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1978: Test-Tube Baby, Jonestown Suicide, Panama Canal

By Patrick Mondout

The birth of the first "test-tube" baby, the murder-suicides of the followers of Jim Jones, and the signing of the Panama Canal Treaty were the major stories of 1978.

Major Stories

January 15: The Dallas Cowboys defeat the Denver Broncos 27-10 in Super Bowl XII.

February 19: In a tragic mix-up, Cypriot National Guard members fired on and killed 15 Egyptian commandos trying to rescue those aboard a Cypriot airliner held hostage by Palestinian terrorists.

March 17: In the worst oil spill on record, Amoco's Cadiz runs aground near Brest, France.

April 6: President Carter signs a bill raising the mandatory retirement age to 70.

May 9: Former Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro, who had been kidnapped on March 16, is found dead in Rome.

June 6: Proposition 13 passes in California ensuring new residents will pay more than their fair share of property taxes.

June 16: President Carter and Panamanian President Torrijos formally sign an agreement which will cede control of the Panama Canal to the Panamanias.

July 25: Louise Brown, the first "test-tube" baby, is born in Britain.

September 25: A PSA 727 collides with a Cessna and crashes in San Diego. Seven people on the ground and all 137 aboard both plains are killed.

November 18: The murder-suicides of 912 followers of religious leader Jim Jones in Guyana shocks the world.

December 15: Cleveland becomes the first U.S. city since the depression to default.

December 28: A United Airlines DC-9 runs out of gas and crashes six miles short of the runway in Portland, Oregon. Ten of 181 aboard are killed.

 
 
 


Jimmy Carter and Omar Torrijos at the signing of the Panama Canal Treaty on June 16.

Courtesy of NARA/Carter Library



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