1st March 1966: Britain to go decimal in 1971|
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, James Callaghan, has confirmed the "historic and momentous" decision to change over to decimal coinage.
It was just one of a number of proposals announced in his "little Budget" statement in the Commons. Other proposals included a new gambling tax - the proceeds from which will be used to fund cheaper mortgages for the less well off.
Loud cheers greeted Mr Callaghan's announcement of the switch to decimal currency.
He said: "It is the government's conclusion, shared I know by large sections of industry, commerce, science and banking, that the change to a decimal coinage will bring considerable benefit to the economy at large."
Preparations for the change-over will begin at once, with the introduction of a Decimal Currency Bill. One of its functions will be to establish a new Decimal Currency Board to oversee the switch which will take place in February 1971.
There were more cheers as Mr Callaghan confirmed the pound would remain the major unit of currency. It will be divided into 100 units, to be called either cents or new pennies.
Preliminary estimates suggest the cost of switching to decimal coinage may be as much as £120m. However, Mr Callaghan said he hoped the long change-over period may mean the total cost was lower than this.
Companies obliged to invest in new equipment will not be compensated, but they will be entitled to tax relief.
Reply #61. Mar 02 08, 2:24 AM
2nd March 1969: Concorde flies for the first time|
The supersonic airliner, Concorde, has made a "faultless" maiden flight.
The Anglo-French plane took off from Toulouse and was in the air for just 27 minutes before the pilot made the decision to land.
The first pilot, Andre Turcat, said on his return to the airport: "Finally the big bird flies, and I can say now that it flies pretty well."
The test flight reached 10,000ft (3,000m), but Concorde's speed never rose above 300mph (480kph). The plane will eventually fly at a speed of 1,300mph (2,080kph).
Mr Turcat, his co-pilot and two engineers taxied to the end of the runway at about 1530GMT. Strong winds meant the test flight was in doubt for much of the day.
Reply #62. Mar 02 08, 2:25 AM
3rd March 1995: MPs move to outlaw hunting|
A bill which would ban hunting with hounds in England and Wales has become the first such proposal to get a second reading in parliament.
The private member's bill, introduced by Labour MP John McFall, would outlaw fox and stag-hunting and hare-coursing.
There was cheering in the House of Commons chamber and the public gallery as it was passed by 253 votes to nil after its first reading.
But the bill is still unlikely to become law as its opponents in the Conservative ranks decided not to vote against it in the early stages.
However, when it comes up for discussion in committee they are expected to use delaying tactics so it runs out of parliamentary time.
A spokesman for the British Field Sports Society said the bill stood no prospect of reaching the statute book unless the "anti-country sports" elements were dropped.
Reply #63. Mar 03 08, 1:34 AM
4th February 1980: Mugabe to lead independent Zimbabwe|
Nationalist leader Robert Mugabe has won a sweeping election victory to become Zimbabwe's first black prime minister.
Mr Mugabe's radical Zimbabwe African National Union (Patriotic Front) party or Zanu (PF) won 57 of the 80 black seats being contested in the country's first election since the end of white minority rule.
It is enough to give Mr Mugabe a comfortable majority, even when the 20 seats reserved for whites are taken into account.
He told a news conference the new government would include his former chief guerrilla rival, Joshua Nkomo, and his Patriotic Front party, which won 20 seats.
He also made clear he would consider bringing Europeans into the administration "so as to bring about a government that will be reassuring to all people of Zimbabwe".
Reply #64. Mar 04 08, 2:46 AM
February 5th 1956: US court victory for black students|
The United States Supreme Court has upheld a ban on racial segregation in state schools, colleges and universities.
The University of North Carolina was appealing against an earlier ruling, in 1954, which ordered college officials to admit three black students to what was previously an all-white institution.
Until recently, black and white students have been educated in separate schools under the principle of "separate but equal" but the Supreme Court has now ruled this doctrine "has no place in the field of public education".
The BBC's Panorama programme has been to the southern US state of Virginia, where racial segregation in schools is still rigidly enforced. In other states, schools and colleges have begun to accept black and white pupils.
Reply #65. Mar 05 08, 2:45 AM
6th February 1961: 'Ukulele king' Formby dies|
One of Britain's most popular entertainers, George Formby, has died after suffering a heart attack.
Lancashire-born Formby, 56, was one of the UK's best-paid stars during his heyday in the 1930s and 1940s.
