ⓘ March 1980
- William "Dixie" Dean, 73, English soccer football forward
- Daniil Khrabrovitsky, 56, Soviet film director
- For the first time in the history of the United Nations, the United States voted against Israel in a UN Security Council resolution. The Security Council unanimously adopted United Nations Security Council Resolution 465, calling on Israel to dismantle settlements made by Israeli citizens in the West Bank and other occupied territories acquired during the Six Day War of 1967. U.S. Ambassador Donald McHenry cast the vote on behalf of the United States, though acknowledging that dismantling would be impractical. A spokesman for Israels Foreign Ministry responded, using its term for the West Bank, that "Settling in Judea and Samaria is not only our right but part of our security." The resolution, sponsored by Security Council temporary members Jordan and Morocco, came after Israel had allowed Jewish settlers to move into the occupied territory of Hebron. The U.S. President Carter reversed the decision two days later, and U.S. Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance blamed McHenrys vote on a "failure in communications."
- Steven Stayner, kidnapped by Kenneth Parnell seven years earlier from his home in Merced, California, appeared at a police station in Ukiah after rescuing another kidnapped boy, Timmy White, who had been missing since February 13. Stayner had been abducted on December 4, 1972. Police arrested the kidnapper, Kenneth Eugene Parnell hours later at a Ukiah hotel where he was working as a night clerk.
- Wilhelmina Cooper, 40, Netherlands-born American model known for founding the Wilhelmina Models agency, from lung cancer.
1. March 2, 1980 Sunday
- Voters in Switzerland overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to separate church and state. The proposed amendment to the Swiss Constitution would have ended government sponsorship of the protestant Swiss Reformed Church and of the Roman Catholic Church. There were 1.052.294 votes against the measure and 281.760 in favor of it.
- Born: Rebel Wilson, Australian comedian and actress, as Melanie Bownds in Sydney
- General Prem Tinsulanonda was elected as the new Prime Minister of Thailand by the Asian kingdoms House of Representatives, the Ratsadon. Tinsulanonda suceeded Kriangsak Chamanan, who had resigned on February 29 after disapproval of his economic policies.
2. March 3, 1980 Monday
- The controversial television show Thats Incredible!, which showcased people performing dangerous stunts, premiered on the ABC network in the U.S. and began a five season run. It was hosted by John Davidson, Fran Tarkenton, and Cathy Lee Crosby. Criticized as a copy of the popular NBC show Real People or the 1950s series You Asked for It the series captured its time slot on the first evening. As syndicated critic noted Peter J. Boyer noted about the stunts, the series opener was "a filmed feature on some guy who works with bees" who "let a bee sting him for the cameras, as everyone on stage gushed Thats incredible!". Boyer added "No one within microphone range offered Thats Stupid!"
- Irans governing Islamic Revolutionary Council announced that it would allow a five-man United Nations commission to meet with the 50 American diplomats held captive at the besieged U.S. Embassy in Tehran. Irans leader, the Ayatollah Khomeini had overruled the militant students who had earlier refused to allow the UN panel to meet the hostages.
- The Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, adopted by the International Atomic Energy Agency on October 26 in Vienna, was signed by nations in both Vienna and New York City, and would be ratified by sufficient nations to enter into force on February 8, 1987.
- Following the victory of his Liberal Party over the Progressive Conservative Party in Canadian elections, Pierre Trudeau returned to office as Prime Minister of Canada, taking the oath at the Government House in Ottawa. Trudeau, who had previously served as Prime Minister from 1968 to 1979, was sworn in by Marcel Masse, the Clerk of the Privy Council. Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Joe Clark sent his resignation to Governor General Edward Schreyer.
- The first ShowBiz Pizza Place restaurant opened in Kansas City, Missouri, launched by Robert L. Brock, who had been a holder of a Chuck E. Cheese Pizza Time Theatre franchise. In 1984, ShowBiz would acquire the Chuck E. Cheese stores and, in 1990, rename its restaurants with the Chuck E. Cheese brand name.
- American tennis player John McEnroe reached the ATPs #1 player in the world ranking for the first time in his career. Between 1980 and 1985, McEnroe would be the #1 ranked player on multiple occasions for 170 weeks out of 260.
- The Audi Quattro, a four-wheel drive sporting coupe, was launched in West Germany.
- Jose Napoleon Duarte, in exile in Mexico since 1968, returned to El Salvador and replaced Hector Dada Hirezi on the five-member Revolutionary Government Junta Revolucionaria de Gobierno or JRG and took office as the Central American nations Foreign Minister. By December 13, Duarte became the first President of the Junta.
3. March 4, 1980 Tuesday
- Jeong Da-bin, South Korean TV actress committed suicide, 2007
- Omar Bravo, Mexican soccer football forward and national team member, in Los Mochis
- The Walt Disney Company entered the video rental business for the first time, as VHS videotapes of 13 of its films were authorized for rental by the Fotomat film developing kiosks nationwide. Among the video rentals were Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier, The Love Bug and the more recent Disney release, The Black Hole.
- The West German TV mystery series, Anderland premiered on the ZDF television network as an entertaining and informative program for children. It would run for 45 episodes until December 14, 1986.
