Wednesday, 20 February 2019

February 20, 2019

Born on this date
Happy Birthday, Maza Sellars!

825 years ago

Died on this date
Tancred, 55 or 56
. King of Sicily, 1189-1194. Tancred, an illegitimate grandson of King Roger II, seized control of Sicily following the death of his cousin King William II. Tancred faced foreign invasions and internal opposition, making a treaty with King Richard I of England, and conducting successful military campaigns against hostile nobility. King Tancred died two months after his son and co-King Roger III, and was succeeded by his son William III.

680 years ago

The Milanese army defeated the St. George's (San Giorgio) Mercenaries of Lodrisio Visconti in the Battle of Parabiago in Lombardy.

210 years ago

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the power of the federal government was greater than that of any individual state.

200 years ago

Born on this date
Alfred Escher
. Swiss politician and businessman. Mr. Escher was probably the most influential Swiss politician in the 19th century; his many offices included membership on the National Council (1848-1882), with three terms as President (1849-1850, 1856-1857, 1862-1863). He played significant roles in the foundation and management of the Swiss Northeastern Railway; Swiss Federal Institute of Technology; Credit Suisse, Swiss Life; and the Gotthard Railway. Mr. Escher died on December 6, 1882 at the age of 63 after a lifetime of bouts of ill health.

190 years ago

Born on this date
Joe Jefferson, 76
. U.S. actor. Mr. Jefferson was best known for his adaptation of Rip Van Winkle, originating the title role on stage and taking the play on the road for 40 years. He died on April 23, 1905 at the age of 76.

180 years ago

Born on this date
Benjamin Waugh
. U.K. clergyman and social activist. Rev. Waugh was a Congregationalist minister and hymnist who was best known for his opposition to workhouses and the Poor law, which led him to co-found the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) in 1884. He died on March 11, 1908, 20 days after his 69th birthday.

The United States Congress prohibited duelling in the District of Columbia.

175 years ago

Born on this date
Joshua Slocum
. N.S.-born U.S. sailor. Captain Slocum, born Joshua Slocombe in Mount Hanley, Nova Scotia, left home at the age of 16 for Dublin and then England, sailing on various ships before setting in San Francisco in 1865 and becoming an American citizen. He spent most of his life at sea on various voyages, most notably conducting the first solo circumnavigation around the world in his sloop Spray (1895-1898), which he wrote about in his best-selling book Sailing Alone Around the World (1899-1900). In his later years, Capt. Slocum's mental state deteriorated somewhat, and his revenues declined. He disappeared on or after November 14, 1909 at the age of 65, while on his way from Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts to the West Indies; most experts figured he had been hit by a steamer or a whale. Capt. Slocum was never seen or heard from again, and he was declared legally dead in 1924.

140 years ago

Born on this date
Hod Stuart
. Canadian hockey player. Mr. Stuart, a native of Ottawa, was a cover-point (defenceman) with seven different teams in four different amateur and professional leagues from 1898-1907, with combined totals of 53 goals and 11 assists in 93 regular season games and 1 goal and 2 assists in 8 playoff games. He played with the Calumet Miners and Pittsburgh Professionals from 1904-1906 in the International Professional Hockey League and was a First team All-Star in both seasons, but left the IPHL out of concerns about increasing violence. Mr. Stuart joined the Montreal Wanderers of the Eastern Canada Amateur Hockey Association in 1906-1907, and helped the Wanderers win the Stanley Cup. He was killed in a diving accident at Bay Quinte, Ontario on June 23, 1907 at the age of 28; on January 2, 1908, the Wanderers hosted an ECAHA All-Star team in a game for the benefit of Mr. Stuart's widow and children, the first such game in any sport. Mr. Stuart was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1945 as a charter member.

125 years ago

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Roman Catholics in Manitoba had no grounds for appeal of the Manitoba School Act of 1890, which had abolished the provincial system of government-supported Catholic schools that had been in place since the province's creation in 1870. Manitoba had originally been populated by French Canadian and Metis Catholics, but in the 20 years since Confederation, her population had been changed by large numbers of English-speaking Protestant settlers, who were responsible for the 1890 law.

80 years ago


The German American Bund, a pro-Nazi organization led by naturalized U.S. citizen Fritz Kuhn, drew 22,000 to a rally at Madison Square Garden in New York. Mr. Kuhn, with a huge portrait of George Washington behind him, denounced President Franklin D. Roosevelt, calling him "Frank D. Rosenfeld," and referring to the president's economic policy as the "Jew Deal." 3,000 members of the Ordnungsdienst, the militant arm of the Bund, were on hand, and used strong-arm tactics against protesters in maintaining order. The rally was the largest for the Bund, which operated camps for young people in New York and New Jersey. Before the year was out, Mr. Kuhn faced various criminal charges, and was eventually deported to Germany, where he died in obscurity in 1951. The Bund itself officially disbanded on December 8, 1941, the day after the Japanese attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

75 years ago

U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Alan Kirk was named commander of the combined Allied force in the coming invasion of Europe. The "Big Week" of World War II began with American bombing raids on German aircraft manufacturing centres. Reinforcements reaching the Allies in Italy enabled progress to be made against German forces on the Cassino line. In their continued drive on Pskov, U.S.S.R. troops pushed back the Germans along a 100-mile front. In the Pacific theatre, U.S. forces captured Eniwetok Island from the Japanese.

