Return to home1981 Jan 1,
The Federal Hourly Minimum Wage was raised from $3.10 to $3.35 an
1981 Jan 1, Roger Smith
(b.1925) took office as chairman and CEO of GM.
(WSJ, 6/19/96, Adv.
1981 Jan 1, Children born from
this day on were considered to be part of "Generation Y," as opposed
to "Generation X," born between 1966 and 1979, which followed the
(WSJ, 4/16/98, p.A1)(Econ, 6/1/13, p.58)
1981 Jan 1, Greece joined the
European Union. It joined the Eurozone on Jan 1, 2001, allowing it
to be among the first group of countries that issued euro banknotes
on Jan 1, 2002.
1981 Jan 2, "Yorkshire Ripper"
Peter Sutcliffe (b.1946), murderer of 13 women, was arrested on a
traffic violation. On Jan 4 he declared he was the ripper and
charges were filed on Jan 6. Stuart Kind (d.2003), a leading
forensic biologist, helped British police crack the "Yorkshire
Ripper" serial murder case. Sutcliffe was convicted on May 22 on 13
counts of murder and sentenced to life in prison. In 2003 Michael
Bilton authored “Wicked Beyond Belief: The Hunt for the Yorkshire
1981 Jan 3, John Lennon’s
(Just Like) Starting Over and the album Double Fantasy topped the
pop music charts just weeks after the death of the former Beatle.
1981 Jan 4, "The Official
Preppy Handbook" topped the NY Times trade paperback best seller
list for a 2nd week and remained on the list for 65 weeks.
(SFC, 7/20/00, p.C2)
1981 Jan 5, Berkeley police
arrested 8 demonstrators protesting against draft registration. The
protest was one of the largest across the country as a 2nd round of
draft registration began.
(SFC, 12/30/05, p.F2)
1981 Jan 5, Harold C. Urey
(b.1893), US chemist (Deuterium, Nobel 1934), died.
1981 Jan 6, California’s Gov.
Jerry Brown led some 500 fruit pickers in Santa Clara County to help
strip backyard fruit in the campaign against the Mediterranean fruit
(SFC, 1/6/06, p.F2)
1981 Jan 6, The James M.
Nederlander organization announced that it has taken over the SF
Orpheum Theater bringing an end to the 43-year-old SF Civic Light
(SFC, 1/6/06, p.F2)
1981 Jan 7, An operational and
planning assistance team (OPAT) arrived in El Salvador to provide
assistance in protecting the harvest from the guerrillas. By the end
of the Carter Administration, nineteen US military advisors had been
Jan 8, The "Pirates of Penzance" opened at the Uris Theater, NYC,
for 772 performances. Linda Ronstadt (b.1946) debuted Mabel.
1981 Jan 8, Terri Winchell (17)
was beaten, raped and stabbed to death in San Joaquin County, Ca.
Michael Morales (31) was convicted in the murder and was slated for
execution in 2006. Morales said he was enlisted by his cousin, Ricky
Ortega, who had learned that Winchell was having an affair with
Ortega’s male lover. Morales' original execution date of February
21, 2006, was postponed as a result of two court-appointed
anesthesiologists withdrawing from the procedure.
(SFC, 1/28/06, p.B2)(SFC, 2/7/06,
1981 Jan 8, Resorts around Lake
Tahoe offered limited skiing and businesses suffered from a late
start in the skiing season. It was the latest start since the
(SFC, 1/6/06, p.F2)
1981 Jan 9, The SF Civil
Service Commission prepared a new city policy requiring criminal
record checks of all applicants certified for civil service jobs.
(SFC, 1/6/06, p.F2)
1981 Jan 11, The Oakland
Raiders defeated the San Diego Charges 34-27 in the AFC championship
1981 Jan 12, The US District
Court in SF sentenced Joseph Bonanno Sr. (75), the reputed NY mafia
boss, to serve 5 years in prison. Bonanno was released from prison
July 29, 1984.
1981 Jan 12, In Iowa Richard
Huntbach (85) and wife Goldie (77) were found shot to death in their
home in Waterloo. On May 10, 2012, Jack Wendell Pursel (66) turned
himself in to police and confessed to the killing saying he had
become a Christian. Months after the Waterloo killings, Pursel began
serving a 21-year sentence for two sex offenses; however, he was
paroled in 1992. He was completely discharged from his sentence in
September of 1995. On June 7, 2012 Pursel pleaded guilty to the
Waterloo murders and was sentenced to life in prison.
(http://tinyurl.com/7pbnbaf)(SFC, 6/8/12, p.A8)
1981 Jan 14, The US FCC freed
radio stations to air as many commercials an hour as they wished.
1981 Jan 15, The "Hill Street
Blues" premiered on NBC-TV. It ran to 1987.
(SFEC, 5/24/98, DB
1981 Jan 15, Emanuel Celler
(92), (Rep-D-NY, 1923-73), died.
1981 Jan 16, Leon Spinks
b.1953), former heavyweight boxing champion (1978), was mugged. His
assailants even took his gold teeth.
1981 Jan 16, In Northern
Ireland, Protestant gunmen shot and wounded Irish nationalist leader
Bernadette Devlin McAliskey and her husband.
1981 Jan 18, Wendy O. Williams
(1949-1998), lead singer for the punk band the Plasmatics, was
arrested in Milwaukee for on-stage obscenity.
1981 Jan 19, The United States
and Iran signed an agreement paving the way for the release of 52
Americans held hostage for more than 14 months. Iran signed after
accepting a US offer for the return of $7.9 billion in frozen
1981 Jan 20, Ronald Reagan was
sworn in as president of the US. He inherited 10% inflation and 20%
(AP, 1/20/98)(WSJ, 8/15/96, p.A12)
1981 Jan 20, Iran released 52
Americans held hostage for 444 days, minutes after the presidency
had passed from Jimmy Carter to Ronald Reagan. In 2015 The US
Congress authorized the payment of $4.4 million to Americans held
hostage by Iran from Nov. 4, 1979, to Jan. 20, 1981, – or $10,000
for each day of captivity – to the surviving members of that ordeal
and their families. As of 2021 full payment had not been made.
(AP, 1/20/98)(USA Today, 8/14/21)
1981 Jan 23, Samuel Osborne
Barber II (b.1910), American composer of classical music, died. His
work ranged from orchestral, to opera, choral, and piano music. His
Adagio for Strings, composed in 1936 and first performed in 1938,
became his most famous composition.
1981 Jan 23, Under
international pressure, opposition leader Kim Dae Jung’s death
sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in Seoul.
1981 Jan 25, The 52 Americans
held hostage by Iran for 444 days arrived in the United States.
1981 Jan 25, In China Jiang
Qing (1914-1991), Mao's widow, received a suspended death sentence.
1981 Jan 27, President Reagan
greeted the 52 former American hostages released by Iran, telling
them during a visit to the White House: "Welcome home."
1981 Jan 27, The Indonesian
passenger ship Tamponas II caught fire and sank in Java sea killing
1981 Jan 28, William J. Casey
(1913-1987) became the 13th director of CIA replacing Adm.
1981 Jan 29, Pres. Reagan’s
executive order 12288 terminated wage and price controls.
1981 Jan 30, An estimated two
million New Yorkers turned out for a ticker-tape parade honoring the
freed American hostages from Iran.
1981 Jan 31, Lech Walesa
announced an accord in Poland, giving labor Saturdays off.
1981 Jan, In northern
California Kevin Thorp (21) and Laura Craig (20) were kidnapped by
three men in Lassen County. Over the next few days they were both
shot and killed. Norman Thomas later testified against Joseph
Shelton and Benjamin Wai Silva.
(SFC, 8/13/15, p.D4)
1981 Feb 5, A military jury in
North Carolina convicted Marine Pvt. 1st Class Robert Garwood of
collaborating with the enemy while a prisoner of war in Vietnam.
Garwood was dishonorably discharged.
1981 Feb 6, Beatles McCartney,
Starr & Harrison recorded "All Those Years Ago," a tribute to
1981 Feb 8, Scott Hamilton won
the US male Figure Skating championship.
1981 Feb 9, Bill Haley
(b.1925), vocalist (Rock Around Clock), died of heart attack. Haley
was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in
1981 Feb 10, Eight people were
killed, 198 injured, when fire broke out at the Las Vegas Hilton
1981 Feb 14, Phoolan Devi led a
massacre of 22 high-caste men in the village of Behmai. A film was
later made about her life titled "The Bandit Queen."
(WSJ, 8/3/01, p.A6)(AP, 8/14/14)
1981 Feb 14, In Ireland a blaze
in a Dublin dance hall killed 48 people.
1981 Feb 15, A rocket-powered
ice sled attained 399 kph on Lake George, NY.
(440 Int’l., 2/15/99)
1981 Feb 17, Pope John Paul II
met with President Marcos in Manila.
1981 Feb 19, The U.S. State
Department called El Salvador a "textbook case" of a Communist plot.
1981 Feb 19, George Harrison
was ordered to pay ABKCO Music $587,000 for "subconscious
plagiarism" in "My Sweet Lord" with "He's So Fine." The word
plagiarism derives from Latin roots: plagiarius, an abductor; and
plagiare, to steal. An example of plagiarism would be copying
this definition and pasting it straight into a report. Plagiarism is
a very ancient art. Shakespeare stole most of his historical plots
directly from Holinshed. Laurence Sterne and Samuel Taylor Coleridge
were both accused of plagiarism. Oscar Wilde was repeatedly accused
of plagiarism, hence the celebrated exchange with Whistler: "I wish
I'd said that, James." "Don't worry, Oscar, you will."
(http://digital-law-online.info/cases/221PQ490.htm)(Nature News from
Jake Sigg, 9/10/09)
1981 Feb 20, Space shuttle
Columbia cleared the final major hurdle to its maiden launch by
firing fired its three engines in a 20-second test.
1981 Feb 21, Charles Rocket
(1949-2005) clearly said "fuck" on Saturday Night Live.
1981 Feb 21, A bombing in
Munich of Radio Free Europe injured 9 people. Romania’s Pres.
Ceausescu ordered Gen. Ion Pacepa to find temporary shelter for
Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, aka Carlos the Jackal, in Romania after the
bombing. Ceausescu sold arms and explosives to Ramirez and enabled
him to produce counterfeit passports and driver's licenses.
1981 Feb 23, An attempted coup
began in Spain as 200 members of the Civil Guard and some of the
military invaded the Parliament, taking lawmakers hostage. The
attempt, led by Colonel Antonio Tejero, collapsed 18 hours later.
King Juan Carlos spoke to the nation on behalf of democracy and the
coup collapsed. In 2011 Javier Cercas authored “The Anatomy of a
Moment: Thirty-Five minutes in History and Imagination," an
examination of the coup attempt.
(SFC, 11/12/96, p.A12)(AP, 2/23/98)(Econ, 2/4/06,
p.48)(Econ, 3/26/11, p.96)
1981 Feb 24, A jury in White
Plains, New York, found Jean Harris guilty of second-degree murder
in the fatal shooting of "Scarsdale Diet" author Dr. Herman
1981 Feb 24, Buckingham Palace
announced the engagement of Britain's Prince Charles to Lady Diana
Feb 26, Howard Hanson (84), classical composer, teacher and
conductor, died in Rochester, New York. His Symphony No. 4
("Requiem"), written in memory of his father, won the 1944 Pulitzer
Prize. He was born in Wahoo, Nebraska on October 28, 1896.
1981 Feb 26, The French
Trainset 16 averaged 380 kph as part of Operation TGV 100.
1981 Feb 26, Three British
Anglican missionaries, detained in Iran since August 1980, were
1981 Feb, John King
(1917-2005), at the behest of PM Margaret Thatcher, became chairman
of British Airways with a brief to clean the company up for
privatization. Over the next 12 years he steered the company to
(Econ, 7/16/05, p.54)(http://tinyurl.com/3xl527)
1981 Feb, In Uganda Yoweri
Museveni, and his armed supporters declared themselves the National
Resistance Army (NRA). Museveni led a five-year bush war against
Milton Obote. Museveni had trained in a Libya guerrilla camp.
5/11/96, p.A-8)(AP, 12/16/02)
1981 Mar 1, "Sophisticated
Ladies" opened at Lunt-Fontanne in NYC for 767 performances.
1981 Mar 1, Roberto C. Goizueta
(d.1997) was named CEO of Coca-Cola. Under his direction Coke’s
value increased from $5 billion to $150 billion.
1981 Mar 1, Irish Republican
Army member Bobby Sands began a hunger strike at the Maze Prison in
Northern Ireland; he died 65 days later.
1981 Mar 2, The United States
planned to send 20 more advisors and $25 million in military aid to
1981 Mar 2, A Pakistan Airways
Boeing 720 was hijacked by 3 Pakistani terrorists. The passengers
and crew were released March 15 in Syria.
1981 Mar 3, In Los Angeles,
Ca., Stanley "Tookie" Williams (1953-2005) was convicted in the 1979
killing of 4 people and sentenced to death. The co-founder of the
Crips street gang (1971), who denied the murders, took up writing
for children while in prison and created the Internet Project for
Street Peace. In 2000 a member of the Swiss parliament nominated him
for the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize. A TV film on Williams, "Redemption,"
was scheduled to air in 2004. In 2005 he received a “President’s
Call to Service Award." Williams was executed Dec 13, 2005.
2/13/04, p.A25)(SFC, 8/6/05, p.A2)
1981 Mar 3, William S.
Burroughs Jr. (b.1947), writer, died. He bore the name of both his
father, a Beat writer, and his great grandfather, the original
inventor of the Burroughs adding machine. His 2 novels included
“Speed" and “Kentucky Ham." In 2006 David Ohle edited and compiled
“Cursed From Birth: The short Unhappy Life of William S. Burroughs
1981 Mar 4, A jury in Salt Lake
City convicted Joseph Paul Franklin, an avowed racist, of violating
the civil rights of two black men who were shot to death.
1981 Mar 5, President Reagan
asked Congress to end federal legal aid to the poor.
1981 Mar 5, US government
granted Atlanta $1 million to search for black boy murderer.
1981 Mar 6, President Reagan
announced plans to cut 37,000 federal jobs.
1981 Mar 6, Walter Cronkite
signed off for the last time as principal anchorman of "The CBS
1981 Mar 6, In Lubeck, Germany,
Klaus Grabowski, a child molester, was shot and killed by the mother
of a girl he had molested and strangled. Grabowski had earlier
avoided a life sentence by agreeing to castration.
1981 Mar 7, Anti-government
guerrillas in Colombia executed kidnapped American Bible translator
Chester Allen Bitterman, whom they accused of being a CIA agent.
1981 Mar 7, Kirill Petrovich
Kondrashin (b.1914), Russian conductor, composer, died.
1981 Mar 9, Dan Rather made his
debut as principal anchorman of "The CBS Evening News."
1981 Mar 13, Pres. Reagan
granted Atlanta $1.5 million to search for the murderer of some 20
1981 Mar 13, In the Poletown
case the Michigan Supreme Court allowed Detroit to take 1,000 homes
and 600 businesses to make way for a General Motors Corp. plant. The
decision was overturned in 2004 when the court ruled that state and
local governments may not take property from one private owner and
give it to another purely for the purpose of economic development.
1981 Mar 15, Steacy McConnell
(19) died following a robbery in Victor, just east of Lodi, Ca.
Fernando Belmontes (19) had hit her 15-20 times with an iron
dumbbell. In 2006 the US Supreme Court reinstated his death
sentence. An appeals court then ruled that Belmontes’ lawyer had
represented him incompetently. In 2009 the US supreme Court upheld
the death sentence.
(SFC, 11/14/06, p.B3)(SFC, 11/17/09,
1981 Mar 15, Rene Clair
(b.1898), French director (It Happened Tomorrow), died.
1981 Mar 18, The TV series
“Greatest American Hero" began with Robert Culp as an FBI agent. He
played in 44 episodes until 1986.
1981 Mar 18, The U.S. disclosed
that there were biological weapons tested in Texas in 1966.
1981 Mar 19, One technician was
killed and two others were injured during a routine test on space
1981 Mar 20, Michael Donald
(b.1962), a black teenager in Mobile, Alabama, was abducted,
tortured and killed in what prosecutors charged was a Ku Klux Klan
plot. Henry Hays (d.1997) murdered Michael Donald in a random
abduction. Donald was beaten, cut, strangled and his body was strung
up a tree. Hays was convicted and sentenced to death. He was
executed Jun 6, 1997. In 1987 A wrongful death suit filed by
Donald’s mother, Beulah Mae Donald, gave a $7 million verdict
against the United Klans of America, led by Robert Shelton (d.2003
1981 Mar 20, Former girls’
school headmistress Jean Harris (1923-2012) was sentenced in White
Plains, New York, to 15 years to life in prison for slaying
"Scarsdale Diet" author Dr. Herman Tarnower. Harris was released in
1993 following a grant of clemency by Gov. Mario M. Cuomo.
