Timeline: 1987

Jan 1  In a ten-minute New Year greeting to the Soviet Union, broadcast over Voice of America, President Reagan speaks of the new freedom for Sakharov (his return to Moscow from exile in Gorky) as helping to "strengthen the foundations for trust and cooperation between our two countries."

Jan 8  In Czechoslovakia a human rights group, Charter 77, on the 10th anniversary of its founding, calls on citizens to shake off their apathy, rid themselves of hopelessness and overcome their fears. Hope for change is said to reside in the Charter movement rather than outside influences.

Jan 8  The Dow Jones Industrial Average reaches a new high, closing above 2,000 for the first time.

Jan 20  In Beirut, Terry Waite, special envoy of the Archbishop of Canterbury in Lebanon, there to reason and negotiate with the kidnappers, is kidnapped.

Jan 25  In Beirut, "Islamic Jihad for the Liberation of Palestine" abducts three Americans and one Indian professor from Beirut University College: Alann Steen, Jesse Turner, Robert Polhill and Mitheleshwar Singh.

Jan 27  In the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev describes his Communist Party as stagnating and having systematic failures. He speaks of staying within Communist principles and calls for secret ballots and giving the public at large a choice of candidates in general elections to local government bodies.

Feb 22  Fawn Hall, who has been granted immunity, admits helping her former boss, Oliver North, destroy documents last November.

Feb 26  A government commission, headed by retired Republican Senator John Tower, concludes that Reagan's passive management style allowed his staff to mislead him about the illegal Iran-Contra transaction.

Mar 4  On national television, President Reagan acknowledges mistakes regarding Iran-Contra.

Mar 30  Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher is on a peace mission in the Soviet Union. She attracts great crowds of friendly people that surprise and challenge security, and Thatcher's visit is described as historic.

Apr 9  President Reagan describes bugging of the US embassy in Moscow as "outrageous." A journalist asks him about the US bugging of the Soviet embassy in Washington. Reagan replies that further discussion "wouldn't be useful."

Apr 13  Portugal and the People's Republic of China sign an agreement to have Macau returned to China in 1999.

Apr 15  The Soviet press agency Tass reports that Mikhail S. Gorbachev proposes ridding Europe of all short-range nuclear missiles along with medium-range missiles.

Apr 28  An engineer from the US and two Nicaraguans are killed in a Contra ambush while working at the construction site for a new dam for the nearby village of San José de Bocay in northern Nicaragua. An autopsy will show that Linder had been wounded by a grenade and then shot in the head at point-blank range.

May 1  In the Soviet Union men and women are standing in lines to a government agency to take advantage of new laws that allow the creation of small businesses.

May 5  The Assemblies of God defrocks televangelist Jim Bakker.

May 8  A photograph of US Senator Gary Hart with Donna Rice sitting on his lap aboard the yacht "Monkey Business" has been made public. Hart has been accused of an extra-marital affair with Donna Rice. He drops out of the running for the Democratic presidential nomination.

May 11  Klaus Barbie goes on trial in Lyon, France, for war crimes committed during World War II.

May 17  A poll by the Allensbach organization, commissioned by West Germany's conservative government, reveals that 58 percent want West Germany to "cooperate equally with America and Russia'' and only 31 percent prefer the government to work closely with America only.

May 26  For the first time in seven years the Soviet Union stops jamming Voice of America radio broadcasts.

May 28  A 19-year old from West Germany flies his a small airplane from Helsinki, Finland, to Red Square in Moscow, across 400 miles of Soviet air space. Gorbachev uses the incident to start making sweeping personnel changes, beginning immediately with Defense Minister Sergei L. Sokolov and Marshal Aleksander I. Koldunov, commander of the air defense.

Jun 12  In a speech at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate, President Reagan calls on Gorbachev to "tear down this wall."

Jun 17  In Lebanon, the "Organization for the Defense of the Free People" abducts an American television correspondent, Charles Glass.

