Wednesday, 6 February 2019

February 6, 2019

Born on this date
Happy Birthday, Bob Powless!

200 years ago

Economics and finance
British official Stamford Raffles signed a treaty with Sultan Hussein Shah of Johor, establishing Singapore as a trading post for the British East India Company.

140 years ago

Born on this date
Magnús Guðmundsson
. Prime Minister of Iceland, 1926. Mr. Guðmundsson sat in the Althing as a member of the Conservative Party, and then as a founding member of the Independence Party, from 1916 until his death on November 28, 1937 at the age of 58. He was Minister of Finance (1920-1922); Minister of Industrial Affairs (1924-1927); Minister of Justice (1932-1934); and interim Prime Minister from June 23-July 8, 1926.

125 years ago

In a provincial plebiscite, residents of Ontario voted for the prohibition of alcohol.

120 years ago

Born on this date
Ramon Novarro
. Mexican-born U.S. actor. Mr. Novarro, born Jose Ramón Gil Samaniego, began his movie career in Hollywood in 1917, and became a star in the 1920s in films such as Scaramouche (1923) and Ben-Hur (1925). He was a drunkard and sodomite, and was murdered on October 30,1968 at the age of 69 by homosexual prostitute brothers Paul Ferguson, 22, and Tom Ferguson, 17, who called him and offered their sexual services. Mr. Novarro invited them to his home; the brothers believed that he had a large amount of money hidden in his house, and beat and tortured him in an effort to make him say where it was. They had to settle for taking $20 from Mr. Novarro's bathrobe pocket, and he died of asphyxiation from choking on his vomit after being beaten.

Died on this date
Leo von Caprivi, 67
. Chancellor of Germany, 1890-1894. General Caprivi served as Chief of the Imperial Admiralty from 1883-1888 despite being an Army officer, and was an effective administrator. He succeeded Otto von Bismarck as Chancellor, also serving as Minister President of Prussia (1890-1892. Gen. Caprivi pursued a "new course" in both domestic and foreign policy, achieving some social and economic reforms at home while pursuing friendly relations with the United Kingdom. He increasingly clashed with Kaiser Wilhelm II as well as Conservatives, National Liberals, and Progressives, and was eventually forced to resign. Gen. Caprivi died 18 days before his 68th birthday.

Alfred, 24. Hereditary Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Prince Alfred was the son of Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh and grandson of Queen Victoria, as well as the first cousin of King George V of Great Britain, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, and Czar Nicholas II of Russia. He died under circumstances that have not been made clear: some accounts say that he died of a health breakdown or consumption, while other accounts claim that he died several days after shooting himself.

The Treaty of Paris, a peace treaty between the United States and Spain, was ratified by the United States Senate.

90 years ago

Died on this date
Maria Christina of Austria, 70
. Queen consort of Spain, 1879-1885. Maria Christina, a daughter of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria, was the second wife of King Alfonso XII of Spain, serving as queen consort until his death in 1885. She was pregnant with his first child at the time of King Alfonso's death, and the throne was vacant until it was known whether the unborn baby was male or female. Queen Maria Christina gave birth to a son, who acceded to the throne as King Alfonso XIII, with his mother acting as regent from 1885-1902, until he attained his majority. Queen Maria Christina died of heart disease.

80 years ago

The German Antarctic Expedition departed an area they had called New Swabia (after their ship, MS Schwabenland), and which Norway had recently claimed as Dronning Maud Land. The secret expedition, composed of 33 members and 24 crewmen, had established a temporary base upon their arrival on January 19 and had then explored and surveyed the area.

75 years ago

Soviet forces in Ukraine trapped five more German infantry divisions in the Dnieper bend and Nikopol. In bitter street fighting, U.S. troops in Italy attempted to dislodge German forces from Cassino. U.S. forces took Gugewe, Bigej, and Eller Islands, bringing a total of 700 square miles in the Marshall Islands under Allied control.

The U.S. Army Air Force announced that improvements in the Lockheed P-38 gave it a ceiling of 40,000 feet and a speed of over 300 miles per hour.

Politics and government
1940 Republican Party U.S. presidential nominee Wendell Willkie announced that he would enter the 1944 Republican presidential primaries in Nebraska and Wisconsin.

Economics and finance
U.S. House of Representatives members demanded an investigation of the cost of the Army's Pentagon building, for which $35 million had been appropriated, but for which the War Department reported a cost of $63,645,954 plus some $10 million for special equipment and roads.

The U.S. Bureau of Mines estimated that 46,000 of 73,000 men in the anthracite fields had answered the call of Interior Secretary Harold Ickes for Sunday work to make up coal shortages.

Baseball's postwar committee voted to recommend major and minor league measures to protect players in the armed services, including return to their clubs at their previous salaries.

