Ten years ago: U.S. helicopter gunships in the Persian Gulf sank three Iranian patrol boats after an American observation helicopter was fired on. (Two of six Iranian crewmen taken from the water later died.)
Five years ago: West Indian poet Derek Walcott was named winner of the Nobel Prize in literature. Former West German Chancellor Willy Brandt died in Unkel, Germany, at age 78.
One year ago: Pope John Paul II underwent a successful operation to remove his inflamed appendix. American economist William Vickrey and British professor James Mirrlees were named co-winners of the Nobel economics prize (sadly, the 82-year-old Vickrey died just three days later).