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: 1988 :

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1988
January 26th
Australia celebrated its bicentennial.
February 3rd
President Ronald Reagan had his request for $36.25 million to support the Nicaraguan Contras rejected by the United States House of Representatives controlled by the Democrats.
February 17th
U.S. Lieutenant Colonel William R. Higgins, working with a United Nations group monitoring a truce in southern Lebanon, was kidnapped. Lieutenant Higgins was killed by the kidnappers.
February 21st
Televanglist Jimmy Swaggart confessed on his show that he was guilty of an unspecified sin and will be leaving the pulpit. The "unspecified sin" was an affair with a prostitute.
February 29th
Austrian diplomat and conservative politician Kurt Waldheim was implicated in WWII deportations in a Nazi document. Waldheim was Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1972 to 1981, and Federal President of Austria from 1986 to 1992.
March 7th
In Gibraltar the British SAS fatally shot three unarmed IRA (Irish Republican Army) members, in an mission named 'Operation Flavius'.
March 16th
During the Iraq-Iran war, Iraqi forces used poison gas on an attack on the Iraqi Kurdish town of Halabja, 150 miles northeast of Baghdad.
March 16th
Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North and Vice Admiral John Poindexter were indicted on charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States, with regard to the Iran-contra affair.
March 19th
British army Corporals Woods and Howes were killed by the IRA (Irish Republican Army).
March 24th
An Israeli court sentenced Mordechai Vanunu to 18 years in prison for disclosure of Israel's nuclear program to the British broadsheet, The Sunday Times.
April 14th
USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG-58) hit a mine in the Persian Gulf while deployed on 'Operation Earnest Will' during the 'Tanker War' phase of the Iran-Iraq War.
April 14th
In Geneva, Switzerland, the Soviet Union agreed to and withdraw its troops from Afghanistan.
April 16th
Israeli commandos killed the PLO's Khalil Wazir (Abu Jihad) in Tunisia.
April 18th
U.S. Navy forces retaliated for the mining of USS Samuel B. Roberts (April 14th) with 'Operation Praying Mantis', with a day of strikes against Iranian oil platforms and naval vessels.
April 25th
In Israel, a Jerusalem court sentenced John Demjanuk to death by hanging for war crimes committed in World War II. He was accused by survivors of being the infamous guard at the Treblinka extermination camp known as "Ivan the Terrible". The Israeli Supreme Court later overturned the decision for a lack of evidence.
May 11th
Kim Philby (Harold Adrian Russell "Kim" Philby) died in Moscow, Russia, aged 76. Philby was a high ranking member of British intelligence who was a double agent for the Soviet Union.
May 15th
After more than eight years of fighting in Afghanistan, Soviet troops began its withdraw from Afghanistan.
May 31st
United States President Ronald Reagan while on a walkabout in Red Square, Moscow, was asked if he still thought he was visiting a "evil empire". To Gorbachev's delight, Reagan answered "No."
July 3rd
US warship USS Vincennes launched a missile attack and shot down Iran Air air bus flight 655. All 290 passengers and crew were killed.
July 6th
The Piper Alpha drilling platform in the North Sea was destroyed by explosions and fires that killed 165 oil workers and 2 rescue mariners.
August 17th
Pakistan President Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq and the US Ambassador Arnold Raphel were killed in a plane crash.
August 19th
In the Middle-East the hostilities stopped as the ceasefire began in the Iran-Iraq war.
August 20th
The Iran-Iraq war ended. It is believed that an estimated 1 million lives had been lost, in a brutal and bloody war described as similiar to Europe's trench war in WWI during 1914-1918.
August 26th
Merhan Karimi Nasseri ("The terminal man") was stuck in the De Gaulle Airport in Paris, where he continued to reside as a non-person until October 2005.
September 12th
Hurricane Gilbert devastated Jamaica, it turned towards Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula two days later and caused damages estimated at US$5 billion.
September 22nd
The Ocean Odyssey drilling rig suffered a blowout and fire in the North Sea, so soon after the Piper Alpha drilling platform disaster of July 6th.
September
24th - 26th
Large demonstrations by left-wing militants protested against the 1988 World Bank and IMF meetings in West Berlin.
September 29th
NASA resumed space shuttle flights with the launch of 'Discovery' mission STS-26. The Space Shuttles that had been grounded since the Shuttle 'Challenger' disaster of January 28th 1986.
October 5th
In Chile, Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet was defeated in a national election that sought to renew his mandate.
October 19th
The British government banned broadcast interviews with IRA members. The BBC used actors' voiceovers when conducting interviews of members of the Irish terrorist group to by-pass the ban.
November 8th
In the 1988 U.S. presidential election Republican George Herbert Walker Bush Snr. was elected the new President of the United States, beating Democrat Michael Dukakis.
November 15th
In the Soviet Union, the unmanned Shuttle Buran was launched by an Energia rocket on her maiden orbital spaceflight. It would be the one and only time that the Buran, the USSR's version of NASA's Space Shuttle, would fly.
November 15th
An independent State of Palestine was proclaimed by the Palestinian National Council meeting in Algiers, by a vote of 253 to 46.
November 16th
The Supreme Soviet of the Estonian SSR declared that Estonia was 'sovereign', the declaration stops short of declaring its independence.
November 16th
In the first open election in more than 10 years, voters in Pakistan elected populist candidate Benazir Bhutto to be the new Prime Minister.
November 18th
US President Ronald Reagan signed a bill making it law providing the death penalty for murderous drug traffickers.
November 22nd
In Palmdale, California, the first prototype B-2 Spirit stealth bomber was revealed.
December 2nd
Benazir Bhutto was sworn in as Prime Minister of Pakistan, becoming the first woman to head the government of an Islam-dominated state.
December 2nd
A cyclone in Bangladesh left thousands of people dead and nearly 5 million people homeless.
December 7th
In Armenia a 6.9 earthquake killed nearly 25,000 people, injured 15,000 and left 400,000 homeless.
December 12th
In London, England, 'The Clapham Junction' rail crash killed 35 and injured 132 people.
December 21st
Lockerbie bombing. Libyan terrorists blew up Pan Am flight 103. The plane exploded over Scotland and showered the town of Lockerbie. 207 innocent people were killed on the plane and in Lockerbie.
 
Soviet cosmonauts spent 326 days on the Mir space station.
 
Roh Tae Woo became the new Prime Minister of South Korea.
 
South African forces withdrew from Namibia in Africa.
 

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