August 26, 2019: A look back at what happened on this day in years gone by

In August 1969, headlines were dominated by Northern Ireland and the beginnings of what was to become known as “the Troubles”.

August 26, 2019: A look back at what happened on this day in years gone by

In August 1969, headlines were dominated by Northern Ireland and the beginnings of what was to become known as “the Troubles”.

Every issue of the Irish Examiner documented the violence and the twists and turns of political events north of the border.

On August 26, 1969, it emerged that a platoon of 21 B-Specials, at Dunmore, in Down, resigned.

“They arrived at their Ballynahinch headquarters during the weekend and handed over their arms and uniforms. No reason was given for the resignations,” read the Irish Examiner lead story.

At the same time, 22-year-old Bernadette Devlin — an MP — was in the US, meeting then UN secretary-general, U Thant.

Ms Devlin was trying to raise $1m for “food, clothing, medicine, and shelter for refugees from the unrest in Northern Ireland”.

Down south, 80 technical supervisors at the ESB were to stage a 24-hour strike.

On this day 20 years ago, two teenage runaways from Killarney were tracked down. Bryga Lewis and Serena Horgan were just 15 when they ran away from home, in July 1999. They were found working as waitresses in the Continental Hotel in the British seaside resort of Southport, near Liverpool.

Falling immunisation rates were also making the headlines in 1999, with the GP committee of the Irish Medical Organisation saying that vaccines may have to be made compulsory for children, to prevent common illnesses.

August 26, 2009 saw the now-disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong jet into Dublin for a global cancer summit. The cyclist, who was eventually outed as one of the sport’s most infamous doping cheats, was joined by hundreds of fans as he cycled through the Phoenix Park.

The Irish Examiner lead story on that day showed Fine Gael in election mode, recruiting candidates amidst increasing talk of a snap general election.

With the country in recession, the popularity of the then Fianna Fáil-led coalition was at a record low.

This day 15 years ago, we learned that the government had overestimated the cost of refurbishing Lissadell House by at least €25m.

The previous year, the government had resisted a campaign to buy the former home of Constance Markiewicz.

Irish people were also enjoying the Olympic Games, in Athens, even if it was a dismal one for Team Ireland, who failed to win a medal.

On this day five years ago, the spectre of Ireland’s Mother and Baby Homes system was in the news.

The Irish Examiner front page revealed that a government minister had banned sending pregnant women to the Bessborough Mother and Baby Home as far back as 1945.

It would be the best part of 70 years before an inquiry into the institutions was announced.

The front page also paid tribute to former Fianna Fáil leader and Taoiseach Albert Reynolds, whose funeral occurred on this day five years ago.

Michelangelo commissioned to carve the Pieta, iconic Mini launched, playwright Neil Simon dies

1498: French Cardinal Jean de Bilhères commissioned Michelangelo to carve the Pieta that stands in St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. The Carrara marble sculpture depicts the body of Jesus in the lap of his mother Mary after his crucifixion, and is the only piece that Michelangelo ever signed.

1676: British statesman Sir Robert Walpole was born. As chancellor of the exchequer (finance minister) under King George I, he chaired a group of ministers and was therefore seen as England’s first prime minister.

1740: Joseph-Michel Montgolfier, who with his brother Jacques-Etienne invented the hot air balloon in 1783, was born in Annonay, France.

1743: French chemist Antoine Lavoisier was born. Often referred to as the founder of modern chemistry, he discovered “dephlogisticated air” which he called oxygen. He was guillotined in 1794 during the French Revolution.

1789: The French Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of Man.

1883: A massive volcanic eruption began on the island of Krakatoa in the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra. The two-day eruption and associated tidal waves killed some 36,000 people and destroyed two-thirds of the island.

1906: US virologist Albert Bruce Sabin was born in Bialystok, Russia (now in Poland). In 1955, he developed an oral vaccine against polio.

1914: Sociedade Esportiva Palmeiras, one of Brazil’s most popular and successful soccer clubs, was founded.

1920: American women won the right to vote with the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

1936: The BBC transmitted the first high-definition television pictures from London’s Alexandra Palace to the Olympia Radio Show.

1959: The iconic Mini, destined to become a symbol of the Swinging Sixties, was launched in Britain. The revolutionary design was a response to the Suez Crisis, which reduced oil supplies and led to petrol rationing.

1972: Sir Francis Chichester, English adventurer, died. In 1966-67, he sailed around the world alone in his 53-ft yacht Gypsy Moth IV.

1974: Pioneering US aviator Charles Lindbergh, who made the first solo non-stop flight across the Atlantic in 1927, died in Hawaii.

1978: Cardinal Albino Luciani of Venice was elected as Pope John Paul I. He served only 33 days before dying of a heart attack on September 28.

1993: During a visit to Prague,Boris Yeltsin apologised for theSoviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 that crushed the Prague Spring reform movement.

1998: Colonel Gaddafi of Libya accepted a proposal whereby the two suspects in the Lockerbie bombing would be sent for trial in the Netherlands.

1999: Mo Mowlam, Britain’s secretary of state for Northern Ireland, angered Ulster Unionists by ruling that the IRA ceasefire was still in place despite a number of acts of violence by the paramilitary group. The decision meant that the controversial programme of terrorist prisoner releases would continue.

2002: US vice president Dick Cheney called for US action against Iraq, warning that Baghdad would soon have nuclear weapons.

2005: Northern Ireland politician Gerry Fitt died at the age of 79. He was the first leader of the SDLP and in his heyday was the dominant voice of nationalism, but his outspoken criticism of republican violence and the IRA hunger strike in the Maze prison made enemies and he resigned from the SDLP leadership in 1979.

2011: Inspired by the fall of Colonel Gaddafi in Libya, thousands of protesters defied the ongoing security crackdown and took to the streets in Syria, demanding that president Bashar al-Assad step down.

2018: Neil Simon, celebrated American playwright and screenwriter, died at the age of 91. His best-known plays included The Odd Couple and Barefoot In The Park and hit musicals included Sweet Charity and They’re Playing Our Song.

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