His nationwide fame was unusual in the era before ownership of television sets was widespread.
For six successive years during the 1940s he headed a popularity poll compiled by British cinema-goers who flocked to see him in films such as "Spare a Copper" and "George in Civvy Street".
His stage persona was that of a good-natured imbecile but he was a shrewd professional who amassed a fortune, earning up to £35,000 per film.
But Formby turned down many more lucrative offers, including one from Hollywood, so he could entertain British and American troops during the Second World War.
His contribution to the war effort earned him an OBE in 1946.
Reply #66. Mar 06 08, 8:49 AM
7th February 1965: Police attack Alabama marchers|
State troopers and volunteer officers in the southern US state of Alabama have broken up a demonstration of black and white civil rights protesters, injuring at least 50 people.
They assaulted a group of about 500 demonstrators using tear gas, whips and sticks after Governor George Wallace ordered the planned march from Selma to the state capital Montgomery to be halted on the grounds of public safety.
At least 10 of the injured have been taken to hospital with skull and limb fractures and suffering the effects of tear gas.
They were stopped by 200 police this morning at the Edmund Pettus Bridge as they were heading east out of Selma on US Route 80.
Next time we march we may have to keep going when we get to Montgomery. We may have to on to Washington
When they refused to turn back the state troopers, some on horseback, attacked in full view of photographers and journalists.
Reply #67. Mar 07 08, 4:52 AM
February 8th 1985: Beirut car bomb kills dozens|
At least 45 people have died and 175 have been injured in a car bomb explosion in Beirut, Lebanon.
The bomb went off outside a block of flats and close to a mosque as worshippers were gathering for Friday night prayers in a densely populated Shia Muslim suburb.
It is the worst attack in the Lebanese capital since November 1983 when 61 people were killed in a suicide car bomb attack in the southern port of Tyre.
The bomb blew a huge crater in the street and destroyed two seven-storey blocks of flats, a mosque and a cinema. Many of the dead were passers-by.
The blast brought gunmen running on to the streets firing guns into the air to clear the roads for ambulances.
Radio stations broadcast appeals for blood donors as fire fighters and civil defence workers tried to remove bodies from under the rubble.
Fleets of ambulances jammed the entrance to west Beirut's main hospital. It was soon packed with wounded and dead.
The bomb went off near the home of a leading fundamentalist Shia Muslim cleric, Sheikh Muhammad Husain Fadlallah and it is thought he may have been the target - although he was not hurt in the attack.
Sheikh Fadlallah later accused Israel and its "internal allies" of being behind the explosion and he gave a warning to "all those who are playing with fire" that their hands will be "burned by the flames".
The blast comes at a particularly sensitive time as the Israelis are trying to complete their withdrawal from Lebanon.
Anti-American feeling is also running high. In Shia minds, the US is linked with Israel and its occupation of southern Lebanon.
Reply #68. Mar 08 08, 2:31 AM
March 9th 1967: Stalin's daughter defects to the West|
The daughter of the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin has requested political asylum at the United States Embassy in India.
The American Mutual Radio network broke the news but the American State Department has so far refused to comment.
Since her father's death in 1953, little has been heard of 42-year-old Svetlana Alliluyeva - who prefers to be known by her mother's maiden name.
She has been living in a flat in Moscow near the British Embassy working as a researcher and translator.
Svetlana is the only daughter of Joseph Stalin by his second wife Nadezhda Alliluyeva who committed suicide in 1932 when Svetlana was nine years old.
When she was just 18, Svetlana, married a Jewish fellow student at Moscow University against her father's wishes.
She had a son by him but the marriage was dissolved and her ex-husband sent to his death in a Siberian labour camp.
Her second husband was Yuri Zhdanov, the son of Andrei, a close ally of Stalin.
This marriage was also dissolved.
In 1964 she married Brajesh Singh, an Indian communist.
He died last November and Svetlana came to India on 20 December last year to bury his ashes.
She is believed to be planning to go to Geneva, Switzerland, after the Indian authorities refused her permission to stay in the country for fear of marring relations with the Soviet Union.
She leaves behind a grown-up son and daughter in Moscow.
Reply #69. Mar 09 08, 2:19 AM
March 10th 1969: Martin Luther King's killer gets life|
James Earl Ray has been jailed for 99 years by a court in Memphis, Tennessee, after admitting he carried out the murder of the American civil rights leader.
