16 February 1985

Hezbollah is founded.

Hezbollah is a Shia Islamist political party and militant group based in Lebanon. Its name, which means “Party of Allah” or “Party of God” in Arabic, reflects its ideology which is heavily influenced by the teachings of Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini. Hezbollah was founded in the early 1980s following the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, with the primary goal of resisting Israeli occupation of Lebanese territories.

Origins and Ideology: Hezbollah emerged in the early 1980s in response to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon. It was initially formed with the support of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and received training and weapons from Iran. The group’s ideology combines Shia Islamism with anti-Israeli and anti-Western sentiments.

Political Wing: Hezbollah operates both as a political party and a militant organization. It has a significant presence in Lebanese politics, holding seats in the Lebanese parliament and having representation in the cabinet. Hezbollah’s political wing provides social services, including schools, hospitals, and other welfare programs, which has earned it support among Lebanon’s Shia population.

Militant Activities: Hezbollah gained international notoriety for its involvement in several conflicts, including the Lebanese Civil War, the conflict with Israel, and the Syrian Civil War. It is known for its guerrilla warfare tactics and its ability to launch rocket attacks into Israel. Hezbollah also fought alongside the Syrian government forces in the Syrian Civil War, supporting the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

Finances and Support: Hezbollah is believed to receive significant financial and military support from Iran. It also generates income through legitimate business enterprises, as well as through illicit activities such as drug trafficking and money laundering. Additionally, it receives support from the Lebanese Shia diaspora.

Designation as a Terrorist Organization: Many Western countries, including the United States, Canada, and the European Union, designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization due to its history of attacks against Israeli and Western targets. However, within Lebanon and some other parts of the Middle East, Hezbollah is seen as a legitimate resistance movement against Israeli occupation and as a defender of Shia interests.

Influence and Power: Hezbollah is one of the most powerful non-state actors in the Middle East and wields significant influence in Lebanese politics. Its military capabilities, coupled with its political and social influence, make it a key player in the region’s geopolitics.

7 October 1985

Four men from the Palestine Liberation Front hijack the MS Achille Lauro off the coast of Egypt.

The hijacking of the MS Achille Lauro was a dramatic and internationally significant event that occurred in 1985. The MS Achille Lauro was an Italian cruise ship owned by the StarLauro Line. The ship was carrying more than 1,000 passengers and crew members on a cruise in the Mediterranean Sea when it was hijacked by Palestinian terrorists on October 7, 1985.

The hijackers were members of the Palestine Liberation Front (PLF), a Palestinian militant organization led by Abu Abbas. Their primary demand was the release of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails. The hijackers boarded the ship in Egypt, and once on board, they took control of the vessel.

During the ordeal, the hijackers singled out a wheelchair-bound American passenger named Leon Klinghoffer, who was traveling with his wife. They shot and killed him, then threw his body overboard. This murder drew widespread international condemnation and outrage.

The Achille Lauro was eventually allowed to dock in the port of Port Said, Egypt, where the hijackers negotiated with Egyptian authorities for their safe passage out of the country. In exchange for the release of the hostages, the hijackers were given safe passage on an EgyptAir plane to Tunisia. The Egyptian government’s decision to allow the hijackers to leave the country without facing justice for the murder of Leon Klinghoffer was highly criticized.

The United States and other countries pursued the hijackers, and Abu Abbas, the leader of the PLF, was eventually captured and brought to trial in Italy. However, many of the other hijackers managed to evade capture for several years.

The hijacking of the MS Achille Lauro highlighted the continuing tensions in the Middle East and the use of terrorism as a means to draw attention to the Palestinian cause. It also raised questions about the responsibilities of countries in dealing with international terrorists and the pursuit of justice for acts of terrorism.

13 September 1985

Super Mario Bros. is released in Japan for the NES, which starts the Super Mario series of platforming games.

