August 20, 2019: A look back at what happened on this day in years gone by

We take a trip down memory lane and check out what happened on this day in years gone by by looking back at some Irish Examiner front pages and highlighting other events which went down in history across the world.

August 20, 2019: A look back at what happened on this day in years gone by

We take a trip down memory lane and check out what happened on this day in years gone by by looking back at some Irish Examiner front pages and highlighting other events which went down in history across the world.

August 20 - 50 years ago

Pick any date in August 1969 and Northern Ireland was dominating the headlines. Sadly, August 20, 1969, was no different.

Irish Examiner readers woke up to news that the British Army was to take full responsibility for security in the troubled province.

The British Army was also to exercise control over the Royal Ulster Constabulary including the infamous ‘B’ Specials.

British prime minister Harold Wilson reassured all citizens of Northern Ireland “irrespective of their political or religious views, will have the same rights of freedom, freedom against discrimination, as all other citizens of the United Kingdom”.

Mr Wilson admitted the situation in the North had been “very grave over the past couple of weeks”.

In more local news on the front page, 10 people had to be rushed to safety in the early hours of August 20, 1969, after fire gutted Cork city’s oldest and most famous restaurant — the Oyster Tavern in Market Lane.

20 years ago

International news was the lead story in the paper on this day 20 years ago after an earthquake left almost 15,000 people dead in Turkey.

The Government had ordered some 2m people in the province of Bursa to abandon their homes and spend the night outside after two mild aftershocks prompted the chief of Turkey’s main earthquake observatory to warn of increased seismic activity.

Closer to home, we learned that at least 30 women had been raped in 1999 by men using date rape drugs.

Rape crisis centres around the country reported increasing numbers of rapes using drugs.

Gardaí were also on the hunt for a British man who was a suspect in a number of serial killings in Britain but who had fled to Ireland.

The man was one of four suspects wanted by British police in connection with the murder of London schoolteacher Barbara Mayo in 1970.

10 years ago

On August 20, 2009, there was heartbreak for Derval O’Rourke as she smashed the Irish record in the final of the 100m hurdles at the World Championships only to finish just outside the medals.

“I’m so gutted not to get a medal. I had no idea where I was. It is a national record and I’m the fourth-best in he world so I can’t complain,” she said.

5 years ago

On this day five years ago, Ireland awoke to news that Maria Walsh was the new Rose of Tralee.

The Philadelphia Rose bloomed at the Dome. Just over five years later, she would be an MEP for Fine Gael in Brussels.

Road safety engineers had also issued a warning about the risks of fixing second-hand tyres to cars after a spike in fatalities on Irish roads.

In international news, Isis was an increasingly gruesome presence on front pages and, on this day five years ago, we learned that the terrorist group had beheaded American journalist James Foley in Syria.

Last year

August 20 last year saw Ireland one week out from the visit of Pope Francis to Ireland.

It was to be the first visit of a reigning pontiff since 1979 and, in advance of the visit, Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin said that he expected the Pope to “speak quite strongly” in relation to clerical sex abuse and pointed out that saying sorry was not enough.

Across the world on this day ...

Notable moments

636: Khalid ibn al-Walid won control of Syria and Palestine from the Byzantine Empire at the Battle of Yarmouk, starting a rapid advance of Islam into the Christian Levant, the first great wave of Islamic conquests after the death of the prophet Mohammed.

1741: Danish explorer Vitus Bering discovered Alaska.

1866: President Andrew Johnson formally declared the Civil War over — fighting had stopped months earlier.

1882: Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture received its premiere in Moscow.

1913: Stainless steel was first cast in Sheffield, England.

1914: German forces occupied Brussels, Belgium, during the First World War. In 1918, Britain opened its offensive on the Western front.

1920: America’s first commercial radio station, 8MK in Detroit (later WWJ), began daily broadcasting.

1924: Scottish sprinter Eric Liddell refused on religious grounds to run in the 100m heats at the Paris Olympics as the event was scheduled for a Sunday. The incident featured in the film Chariots of Fire.

1940: As the Battle of Britain raged, prime minister Winston Churchill paid tribute in parliament to the pilots of the Royal Air Force, saying “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few”.

1940: Soviet revolutionary Leon Trotsky was fatally wounded by a Spanish communist with an ice axe in Mexico City, dying the next day. The Soviet government denied responsibility.

1944: Rajiv Gandhi, son of Indira, born. Prime minister of India from 1984 until his election defeat in November 1989, he was assassinated on May 21, 1991.

1946: The Allied Control Commission ordered the disbandment of the German armed forces, the Wehrmacht.

1961: East Germany began to erect a 5ft-high wall in Berlin and elsewhere along the border with the West to replace the barbed wire put up a week earlier.

1964: US President Lyndon Johnson signed a near-$1bn anti-poverty measure, the Economic Opportunity Act, which created the”Head Start”, “Vista”, and other “Great Society” programmes.

1968: Troops from Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact nations invaded Czechoslovakia to crush the Prague Spring reform movement of Alexander Dubcek.

1975: The US Viking I spacecraft was launched on its way to Mars. It deployed a landing craft which touched down on the planet in July 1976.

1977: The US launched Voyager II on a mission to explore the outer planets. The unmanned spacecraft, carrying a 12in copper phonograph record containing greetings in dozens of languages, passed close to Jupiter in 1979, Saturn in 1981, Uranus in 1986, and Neptune in 1989 before finally leaving the solar system.

1980: Reinhold Messner made the first ever successful solo ascent of Mt Everest without the use of supplementary oxygen.

2000: Reigning US and British Open champion Tiger Woods won the US PGA Championship at Valhalla Country Club, Louisville, Kentucky, becoming the first golfer since Ben Hogan in 1953 to win three majors in the same year.

2007: Billionaire New York City hotelier Leona Helmsley died, aged 87. Her flamboyant personality and reputation for tyrannical behaviour earned her the nickname “Queen of Mean”, but her proud boast that “only little people pay taxes” came back to haunt her when she was convicted of federal income tax evasion in 1989 and served 19 months in prison.

2008: Usain Bolt of Jamaica won the 200m gold medal at the Beijing Olympics in a new world record of 19.30 seconds, beating the 19.32 set by Michael Johnson at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. The feat made him the first sprinter since Jamaica’s Don Quarrie to hold both 100m and 200m world records simultaneously and the first since the introduction of electronic timing.

2017: Jerry Lewis, famous for his slapstick comedy roles, died aged 91. Hits like The Bell Boy and The Nutty Professor made him the highest-paid actor in Hollywood in the 1960s. He also pioneered the use of videotape in moviemaking.

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