1986 News and Interesting History Tidbits


Chernobyl nuclear power plant
An explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine caused a fire today that resulted in a nuclear meltdown. The Radiation fallout spread throughout Europe The Chernobyl disaster is considered the largest nuclear accident in history
17 days after the Chernobyl accident the Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev goes on TV to inform the Russian People about the Nuclear disaster

A concrete sarcophagus is built to encase the damaged reactor and an 18 miles official exclusion zone around the plant remains in place. The Chernobyl nuclear power plant is one of the most radioactive spots on Earth.






Lethal Gas Kills 1,500 In Cameroon
Lethal gas from the volcanic Lake Nyos in Cameroon, West Africa has killed every living thing within a 15 mile radius including 1,500 people within the area affected by the gas which contains high levels of carbon dioxide, hydrogen and sulphur.









Challenger Explodes
The space shuttle Challenger explodes just after liftoff , killing the seven astronauts aboard, this was the 10th trip for Challenger and included a teacher from New Hampshire, Christa MacAuliffe, among the astronauts, as part of a new Teacher in Space project. The Launch was shown live on CNN and many schools set up televisions for children to watch due to the involvement of a teacher in the shuttle.

Other crew members aboard the Challenger ship included Michael J. Smith, Dick Scobee, and Ronald McNair, as well as Ellison Onizuka, Christa McAuliffe, Gregory Jarvis, and Judith Resnik. A warning was ignored that certain equipment on the ship was vulnerable at new temperatures.








First Case of BSE or Mad Cow Disease
The first case of BSE or "mad cow disease" is found in cattle in England .









Hands Across America
Approximately Seven million Americans joined hands hoping to raise more than $50 million to fight hunger and homelessness in "Hands Across America"








CFC Ozone Layer
In a satellite hook up from Antarctica scientists have been studying a huge hole that has appeared in the earths ozone layer over Antarctica. They believe it may have been caused by a chemical process and are suspecting the gas used in Aerosol Cans . The preliminary studies the chemical reaction is caused by Chlorofluorocarbons CFC's . Although the use of Chlorofluorocarbons has been banned in the US in Aerosol Cans since 1978, they are still used in many applications including air conditioning in cars through to keeping Big Mac's warm and the overall growth in use has continued to rise.








Canaries made redundant
Canaries have been made redundant from British Coal Mines and are being replaced by modern carbon monoxide detectors.

Canaries have been used in British mines to detect carbon monoxide fumes for over 70 years because they are particularly sensitive to toxic gases such as carbon monoxide which is colourless, odourless and tasteless.







Swedish Prime Minister Killed
Olof Palme, the Swedish Prime Minister is shot dead and his wife Lisbeth wounded in a street ambush in central Stockholm.









Continued Violence During Orange Parades
Portadown, County Armagh: The Orange Parade by Orangemen have caused problems to flare up in Portadown, County Armagh. Catholic Nationalist and Protestant Loyalist youths are fighting on the streets throwing bottles, darts and bricks at each other and the security forces. There are also a number of looting of shops and businesses in the area and the army has been using baton charges and plastic bullets to bring peace back to the area.

Ballymoney, Northern Ireland: A loyalist attack on a Catholic family has left three children dead after an arson attack on the home in Ballymoney, Northern Ireland.

Following the funeral for the three children killed in the arson attack attended by both Roman Catholics and Protestants coming together the violence subsides in the area.











Virgin Challenger II fastest crossing of the Atlantic
Richard Branson on the 72 ft powerboat Virgin Challenger II smashes the world record for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic beating the previous record-holder, the SS United States, which has held the title since 1952. Although Virgin Challenger II broke the record, the Hales' trustees refused to award the Blue Riband trophy because the boat did not have a commercial maritime purpose and had stopped to refuel.










Tough New Anti Smoking Laws
A bill is introduced to ban smoking on all public transport including trains, planes, buses and coaches with large fines up to $500 for those who break the law.









South African launch raids on Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana
South African troops launch multiple raids on Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana in an effort to destroy bases purportedly used by the anti-apartheid organisation the African National Congress (ANC).
The Nations of Angola, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe,Botswana and Tanzania, form the so-called "frontline states" that support the ANC in their struggle against white minority rule.
During the Mid to Late 1980's sanctions imposed by the US, most Commonwealth nations and the European Community forced South Africa to end it's anti-apartheid policies and in 1994 the ANC formed South Africa's first democratically elected government with Mr Mandela as the country's first black president.








South Africa Civil Unrest
The Civil unrest continues in South Africa in Shanty Towns with Young Black protesters attacked by self styled conservative militia armed with guns , clubs and Knives, The Militia are attacking hospitals and schools and burning them to the ground with a number of deaths and casualties reported








Duchess of Windsor, Wallis Simpson
The Duchess of Windsor, Wallis Simpson, is laid to rest alongside her husband, the abdicated King Edward VIII, at Frogmore in Windsor. Members of the Royal family including the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince and Princess of Wales, Princess Anne, and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, as well as The British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher attended the Ceremony.








