1979 News and Interesting History Tidbits


Fastnet Yacht Race
A freak storm with force seven winds has decimated the Fastnet race with over 150 yachts still missing and at least 3 reported dead. The Fastnet is the last in a series of five races which make up the Admiral's Cup competition, the world championship of yacht racing.


The final death toll for the race was 15 and because many of the boats were not equipped with a VHF radio it was some time before the organisers were able to determine how many boats were damaged, after the race new rules were put in place that all boats were fitted with VHF Radio's and additional qualifications for competing in the Fastnet were put in place.







Brighton Nudist Beach
Brighton on the south coast becomes the first major resort in Britain to officially set aside a 200-yard stretch of its beach for nudists, the nudist beach will be open to the public for next summer.









Camp David Peace Treaty Signed
Egypt's Anwar Sadat and Israel's Menachem Begin ended 30 years of bitter warfare by signing the first peace treaty between an Arab nation and the Jewish state . The peace treaty was the result of the Camp David Peace Accords, agreed in September 1978 when Israel agreed to withdraw troops from the Sinai Peninsula in return for Egypt's recognition of the state of Israel. Also agreed was some self determination for Palestinians .








The Walkman Introduced
The Sony Walkman is released as the Walkman in Japan, the Soundabout in many other countries including the US, and the Stowaway in the UK







Sebastian Coe
In Zurich, Switzerland track records were being broken by English runner, Sebastian Coe, who overturned legendary track stars like John Walker and Alberto Juantorena. Coe performed to a roaring audience of 22,000 Swiss fans.








Soviet Union Seizes Control Afghanistan
The Soviet Union seizes control of Afghanistan. President Hafizullah Amin, who was overthrown and executed, has been replaced by Babrak Karmal.











Saddam Hussein Becomes President Of Iraq
Following a period of building his power base in Iraq Saddam Hussein forces the ailing president of Iraq ( al-Bakr ) to resign and takes over as the president of Iraq. On his first assembly of Ba'ath party leaders following gaining control he lists 68 "disloyal" members of the party to be removed ( Later tried and Many sentenced to death ) to ensure his rule would be safe from dissenters.










First Commercial Cellular Network
The first commercial cellular network was launched in Japan by Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation








Idi Amin Uganda Deposed
The man who pronounced himself as
"His Excellency,
President for Life,
Field Marshal Al Hadji
Doctor Idi Amin Dada,
Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Seas
Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa
is deposed when Tanzanian backed rebels seize control in Uganda and the Ugandan dictator Idi Amin is deposed as president of Uganda and flees to Libya.








Airey Neave Murdered
The British Conservative MP and the shadow Northern Ireland Secretary Airey Neave is killed by a car bomb as he left the House of Commons car park.








Pope John Paul II Visits Poland
Pope John Paul II returns home to his native Poland as the first Roman Catholic pontiff to visit a Communist-ruled country.









Mississauga Train Derailment
A Canadian Pacific freight train carrying dangerous chemicals is derailed causing an explosion and a fireball that could be seen from 40 miles away. The spillage also released toxic fumes from chlorine mixing with other chemicals on the train causing over 200,000 people to be evacuated in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada








Chicago Airport Plane Crash
A flight from O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois "American Airlines Flight 191" crashed and exploded in a field near the airport . The crash killed 273 people, including two on the ground








Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station
Radiation is released at Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station when a cooling plant malfunction releases radioactive steam and radiation near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, The authorities declare a general emergency but did not inform the public until five hours after the gas escaped.

A study in 2002 found that incidences of cancer in the area were not significantly higher than elsewhere.

This is still considered the worst nuclear incident in US history, but it should be remembered no deaths were attributed to the disaster.

Following the accident Over 65,000 anti-nuclear power demonstrators march on the capitol in protest against more nuclear power plants.









Coup In Grenada
A left wing opposition group in the Caribbean island of Grenada has toppled the country's controversial Prime Minister, Sir Eric Gairy in a military style coup.








El Salvador Anti Government Protesters Killed
A protest by anti-government protesters at the Metropolitan Cathedral in San Salvador, ends in a bloodbath when police opened fire killing 18 and injuring many more.








Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Hanged
Pakistan's former Prime Minister, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, has been hanged in spite of international calls for clemency.
Many believed his trial and the sentence were manipulated by the ruling military regime, led by General Zia ul-Haq,.
He was sentenced to death for the murder of a political opponent following a trial which was widely condemned as unfair.
Mr Bhutto had been Pakistan's leader since 1973 and was deposed in a military coup 18 months earlier. The country stayed under martial law until 1985.








Ariane 1 Launched
The first European built rocket, Ariane 1, part of the European Space Agency has successfully completed its maiden flight. The primary objective of the Ariane Program is to launch satellites on behalf of European nations








Mrs Thatcher Elected and Introduces The Right To Buy
Margaret Thatcher, leader of Britain's Conservative Party, wins the general election to become the country's first female prime minister. Mrs Thatcher's government will allow more than five million council house tenants in Britain the right to buy their home under new government proposals.








