Sunday, 19 December 2010

December 20, 2010

220 years ago

The first cotton mill in the United States began operating in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.

150 years ago

South Carolina became the first state to secede from the Union.

50 years ago

On television tonight
Thriller, on NBC
Tonight's episode: Man in the Middle, starring Mort Sahl, Sue Randall, and Werner Klemperer

The United States launched Discoverer 19 into polar orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The satellite was designed to measure radiation, and unlike other Discoverer satellites, was not supposed to return a capsule to Earth.

Israeli Ambassador to the United States Avraham Harman called on U.S. Secretary of State Christian Herter to deny reports that Israel, with French aid, was developing the capacity to produce atomic bombs. Amb. Harman confirmed that a nuclear reactor was being built in the Negev Desert with French aid, but that it was "exclusively for peaceful purposes."

The United Nations General Assembly voted 42-28 with 27 abstentions to defeat a resolution offered by India, Yugoslavia, and six Asian and African nations calling for the liberation of former Congolese Premier Patrice Lumumba and the neutralization of Colonel Joseph Mobutu’s armed forces. The Assembly voted 43-22 with 32 abstentions--one short of the required 2/3 majority--in favour of a U.S.-U.K. resolution recommending the convocation of the Congolese parliament through a conference of political leaders called by Congolese President Joseph Kasavubu and instructing UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold to continue his policies in the Congo. The Assembly agreed without opposition to maintain the Congo item on its agenda, and adjourned until March 7, 1961.

Economics and finance
Cuban dictator Fidel Castro announced in Havana that Communist countries would pay 4c per pound for Cuban sugar, well above world market price.

40 years ago

World events
Riots in Gdansk, Gdynia, Sopot, and other Polish cities that had begun a week earlier over food price hikes resulted in Communist party leader Wladyslaw Gomulka being toppled from power after a 14-year reign. He was succeeded as party first secretary by Edward Gierek, party leader in the province of Silesia. 300 were reported to have been killed in the riots.

28 were killed and 27 injured in a hotel fire in Tucson, Arizona.

30 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in the U.S.A. (Billboard): Lady--Kenny Rogers (6th week at #1)

U.S. top 10 (Cash Box)
1 Lady--Kenny Rogers (4th week at #1)
2 Master Blaster (Jammin’)--Stevie Wonder
3 More Than I Can Say--Leo Sayer
4 (Just Like) Starting Over--John Lennon
5 Another One Bites the Dust--Queen
6 The Wanderer--Donna Summer
7 Love on the Rocks--Neil Diamond
8 Hit Me with Your Best Shot--Pat Benatar
9 Hungry Heart--Bruce Springsteen
10 Guilty--Barbra Streisand and Barry Gibb

Entering the chart at #77 was Who’s Making Love by the Blues Brothers.

On television today
The New York Jets defeated the Miami Dolphins 24-17 at the Orange Bowl in Miami in a game that NBC televised without announcers. Executive producer Don Ohlmeyer tried the "experiment" in part to boost ratings on a lacklustre game. The consensus of viewers and critics was that announcers are necessary on a broadcast despite how annoying they may sound.

Montreal 3 @ Edmonton 4

Dave Hunter scored the winning goal with 2 seconds remaining in the game in the national telecast of Hockey Night in Canada.

25 years ago

This blogger was hired for a short-term job as archives assistant at the University of Alberta Archives to begin in January 1986.

The temperature reached 49 F. in Edmonton.

New York Islanders 2 New York Rangers 2

On a goal by Mike Bossy of the Islanders, Denis Potvin picked up an assist for his 916th career point, breaking the NHL record for defensemen held by Bobby Orr.

20 years ago

Politics and government
Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze astonished the 2,250-member Congress of People’s Deputies by announcing his resignation. He said he was tired of defending his policies against "conservative" Communist critics. Although Mr. Shevardnadze predicted that democracy and freedom were the way of the future, he said that dictatorship was on the horizon, but he added, "No one knows what this dictatorship will be like." President Mikhail Gorbachev, apparently taken by surprise, deplored the resignation as "unforgivable" at a time of crisis in the Soviet Union, and he denied that the country was on the brink of any form of dictatorship.

The new German Bundestag met in the old Reichstag in Berlin.

The United States joined in a unanimous vote for a United Nations Security Council resolution that called the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip "occupied territories" and deplored Israel’s treatment of Arab civilians there. Under the resolution, the UN Secretary-General would monitor the safety of Palestinians in the territories. The resolution also opposed Israel’s plan to resume the deportation of Arabs from the territories. Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir and other Israeli leaders denounced the resolution.

10 years ago

Politics and government
U.S. President-elect George W. Bush named several of his choices for cabinet positions: Secretary of the Treasury--Paul O’Neill; Secretary of Housing and Urban Development--Melquiades Martinez; Secretary of Agriculture--Ann Veneman; Secretary of Commerce--Donald Evans.

The Chilean Supreme Court, in appeal, dismissed charges against former dictator General Augusto Pinochet in kidnapping and murder of political opponents, but ordered that Gen. Pinochet be interrogated, leaving the door open for another indictment.

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