70 years ago

Died on this date
Francis Snow, 72
. U.S. journalist. Mr. Snow once served as managing editor of Current History.

Francis Cardinal Spellman led nationwide U.S. protests against the Hungarian government's conviction of Josef Cardinal Mindszenty of treason. Cardinal Spellman preached a sermon on Cardinal Mindszenty's "martyrdom," and denounced Communists as "men of slaughter."

60 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in the U.K. (New Musical Express): I Got Stung/One Night--Elvis Presley (2nd week at #1)

The first successful test firing of a Titan intercontinental ballistic missile was accomplished, at Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Politics and government
Italian President Giovanni Gronchi designated Christian Democrat Antonio Segni as the country's new Prime Minister.

Argentine Labour Minister Alfredo Allende resigned in protest against the use of government troops against striking workers.

Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments filed the first patent for an integrated circuit.

50 years ago

On television tonight
Dragnet 1969, on NBC
Tonight's episode: Administrative Vice: DR-29

Peace talks in Paris between the United States and North Vietnam were deadlocked as Allied and Communist negotiators failed to make any progress at the third plenary session.

U.S. Ambassador Charles Yost held separate talks with U.S.S.R. chief delegate Yakob Malik and Sir Leslie Glass, Great Britain’s acting permanent representative to the United Nations, at the UN’s Big Four talks to prepare the way for a Middle East peace settlement.

The United States Defense Department announced that deployment of the Sentinel anti-ballistic-missile (ABM) system was being held up pending review of the Johnson Administration’s decision to buy 14 of the 15 planned sites and the construction of a "thin" protective net against "unsophisticated" missiles, such as could be used by the People’s Republic of China. The only site acquired so far was near Boston, where critics voiced fear of total disaster within five miles of the area if a Spartan missile, one used in the ABM defense, should go off accidentally. President Richard Nixon said that the system, like those deployed by the U.S.S.R., "adds to our overall defense capability," and that he did not see it as "simply for the purpose of protecting ourselves against attack from Communist China."

Politics and government
Residents of the Caribbean island of Anguilla voted 1,739-4 to sever ties with the United Kingdom and become a republic. The vote came four weeks after the island declared itself a republic, upon the departure of a British adviser after one year in office.

U.S. President Richard Nixon said at his news conference that he knew that he was "not considered as a friend by many of our black citizens," but he said he wanted to be "a friend of all the people." Mr. Nixon indicated that he was reluctant to cut off funds to school districts that refused to integrate.

Peru’s junta seized all remaining assets of International Petroleum Company (IPC), a subsidiary of Standard Oil of New Jersey, climaxing a four-month conflict between the junta and the firm, based on Peruvian claims that IPC’s title to the oil fields at La Brea y Parenas was invalid, and that the firm owed Peru $690,500,000 for oil taken out over a period of 45 years. The junta had seized the oil fields at La Brea and Talara refinery after its coup in October 1968.

Five major drug manufacturers offered $120 million U.S. to settle claims by states, cities, and others growing out of alleged price-fixing and overcharging on tetracycline and other antibiotics, the so-called "wonder drugs." It was the largest settlement offer in antitrust history to date.

Only 52 of more than 100 passengers on a Philippine ferry survived after it capsized in Illana Bay of Lanao del Norte.

40 years ago

On television tonight
The Paper Chase, on CBS
Tonight's episode: The Man in the Chair

World events
Pakistan’s Supreme Court upheld the death sentence of former Premier Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, convicted of complicity in a 1974 political murder.

30 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in Australia (Australian Music Report): Kokomo--The Beach Boys (7th week at #1)

#1 single in Spain (PROMUSICAE): Smooth Criminal--Michael Jackson (5th week at #1)

On the radio
Wes Montgomery did his first show as morning man on Edmonton radio station CFRN.

Died on this date
Barbara Tuchman, 76
. U.S. historian. Mrs. Tuchman won Pulitzer Prizes for her books The Guns of August (1962) and Stilwell and the American Experience in China, 1911–45 (1971). Her other books included The Zimmermann Telegram (1958); The Proud Tower (1966); A Distant Mirror (1978); and The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam (1984).

Chris Gueffroy, 20. German murder victim. Mr. Gueffroy was the last person to be shot while attempting to escape from East Berlin to West Berlin across the Berlin Wall. He was making the attempt with his friend Christian Gaudian, who was also shot, but survived and was arrested, convicted in May, and transferred to West Berlin in October.

Politics and government
The Round Table Talks started in Warsaw, as Poland's Communist government initiated discussion with the Solidarity trade union movement and other groups in an attempt to defuse growing social unrest.