(AP, 3/20/01)(SFC, 12/29/12, p.A9)
1981 Mar 22, Postage rates went
from 15 cents an ounce to 18 cents an ounce.
1981 Mar 23, The U.S. Supreme
Court ruled that states could require, with some exceptions,
parental notification when teen-age girls seek abortions. U.S.
Supreme Court upheld a law making statutory rape a crime for men but
(AP, 3/23/97)(HN, 3/23/98)
1981 Mar 25, The US Embassy in
San Salvador was damaged when gunmen attacked, firing rocket
propelled grenades and machine guns.
1981 Mar 26, A jury in Los
Angeles awarded entertainer Carol Burnett $1.6 million from the
"National Enquirer" for an article she’d charged was libelous. The
award was later reduced, and the two parties settled out of court.
1981 Mar 26, Police and
Albanian demonstrators battled in Kosovo.
1981 Mar 29, "Woman of the
Year" opened at Palace Theater in NYC for 770 performances. John
Kander composed the music and Fred Ebb (d.2004) wrote the lyrics.
1981 Mar 29, General Roberto
Eduardo Viola was sworn in as the President of Argentina.
1981 Mar 29, The first London
26.2 mile marathon was run with nearly 7,500 participants.
1981 Mar 30, John W. Hinckley
Jr. shot and wounded Pres. Ronald Reagan outside a Washington, D.C.,
hotel. Press Sec. James Brady took a bullet as did Secret Service
agent Tim McCarthy and District of Columbia police officer Thomas
(SFC, 7/14/96, Par p.2)(HN, 3/30/02)(AP, 3/30/08)
1981 Mar 31, In the 1st Golden
Raspberry Awards the film “Can't Stop the Music" won as worst film
1981 Mar 31, In the 53rd
Academy Awards "Ordinary People," R. De Niro and Sissy Spacek won,
one day after the attempted assassination of Pres. Reagan. The
Awards were held at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.
1981 Mar, Diesel cars in the US
peaked at 6% of the market as gas prices in the hit $1.42 per
gallon, the equivalent of $3.08 in 2005.
(WSJ, 1/14/05, p.W10)
1981 Mar, In the Central
African Republic David Dacko (1930-2003) was re-elected president.
He was overthrown in a bloodless coup in September.
1981 Mar, Kosovar Albanian
students organized protests seeking that Kosovo become a Republic
within Yugoslavia. The protests were harshly contained by the
centralist Yugoslav and Serbian governments.
1981 Apr 1, Jack Welch (b.1935)
became the 8th Chairman and CEO of General Electric. In 1998 Robert
Slater published "Jack Welch and the GE Way." The company grew from
revenues of $25 billion to $90 in 1998. Welch retired in 2001.
1981 Apr 2, Heavy battle took
place between Christian militia and Syrian army in East Lebanon.
Casualties and injuries were in the hundreds.
1981 Apr 3, Juan Terry Trippe
(b.1899), American commercial aviation pioneer, entrepreneur and the
founder of Pan American World Airways, died in NYC.
1981 Apr 4 Henry Cisneros
became the first Mexican-American elected mayor of a major U.S. city
-- San Antonio, Texas.
1981 Apr 5, It was reported
that Yugoslav authorities appeared to be sending extra militia units
to the southern province of Kosovo after nationalist demonstrations
in which 35 people were injured and scores arrested.
1981 Apr 8, The short play
"Rockaby" by Samuel Beckett (1906-1989), Irish novelist and
playwright, premiered in Buffalo, NY.
1981 Apr 8, Gen. Omar N.
Bradley died in New York City at age 88.
1981 Apr 9, The submarine USS
George Washington ran into the Japanese freighter Nisso Maru. 2
Japanese crewmen were killed.
1981 Apr 10, The long-awaited
maiden launch of the space shuttle "Columbia" was scrubbed because
of a computer malfunction.
1981 Apr 10, Imprisoned IRA
hunger striker Bobby Sands was declared the winner of a by-election
to the British Parliament.
1981 Apr 11, President Reagan
returned to the White House from the hospital, 12 days after John W.
Hinckley Jr. shot him in an assassination attempt.
(AP, 4/11/97)(HN, 4/11/98)
1981 Apr 11, A race riot
erupted in London area of Brixton. More than 300 people were injured
and 28 buildings were set ablaze. Lord Scarman (1911-2004) was later
appointed to investigate and report his findings.
1981 Apr 12, The first space
shuttle, Columbia, carrying astronauts Robert L. Crippen and John W.
Young, blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on its first test
flight. It was designated STS-1 (space transportation system).
(WSJ, 4/24/95, p.R-5)(AP, 4/12/97)(SSFC, 2/2/03,
1981 Apr 12, Hendrik F.
Andriessen (b.1892), Dutch organist, composer (Te Deum), died.
1981 Apr 12, Joe Louis
(b.1914), [Brown bomber] heavyweight champion boxer (1937-49), died.
He was buried at Arlington Cemetery under a waiver by Pres. Reagan.
1981 Apr 13, Washington Post
reporter Janet Cooke received a Pulitzer Prize for her feature about
an 8-year-old heroin addict named "Jimmy." Cooke relinquished the
prize two days later, admitting she had fabricated the story.
1981 Apr 14, The first test
flight of America's first operational space shuttle, the Columbia 1,
ended successfully with a landing at Edwards Air Force Base in
(AP, 4/14/97)(HN, 4/14/98)
1981 Apr 15, Janet Cooke said
her Pulitzer award 8-year-old heroin addict story was a lie. The
Washington Post relinquished the Pulitzer Prize over the fabricated
1981 Apr 15, Coca-Cola opened
its first bottling plant in China since the country’s Communist
(Econ, 1/25/14, p.9)
1981 Apr 20, The final
performance of TV show "Soap" aired.
1981 Apr 21, Pres. Reagan
called for support for the sale of AWACS to Saudi Arabia. The
proposed AWACS sale was just the beginning of a secret $50 billion
plan to build surrogate military bases in Saudi Arabia.
1981 Apr 22, In the largest US
bank robbery, more than $3.3 million was stolen in Tucson Ariz. 4
men were later arrested for the robbery.
1981 Apr 23, Stacy Benjamin
(19) and Patty Geddling (23) were murdered in Redwood City, Ca.,
under drug-related circumstances. In 2003 A federal appeals court
upheld the conviction of Donald Beardslee of San Mateo. Beardslee
had killed a woman in Missouri in Dec, 1969. Psychiatric evidence
later showed that Beardslee suffered from brain damage due to an
accident in 1964. Beardslee was executed by lethal injection at San
Quentin State Prison on Jan. 19, 2005.
(SFC, 1/21/02, p.A4)(SFC, 12/17/04, p.B4)(SSFC,
1981 Apr 23, An estimated 1
million West German metal workers staged a warning strike as
3-month-old negotiations stalled.
1981 Apr 24, The US ended a
16-month grain embargo against the USSR.
1981 Apr 24, The IBM Personal
Computer was introduced. IBM had developed a personal computer with
a technical specification other manufacturers could copy. The
operating system was licensed from Microsoft and the microprocessor
circuitry from Intel.
(HN, 4/24/98)(WSJ, 11/16/98, p.R10)(WSJ, 1/11/99,
1981 Apr 29, Truck driver Peter
Sutcliffe (b.1946) admitted in a London court to being the
"Yorkshire Ripper," the killer of 13 women in northern England
during a five-year period. He was convicted on May 22 and sentenced
to serve a minimum of 30 years.
(AP, 4/29/00)(AP, 1/13/04)
1981 Apr 29, In Sydney,
Australia, 16 patients died in a nursing home fire in suburban
1981 Apr 30, William Eugene Cox
and Annika Oestberg Deasy (27) robbed and killed Joseph Torre (58),
a restaurant owner, in Stockton, Ca. A few days later they killed
Sgt. Richard Helbush and stole his patrol car. They were both caught
and sentenced to long jail terms. Cox later hanged himself in jail.
In 1999 Sweden called for the transfer of Deasy to Sweden under the
1983 Strasbourg Treaty, which provided for prisoner transfers. In
2009 a Swedish court ruled that Annika Ostberg (55) would be
released in 2011.
(SFC, 11/9/99, p.A13)(AP, 11/16/09)
1981 Apr, The US stock market
began a 16 month decline of 23%.
1981 Apr, Osborne Computer
Corp., founded by Adam Osborne (1939-2003), launched the 24-pound
portable Osborne 1 for $1,795.
1981 Apr, Tim Paterson, who
wrote QDOS in 1980, quit Seattle Computer Products and began working
at Microsoft in May. He became best known as the original author of
the popular MS-DOS operating system (1981).
1981 Apr, A group of Isaaq
emigres living in London formed the Somali National Movement (SNM),
which subsequently became the strongest of Somalia's various
insurgent movements. According to its spokesmen, the rebels wanted
to overthrow Siad Barre's dictatorship.
1981 May 1, Harrison Williams
(Sen-D-NJ) was convicted on FBI Abscam charges.
1981 May 1, American Airlines
instituted the 1st "frequent flyer" program to keep customers
(SSFC, 12/14/03, p.D2)(http://tinyurl.com/2uvcut)
1981 May 1, Chile completely
privatized Social Security as part of its economic reforms.
(SFC, 6/16/96, Z1 p.7)(SFC, 6/25/96, p.A18)
1981 May 2, In California
Joseph Azevedo (50) was found shot dead at his mobile home in
Lancaster, LA County. On Nov 6, 2010, suspect David Winter (55), a
long-haul truck driver, was arrested in Ohio.
(http://tinyurl.com/4ekecdj)(SFC, 1/10/11, p.A4)
1981 May 2, In Savannah, Ga.,
Jim Williams shot and killed his younger, redneck boyfriend. Clint
Eastwood based his 1997 film "Midnight in the Garden of Good and
Evil" on this event.
(SFC, 6/5/98, p.C14)
1981 May 5, Irish Republican
Army hunger-striker Bobby Sands, an elected member of the Irish
Parliament, died at the Maze Prison in Northern Ireland on his 66th
day without food.
(SFC, 11/15/96, p.B2)(SFEC, 12/22/96, Z1 p.6)(AP,
1981 May 6, Yale architecture
student Maya Ying Lin was named winner of a competition to design
the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
1981 May 6, The US expelled
1981 May 9, Nelson Algren (72),
US writer (Man with the Golden Arm), died.
1981 May 10, Socialist Francois
Mitterrand defeated Valery Giscard d’Estaing for Pres. of
France in the second round of presidential elections. When the
socialists took power they increased the money supply and the
deficit. The franc collapsed and inflation accelerated.
(SFC, 10/24/96, p.C3)(SFC, 6/25/97, p.A8)(AP,
1981 May 11, The Andrew Lloyd
Webber musical "Cats," based on TS Eliot poems, premiered in
1981 May 11, Bob Marley
(b.1945), Jamaican reggae artist, died of brain cancer in Miami.
(AP, 5/11/97)(SFEC, 2/14/99,
1981 May 13, John Paul II was
shot and seriously wounded in St. Peter's Square by Turkish
assailant Mehmet Ali Agca. The shots hit the pope’s hand and
penetrated his abdomen. John Paul forgave Agca 4 days later. In 2006
an Italian report said the Soviet Union was behind the attempted
(TMC, 1994, p.1981)(AP, 5/13/97)(SFC, 6/14/00,
1981 May 17, SF celebrated
"Tillie Olsen Day." Her books included "Yonnondio" (1974), and
"Silences," a study of blocked creativity. In 2001 she received the
Fred Cody Lifetime Achievement Award.
(SSFC, 4/1/01, BR p.2)
1981 May 17, Jeannette Ridlon
Piccard (b.1895), American teacher and 1st US woman free balloon
1981 May 18, Arthur O'Connell
(73), actor (Mr. Peepers, Second Hundred Years), died.
1981 May 18, William Saroyan
(b.1908), American writer, died in Fresno, Ca. He wrote some 60
books that included: "The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze"
(1934), "The Human Comedy," which became a 1943 film, and the 1939
play "The Time of Your Life." In 2002 John Leggett authored "A
Daring Young Man: A Biography of William Saroyan."
(SFC, 5/23/96, p.A1)(HN, 8/31/00)(SFC, 4/1/02,
p.A11)(SSFC, 11/10/02, p.M1)
1981 May 21, Francois
Mitterrand began serving as president of France. He was the first
socialist president of the Fifth Republic and the first left-wing
head of government since 1957.
1981 May 25, Daredevil Daniel
Goodwin, wearing a "Spiderman" costume, scaled the outside of
Chicago’s Sears Tower in seven and a-half hours.
1981 May 25, Roy James Brown
(b.1925), RB singer, died of a heart attack. His hits included “Good
Rockin' Tonight" (1947).
1981 May 25, Rosa Ponselle
(b.1897), Metropolitan Opera diva, died in Maryland.
1981 May 25, Sheik Zayed bin
Sultan Al Nahyan (1918-2004), United Arab Emirates President, urged
in 5 other Arab monarchies (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Saudi
Arabia) to form the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The unified
economic agreement between the countries of the Gulf Cooperation
Council was signed on 11 November 1981 in Riyadh.
1981 May 26, 14 people were
killed when a Marine jet crashed onto the flight deck of the
aircraft carrier USS Nimitz off Florida.
1981 May 26, Russia’s Soyuz
T-4, launched on March 12, landed.
1981 May 27, John Hinckley
(b.1955), awaiting trial for the attempted assassination of Pres.
Reagan, tried to commit suicide by overdosing on Tylenol.
1981 May 27, Roger Wheeler,
chairman of Telex Corp. and owner of World Jai Alai, was shot
execution style at a Tulsa country club. In 2001 2 reputed Boston
mobsters, James Bulger and Stephen Flemmi, were charged. Jai Alai
executive John B. Callahan was murdered in Aug 1982 in Miami. In
2001 hitman John Vincent Martorano (60) pleaded guilty to Wheeler’s
murder and was sentenced to 15 years in prison. In 2003 former FBI
agent H. Paul Rico (78) was arrested and charged with murder for
helping to setup the hit.
p.A8)(SFC, 5/4/01, p.D5)(SFC, 10/10/03, p.A3)
1981 May 30, US performed a
nuclear test at Nevada Test Site.
1981 May 30, In Bangladesh
Major Gen’l. Abdul Manzoor was shot and killed after he led a failed
uprising that killed Pres. Ziaur Rahman 1980. Hussein Mohammed
Ershad and 4 army officers were later accused of the killing.
1981 May, Unit one of the
Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant off the coast of San Luis Obispo,
California, began operation.
(SFC, 5/22/96, p.D-1)
1981 May, The SF Carnaval was
moved up to May to take advantage of better weather.
(SFC, 5/22/03, p.E11)
1981 Jun 1, The China Daily
newspaper was launched as China’s first English-language daily.
1981 Jun 3, Pope John Paul II
left a Rome hospital and returned to the Vatican three weeks after
the attempt on his life.
1981 Jun 5, The US Federal
Centers for Disease Control published the first report of a
mysterious outbreak of a sometimes fatal pneumonia among gay men.
Dr. Michael Gottlieb of UCLA and Dr. Joel Weisman (1943-2009)
reported 5 cases of a rare pneumonia among gay men in LA. The
disease was initially called gay related immune deficiency (GRID).
The syndrome was named Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) in
1982. Within 10 years the disease killed 110,000 Americans. People
infected with HIV came to be defined as having AIDS when their
immune system became so weak that they got one of 26 specific
illnesses including non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, pneumonia, brain
infections and some other cancers.
(SFC, 7/21/00, p.B2)(AP, 6/5/02)(SSFC, 6/4/06,
p.A1)(Econ, 6/3/06, p.24)(SFC, 7/24/09, p.D5)
1981 Jun 5, George Harrison's
"Somewhere in England" album was released.
1981 Jun 6, In Bihar, India, a
train crashed after a bridge collapsed in flash floods during the
monsoon and some 400-800 people were killed.
(SFC, 6/4/98, p.A15)(SFC, 8/3/99, p.A8)(AP,
1981 Jun 7, Israeli F-16
fighter-bombers in “Operation Opera" destroyed a nuclear power plant
in Iraq at Osirak, Iraq, before it went into operation. Israelis
charged that the facility could have been used to make nuclear
weapons. Ilan Ramon (d.2003) flew the last of the 8 planes that
bombed the reactor. In 2004 Rodger W. Claire authored “Raid on the
(WSJ, 7/23/96, p.A22)(AP, 6/7/97)(SFC, 2/3/03,
p.A7)(WSJ, 6/1/04, p.D8)(Econ, 1/9/10, p.28)
1981 Jun 10, In Frascati,
Italy, 6-year-old Alfredo Rampi fell down an artesian well; the
story ended tragically as efforts to rescue him proved futile.