- A conspiracy, led by Pakistani Army Major General Tajammul Hussain Malik, to assassinate Pakistans President Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq during the annual March 23 Pakistan Day Parade, was foiled. Malik and his co-conspirators were sentenced to life imprisonment, but would be released after Zias death in 1988.
- A little-known candidate, U.S. Representative John B. Anderson of Illinois, won the Massachusetts primary election for the Republican Party nomination, ahead of former U.S. Representative George Bush and former California Governor Ronald Reagan. Teddy Kennedy, the U.S. Senator for Massachusetts, won 66% of the vote in his home state with twice as many votes as U.S. President Carter. Anderson would later run as a third party candidate for the U.S. presidency.
- The first civilian killings known as the "Rio Negro massacres" took place in a chapel of the Guatemala village of El Oratorio, when members of the Guatemalan Army shot seven people identified as opponents to the construction of the Chixoy Hydroelectric Dam. Located on the banks of the Rio Negro River in the Baja Verapaz Department, El Oratorio was one of the communities whose residents, mostly indigenous Maya peoples, the Achi, were forcibly relocated. According to a 2005 petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, as many as 5.000 people were killed over a period of two years, most notably on March 13, 1982, when 440 men, women and children were shot in the village of Rio Negro.
- Died: Salim Lawzi, 57, Lebanese journalist and publisher of the weekly magazine Al Hawadeth, was found dead nine days after being kidnapped. He had probably died on February 28 or February 29.
4. March 5, 1980 Wednesday
- Born: William Owens, U.S. Navy SEAL, in Peoria, Illinois killed in action, 2017
- Jay Silverheels stage name for Harold Jay Smith, 67, Mohawk American TV actor known for portraying Tonto in The Lone Ranger
- Independent Sector, an American coalition of nonprofit organizations, foundations and corporate charities, was created by a merger of the Coalition of National Voluntary Organizations and the National Council of Philanthropy.
- After losing in the New Hampshire Primary, Tennessee U.S. Senator Howard Baker became the first candidate to withdraw from the Republican race for the presidential nomination.
- Beyond Westworld premiered on CBS but ran for only three episodes before being canceled. In its final showing on March 19, it finished 69th out of 69 shows in the Nielsen ratings. It was nominated for two Primetime Emmy Awards, for art direction and for makeup.
- Marc Edmund Jones, 91, American astrologer
5. March 6, 1980 Thursday
- Barbara Brukalska, 80, Polish architect and exponent of functionalism
- The Iranian students who had held the U.S. Embassy diplomats hostage since November announced that they were ready to turn their captives over to the control of Irans government. The students then made new demands the following day.
- Edwin H. Land, who had founded the Polaroid company that was a major manufacturer of cameras and film, and a pioneer in self-developing photographs, resigned as its CEO after the corporations loss of money from attempting to market the Polavision video camera system. Among the problems with Polavision was that, although films could be seen soon after they had been made, the film could not be reused.
- Park Heung-ju, 40, was shot by a firing squad, becoming the first of the co-conspirators to be executed for the October 26 assassination of President Park Chung-hee. The other five would be hanged on May 24.
- Colombian terrorists, who had seized the Dominican Republics Embassy and taken 15 ambassadors hostage, released one of their captives, Austrian Ambassador Edger Selzer, whose wife was terminally ill in Vienna.
6. March 7, 1980 Friday
- CovertAction Information Bulletin, an American periodical opposed to spy agencies, revealed the identity of 39 agents of the Central Intelligence Agency CIA, publishing the names and biographies of 16 CIA station chiefs and 23 other senior officers, including some in Moscow and Beijing.
- Laura Prepon, American television actress; in Watchung, New Jersey
- Murat Boz, Turkish singer and TV actor; in Karadeniz Ereğli
7. March 8, 1980 Saturday
- Jaime Roldos, the President of Ecuador, announced his National Development Plan to advance the nations economy over a period of years.
- Iran began the break of diplomatic relations with neighboring Iraq, recalling its ambassador from the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, and expelling Iraqa ambassador from Tehran. The next day, Iraq announced that Irans ambassador in Baghdad, Mohammed Duaei, was persona non grata. Both nations allowed relations to continue at the charge daffaires level. The two nations would go to war on September 22.
- A plan to release the U.S. Embassy hostages in Iran was rejected by the Iranian students who were holding the diplomats hostage in Tehran.
- The "Spring Rhythms Festival" Festivalya Vesennye Ritmy, also known as "Tbilisi-80", began in Tbilisi, capital of the Georgian SSR as the Soviet Unions first approved rock music festival and would run for nine consecutive days.
- Busan Kyungsang College opened to students in Busan, South Korea. Its first graduation ceremony would be on February 13, 1982.
- A group of 50.000 Brazilians gathered at the village of Casimiro de Abreu after a local farmer had told a national TV audience that a flying saucer from Jupiter would land on his farm at dawn. The saucer did not arrive as scheduled, and the crowd dispersed peacefully.