General Andres Rodriguez, who had seized power and assumed the position of President of Paraguay on February 3 in a coup that had overthrown dictator Alfredo Stroessner, announced that presidential and congressional elections would be held on May 1. He also denied that he was involved in drug trafficking.

C. Boyden Gray, chief ethics adviser to U.S. President George Bush, said that he would resign as chairman of Summit Communications, which had paid him $225,000 in fees while he had worked as counsel to Mr. Bush from 1981-1988 during Mr. Bush's time as Vice-President of the United States. Mr. Gray also said he would put his assets in a blind trust.

Economics and finance
U.S. President George Bush proposed to close or sell off 350 savings and loan institutions that were in financial trouble. The projected cost of $50 billion would be covered by the issuance of government bonds, with the thrift industry paying the principal on the bonds, and the industry and taxpayers paying the interest on the bonds.

25 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in New Zealand: I Can See Clearly Now--Jimmy Cliff (4th week at #1)

#1 single in Austria (Ö3): U Got 2 Let the Music--Cappella

#1 single in Switzerland: All for Love--Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart and Sting

#1 single in the U.K. (Chart Information Network): Things Can Only Get Better--D: Ream (4th week at #1)

Died on this date
Joseph Cotten, 88
. U.S. actor. Mr. Cotten, a charter member of Orson Welles' Mercury Theatre company, appeared in movies such as Citizen Kane (1941); The Magnificent Ambersons (1942); Journey Into Fear (1943); Shadow of a Doubt (1943); Gaslight (1944); Since You Went Away (1944); Duel in the Sun (1946); Portrait of Jennie (1948); and The Third Man (1949).

Jack Kirby, 76. U.S. author and illustrator. Mr. Kirby, born Jacob Kurtzberg, was a major figure in the history of comic books. He was with Marvel Comics from 1958-1970, co creating such characters as The Fantastic Four, X-Men, and The Incredible Hulk. Mr. Kirby died of heart failure.

Ross Grimsley, 71. U.S. baseball pitcher. Ross Albert Grimsley II played with the Chicago White Sox in 1951, compiling a 0-0 record with an earned run average of 3.86 in 7 games. He won at least 116 games in 16 seasons in the minor leagues from 1946-1961. Mr. Grimsley was the third and last pitcher, after Mickey Lolich and David Reed, in a combined no-hit 4-3 loss for the Knoxville Smokies against the Asheville Tourists in the Class A South Atlantic League on June 4, 1961. His son Ross III pitched in the major leagues from 1971-1982.

United Nations Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali asked the North Atlantic Treaty Organization for authority to order air strikes against Serb artillery positions in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

20 years ago

Died on this date
Don Dunstan, 72
. Fijian-born Australian politician. Mr. Dunstan moved with his family to Australia at the age of 7. He experimented with various parties before settling on the South Australian Labour Party, representing Norwood in the S.A. Parliament from 1953-1979. He led the party from 1967-1979, serving as Premier from 1967-1968 and 1970-1979. Mr. Dunstan advocated typical socially liberal policies such as opposition to the death penalty and white-only immigration, and support for the decriminalization of sodomy. He resigned on February 15, 1979 because of ill health, dying of cancer nine days short of the 20th anniversary of his resignation.

A dispute over a contested border area in the Badme region led to the resumption of war between Ethiopia and Eritrea.

Peace talks opened near Paris between Serbians and ethnic Albanians from the province of Kosovo.

Politics and government
The Jordanian cabinet officially declared that King Hussein, seriously ill with cancer, was unable to govern, and, in accordance with his wishes, named his eldest son, Prince Abdullah, regent.

At the impeachment trial of U.S. President Bill Clinton, House of Representatives impeachment managers played excerpts from all three witnesses (former White House intern Monica Lewinsky, and White House advisers Vernon Jordan and Sidney Blumenthal) to the Senate, and Mr. Clinton’s lawyers played excerpts from what Miss Lewinsky and Mr. Jordan had said.

10 years ago

Died on this date
James Whitmore, 87
. U.S. actor. Mr. Whitmore appeared in numerous plays, television programs and movies, winning a Tony Award for Best Newcomer for Command Decision (1948) and an Emmy Award as Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for The Practice (1999). He was perhaps best known for portraying U.S. President Harry Truman in the one-man show Give 'em Hell, Harry! on stage; he was nominated for an Academy Award for starring in the film version (1975), and won a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album the same year for the same show. He had earlier been nominated for an Academy Award for his supporting performance in Battleground (1949). Mr. Whitmore died of lung cancer.

Philip Carey, 83. U.S. actor. Mr. Carey appeared in numerous movies and television programs, but was perhaps best known for playing Asa Buchanan in the soap opera One Life to Live (1979-2008). He died of lung cancer, just six days after the death of his One Life to Live co-star, Clint Ritchie.

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