1981 Jun 11, Earthquake in
southeast Iran killed at least 1,500 people.
(SFC, 3/21/98, p.A9)(AP, 6/11/03)
1981 Jun 12, "Raiders Of The
Lost Ark" starring Harrison Ford premiered.
1981 Jun 12, US major league
baseball players began a 49-day strike over the issue of free-agent
compensation. The season did not resume until August 10.
1981 Jun 13, Tom Snyder
interviewed Charles Manson on "Tomorrow."
1981 Jun 13, A scare occurred
during a parade in London when a teenager fired six blank shots at
Queen Elizabeth II.
1981 Jun 17, Riots between
Muslims & Christians in Cairo left 16 people dead.
1981 Jun 18, US Supreme Court
Justice Potter Stewart announced his retirement; his departure paved
the way for Sandra Day O'Connor to become the first female associate
1981 Jun 19, Boeing commercial
Chinook 2-rotor helicopter was certified.
1981 Jun 19, European Space
Agency's Ariane carried two satellites into orbit.
1981 Jun 20, In Casablanca,
Morocco, riots left some 100 dead. In 2005 authorities exhumed the
remains of about 100 people killed during riots from a mass grave
and reburied them individually in a nearby lot.
1981 Jun 22, Mark David Chapman
(b.1955) pleaded guilty to killing John Lennon on December 8, 1980.
He was sentenced 20 years to life in prison.
1981 Jun 22, In Iran Abolhassan
Bani-Sadr was dismissed from the presidency by Ayatollah Ruhollah
Khomeini. Shortly thereafter he fled to Paris, where he had lived in
exile during the reign of the Shah.
1981 Jun 23, The body of
Catherine Schilling (21), a Georgetown law student, was found raped
and murdered in Rock Creek Park. She was shot in the head five times
after taking a shortcut home through the park after working late at
her job as a paralegal at a DC law firm. In September 1982, a D.C.
jury convicted Donald Eugene Gates of killing and raping Schilling.
In 2009 Gates (58) was released from prison based on DNA evidence.
(http://tinyurl.com/y8smuur)(SFC, 12/15/09, p.A9)
1981 Jun 24, In England the
Humber Bridge, the longest single-span suspension bridge in the
world, opened to traffic over Humber (the estuary formed by the
rivers Trent and Ouse).
1981 Jun 25, The US Supreme
Court decided that male-only draft registration was constitutional.
1981 Jun 27, The African States
members of the Organization of African Unity, meeting in Liberia,
adopted a Charter on Human and People’s Rights. Article 5
specifically prohibited slavery. It became effective as of October
1981 Jun 28, Terry Fox (22),
born in Winnipeg and raised in Port Coquitlam, died of cancer. Fox,
who planned to run a marathon a day until he ran across Canada, was
forced to stop his journey on Sept. 1, 1980, because the cancer that
took his leg had spread to his lungs. He ran 5,373 kilometers over
143 days. His goal was to raise $1 for cancer research for every
Canadian, which would have been about $24 million in 1980.
1981 Jun 28, In Tehran, Iran, a
powerful bomb exploded at the headquarters of the IRP while a
meeting of party leaders was in progress. 73 persons were killed,
including the chief justice and party secretary general Mohammad
Beheshti, four cabinet ministers and 27 Majlis deputies. The
Mujahedin e-Kalq carried out the bombing. Those killed included
Premier Mohammad-Javad Bahonar and Pres. Mohammad-Ali Rajaei.
(www.country-data.com/cgi-bin/query/r-6395.html)(WSJ, 5/8/08, p.A10)
1981 Jun 29, Hu Yaobang, a
protege of Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping, was elected Communist Party
chairman, replacing Mao Tse-tung’s handpicked successor, Hua
Guofeng. A Party communiqué cited the Cultural Revolution as a
disaster, and criticized Mao's role and the policies of his last
1981 Jun 30, Elections for the
tenth Knesset were held in Israel. Despite last minute polls
suggesting a victory for Shimon Peres' Alignment, Menachem Begin's
Likud won by just one seat. Voter turnout was 77.8%.
1981 Jun, Former Tennessee Gov.
Ray Blanton was convicted of mail fraud, conspiracy, and extortion
for selling liquor licenses and served twenty-two months in a
1981 Jun, Jack Henry Abbott,
convicted killer, was paroled from prison. His book "In the Belly of
the Beast" was a collection of letters written to Norman Mailer. 6
weeks after Abbott’s release he stabbed Richard Adan (22), an
actor-writer to death in NYC. Abbott committed suicide in prison in
(SFC, 2/11/02, p.A3)(WSJ, 2/15/02, p.A16)
1981 Jun, Sylvia Edgren (48) of
Monterey, Ca., was raped and murdered. In 2001 DNA evidence linked
Michael Adams (44) to the murder.
1981 Jun, The First World
Gathering of Holocaust survivors took place in Israel. It was
organized by Auschwitz survivor, Ernest Michel. Lani Silver (d.2009
at 60), a professor at San Francisco State Univ. returned from the
meeting and founded the Bay Area Holocaust Oral History Project.
1981 Jul 1, Tim Giago, an
Oglala Sioux writer from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South
Dakota, launched The Lakota Times, the first independently owned
Indian newspaper in the US.
(SSFC, 12/23/07, p.F1)
1981 Jul 1, The Symphony in F
by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (K.19a), discovered in 1980, debuted in
1981 Jul 1, The "Wonderland
Murders" took place at 4763 Wonderland in the Hollywood Hills.
Ronald Launius, William Deverell, Barbara Richardson and Joy Miller
were murdered. The killings were said to have occurred in
retaliation for a drug robbery 2 nights earlier. Federal prosecutors
unveiled in indictment in 2000 against Eddie Nash, a former
nightclub owner, Gregory DeWitt Diles, his bodyguard, and porn star
John Curtis Holmes. Holmes (d.1988) was later released. Holmes died
in 1988 of an AIDS-related illness. In 2003 the film "Wonderland"
starred Val Kilmer as Holmes.
(SFEC, 5/21/00, p.B5)(ST, 10/17/03, p.22H)
1981 Jul 2, The Continental
Airlines Arena, part of the Meadowlands Sports complex in East
Rutherford, NJ, opened with a concert by Bruce Springsteen.
1981 Jul 2, In southern
California Jeffrey Vargo (6) was last seen alive bicycling to a
fireworks stand in Pomona. On March 27, 2015, Kenneth Rasmuson (53)
of Idaho was arrested after DNA evidence linked him to the murder.
(SFC, 3/30/15, p.A5)
1981 Jul 2, L.E. Gonzalez
discovered asteroid #3495, Colchagua, from the astronomical station
of Cerro El Roble in Chile.
1981 Jul 7, President Reagan
announced he was nominating Arizona Judge Sandra Day O'Connor to
become the first female justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.
(AP, 7/7/97)(HN, 7/7/98)
1981 Jul 7, The 1st
solar-powered aircraft, Solar Challenger, crossed the English
Channel flying 163 miles from Paris to Canterbury. It was created by
Dupont and Paul MacCready.
1981 Jul 10, Isabel Peron,
ex-president of Argentina, flew in exile to Spain after being
paroled following conviction for corrupt practices.
1981 Jul 13, Simon Gray's
"Quartermaine's Terms," premiered in London.
1981 Jul 16, Singer Harry
Chapin (38) was killed when his car was struck by a tractor-trailer
on New York’s Long Island Expressway.
1981 Jul 17, In Missouri 114
people were killed when a pair of walkways above the lobby of the
Kansas City Hyatt Regency Hotel collapsed during a tea dance.
1981 Jul 19, Louis Cheslock
(b.1898), composer and author, died in Baltimore.
1981 Jul 22, Turkish extremist
Mehmet Ali Agca was sentenced in Rome to life in prison for shooting
Pope John Paul the Second. Agca was pardoned by Italy in June, 2000,
and sent to Turkey, where he was scheduled to serve time for a
killing that took place before the attack on the pope.
1981 Jul 25, Ian Martin (69),
Scottish-born film and TV actor (Uncle Bill-O'Neills), died in NYC.
1981 Jul 25, In El Salvador 45
farmers were allegedly massacred at the hands of the military in San
Francisco Angulo. In 2014 the Supreme Court ruled that prosecutors
must investigate the massacre.
(SFC, 2/7/14, p.A2)
1981 Jul 27, Adam Walsh (6)
disappeared from a Hollywood mall. Fishermen discovered his severed
head 2 weeks later in a canal 120 miles away. In 2008 police named
Ottis Toole, who had died in prison in 1996, as the murderer. The
2006 Adam Walsh Act obliged states to make their sex offender
(SFC, 12/17/08, p.A7)(Econ, 8/8/09, p.9)
1981 Jul 27, William Wyler
(b.1902), German-born American film director (The Best Years of Our
Lives, Ben Hur), died.
1981 Jul 28, In Guatemala Rev.
Stanley Rother (b.1935) of Oklahoma was shot twice in the head by
three masked men at the parish rectory in Santiago Atitlan. In 2016
the Vatican declared him a martyr. On Sep 23, 2017, Rother was
beatified at a Mass in Oklahoma City.
(SFC, 12/3/16, p.A2)(SSFC, 9/24/17 p.A15)
1981 Jul 29, Robert Moses
(b.1888), "master builder" of mid-20th century New York City, Long
Island, and other suburbs, died. Moses shaped NYC from the 1930s to
the 1960s using urban renewal projects to replace many lively
neighborhoods that became barren and dangerous housing projects.
1981 Jul 29, Britain's Prince
Charles married Lady Diana Spencer at St. Paul's Cathedral in
(TMC, 1994, p.1981)(AP, 7/29/97)
1981 Jul 30, Senegalese troops
aborted an attempt to overthrow the government of Gambia by a
paramilitary field force. Pres. Jawara was restored to power.
1981 Jul 31, A seven-week-old
Major League Baseball strike was resolved. Play resumed on August 9
with the All-Star game.
1981 Jul 31, The leader of
Panama, General Omar Torrijos, died in a plane crash. Michael
Harari, a former Israeli Mossad agent, reorganized, renamed and
trained the Panamanian Defense Forces when Gen. Manuel Noriega
(SFC, 1/2/97, p.A20)(AP,
1981 Jul, In Iran members of
the Union of Communists tried to seize control of the Caspian town
of Amol. At least seventy guerrillas and Pasdaran members were
killed before the uprising was put down.
1981 July, Garret Fitzgerald
(1926-2011), former Irish foreign minister (1973-1977), began
serving his first term as Ireland’s Taoiseach at the head of a
minority Fine Gael-Labour government. He served a 2nd term from
(Econ, 5/28/11, p.91)
1981 Jul, Kenji Urada (37),
Japanese factory worker, was killed by a robot’s hydraulic arm
becoming the 1st recorded victim to die at the hands of robot.
Details of the accident were revealed for the first time on December
8, 1981, following a government investigation.
(Econ, 6/10/06, Survey
1981 Jul-1981 Aug, Some $9
billion in capital leaked out of Mexico due to falling oil prices,
the collapse of the peso, and a foreign debt of $80 billion and
(Econ, 3/6/04, p.77)
1981 Aug 1, The US rock music
video channel MTV, founded by Bob Pittman, made its debut. The first
music video shown on the rock-video cable channel was, "Video Killed
the Radio Star", by the Buggles. In 2007 Saul Austerlitz authored
“Money for Nothing: A History of the Music Video From the Beatles to
the White Stripes."
(WSJ, 3/24/97, p.B1)(AP, 8/1/97)(SSFC, 3/18/07,
p.M2)(Econ, 11/22/08, p.78)
1981 Aug 1, Paddy Chayefsky
(b.1923), dramatist and screenwriter, died of cancer in NYC.
1981 Aug 3, US air traffic
controllers (PATCO) went on strike, despite a warning from President
Reagan they would be fired. Most of the 13,000 controllers defied
Reagan’s order to return to work within 48 hours and were fired.
(AP, 8/3/02)(SFC, 10/4/02, p.A17)
1981 Aug 4, In Bolivia Pres.
Luis Garcia Meza, 1980 military coup leader, was succeeded by Gen.
Celso Torrelio (1933-1999). Meza resigned in the face of outcries at
home and abroad about corruption, cruelty and economic catastrophe.
1981 Aug 5, Pres. Reagan began
firing 11,500 air traffic controllers who had gone out on strike 2
(AP, 8/5/97)(WSJ, 9/3/96, p.A1)
1981 Aug 6, Five people were
killed and one seriously injured when a hot air balloon caught fire
after touching electrical wires and crashed in a suburb of Chicago.
1981 Aug 10, Coca-Cola Bottling
Co agreed to pump $34 million into black businesses.
1981 Aug 10, Richard Nixon
Museum in San Clemente closed (http://tinyurl.com/2n6pvf). On July
11, 2007, the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, Ca., officially opened
as a federal facility.
1981 Aug 12, President Reagan,
citing alleged Libyan involvement in terrorism, ordered U.S. jets to
attack targets in Libya.
1981 Aug 12, IBM introduced the
IBM 5150, better known as the PC, along with PC-DOS version 1.0. The
beige box with 16 kilobytes of memory was priced at $1,565.
1981 Aug 13, In a ceremony at
his California ranch, President Reagan signed a historic package of
tax and budget reductions, also known as the Kemp-Roth tax cuts.
Abstinence-only sex education programs were introduced under Pres.
Reagan. Sponsors Rep. Jack Kemp and Sen. William Roth, had hoped for
more significant tax cuts, but settled on this bill after a great
debate in Congress. The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA) of
1981 included a rider known as the Adolescent Family Life Act
(AFLA), sponsored by Republican Senators Orrin Hatch (Utah) and
Jeremiah Denton (Alabama). AFLA set aside a small but significant
amount of federal money to be used for the promotion of abstinence,
as well as religious instruction in sexual matters within the public
schools. In the first four years following implementation of the tax
reform act annual revenues were reduced by almost 2% of GDP.
8/13/01)(Econ, 11/19/16, p.66)
1981 Aug 14, Pope John Paul II
left a Rome hospital, three months after being wounded in an attempt
on his life.
1981 Aug 14, Karl Bohm
(b.1894), Austrian conductor and early Nazi sympathizer, died.
1981 Aug 17, In Florida James
Dvorak was found bludgeoned to death at Indian Harbor Beach in what
was described as a robbery gone wrong. In 1981 William Dillon was
convicted and sentenced to prison. In 2008 Dillon (49) faced a
retrial after DNA evidence called into question his conviction.
1981 Aug 18, Anita Loos
(b.1888), American writer, died. Her novels included “Gentlemen
Prefer Blondes" (1925). It was made into eponymous films in 1928 and
1953. Loos started writing scenarios for D. W. Griffith while in her
teens, and eventually worked on over sixty films.
1981 Aug 19, Two U.S. Navy F-14
jet fighters shot down a pair of Soviet-built Libyan SU-22s in a
dogfight over the Gulf of Sidra.
1981 Aug 20, The family drama
TV show "The Waltons," which premiered in 1972, was last broadcast
1981 Aug 20, In Northern
Ireland Pat McGeown (1956-1996) lapsed into a coma during the Maze
Prison hunger strike. About 25 men went on strike and a 10th died
when McGeown’s family agreed to medical intervention. This was the
background for the 1996 film “Some Mother’s Son."
1981 Aug 22, In Indianapolis,
Indiana, King Edward Bell (33), a laid-off autoworker, killed his
estranged wife, mother-in-law and 4 children. Bell was sentenced to
six consecutive 40-year prison terms.
1981 Aug 23, Devan Nair
(1923-2005) was elected by Parliament to serve as Singapore’s 3rd
president. He stepped down in 1985 following a sex scandal.
1981 Aug 24, Mark David Chapman
(b.1955) was sentenced in New York to 20 years to life in prison for
the murder of rock star John Lennon.
1981 Aug 25, The US spacecraft
Voyager 2 came within 63,000 miles of Saturn's cloud cover, sending
back pictures and data about the ringed planet and its moons.
1981 Aug 26, Roger Nash Baldwin
(b.1884), one of the founders of the ACLU, died.
1981 Aug 27, Rene Soto clubbed
to death Anselmo Covarrubias in LA County. Maria Suarez (21), a
battered "sex slave" to Covarrubias and witness to the murder, was
convicted of first-degree murder and sent to prison. In 2002 Gov.
Davis rejected a recommended parole for Suarez. In 2003 Gov. Davis
issued a parole. Suarez was released in 2004.
