Tuesday, 15 December 2020

December 15, 2020

Born on this date
Happy Birthday, Rahim Jaffer!

1,890 years ago

Born on this date
Lucius Verus
. Emperor of the Roman Empire, 161-169. Lucius Verus, born Lucius Ceionius Commodus, was the eldest son of Lucius Aelius Caesar, and adopted son and heir to Hadrian. After his biological father's death, Lucius Verus was adopted by Antoninus Pius, and with his adoptive brother Marcus Aurelius, acceded to the throne as Emperor upon the death of Antoninus Pius. Lucius Verus' reign was mainly taken up by the Roman-Parthian War, which ended in a Roman victory. He fell ill--perhaps with smallpox--and died on January 23, 169 at the age of 38.

750 years ago

The Nizari Ismaili garrison of Gerdkuh castle in Persia surrendered to Mongol forces after 17 years of pressure.

210 years ago

Politics and government
U.S. President James Madison delivered his annual State of the Union message to Congress.

160 years ago

Born on this date
Niels Ryberg Finsen
. Faroese-Danish physician. Dr. Finsen was awarded the 1903 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine "[for] his contribution to the treatment of diseases, especially lupus vulgaris, with concentrated light radiation, whereby he has opened a new avenue for medical science." He long suffered from poor health, and died on September 24, 1904 at the age of 43.

Abner Powell. U.S. baseball pitcher. Mr. Powell pitched for the Washington Nationals of the Union Association in 1884 and the Baltimore Orioles of the National League and Cincinnati Red Stockings of the American Association in 1886, compiling a record of 8-18. He's been credited with devising several of the game's most notable innovations: a tarpaulin to cover the infield during a rain delay; the Ladies Day promotion; and the rain check given to fans for admission to a subsequent game if the scheduled game was rained out. Mr. Powell died on August 7, 1953 at the age of 92.

130 years ago

Born on this date
Harry Babcock
. U.S. pole vaulter. Mr. Babcock was a long jumper before switching to pole vault. He won a gold medal at the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm, setting an Olympic record of 3.95 metres. Mr. Babcock died on June 5, 1965 at the age of 74.

Died on this date
Sitting Bull, 59
. U.S. Indian chief. Sitting Bull, chief of the Sioux, led his warriors to victory over the U.S. Army forces of General George Custer at Little Big Horn in 1876. He was killed by Indian police on a charge of resisting arrest.

125 years ago

The Nakusp and Slocan Railway opened to Sandon, British Columbia.

110 years ago

Born on this date
John Hammond
. U.S. record producer. Mr. Hammond was a producer and talent scout with Columbia Records for many years, and was responsible for signing artists such as Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, and Bruce Springsteen to the label. He promoted the work of numerous Negro artists, and died on July 10, 1987 at the age of 76.

100 years ago

The Canadian cabinet of Prime Minister Arthur Meighen passed an Order-in-Council requiring immigrants to Canada to have the sum of $250, $125 for every member of the family over eighteen, and $50 for each child.

90 years ago

On the radio

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, starring Richard Gordon and Leigh Lovell, on NBC
Tonight’s episode: The Crooked Man

Politics and government
George Henry was sworn in as Premier of Ontario, succeeding Howard Ferguson as head of the province's Conservative government.

80 years ago

On the radio
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce, on NBC
Tonight’s episode: The Naval Treaty

French Governor-General of Indochina Vice Admiral Jean Decoux stressed his desire for peace by saying he was ready "at any moment" to open negotiations with Thailand.

James G. McDonald, chairman of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt's advisory committee on refugees, predicted that an Arab-Jewish federation would be formed in Palestine for mutual defense against Germany and Italy.

A Southern Regional Conference meeting in Southern Pines, North Carolina declared that the United States faced an unimaginable crisis, and called upon the President and Congress for mobilization of all necessary resources and all-out aid to the United Kingdom.

Byron Nelson won the Miami Open with a 9-under-par total of 271.

75 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in the U.S.A. (Billboard): Chickery Chick--Sammy Kaye and his "Swing and Sway" Orchestra with Nancy Norman, Billy Williams and the Kaye Choir (Best Seller--2nd week at #1; Airplay--4th week at #1; Juke Box--1st week at #1); It's Been a Long, Long Time--Harry James and His Orchestra with Kitty Kallen; Bing Crosby with Les Paul and his Trio (Honor Roll of Hits--5th week at #1)

Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers in Japan General Douglas MacArthur issued the Shinto Directive, abolishing state support for the Shinto religion, including teaching Shinto in state schools.

U.S. President Harry Truman barred U.S. military intervention in Chinese internal strife and urged an end to hostilities between Nationalists and Communists and a national conference of major political elements to bring about "the unification of China." He sent General George Marshall to China in an effort to bring Nationalists and Communists together in a viable government.

