20 October 1982

During the UEFA Cup match between FC Spartak Moscow and HFC Haarlem, 66 people are crushed to death in the Luzhniki disaster.

Luzhniki Stadium

On 20 October 1982, the weather in Moscow was snowy and extraordinarily cold for the middle of October, ?10 °C.There were 82,000 match tickets available, but because of the freezing weather conditions only 16,500 tickets were sold. According to some reports the total number of tickets sold was 16,643.

The Grand Arena of Central Lenin Stadium (also called Olympic Stadium) did not have a roof over the seating at the time it was installed in the 1997 improvements. In preparation for the match, the stadium management decided to open only two of the four stands for fans: the East Stand and the West Stand, to have enough time to clean snow from the stands before the game Each stand had seating for 23,000 spectators. Most of the fans about 12,000 went to the East Stand, which was closer to the Metro station. There were approximately 100 Dutch supporters; the vast majority of fans in attendance were fans of Spartak Moscow.

The match started at 7:00 pm. In the 16th minute Spartak took the lead through an Edgar Gess strike. The rest of the game was largely uneventful. Minutes before the end of the game, several hundred fans began to leave the stadium in an attempt to get to the Metro station ahead of the crowds.

There were two covered stairways in Luzhniki under each stand, leading down to the exits. All of the exits at both stands were open. However, most of the fans from the East Stand rushed to Stairway 1, closer to the Metro station.

14 October 1982

USA President Ronald Reagan announces a War on Drugs.

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On this day in 1982, President Ronald Reagan declared illicit drugs to be a threat to U.S. national security.

Richard M. Nixon, the president who popularized the term “war on drugs,” first used the words in 1971. However, the policies that his administration implemented as part of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 dated to Woodrow Wilson’s presidency and the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act of 1914. This was followed by the creation of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics in 1930.

Speaking at the Justice Department, Reagan likened his administration’s determination to discourage the flow and use of banned substances to the obstinacy of the French army at the Battle of Verdun in World War I — with a literal spin on the “war on drugs.” The president quoted a French soldier who said, “There are no impossible situations. There are only people who think they’re impossible.”

Spreading the anti-drug message, first lady Nancy Reagan toured elementary schools, warning students about the danger of illicit drugs. When a fourth grader at Longfellow Elementary School in Oakland, Calif., asked her what to do if approached by someone offering drugs, the first lady responded: “Just say no.”

In 1988, Reagan created the Office of National Drug Control Policy to coordinate drug-related legislative, security, diplomatic, research and health policy throughout the government. Successive agency directors were dubbed “drug czars” by the media. In 1993, President Bill Clinton raised the post to Cabinet-level status.

On May 13, 2009, R. Gil Kerlikowske, the current director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, signaled that though the Obama administration did not plan to significantly alter drug enforcement policies, it would not use the term “war on drugs,” saying it was “counterproductive.”

8 October 1982

The musical ‘Cats’ opens on Broadway and runs for nearly 18 years before it closes on September 10 2000.

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Randy Rum Tum Tugger will have given his pelvis a last few thrusts at a tourist, the giant boot will have flopped into the alleyway one last time, Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer will have executed their last calisthenic tumbles, Macavity won’t have been there for a final caper, Old Deuteronomy will have chatted with his last youngster, and Grizabella will have warbled her last “Memory.” The invited guests will file out off to a celebratory party most of them. There’ll be speeches, glasses raised, fireworks across the water, and then there’ll be silence.

What else can there be after a Broadway show runs nearly 18 years, more than three years longer than the nearest competitor? What’s left after 7,485 performances, seven Tonys, and the distinction of having been seen by more than 10 million people? Even critics who hate the show, even pundits who’ve watched the production’s original style and vision become dated in comparison to two decades’ worth of new musical frontiers, even producers who’ve prayed for flashy mega-musicals to ease their stranglehold on big theatres so a new stream of productions can have a place to play, even audiences who come out of the Winter Garden Theatre thinking, “so that was it?” all are no doubt feeling a little sad today, a little in awe, a little crestfallen that a chapter of Broadway lore has been sealed and tucked away:

Cats is closing. It really is closing. And Broadway will never be the same. In mid-February, the producers of Cats told the world the musical would close June 25, after 7,397 performances at the Winter Garden Theatre. An outpouring of media coverage, fan sentiment and heightened ticket sales ensued. Since the announcement, in fact, grosses have regularly leapt past the $500,000 per week mark, with the week ending Aug. 27 a case in point. Cats was therefore given an extra eleven weeks to live, with the Sept. 9 evening show the last available to the general public, and the Sept. 10, 6 PM, invitation-only show the last ever.

21 June 1982

John Hinckley is found not guilty for the attempted assassination of the USA President Ronald Reagan.

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John W. Hinckley, Jr., who on March 30, 1981, shot President Ronald Reagan and three others outside a Washington, D.C., hotel, was found not guilty of attempted murder by reason of insanity. In the trial, Hinckley’s defense attorneys argued that their client was ill with narcissistic personality disorder, citing medical evidence, and had a pathological obsession with the 1976 film Taxi Driver, in which the main character attempts to assassinate a fictional senator. His lawyers claimed that Hinckley had watched the movie more than a dozen times, was obsessed with the lead actress, Jodie Foster, and had attempted to reenact the events of the film in his own life. The movie, not Hinckley, they successfully argued, was the actual planning force behind the events that occurred on March 30, 1981.

On that day, in front of the Washington Hilton, Hinckley had fired six shots at the president, hitting Reagan and three of his attendants, including Press Secretary James Brady, who was shot in the head and suffered permanent brain damage. The president was shot in the left lung and the .22-caliber bullet just missed his heart. In the aftermath, Hinckley was overpowered and pinned against a wall, and President Reagan, apparently unaware that he’d been shot, was shoved into his limousine by a Secret Service agent and rushed to the hospital. The president fared well, and after 12 days in the hospital he returned to the White House.

John Hinckley was booked on federal charges of attempting to assassinate the president. He had previously been arrested in Tennessee on weapons charges. The June 1982 verdict of “not guilty by reason of insanity” aroused widespread public criticism, and many were shocked that a would-be presidential assassin could avoid being held accountable for his crime. However, because of his obvious threat to society, he was placed in St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, a mental institution. In the late 1990s, Hinckley’s attorney began arguing that Hinkley’s mental illness was in remission and thus he had a right to return to a normal life. Beginning in August 1999, he was allowed supervised day trips off the hospital grounds and later was allowed to visit his parents once a week unsupervised. The Secret Service voluntarily monitors him during these outings. If his mental illness remains in remission, he may one day be released.

2 April 1982

Argentina invades the Falkland Islands leading to the Falklands War.

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On April 2nd, 1982, a large Argentine military force landed on the Falkland Islands and occupied them. To the British, this was a flagrant violation of international law. Despite American intervention at a diplomatic level led by Secretary of State Al Haig, the Argentine military junta led by General Galtieri refused to take their men off the island. This led to a British military response.

This would be the standard British explanation as to why the war stated – the illegal occupation of the Falklands by the Argentine military and the refusal of the Argentine government to remove their men sent there.However, in Argentina, the move into the Malvinas, as the Falklands are known in Argentina, would have had a different slant. The Argentine junta argued that the British ‘occupation’ of the islands was a throwback to the days of the British Empire whereby Britain had used its military might – especially its navy – to take land which simply did not belong to London. The argument held by the Argentine government and seemingly by many people in Argentina, was that the islands, being just 200 miles to the east of the Argentine mainland, belonged to the nearest country of any importance – Argentina.