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A royal letter delivered 382 years late and a plot to kidnap the Pope: past headlines

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A letter from the queen of England to the Chinese emperor that took nearly four centuries to reach the Chinese capital and a Brazilian journalist forced to eat a copy of his article made the headlines 40 years ago this week.

August 6, 1978

● Real estate giant Hopewell Holdings was poised to engulf and reshape Broadwood Road, a leafy oasis between Happy Valley and Causeway Bay. This raised concerns from residents that redevelopment plans would ruin the entire scenic ridge and deprive thousands of residents of recreational space.

August 7, 1978

● West German terrorists planned to kidnap Pope Paul VI in an attempt to secure the release of their jailed compatriots – Red Army faction members – but Palestinian guerilla leader Wadie Haddad vetoed the plot, according to a report in Der Spiegel.

● The policy of allowing villagers in the New Territories to build small houses was expected to resume soon, but with safeguards to ensure that residents, and not land speculators, would benefit. The spirit of the “small-house policy” was to allow villagers to build decent homes to improve their living conditions on sites not larger than 700 sq ft, provided that the structures were not more than three storeys high.

● The world’s first test-tube baby, 12-day-old Louise Joy Brown, left hospital with her........

© South China Morning Post