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November 30
1994: Blazing liner abandoned off east Africa
[ 2007-11-30 08:46 ]

November 30

November 30
The Achille Lauro hit the headlines when it was hijacked in 1985
1994: Blazing liner abandoned off east Africa

England have

Almost 1,000 people have been forced to abandon a luxury cruise ship in the Indian Ocean after it caught fire.

The Achille Lauro - which made headlines in 1985 when it was hijacked by Palestinian guerrillas - was sailing 50 miles off the Somali coast when the fire started in one of the cabins.

Two people died and eight were injured during the transfer of passengers from life rafts to a waiting tanker, according to Coastguard officials.

Starlauro, the ship's Naples-based owners, said it had not established the cause of the blaze but confirmed it did not suspect foul play.

Crew battled with the flames for almost seven hours as passengers - many of whom had paid ?,500 for the trip - gathered on deck.

The captain gave the order to abandon ship at 0500 local time (0200 GMT) after the fire began to burn out of control.

Panamanian registered tanker Hawaiian King was the first of a dozen ships which answered the Achille Lauro's dawn SOS call and rescued most of the passengers.

As night fell, most of the survivors were recovering on the tanker, which had been supplied with extra food by the US Navy cruiser Gettysburg.

It is expected they will now be taken to the Kenyan port, Mombasa, or the Seychelles, which would have been the liner's next port of call.

Dimitrios Skapinakis - captain of another tanker involved in the rescue operation - told reporters he thought the ailing 24,000 ton ship would sink within the next 12 hours.

"The Achille Lauro is listing by at least 40 degrees and you can still see smoke and flames - the passenger decks on the stern side are burning and flames are licking halfway up the vessel," he said.    

November 30
Politicians from all parties paid tribute to Sir Winston on his 80th birthday

1954: Winston Churchill turns 80

Artificially 1969:
The The Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill, has been celebrating his 80th birthday in a day of ceremonies and tributes to his remarkable career.

The festivities began at midday, with a presentation of gifts from both Houses of Parliament in Westminster Hall.

An audience of 2,500, including cabinet ministers and opposition leaders, filled the hall for the televised ceremony.

As Sir Winston and Lady Churchill appeared through St Stephen's entrance, a drummer beat out a "V" in morse code - a tribute to the victory salute which became the prime minister's trademark.

As the cheers died down, the Leader of the Opposition, Clement Attlee, gave the first speech. He paid tribute to his formidable opponent, calling him "the last of the great orators who can touch the heights."

Then blue hangings were drawn back from a new portrait of Sir Winston by the artist Graham Sutherland, a gift from both Houses to the prime minister.

The Father of the House, David Grenfell, then presented him with an illuminated book signed by almost every member of parliament.

In his speech of thanks, Sir Winston referred to the period in his career for which he is most revered - his leadership through the dark years of the Second World War.

"I have never accepted what many people have kindly said - namely, that I inspired the nation," he told them.

"Their will was resolute and remorseless, and as it proved unconquerable.

"It was the nation and the race dwelling all round the globe that had the lion's heart. I had the luck to be called upon to give the roar."

Finally, he acknowledged that age was inevitably drawing his 54 years in politics to a close.

"I am now nearing the end of my journey," he said. "I hope I still have some service to render. However that may be, whatever may befall, I am sure I shall never forget the emotions of this day."

Tributes and birthday gifts have been pouring in from all over the world. Among the presents arriving at Number 10 Downing Street were a floral arrangement in the shape of a cigar, sent from Israel, and a sixpenny postal order - the pocket money of a boy from Hereford.


rancour: a feeling of deep and bitter anger and ill-will(敌意;深仇)

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