Abel Hermant, 83, a member of the French Academy, was sentenced in Paris to life imprisonment for collaboration with the Nazis. Count Fidel Palfy, Minister of Agriculture in the government of Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Szálasi from 1944-1945, was sentenced to death as a war criminal.

The United Nations Preparatory Commission voted 80-14 to establish UN headquarters in the United States.

A U.S. District Court in Trenton, New Jersey fined a group of drug and chemical companies and executives $52,000 for violating the Sherman Antitrust Act.

70 years ago

On the radio
Hear it Now, hosted by Edward R. Murrow, on CBS

This was the first broadcast of the news program.

Died on this date
Vallabhbhai Patel, 75
. Indian politician. Sardar Patel was a longtime leader in the movement for Indian independence from British rule, and was mainly responsible for the integration of the princely states into a united India. He was a major figure in the Indian National Congress Party, serving as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Home Affairs from independence in 1947 until his death from a heart attack after several months of illness.

U.S. President Harry Truman delivered a nationally-broadcast address on the Korean War and tensions with the Soviet Union.

The East German Parliament gave final approval to a new law imposing the death penalty on any German who advocated rearmament.

Politics and government
Anglo-Egyptian Sudan's Legislative Assembly voted to ask Britain and Egypt for self-government in 1951. Both countries opposed the move.

Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution charging that Secretary of State Dean Acheson had "lost the confidence of the Congress and the American people," and demanded his resignation.

U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy (Republican--Wisconsin) charged in a Senate speech that columnist Drew Pearson was a "Moscow-directed character assassin" who spoke for "international Communism." Mr. Pearson asked Sen. McCarthy to repeat his remarks outside the Senate so he could sue him.

U.S. President Truman, "as commander-in-chief" of the nation's government-owned railroads, called on striking switchmen "to return immediately to your post of duty." The 10,000 strikers obeyed and ended their three-day walkout.

60 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in the U.K. (Record Retailer): It's Now or Never--Elvis Presley (7th week at #1)

On television tonight
The Untouchables, starring Robert Stack, on ABC
Tonight's episode: The Larry Fay Story

At the movies
Exodus, directed by Otto Preminger, and starring Paul Newman, Eva Marie Saint, and many others, received its premiere screening at the Warner Theatre in New York City.

Pioneer P-31, intended to be a U.S. lunar orbiter probe, was launched atop an Atlas rocket with a Thor-Able third stage from Cape Canaveral, Florida, but telemetry in the Atlas failed 73 seconds after launch, and the rocket and payload fell into the Atlantic Ocean, 12-20 miles from Cape Canaveral.

The $30-million International Air Terminal opened at Montréal's Dorval Airport.

50 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in Sweden (Kvällstoppen): Cracklin' Rosie--Neil Diamond (2nd week at #1)

#1 single in Switzerland (Swiss Hitparade): San Bernadino--Christie (2nd week at #1)

Austria's Top 10 (Ö3)
1 Abraham (Das Lied vom Trödler)--Wolfgang
2 Lookin' Out My Back Door--Creedence Clearwater Revival
3 A Song of Joy--Miguel Rios
4 Lola--The Kinks
5 Me and My Life--The Tremeloes
6 Yoyo--Chris Andrews
7 Deine Einsamkeit--Udo Jürgens
8 Paranoid--Black Sabbath
9 San Bernadino--Christie
10 Oh, wann kommst du?--Daliah Lavi

Singles entering the chart were Hier ist ein Mensch by Peter Alexander (#11); Black Night by Deep Purple (#12); Da Mensch is a Sau by the Worried Men Skiffle Group (#13); Future Blues by Canned Heat (#14); Let's Go to the Moon by the Equals (#16); Du bist anders by Peter Maffay (#17); Ich bin verliebt in die Liebe by Chris Roberts (#18); Joey the Lipstick Collector by the Wall Street Diversion (#19); and Julia by Die Flippers (#20).

The Soviet spacecraft Venera 7 touched down on the surface of Venus, making the first successful landing on another planet. It had been launched on August 17, 1970.

World events
A secret trial of 11 people--9 of them Jews--charged with a plot to hijack a plane to escape the Soviet Union and escape to Israel began in Leningrad. Two of the Jews were found guilty of conspiracy to flee abroad and were sentenced to death, while stiff prison sentences were handed to the other 9. The severe penalties, which aroused protests and appeals for clemency around the world, were seen as a move by the Soviet regime to deflate a drive by the U.S.S.R.’s Jews for freedom to emigrate to Israel.

Rioting over sudden and sharp increases in food prices in Poland began in Gdansk and other cities.

308 people were killed when a South Korean ferry sank in Korea Strait.

