Wednesday, 16 December 2015

December 16, 2015

Born on this date
Happy Birthday, Heather Austin!

225 years ago

Born on this date
Leopold I
. King of the Belgians, 1831-1865. Leopold I was a German prince who declined the offer to become King of Greece, but became the first King of the Belgians following Belgian independence in 1830. He established the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to which all subsequent Belgian kings have belonged. King Leopold I died on December 10, 1865, six days short of his 75th birthday; he was succeeded by his son Leopold II.

120 years ago

The Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps was organized in Halifax to interest young men in serving in a planned Canadian Navy.

80 years ago

Died on this date
Thelma Todd, 29
. U.S. actress. Miss Todd was a comic actress known for her roles in movies such as The Maltese Falcon (1931); Monkey Business (1931); and Horse Feathers (1932), and numerous short films. She was found dead inside her car inside the garage of former actress Jewel Carmen, ex-wife of Miss Todd's lover Roland West. The official ruling was accidental death by carbon monoxide poisoning, but accusations persist that she was murdered.

75 years ago

Died on this date
Billy Hamilton, 74
. U.S. baseball player. "Sliding Billy" was an outfielder with the Kansas City Cowboys (1888-1889); Philadelphia Phillies (1890-1895); and Boston Beaneaters (1896-1901), batting .344 with 40 home runs and 742 runs batted in in 1,594 games. He led the National League in batting percentage in 1891 and 1893; in runs four times; in stolen bases five times; in bases and balls five times; and in on base percentage five times. Mr. Hamilton has been credited with 912-915 stolen bases--third on the career list--although stolen bases were calculated differently in his time. Mr. Hamilton was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1961.

British Royal Air Force bombers blasted military and civilian targets in Mannheim, Germany.

It was announced in Oslo that the Nobel Peace Prize would not be awarded for 1940.

Politics and government
Franklin D. Roosevelt was officially elected to an unprecedented third term as President of the United States when he received 449 of 531 votes cast by the members of the Electoral College, who voted in their respective state capitals. Republican Party candidate Wendell Willkie received the remaining 82 electoral votes.

Economics and finance
Arthur G. McKee and Company of Cleveland announced the receipt of a Brazilian contract to design and supervise the construction of a $36-million iron and steel plant near Rio de Janeiro.

U.S. Senator Gerald Nye (Republican--North Dakota) opposed immediate financial aid to the United Kingdom.

Scotland Yard claimed the discovery of a Communist plot to spread discontent among British workers by planting agents in underground air-raid shelters, where people gathered to avoid bombs dropped during the Nazi blitz.

U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation Director J. Edgar Hoover said that the 2,500-page FBI report on west coast Congress of Industrial Organizations leader Harry Bridges "confirms the belief that Bridges is a Communist," and urged that Mr. Bridges be deported back to Australia and that the Communist Party be outlawed.

American Federation of Labor President William Green declared that in a great emergency such as now faced, it became "our solemn duty to avoid strikes."

The American Federation of Musicians reached an agreement with CBS, NBC, and MBS, under which they were permitted to broadcast U.S. Army band music on condition that they would not dismiss their own studio musicians.

The U.S. Supreme Court sustained the licensing authority of the Federal Power Commission in the 15-year-old New River case, ruling that a river may be classified as navigable if it could be made so by "reasonable improvements."

World heavyweight champion Joe Louis (44-1) retained his title with a technical knockout over Al McCoy (68-18-5) at Boston Garden when referee Johnny Martin stopped the fight at the beginning of the 6th round because the challenger was suffering from a badly-swollen left eye (see video).

70 years ago

Died on this date
Giovanni Agnelli, 79
. Italian automobile executive. Mr. Agnelli co-founded Fabbrica Italiana di Automobili Torino (FIAT) in 1899.