His guilty plea was made on the understanding he was spared the electric chair. It also brought a swift end to the trial, which otherwise might have lasted weeks.
Ray will not be eligible for parole until he is 90.
The verdict is unlikely to silence the speculation that Dr King's murder was the result of a conspiracy.
Until now, it had been assumed Ray's defence would be that he was involved in a plot to assassinate the civil rights leader, but did not fire the fatal shot.
Dr King, who preached non-violence, was shot dead by a sniper in the southern city of Memphis in April 1968 as he stood on a hotel balcony. He was in the city to lead a civil rights march.
He had come to Memphis to support striking dustmen, the majority of whom are black. The unresolved dispute meant feelings between black and white were running high in the city.
Immediately after the shooting, the Federal Bureau of Investigation was ordered to begin an investigation.
Ray had escaped from Missouri State Penitentiary in April 1967 where he was serving a 20 year sentence for armed robbery.
He was eventually traced to London in June 1968, where he was travelling under a false identity. He was arrested at Heathrow airport and charged with possessing a loaded firearm and false passport.
Today, Ray appeared in court wearing a dark suit. He spoke only to admit his guilt and in a brief statement he hinted there may have been some kind of plot to murder Dr King.
He showed little sign of emotion as sentence was passed.
Judge Preston Battle pointed out no-one else had so far been connected to the crime, but that was not conclusive evidence there had not been a conspiracy.
He added: "If this defendant was a member of a conspiracy, no member of that conspiracy can ever live in peace or security or rest his head in sweet dreams because in this state there is no statute of limitations for capital offences."
Reply #70. Mar 10 08, 1:03 AM
February 11th 1955: Farewell to scientist who discovered penicillin|
Sir Alexander Fleming - the man who first discovered the life-saving drug penicillin - has died of a heart attack. He was 73.
Sir Alexander died suddenly at his home in London. He was married only two years ago to Dr Amalia Coutsouris, from Athens, who worked at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington. His first wife, with whom he had a son, died in 1949.
For many years, Sir Alexander was Professor of Bacteriology in the University of London and until last year was head of the Wright-Fleming Institute of Micro-Biology at St Mary's hospital, Paddington.
The young scientist served in a battlefield hospital laboratory in France during World War I. When he saw how many soldiers were dying from infections he became determined to find a cure.
His first notable discovery was lysozyme in 1922. It is a naturally-occurring antibacterial substance, found in tears and other body fluids.
Reply #71. Mar 11 08, 1:47 AM
12th February 1964: Hoffa faces eight years behind bars.|
The president of the powerful American Teamsters union has been sentenced to eight years in jail on bribery charges.
James Hoffa has also been fined $10,000 (£3,570) for trying to bribe a Federal Court jury which was hearing a conspiracy charge against him in 1962.
I am not guilty. I believe this will be substantiated when the evidence is ultimately considered coolly and calmly
He was accused of attempting to secure an acquittal on a charge of "shaking down" a local haulage company owner for a million-dollar contribution to the union funds in return for 18 months of workforce co-operation.
This was Hoffa's first conviction - although he has now stood trial on four previous occasions. Past charges include trying to bribe a lawyer to spy on a Senate Committee and tapping the telephones of his subordinates in the Detroit office of his union.
Hoffa will remain free on bail pending an appeal.
If the sentence is upheld, it could mean the loss of his job as head of the 1.7 million-strong American Teamsters union - the nation's largest.
US District Judge Frank Wilson told Hoffa: "You stand here convicted of corrupting the administration of justice, of having struck at the foundation of this nation. Without fair, lawful administration of justice, there would be no civilisation in this country."
Hoffa replied: "I am not guilty. I believe this will be substantiated when the evidence is ultimately considered coolly and calmly."
Hoffa and three others were found guilty on 4 March of trying to fix a jury which could not agree on a verdict in his 1962 trial on a conspiracy charge.
The other three have been sentenced to three years each. They have not received fines. They include Ewing King, former president of the Nashville Teamsters local; Larry Campbell, a Detroit Teamsters official and Thomas Ewing Parks, a handyman from Nashville.
Grounds for appeal include allegations that US marshals plied the jury with alcohol. Staff of the hotel where several jurors were confined during the trial have supported these claims.
As head of the Teamsters union, Hoffa commands a salary of $75,000, has an unlimited expense account and presides over an empire with pension and welfare funds worth $1bn.
