. . .and there was that rumor of the Gaddafi hit squads.
. . .and there was that rumor of the Gaddafi hit squads lurking on every street corner.

. . .or click on the link here for Audio Player – CBS Radio News On The Hour – December 9, 1981 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

Compared to other December 9th’s in history, December 9, 1981 was downright calm.

On this particular day the news was about the OPEC meeting in Adu Dhabi and the promise of a Christmas gift for the West from Saudi Arabia’s Oil Minister Sheikh Yamani. He wouldn’t elaborate on what it might be, but he said it would be nicely wrapped and a big surprise. No doubt it was in the form of lower oil prices, as the latest figures had oil at $34.00 a barrel and dropping precipitously.

Still, the thorn in the Reagan White House‘ side was Muammar Gaddafi and his threatened “hit squads” roaming the world looking for U.S. officials to assassinate.

Secretary Haig arrived in Brussels for a meeting with NATO Foreign Ministers. He was scheduled to meet with Greece’s Socialist Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou who had announced a partial withdrawal from the NATO Alliance. Haig was calling for unity in the area of arms control, saying it was essential.

In other news – the hijacking of 3 Venezuelan airliners ended in Havana. All three planes landed the previous day with the passengers held hostage being released and flown to Venezuela later on in the day. Cuba announced the arrest of the 11 hijackers, saying they will be placed on trial, but were somewhat vague about the whole episode.

And another hijacking ended, this time a Libyan Airliner was forced to land in Tehran after a 32-hour ordeal. The hijackers in this incident were demanding the release of a Muslim cleric who had vanished three years earlier and was purportedly in custody in Tehran as ordered by Ayatollah Khomeni. Negotiations were continuing.

Back home – a Coal Mine explosion near Whitwell Tennessee claimed 13 lives. No cause was determined, but it was the third such Mine disaster to take place at a in Appalachia in a week, bringing the total number of deaths so far that week to 24.

On Capitol Hill – President Reagan was scheduled to meet with GOP Congressional leaders over budget matters ahead of the latest set of figures on the inflation were getting ready to come out. Experts were predicting Inflation was slowing down with prices on the wholesale level to the tune of 6/10 of 1%.

And the House of Representatives was getting ready to vote on changing the rules for the yet-to-be-built Alaskan Gas Pipeline. Waver Legislation was expected to pass after an intense lobbying effort by the Pipeline industry and several key members of the House. The bill would have customers assume much of the financial risk for building the $40 billion pipeline that would carry natural gas from Alaska’s Northern Slope to the lower 48 states. Customers would have to pay well before they received any gas. And even if they never get any fuel and the project falls through. Speaker Thomas “Tip” O’neil said he was in favor of the bill waver package because, as O’Neil put it – “a time will come where we will need Alaska gas.”

All that, and much more for this December 9th, 1981 as presented by CBS Radio News On The Hour.

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