8. March 9, 1980 Sunday
- Chingy stage name for Howard Bailey, Jr., American rapper and actor; in St. Louis
- Syrian troops killed more than 200 anti-government protesters in the northwest Syrian city of Jisr al-Shughur, after Baath Party offices and Syrian Army barracks had been attacked earlier in the day. Helicopters loaded with troops landed in the city of about 45.000 people, and a door-to-door search of houses followed, with some agitators killed on site, and others arrested and brought before military tribunals. Troops also killed 30 protesters in Maarra and 16 in Idlib.
- Volker Bruch, German television actor; in Munich
- Pedro Alonso Lopez, a serial killer from Colombia who confessed to raping and strangling over 100 children over a seven year period, was arrested in Ecuador in the city of Ambato. Lopez was picked up by police after attempting to kidnap a young girl in a market place. After being apprehended, he led police to the burial sites of 28 of his victims.
- The first elections for the Basque Parliament, the 60-member legislature created by Spain for the new Basque Autonomous Community, were held. The Basque Nationalist Party won a plurality of the seats. The 1979 act provided for the region consisting of the provinces of Alava, Biscay, and Gipuzkoa to be granted internal government.
- Matthew Gray Gubler, American TV actor; in Las Vegas
- Cyclosporin A, the immunosuppressive drug which would revolutionize organ transplantation by eliminating the danger of the bodys rejection of the transplanted organ, was first tested on a human being. The first person to receive the drug was a 28 year old patient of Dr. Thomas Starzl at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. The test was successful and the drug was approved for clinical use in the United States in 1983.
- Died: Nikolay Bogolyubov, 80, Soviet film actor
9. March 10, 1980 Monday
- Died: Dr. Herman Tarnower, 69, American cardiologist and dietician famous for the high-protein, low-fat Scarsdale diet, was murdered by his former lover, school executive Jean Harris, who claimed that the death was an accident during her own suicide attempt
- At Rancho Mirage, California, the National Football League held its annual meeting, where 22 of the NFLs 28 teams voted unanimously against allowing the Oakland Raiders to move to Los Angeles. The Raiders did not participate and the owners of five teams abstained. Team owner Al Davis announced that he reserved the right to ignore the vote and to move the team anyway, a move which would take place in 1982 after his suit against the league. In the years that followed the Oakland Raiders moved to Los Angeles, then back to Oakland, then back to Oakland in 1995, then to Las Vegas in 2020. Six of the other teams in 1980 would relocate, and others would threaten to do so unless they received concessions from the cities where they operated.
- The Berber Spring, protests began against the government of Algeria by the Berber minority that makes up about one-fourth of Algerias population, in their homeland, the Kabylia region on the northeast coast. The triggering event was the cancellation of a Kabyle language poetry reading by Mouloud Mammeri at the University of Tizi Ouzou.
- Radio e Televisão de Portugal RTP-1, which had started TV broadcasting on March 7, 1957, introduced color television broadcasting to Portugal.
10. March 11, 1980 Tuesday
- Thirty-six of the 43 crew on the Spanish oil tanker MV Maria Alejandra were killed when the ship broke apart after a natural gas explosion and sank within 40 seconds off. On its way from the Canary Islands to be filled with crude oil from the Persian Gulf, the ship went down 100 miles 160 km west of Cap Blanc, Mauritania. With no time to put on life jackets, the seven survivors jumped into the ocean and hung on to floating debris, long enough to be rescued by a Greek-registered frigate Luehesand.
- Died: Maud Hart Lovelace, 87, American childrens author known for the Betsy-Tacy series of books
- Born: Gabriela Pichler, Swedish film director, in Huddinge
- Michael Somare, the first Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, resigned after losing a vote of confidence, 57 to 49, in the south Pacific nations National Parliament. He was succeeded by Julius Chan. Somare would become Prime Minister again in 1982.
- The 500-member Azanian Peoples Liberation Army, organized by South African guerrilla Potlako Leballo in 1961 to overthrow the white minority government of South Africa, split into several factions after a mutiny at the APLAs camp in the Tanzanian district of Chunya.
11. March 12, 1980 Wednesday
- Serial killer John Wayne Gacy was convicted of 33 counts of murder of young men and boys between 1972 and 1978. A jury in Chicago deliberated for 1 hour and 50 minutes before finding him guilty. The jury recommended a death sentence Gacy would be executed by lethal injection on May 10, 1994.
- At Linz, in Austria, the International Federation for Systems Research was founded by the cybernetic systems research organizations of the United States, Austria and the Netherlands.
- The Societe Nationale des Hydrocarbures SNH, the government-owned oil and gas company for the West African nation of Cameroon, was established to work with foreign oil companies to manage the sale of the nations petroleum and natural gas resources.
12. March 13, 1980 Thursday
- In State of Indiana v. Ford Motor Company, a jury in Winamac, Indiana acquitted the automaker in the first criminal trial in the U.S. of a corporation for homicide. Ford Motor Company was found not guilty of manslaughter in the deaths of three teenaged females from a product defect in its Ford Pinto economy cars. On August 11, 1978, Judy Ulrich, her sister and her cousin had died in a fiery crash after her 1973 Ford Pinto economy car had been struck from behind by another car. Although a conviction would have carried a maximum penalty of a $10.000 fine for each count, the evidence developed in the trial established Fords knowledge of the defect in the design and placement of its gasoline tanks.
