A Hong Kong disco’s men’s night promotion being deemed pro-gay, a police dog in Italy sniffing out an imminent robbery, and two young members of the Kennedy family being stranded in the Amazon jungle made the headlines 40 years ago this week.
July 20, 1980
● Two sons of the late US Senator Robert F. Kennedy spent three days stranded in the Venezuela’s Amazon jungle eating worms and ants’ eggs to survive, the national press reported. Michael and Robert Kennedy were leading an expedition of 20 on a canoeing trip on the Caroni River in southeastern Venezuela when their canoes capsized, injuring several people. After the adventurers had lost their canoes, they waited in the jungle until a Venezuelan Air Force plane rescued them.
Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.
● The US government had appealed to the Supreme Court over a judicial ruling which declared that military draft registration was unconstitutional because it excluded women. A three-judge panel in Philadelphia ruled that the registration plan violated the equal protection provision of the Fifth Amendment to the constitution because it left out women.
July 21, 1980
● Two separate courts in northeast China sentenced a Soviet KGB agent to seven years in prison and a Chinese citizen to death for spying for the Soviet Union, the New China News Agency reported. China accused the Soviet Union of trying to fan anti-Chinese sentiments among Southeast Asian nations in order to achieve its divide-and-conquer strategy.
July 22, 1980
● A young couple whose relationship served as a model for a British television programme on love and marriage were murdered at their home in Essex, northeast of London. Steven Burroughs, 26, and his wife Hilary-Jane, 25, were killed by multiple stabbings with a kitchen knife. The wife was pregnant. Police suspected the killings were committed by a mentally unstable person.
July 23, 1980
● Thieves burrowing through tunnels built by the ancient Romans came within six feet of the city treasury on top of the Capitoline Hill, police in Rome said. A police dog uncovered the plot ” just a few days before the monthly payday for government employees when the vault would be filled with at least two billion lire (about HK$12.5 million at the time). There was an intricate network of tunnels under the Capitoline Hill. Police found no trace of the gang.
● A 32-year-old Japanese tourist suffered minor injuries when he climbed out of a first-floor Tsim Sha Tsui massage parlour through a toilet window and fell to the pavement. The man made the escape to avoid payment following a dispute over money with the staff.
● The British government, plagued by deepening recession, announced the country’s worst unemployment figures since the Depression of the 1930s. Officials data showed a total of 1,896,634 people were jobless that month ” 7.8 per cent of the adult workforce. The number had leapt by 236,958 from the month before.
July 24, 1980
● One of Hong Kong’s best-known nightspots, Disco Disco, had been refused renewal of its liquor licence despite its offer to scrap the popular but controversial weekly “Guys’ Night Out” drinks promotion, which police said encouraged homosexual practices. Police claimed that on promotional Thursday nights, the disco became a popular hook-up joint for gay men, which the management tolerated and encouraged.
July 25, 1980
● British actor Peter Sellers, whose multitude of comic film roles delighted the world for more than two decades, died. He was 54. Sellers suffered a massive heart attack in his London hotel suite a few days before and had been on a life support machine in London’s Middlesex Hospital until his heart stopped early that morning.
● A Vietnamese fighter pilot, credited with having once shot down an American B52 bomber, was blasted into space by a Soviet rocket to become Asia’s first astronaut.
● The US Senate moved closer towards launching a full-scale inquiry into the Libyan connections of President Jimmy Carter’s younger brother, Billy, who had accepted US$220,000 (about HK$1.1 million at the time) fr…