Politics and government
Former Massachusetts Governor Joseph Ely announced his candidacy for the 1944 Democratic Party U.S. presidential nomination.

Economics and finance
United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration Director Herbert Lehman appointed Soviet trade expert Nicolai Feonov as a deputy director general in charge of the regional supply office in London.

70 years ago

On the radio
Pat Novak For Hire, starring Jack Webb, on ABC
Tonight's episode: The Jack of Clubs

United Nations mediator Ralph Bunche submitted the text of a proposed armistice agreement to Egyptian and Israeli negotiators in Rhodes. The agreement gave Israel temporary control over Beersheba and the Negev desert pending negotiation of a permanent peace settlement.

11,000 Philadelphia Transit Company workers ended a 10-day strike by accepting an 8c hourly wage increase.

IIHF World Championships @ Stockholm
Final Round
U.S.A. (3-2) 9 Austria (0-5) 1
Czechoslovakia (4-1) 3 Sweden (2-2-1) 0
Canada (2-1-2) 1 Switzerland (2-2-1) 1

The Czechoslovakians, who had lost six players in an air disaster several months earlier, shut out the Swedes to deny the host country a medal, as the Americans routed the Austrians to win the bronze medal. Canada, represented by the Sudbury Wolves, scored a goal in the 3rd period to tie Switzerland and take the silver medal.

60 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in the U.K. (New Musical Express): As I Love You--Shirley Bassey with Wally Stott and his Orchestra

Died on this date
Laurence Housman, 93
. U.K. writer and illustrator. Mr. Housman, the younger brother of poet A.E. Housman, began his career as an illustrator before writing in various genres. He was best known for play such as Victoria Regina (1934). Mr. Housman spent much of his life promoting worthless causes such as socialism, pacifism, sodomy, and women's suffrage.

U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration Deputy Director Hugh Dryden told the U.S. Senate Space Committee that the U.S.S.R. had "the capability of putting a man into space before our program is complete" and was "likely to do so."

Canadian Prime Minister John Diefenbaker told the House of Commons that the government was cancelling further development of the supersonic jet interceptor plane (the most advanced in the world) known as the Avro Arrow, while announcing that the government had no alternative air defense system to take the place of the Arrow. He indicated that the decision was due to a rapidly diminishing need for interceptors and the estimated cost of $7.3 million apiece for 100 aircraft. For detailed information about the Arrow, go here, and especially here. 14,528 workers at the Avro plant were immediately put out of work by the announcement, and 15,000 other employees in the Avro supply chain also lost their jobs. Information on the most prominent of the Avro employees can be found here. Mr. Diefenbaker also disclosed that the government was negotiating with the United States for the right to acquire nuclear warheads with which to arm the Bomarc surface-to-air guided missiles.

The Yugoslavian Foreign Ministry declared its opposition to efforts to revive the 1954 Bled agreement for the formation by Yugoslavia, Greece, and Turkey of a Balkan pact.

U.S. Navy Admiral Arleigh Burke said that America's " destroy the Soviet Union in several ways and several times over" made it unnecessary for the United States to race the U.S.S.R. in numbers of missiles.

Central African Federation Prime Minister Sir Roy Welensky sent troops into Nyasaland to suppress riots and anti-government demonstrations by African nationalists.

Politics and government
Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was dropped from membership in the Indian National Congress Party's Executive Committee by Indira Gandhi, his daughter and party President.

U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Mexican President Adolfo Lopez Mateos announced an agreement to cooperate in building the $100-million Diablo Dam on the Rio Grande near Del Rio, Texas.

A U.S. federal court in New York revoked the American citizenship of gangster Frank Costello for concealing bootlegging activities when he was naturalized in 1925.

Economics and finance
The Dow Jones industrial average topped the 600 mark for the first time.

50 years ago

On television tonight
Dragnet 1969, on NBC
Tonight's episode: Frauds: DR-28

World events
Seven more Iraqis, all Muslims, were executed as Israeli spies in Baghdad. Four of the men, civilians, were hanged like those found guilty of spying by the Iraqi Revolutionary Court in January, while the other three, who were soldiers, were shot by a firing squad.

