1978: Events and Inventions

March 14, 1978. Israeli troops attack Palestinian refugee camps in southern Lebanon in retaliation for attacks perpetrated by the Palestinians from those camps.

March 17, 1978. The oil tanker Amoco Cadiz runs aground on the coast of Brittany, resulting in the largest oil spill of its kind (4000 tons of fuel oil) in history to that date.

April 27-30, 1978. Afghanistan President Daoud Khan is killed during a military coup. The Democratic Republic of Afghanistan is proclaimed, under pro-communist leader Nur Mohammed Taraki.

May 9, 1978. Ex-prime minister Aldo Moro of Italy is kidnapped (in March) and murdered by members of the Red Brigade in Rome.

July 26, 1978. The world’s first “test-tube baby”, Louise Brown, is delivered by Caesarean section at Oldham Hospital in Great Britain. The baby was conceived by means of in-vitro fertilization where the the mother’s egg was fertilized by sperm in a test tube, and then the embryo was implanted into the mother’s womb to grow there until birth.

'Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin shake hands as Jimmy Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin greet each for their first meeting at the Camp David Summit as Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter watch., 09/07/1978' photo (c) 1978, The U.S. National Archives - license: http://www.flickr.com/commons/usage/September 17, 1978. Menachem Begin of Israel and Anwar Sadat of Egypt meet at Camp David in Maryland to work out a peace agreement between the two countries. Following thirteen days of secret negotiations, the Camp David Accords are signed between Israel and Egypt. The Camp David Accords are the result of 18 months of intense diplomatic efforts by Egypt, Israel, and the United States that began after Jimmy Carter became President. Sadat and Begin will winthe 1978 Nobel Peace Prize for their progress toward achieving a Middle East accord.

October 16, 1978. The Year of Three Popes: The Vatican announces Polish archbishop Karol Wojtyla is to be the successor to Pope John Paul I, who died of a heart attack just 34 days after his inauguration as pope and successor to Pope Paul VI. Pope John Paul II (Wojtyla) will be the first non-Italian pope to be elevated to head the Catholic Church in over 400 years.

November 29, 1978. Mass suicide at Jonestown, Guyana. More than 900 members of the People’s Temple, a religious cult group with its headquarters in San Francisco, commit suicide and/or murder at the behest of their leader, Jim Jones, who leads them to drink fruit juice laced with cyanide and administer the poison to their children. The Jonestown tragedy becomes the largest single loss of American civilian life in a non-natural disaster until the events of September 11, 2001. I hope sometime soon to read A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Hope, Deception, and Survival at Jonestown by Julia Scheeres, published in 2011, to get a more detailed perspective on this horribly tragic story of misplaced faith.

December, 1978. Mass protests in Iran call for the abdication of the Shah and the end of military rule in that country.

December 25, 1978. Vietnam launches a full-scale invasion of Kampuchea (Cambodia) and subsequently occupies the country after the Khmer Rouge is removed from power.

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