(SSFC, 6/9/02, p.A20)(SFC, 6/22/02, p.A1)(SSFC,
4/6/03, p.A12)(SFC, 5/26/04, p.A1)
1981 Aug 27, Divers recovered
the Banco di Roma safe from the Andrea Doria.
1981 Aug 28, John W. Hinckley
Jr. pleaded innocent to charges of attempting to kill President
Reagan. Hinckley was acquitted in 1982 by reason of insanity.
1981 Aug 28, The US national
Centers for Disease Control, noting a high incidence of Kaposi's
sarcoma and pneumocystis in homosexual men, announced a medical task
force had been formed to find out why. It was later determined the
increased number of illnesses was caused by AIDS.
1981 Aug 29, Lowell Thomas
(89), broadcaster and world traveler died in Pawling, N.Y.
1981 Aug 30, Mohammad Javad
Bahonar, prime minister of Iran, was assassinated by a bomb.
1981 Aug 31, Joseph H.
Hirschhorn (b.1899), Latvia-born US art collector and founder the
Hirschhorn Museum in Washington, DC, died at 82.
1981 Aug, Oliver North (b.1943)
was assigned to White House duty as Chief Middle East arms-sales
adviser to Secretary of Defense Casper W. Weinberger. He was fired
on November 25, 1986, for selling arms to Iran, and diverting Iran
arms sales proceeds to the contras.
1981 Aug, DuPont Corp. bought
Conoco Oil for $7.57 billion.
(WSJ, 1/11/99, p.R46)(http://tinyurl.com/2puezd)
1981 Aug, In Zimbabwe 106
North Koreans arrived to train the new brigade for the National
Army. North Korean-trained troops loyal to President Robert Mugabe
massacred thousands of civilians as the government tried to crush an
uprising led by Joshua Nkomo in the 1980s.
1981 Sep 1, Albert Speer, a
close associate of Adolf Hitler who ran the Nazi war machine, died
at a London hospital at age 76.
1981 Sep 1, In the Central
African Republic army chief Andre Kolingba (d.2010 at 73) took over
power in another coup that deposed independence leader David Dacko.
Kolingba agreed to re-instate a multi-party system in 1991, but
continued to rule until 1993.
1981 Sep 1, In Uruguay Gregorio
Alvarez (b.1926), commander-in-chief of the army (1978-1979), became
the country’s de facto president and continued until Feb 12, 1985.
1981 Sep 2, In Florida Officer
Nathaniel Broom (23) stopped a Volkswagen Beetle on a Miami street
corner with three men inside suspected of taking part in a robbery.
The men ran and Broom, only nine months on the job, gave chase.
Robert Patton (24) shot and killed Broom in a rundown section of
Miami called Overtown.
(Miami Herald, 5/9/21)
1981 Sep 3, California Gov.
Jerry Brown signed a law making Martin Luther King’s birthday a
state holiday. The legislation was the result of 4 years of efforts
by students at Oakland Tech High School.
(SFC, 7/16/08, p.E1)(http://tinyurl.com/5lc58v)
1981 Sep 4, David Brinkley
(1920-2003) ended an illustrious 38-year career with NBC News this
day. ABC had offered him an opportunity too good to refuse.
1981 Sep 4, In Florida Linda
Patterson Slaten (31) was found strangled to death in her Lakeland
apartment. In 2019 genetic genealogy led police to arrest Joseph
Mills (58), her son's former football coach for the crime.
(ABC News, 12/19/19)
1981 Sep 5, Aime Maeght
(b.1906), French painter and art dealer, died. In 1964 he and his
wife founded the Marguerite and Aime Maeght Foundation in honor of a
son lost to leukemia in the 1950s.
(http://tinyurl.com/kqt5ow2)(Econ, 7/26/14, p.71)
1981 Sep 6, "They're Playing
Our Song" closed at Imperial NYC after 1082 performances.
1981 Sep 8, Civil rights
activist Roy Wilkins (80), former head of the NAACP, died in NYC.
1981 Sep 10, Pablo Picasso’s
painting Guernica was returned to Spain and installed in Madrid’s
Prado Museum. Picasso had stated in his will that the painting was
not to return to Spain until the Fascists lost power and democracy
1981 Sep 12, George Leong,
poet, organized the first Annual Asian American Jazz Festival.
(SFC, 5/12/96, p.C-1)
1981 Sep 12, The TV show
"People's Court" (1981-1993) premiered with retired Judge Joseph
Wopner premiered. Rusty Burrell was the bailiff (d.2002).
1981 Sep 13, In the 33rd Emmy
Awards winners included Taxi, Hill St Blue, Judd Hirsh & Isabel
1981 Sep 13, William Loeb
(b.1905), publisher of Manchester Union Leader, NH, died at 75.
1981 Sep 15, The US Senate
Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to approve the Supreme Court
nomination of Sandra Day O'Connor.
1981 Sep 16, Pres. Reagan
announced his intention to appoint Edgar Callahan (d.2009 at 80) as
chairman of the National Credit Union Administration, making him the
highest-ranking credit union regulator in the country. Callahan,
former director the Department of Financial Institutions in
Illinois, stepped down in 1987 after guiding the industry into
1981 Sep 18, A museum honoring
former President Ford was dedicated in Grand Rapids, Mich.
1981 Sep 18, The French
National Assembly voted to abolish the death penalty. This in effect
outlawed execution by the guillotine.
(SFEC, 2/9/97, Z1
1981 Sep 19, Simon &
Garfunkel reunite for a NYC Central Park concert.
1981 Sep 21, The US Senate
unanimously confirmed the nomination of Sandra Day O'Connor to
become the first female justice on the Supreme Court.
1981 Sep 21, Belize under
leader George Price (1919-2011) gained independence from Britain and
joined the UN under protests from Guatemala. As head of the centrist
People's United Party, Price served two terms as prime minister,
1981-84 and 1989-1993.
1981 Sep 23, The Reagan
administration announced plans for what became known as Radio Marti.
1981 Sep 23, Home Depot went
public in an IPO offering of $3 million of stock. The company was
founded by Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank, formerly of the Handy
Dandy hardware chain. The 1st know case of backdating stock options
took place this year with Home Depot. In 1999 they authored "Built
From Scratch" ghost-written by Bob Andelman. In 1999 Chris Roush
published "Inside Home Depot."
(WSJ, 5/4/99, p.A20)(WSJ, 12/27/06,
1981 Sep 23, Chief Dan George
(b.1899), actor, died at 82 in British Columbia, Canada. His films
included “Harry & Tonto" (1974) and “Little Big Man" (1970). He
was born Geswanouth Slahoot on a First Nations Reserve in North
Vancouver. His English name was Dan Slaholt. His last name was
changed to George when he entered a residential school at the age of
1981 Sep 24, Four Armenian
gunmen seized the Turkish consulate in Paris, holding 60 hostages
for 15 hours before surrendering.
1981 Sep 25, Sandra Day
O'Connor was sworn in as the first female justice on the U.S.
(AP, 9/25/97)(HN, 9/25/98)
1981 Sep 26, The twin-engine
Boeing 767 made its maiden flight in Everett, Wash.
1981 Sep 28, US Pres. Ronald
Reagan designated, October 24, 1981, as United Nations Day. In 2002,
September 21 was declared the annual date for "commemorating and
strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations
1981 Sep, The CIA was informed
that a major Contra rebel group planned to sell drugs in the US to
pay its bills. At the same time the Reagan administration was
approving a covert CIA program to finance anti-Sandinista exile
organization attempts to overthrow the Nicaraguan government.
(SFC, 11/4/98, p.A14)
1981 Sep, Salomon Brothers
merged with Phibro Corp. and dumped 62 partners including Michael
Bloomberg. He received $10 million and went on to start a financial
information empire. South Africa’s AngloAmerican mining
conglomerate, owned 27.3% of Phibro's stock through Anglo's
subsidiary, the Minerals and Resources Corporation (Minorco).
1981 Sep, The body of Patricia
Parker was discovered in Dade County, Georgia, near the Tennessee
border, but she was listed as a “Jane Doe" for 39 years. In 2020 her
remains were identified through DNA samples provided by her son
after the Georgia Bureau of Investigation released a sketch and a
clay rendering of the woman last March, calling for assistance in
her identification. She is believed to have fallen victim to Samuel
Little, one of the nation’s most prolific serial killers. In 2020
Little was serving consecutive life sentences for murder after
confessing to killing 93 women.
1981 Sep, In Iran a Supreme
Judicial Council circular to the revolutionary courts permitted
death sentences for "active members" of guerrilla groups. Fifty
executions a day became routine; there were days when more than 100
persons were executed.
1981 Oct 1, Malcolm De Chazal
(b.1902), Mauritian writer and painter, died. His “Sens-Plastique"
consisted of several thousand aphorisms and pensées. “The sun is
pure communism everywhere except in cities, where it's private
1981 Oct 2, In Iran
Hojjatoleslam Ali Khamenehi was elected president.
1981 Oct 3, IRA prisoners at
Maze Prison in Belfast, Northern Ireland, ended a seven-month hunger
strike in which 10 men died. Imprisoned Irish Republic Army leader
Bobby Sands initiated the protest on March 1, the fifth anniversary
of the British policy of "Criminalization" of Irish political
prisoners. Many of these prisoners did not have trials.
1981 Oct 5, President Ronald
Reagan signed a resolution granting honorary American citizenship to
Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, credited with saving about
100,000 Hungarians, most of them Jews, from the Nazis during WW II.
He became the second honorary American. Winston Churchill was the
1981 Oct 6, Egyptian Pres.
Anwar Sadat was killed by Islambouli, an Islamic fundamentalist
(Takfir wal Hijra) and Egyptian army lieutenant, at the parade
ground of Nasser City during a ceremony commemorating the Egyptian
crossing of the Suez Canal during the Yom Kippur War in 1973.
Although authorities were warned of a death plot hours earlier, the
information did not get to the president in time. Abboud and Tarek
el-Zomor were convicted in 1984 of plotting the assassination and of
belonging to the outlawed Islamic Jihad group, but not of actually
killing Sadat. The two were sentenced to 20 years in prison. The
five prime suspects, including the shooter, were captured and
executed. The events are described in a book by Fouad Allam: "The
Brotherhood and I." In 2000 Mohammad Khan produced the film "Days of
Sadat," starring Ahmed Zaki.
(SFC, 4/26/96, p.A-12)(HNQ, 7/12/98)(SFC, 6/5/00,
p.A8)(WSJ, 3/29/04, p.A16)(AP, 3/11/11)
1981 Oct 7, Egypt's parliament
named Vice President Hosni Mubarak to succeed the assassinated Anwar
Sadat. He tolerated the Muslim Brotherhood.
(WSJ, 12/8/95, p.A-8)(AP, 10/7/97)
1981 Oct 8, At the White House,
President Reagan greeted former presidents Carter, Ford and Nixon,
who were preparing to travel to Egypt for the funeral of Anwar
1981 Oct 8, An explosive device
at the Univ. of Utah was defused. It was later attributed to the
Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski.
(SFEC,11/9/97, Z1 p.4)
1981 Oct 10, Funeral services
were held in Cairo for Egyptian leader Anwar Sadat, who had been
assassinated by Muslim extremists.
1981 Oct 13, Voters in Egypt
elected Vice President Hosni Mubarak the new president in a
referendum with a 98.5% vote, one week after the assassination of
(AP, 10/13/97)(AP, 7/9/04)
1981 Oct 14, Hosni Mubarak, the
new president of Egypt, was sworn in to succeed the assassinated
Anwar Sadat. Mubarak pledged loyalty to Sadat's policies.
1981 Oct 16, Harvey Fierstein's
"Torch Song Trilogy," premiered off-Broadway in NYC.
1981 Oct 16, William Holden
(b.1918), actor (Network), died at 63.
1981 Oct 16, Israeli war hero
Moshe Dayan died in Tel Aviv at age 66.
1981 Oct 17 - 1981, Oct 18, In
San Francisco over 145,000 attended two concerts by the Rolling
Stones at Candlestick Park.
(SSFC, 12/22/13, p.A14)
1981 Oct 18, Greeks elected
socialist Andreas Papandreou (1919-1996) as prime minister. He
served a first term until 1989 and a second term from 1993-1996.
1981 Oct 18, In Poland General
Jaruzelski (b.1923) was elected party leader. He led the country to
(www.historyguide.org/europe/jaruzelski.html)(SFC, 10/24/96, p.C3)
1981 Oct 19, Ohio's capital
punishment law took effect. By 2021 336 people were sentenced to
death and 56 executions were carried out but the system reached a
standstill now as the state was unable to acquire lethal injection
1981 Oct 20, Three members of
the radical Weather Underground were arrested following a bungled
armored truck robbery in Nanuet, N.Y., where a guard was killed. 2
police officers were killed when the getaway truck was halted in
Nyack. Susan Rosenberg assisted in surveillance, driving a getaway
car and passing orders. Kathy Boudin was sentenced 20 years to life
for assisting in the getaway. In 2003 Boudin was paroled and Susan
Braudy authored "Family Circle," an account of the Boudin family.
Rosenberg was arrested in Nov 1984 while unloading a cache of
weapons in New Jersey and received a 58-year sentence for her role
in the robbery. Pres. Clinton commuted Rosenberg’s sentence in 2001.
(AP, 10/20/01)(SFC, 8/21/03, p.A6)(WSJ, 11/26/03,
p.D10)(WSJ, 12/2/04, p.W15)
1981 Oct 20, In New York Brinks
security guard Peter Paige was killed in a $1.6 million holdup of an
armored truck at a suburban mall in Rockland County. In 1988 Mutula
Shakur was sentenced to 60 years in prison for his role in the
killing and masterminding a series of deadly armed robberies as part
of the “Family" political group.
(SFC, 4/4/16, p.A5)
1981 Oct 22, The Professional
Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) was decertified by the
US federal government for its strike the previous August.
1981 Oct 23, The US national
debt hit $1 trillion.
1981 Oct 25, Ariel
Durant (83), US author, died. She was co-author and collaborator on
several of her husband’s (Will Durant: 1885-1981) works. They
received the Pulitzer Prize for the eleven volume series: “The Story
of Civilization" (1935-1975). Born Chaya, which means "life" (Ida in
English) Kaufman on May 10, 1898 in Proskurov (now Khmelnitski)
Russia to Jewish parents, she immigrated with her mother, three
sisters and older brother to the US, landing in New York in November
of 1901. She married Will in 1913 when she was 15 and he was 28, and
preceded him in death by a matter of days.
1981 Oct 27, In an incident
that became known as “Whiskey-on-the-rocks" Soviet Whiskey-class
submarine S-363, ran aground near Karlskrona, a Swedish naval base.
Sweden designated it U137.
1981 Oct 28, The US Senate
voted for the sale of AWACS to Saudi Arabia. Fred Dutton
(1923-2005), Washington counsel and lobbyist for Saudi Arabia,
helped get US congressional approval for a 2nd major arms sale to
(http://tinyurl.com/98qre)(SFC, 6/28/05, p.B5)
1981 Oct 31, In Georgia (US) a
Jane Doe murder victim remained nameless since her body was
discovered in a cornfield in Dixie on Halloween. George Newsome was
arrested shortly after the murder and police found the rope that had
been used to strangle the girl in a motor home he owned. Newsome
died in 1988, but never revealed the identity of his victim. In 2020
she was identified through DNA testing as Shirlene Cheryl Hammack.
(ABC News, 1/10/20)
1981 Oct, A South San Francisco
measure to prevent the development of San Bruno Mountain failed
decisively. The Citizen's Action League opposed the development of
San Bruno Mountain and placed an initiative that would deny
municipal services to developer W.W. Dean Co. unless the southern
slope and the Juncus Ravine were donated to the county park. After
the vote the developer donated the Juncus Ravine, filed for
bankruptcy and withdrew from the project.
(Ind, 4/27/99, p.1,12A)
1981 Oct, Tarek el-Zomor and
his cousin, a lieutenant in the Egyptian army, were arrested for
plotting Sadat's assassination and belonging to the outlawed Islamic
Jihad group, but they did not shoot the president. In 1984 they were
sentenced to 20 years prison, the maximum term under Egyptian law.
Zomor was released from prison in 2005.
1981 Oct, The Somali National
Movement (SNM) rebels elected Ahmad Mahammad Culaid and Ahmad
Ismaaiil Abdi as chairman and secretary general, respectively, of
1981 Oct, The Somali Salvation
Front (SSF) merged with the radical-left Somali Workers Party (SWP)
and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Somalia (DFLS) to
form the Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF).
1981 Oct, In Sri Lanka the
Tamil Tiger insurgency began in earnest as Velupillai Prabhakaran
(1954-2009) shot 2 soldiers running errands in Jaffna.
(AP, 5/18/09)(Econ, 5/30/09, p.44)(Econ, 6/6/09,
1981 Nov 1, Antigua and Barbuda
gained independence from Britain.