Politics and government
Pakistani President Mohammad Ayub Khan failed to persuade Sheik Mujibur Rahman, leader of the East Pakistan autonomy movement, to join in his talks with opposition leaders.

Canadian Minister of Health and Welfare John Munro announced the formation of Hockey Canada, a federal corporation to develop a national hockey team.

40 years ago

On television tonight
The Paper Chase, on CBS
Tonight's episode: The Apprentice

U.S. President Jimmy Carter said that turmoil in the Middle East and Indochina would not deter American efforts to conclude a new Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) agreement with the U.S.S.R., but warned the Soviet Union to respect Iran's independence or face possibly unfavourable consequences.

The Quebec Department of Education releases a document titled The Quebec School: Policy Statement and Action Plan. In its Orange Book, the government proposed ways to boost primary and secondary education. Among other things, it concerned the implementation of educational projects in schools; the creation of guidance councils to encourage the participation of the various stakeholders; the revision of programs; and the evaluation of learning.

An earthquake cracked Sinila volcanic crater in Dieng Plateau, releasing poisonous H2S gas and killing 149 villagers in the Indonesian province of Central Java.

30 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in Australia (Australian Music Report): I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)--The Proclaimers

#1 single in Spain (PROMUSICAE): Real Gone Kid--Deacon Blue

50 British soldiers escaped injury when they evacuated their barracks at Tern Hill, Shropshire before two bombs planted by Irish Republican Army terrorists exploded.

Politics and government
Afghan Prime Minister Mohammed Hassam Sharq resigned after nine months in office, and a military council assumed most government functions.

Government leader Tony Penikett led his New Democratic Party to a majority in the Legislative Assembly in the Yukon territorial election, taking 9 of 16 seats, with the Progressive Conservative Party, led by Willard Phelps, capturing the remaining 7 seats. Going into the election the NDP held 8 seats to 6 for the PCs and 2 for the Liberals. The Liberal Party, led by Jim McLachlan, were shut out in 1989, and Mr. McLachlan lost his seat in Faro to NDP candidate Maurice Byblow.

Washington 2 @ Calgary 6

25 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in New Zealand: I Can See Clearly Now--Jimmy Cliff (6th week at #1)

#1 single in Austria (Ö3): All for Love--Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart and Sting (2nd week at #1)

#1 single in Switzerland: All for Love--Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart and Sting (3rd week at #1)

#1 single in the U.K. (Chart Information Network): Without You--Mariah Carey (2nd week at #1)

20 years ago

Died on this date
Gene Siskel, 53
. U.S. film critic. Mr. Siskel, film critic with the Chicago Tribune, teamed up with Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert in 1975 to review movies on a show called Coming Soon to a Theater Near You on Chicago's PBS affiliate. In 1980 the program, now titled Sneak Previews, began running on the national PBS network. Mr. Siskel and Mr. Ebert left PBS in 1982, and their program went through several changes in title and affiliation over the years. My favourite S&E moment was the show in 1987, when disagreements over Full Metal Jacket (thumb up for Siskel, down for Ebert) and Benji the Hunted (up for Ebert, down for Siskel) became somewhat heated. My favourite special episodes were Hail, Hail, Black and White; They'll Do it Every Time (several episodes); and the one on trailers. Despite Mr. Ebert's seniority (and a Pulitzer Prize) as a Chicago newspaper film critic, Mr. Siskel's name came first in the billing during their 23 1/2-year run on television. Mr. Siskel fought bravely against brain cancer, and was still able to write reviews and appear on television into the early weeks of 1999. In his last few years he became increasingly critical of the quality of writing in current movies, and complained (correctly) that teenage boys, the only segment of the population that will go to see anything in a theater on a weekend regardless of quality, are the people who actually dictate what movies are made. On one of his last television appearances, Mr. Siskel picked Babe: Pig in the City as the best movie of 1998, which may have been an indication of how ill he was. According to Mr. Ebert, Mr. Siskel was in much worse health toward the end than his television appearances would indicate. After a lengthy auditioning process, Richard Roeper, a colleague of Mr. Ebert's at the Sun-Times, won the permanent spot as Mr. Siskel's replacement, albeit with Mr. Ebert finally getting top billing. The show wasn't as good without Mr. Siskel, but was certainly better than when Mr. Ebert left in 2006 because of his own health problems.

Prime Ministers Atal Bihari Vajpayee of India and Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan began two days of meetings in Pakistan to discuss the divisions between their countries.

Montreal 2 @ Toronto 3 (OT)

Steve Thomas scored the winning goal as the Maple Leafs edged the Canadiens to win the first National Hockey League game ever played at Air Canada Centre in the national Hockey Night in Canada telecast.

10 years ago

Two Tamil Tigers aircraft packed with C4 explosives en route to the national air force headquarters were shot down by the Sri Lankan military before reaching their target in a kamikaze-style attack.

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