Hoffa and Attorney General Robert Kennedy have had a running feud for years.
Mr Kennedy later issued a statement congratulating the prosecutors who won the conviction.
Reply #72. Mar 12 08, 1:50 AM
13TH MARCH 1996: Massacre in Dunblane school gym|
A lone gunman has gone on a shooting spree at a school in Dunblane, Scotland, killing 16 children and their teacher.
The killer sprayed shots at random around the school gym in an attack that lasted just three minutes, but caused carnage in a class of five and six year olds. He then turned the gun on himself.
Twelve other children were taken to hospital in Stirling, where one is reported to have later died of his injuries.
The killer has been named as Thomas Hamilton, 43, a local man, who had once - briefly - been a scout master before being sacked by the Scout Association.
Reply #73. Mar 13 08, 8:57 AM
Hi mods, could you delete reply number 74 for me please? Thank you!|
Reply #76. Mar 13 08, 9:12 AM
14th ~March 1964: Jack Ruby sentenced to death|
Jack Ruby has been sentenced to death after being found guilty of the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald, the alleged assassin of President John F Kennedy.
Ruby's defence team is to launch an appeal after the jury in the Dallas court returned the guilty verdict and decided he should die in the electric chair.
The jury of eight men and four women deliberated for two hours and 19 minutes.
Oswald, who was accused of firing the gun that killed the president, was shot two days later by Ruby in the basement of the Dallas police headquarters.
Reply #77. Mar 14 08, 1:33 AM
Born 14th March:|
Georg Philipp Telemann, German composer
Johann Strauß Senior, Austrian composer
Albert Einstein, German-born physicist, Nobel Prize laureate
Bill Owen, British actor
Diane Arbus, American photographer
Sir Michael Caine, British actor
Quincy Jones, American musician and composer
Rita Tushingham, British actress
Jasper Carrott, British comedian
Steve Kanaly, American actor
Pam Ayres, British poet
Billy Crystal, American actor and comedian
Jerry Greenfield of Ben & Jerry's
Albert II, Prince of Monaco
Taylor Hanson, American musician
Jamie Bell, British actor (Billy Elliot)
Reply #78. Mar 14 08, 8:43 PM
15th March 1990: Observer journalist executed in Iraq|
Britain has strongly condemned the Iraqi authorities over the execution of The Observer journalist Farzad Bazoft in Baghdad.
Mr Bazoft - who came to live in Britain from Iran in the 1980s - was convicted by the Iraqis of spying four days ago. He was hanged at dawn after a last minute appeal for clemency from the British prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, failed.
In the Commons this afternoon, Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd said Britain's ambassador to Iraq was being recalled and all visits to the country have been suspended.
But Mr Hurd stopped short of cutting off diplomatic relations with Iraq. He said it was important to keep dialogue alive with the Iraqis for the sake of the 2,000 Britons living in Iraq, including Mr Bazoft's alleged accomplice, British nurse Daphne Parish.
Mr Bazoft and Mrs Parish were arrested last September after visiting a top secret military installation south of Baghdad.
Reply #79. Mar 15 08, 1:40 AM
16th March 1976: Prime Minister Harold Wilson resigns|
Harold Wilson, Labour leader for 13 years and prime minister for almost eight, has stunned the political world by announcing his resignation.
Mr Wilson, who turned 60 five days ago, made his bombshell announcement to his Cabinet this morning.
The news came after he had been to Buckingham Palace to inform the Queen, although it is understood he had already confided his plans to the Monarch last December.
Revealing he had taken the decision to resign two years ago, he said: "I have not wavered in this decision and it is irrevocable."
Mr Wilson, who has served in Parliament for 31 years, said he intended to remain on the backbench of the Commons in an advisory role but would not interfere with government decisions.
Following his time at the top he said "no one should ask for more". He added he was resigning to allow others into the job.
He insisted there were no hidden reasons for his resignation.
It is understood before Mr Wilson told the Cabinet, he informed Chancellor Denis Healey, Foreign Secretary James Callaghan, and his own deputy, House of Commons Leader Edward Short.
The Cabinet responded by immediately issuing a statement expressing their shock and "deep regret", but they also paid tribute to his leadership which they said he had carried out with "outstanding wisdom and dedication".
Reply #80. Mar 16 08, 1:52 AM
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