1981 Nov 3, In Milpitas, Ca.,
Anthony Jacques Broussard, a high school student (16), strangled and
killed Marcy Conrad, his girl friend (14), dumped her body on a
river bank and gave tours to his friends, who never reported the
crime. The 1986 film "River's Edge" was later made based on the
murder. On December 3, 1982 Broussard was sentenced in a San Jose,
California court to 25 years to life for the strangulation death of
Conrad. He was to be eligible for parole after 16 years and 8 months
(SFC, 5/10/03, p.A1)(http://tinyurl.com/32kdam)
1981 Nov 3, H.C. Westermann
(b.1922), sculptor, died. His work, which included "Memorial to the
Idea of Man if He Was an Idea" (1958), was laced with dark humor.
(WSJ, 4/18/02, p.D7)(http://tinyurl.com/3dxl4t)
1981 Nov 5, Dr. George
Nichopoulas of Tennessee was acquitted of over prescribing addictive
drugs for Elvis Presley.
1981 Nov 5, In Iraq Mazen
Salman Kahachi and his high school senior class were arrested after
one member wrote an anti-government message on a blackboard. 7 were
later reported executed and the other 56 were left unaccounted.
(SFC, 4/24/03, A12)
1981 Nov 7, Will Durant
(b.1885), historian, died at age 96. He managed to complete 21 of a
projected 23 chapters in his last book "Heroes of History" before
his death. The book was published in 2001.
1981 Nov 9, In Mauritania the
1980 decree by Pres. Haidalla outlawing slavery was translated into
law, however the legislation failed to criminalize it.
1981 Nov 10, Abel Gance
(b.1889), French movie director, died in Paris. In 1919 he achieved
international recognition for his 3 hour epic “J’Accuse," a powerful
anti-war film which included location filming of battles shot
towards the end of World War I. His films also included “Napoleon"
1981 Nov 10, In South Africa
Durban human rights attorney Griffiths Mxenge was found slain.
Mxenge was stabbed 46 times by a police death squad that included
Dirk Coetzee. In July 1985 his wife Victoria Mxenge was attacked by
four men in the driveway of her home in Umlazi, Durban. She was
stabbed and shot shortly after disembarking from a family friend’s
1981 Nov 11, Stuntman Dan
Goodwin scaled the outside of the 100-story John Hancock Center in
Chicago in nearly six hours.
1981 Nov 12, The Double Eagle V
landed in California 84 hours and 31 minutes following its Nov 10
launch in Japan. It was the 1st balloon to cross the Pacific ocean.
Rocky Aoki (1938-2008), founder of the Benihana steakhouse (1964),
was part of the crew.
(http://www.benihana.com/ballooning_history.asp)(SFC, 7/12/08, p.B5)
1981 Nov 14, In Egypt the
weight of Lake Nasser unexpectedly triggered earthquakes, such
as the 5.2 magnitude quake on Nov 14, 1981.
(NG, May 1985, p.603)(http://tinyurl.com/349x3j)
1981 Nov 16, Actor William
Holden (63) was found dead in his apartment in Santa Monica, Calif.
He likely died Nov 12 following a fall in his home.
1981 Nov 18, In Los Angeles
Kazuyoshi Miura and his wife (28), visitors from Japan, were shot in
a downtown parking lot. His wife went into a coma and later died in
Japan. In 1985 Miura was arrested on suspicion of assaulting his
wife for insurance money and in 1994 he was convicted of murder. In
1998 a Japanese high court overturned the sentence. In 2008 Miura
was arrested in Saipan. He was extradited to the US and committed
suicide by hanging on Oct 10, 4 days prior to arraignment on murder
conspiracy charges. He was 61.
(SSFC, 2/24/08, p.B3)(SFC, 10/15/08, p.B4)
1981 Nov 18, Achilles G.
Rizzoli (b.1896), SF architectural visionary, died. He created a
2,600 page illustrated philosophical tract. The first book on his
art by Jo Farb Hernandez, John Beardsley and Roger Cardinal was
published in 1997: "A.G. Rizzoli: Architect of Magnificent Visions."
His apparent architectural drawings were "symbolizations" of people
3/22/98, DB p.9)(SFEC, 4/12/98, p.D5)(SFC, 9/7/13, p.C1)
1981 Nov 19, US Steel agreed to
pay $6.3 million for Marathon Oil.
1981 Nov 25, In the Seychelle
Islands a group of mercenaries poising as a touring rugby team
staged an ill-fated attempted takeover of the country.
1981 Nov 27, Lotte Lenya
(b.1898), Vienna-born singer, actress, wife of Kurt Weill (Three
Penny Opera, From Russia With Love), died of cancer in NY.
1981 Nov 28, "Open All Night"
(TV Comedy) debut on ABC.
1981 Nov 28, Bear Bryant of the
Univ. of Alabama won his 315th game to out distance Alonzo Stagg
& become college football's winningest coach.
1981 Nov 29, Actress Natalie
Wood (b.1938) drowned off Santa Catalina, Calif. In 2001 Suzanne
Finstad authored "Natasha: The Biography of Natalie Wood." In 2004
Gavin Lambert authored "Natalie Wood: A Life." In 2013 officials
released a 10-page addendum to her autopsy. It cited unexplained
bruises and scratches on her face and arms. In 2018 new witnesses
emerged prompting investigators to deem her case a “suspicious
(AP, 11/29/97)(SSFC, 7/22/01, DB p.62)(SSFC,
1/25/04, p.M2)(SFC, 1/15/13, p.A4)(SFC, 2/2/18, p.A7)
1981 Nov 30, The United States
and the Soviet Union opened negotiations in Geneva aimed at reducing
nuclear weapons in Europe.
1981 Nov, In California Henry
Vila (62) and his wife Edith (59) were stabbed to death in their
Albany hill home during a robbery. DNA evidence in 2002 identified
Charles Jackson, a recently deceased Folsom inmate, as her killer.
(SFC, 3/19/02, p.A10)(SFC, 9/30/05, p.B5)
1981 Nov, John Davies (15)
disappeared from his home in Belmont, Ca. In 1986 Jon Dunkle, while
in prison for robbery, admitted killing Davies and drew a map that
led police to his remains. In 2005 the California Supreme Court
upheld a death sentence for Dunkle (44).
(SFC, 8/5/05, p.B4)
1981 Nov, In France Pres.
Francois Mitterrand was diagnosed with prostate cancer but the
information was kept secret until disclosed by his physician, Dr.
Claude Gubler, in his 1996 book "The Great Secret." A court banned
release of the book.
(SFC, 10/24/96, p.C3)
1981 Nov 29, Honduras held
presidential elections. A total of 1,214,735 Hondurans, 80.7 percent
of those registered, voted, giving the PLH a sweeping victory.
1981 Nov, San Francisco Mayor
Diane Feinstein established Fleet Week as an annual celebration for
Columbus Day weekend.
(SFC, 10/6/99, p.A19)
1981 Nov, Col. Ryszard
Kuklinski fled Poland to the US. He had served as a US CIA spy and
reported on activities from 1972-1981. He passed some 35,000 pages
of classified Warsaw pack documents. In 2004 Benjamin Weiser
authored "A Secret Life," an account of Kuklinski's life as a spy.
(SFC, 4/28/98, p.A10)(WSJ, 2/3/04, p.A8)
1981 Dec 1, 180 people were
killed when a chartered Yugoslav DC-9 jetliner slammed into a
mountain while approaching Ajaccio Airport in Corsica.
1981 Dec 2, In SF the 300,000
sq-foot Moscone Convention Center opened.
(SFEC, 3/8/98, p.W43)
1981 Dec 2, Hershy Kay
(b.1919), composer, died.
1981 Dec 4, "Falcon Crest"
premiered on CBS-TV and ran to 1990.
1981 Dec 4, President Reagan
broadened the power of the CIA by allowing spying in the U.S. This
was Executive Order on Intelligence No 12,333. The order also
(HN, 12/4/98)(Econ, 2/20/10,
1981 Dec 6, Harry Harlow
(b.1905), psychologist, died. He spent his entire professional
career teaching at the University of Wisconsin from 1930-1974. His
focus of research was on the learning abilities in primates and he
observed the phenomenon of 'learning to learn.' His work with infant
monkeys and their surrogate mothers (terrycloth dummies)
demonstrated the importance of bonding between primate mothers and
infants for emotional health and growth. In 2003 Deborah Blum
authored "Love at Goon Park: Harry Harlow and the Science of
1981 Dec 7, The Reagan
Administration predicted a record deficit in 1982 of $109 billion.
1981 Dec 9, In Philadelphia
Mumia Abu Jamal shot and killed Officer Daniel Faulkner shortly
after the officer stopped William Cook, Jamal’s brother (see July 3,
(SFC, 3/28/08, p.A4)
1981 Dec 11, Concerned about
the safety of Americans in Libya, the Reagan administration asked
them to leave. It also invalidated the use of US passports for
travel to Libya.
1981 Dec 11, In El Salvador
hundreds of people were killed over 3 days in the village of El
Mozote by an elite US-trained army battalion led by Commander
Domingo Monterrosa. In 1991 the office of Maria Julia Hernandez
(1939-2007) published the first investigation into El Mozote. In
1992, under a UN sponsored Truth Commission, the Argentine Forensic
Anthropology Team found 143 skeletons, 131 of which belonged to
children under 12. The bullet cartridges showed manufacture in Lake
City, Mo. In Dec, 2012, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights
ruled that El Salvador should reopen its investigation into the
army’s killing of some 1000 civilians.
(SFC, 5/12/96, Z1p.4)(Econ, 4/14/07, p.97)(SFC,
12/12/12, p.A2)(Econ, 6/8/19, p.33)
1981 Dec 11, The U.N. Security
Council chose Javier Perez de Cuellar of Peru to be the fifth
secretary-general of the world body. He served to 1992.
(SFC, 12/14/96, p.A1)(AP, 12/11/97)
1981 Dec 12, "Waiting For A
Girl Like You" by Foreigner hit #1 on the pop singles chart and
stayed there for 3 weeks.
1981 Dec 12-1982 Dec 31, In
Poland Gen’l. Jaruzelski imposed martial law, effective at midnight,
restricting civil rights and suspending operation of the independent
trade union Solidarity in a crackdown on the Solidarity labor
movement. Polish labor leader Lech Walesa was arrested. Martial law
formally ended in 1983. Women kept the organization going as most
male leaders were arrested. In 2005 Shana Penn authored
“Solidarity’s Secret: The Women Who Defeated Communism in Poland.
1981 Dec 14, Israel annexed the
Golan Heights, seized from Syria in 1967. The parliament approved
the annexation of the Golan Heights with legislation in one day.
(SFC,12/11/97, p.C2)(AP, 12/14/97)
1981 Dec 15, In Garden Grove,
Ca., market owner Packawan Wattanaporn was found strangled to death
and Quach Nguyen was stabbed to death. Jaturun Siripongs was later
convicted for the crime and faced the death penalty in 1998. He
admitted to the robbery but not the killings.
(SFC, 11/14/98, p.A1,9)
1981 Dec 15, In Lebanon the
Iraqi wife of Syrian poet Nizar Qabbani, was killed in the suicide
bombing of the Iraqi Embassy in Beirut during the Lebanese civil
war. The explosion leveled the embassy and killed 61 people.
1981 Dec 16, In Poland riot
police opened fire on protesting miners in Katowice. Nine were
killed 25 wounded. A 4 year trial acquitted 22 riot police in 1997.
In 2008 a court upheld the conviction of 14 policemen involved in
(SFC,11/22/97, p.C2)(Econ, 6/28/08, p.58)
1981 Dec 17, Red Brigade
terrorists kidnapped Brigadier General James Dozier, the
highest-ranking US NATO officer in southern Europe, from his home in
Verona, Italy. Dozier was rescued 42 days later.
(HN, 12/17/98)(AP, 12/17/04)
1981 Dec 20, Harry Krieger and
Tom Eyen's musical "Dreamgirls" opened at Imperial Theater in NYC
for 1522 performances.
1981 Dec 22, Zdzislaw Rurarz
(1930-2007), Polish ambassador to Japan, defected to the US to
protest the imposition of martial law. Romuald Spasowski, the
ambassador to the United States, also defected.
1981 Dec 27, Hoagy Carmichael
(b.1899), US actor, songwriter (Stardust), died in California at age
82. His songs included "Stardust" and over 600 other melodies.
(WSJ, 9/9/99, p.A24)(SFC, 11/25/99,
1981 Dec 28, Elizabeth Jordan
Carr, the first American test-tube baby, was born in Norfolk, Va.
Dr. Mason Andrews (1919-2006) performed the delivery by cesarean
(AP, 12/28/97)(SFC, 10/16/06, p.B6)
1981 Dec 29, President Reagan
curtailed Soviet trade in reprisal for its harsh policy in Poland.
1981 Dec 31, CNN launched
1981 Dec 31, The Blue and Gold
Fleet discontinued its ferry service between Berkeley and SF due to
low usage. The service had operated for 5 months averaging 169
passengers a day.
(SFC, 12/30/05, p.F2)
1981 Dec 31, In Ghana Lt. Jerry
Rawlings, a young fighter pilot toppled Pres. Hilla Limann.
(SFEC, 1/25/98, p.A22)
1981 Dec, In California Betty
Jo Grunzweig (37) was raped and stabbed to death in her home in
Oakland’s Trestle Glen District. DNA evidence in 2002 identified
Charles Jackson, a recently deceased Folsom inmate, as her killer.
(SFC, 3/19/02, p.A10)(SFC, 9/30/05, p.B5)
1981 Dec, In California Gail
Leslie Slocum (34) was stabbed to death in her home in Oakland’s
Rockridge District. DNA evidence in 2002 identified Charles Jackson,
a recently deceased Folsom inmate, as her killer.
(SFC, 3/19/02, p.A10)
1981 Dec, In Nicaragua Contra
commander Enrique Bermudez (d.1991), a CIA agent, ordered Meneses
and Blandon to begin trafficking in support of the Contras. Oscar
Danilo Blandon had been recruited by Norwin Meneses to sell cocaine
in California in order to raise money for the Nicaraguan Contras.
(SFC, 11/27/96, p.A2) (SFEC, 6/28/98, BR p.3)
1981 Hoang Dang, Vietnamese
artist, painted "A Corner of the Fish Market."
(SFC, 5/19/96, DB, p.15)
1981 Willem de Kooning
(1904-1997), Netherlands born artist, painted his work Pirate
(Untitled II). In 1995 he created his work "Untitled XLII," a time
when his mental facilities began to waiver.
1981 A 38-foor tall
flashlight (74,000 lbs.) by Claes Oldenburg was transported
across the country from Connecticut and placed on the campus of the
Univ. of Nevada in Las Vegas.
(Smith., Aug. 1995, p.79.)
1981 Charles Fuller,
playwright, wrote "A Soldier's Play."
(SFEC, 5/30/99, DB p.37)
1981 James Bamford authored
"The Puzzle Palace," a look at the US National Security Agency
(NSA). In 2001 he updated the work in "Body of Secrets."
(WSJ, 5/9/01, p.A24)
1981 "The Indian in the
Cupboard" by Lynne Reid Banks was published. It was illustrated by
(SFEC, 2/27/00, BR p.12)
1981 Jonas Barish (d.1998 at
76) wrote "The Antitheatrical Prejudice," a survey of the history of
hostility to theater from the time of Plato to the present.
(SFC, 4/4/98, p.A24)
1981 Kenneth Blanchard and
Spencer Johnson self-published "The One Minute Manager." The book
became a best seller and they signed with a publisher in 1982. In
2001 it was reported that much of the book was plagiarized from a
1976 article by Arthur Elliott Carlisle titled "MacGregor" and
published in the journal Organizational Dynamics.
(WSJ, 6/22/01, p.W17)
1981 Daniel Halevi Bloom,
American-Jewish author, invented the characters Bubbie and Zadie,
Yiddish for grandma and grandpa, as an alternative to Santa Claus.
In 1985 he wrote “Bubbie and Zadie Come to My House" and invited
Jewish children to respond with letters.
(SFC, 12/22/06, p.A1)
1981 Lynne Cheney, wife of Dick
Cheney, authored a racy historical romance titled "Sisters." Plans
to reissue the novel in 2004 were cancelled.
(SFC, 4/3/04, p.A2)
1981 Prof. Arthur C. Danto
wrote "The Transfiguration of the Commonplace," his first book on
(SFEC, 2/23/97, BR p.9)
1981 Eddie Fisher, singer,
published his 1st memoir: "Eddie: My Life and Loves." In 1999 he
authored a more detailed account: "Been There: Done That," with
unrelated writer David Fisher.
