slice of life

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 January, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 January, 2005, 12:00am

From the South China Morning Post this week in 1976

Chinese Prime Minister Zhou Enlai died of cancer in Beijing, aged 78. The news was made public by Radio Press, a Japanese news agency monitoring communist broadcasts in Asia and confirmed by the US State Department in Washington.

Mr Zhou became prime minister in 1949 when the communists took over the mainland at the end of a long and bloody civil war. He doubled as prime minister and foreign minister for many years. The sophisticated, yet tough leader fashioned a foreign policy that gradually shifted away from the Soviet Union towards the United States.

In 1972, then US President Richard Nixon and Mr Zhou issued the historic Shanghai Communique pledging to promote friendship between their two nations and aiming eventually at the establishment of full diplomatic relations. Mr Zhou launched 'ping-pong diplomacy' in 1971 by inviting American players to tour China.

China mourned the death of its prime minister with quiet dignity as world leaders paid tributes and expressed deep sympathy on the passing of an 'outstanding statesman'.

However, the Soviet Union and its allies barely took official notice of his death. The official Soviet Communist Party newspaper, Pravda, devoted only four lines on page five to his passing.

Malaysian Prime Minister Abdul Razak died in London of leukaemia and complications, it was announced in Kuala Lumpur. He was two months short of his 54th birthday. He had been receiving treatment in the London clinic since December.

He was discharged after a week but was readmitted two weeks later - just before his scheduled return to the Malaysian capital. The announcement of the prime minister's death was made by the acting prime minister, Hussein Onn, who was also his brother-in-law.

Also dead that week was Agatha Christie, author of best-selling thrillers for half a century. Dame Agatha died at her home in Oxfordshire. She was 85.

She wrote more than 80 novels that sold more than 350 million copies.

She was the creator of Hercule Poirot, the little Belgian who became one of the most popular fictional sleuths since Sherlock Holmes.

One of the most famous Christie films was Murder on the Orient Express.

Jockey Club stewards dismissed appeals by millionaire newspaper publisher Ho Man-fat, former champion horse trainer Jerry Ng Chi-lam and little known jockey Billy Y.L. Lam against racing disqualifications imposed the previous week for not allowing a horse to run on its merits.

Six-month disqualifications came into effect immediately on all parties and on the horse involved, Seven Good.

The disqualifications forbade Ho, Chi and Lam from setting foot on a racecourse anywhere in the world until their respective penalties ran out on July 3.

Seven Good was not permitted to start in any race anywhere, under any ownership, until the same date.

Macau's left-wing press attacked the diocese of the Catholic Church for the second time in a matter of a few weeks.

The Chinese-language Macau Daily News published a report criticising the diocese for continuing its 'anti-China, anti-communism' movement linked to the 400th anniversary of the Macau diocese.

It said a Catholic schoolmaster had been to Taiwan twice in the past few months in connection with the celebrations.

A hot dog is a hot dog in any language, French President Valery Giscard D'Estaing was told.

The head of a Coney Island hot dog chain in New York wrote to the president asking him not to force the French to use un chien chaud for hot dog in line with government plans to ban foreign terms from advertisements and other media.

The letter assured the president that the chain would not retaliate by renaming its French fries.