- Died: Roland Symonette, 81, the first Premier of the Bahamas after it was granted self-government by the British
13. March 14, 1980 Friday
- All 87 people on board LOT Polish Airlines Flight 7, including the 14-member U.S. amateur boxing team and 42 citizens of Poland, were killed when the flight from New York crashed short of the runway during an emergency landing attempt at Warsaw. The Ilyushin Il-62 jet airliner had departed New York City the night before at 9:18. A turbine disc on the jet had failed, from metal fatigue, in the number 2 engine of the Ilyushin Il-62, causing the engine to fall apart. Debris then damaged the jets rudder and its elevator control lines, causing it to dive into the ground 800 metres 2.600 ft from the runway at 11:14 in the morning local time The main part of the fuselage fell into a 14 feet 4.3 m deep pond that had been frozen over.
- Anna Jantar, 29, Polish singer, in the crash of LOT Flight 007 on her way home from her U.S. tour
- The first round of voting for the Majlis, the 270-member Islamic Consultative Assembly that served as Irans Parliament. A second round, for seats that had no candidate receiving 50% or more of the vote, took place on May 9.
- The Grob G 109, manufactured by the West German Grob Aircraft Company as the first all-composite motor glider, flew for the first time.
- Mohammad Hatta, 77, Prime Minister of Indonesia from 1948 to 1949 and the nations first Vice President
- Allard K. Lowenstein, 51, conservative political activist and former U.S. Congressman, was murdered in his office by a mentally ill friend.
- Felix Rodriguez de la Fuente, 52, Spanish naturalist and TV show host, in a plane crash
- U.S. President Carter signed legislation abolishing three federal government agencies whose existence was no longer necessary. The 188-year-old United States Assay Commission, formed in 1792 to supervise the testing of gold and silver in U.S. Mint coins, had served no purpose after the passage of the Gold Reserve Act of 1934 and the Coinage Act of 1965, and as Carter noted, "the United States no longer produces gold or silver coins of equivalent value." The U.S. Marine Corps Memorial Commission had continued to exist even after it had completed its plan to create a plan for a memorial in Chicagos Grant Park, and the Low-Emission Vehicle Certification Board, created to certify low-emission federal government vehicles, had been superseded by the Electric and Hybrid Research & Development Demonstration Act of 1976.
14. March 15, 1980 Saturday
- The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson was launched from the shipyard at Newport News, Virginia. For the first time since 1900, the U.S. Navy named a vessel for a living person, and retired U.S. Congressman Carl Vinson of Georgia, 96 years old, was present for the launch. During his Congressional tenure from 1914 to 1965, Vinson had successfully marshaled support for building new warships for the Navy with the Vinson-Trammell Act of 1934, the Naval Act of 1938 and the Two-Ocean Navy Act of 1940.
- The Circle K Sunkus chain of Japanese convenience stores began with the opening of the first "Circle K" store in Japan, located in the Tenpaku-ku ward of the city of Nagoya. Four months later, on July 23, the first "Sunkus" store opened at the Aoba-ku ward of Sendai. The chains would merge in 2004 as Circle K Sunkus and would be rebranded in 2016 as part of the FamilyMart chain.
- Former U.S. President Gerald R. Ford announced that he would not run for the Republican Party nomination for the 1980 U.S. presidential election, reversing earlier comments that he didnt believe that front-runner Ronald Reagan would be able to win defeat President Carter.
- In an upset victory, Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C. defeated defending champion Nottingham Forest F.C., 1 to 0, before a crowd of 96.527 spectators at Wembley Stadium to win The Football League Cup championship. Nottingham Forest was the defending European Cup champion and was expected to easily win its third consecutive League Cup. Andy Gray scored the winning goal in the 67th minute, after Nottingham goalkeepr Peter Shilton collided with his teammate, David Needham.
- Died: Abram Grushko, 61, Soviet Russian painter
- Voters in the Penobscot Indian Nation voted, 234 to 113, to accept a proposed settlement of $81.500.000 to drop further claims in for 12.500.000 acres of land 19.531 square miles 50.590 km 2, almost two-thirds of the 30.862 square miles 79.930 km 2 of land in the U.S. state of Maine.
15. March 16, 1980 Sunday
- Closed captioning was first shown on a television program in the United States. The first program to use captioning visible through the Telecaption adapter sold by Sears for $249.95 for regular TV sets was Disneys Wonderful World on NBC at 7:00 p.m., a showing of the 1963 film Son of Flubber. ABC debuted captioning with the ABC Sunday Night Movie the 1978 film Force 10 from Navarone. The ABC and NBC networks initially offered five hours per week each of captioned programming, and the PBS network began with four starting on March 18 with Masterpiece Theatre, with plans to increase to 10½ by July. The CBS network elected not to participate, arguing that the decoding equipment would soon become obsolete.
- Only seven days after taking office as the first woman Mayor of St. Albans, Vermont, Janet L. Smith was fatally wounded by a handyman who lived in the Smith house. Smith, the only female mayor in the state of Vermont, died the next day after several hours of surgery.
- Died: Neville DSouza, 47, India soccer football team striker in the 1956 Olympic Games; from a brain hemorrhage.