(WSJ, 10/8/99, p.AW14)
1981 Philip L. Fradkin
(1935-2012) authored “A River No More," about the taming of the
(SFC, 7/11/12, p.C5)
1981 Dr. John W. Gofman
(1919-2007), physician and nuclear chemist, authored his 908-page
volume “Radiation & Human Health."
(SFC, 8/28/07, p.B5)
1981 Nadine Gordimer, 1991
Nobel Prize winner, authored "July’s People." It was set in a
futuristic South Africa roiling from racial revolution. In 2001 it
was struck from the approved reading list for the 12th grade by the
Education Department of Gauteng.
(WSJ, 4/20/01, p.A14)
1981 "The Mismeasure of Man" by
Stephen Jay Gould was first released. A new edition came out in
1996. The work was an attack on biological determinism.
(SFEC, 9/8/96, BR p.11)
1981 Alasdair Gray, Scottish
novelist, published his novel "Lanark."
(SFC, 5/19/96, BR, p.7)
1981 Emily Hahn (1905-1997)
wrote: "The Islands: America’s Imperial Adventures in the
(SFC, 2/19/96, p.A20)
1981 Hannibal Lecter first
appeared in the book "Red Dragon" by Thomas Harris, and then in 1988
in "Silence of the Lambs," made into a 1991 Oscar-winning movie with
Anthony Hopkins as Lecter. In 2007 a Lithuanian travel agency
offered a tour of Vilnius as part of a theme package for the
fictional character’s native country.
1981 Tracy Kidder published
"The Soul of a New Machine."
(WSJ, 3/4/99, p.A12)
1981 Kiyoshi Kuromiya (d.2000)
and Buckminster Fuller co-wrote "Critical Path," their vision of a
bountiful future created by technology.
(SFC, 5/30/00, p.A26)
1981 Barbara Leaming wrote her
critical biography of director Roman Polanski: "The Filmmaker as
(SFC, 5/22/98, p.C3)
1981 Mario Vargas Llosa of
Peru wrote a fictional account of the 1893-1897 events at Canudos,
Brazil, in the epic work: "The War of the End of the World."
(SFC, 10/7/97, p.A14)
1981 Lynn Margulis wrote
"Symbiosis in Cell Evolution." She proposed that three types of
prokaryotes fused biologically to create the first living cells with
(Wired, 2/98, p.174)
1981 Rosario Mazzeo (d.1997 at
86), clarinetist, wrote "The Clarinet: Excellence and Artistry."
(SFC, 7/31/97, p.A16)
1981 Wright Morris
(d.1998 at 88) won an American Book Award for his novel "Plains
(SFC, 5/1/98, p.D7)
1981 V.S. Naipaul wrote "Among
the Believers." It featured stories on the effects of Islam in
Indonesia, Iran, Pakistan and Malaysia. In 1998 he published "Beyond
Belief: Islamic Excursions Among the Converted Peoples."
(WSJ, 7/14/98, p.A16)(SFEC, 8/23/98, BR p.9)
1981 Jane Nelson, a family
councilor and child-care guru, self-published “Positive Discipline."
(Econ, 1/11/14, p.27)
1981 V.A. Pritchett (1900-1997)
edited the "Oxford Book of Short Stories."
(SFC, 3/22/97, p.A21)
1981 Arthur J. Quinn (d.1997 at
54) wrote "The Broken Shore," a history of Marin County, Ca., wound
with great themes of western civilization.
(SFC, 5/17/97, p.A20)
1981 Vito Russo (1946-1990),
gay activist, authored “The Celluloid Closet" in which he decoded
Hollywood films for queer content. A film version, released in 1996,
was made by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman.
(SFC, 10/15/04, p.F1)(SSFC, 7/10/11,
1981 Amartyra Sen, Indian
economist, published "Poverty and Famine." He won the Nobel Prize in
economics in 1998.
(SFC, 10/15/98, p.A2)
1981 Prof. Edward Shils
(d.1995) published "Tradition," in which he explored what difference
tradition makes in human life.
(WSJ, 7/21/97, p.A22)
1981 Marjorie Shostak wrote
Nisa: "The Life and Words of a !Kung Woman." The book featured her
photos and was based on field work from 1968-1971 in the Kalahari
(SFEC, 10/9/96, C2)
1981 Martin Cruz Smith
introduced Russian police investigator Arkady Renko in his
best-selling novel “Gorky Park."
(WSJ, 11/19/04, p.W16)
1981 Geoffrey de Ste. Croix
(1910-2000), British Marxist historian, authored "The Class Struggle
in the Ancient World, From the Archaic Age to the Arab Conquests."
(SFC, 2/15/00, p.A21)
1981 Preble Stolz (1931-1996)
wrote "Judging Judges, The Investigation of Rose Bird and the
California Supreme Court." The book investigated the 1979 charges
that the court delayed release of decisions for political reasons.
(SFC, 6/13/96, p.A25)
1981 Jacobo Timerman (d.1999 at
76), Argentine journalist, published "Prisoner Without a Name, Cell
Without a Number" from Israel.
(SFC, 11/12/99, p.D6)
1981 John Kennedy Toole was
awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his book "A Confederacy of Dunces."
Toole had committed suicide in 1969. His mother got Walker Percy to
read the novel and Percy got the Louisiana State Univ. Press to
(WSJ, 9/30/99, p.A1)
1981 Anne Tolstoi Wallach
(1929-2018) authored "Women's Work," her debut novel that brought an
advance of $850,000 from the New American Library publishing house.
(SSFC, 7/1/18, p.C10)
1981 Thomas Whiteside (d.1997
at 79) wrote his 11th book: "The Blockbuster Complex," a study of
changes in the publishing industry. He wrote for the New Yorker
magazine and made a career of tackling complex topics.
(SFC, 10/13/97, p.A23)
1981 The volunteer Northern
California Book Reviewers (BABRA) group began a Northern California
Book Awards program. Fred Cody, owner of Cody’s bookstore in
Berkeley, was one of the co-founders.
(SFC, 4/15/06, p.E3)
1981 The musical "Woman of the
Year" with Lauren Bacall opened on Broadway.
(SFEC, 5/18/97, Par p.7)
1981 The Australian film
"Gallipoli" was directed by Peter Weir (b.1944).
(SFEC,12/21/97, DB p.51)
1981 The film "Mad Max II" with
Mel Gibson was filmed near Broken Hill in New South Wales,
(Hem., 2/97, p.91)
1981 The film “Lion in the
Desert" by Syrian-American producer Moustapha Akkad (d.2005) told
the story of Omar Mukhtar, hero of the Libyan resistance to Italian
colonization during the Mussolini era.
(SFC, 11/24/05, p.E2)
1981 Robert Redford founded a
Film Festival in Sundance, Utah. In 1985 the festival moved to Park
City, Utah. In 1991 it was named the Sundance Film Festival.
1981 The Jewish Film Festival
began in SF.
(SFEC, 7/13/97, DB p.36)
1981 Robert Hughes pioneered
art history with the public TV presentation "The Shock of the New."
It was a popular survey of modernism and was accompanied by a
(SFEC, 5/18/97, DB p.40)
1981 The TV sitcom "Gimme a
Break!" began and run to 1987. Singer Nell Carter (d.2003 at 54)
played the housekeeper.
(SFC, 1/24/03, p.A2)
1981 The TV sitcom "Love
Sidney" with Tony Randall premiered. The character’s homosexuality
was implied but never stated openly.
(SFEC, 3/30/97, DB. p.35)
1981 CBS Reports did a 5 hour
special on the Defense of the United States.
(Wired, Dec., '95, p.122)
1981 CNN Headline News was
begun on the Cable News Network (CNN). CNN Headline new began in
(SFC, 12/27/96, p.A24)(BS, 5/3/98, p.6B)
1981 "Entertainment Tonight"
began on TV. It was among the first programs to be distribute by
(SFEC, 5/24/98, DB p.39)
1981 The Smurfs TV cartoon show
for kids began. Pierre Culliford (Peyo), Belgian cartoonist, created
the gnome-like Smurfs for publisher Charles Dupuis (d.2002 at 84) in
1958. Hanna-Barbera turned it into a US cartoon program.
(NW, 11/11/02, p.)(SFC, 12/3/02, p.A24)
1981 The opera "Anna Karenina"
by Iain Hamilton (d.2000 at 78) was premiered by the English
(SFC, 7/29/00, p.A21)
1981 Terence McEwen succeeded
Kurt Herbert Adler as the director of the SF Opera.
(SFEC, 8/10/97, p.B9)(SFEC, 8/17/97, DB p.47)
1981 The SF Ballet under
Michael Smuin performed "The Tempest" live from the Opera House and
won an Emmy.
(SFEC, 8/17/97, DB p.47)
1981 Bill Strauss (1947-2007),
Elaina Newport and Jim Aidala founded Capitol Steps, a singing,
satirical troupe in Washington DC. By 2007 the group had recorded 29
albums including “Sixteen Scandals" (1997).
(SFC, 12/26/07, p.B4)
1981 The Layabouts of Detroit,
Mich., is not so much band as a community of musicians who hold
similar beliefs about the state of the World. They express this by
composing and performing music of their own making, meaningful
lyrics set to a beat that set your feet a-dancin'. Rock, reggae, ska
- lyrics that'll make you want to pull down the pyramid of authority
while you gyrate to a beat that is in harmony with the Universe.
1981 Duran Duran released its
self-titled debut, which featured the hits "Planet Earth" and "Girls
on Film." Members included Nick Rhodes, John Taylor, Roger Taylor,
Simon Le Bon and Andy Taylor.
(SFC, 9/18/03, p.E2)
1981 The Electric Light
Orchestra had a major hit with their song “Hold On Tight To Your
1981 Ella Fitzgerald recorded
“Ella Abraca Jobim."
(SFC, 6/16/96, p.A10)
1981 Witold Lutoslawski
composed his intense "Grave, A Metamorphosis for Piano and Cello."
(SFC, 1/30/97, p.B3)
1981 Olly Wilson, Berkeley
composer, created his 15-minute "Lumina."
(SFC, 2/3/97, p.D3)
1981 The rock group Metallica
was formed by Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield in the suburbs of LA.
(SFEC,11/16/97, DB p.42)
1981 The Oak Ridge Boys had a
hit with their song "Elvira."
(SFC, 6/11/98, p.C3)
1981 The song "9 to 5" by Dolly
Parton won the Grammy best country song.
(SFEC, 2/21/99, DB p.38)
1981 Ricky Scaggs made a move
from bluegrass to commercial country music.
(WSJ, 12/30/97, p.A8)
1981 The Irish Rock Band U2
first performed in SF at the Old Waldorf.
(SFEC, 6/8/97, DB p.3)
1981 In New Orleans the first
part of One, Two and Three Lakeway was completed. Two was completed
in 1984 and the 34-floor Three in 1987 by architects NY & Assoc.
(WSJ, 1/3/97, p.B10)
1981 Andre-Michel Schub won the
quadrennial Van Cliburn piano competition in Texas.
(SFEC,11/2/97, DB p.35)
1981 The war strategy board
game Axis and Allies, designed by Larry Harris, was published by
Nova Games Designs.
(www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/98/axis-allies)(WSJ, 7/2/10, p.W9)
1981 The Center for Theology
and the Natural Sciences was founded as part of the Graduate
Theological Union, a consortium of seminaries in Berkeley, Ca.
(SFC, 3/11/99, p.A2)
1981 The Oregon commune leader,
Bhagwan Sri Rajneesh (d.1990), was booted from the US for
immigration fraud. He moved his free-love Tantra commune back to
Pune, India. In 1985 he changed his name to Osho. His Tantric
ruminations were later published by St. Martin’s Press: "The Book of
Secrets." From the Pune school Marie Elizabeth Naslednikov (Margot
Anand) published "The Art of Sexual Ecstasy."
(WSJ, 12/7/98, p.A1,6)(SFC, 12/13/02, p.K6)(SSFC,
1981 Sally Lilienthal (b.1919)
founded the Ploughshares Fund. It was dedicated to stopping the
development of nuclear weapons.
(SFEC, 9/29/96, Z1 p.3)
1981 The American Library
Assoc. started banned book week to highlight the importance of the
(Ind, 10/5/99, p.1A)
1981 The $11 million Gerald R.
Ford Presidential Museum opened in Grand Rapids, Mich.
(SFEC, 5/11/97, p.T8)
1981 Prof. Charles M. Hardin
(1908-1997) cofounded the Committee on the Constitutional System in
Washington, DC. Its purpose was to explore solutions to governmental
gridlock brought about by the separation of powers.
(SFC, 7/4/97, p.E2)
1981 Larry Kramer helped found
the Gay Men’s Health Crises in NYC. He later split with the group
and founded ACT UP (1987) to press for a more forceful response to
AIDS. His work included the novel "Faggots" (1978) and the play The
(SFC, 7/10/97, p.A10)
1981 The MacArthur Foundation
of Chicago began a fellowship program with annual grants to allow
winners to pursue creative goals.
(SSFC, 10/5/03, p.A25)
1981 An official memorial to
Rev. Martin Luther King opened in Atlanta, Ga.
(WSJ, 1/14/06, p.A1)
1981 Joseph Rivers (d.1989)
founded the Orphan Foundation of America (OFA) in Washington DC to
improve the quality of life of young people who had been in foster
(SFEC,12/14/97, Par p.14)
1981 The Pulitzer Prize for
drama went to Marsha Norman for her play "‘night Mother."
(SFEC, 4/13/97, DB p.54)
1981 James Tobin (d.2002), key
Kennedy advisor, won the Nobel Prize in economics for his portfolio
1981 Arthur Schawlow (d.1999 at
77) of Stanford won the Nobel Prize in Physics. He with his
brother-in-law and Charles Townes of UC Berkeley shared credit for
inventing the laser. They developed the laser in the 1950s and made
a working model in 1960 while working for Bell Laboratories.
(SFC, 10/10/96, p.A1)(SFC, 4/29/99, p.D6)
1981 Elias Canetti (1905-1994),
Bulgarian-born British novelist and essayist, won the Nobel Prize in
Literature. His ancestors were Sephardic Jews who had been expelled
from Spain in 1492.
1981 Walter Cronkite (b.Nov 4,
1916) won the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He anchored the evening
news on CBS from 1961-1981.
(SFEC, 11/10/96, zone 1 p.3)
1981 Antoine W. van Agtmael of
the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank coined the
term “emerging market." He coined the term to attract investors in a
“Third World Equity Fund." The emerging, or developing, market
economy (EME) is defined as an economy with low-to-middle per capita
income. Emerging markets constitute approximately 80% of the global
population, representing about 20% of the world's economies.
(www.investopedia.com/articles/03/073003.asp)(Econ, 9/20/08, SR
1981 The World Bank began
collecting figures on global poverty.
(Econ, 3/3/12, p.81)
1981 Pres. Ronald Reagan
negotiated a 5-year, $3.2 billion economic package and military aid
package for Pakistan following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
(SSFC, 3/27/17, p.E2)
1981 General Richard Secord
became Chief Middle East arms-sales adviser to US Secretary of
Defense Casper W. Weinberger.
1981 The northwest Chinook
Indians filed a petition for recognition with the Interior Dept.
(SFC, 12/31/00, p.A11)
1981 The US Drug Enforcement
Administration (DEA) instituted the 80/20 rule for opium/poppy
imports. 80% of the US need for opium was set to be imported from
India and Turkey. Turkish farmers provided poppy heads while Indian
farmers produced gum opium.
(WSJ, 4/3/00, p.A1,6)
1981 Barry Seal (1939-1986),
gunrunner, drug trafficker, and covert CIA operative, began his
operations at the Intermountain Regional Airport in Mena, Arkansas.
Seal was murdered by Colombian assassins in Feb, 1986, after he had
testified in federal court in Las Vegas, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami
for the US government against leaders of the Medellin drug cartel.
According to a 1986 letter from the Louisiana attorney general to
then US attorney general Edwin Meese, Seal had "smuggled between $3
billion and $5 billion of drugs into the US." Among the aircraft
flown in and out of Mena was Seal's C-123K cargo plane, christened
Fat Lady. Records show that Fat Lady, serial number 54-0679, was
sold by Seal months before his death. In Oct, 1986, Fat Lady was
shot down over Nicaragua with a load of arms destined for the
1981 The SEC sued the Swiss
bank Svizzera Italiana to freeze the assets in trades it suspected
were based on material, nonpublic information, i.e. insider trading.
It eventually got the names.
(WSJ, 9/19/96, p.C18)
1981 Michael Anthony Williams
(16) was convicted of raping his female math tutor. He spent 24
years in Angola state penitentiary. In 2005 DNA evidence exonerated
(SFC, 5/9/05, p.A1)(WSJ, 10/30/07, p.A1)
1981 US over-the-counter
derivatives were born with the 1st currency “swap."
