September 15, 1978 – Independence day in Nicaragua. Fighting continued between government troops and insurgents trying to overthrow the military government of Anastasio Somoza. Most of the hostilities appeared to be taking place to the north of the Capitol, in three cities; Chinandenga, Esteli and Lèon. Because it was Independence day, the rebel forces were expected to make a move in order to demonstrate their growing strength in this badly divided country. Somoza’s troops were attempting to put a tight lid on the country; strictly enforcing a dawn-to-dusk curfew and roadblocks had been put up along many of Managua‘s main streets. Overnight, a large section of Lèon, Nicaragua’s second largest city, was burned. It began with government planes strafing rebel strongholds, and government troops began a sweep through the city, which had been in control of the rebels for more than half the previous month. Refugees leaving the city reported that what was taking place was a massacre, and that the streets were littered with bodies.
Meanwhile, the Soviet newspaper Pravda condemned Senator Ted Kennedy for talking about the possible release of some eighteen families from the Soviet Union. The newspaper cast doubt on whether they would be allowed to leave after all. The rebuke came in a sharply worded comment in Pravda earlier in the day. It came in sharp contrast to Senator Kennedy’s statement upon his return from the Soviet Union that Soviet Officials had assured him that the application of eighteen families to leave the country would be reviewed. Kennedy said he had every expectation they would be allowed to go to the U.S. or to Israel. Pravda went on to inform Kennedy it would be advisable to use more tact when it came to these negotiations and that more could be accomplished in private than in public.
And that’s a small slice of what went on for this September 15th in 1978 as reported by The CBS World News Roundup.