16. March 17, 1980 Monday
- One of the hostages escaped from the siege of the Dominican Republics Embassy in Colombia by tying together bedsheets and climbing out a window. Uruguays ambassador, Fernando Gomez, suffered only bruises from a fall after his bedsheet rope broke after he had climbed halfway down the building, and despite being shot at by the guerrillas.
- The CASA C-101 Aviojet, designed and built by Spains aircraft manufacturer Construcciones Aeronauticas SACASA, went into regular service for its primary customer, the Spanish Air Force.
- The United Kingdom House of Commons voted, 315 to 147, in favor of a nonbinding resolution urging the UK Olympic team to boycott the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow.
- Boun Oum, 68, Prime Minister of Laos from 1948 to 1950 and 1960 to 1962
- In San Salvador, militant leftists barricaded themselves inside the National University of El Salvador as the Salvadoran Army closed in. According to the Salvadoran government, 53 people were killed in the first 24 hours of fighting.
- John M. Slack Jr., 64, U.S. Representative for West Virginia since 1959, from a heart attack
17. March 18, 1980 Tuesday
- Born: Alexei Yagudin, Russian figure skater, World Championship and Olympic gold medalist; in Leningrad, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
- Frank Gotti, 12, the son of New York mobster John Gotti, was accidentally killed in Howard Beach, New York, after riding a minibike into the path of a car driven by a neighborhood resident, John Favara. Although Favara was cleared of responsibility by police investigators, he was kidnapped on July 28 and would never be seen again, apparently murdered by Gottis Gambino crime family.
- In the case of Rummel v. Estelle, the United States Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the most harsh habitual offender law in the United States, ruling, 5 to 4 that life imprisonment without parole was not "cruel and unusual punishment", even for minor theft. Under a law in the state of Texas, three felony convictions qualified for a mandatory life sentence. In three separate crimes over nine years, William James Rummel had obtained less than $230. On October 3, Rummel would obtain a new trial after a ruling that he had received ineffective assistance from his attorneys, and he would be released under a plea bargain reducing his sentence to time served.
- Tamara de Lempicka, 81, Polish Art Deco painter
- Forty-five Soviet Army solders were killed at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia, when a Vostok-2M rocket exploded on its launch pad during a fueling operation. News of the disaster was suppressed, and would not be revealed worldwide until nearly 10 years later. Russian TV viewers would not be informed about the disaster until the year 2000.
- Erich Fromm, 79, German psychiatrist and psychoanalyst
- Jessica Dragonette, 80, American opera singer who starred on the Philco Hour radio show from 1927 to 1930
- Louise Lovely Nellie Carbasse, 85, Australian-born U.S. silent film actress and leading lady
18. March 19, 1980 Wednesday
- Born: Johan Olsson, Swedish cross-country skier and Olympic gold medalist; in Skultuna
- U.S. President Jimmy Carter invited Israels Prime Minister Menahem Begin and Egypts President Anwar Sadat to return to the White House in separate discussions to discuss to create an autonomous Palestinian Arab homeland on the West Bank and Gaza. In the Camp David Accords signed in 1979, the two nations had agreed upon a deadline of May 26, 1980, to decide on a plan.
19. March 20, 1980 Thursday
- MV Mi Amigo, the ship housing pirate radio station Radio Caroline, sank off the English coast, after its anchor chain broke and it ran aground on a sandbank during a broadcast. The lifeboat Helen Turnbull rescued the crew of four before Mi Amigo went down in waters 16 feet 4.9 m. From March 8, 1961 until the 1980 disaster, the ship had operated outside of British territorial waters to serve various pirate radio stations. Radio Caroline would return on August 19, 1983 on a new host ship, MV Ross Revenge.
- Mikey Day, American comedian, in Anaheim, California
- All 26 people were killed in the crash of a twin-engine turboprop operated by Chinas national carrier, CAAC Airlines. The Antonov An-24RV crashed on landing in Changsha after departing from Guiyang.
- At 3:47 in the afternoon in the U.S. state of Washington, Mount St. Helens resumed volcanic activity after being dormant for 123 years. The first event was a minor 4.2 magnitude earth tremor below its north side, detected by an observatory in Newport, Washington. Located less than 12 miles from Cougar, Washington in Skamania County, the volcano vented steam on March 27 and steadily increased its activity, ending with a massive eruption on May 18 that would kill 57 people.
- The first "Tough Guy Contest", a mixed martial arts MMA competition organized by CV Productions, Inc. as the original government-sanctioned MMA tournament for men willing to pay a fee to fight for a cash prize, was held. The fights were held at a Holiday Inn in New Kensington, Pennsylvania over three days, and 42 contestants entered the first tournament.
- Jamal Crawford, American NBA point guard, in Seattle
- The first elections were held for the Parliament of the newly autonomous community of Catalonia in Spain. Catalonia, like the Basque Country and Galicia, was one of the three autonomous "nationality" communities among the 17 provided for in the 1978 constitutional reform.
