February 9, 1979 – The ongoing situation in the Niagara Falls area of New York State around the community known as Love Canal and the toxic pollution wreaking havoc in the suburban neighborhood was escalating on this particular day, 37 years ago. Now the area of evacuation was getting wider, and pregnant women and children 2 and under who were still living around Love Canal were urged to leave the area, which now extended several blocks around the contaminated canal. Health officials concluded there was indeed an increase in risk by approximately twofold for the fetus of pregnant women, resulting in congenital malformation, spontaneous abortion, and an increase in low birth-weight infants. Only 30 families in the expanded area of contamination were affected by the relocation proposal, leaving some 220 others who wanted to move away, but couldn’t sell their homes because there were no buyers. The previous August, New York State purchased the homes of 235 families, who lived directly adjacent to the Canal, but at the latest meeting, officials said they had no plans to buy any more.
But there was other news going on, this February 9th – Sharp increases in consumer prices were going to be a point of major concern in the coming months. Price for meat, gas and fuel oil were reaching new high levels and the average American was going to be hit with those increased costs.
Meanwhile, in Iran – Phase 2 of The Revolution was going on with the appointment of a provisional Prime Minister, Mehdi Bazargan addressed some 100,000 supporters of Ayatollah Khomeini, spelling out what was going to be the policy of the new government, although he spelled out few specifics he stressed that the general strike, which had gripped Iran for months, would continue. He went on to add the two greatest problems were the Army and the government of Shapour Bakhtiar, which Bazargan said was illegal. He added that anyone waiting for the return of the Shah could stop waiting, because The Shah could never come back. Meanwhile, a crowd of approximately 1500 supporters of the Shah clashed with bands of youths loyal to Khomeini.
And State Department representatives were busy assuring neighbors of Iran that the U.S. intended to play a continuing influential role in the Middle East and The Persian Gulf areas, despite the fact that U.S. pressure was unable to keep The Shah of Iran in power. The Saudis were shaken by events in Iran and wanted assurances that the U.S. would not waver in the face of growing Soviet influence in the Persian Gulf region. There was also rumor the Saudis would get an increase in U.S. Military aid as a way of insuring stability in the region.
And that was just a sampling of the very busy and conflicting day, this February 9th in 1979 as reported by The CBS World News Roundup.