1979 News


Major Stories

January 11: A 1,200+ page report is issued by U.S. Surgeon General Julius Richmond which contain overwhelming evidence that cigarette smoking causes lung cancer and heart disease. Tobacco companies deny the charges and continue killing 300,000 people a year in the U.S. and unknown millions overseas.

January 21: The Pittsburgh Steelers defeat the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl XIII 35-31.

February 1: Patty Hearst is released from from a federal prison after serving only 22 months of a seven-year sentence.

February 1: Exiled religious extremist Ayatollah Khomeini returns to Iran from France hoping to establish an Islamic state.

February 19: Ensuring a cure for insomniacs everywhere, live coverage of the U.S. House of Representatives begins.

February 26: The last total solar eclipse of the century is seen throughout the northwestern U.S.

March 5: Voyager I arrives at Jupiter and discovers a faint ring system.

March 26: Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egypt's Anwar Sadat sign a peace treaty at the White House ending 31-years of hostilities between the nations.

March 28: The most serious nuclear accident in U.S. history occurs at the Three Mile Island Nuclear station in Pennsylvania.

March 29: After his Labour party loses a parliamentary vote of confidence, British Prime Minister James Callaghan submits his resignation. Elections are to be held May 3.

March 31: Unhappy that Egypt has agreed to peace with Israel, the 18 members of the Arab League pass resolutions severing all diplomatic and economic ties with Egypt.

April 4: Former Pakistani Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto is executed for his role in the murder of his political rivals.

May 4: Margaret Thatcher becomes the first female prime minister of Britain following elections which thrust her Conservative Party into power.

May 22: Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau's 11-year reign comes to an end when his party loses their majority to Joe Clark and the confusingly named Progressive Conservatives.

May 23: Former Nazi Party member Karl Carstens is elected president of West Germany.

May 25: In the worst aviation accident in U.S. history, 272 are killed when an America Airlines DC-10 crashes shortly after takeoff in Chicago after the left engine falls off.

May 28: Greece becomes the 10th member of the European Common Market.

June 1: Rhodesia ends 80 years of white rule with a new constitution and a new name: Zimbabwe.

June 6: Responding to the May 25th accident, the FAA grounds all 138 U.S.-based DC-10s pending investigations into the engine mount assembly.

June 11: Actor John Wayne dies of cancer at age 72.

June 28: OPEC officials, meeting in Geneva, agree on prices of $18 to $23.50 per barrel. This represents a 50% increase year-to-date.

July 11: Skylab makes its return visit to earth scattering itself over the Indian Ocean and Australia as it broke up upon reentry.

July 13: The FAA ban on DC-10s (see June 6) is lifted.

July 16: President Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr of Iraq, suffering from ill health, names General Saddam Hussein as his successor.

July 17: President Somoza of Nicaragua and many of his closest advisors flee to Miami as the Sandanista rebels approach Managua.

July 18: The price of gold reaches $300/ounce in world markets for the first time.

July 19: A seven-week civil war ends in Nicaragua with the Sandinistas in control of the capital.

July 31: Chairman John Riccardo of Chrysler begs Congress for $1B in cash after announcing $207M in losses for the previous quarter.

August 15: U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Andrew Young resigns after reports surface that he has held unauthorized meetings with member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

August 27: Irish terrorists murder Earl Mountbatten of Burma in an IRA bombing.

September 1: Pioneer 11 becomes the first probe to take pictures from Saturn.

September 6: President Carter commutes the sentences of four Puerto Rican nationalists who were convicted of terrorist activities in the 1950s.

November 4: Muslim students in Tehran seize the U.S. embassy in Iran and hold 52 Americans hostage. Most will remain hostages for the remainder of the Carter administration.

November 22: Thirteen of the 62 America hostages in Iran are released.

November 25: U.N. Secretary General Kurt Waldheim calls for an emergency meetings of the Security Council to deal with the situation in Iran.

December 26: The price of gold reaches an impressive $500/ounce for the first time (see July 18).

December 29: The first reports of Soviet troops entering Afghanistan are made.