1981
THIS YEAR IN LAS VEGAS ...

WHILE IN THE WORLD ...

Beyond Belief
Magicians Siegfried and Roy debut at the Frontier with their 1 hour 40 minutes show, ''Beyond Belief'', prepared together with circus impresarios Irvin and Kenneth Feld.
This show will break many records: on stage for over 7 years, with 3,500 performances, it will be seen by about 3 million people.

Another El Rancho
Ed Torres purchases the Silverbird, former Thunderbird, and changes its name into El Rancho. Its facade is also restyled as a Spanish mission.

An F-1 Race in a Parking Lot
The Formula 1 organizers (Federation Internationale Sportive Automobile - FISA) decide to run a Grand Prix in Las Vegas.
The 1.125-mile snaking circuit is obtained from the Caesars Palace parking lot.
It is the last race of the 1981 season, and takes place on October 17, with dry weather. Alan Jones, on Williams, dominates the race and wins. He will retire after this race.

Las Vegas Hilton on Fire
On February 10, a fire at the Las Vegas Hilton kills eight people. A young man is found guilty of having intentionally started that fire.
In comparison with the fire at the MGM Grand, one year before, the smaller number of casualties is mostly a result of a more efficient action of the firefighters.
Also in this case, the hotel fire system is found to be highly deficient.

A New Deadly Disease
On June 5, the ''Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report'' announces five cases of a rare type of pneumonia, usually affecting only patients treated with immunodepressive drugs, among homosexual men in Los Angeles.
One month later, The New York Times reports 41 cases of Kaposi's sarcoma, a rare skin cancer, among young gay men. Although this disease is not fatal, eight of them will quickly be killed.
The mysterious disease will be diagnosed, with ever increasing frequency, also in heroin users, in prostitutes, in blood receivers. It will be named AIDS, for ''Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome''.

The Polish Repression
On December 12, the government of General Wojciech Jaruzelski orders a strong repression of the popular uprising, coordinated in the past months by Solidarnosc.
Phone lines are disconnected, tanks and troops are displaced into the streets, thousands of union leaders are arrested, among which also Lech Walesa (that will remain in prison for more than a year).
Jaruzelski, to the government from last February, was originally offering to negotiate. But he changed his mind when Solidarnosc leaders started asking for a national referendum to abolish Communism.

The First Journey of Columbia
On April 12, the space shuttle ''Columbia'' lifts off from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida. After two days, it will land like a plane on the Mojave Desert, California.
This is the first launch of a reusable spacecraft. Its surface is covered with 31,000 ceramic tiles, and it is designed to resist the high temperatures of the reentry, and to be used several times.
This is the first U.S. manned flight after six years. It will start a new era of astronautics, allowing a completely new way to operate in space.

The IBM Personal Computer
IBM, the world's biggest producer of computing machines, presents its PC. Thanks to an aggressive advertising campaign, IBM will sell three million PCs in the next three years.
The IBM-PC is based on a microprocessor made by the Intel Corp. of Santa Clara, California, and uses an operating system licensed to IBM by Microsoft, a small company based in Seattle.
IBM does not forbid Intel or Microsoft to sell their products also to other manufacturers, and a huge number of IBM ''clones'' will appear, similar to the original PC, but considerably cheaper.

The Wedding of Charles and Diana
On July 29, the 32-year-old Prince of Wales, and heir to the throne, Charles Philip Arthur George, marries the 19-year-old Lady Diana Frances Spencer, his distant cousin.
The ceremony takes place in the St. Paul's Cathedral in London. One million people personally assist to the procession to St. Paul, while 750 million watch the event on television.

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