Fumimaro Konoe, 54. Prime Minister of Japan, 1937-1939, 1940-1941. Prince Konoe (also spelled Konoye) was Prime Minister during the war with China in the late 1930s, but resigned in January 1939 because he didn't want to be a "robot" of the Japanese military. He returned as Prime Minister in July 1940 as a result of Japanese Army dissatisfaction with the policies of Prime Minister Mitsumasa Yonai. Prince Konoe was Prime Minister in the months leading up to the December 7, 1941 attack by Japanese forces on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. He attempted to avoid war, but resigned on October 16, 1941 when it became clear that his efforts were unsuccessful. Prince Konoe committed suicide with a potassium cyanide capsule after coming under suspicion as a war criminal.

The New York Herald Tribune reported that The Black Rose by Thomas B. Costain was the best-selling fiction book, while Up Front by Bill Mauldin was the best-selling non-fiction book.

U.S. Secretary of State James Byrnes, U.K. Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin, and U.S.S.R. Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov held their first conference in Moscow.

World events
Moscow radio reports announced that a revolutionary "National Government of Iranian Azerbaijan" had been established in Tabriz.

Reports indicated that more than 100 people had been arrested in the Paraguayan capital of Asuncion to stem a revolt against the regime of President Higinio Moríñigo.

The United States Navy announced that Sinclair Oil Company had granted an 18% wage increase with a 40-hour work week to the Congress of Industrial Workers-affiliated United Oil Workers. The Navy also announced that it would return the company's 11 properties--seized October 5 under order from U.S. President Harry Truman--on December 17.

The American Chemical Society reported the discovery of a new sulfa drug--metachloride--which may surpass atabrine and quinine in treating malaria.

NFL Championship
Washington 14 @ Cleveland 15

An unusual safety touch in the 1st quarter proved to be the difference as the Rams edged the Redskins before 32,178 fans in -8 F. weather at Municipal Stadium. Washington quarterback Sammy Baugh attempted a pass from his end zone, but the strong wind blew the ball into the goal post, and the ball bounced back in to the end zone, giving Cleveland a safety touch according to rules in place at the time and a 2-0 lead. Mr. Baugh left the game with injured ribs shortly after, and was replaced by Frank Filchock, who connected with Steve Bagarus for a 38-yard touchdown, converted by Joe Aguirre. The Rams came back with a 37-yard touchdown pass from Bob Waterfield to Jim Benton; Mr. Waterfield's convert attempt hit the crossbar and dropped over to give Cleveland a 9-7 halftime lead. Mr. Waterfield completed a 53-yard touchdown pass to Jim Gillette in the 3rd quarter, but missed the convert, leaving the Rams with a 15-7 lead. The Redskins came back with an 8-yard touchdown pass from Mr. Filchock to Bob Seymour, converted by Mr. Aguirre, bringing them to within a point before the end of the 3rd quarter. The 4th quarter was scoreless. It was the first National Football League championship for the Rams, and their only title as the Cleveland Rams; the team moved to Los Angeles on January 12, 1946.

60 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in the U.K. (New Musical Express): Christmas Alphabet--Dickie Valentine

Queen Elizabeth II opened "The Queen's Building" in the centre of London Airport.

50 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in the U.K. (Record Retailer): Day Tripper/We Can Work It Out--The Beatles

At the movies
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, starring Richard Burton, Claire Bloom, Oskar Werner, and Sam Wanamaker, opened in theatres.

Died on this date
W. Somerset Maugham, 91
. U.K. author. Mr. Maugham wrote numerous novels, short stories, and plays. His best-known play was probably The Letter (1927); his novels included Of Human Bondage (1915); The Moon and Sixpence (1919); and The Razor's Edge (1944). Mr. Maugham worked as a spy for the British Secret Intelligence Service during World War I, which influenced his short story collection Ashenden: Or the British Agent (1928).

Gemini 6A, with Command Pilot Wally Schirra and Pilot Tom Stafford aboard, splashed down in the North Atlantic Ocean, almost 26 hours after lifting off from Cape Kennedy, Florida.

The United States launched the probe Pioneer 6 toward a circular solar orbit.

United States Army General William Westmoreland sent U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara a request for 243,000 more men in Vietnam by the end of 1966.

40 years ago

On television tonight
One Day at a Time, on CBS
Tonight's episode: Ann's Decision

This was the first episode of the situation comedy series, which ran until 1984.

