Sunday, 19 December 2010

December 19, 2010

60 years ago

On television tonight
Suspense, on CBS
Tonight's episode: Dancing Dan's Christmas, starring Wally Cox

50 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in the U.S.A. (Billboard): Are You Lonesome To-Night?--Elvis Presley (4th week at #1)

Mercury-Redstone 1A, an unmanned Mercury spacecraft atop a Redstone rocket, was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The suborbital mission lasted 15 minutes and 45 seconds and was a complete success.

Politics and government
The United States Electoral College, meeting in the 50 state capitals, elected U.S. Senator and Democratic party candidate John F. Kennedy President of the United States and Lyndon Johnson Vice-President. Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Johnson received 300 electoral votes, 30 more than the number required for the majority needed to win. Vice-President and Republican party candidate Richard Nixon and vice-presidential candidate Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. received 219 electoral votes. 14 unpledged Democratic electors (8 from Mississippi and 6 from Alabama) voted for U.S. Senator Harry Byrd (Democrat--Virginia) for president and for Senator Strom Thurmond (Democrat--South Carolina) for vice-president. Henry Irwin, a Republican elector from Oklahoma, refused to vote for the Republican ticket and cast a 15th ballot for Mr. Byrd for president while voting for Senator Barry Goldwater (Republican--Arizona) for vice-president. Because of a dispute as to whether Mr. Kennedy or Mr. Nixon had won in Hawaii, that state’s three votes were cast for both candidates, and in effect counted for neither, pending a final count of the votes in that state.

Cuban National Bank director Ernesto "Che" Guevara and Soviet First Deputy Premier Anastas Mikoyan, meeting in Moscow, signed an agreement calling for a substantial expansion of Cuban-Soviet trade in 1961. The U.S.S.R. agreed to help Cuba build an iron and steel mill, an oil refinery, electric power stations and other industrial projects; to buy more than the agreed amount of Cuban sugar in 1961 if the United States shut off purchases of Cuban sugar; and to supply Cuba’s nationalized refineries with oil. Mr. Guevara signed a document pledging Cuban support for Soviet foreign policy, including support of "national revolutionary movements" in Latin America.

The United Nations General Assembly voted 63-8 with 27 abstentions to approve an amended Asian-African resolution recognizing UN responsibility to help promote Algerian independence. However, the Assembly had earlier rejected a section of the original proposal providing for a UN-conducted referendum to decide Algeria’s future. The U.S.A. and U.K. opposed the referendum provision and abstained from the final vote on the resolution. France boycotted the two-week debate and did not vote.

Three days after a United Air Lines DC-8 jetliner and a Trans World Airline Super-Constellation had collided over Staten Island, New York with the loss of 134 lives, U.S. Federal Aviation Agency head Elwood Quesada reported to President Dwight Eisenhower that the United jet was 11 miles off course when the collision occurred, while the TWA plane was exactly where it should have been. However, he said he could not attempt to fix responsibility for the crash pending an investigation by the Civil Aeronautics Board. Mr. Quesada’s report was criticized by United Air Lines president W.A. Patterson, who suggested that the radio equipment at Preston, New Jersey, where the DC-8 had been told to continue in a holding pattern, might not have been working properly, or that the Federal Aviation Administration radar surveillance procedure might have been at fault.

40 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in the U.K.: I Hear You Knocking--Dave Edmunds (4th week at #1)
#1 single in the U.S.A. (Billboard): The Tears of a Clown--Smokey Robinson and the Miracles (2nd week at #1)

U.S. top 10 (Cash Box)
1 My Sweet Lord--George Harrison
2 The Tears of a Clown--Smokey Robinson and the Miracles
3 One Less Bell to Answer--The 5th Dimension
4 I Think I Love You--The Partridge Family
5 Gypsy Woman--Brian Hyland
6 No Matter What--Badfinger
7 Does Anybody Really Know What Time it Is?--Chicago
8 Black Magic Woman--Santana
9 Stoned Love--The Supremes
10 Knock Three Times--Dawn

Singles entering the chart included Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town by the Jackson 5 (#65); I Hear You Knocking by Dave Edmunds (#68); Flesh and Blood by Johnny Cash (#71); Temptation Eyes by the Grass Roots (#76); They Can’t Take Away Our Music by Eric Burdon and War (#77); Bridget the Midget by Ray Stevens (#78); Amazing Grace by Judy Collins (#80); Shoes by Brook Benton with the Dixie Flyers (#85); Watching Scotty Grow by Bobby Goldsboro (#88); 1900 Yesterday by Liz Damon’s Orient Express (#92); and I’m So Proud by the Main Ingredient (#100).