(WSJ, 11/19/04, p.A8)
1981 The US banned the drug
Captagon (generic name: fenethylline). It had been prescribed as a
treatment for attention deficit disorder until its addictive and
other pernicious characteristics became clear.
(Econ 7/22/17, p.38)
1981 Claude Dallas (30) killed
Conley Elms and Bill Pogue, officers for the Idaho Department of
Fish and Game, who were investigating reports of bobcat poaching in
remote southeast Idaho. Dallas served 22 years for the
execution-style slayings and was released in 2005.
1981 Maryland won a civil
judgement against former governor and VP Spiro Agnew for $147,000.
The amount was equal to kickbacks Agnew had received as governor.
(SFC, 9/18/96, p.A7)
1981 The federal government
declared Picher, Oklahoma, a hazardous waste site due to lead
contamination and proceeded to buy out about 900 homeowners and
businesses. In 2011 every commercial building was destroyed and only
a handful of residents remained.
1981 The US Supreme Court
required equal education for non-English speaking students. This
began bilingual education programs across the country.
(SFC, 7/19/97, p.A17)
1981 The US FDA approved the
use of aspartame, an artificial sweetener.
(WSJ, 6/7/99, p.B1)
1981 An amendment to the
Endangered Species Act allowed property owners to destroy some
habitat provided that they come up with an acceptable plan to
preserve equivalent habitat elsewhere.
(WSJ, 4/14/99, p.CA1)
1981 The US Susan B. Anthony
coin dollar was not widely accepted and production stopped.
(WSJ, 7/12/96, p.B5B)
1981 The Federal Reserve
approved the BCCI acquisition of a US bank under the assurances of
Clark Clifford. Clark was later indicted for $6 million in profits
made with an unsecured BCCI loan.
(SFEC, 10/11/98, p.A2)
1981 Economists Thomas Sargent
(b.1943) and Neil Wallace pointed out that central banks and
governments are locked in a battle for dominance.
(Econ, 8/6/16, p.61)
1981 In San Francisco the
5-story Levi’s Plaza was built at 1155 Battery St. Architects
included HOK and Richard Friedman. It was developed by Gerson Bakar
(SSFC, 12/6/09, p.C3)(SSFC, 6/18/17, p.C10)
1981 The 1902 Dutch Windmill in
San Francisco’s Goldengate Park was restored.
(SFC, 7/29/97, p.A7)
1981 Richard Ward (1950-2017)
and David Graves founded the Saintsbury winery in the Carneros
region of Napa Valley, Ca., where they pioneered the Napa Valley
(SFC, 5/31/17, p.D3)
1981 The Hurt Report, an
on-scene investigation of 900 motorcycle accidents in Los Angeles
(1976-1977) was published. Prof. Harry Hurt (1927-2009) served as
the principal investigator.
(SFC, 12/3/09, p.C4)
1981 In San Jose, Ca., water
supply wells were found to be contaminated due to leaks from
Fairchild and IBM storage tanks used for toxic solvents.
(SFC, 1/30/04, p.E6)
1981 In California 4 people
were asphyxiated by carbon dioxide in the old mines in the Antioch
(SFC, 3/4/99, p.A21)
1981 The SF Redevelopment
Agency began to reconfigure 115 acres along the Bay shoreline of
South Market and created a residential community of nearly 3,000
(SFC, 8/18/96, p.E6)
1981 The SF Friends of the
Urban Forest was founded.
(SFC, 9/9/98, Z1 p.3)
1981 In San Francisco pediatric
oncologist Dr. Arthur Ablin (1926-2017) co-founded Family House, a
boarding home for families of children receiving cancer treatment at
(SSFC, 9/10/17 p.C3)
1981 San Francisco held its 1st
Comedy Day. Comedian Jose Simon (d.2008 at 63) co-founded Comedy Day
in SF with Mike Pritchard. They brought the idea to the SF Chronicle
in 1980, which agreed to act as sponsor.
(SFC, 4/23/08, p.B9)(www.comedyday.com/about.php)
1981 Valencia Rose, a gay
cabaret, opened in San Francisco’s Castro district.
(SFEC, 11/29/98, DB p.35)
1981 Calvin Grigsby opened a SF
investment banking business that went on to distinguish itself with
innovative municipal finance and became the nation’s largest
minority-owned firm. The firm was indicted in 1998 on federal
(SFC, 1/9/98, p.A5)
1981 SF passed a 53-page hotel
conversion law to preserve affordable housing.
1981 In SF Bill Kimpton (d.2001
at 65), former Wall Street investment banker, opened the Clarion
Bedford Hotel and Post and Leavenworth and ushered in a new era of
(SFC, 4/3/01, p.E1)(SFC, 11/23/05, p.C7)
1981 Fausto Vitello
(1947-2006), co-founder of Independent Trucks (1978), Eric Swenson
(1947-2011) and Kevin Thatcher founded Thrasher Magazine in SF
dedicated to the growing skateboard community.
(SFC, 4/24/06, p.B6)(SFC, 6/24/11, p.C5)
1981 In San Francisco Quentin
Easter (d.2010 at 53) and Stanley Williams co-founded the Lorraine
(SFC, 4/30/10, p.C4)
1981 In SF the California
Academy of Sciences invited Wojciech Pulowski from Poland to be
curator of Hymmenoptera at the Academy.
(PacDis, Winter/’96, p.43)
1981 Giorgio Beverly Hills,
owned by Fred Hayman (1925-2016), introduced the signature fragrance
Giorgio. Hayman’s life was later recounted in “Fred Hayman, The
Extraordinary Difference: The Story of Rodeo Drive, Hollywood
Glamour and the Showman Who Sold It All" (2011) by Rose Apodaca.
(SSFC, 4/17/16, p.C9)
1981 The Cuban-American
national Foundation was founded in Florida by Jorge Mas Canosa
(d.1997), as the voice of Cuban exiles dedicated to weakening the
Castro regime through politics.
(SFEC, 7/12/98, p.A21)
1981 State Supreme Court cases
in Massachusetts and New Jersey ruled that husbands can be
prosecuted for raping their wives.
(NW, 6/30/03, p.44)
1981 In the Poletown case the
Michigan Supreme Court allowed Detroit to take 1,000 homes and 600
businesses to make way for a General Motors Corp. plant. The
decision was overturned in 2004 when the court ruled that state and
local governments may not take property from one private owner and
give it to another purely for the purpose of economic development.
(WSJ, 7/30/04, p.A6)
1981 New Jersey enacted its
Truth-in-Consumer Contract, Warranty and Notice Act to prevent
companies that do business in the state from using contracts,
notices or signs to limit consumer rights protected by law.
(Econ, 7/2/16, p.58)
1981 American Airlines
instituted the 1st "frequent flyer" program to keep customers
(SSFC, 12/14/03, p.D2)
1981 Marvin Davis (1925-2004),
oil mogul, bought 20th Century Fox with financier Mark Rich. In 1985
Davis sold the movie studio and its film library to Rupert Murdoch
for $575 million, but retained the real estate holdings.
(SSFC, 9/26/04, p.B7)
1981 Brett Gurewitz, guitarist,
founded Epitaph Records. Epitaph's breakthrough came with the
phenomenal success of such California-bred, neo-punk bands as the
Offspring and Rancid in the mid-'90s. In 1999 Epitaph's sister label
Anti- signed Tom Waits (b.1949).
1981 The Philip Morris Corp.
ran studies that predicted a decline in the number of teenage
smokers. This caused their officials to worry over the future of
their cigarette sales.
(SFC, 11/20/96, p.A3)
1981 Primark Corp. was formed
as a holding company to diversify Michigan Consolidated Gas. Co. It
acquired a trucking co., a mortgage banking co., an aircraft leasing
co. and other operations. Exec. VP Joseph E. Kasputys joined the
company in 1987 and spun off most of the operations and went into
high powered computer-system integration. In 1992 the company
acquired Datastream Int’l. of London, and in 1995 it acquired
Disclosure Inc. Both companies provided public company information.
(WSJ, 8/12/96, p.B6)
1981 Sears acquired Dean Witter
Reynolds security organization and the Caldwell, Banker &
Company real estate firm.
(WSJ, 11/18/04, p.B1)
1981 George Mitchell (b.1919),
a Texas oilman, began to develop an affordable way to extract
natural gas locked up in shale rock and other geological formations.
By the early 1990s his Mitchell Energy & Development company
successfully perfected the fracking process.
1981 US auto production reached
its lowest level in years at 6.2 million passenger cars.
(WSJ, 6/19/96, Adv. Supl)
1981 Industry experts in 1996
picked the 1981 Cadillac Cimarron as the number 3 worst
(WSJ, 6/19/96, Adv. Supl)
1981 Industry experts in 1996
picked the 1981 Ford Thunderbird/Mercury Cougar as the number 5
worst American-made car.
(WSJ, 6/19/96, Adv. Supl)
1981 Jerome Lemelson (d. 1997
at 74) licensed patents in data and word processing technology to
(SFC, 10/4/97, p.A20)
1981 Applied Biosystems was
founded to commercialize technology from the laboratory of Leroy
Hood, a Caltech professor and pioneer in the automation of genomics.
Fluorescent dies attached to the 4 chemical units of the genetic
code allowed sequences to be read by machine.
(SFEC, 7/23/00, p.C7)
1981 William Rutter, Edward
Penhoet and Pablo Valenzuela founded Chiron Corp., a biotech
operation in Emeryville, Ca. In 2005 the company merged with the
Swiss firm Novartis.
(SFC, 11/1/05, p.D1)
1981 Alan P. Bell (d.2002) led
a Kinsey study that suggested that homosexuals are born with that
predisposition and not influenced by traumatic experiences during
(SFC, 5/28/02, p.A18)
1981 Hilary Putnam of Harvard
Univ. sought to prove that "I am a brain in a vat" is a type of
self-defeating utterance, which can never be true.
(Econ, 11/15/03, p.80)
1981 Dr. Dennis Maki and nurse
Rita McCormick of the Univ. of Wisconsin published the first
comprehensive study of how needle sticks transmit disease.
(SFC, 4/13/98, p.A6)
1981 As many as 12,000 health
care workers were getting hepatitis B annually from needle stick
injuries with 200-300 dying from the infection.
(SFC, 4/13/98, p.A7)
1981 Employees informed Shell,
Exxon and Texaco that the gasoline additive, methyl tertiary butyl
ether (MTBE), was leaking from their gas stations and had
contaminated ground water in 3 towns in New Jersey and Maryland.
(SSFC, 8/19/01, p.A13)
1981 Gerd Binnig, Heinrich
Rohrer and Christoph Gerber of IBM developed the scanning-tunneling
microscope. It laid the groundwork for nanotechnology.
(Econ, 9/18/04, TQ p.17)
1981 In Wyoming a rancher found
a solitary enclave of the black-footed ferret. The prairie-dg-eating
member of the weasel family had been thought to be extinct. Plans in
2013 called for boosting the ferret count to 3,000 across its
12-state historic range.
(SFC, 12/24/13, p.A4)
1981 Scientists of the British
Antarctic Survey first noticed a depletion of the ozone in the
earth’s atmosphere over the South Pole.
(NOHY, 3/90, p.142)
1981 The Acme-Dunn
special-effects optical printer, designed by Linwood Dunn (d.1998 at
94), became the standard in the film industry. Mr. Dunn received an
Oscar for his work.
(SFC, 5/25/98, p.E3)
1981 Australia’s Great Barrier
Reef was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
(Econ, 5/31/14, p.77)
1981 Friedrich Karl Flick
(1927-2006), Austrian billionaire industrialist, became embroiled in
a major postwar political party financing scandal (the Flick Affair)
when it surfaced that some of his managers had given millions of
German marks to German political parties. Flick sold his company to
Deutsche Bank in 1985.
1981 Karlheinz Boehm
(1928-2014), Austrian actor and human rights activist, founded the
Menschen fuer Menschen ("People for People") aid group dedicated to
helping people in Ethiopia.
1981 Bhutan’s King Jigme Druk
Gyalpo Jigme Singye Wangchuck introduced 20 district committees
elected by households in an effort to decentralize authority. In
1991 this was extended to 201 committees.
(Econ, 12/18/04, p.57)
1981 Silvio Santos, born as
Senor Abravanel, founded Sistema Brasileiro de Televisao and built
it into a large network.
(WSJ, 8/31/01, p.A5)
1981 Salman Rushdie won the
Booker Prize for his novel "Midnight’s Children." The BBC began a
movie for TV version in 1997.
(SFC,10/31/97, p.C7)(Econ, 7/12/08, p.92)
1981 Roy Jenkins (1920-2003)
helped found Britain’s Social Democratic Party. Rebels had left
Michael Foote’s Labour Party to form the Social Democrats, a party
that later disappeared.
1981 The London Docklands
Development corp. was established in England to regenerate 2,150
hectares of the city’s rundown docks. It ceased operations in 1998.
(Econ, 4/2/05, p.62)
1981 In Britain there was an
outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. The last major outbreak was in
1967 when 442,000 animals were slaughtered.
(SFC, 2/21/01, p.A12)(http://tinyurl.com/3apbyk)
1981 Bulgarian philosopher
Zhelyu Zhelev (1935-2015) published a book called "Fascism" that
likened communism to fascism but it was almost immediately withdrawn
from the shelves. The book was republished after the fall of the
1981 The Bulgarian communist
regime built the Buzludzha Monument on a 1,441-meter-high peak to
commemorate events in 1891 when the socialists led by Dimitar
Blagoev assembled secretly in the area to form an organized
1981 The Summit of 7 leading
industrialist nations, G-7, met in Ottawa, Canada.
(SFC, 6/20/97, p.A16)
1981 Chile under Gen’l. Augusto
Pinochet began a voucher scheme to enable poor students to move from
bad public schools to good private ones.
(Econ, 8/1/15, p.20)
1981 Chile barred private
universities from making profits. Many got around this restriction
by setting themselves up as property companies that lease their
premises to the universities.
(Econ, 10/29/11, p.45)
1981 In Chile Paul Schaefer
(b.1921) of the Dignity Colony was accused of child molestation but
the case file disappeared at the courthouse in Parral. The judge
lived in a house owned by the colony.
1981 In China Mao Yushi
(b.1929) wrote a widely circulated mathematical defense of market
pricing. In 2012he was awarded the Cato Institute's Milton Friedman
Prize for Advancing Liberty for his work in classical liberalism and
1981 China emerged as a major
arms supplier to the Siad Barre regime in Somalia.
1981 The Bank of China became
the 1st Chinese bank to establish a branch in NYC.
(Econ, 11/17/07, p.90)(www.bocusa.com/bocny/)
1981 China’s Central Committee
published a “Resolution on Certain Questions in the History of Our
Party." It argued that the Cultural Revolution initiated and led by
Chairman Mao was a grave blunder.
(Econ, 5/14/16, p.38)
1981 In Colombia Triton Oil
executives singled out Cusiana as the most interesting geological
(WSJ, 1/3/96, p.A-5)
1981 Colombia decriminalized
(Econ., 8/8/20, p.47)
1981 Sir Albert Henry, the
first prime minister of the Cook Islands, died. He had been stripped
of his knighthood by Queen Elizabeth when it was learned that he had
used government funds to pay for charter flights home for expatriate
voters friendly to his party.
(SFEC, 1/5/97, p.T7)
1981 Corsica’s National
university, founded in 1765, re-opened in Corte.
1981 Costa Rica under Pres.
Rodrigo Carazo Odio broke off relations Cuba. Ties were restored in
1981 Young locals in
Medjugorje, Croatia, believed that the Virgin Mary was making
regular monthly appearances.
(WSJ, 3/1/02, p.W11)
1981 In Cuba Sebastian Arcos
Bergnes (d.1997 at 65), a dentist, helped found the Committee for
Human Rights in Cuba. He was arrested in 1981 and imprisoned for 7
years in the Combinado del Este prison and again in 1992 on charges
of disseminating "enemy propaganda." In 1995 he left for the US for
1981 Farmer’s markets emerged
in Cuba but were closed by Castro in 1986.
(SFC, 1/5/99, p.A10)
1981 Construction began on the
(SFC, 1/25/99, p.A6)
1981 In East Timor Jose
Alexandre Gusmao was made the official Falintil leader.
(SFC, 9/8/99, p.A14)
1981 El Salvador’s FMLN was
recognized by France and Mexico recognized in as a legitimate
political force, while the US was criticized for aiding the military
government, whose army backed right-wing death squads.
(SSFC, 3/15/09, p.A7)
1981 A former US diplomat said
that a dozen suspected leftist Salvadorans were thrown from a plane
to their deaths in this year.
