Saturday, 23 January 2016

January 23, 2016

500 years ago

Died on this date
Ferdinand II, 63
. King of Sicily, 1468-1516; King of Castile and León, 1475-1504; King of Aragon and the Aragonese Realms, 1479-1516. Ferdinand II and his wife Queen Isabella I were known for financing Christopher Columbus first voyage of exploration to the New World in 1492. Ferdinand II was succeeded on the throne by his daughter Joanna.

460 years ago

As many as 830,000 people were killed when an earthquake struck the Chinese province of Shaanxi; it remains the deadliest earthquake in history.

80 years ago

Saskatchewan became the first province to officially recognize the Norse discovery of Canada, declaring October 9 to be Leif Erikson Day.

75 years ago

Lady in the Dark, a musical written by Kurt Weill, Ira Gershwin, and Moss Hart, starring Gertrude Lawrence, Danny Kaye, Bert Lytell, Victor Mature, and Macdonald Carey, opened at the Alvin Theatre on Broadway in New York.

Franz von Werra, a German prisoner of war at Prescott, Ontario, escaped from a train, and eventually made it back to Germany, only to die in action a year later. He was the only German POW to make a successful escape in Canada. The German battle cruisers Scharnhorst and Gniesenau departed Kiel.

The Vichy regime announced that France had accepted Japan's offer to mediate the conflict between Indochina and Thailand.

U.S. Army Colonel Charles Lindbergh testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee; he said that the United States did not require a British victory in the European war; opposed the Lend-Lease bill; predicted a British defeat; and recommended that the United States negotiate a neutrality pact with German Fuehrer Adolf Hitler. Judge William Bondy of the U.S. District Court in New York ruled that the 1940 Draft Act was constitutional.

Politics and government
U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt nominated Dean Acheson as assistant Secretary of State.

70 years ago

At the hearings of the United States Senate committee on the December 7, 1941 Japanese attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, General Walter Short, Army commanding officer at Pearl Harbor at the time of the attack, stated that Army-Navy liaison in Hawaii was poor in 1941.

The United Nations Economic and Social Council elected Sir H. Ramaswami Mudallar of India as its president.

U.K. Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin charged the U.S.S.R.-supported Polish government of Bolesław Bierut with murdering political prisoners, and challenged it to implement provisions of the 1945 Yalta agreement calling for "free and unfettered elections."

Politics and government
The French Constituent Assembly elected Socialist Felix Gouin as President of the French provisional government.

A statement by 500 prominent Roman Catholics in Buenos Aires denounced Argentine President Juan Peron as a totalitarian.

U.S. President Harry Truman named U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Sidney Souers as the first Director of Central Intelligence.

The U.S. State Department barred American-flag vessels from carrying troops or ammunition for use in suppressing anti-colonial revolts in French Indochina and the Dutch East Indies.

U.S. Navy Secretary James Forrestal urged that the Vice President and secretaries of State, War, and Navy be placed on the proposed Atomic Energy Commission. He opposed giving the President the power to remove commission members.

2 people were killed and 300 injured in clashes between police and followers of the late Subhas Chandra Bose, leader of the pro-Japanese Indian National Army during World War II, who were staging anti-British demonstrations in Bombay.

The American Federation of Labor Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butchers ordered its striking members to return to work on January 26 to avert a threatened government seizure of meat-packing plants.

The U.S. House of Representatives Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee approved a bill aimed at AFL American Federation of Musicians President James Petrillo, who had barred the broadcast of records and programs originating outside the United States.

The U.S. Civilian Production Administration revealed the development of a "motion transformer," a new means of mechanical movement eliminating crankshafts and other conventional parts.

A Royal Canadian Air Force Dakota slammed into Mount Ptolemy near Crowsnest Lake, Alberta, killing seven people.

Bobby Riggs defeated Don Budge in Los Angeles to retain his world professional title.

60 years ago

Died on this date
Alexander Korda, 62
. Hungarian-born U.K. movie producer and director. Sir Alexander, born Sándor László Kellner, began his career in Hungary and then moved on to Austria and Germany before settling in England, where he founded London Films, producing such movies as The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933); Sanders of the River (1935); and The Four Feathers (1939). London Films became part of the J. Arthur Rank Organisation in 1939, and Mr. Korda later founded British Lion Films, producing such movies as The Third Man (1949). He died of a heart attack.

