December 21, 1996 – CBS Radio News – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
December 21, 1996 – Drama in Lima Peru this day. The hostage situation which began days earlier was continuing and slowly unfolding. The Japanese embassy hostage crisis began on 17 December 1996 in Lima, Peru, when 14 members of the Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) took hostage hundreds of high-level diplomats, government and military officials and business executives who were attending a party at the official residence of the Japanese ambassador to Peru, Morihisa Aoki, in celebration of Emperor Akihito’s 63rd birthday. Although strictly speaking the crisis took place at the ambassadorial residence in the upscale district of San Isidro rather than at the embassy proper, the media and others referred to it as the “Japanese embassy” hostage crisis, and that is how it is conventionally known. On this day, a candlelight vigil was being held in a public part near the Embassy on behalf of the hostages still inside.
Other hostage news- on the other side of the world, rebels in Tajikistan released some 23 hostages, including 8 UN observers who were grabbed the day before from an official convoy.
The Big Three Auto makers reportedly preferred on-off switches for passenger-side airbags, rather than let mechanics disconnect them as proposed recently by Federal regulators. The Detroit Free Press reported General Motors, Ford and Chrysler were suggesting installing the switches. Passenger side airbags had been blamed for 42 deaths, mostly children.
And an emotional scene at Rome’s Da Vinci airport as fans and friends of Marcello Mastroianni fought to hold back tears, waved handkerchiefs and cheered as the coffin containing the Italian actor’s body was taken off a flight from Paris and put into a hearse. The coffin, draped in grey cloth with three red roses on top would go on view at Rome’s City Hall until the funeral the following day. Marcello Mastroianni died the previous Thursday of Cancer – he was 72.
And that’s just a small slice of what happened, this December 21st, 1996 as reported by CBS Radio News.