20. March 21, 1980 Friday
- The U.S. television show Dallas set up a mystery that would captivate TV audiences around the world with its final episode of the season, raising the question of "Who shot J.R.?". The episode itself, which set a precedent for cliffhanger endings for a TV season, was called "A House Divided". For the next eight months, viewers debated and placed bets on the answer to the mystery of who shot the star character of Dallas, J. R. Ewing, Brazilian soccer football midfielder and national team member; in Porto Alegre
- Deryck Whibley, American rock musician, in Scarborough, Ontario
21. March 22, 1980 Saturday
- The Georgia Guidestones were unveiled in Elbert County, Georgia, consisting of four granite slabs, engraved with "guides to mankind" written in 8 different languages.
- U.S. President Carter met with his national advisers at Camp David and invited U.S. Air Force General David C. Jones, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to describe the Desert One rescue. General Jones explained that the commander of Delta Force, Special Forces Colonel Charlie Beckwith had devised a plan to land in Iran and rescue the U.S. Embassy hostages.
- The Grand National Assembly of Turkey and the Turkish Senate met in joint session to vote for a successor to President Fahri Koruturk, whose 7-year term of office was set to expire on April 6. The session adjourned because nobody wanted to run for the office.
- Fighting broke out in NDjamena, the capital of Chad, triggered a 10-day long battle between the Forces Armees du Nord FAN troops loyal to former Prime Minister Hissene Habre and the pro-Libya FROLINAT Fro nt de li beration nat ionale loyal to President Goukouni Oueddei. Over the next ten days, 3.000 people were killed and a new phase of the Chad Civil War began.
22. March 23, 1980 Sunday
- After nearly 10 months of leaking petroleum into the Gulf of Mexico, the Ixtoc I oil spill was finally capped by engineers of Petroleos Mexicanos PEMEX, Mexicos government-operated oil company, who sealed the well by pouring gallons of cement into it, under pressure, to form three plugs. Two relief wells added to the main well had lowered the oil pressure enough by May 21 to begin the final three deposits to create cement plugs, starting at 4:00 in the afternoon. The first batch of 200 sacks wet cement was pushed to a depth of 5.140 feet 1.570 m below the sea floor and hardened into a plug 685 feet 209 m. After a second plug was sent to a depth of 4.923 feet 1.501 m, the third and final plug was poured shortly before midnight to a depth of 4.431 feet 1.351 m forming a mass 1.650 feet 500 m long. The offshore well had been spilling oil since a blowout on June 3, 1979, and placed 3.3 million barrels 138.600.000 U.S. gallons or 524.650.000 liters of oil, the largest amount in history up to that time.
- Born: Russell Howard, English comedian, TV host and actor; in Bristol
- Voters in Sweden chose the slowest of three options for the phasing out of nuclear power in a non-binding referendum that attracted more than 75% of the eligible electorate.
- The Totonero scandal, a match-fixing scheme implicating 27 players in Italys top two levels of professional soccer football Serie A and Serie B, was revealed partway through the season after two investors filed a complaint with the national prosecutor. Eleven players of defending Italian Serie A champion, A.C. Milan were arrested in their locker room after their 1-0 win over visiting Torino, along with the club president, Felice Colombo. Four players for S.S. Lazio) were arrested at the end of the matches played that day. Eight of the 16 Serie A clubs were implicated, and although the accused players were acquitted, five of the Serie A teams were penalized at the end of the 1979-1980 season. Notably, A.C. Milan which had won the 1978-79 championship and had finished in third place in the standings with 14 wins and 8 losses was relegated to the second-division Serie B, a fate normally reserved for the three teams with the worst records. Lazio, finishing 13th out of the 16 teams, was demoted as well.
- Single candidate elections were held in Poland for approval of the 460 seats in the Sejm, Polands parliament, but for the first time, secret balloting was allowed. "A surprisingly high proportion" of voters chose the option of going into curtained booths in order to strike out the names of candidates they didnt want, although, as a UPI report noted, "The orthodox thing to do was to drop the slips without any changes into a ballot box." The Polish United Workers Party PUWP, the nations Communist Party led by First Secretary Edward Gierek, had allotted itself 261 seats, while approving the candidates for other 169 seats for the United Peoples Party ZSL and the Democratic Alliance SD.
- With only two nations in the world ready to bring him within their borders, the former Shah of Iran ended 100 days of exile on Panamas Contadora Island and flew with his family to Egypt in order to receive surgery. The Shah departed Panama City on chartered DC-8 jetliner operated by Evergreen International Airlines, a contractor for the American CIA. Since leaving Iran on January 16, 1979, the Shah had lived in Morocco, the Bahamas, Mexico, the United States and, since December 15, in Panama. The Shahs arrival in New York City on October 22 had triggered the Iran Hostage Crisis.
- The Old Dominion University Lady Monarchs defeated the University of Tennessee Lady Volunteers, 68 to 53, to win the womens college basketball championship, sponsored since 1972 by the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women AIAW.
23. March 24, 1980 Monday
- Oscar Romero, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of San Salvador, was assassinated by a gunman while celebrating evening Mass at the chapel of the Divine Provincence Hospital in El Salvadors capital. When Romero elevated the chalice of wine for the Consecration, a.22 caliber bullet was fired into his chest by the assassin. Although nobody would ever be convicted of the crime, a United Nations Commission concluded that the killing was ordered by Roberto DAubuisson, the leader of the right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance ARENA. Romero would be canonized as a Roman Catholic saint on October 14, 2018.