40 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in West Germany (Media Control): Dolannes-Melodie--Jean-Claude Borelly (4th week at #1)

#1 single in Switzerland: Dolannes-Melodie--Jean-Claude Borelly (15th week at #1)

Died on this date
Paul Robeson, 77
. U.S. football player, singer, and actor. Mr. Robeson was an All-American end and tackle with Rutgers University before playing in the American Professional Football Association/National Football League with the Akron Pros (1921) and Milwaukee Badgers (1922). He was an outstanding singer with a distinctive bass voice, and a successful actor on stage and in films such as The Emperor Jones (1933); Sanders of the River (1935); Show Boat (1936); and Song of Freedom (1936). Mr. Robeson was a civil rights activist who ran afoul of American authorities because of his consistent support for the U.S.S.R. and Soviet dictator Josef Stalin. Mr. Robeson's career as a fellow traveller hurt his show business career, and he died after many years of ill health and obscurity. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1995.

Paul Dupuis, 62. Canadian actor. Mr. Dupuis appeared in British movies in the 1940s, including Against the Wind (1948); Sleeping Car to Trieste (1948); and Passport to Pimlico (1949).

Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau began a 12-day tour of Venezuela, Mexico, and Cuba.

New York Rangers 5 @ Washington 7

The Capitals' win over the Rangers at Capital Center in Landover, Maryland ended Washington's 12-game losing streak and a league record 25-game winless streak, which had begun on November 29, 1975. The streak of 22 losses and 3 ties included 4 shutouts and a 14-2 loss in Buffalo on December 21, 1975. The Capitals had set the National Hockey League record the previous season with a 17-game losing streak.

30 years ago

On television tonight
The Twilight Zone, on CITV
Tonight’s episode: Monsters!, starring Ralph Bellamy and Oliver Robins; A Small Talent for War, starring John Glover; A Matter of Minutes, starring Adam Arkin and Karen Austin

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted its first members: Little Richard; Chuck Berry; James Brown; Ray Charles; Fats Domino; The Everly Brothers; Buddy Holly; Jerry Lee Lewis; and Elvis Presley.

The 10,000-man National Resistance Army force led by Yoweri Museveni, originally based in southwestern Uganda, reached the outskirts of the capital city of Kampala. The NRA had reached a peace agreement with the government on December 17, 1985, but had abandoned the agreement in January.

On the London spot market, the price of Brent Light Crude, a North Sea oil, fell to US$17.25 per barrel before recovering to $18.40, still down by $10 per barrel since November 1985. The world glut of oil was attributed to a warm winter and to increased production by countries that were not members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Saudi oil minister Sheik Ahmed Zaki Yamani urged Britain--a non-member of OPEC--to cut production to avert "adverse and dangerous consequences for the whole world economy." The Saudis had doubled their own output since August 1985.

25 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in Sweden (Topplistan): Sadeness (Part I)--Enigma (2nd week at #1)

On television tonight
The Wonder Years, on ABC
Tonight’s episode: Heartbreak

Died on this date
Northrop Frye, 78
. Canadian literary critic. Professor Frye, a native of Sherbrooke, Quebec, was one of the most influential literary critics of the 20th century. His books included Fearful Symmetry (1947); Anatomy of Criticism (1957); and The Great Code: The Bible and Literature (1982).

U.S. General Colin Powell said that Allied forces had gained air superiority over Iraq after 12,000 sorties; that Iraq’s two operating nuclear plants were "finished;" and that chemical and biological warfare facilities had been badly damaged. Of 22 Scud missiles fired by Iraq at Saudi Arabia, 18 had been downed by U.S. patriot missiles, and none had caused damage.

Soviet troops seized the main paper warehouse in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius; no one attempted to stop the takeover.

Economics and finance
U.S. Federal Reserve Board chairman Alan Greenspan concluded two days of reporting to Congress by saying that the nation’s money supply was growing too slowly and that the board might cut interest rates again.

Montreal 7 Toronto 3

10 years ago

Politics and government
The Conservative Party, led by Stephen Harper, won a plurality of the seats in the Canadian federal election, taking 124 of 308 seats in the House of Commons, an increase from their 98 seats before the election. The governning Liberals, led by Prime Minister Paul Martin, dropped from 133 seats to 103. The Bloc Québécois, led by Gilles Duceppe, dropped from 53 to 51 seats, while the New Democratic Party, led by Jack Layton, increased from 18 seats to 29. One independent candidate was elected. The Conservatives captured 36.27% of the popular vote, with the Liberals taking 30.23%; the BQ 10.48%; and the NDP 17.48%. The Liberals had been in power since November 1993, under Prime Ministers Jean Chretien (1993-2003) and Mr. Martin (2003-2006). Mr. Martin announced the next day that he would not form a government, and intended to resign as Prime Minister.

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