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Bikini-clad Russian swims to safety, protests in Beijing: past headlines

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A bikini-clad Russian girl swimming to freedom in Australia and a Hong Kong teenager cross-dressing to get a job made the headlines four decades ago this week.

January 14, 1979

● Hollywood film legend John Wayne had his entire stomach removed in a nine-hour operation, following the discovery of a cancerous growth. Wayne, 71, was in satisfactory condition after his long ordeal. He had had open-heart surgery less than a year earlier, and part of a cancerous lung removed 14 years earlier.

January 15, 1979

● A hundred angry Chinese peasants shouting, “We’re tired of being hungry” and “Down with oppression” tried to storm the residence of Chairman Hua Guofeng and air their grievances to him. It was the second time in a week that peasants had demonstrated in Beijing.

January 16, 1979

● Reports that Macau would be handed back to China, after Beijing re-established diplomatic relations with Portugal, were purely speculative, according to a statement issued by the Macau government. The two countries had had no diplomatic ties since 1949 and the renewed links were expected to benefit the enclave.

January 17, 1979

● An 18-year-old Russian girl in a bikini squeezed through the porthole of a Soviet........

© South China Morning Post