- Pierre Etchebaster, 86, French courte-paume tennis champion
- In the U.S., the ABC news program Nightline, hosted by Ted Koppel, premiered at 11:30 at night. Nightline was a continuation of America Held Hostage, Koppels nightly special reports about the Iran hostage crisis that had started on November 8.
- John Barrie, 62, English TV and film actor
- The University of Louisville Cardinals won the NCAA college basketball championship, defeating the UCLA Bruins, 59 to 54.
24. March 25, 1980 Tuesday
- Walter Susskind, 66, Czech-born British conductor
- Erminio Macario, 77, Italian comedian and film actor
- Milton H. Erickson, 78, American psychiatrist specializing in medical hypnosis
- The unmanned Soviet transport spacecraft Soyuz T-1 returned to Earth, two days after being undocked by remote control from the Salyut 6 space station. T-1 had docked successfully with the station on December 19.
- James Wright, 52, Pulitzer Prize-winning American poet
- U.S. Senator Teddy Kennedy won his first challenge against President Carter for the Democratic Party nomination, winning the primary elections in New York and Connecticut.
25. March 26, 1980 Wednesday
- An attempt by the three Hunt brothers to own most of the worlds silver failed after Texas billionaire Nelson Bunker Hunt announced in Paris that he and four investors planned to issue bonds for sale, backed by their combined holdings of 200 million ounces of silver. Hunts partners in the venture were introudced as Prince Faysal Ben Abdallah al-Saud, Sheik Mohammed al Amoudi and Mahmoud Fustok of Saudi Arabia, and Naji Nahas of Brazil. The next day, the price of silver which had reached a record of $53 per ounce in January before sliding to $17.50 dropped steeply at when the London Commodities Exchange opened, and fell to $10.50 at the New York Comex.
- Died: Roland Barthes, 64, French semiotics pioneer
- Born: Sammy Flex stage name for Samuel Atuobi Baah, Ghanaian journalist, newspaper editor and TV show host.
26. March 27, 1980 Thursday
- The 3.05 miles 4.91 km Eikefet Tunnel, at the time the longest road tunnel in Norway, was opened to motorists on Norways highway E39. Rated as one of the most unsafe tunnels in Europe, the route was bored through Mount Kjellrusen between the villages of Eikefet and Odnåstjorni.
- The first and only Aston Martin Bulldog, intended to one of the fastest production cars ever, was introduced to the public at the English village of Aston Clinton in Buckinghamshire. Although the Aston Martin company planned to build 25 of the vehicles, the company would shelve the project in 1981. The company claimed that the car was capable of a speed of 237 miles per hour 381 km/h. In time trials in 1979, it had been timed at 192 miles per hour 309 km/h.
- The Silver Thursday market crash occurred in the United States commodity markets after brothers Nelson Bunker Hunt, William Herbert Hunt and Lamar Hunt attempted to corner the silver market, after months of buying and selling using futures to pay a particular price for silver on a future date. The day before, the Tiffanys jewelry store chain took out a full page ad in The New York Times, condemning the Hunt Brothers and stating "We think it is unconscionable for anyone to hoard several billion, yes billion, dollars worth of silver and thus drive the price up so high that others must pay artificially high prices for articles made of silver."
- Thirty-one mineworkers were killed in the plunge of an elevator, more than a mile down a shaft at South Africas Vaal Reefs gold mine. The group - 28 black and three white miners - had boarded a double decker elevator cage and were being lowered when one of the supporting cables broke. The elevator plunged roughly 6.200 feet - 1.2 miles 1.9 km - killing everyone on board, and the 12 feet 3.7 m high cage was compressed to a height of less that 12 inches 300 mm on impact. While the death toll was originally reported as 23, 31 bodies were identified from the wreckage.
- A landslide buried the village of Ayvazhacı in Turkeys Kayseri Province, killing at least 64 people.
- The Alexander L. Kielland, an accommodation platform built offshore as living quarters for oil company employees working on the Edda 2/7C oil rig, collapsed during a storm in the North Sea, killing 123 of the 212 people there. At 6:30 in the evening local time, the rig tilted 30° as five of the six anchor cables on one of its supports. Over the next 23 minutes, the rig continued to tilt until the final cable snapped. The disaster would be traced to a metal fatigue track in one of the six bracings.
27. March 28, 1980 Friday
- Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the deposed Shah of Iran, received cancer surgery in Egypt, delayed for several months after he was ordered to leave the United States and a week after Houston surgeon Dr. Michael DeBakey had concluded that facilities in Panama were inadequate. Upon removing the Shahs cancerous spleen, surgeons found that the cancer had spread to his liver. The Shah died four months later, on July 27.
- Helena Bochoeakova-Dittrichova, 85, Czech illustrator and graphic novelist
- The Jetstream 31, a turboprop airliner built by the nationalized British Aerospace companys subsidiary, Scottish Aviation, made its first flight.
- Dick Haymes, 61, Argentine-born American actor and singer
- A stolen Havana transit bus crashed through the gates of the Peruvian Embassy in Cuba, carrying a group of Cubans anxious to flee the country and starting the events that would lead to the Mariel Boatlift. By April 1, there were 24 asylum-seekers on the embassy grounds after a second bus crashed the embassy and a Cuban guard was killed. After the Cuban government withdrew its protection on April 4, over 10.000 Cuban citizens occupied the embassys grounds and the Cuban government announced that it would grant diplomatic protection" to the occupiers and would allow them to peacefully emigrate.