30 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in Australia (Kent Music Report): Species Deceases (EP)--Midnight Oil (2nd week at #1)

#1 single in Japan (Oricon Singles Chart): Koi ni Ochite: Fall in Love--Akiko Kobayashi (6th week at #1)

#1 single in Spain (PROMUSICAE): Part-Time Lover--Stevie Wonder (7th week at #1)

Died on this date
Paul Castellano, 70; Thomas Bilotti, 45
. U.S. gangsters. Mr. Castellano, reputed to be one of the leaders of the Gambino crime family, and his associate, Mr. Bilotti, were shot to death in New York City as hey left a car to enter a restaurant in midtown Manhattan. The three gunmen fled a short distance on foot before they entered a waiting car and disappeared. Mr. Castellano and nine other reputed members of the Gambino group had been on trial on charges of operating an auto theft ring. Authorities speculated that other crime figures were unhappy about the publicity generated by the trial and worried that Mr. Castellano might become a source of information damaging to them.

25 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in New Zealand (RIANZ): Ice Ice Baby--Vanilla Ice (2nd week at #1)

#1 single in Austria (Ö3): Sadeness (Part I)--Enigma (2nd week at #1)

#1 single in Switzerland: Sadeness (Part I)--Enigma

Politics and government
The first conference of the African National Congress to take place in South Africa in 31 years concluded with a resolution warning that the ANC would consider suspending its talks with the South African government unless the government met certain key demands, including the return of all exiles and the repeal of repressive security laws. Delegates also agreed on their commitment to peaceful negotiations. The conference had been characterized by widespread and open criticism of the ANC’s senior leadership.

In Haiti’s first democratic election, nutty Roman Catholic priest Jean-Bertrand Aristide was elected President with 67.5% of the vote. Rev. Aristide, who had been the target of three assassination attempts in recent years, had denounced the regime of former President Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier from his pulpit and during the campaign. Roger Lafontant, former head of the Tontons Macoute, Mr. Duvalier’s private militia, and who had been barred by election law technicalities from running for the presidency, pledged to remove Rev. Aristide from assuming the presidency.

20 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in Australia (ARIA): Gangsta's Paradise--Coolio featuring L.V. (9th week at #1)

#1 single in Flanders (Ultratop 50): Gangsta's Paradise--Coolio featuring L.V. (2nd week at #1)

#1 single in Ireland (IRMA): Father and Son--Boyzone (4th week at #1)

#1 single in the U.K. (Chart Information Network): Earth Song--Michael Jackson (2nd week at #1)

#1 single in the U.S.A. (Billboard): One Sweet Day--Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men (3rd week at #1)

U.S.A. top 10 (Cash Box)
1 One Sweet Day--Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men (2nd week at #1)
2 Exhale (Shoop Shoop)--Whitney Houston
3 Diggin' on You--TLC
4 Hey Lover--LL Cool J
5 You'll See--Madonna
6 Name--Goo Goo Dolls
7 Fantasy--Mariah Carey
8 You Remind Me of Something--R. Kelly
9 Gangsta's Paradise--Coolio featuring L.V.
10 Beautiful Life--Ace of Base

Singles entering the chart were Too Hot by Coolio (#39); Tonite's Tha Night by Kris Kross (#41); East 1999 by Bone Thugs-N-Harmony (#48); Natural One by Folk Implosion (#52); Friends of P. by the Rentals (#74); Nobody Knows by the Tony Rich Project (#86); Hurricane by the Click (#89); and Don't Cry by Seal (#90).

Economics and finance
The European Union officially adopt the name "Euro" for its currency, which was scheduled to be introduced on January 1, 1999.

10 years ago

Died on this date
John Spencer, 58
. U.S. actor. Mr. Spencer, born John Speshock, Jr., was best known for his supporting roles in the movie Presumed Innocent (1990) and in the television series L.A. Law (1990-1994) and The West Wing (1999-2006), winning an Emmy in 2002 for The West Wing. Mr. Spencer died of a heart attack four days before his 59th birthday.

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