meeting aboard the Soviet cruise ship, Maxim Gorky in Valetta, Malta. Both presidents make statements agreeing that the Cold War is finally over. Communism begins to collapse throughout Europe.
03 – The East German Politburo and the Central Committee of the communist party resign.
05 – Margaret Thatcher survives the first challenge to the leadership of the Conservative Party by beating backbencher Sir Anthony Meyer in a ballot at Westminster. But it is not the outright win commentators expect as one in six MPs do not vote for her. A total of 314 of the 374 Tory MPs eligible to vote endorse Mrs Thatcher, while 33 vote for Sir Anthony.
06 – Egon Krenz stands down as East Germany’s head of state.
07 – Ladislav Adamec resigns as Prime Minister of Czechoslovakia.
10 – Gustav Husak resigns as President of Czechoslovakia.
12 – Billionaire Leona Helmsley, who once remarked “only the little people pay taxes,” is fined $7 million and sentenced to four years’ imprisonment for tax evasion.
14 – Election victory for the Left in Chile ends 17-year rule of General Pinochet.
18 – Thousand demonstrating against the Ceausescu regime are killed in Rumania by security police.
20 – 24,000 US soldiers invade Panama to overthrow and capture military dictator Manuel Noriega. 23 Americans are killed and 323 wounded in the fighting which ends on 3 January 1990 with Noriega’s capture. He is brought to trial in Florida the following month where he is sentenced to 40 years in prison (later reduced to 30 years by a US judge).
20 – Lisa Marie Presley, the 21-year-old daughter of Elvis Presley, inherits his $100 million estate – although it will be managed by a trust until 1998.
21 – Irish-born playwright Samuel Beckett dies in Paris, aged 83.
22 – Nicolae Ceausescu‘s government in Romania is overthrown after a battle with security forces. Ceausescu and his wife go into hiding.
22 – Berlin’s most famous landmark the Brandenburg Gate opens for the first time in almost three decades. Thousands of people spill on to the city’s streets cheering in the pouring rain to watch the historic ceremony which effectively ends the division of East and West Germany.
23 – Another person is injured in the US due to a pipe bomb explosion. The bombing is one of a series of bombings linked to one person who becomes known as the ‘Unabomber‘.
25 – Deposed Romanian president Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife are executed by a firing squad after a secret military tribunal finds them both guilty of crimes against the state.
28 – Rescuers are trying to reach at least eight people feared still trapped in the ruins of the Newcastle Workers’ Club, which collapsed during Australia’s most devastating earthquake. There are 12 confirmed deaths in the quake, nine from the club and three from the inner suburb of Hamilton. The city’s business district has been severely damaged along with hundreds of thousands of other buildings and houses, in a damage bill estimated at around $1,500 million. Police and the army are in Newcastle in force, helping in rescue work, demolition of unsafe buildings and the prevention of looting. The Workers’ Club collapsed when the quake struck just before 10.30 am. It was pension day and the club poker machines were pulsating as the members were still in a festive mood on the Christmas break.
29 – Dissident Czech writer Vaclav Havel is elected president of Czechoslovakia.
31 – In Melbourne, 13-month-old Heidi Gellert becomes Australia’s youngest heart transplant recipient.
Also this year . . .
- In Australia, The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) comes into existence. Ian Temby QC is the first Commissioner
- Meteorologists pronounce 1989 to be the warmest year on record, worldwide
- Computers across the West are hit by the “Friday the 13th” virus
- Allan Border captains Australia to their first Ashes series win in 55 years
- Liverpool win the FA Cup, defeating Everton 3-2 after extra time
- ‘Tawriffic’ wins the Melbourne Cup
- Canberra wins their first NSW rugby league first-grade premiership in Australia
- The Simpsons premiers on US TV channel Fox
Quote of the year
“We are at the beginning of a long road to a lasting, peaceful era.”