Greater London Council Abolished
The GLC or Greater London Council is abolished after 97 years of local rule in London, England.








Terrorists Bomb Plane Sri Lanka
A bomb explodes on an Air Lanka Tristar at Colombo airport in Sri Lanka. The Tamil tigers who are fighting for a separate homeland are blamed for the bomb attack.








Bomb Exploded In Berlin Disco Killing 2 and injuring 100 more
A bomb is exploded in the crowded La Belle disco in Berlin, Germany, killing two and injuring at least 120. This follows a bomb planted earlier that wrecked a German-Arab club in the city and injured seven Arabs. The West German foreign minister, Hans-Dietrich Genscher, said a special group would be set up to investigate the possible involvement of a foreign country in the attack and 10 days later, the US government retaliated by bombing Libya killing at least 60 people .








Les Misérables Broadway Opening
Following it's success in London's West End Les Misérables opens at the Broadway Theater running till it closed on May 18, 2003. In 2006 it was revived and is again on Broadway showing at the Broadhurst Theatre.








Argentina Win 1986 World Cup
Argentina Win the 1986 World Cup beating West Germany 3–2 in the final in Mexico








Soviet Union launches Mir
The Soviet Union launches the world's biggest space station, Mir. It is intended to provide a base for a permanently manned space complex orbiting the Earth.








Bomb Explodes on TWA Boeing 727
Bomb Explodes on TWA Boeing 727 tearing hole in the side of the aircraft which sucks four passengers including an eight-month old baby from the aircraft. The TWA Passenger Jet was flying over Greece, on its way to Athens, when the bomb exploded








Micronesia Gains Independence
Micronesia a group of 600 Islands in the North Pacific Gains Independence from the United States in 1986








Sinclair ZX Spectrum
Sir Clive Sinclair sells the marketing and merchandising rights to the ZX Spectrum for £5m to computing rival Amstrad.
Sir Clive Sinclair a brilliant inventor who introduced miniature televisions, pocket calculators and digital watches to Britain in the 1960s and 1970s, and the ZX80, a home computer priced at less than £100 in 1980, following on was the Sinclair ZX Spectrum which was the most popular home computer sold in England and was sold in the US as the TS2068 from Timex.








President Ferdinand Marcos
President Ferdinand Marcos and his entourage are rescued and airlifted from the presidential palace in Manila by U.S. helicopters. The new Philippines president is Corazon Aquino








Voyager Non Stop World Flight
The experimental airplane Voyager, completed the first non-stop, around-the-world flight without refueling as it landed safely at Edwards Air Force Base in California








British AIDS Campaign
As the number of people infected with the AIDS virus increases in England new campaigns are launched including the "Play Safe" campaign which aims to encourage people to have only one sexual partner and to use a condom as protection against diseases. And the "Aids: Don't die of ignorance". campaign which explains how the disease is spread.








John McCarthy abducted
John McCarthy, a British TV journalist, is abducted on his way to the airport in the war-torn capital of Lebanon, Beirut.
On 8 August 1991 having spent more than five years held captive by militant group Islamic Jihad, John McCarthy is released making him Britain's longest-held hostage in Lebanon.








Wapping Strikes
Following the move of News International to Wapping where print unions would not be able to wield the power over the newspaper industry, they strike and picket the Wapping plant and 58 people arrested in the worst outbreak of violence yet outside the News International printing plant in Wapping, east London.








Mother Teresa
The Pope meets Mother Teresa, and visited her refuge for the sick and dying in Calcutta, India. Her Missionaries of Charity order, now has 4,500 sisters in 133 countries providing food and shelter and hospices for the dying.








Iran Contra Affair
The United Nations International Court of Justice has found the United States guilty of violating international law by training, arming and financing armed paramilitary Contra rebels in Nicaragua.




Oliver North Begins Shredding Documents
National Security Council staff member Oliver North and his secretary, Fawn Hall, begin shredding documents that would have exposed their participation in a range of illegal activities over the sale of arms to Iran and the diversion of the proceeds to a rebel Nicaraguan group.








Mike Tyson
Mike Tyson becomes the youngest Heavyweight Champion in history today with a second round knockout win over Trevor Berbick.








Chinook Helicopter Crashes North Sea
Forty-five north sea oil workers are feared dead after a Chinook helicopter plunged into the North Sea off the coast of Scotland.








Rock n Roll Hall of Fame
The first ten musicians are inducted into Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame including James Brown, Elvis Presley, Ray Charles, Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Sam Cooke, Fats Domino, the Everly Brothers, Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard.











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