China Invades Vietnam
As if the Vietnam War was not enough, the country of China had invaded Vietnam during this year, on this date. Tensions between these two countries had increased dramatically since the end of the Vietnam War. A major reason for the increased animosity between these two nations was because of the strengthening of the ties between Vietnam and the Soviet Union (China’s enemy at the time). The Invasion of Vietnam by China was in reaction to an invasion of Cambodia initiated by Vietnam. The worst and bloodiest of fighting occurred within the first nine days of this battle. However, these countries remained cold towards one another for ten years after this fierce battle. China invaded Vietnam with 90,000 troops supported by tanks, the invasion was short lived and China withdrew from Vietnam within 1 month.








Rhodesia Independence
Following the agreement to grant Rhodesia independence British cabinet minister Lord Soames has been named transitional governor of Rhodesia to oversee its progress towards independence.








Stuntman Eddie Kidd
A British Stuntman Eddie Kidd accomplishes a "death-defying" motorcycle leap crossing an 80ft gap over a 50ft sheer drop above a viaduct at the River Blackwater at Maldon, Essex on a 400cc motorcycle.








Who Concert Crush
Eleven Who fans are killed and dozens are injured in a crush of people trying to get into the Riverfront Coliseum in Cincinnati, Ohio. when thousands of fans (with first-come, first-served festival seating tickets) rush towards the locked doors when they mistook the sound check for the concert having started.








Anthrax Epidemic
The worlds first anthrax epidemic begins in Ekaterinburg, Russia by the time it was finished 62 people were dead. The epidemic was caused by a biological weapons plant in the plant only in 1992 was it confirmed as starting at the plant










Sandinista National Liberation Front Overthrow Government
The Sandinista National Liberation Front Led by Daniel and Humberto Ortega have overthrown the regime in the central American republic of Nicaragua and taken the capital, Managua.
The earlier right wing regime led by President Anastasio Somoza Debayle whose family has been in control for over 40 years has fled to the United States ( The US has been providing support and training for the regime and Army ) .

Following the change The United States through Covert Central Intelligence Agency (CIA ) operations supported the rebel Contras over the next 10 years in an attempt to destabilize the left wing government and in 1990 the center-right National Opposition Union defeated the Sandinistas, ending their decade-long spell in power.









Sid Vicious
Sid Vicious had died on this day from a heroine overdose. His death occurred only one day after he was bailed out of jail. He was charged for the murder of his previous girlfriend (one the one he was with he had overdosed).








"Tornadoes Tuesday"
Thirteen tornadoes ripped through Texas and Oklahoma in a deadly outbreak that meteorologists later referred to as "Terrible Tuesday." The twisters destroyed thousands of homes.








Ayatollah Khomeini Iran
Ayatollah Khomeini returns to Iran after 14 years in exile, five million people turned out to welcome him in the nation's capital, Tehran, over the next two weeks he built an army of revolutionary forces who took over power in the country forcing the army to step aside. Ayatollah Khomeini was the start of the Islamic Fundamentalist regime that now controls Iran.

Militant student followers of the Ayatollah Khomeini storm the U.S. embassy in Tehran taking 90 hostages. The students were enraged that the deposed Shah had been allowed to enter the United States for medical treatment and they threatened to murder hostages if any rescue was attempted. No diplomatic solution could be found and President Carter ordered a rescue mission in which eight U.S. military personnel were killed and no hostages rescued. The hostages were held in captivity for 14 months and were eventually released when the US Government released $3 billion in frozen Iranian assets and promised $5 billion more in financial aid.









Pakistan US Embassy Attacks
An attack on the American embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan by a mob who had been incited after listening to a radio report from the Iranian leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, saying Americans were behind the occupation of Islam's holiest site, the Great Mosque in Mecca, leaves the Embassy burned to the ground killing a US marine.









Carl Bridgewater
Four men are found guilty of killing 12-year-old paperboy Carl Bridgewater at Yew Tree Farm . 18 years later the convictions were quashed for the "Bridgewater Four" when the Court of Appeal ruled they did not have a fair trial because Staffordshire Police had fabricated evidence to persuade Mr Molloy to confess.








Oil Price Raised To $24 a Barrel
Fuel prices increased as a result of Saudi Arabia and other oil producing countries raising the price from $18 to $24 a barrel. OPEC was convening in Venezuela to discuss oil prices.








Anti Nuclear Protesters
Over 65,000 anti-nuclear power demonstrators marched on the capitol in protest against more nuclear power plants , the consumer advocate Ralph Nader describes nuclear power as "our countries technological Vietnam" . The group was formed after the accident at The Three Mile Island nuclear plant












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