Super Mario Bros. is a legendary and iconic video game franchise created by Shigeru Miyamoto and developed by Nintendo. It is one of the most influential and successful video game series in the history of the medium. The franchise centers around the adventures of Mario, a plumber who must rescue Princess Peach from the clutches of the evil Bowser, also known as King Koopa, the primary antagonist.

Debut: The first Super Mario Bros. game was released in 1985 for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). It was a critical and commercial success and played a significant role in revitalizing the video game industry after the North American video game crash of 1983.

Gameplay: Super Mario Bros. is a side-scrolling platform game where players control Mario as he navigates various levels, avoiding obstacles, defeating enemies by jumping on them, and collecting power-ups such as Super Mushrooms and Fire Flowers. These power-ups grant Mario special abilities and extra lives.

Characters: Mario is the franchise’s titular character, known for his red cap, mustache, and blue overalls. He is often joined by his younger brother, Luigi, who is a playable character in many games. Princess Peach, Toad, and Yoshi are also recurring characters in the series.

Worlds and Themes: The games are set in the fictional Mushroom Kingdom, and each installment typically features Mario traversing different worlds or regions with unique themes such as grassy plains, underground caves, underwater levels, and fiery castles.

Evolution: Over the years, the series has evolved significantly, with numerous sequels and spin-off titles. It has been released on various Nintendo consoles and handheld systems, including the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), Nintendo 64, GameCube, Wii, Wii U, Nintendo Switch, and Game Boy, among others.

Impact: Super Mario Bros. has had a profound impact on the video game industry, setting standards for platforming gameplay, level design, and character design. It introduced many gaming conventions, including power-ups, warp zones, and the idea of saving the princess. Mario himself has become one of the most recognizable and beloved characters in gaming history.

Cultural Influence: The franchise has transcended the realm of video games, with Mario appearing in animated series, movies, merchandise, and even theme park attractions like Super Nintendo World.

Notable Titles: Some of the most notable titles in the Super Mario Bros. series include “Super Mario Bros. 3,” “Super Mario World,” “Super Mario 64,” “Super Mario Galaxy,” and “Super Mario Odyssey,” among many others.

23 April 1985

Coca-Cola changes its formula and releases New Coke. The response is overwhelmingly negative, and the original formula is back on the market in less than three months.

New Coke was a reformulated version of Coca-Cola that was released in 1985. The launch of New Coke was met with intense backlash from consumers, leading to one of the biggest marketing failures in history. There were several factors that contributed to the failure of New Coke.

Firstly, Coca-Cola was a well-established brand with a loyal following. The company had been producing the same formula for over 100 years, and consumers had grown to love the taste of Coca-Cola. When the company announced that it was changing the formula, consumers felt betrayed and were not willing to accept the change.

Secondly, the company failed to do proper market research before launching New Coke. Coca-Cola conducted taste tests that showed that consumers preferred the taste of New Coke over the original formula. However, the company did not take into account the emotional attachment that consumers had to the original formula. When consumers were told that the original formula was being replaced, they felt like they were losing a part of their identity and rebelled against the change.

Thirdly, the company’s marketing campaign for New Coke was poorly executed. The company marketed the new formula as “better than ever” and “the best Coke ever,” which made consumers feel like they had been lied to for years about the quality of the original formula. The company also failed to communicate the reasons behind the change, leading to confusion and mistrust among consumers.

Finally, the backlash against New Coke was fueled by a grassroots movement led by fans of the original formula. The company underestimated the power of this movement and was not prepared for the level of backlash it would face.

10 July 1985

The Greenpeace vessel Rainbow Warrior is bombed and sunk in Auckland harbor by French DGSE agents, killing Fernando Pereira. This caused considerable tension between France and New Zealand with France initially denying any involvement. Two agents were arrested and found guilty of manslaughter in Auckland. The French government had to later admit that they were involved after the Le Monde newspaper reported that the attack had been approved by the French President.