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Timeline: 1976

Jan 21  Air France and British Airways begin commercial flights with the supersonic Concorde aircraft.

Feb 26  Spain's mandate over Western Sahara ends. It hands administrative power there to Morocco. An independence movement in Western Sahara is ignored despite a decision by the International Court of Justice upholding the right of the people of Western Sahara to self-determination. The independence movement in Western Sahara is leftist and supported by an anti-Western bloc: Algeria, Chad, Libya, Mauritania. Spain and Morocco are allied with the US, and the US is supporting King Hassan II of Morocco.

Mar 9  At Cavalese in Italy a steel cable breaks, sending 42 people in cable cars plunging 200 meters (700 feet) to their death.

Mar 15  Secretary of State Henry Kissinger is upset that Cuba's Fidel Castro has the nerve to send troops to Angola to help the government there against insurgents supported covertly by the Ford administration and South Africa's apartheid regime. In the Oval Office he complains about the Cubans to the president and calls Castro a "pip-squeek."

Mar 20  In the US, Patty Hearst is found guilty of armed robbery.

Mar 24 Kissinger meets with a national security team and expresses his fear of falling dominos "If the Cubans destroy Rhodesia then Namibia is next and then there is South Africa." He adds that o permit the "Cubans as the shock troops of the revolution" in Africa is unacceptable and could cause racial tensions in the "Caribbean with the Cubans appealing to disaffected minorities and could then spillover into South America and even into our own country." Kissenger expresses fear of an appearance of US weakness and discussing military options against Cuba. He says, "There should be no halfway measures. We get no reward for using military power in moderation."

Mar 24  In Argentina, the military overthrows Isabella Peron, whose authoritarian rule was considered unpopular and ineffectual. Anti-Communist death squad activities during Isabella's regime, supported by her leading minister, José Lopez Rega, will continue under the new junta's leader, General Jorge Videla.

Mar 31  Karen Ann Quinlan has been kept alive by a ventilator for several months without improvement. Her parents have requested that the hospital allow her to die. The hospital has refused. The New Jersey Supreme Court sides with the parents.

Apr 1  Steve Jobs and Steve Woznik form Apple Computer Company. Big innovations are coming from small startup companies rather than IBM, Xerox and others. Big companies have their own bureaucracies and in-the-box thinking. The bigger companies will be advancing their technical capabilities by buying up young start-up companies.

Apr 4  In Cambodia, now called Democratic Kampuchea, the Khmer Rouge regime deposes Prince Norodom Sihanouk as head of state and places him under house arrest. Five of his 14 children are to die as victims of Khmer Rouge rule. The Khmer Rouge is attempting to create a classless society by forcing the urban population into agricultural communes. It is executing intellectuals, seeing them as a threat to their new order.

Apr 16  In India, to curb population growth, the minimum age for marriage is raised to 21 years for men and 18 years for women.

Jun 1  Britain and Iceland end their Cod War with a compromise, an agreement allowing a maximum of 24 British fishing boats within 200 miles of Iceland.

Jun 16  In South Africa's black township of Soweto, students protest against a government decree that Afrikaans be the language of instruction in schools. Police move against the demonstrators. The police shoot and kill a twelve-year-old student, Hector Pieterson, who is to be memorialized.

Jun 27  Palestinians hijack an Air France plane in Greece and land it in Entebbe, Uganda. More than 100 of the 246 passengers are Israelis.

Jul 2   Idi Amin of Uganda asks U.N. Secretary General Kurt Waldheim to appeal to Israel and four other countries to comply with the demands of the hijackers for the release of 53 prisoners from jails.

Jul 4   Israeli commandos free 103 hostages being held by Palestinian hijackers of an Air France plane at Uganda's Entebbe Airport. Several Ugandan soldiers are killed. The Israeli commander, Colonel Yoni Netanyahu, is killed.

Jul 6  The US Naval Academy inducts its first class with women.

Jul 12   A newly unified Vietnam moves to normalize relations with its Southeast Asia neighbors. It establishes diplomatic ties with the Philippines and has plans to meet a delegation from Thailand.

Jul 15  Democrats have nominated Jimmy Carter as their candidate for US President. In his acceptance speech, Carter declares his intention to lead the Democrats "back to victory and our nation back to greatness."

Jul 17  East Timor is declared the 27th province of Indonesia, while the people there prefer independence.

Jul 20  The US completes the withdrawal of air force bases from Thailand, paving the way for normalization of relations between Thailand and Vietnam.

Aug 1  The Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago becomes a republic, replacing Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom as head of state with an elected president.

Aug 4   The first recognized outbreak of Legionnaires' disease kills 29 at the American Legion convention in Philadelphia. The disease is a mystery.

Aug 6  Thailand and Vietnam re-establish diplomatic relations.

Aug 11  In the US, the Republican Party platform subcommittee votes not to endorse the equal rights amendment for women. First Lady Betty Ford is appalled.

Aug 16  At the Republican National Convention, those backing the nomination of Ronald Reagan for president, especially members of the Texas delegation, are faulting the Ford Administration for détente with the Soviet Union, are critical of Ford for having signed the Helsinki Accords, and fault Ford for the fall of Saigon.

Aug 18  North Koreans shoot and kill two US soldiers in Korea's Demilitarized Zone. The two soldiers were chopping down part of a tree that was restricting their view.

Aug 19  President Ford wins the Republic Party's nomination for president.

Sep 9  Chairman Mao Zedong, 82, dies.

Sep 24  Patricia Hearst is sentenced to 7 years in prison for her role in a 1974 bank robbery.

Oct 6  The period of mourning the death of Chairman Mao is at an end. The politburo of China's Communist Party moves against Mao's wife, Jiang Qing, and other leaders of the Cultural Revolution, the so-called Gang of Four. They are arrested and accused of conspiring to seize state power.

Oct 6  Thailand's middle class is annoyed by leftist politics, and rightists have been associating student activists with communism. Students demonstrate against the return from exile by the former dictator, Thanom, who had been driven from power in 1973. The military assaults the demonstration. More than 1,700 are arrested and 30 or more students are killed and many others injured.

Oct 16  Thailand's military junta has begun a nationwide roundup of leftist writers, professors and students. Some are running to join the Communist Party's insurgent forces operating from bases in Laos.

Nov 2  Jimmy Carter defeats incumbent Gerald Ford, becoming the first candidate from the Deep South to win the presidency since the Civil War.

Dec 1  Angola, independent since November 11, 1975, joins the United Nations.

Dec 15  Samoa, independent since 1962, joins the United Nations.

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