- "Strawberry Shortcake", a cartoon character originally invented in 1973 by the American Greetings card company and the Kenner toy company to sell merchandise, was introduced to young girls with "The World of Strawberry Shortcake", a 30 minute syndicated program, seen on 90 U.S. television stations. The cartoon was popular enough that five sequels, each telecast in the spring, were produced, followed by a television series.
- The Talpiot Tomb, claimed in a 2007 documentary to be "The Lost Tomb of Jesus", was discovered by construction workers who were excavating a site to build an apartment complex in East Jerusalem. Identified by archaeologists as a Jewish family tomb that existed during the time of the Second Temple between 516 BC and 70 AD, the tomb had six ossuary caskets, including one that appeared to be inscribed with the name "Yeshua bar Yehosef", a reference to "Jesus, son of Joseph".
28. March 29, 1980 Saturday
- Vicente Lopez Carril, 37, Italian cyclist who won various stages of several Grand Tours (including three states of the Tour de France; from a heart attack suspected to be a consequence of performance drug use
- Iraq and Iran fought their first border skirmish, ultimately leading to the eight-year long Iran-Iraq War. Iraqis state-operated Radio Baghdad gave no details but said that Iranian aggression took place at an Iraqi border post and that, after encountering resistance, the Iranians "fled with their tails between their legs."
- Pars News Agency, the state-controlled Iranian press organization, alleged that U.S. President Carter had offered to apologize to Iran in return for the release of the U.S. Embassy hostages, and released the text of what it said was a "text of a conciliatory message" sent on March 26 from President Carter to the Ayatollah Khomeini, and read a text over state radio at 9:00 in the evening local time. Fort Myers News-Press, March 30, 1980, p1 According to the text, Carter said that "a very sensitive international situation. made us all make mistakes in the past" and that "The great advantage of American democracy is that it always could recognize its mistakes or condemn them." White House Press Secretary Jody Powell told reporters, "The president has sent no message to Khomeini. Period."
- Annunzio Paolo Mantovani, 74, Italian-born British classical composer and recording artist known simply as "Mantovani"
- Born: Prince Hamzah bin Hussein, Crown Prince of Jordan from 1999 to 2004 until his status was rescinded by his older half-brother King Abdullah II; in Amman
29. March 30, 1980 Sunday
- The Tony Award winning play Children of a Lesser God, the first major theatrical production to feature a deaf actor in the leading role, began a successful run on Broadway. Critics reactions were mixed. Walter Kerr of the New York Times called the play "the seasons unexpected find" while Douglas Watt of New Yorks Daily News said of author Mark Medoffs approach to the problems of deaf persons, "His concern and understanding are clear, but he hasnt bothered to present their story in any but the most elementary dramatic terms. Instead, he has relied on our obvious sympathies and the novelty of his subject to carry the evening."
- For the first time, West Germany and East Germany simultaneously set their clocks ahead one hour in the spring to observe for Central European Summer Time similar to the advancement of clocks in North America for daylight saving time. West Germanys government had voted in 1978 to reintroduce summer time, but had waited until an agreement could be reached with East Germany on simultaneous implementation.
- Syria changed its flag for the fifth time in 34 years since becoming independent in 1946, after changes made in 1958, 1961, 1963 and 1972. The sixth flag, which was a return to the flag it had adopted in 1958, has remained the Syrian Arab Republics banner for more than 40 years.
- David Sharpe, 70, American film actor and stuntman
- Ton Duc Thang, 91, the oldest president in the world. He had succeeded Ho Chi Minh as President of North Vietnam in 1969, and was unified Vietnam from 1976 onward. Ton was succeeded by Vice President Nguyen Huu Tho, who had administered South Vietnam after the conquest of that nation to by North Vietnam in 1975.
30. March 31, 1980 Monday
- Maaya Sakamoto, Japanese actress, in Tokyo
- U.S. President Carter signed the Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act into law, giving the Federal Reserve System authority to set rules for all banks, whether members or not; raising the deposit insurance on banks from $40.000 to $100.000; allowing institutions to compete on loan interest rates; deregulating savings and loan associations; and allowing, effective January 1, nationwide use of the NOW Account, an account that could pay interest on deposits but would still allow unlimited withdrawal of the deposits through the use of a N egotiable O rder of W ithdrawal.
- Kate Micucci, American comedian, actress and songwriter; in Jersey City, New Jersey
- World Boxing Association heavyweight champion John Tate, previously unbeaten with 20 wins, 11 by knockout, was himself knocked out by Mike Weaver with 45 seconds left in a 15-round bout in Knoxville, Tennessee. On the same evening in Las Vegas, World Boxing Council heavyweight champion Larry Holmes, unbeaten of the U.S. Air Force was permanently deactivated, after its functions and equipment had been transferred to four other USAF commands.
- Vladimir Holan, 74, Czech poet
- Jesse Owens, 66, African-American track and field athlete and Olympic gold medalist
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