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ON THIS DAY

19 March 1982: Argentine flag hoisted on S Georgia. A group of Argentines have landed at the British colony of the Falkland Islands in the south Atlantic and planted their nation’s flag. About 50 Argentines are reported to have arrived at Leith Harbour, on South Georgia, about 1,400 miles east of the Falklands archipelago off the Argentine coast. South Georgia is a dependency of the disputed Falklands Islands which Britain claimed in 1833. The British Antarctic survey team at Grytviken, on South Georgia, reported their arrival today. They are understood to have a commercial contract to remove scrap metal at Leith Harbour but there are reports they arrived aboard a ship chartered by the Argentine Government. The group has been asked to leave immediately and seek British permission to work on the island. There is no indication of what the group’s motivation is or whether it has hostile intentions. The Foreign Office has not commented on the incident and it is not known if Britain will dispatch the Royal Navy’s patrol ship HMS Endurance, which is in the Falklands area, where about 40 marines are stationed at any one time. Today’s events are seen as a provocative step in the on-going dispute between Britain and Argentina over the sovereignty of the islands. Argentina calls the Falkland Islands the Islas Malvinas and it has claimed sovereignty over it ever since the end of Spanish rule. Last month, talks in New York between the two countries broke down after Argentina declared it would break off negotiations with London to seek other means of solving the dispute more speedily. But Britain maintains the Falkland Islands, made up of two main islands and nearly 300 smaller ones, will not be handed to Argentina without the approval of the islanders and British Parliament. (Source: BBC)

20 March 2003: US launches missiles against Saddam. American missiles have hit the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, signalling the start of the US-led campaign to topple Saddam Hussein. President George Bush delivered a live television address shortly after the bombings began, vowing to “disarm Iraq and to free its people”. The attack was ordered two hours after a final 48-hour deadline expired for Saddam Hussein to leave Iraq. US sources say five key members of the Iraqi regime, including the Iraqi leader himself, were targeted in the first attacks.
We will bring freedom to others, President Bush. The Iraqis say some non-military targets have been hit and a number of civilians wounded in Doura, a southern suburb of the capital. The air strikes began at 0534 local time (0234 GMT). A short time later, Iraqi TV broadcast what it said was a live speech by Saddam Hussein. In it he said: “I don’t need to remind you what you should do to defend our country. “Let the unbelievers go to hell, you will be victorious, Iraqi people.” President Bush played down hopes of an early victory. In his broadcast to the American people he warned the campaign “could be longer and more difficult than some predict”. He continued: “This will not be a campaign of half measures and we will accept no outcome but victory.” “The dangers to our country and the world will be overcome. We will pass through this time of peril and carry on the work of peace. We will defend our freedom. We will bring freedom to others.” At 2200 GMT British Prime Minister Tony Blair made a live televised address to the nation. He confirmed British troops were in action in Iraq. He said their purpose was to remove Saddam Hussein and disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction. The attack has drawn international condemnation and brought demonstrators on to the streets in several countries. Attempts to get a United Nations Security Council resolution backing a military campaign in Iraq were abandoned earlier in the week when it became clear the US still faced an uphill battle to get the majority it needed. The French had been pushing for more time to allow Iraq to disarm and today President Jacques Chirac of France

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