Way back when: Today in history
BY GENE CURTIS
Monday, January 07, 2013
1/07/13 at 2:35 AM
1972 - Bombs found in banks
Time bombs planted six months earlier in safe deposit boxes of eight American banks in New York City, Chicago and San Francisco were found and disarmed after authorities received letters telling where the bombs were hidden and how to disarm them. In four cases, the letter writer sent keys to the boxes; in the others, the locks on the boxes had to be drilled out. Letters from the bomber warned about future plantings of more high-powered and deadly time bombs in "virtually undetectable" places.
The letters said the freedom of political prisoners would be demanded as ransom against allowing the bombs to explode. Former radical Ronald Kaufman pleaded guilty a few months later to planting the bombs.
1986 - Libya sanctions ordered
Americans and American companies were ordered by President Ronald Reagan to quit doing business with Libya because of Moammar Gaddafi's "long-standing involvement in terrorism." Administration officials said the sanctions included prohibitions against Americans buying or selling anything in Libya, including groceries, and that violators would face up to 10 years in prison and cash fines. The U.S. had cut off imports of Libyan oil nearly four years earlier and banned export of selected U.S.-made materials that could be used for military purposes or in oil fields in the North African country.
1990 - Leaning tower closed
The Leaning Tower of Pisa, whose tilt attracted hundreds of thousands of tourists annually, was closed to the public for repairs that officials said could take years. They were correct - the tower reopened in December 2001 after a $27 million realignment. Thousands of sightseers climbed the stairs before Pisa Mayor Giacomino Granchi locked the doors to the 800-year-old tower that began to lean after it was built in the 12th century, a tilt that increased to 17 feet from perpendicular. Renovation left the tower's tilt at 13.5 feet.
2009 - Russia cuts off gas supplies
Russia cut off gas supplies to Europe in the coldest month of the year because of a dispute with Ukraine. The Russian gas monopoly Gazprom accused Ukraine of boycotting contract negotiations. Tens of thousands of households in a dozen countries were affected, causing a run on electric heaters and forcing Bulgarian school children to wear heavy wool coats and sing songs as they tried to keep warm in their cold classrooms. Gas flowed again on Jan. 21 after Russia and Ukraine resolved the issue - at least temporarily.