Jul 31  At Mecca, a demonstration by Iranian pilgrims against the "enemies of Islam" leads to Saudi police shooting at demonstrations and a stampede by pilgrims. Saudi authorities report 402 dead: 275 Iranians, 85 Saudis including policemen, and 45 pilgrims from other countries.

Aug 1-2  In Teheran, Iranians attack the Saudi and Kuwaiti embassies, two countries allied with Iraq in war against Iran. The following day, over one million Iranians gather in Teheran and call for the overthrow of the Saud family.

Aug 7  Five Central American presidents sign the "Esquipulas II Accord," which calls for amnesty for persons charged with insurgencies, an end to all external aid to insurgents, and for reforms leading to free elections in Nicaragua. President Reagan says he also favors a negotiated settlement. The Contras, meanwhile, have taken and held no ground inside Nicaragua. Their atrocities have alienated people and they have not been gaining support within Nicaragua.

Aug 17  Hitler's old war-hero Nazi colleague, Rudolf Hess, is found dead in his cell. He was the last remaining prisoner in Spandau Prison.

Aug 19  Mexico and Venezuela have stopped deliveries of oil to Nicaragua because of Nicaragua's inability to pay for it.

Aug 19  In Hungerford, Berkshire, England, an unemployed laborer, Michael Ryan, with two semi-automatic rifles and a handgun, kills sixteen, including his mother, wounds fifteen others and kills himself.

Aug 23  In Estonia, the first outdoor political rally since the Soviet takeover in 1940 protests Russian rule. Thousands demonstrate for independence also in Latvia and Lithuania.

Sep 6  A senior Soviet diplomat has suggested a move toward stability in Central America, that the Soviet Union stop sending oil to the Sandinistas in power in Nicaragua in exchange for the US ending its support of the "Contras."

Sep 17  At a small rally in Harlem, televangelist Pat Robertson announces his candidacy for the 1988 Republican presidential nomination.

Sep 30  President Reagan complains to the Washington Times that a Soviet "disinformation campaign" has made anti-Communism in the US "unfashionable." He speaks of Senator Joseph McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee investigations of subversives. "They've done away with those committees," says President Reagan. "That shows the success of what the Soviets were able to do in this country."

Oct 10  The Reverend Jesse Jackson launches his second campaign for the presidency.

Nov 5  The cease fire that is part of the plan does not become a reality. The Reagan administration speaks of support for peace in Central America but continues to support the Contras. The Contras are still launching attacks on Nicaragua. Reagan says he will ''not accept phony democratization designed to mask the perpetuation of dictatorship.'' The Sandinista's see the Contras as largely riffraff from the old National Guard who helped keep the Somoza family dictatorship in power for 43 years.

Nov 15  In Romania people are frustrated by economic depression, food shortages and reduced wages. In Brasov, the country's industrial center, around 20,000 from a plant that manufactures trucks march to the city center and shout slogans such as “Down with Ceausescu,” and “Down with Communism.” They are joined by more than 20,000 others. The crowd sacks the local Communist Party headquarters and the city hall. A military force surrounds the city center, moves in, disperses the crowd and arrests approximately 300.

Dec 8  In Melbourne, Australia, a former law student at a Catholic college, 22-year-old Frank Vitkovic, kills 8 and injures 5 in a Post office building. His gun is taken from him on the 11th floor, and he jumps to his death.

Dec 8  An Israeli truck injures four Palestinian laborers, and rather than treating it as a traffic accident, youths begin thowing stones at Israeli soldiers. They are fed up with the Israeli occupation. It is the beginning of the rising to be known as the First Intifada.

Dec 8  In Washington D.C., Reagan and Gorbachev sign the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty to eliminate 4 percent of their nuclear arsenals. It is the first US-Soviet treaty for the destruction of nuclear weapons and includes on-site monitoring of that destruction.

Dec 17  In Czechoslovakia, Gustáv Husák, 74, resigns as General Secretary of the Communist Party in order to let younger party members participate in power.

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