Calgary’s top 10
1 Burning Bridges--The Mike Curb Congregation
2 Gypsy Woman--Brian Hyland
3 I Think I Love You--The Partridge Family
4 My Sweet Lord--George Harrison
5 Share the Land--The Guess Who
6 So Close--Jake Holmes
7 See Me, Feel Me--The Who
8 Sacroiliac Boop--Happy Feeling
9 Sing High, Sing Low--Anne Murray
10 No Matter What--Badfinger
Pick hit of the week: One Man Band--Three Dog Night

Burning Bridges was from the movie Kelly’s Heroes.

30 years ago

The first phase of the 35-nation European security conference in Madrid ended with a warning from the U.S.A. to the U.S.S.R. that an invasion of Poland was not acceptable.

Economics and finance
The U.S.A.’s largest banks raised their prime lending rate to 21½%.

Iran halted all pumping from its northern oil fields as a result of its war with Iraq.

Two earthquakes in Iran killed 26 people and damaged Shiite Muslim shrines in Qum.

25 years ago

On television tonight
The Twilight Zone, on CITV
Tonight’s episode: Night of the Meek (starring Richard Mulligan); But Can She Type? (starring Pam Dawber); The Star (starring Donald Moffat and Fritz Weaver)

The White House made public a December 5 letter from Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to U.S. President Ronald Reagan in which Mr. Gorbachev offered to allow the United States to inspect some Soviet nuclear test facilities. The offer was conditioned on a long-term joint superpower moratorium on nuclear testing. White House spokesman Larry Speakes said that the moratorium would be rejected because the Soviet Union could not be relied on to adhere to a ban.

U.S. President Ronald Reagan signed into law an omnibus bill providing 7.4% less in defense outlays than he had requested. The restraint reflected strong year-long resistance, especially in the House of Representatives, to the continuation of defense buildup at the rate seen during Mr. Reagan’s first term. Resumption of the stockpiling of chemical weapons was approved after a 16-year moratorium, but space tests of anti-satellite missiles were banned for fiscal 1986.

Politics and government
U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz appeared to be at odds with other leaders in the administration of President Ronald Reagan when he said he would resign if required to take a polygraph test. A directive signed by Mr. Reagan on November 1 appeared to make thousands of State Department and Defense Department employees and defense contractors subject to such a test. The administration had been concerned about spying and leaking of information to the press. Mr. Shultz also expressed doubts about the reliability of the tests. Central Intelligence Agency Director William Casey said there was a need for branches of government receiving sensitive information to make "selective, careful use" of the polygraph. Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger had already said that he would take the test if asked.

U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy (Democrat--Massachusetts) announced that he would not seek his party’s nomination for President of the United States in 1988, and that he believed he could better advance his values by remaining in the Senate. In order to stay in the Senate, he would have to be re-elected in 1988.

20 years ago

Politics and government
Soviet Premier Nikolai Ryzhkov, addressing the 2,250-member Congress of People’s Deputies, said that perestroika (restructuring) had failed and that he assumed personal failure for failure of the economy.

The U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse released a survey showing a decline in the use of drugs by Americans since 1988. The report said that an estimated 27 million Americans had used some illegal drug during the past year. According to the results, those who used cocaine at least once per month declined in number by 45%, to about 1.6 million. The number using marijuana once per month or more often declined by 12% to about 10.2 million. The number who smoked cigarettes or drank alcohol had also declined. President George Bush called the findings "very encouraging news."

10 years ago

Russian President Vladimir Putin concluded a two-day visit to Canada, during which he had met Prime Minister Jean Chretien.

The United Nations Security Council voted 19-0, with China and Malaysia abstaining, to impose sanction on the Taliban regime that controlled most of Afghanistan. The resolution demanded that the militant Islamic regime give up Osama bin Laden, charged in the bombing of two U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998. The sanctions forced the closure of Taliban diplomatic offices around the world and barred aircraft from other countries from landing in Afghanistan. The UN also imposed an arms embargo on the regime.

Politics and government
The Israeli Knesset voted 69-49 not to hold a general election, but just to hold an election for the position of Prime Minister. The vote cleared the way for Ariel Sharon, leader of the opposition Likud Party, to challenge incumbent Ehud Barak as Prime Minister.

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