(V. Sun, 11/3/95, p.A-12)
1981 The French film “Diva" was
(SFC, 2/20/98, p.C13)
1981 French Pres. Mitterrand
(1916-1996) nationalized the country’s banks. Similar rounds of
nationalization had taken place in 1936 and 1945-46.
(Econ, 10/18/08, p.15)(Econ, 10/25/08, p.18)
1981 French Pres. Mitterrand
introduced a tax on great wealth (impot sur les grandes fortunes).
It was abolished in 1986 under PM Jacques Chirac and reintroduced in
1988 under the name impot de solidarite sur la fortune (ISF) and
applied to total assets greater than $850,000.
(Econ, 7/16/05, p.45)
1981 The wartime role of
Maurice Papon was revealed by a satirical weekly. A committee
composed of top French resistance figures said Papon gave occasional
service to the underground, but concluded he should have resigned
when the roundup of Jews began in July 1942.
1981 The club Les Henokiens was
formed in France as a fraternity of companies whose members were at
least 200 years old.
(Econ, 12/18/04, p.104)
1981 In France the Trains Grand
Vitesse (TGVs) were initiated with speeds of 168 mph on the
(SFEC, 4/25/99, p.T8)
1981 The German film "Lola" was
directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder (1945-1982).
1981 The Fraunhofer Institute
for Solar Energy Systems was founded in Freiburg, Germany, and a
number of similar facilities followed. By 2007 Fraunhofer employed
some 500 people and was Europe's largest solar energy research
1981 In Cuarto Pueblo,
Guatemala, 15 cooperative leaders were killed by government troops.
(SFC, 12/9/96, p.A18)
1981 In Guatemala some 100,000
Maya villagers were killed this year in a government crackdown on a
(SFC, 5/19/96, T-11)
1981 In Guatemala eight El Jute
residents disappeared. Witnesses later tied Col. Marco Antonio
Sanchez and three paramilitaries to the disappearances [see Dec 4
1981 In India N.R. Narayana
Murthy co-founded Infosys Technologies with 6 other software writers
including Nandan Nilekani and S. Gopalakrishnan with some 10,000
rupees (about $1000) pooled from household money. In 1999 it became
the first Indian company to list its shares in the US. Chairman
Murthy retired in 2006 with Infosys employing 58,000 people. His
5.9% stake was valued at $1.2 billion.
(WSJ, 8/21/06, p.B7)(Econ, 10/7/06, Survey
p.9)(SSFC, 6/29/08, p.C1)(Econ, 12/20/08, p.111)
1981 Subhash Chandra traveled
to Zurich to land a $10 million deal to build a factory for
toothpaste tubes. He went on to become a leading Indian producer of
laminated packaging and then expanded to a private TV network
followed by mobile communications.
(WSJ, 5/18/00, p.A1)
1981 The central Baha’i
cemetery in Tehran was confiscated, and more than 15,000 graves were
demolished. Later a parcel of land in this cemetery was assigned to
the Baha’is in a portion of the cemetery colloquially known as
“place of the damned".
(Global Newswire, 4/23/21)
1981 The Iranian regime
executed some 2,946 people this year.
(Econ, 3/2/13, p.78)
1981 In Iran Ayatollah Khomeini
declared the celebration of “Al-Quds Day," the Arabic name for
Jerusalem Day, to be held on the last day of Ramadan as an annual
denunciation of Israeli control of the holy city.
1981 The Iraqi Hezbollah was
founded by pro-Iranian radicals and its fighters waged a low-level
war against the government of Saddam Hussein along with the Shiite
Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI).
(SFC, 12/29/03, p.F1)
1981 Israel promised Canada
that the Mossad spy agency would not use Canadian passports.
(WSJ, 10/3/97, p.A1)
1981 In Israel Ariel Sharon
(b.1928) was appointed defense minister in the Begin government.
(SFC, 10/10/98, p.A8)
1981 In Northern Ireland Paddy
Doherty, a Londonderry civil rights activist, founded the Inner City
Trust, to restore the downtown area.
(SFC, 12/1/97, p.A14)
1981 In Northern Ireland taxi
driver Kevin Artt was arrested for the 1978 murder of a Belfast
prison official but later claimed that he was beaten and
psychologically coerced into falsely confessing.
(SFC, 12/11/96, p.A15)
1981 Ettore Sottsass (b.1917),
Milanese designer, started the Memphis design movement. The 1996
book "Ettore Sottsass: Ceramics" covers his work.
1981 Italian officials
discovered Propaganda Due (P2), a rogue Masonic lodge with a mission
to infiltrate the organs of the state. Membership included
politicians, soldiers, spooks and media mogul Silvio Berlusconi.
This prompted the outlawing of secret societies.
(Econ, 7/24/10, p.52)
1981 Cesare Battisti escaped
from an Italian prison while awaiting trial on four counts of murder
committed when he was a member of the Armed Proletarians for
Communism. In 2007 he was arrested in Rio de Janeiro. In 2008
Brazil's top prosecutor recommended his extradition.
1981 Japan bailed out the US
economy by loading up on 30-year government bonds.
(WSJ, 6/25/96, p.A12)
1981 Japan promised to restrict
car exports to America. The restrictions boosted car prices by
almost 40% in 1984.
(Econ, 4/8/17, p.65)
1981 Japan signed the UN
Refugee Convention of 1951.
(Econ., 3/14/15, p.42)
1981 In Japan Masayoshi Son
(b.1957), US educated entrepreneur, set up Softbank as a software
1981 Asiya Andrabi founded
Dukhtaran-e-Millat (Daughters of the Faith) in Indian administered
Kashmir. The group supported terrorism and was banned by the Indian
government from 1990-2004. In 2007 it was running 75 part-time
madrassas in Kashmir.
(Econ, 4/14/07, p.46)
1981 Libya froze state wages.
(Econ, 3/11/06, p.42)
1981 In Malaysia Mahathir
Mohamed was named prime minister. He led the United Malays National
1981 Mauritania became last
country in the world to abolish slavery.
1981 Rufino Tamayo established
the Museum of Contemporary International Art in Mexico City.
(Smith., 4/95, p.32)
1981 Pronatura, a Mexican
non-governmental conservation organization, was founded. One of its
projects was to monitor bird migration through southern Mexico.
(NH, 10/96, p.50)
1981 In Northern Ireland Joe
Doherty and 7 IRA comrades shot their way out of Belfast’s Crumlin
Road Jail during their trial for killing a British army commando in
1980. Doherty escaped to New York where he was arrested in 1983. He
was paroled in 1998.
(SFC, 11/7/98, p.A14)
1981 Oman established an
elected State Consultative Council with an advisory role to the
ruler. The elected Consultation / Shura Council (Majlis A'Shura) was
established in 1991 and evolved from the State Consultative Council.
1981 In Pakistan Nawaz Sharif
(31) was appointed by General Zia ul-Haq as the finance minister of
(WSJ, 9/5/07, p.A4)
1981 Since this year the
government of Pakistan has not taken a national census.
(WSJ, 12/14/95, p.A-1)
1981 The Islamic Jihad was
founded with the aim of establishing an Islamic Palestinian state in
the West Bank, Gaza and all of what is now Israel.
1981 In the Philippines Hashim
Salamat founded the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) when he and
followers split from the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).
1981 Republic of Congo Pres.
Denis Sassou Nguesso signed a friendship treaty with the USSR, while
maintaining the Congo’s strong economic ties with France.
1981 Soviet authorities
arrested Russian historian Arseny Roginsky. He was jailed for
publishing a samizdat almanac entitled “Pamyat" (Memory). Roginsky
was released in 1985 and founded Memorial to commemorate victims of
state repression. In 2017 the government declared Memorial a
(Econ, 11/5/16, p.43)
1981 Russian Archeologist Yuri
Mochanov of the Yakutish Academy of Sciences announced the discovery
of human habitation in northern Siberia that dated back to at least
30,000 years. More precise techniques later measured the stone
artifacts at the site to 250k-300k BC.
(SFC, 2/28/97, p.A15)
1981 Prince Fahd of Saudi
Arabia proposed an 8-point peace plan to end the Arab-Israeli
conflict. It was adopted by the Arab League after some controversy.
(Econ, 8/6/05, p.71)
1981 Leopold Sedar Senghor
ended his term as president. Abdou Diouf became president.
(SFC, 1/5/00, p.C3)(SFC, 3/21/00, p.A12)
1981 Merck set up the first
human trial of ivermectin for river blindness in Senegal. The drug
had been developed for parasitic infections in animals. The trial
showed the drug was safe in humans and highly effective at killing
the disease vector in its larval state. In 1987 Merck began giving
away the drug in an effort to eliminate the disease.
(Econ, 4/22/17, p.52)
1981 Joshua B. Jeyaretnam
(1926-2008), a Workers Party lawmaker, became Singapore's first
opposition politician to be elected to Parliament. He was driven to
bankruptcy in 2001 by defamation lawsuits brought by PM Lee Kuan
Yew, his son his son Lee Hsien Loong, and Goh Chok Tong, who served
as prime minister after the elder Lee stepped down in 1990 until the
son took over in 2004.
(AP, 10/1/08)(Econ, 10/11/08, p.118)
1981 Singapore implemented a
managed float for its currency. It pegged its dollar to a basket of
currencies that mirrored its trading patterns. The Monetary
Authority of Singapore does not announce the contents of the basket.
It just tweaks the mix as needed.
(WSJ, 5/23/05, p.C16)
1981 The Government of
Singapore Investment corp. was founded to run the nation’s
foreign-exchange reserves. By 2008 it had well over $100 billion in
(WSJ, 1/16/08, p.A10)
1981 Northern Somalia rebelled
against dictator Mohammed Siad Barre. A national civil war followed.
During the civil was an estimated 40,000 people were killed and
about 400,000 refugees fled to Ethiopia.
(SFC, 4/10/96, A-5)
1981 Pieter-Dirk Uys (b.1945),
South African writer, brought his newspaper character Evita to life
in the theater. He had begun using the character to write critical
commentary on apartheid in the late 70s.
(SFEC, 5/2/99, p.A27)
1981 In Spain adulterated
cooking oil killed 500  people and more than 20,000 [30,000]
remained disabled in 1996. In the original 1989 trial 13 merchants
were convicted and sentenced to prison. They were also ordered to
compensate the victims but declared bankruptcy. Miguel Hernandez
Bolanos, director of the Central Customs Laboratory, was found
guilty in 1996 of negligence for having written a favorable report
for the industrial oil sold as cooking oil. In 1997 Federico
Povedano Alonso, a former official in charge of agricultural
imports, was also found guilty. Both men received 6-year suspended
(SFC, 5/25/96, p.A11)(SFC, 10/3/97, p.B3)
1981 Trinidad and Tobago opened
a stock exchange.
(WSJ, 1/11/99, p.R42)
1981 In Tunisia radical
preacher Rached Ghannouchi and other intellectuals, inspired by
Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, founded the Islamic Tendency Movement,
which denounced violence and endorsed pluralism and democracy. He
was accused of fomenting unrest and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
In 1987 he was sentenced to life behind bars with hard labor under
the regime of Habib Bourguiba.
1981 Sheik Zayed bin Sultan Al
Nahyan (1918-2004), United Arab Emirates President, urged in 5 other
Arab monarchies to form the Gulf Co-operation Council.
(Econ, 11/20/04, p.90)
1981 Irene Saez of Venezuela
won the Miss Universe title. In 1998 she ran for the presidency of
(SFC, 5/15/98, p.D3)
1981 In Vietnam the Buddhist
Sangha was founded as an approved denomination reporting to the
Fatherland Front party organization.
(Econ, 9/26/15, p.39)
1981 Vera and Orton Chirwa were
abducted from Zambia by Malawi security officials, charged with
treason and imprisoned separately and incommunicado for 11 years.
Orton Chirwa died in prison in 1992.
(SFEC, 1/19/97, Par
1981 Zairian citizenship was
withdrawn from the Banyamulenge Tutsis of eastern Zaire.
(WSJ, 11/8/96, p.A10)
1981 In Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe
ordered judges to investigate clashes between his security forces
and the guerrillas of Joshua Nkomo's Zimbabwe African People's
Union. The report was suppressed.
(SFC, 2/22/00, p.A10)
1981-1982 The US experienced a recession as Pres.
Reagan made tax cuts and built up defense.
(Econ, 11/20/10, p.30)
1981-1982 In Nicaragua disagreements escalated
between the English-speaking Indian peoples of the Caribbean coast
who sought greater autonomy and Sandinista government forces. Armed
clashes led to the forced relocation of thousands of Miskitos.
Sandinista responses grew heavier as some Indians joined the
US-backed "Contra" rebellion against the leftist government. At
least 64 Miskito Indians were killed by Nicaraguan troops during
1981-1983 Richard Pipes, Harvard Prof. of Russian
History, served Pres. Reagan as chief adviser on Soviet and East
European affairs. In 2004 Pipes authored Vixi: Memoirs of a
(SSFC, 1/11/04, p.M6)
1981-1983 In central Guatemala 4,411 people were
killed in the area of Rabinal during the civil war.
(SFC, 1/18/99, p.A10)(Econ, 11/8/03, p.35)
1981-1983 Up to 25,000 suspected opponents to
clerical rule were executed in Iran during this period according to
estimates by Amnesty Int'l.
(SFC, 2/11/04, p.A10)
1981-1984 Osvaldo Hurtado, Jaime Roldos' vice
president, served as president of Ecuador.
1981-1984 In France PM Pierre Mauroy (d.2013 at
84) served under Socialist President Francois Mitterrand. His
reforms included cutting the legal work week, lowering the
retirement age and raising the number of paid holidays.
1981-1986 J. Richardson Dilworth (d.1997 at 81)
served as the chairman of the Institute for Advanced Study in
Princeton, N.J., a center for theoretical research and advanced
(SFC, 1/1/98, p.A25)
1981-1988 Ronald Reagan (b.1911) served as the
40th president of the US. In 2001 Steven V. Hayward authored "The
Age of Reagan."
(WUD, 1994, p.1196)(WSJ, 9/20/01, p.A14)
1981-1988 Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence
(ISI) and the US CIA carried out massive covert operations against
Soviet forces in Afghanistan.
(WSJ, 12/31/08, p.A6)
1981-1989 The "Tilted Arc," a 120-foot curved wall
sculpture of steel by Richard Serra, stood at the plaza of the 2
federal buildings in lower Manhattan. It had been commissioned by
the General Services Administration and was taken down after being
deemed inappropriate by the GSA.
(SFC, 9/1/97, p.E4)
1981-1989 A. Alan Hill (1938-1996), appointed by
Ronald Reagan as an environmental aide, served for this period as
chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality and helped craft an
acid rain pact between the US and Canada.
(SFC, 11/1/96, p.A28)
1981-1989 In the Philippines leaders of the
Communist Party and the New People's Army later acknowledged that a
number of rebel commanders killed 600-900 suspected spies and
government informers in the southern Mindanao region during the
1980s. In 2006 soldiers found mass graves in an area called
"Garden," a hilly jungle near the town of Inopacan in Southern Leyte
1981-1991 James R. Harvey (1935-1996) served as
CEO of the Transamerica Corp. He sold off much of the company’s
diversified portfolio and refocused on its core business in
insurance and financial services. He also moved the company into a
philanthropic role that concentrated on hunger and homelessness in
the SF Bay Area.
(SFC, 6/7/96, p.A22)
1981-1991 Lord Robert Runcie was the Archbishop of
Canterbury. In an interview on 5/15/96 he acknowledged that he had
knowingly ordained practicing homosexuals as priests in the Church
(SFC, 5/17/96, p.A-16)
1981-1994 Archbishop Trevor Huddleston (d.1998 at
84) served as the president of the Anti-Apartheid Movement of
Britain. He was made Bishop of Masasi, Tanzania, in 1960 and spent 8
years there. In the 1950s he published "Naught for Your Comfort," a
work based on his experiences in the townships of South Africa.
(SFC, 4/21/98, p.A26)
1981-1995 Patrick Aherne, northern California
painter, created his work "Treod River," an 8-by-12-foot diptych, an
accretion of small gestures and stuttering revisions.
(SFC, 2/19/98, p.E1)
1981-1996 Millennials are generally defined as
those born during this period.
(Econ., 9/12/20, p.22)
1981-1997 Robert Rauschenberg created his "The 1/4
Mile or Two Furlong Piece," a tedious chronicle of his artistic
(SFC, 10/13/97, p.E3)
1981-1998 Harold Williams served as the president
of the J. Paul Getty Trust, the world’s largest and most highly
endowed private foundation for the visual arts. He was to be
succeeded by Barry Munitz, chancellor of the 23-campus California
State Univ. System.
(SFC, 7/19/97, p.C1)
1981-2015 The population of Texas surged to almost
27 million in 2015 as compared to less than 15 million in 1981.
(Econ, 5/30/15, p.28)