40 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in Australia (Kent Music Report): Shaddap You Face--Joe Dolce Music Theatre (4th week at #1)

#1 single in Japan (Oricon Singles Chart): Koibito yo--Mayumi Itsuwa (3rd week at #1)

#1 single in Spain (PROMUSICAE): Woman in Love--Barbra Streisand (2nd week at #1)

#1 single in West Germany (Media Control): Woman in Love--Barbra Streisand (2nd week at #1)

Austria's Top 10 (Ö3)
1 Master Blaster (Jammin')--Stevie Wonder
2 Woman in Love--Barbra Streisand
3 Santa Maria--Oliver Onions
4 What You're Proposing--Status Quo
5 Santa Maria--Roland Kaiser
6 Super Trouper--ABBA
7 Some Broken Hearts Never Mend--Telly Savalas
8 Feels Like I'm in Love--Kelly Marie
9 Another One Bites the Dust--Queen
10 Dreamin'--Cliff Richard

Singles entering the chart were Super Trouper; The Tide is High by Blondie (#11); and Angel of Mine by Frank Duval & Orchestra (#14).

Died on this date
Peter Gregg, 40
. U.S. auto racing driver. Mr. Gregg was a U.S. Navy intelligence officer before making his name as a sports car driver, recording numerous victories from the late 1960s through the '70s. He won the 24 Hours of Daytona four times from 1973-1978. Mr. Gregg reportedly suffered from manic-depression, and committed suicide.

Politics and government
The People's National Congress, led by Forbes Burnham, took 41 of 53 seats in the National Assembly in the Guyanese general election, but his opponents charged that there had been electoral fraud. The People's Progressive Party, led by Cheddi Jagan, was second, with 10 seats. Mr. Burnham, who had been Prime Minister since 1964, was elected Executive President as a result of a change in the constitution.

30 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in Australia (Australian Music Report): Unchained Melody--The Righteous Brothers (4th week at #1)

#1 single in Italy (FIMI): I've Been Thinking About You--Londonbeat (2nd week at #1)

#1 single in Spain (PROMUSICAE): I've Been Thinking About You--Londonbeat (2nd week at #1)

#1 single in Flanders (Ultratop 50): Show Me Heaven--Maria McKee (3rd week at #1)

#1 single in France (SNEP): Une femme avec une femme--Mecano (6th week at #1)

#1 single in the U.K. (CIN): Ice Ice Baby--Vanilla Ice (3rd week at #1)

Netherlands Top 10 (De Nederlandse Top 40)
1 Sadeness Part I--Enigma
2 Ice Ice Baby--Vanilla Ice
3 Unchained Melody--The Righteous Brothers
4 It Takes Two--Rod Stewart & Tina Turner
5 I'll Be Your Baby Tonight--Robert Palmer and UB40
6 The Anniversary Waltz--Status Quo
7 Pray--MC Hammer
8 Unbelievable--EMF
9 Show Me Heaven--Maria McKee
10 It's a Shame (My Sister)--Monie Love featuring True Image

Singles entering the chart were Mary Had a Little Boy by Snap! (#24); Domino by Clouseau (#25); Do You Remember? by Phil Collins (#30); Disappear by INXS (#32); and Let's Try it Again by New Kids on the Block (#33).

U.S.A. Top 10 (Billboard)
1 Because I Love You (The Postman Song)--Stevie B (2nd week at #1)
2 From a Distance--Bette Midler
3 I'm Your Baby Tonight--Whitney Houston
4 Justify My Love--Madonna
5 Impulsive--Wilson Phillips
6 The Way You Do the Things You Do--UB40
7 Tom's Diner--DNA featuring Suzanne Vega
8 Something to Believe In--Poison
9 Freedom--George Michael
10 High Enough--Damn Yankees

Singles entering the chart were Use it Up and Wear it Out by Pat & Mick (#86); Get Here by Oleta Adams (#89); The Swalk by Notorious (#90); Deeper Shade of Soul by Urban Dance Squad (#93); Melt in Your Mouth by Candyman (#95); and The Obvious Child by Paul Simon (#96).

U.S.A. Top 10 (Cash Box)
1 Because I Love You (The Postman Song)--Stevie B
2 From a Distance--Bette Midler
3 I’m Your Baby Tonight--Whitney Houston
4 The Way You Do the Things You Do--UB40
5 Impulsive--Wilson Phillips
6 Justify My Love--Madonna
7 Tom’s Diner--D.N.A. featuring Suzanne Vega
8 High Enough--Damn Yankees
9 Freedom--George Michael
10 Love Takes Time--Mariah Carey

Singles entering the chart were Round and Round by Tevin Campbell (#67); This is Ponderous by 2nu (#72); Just a Little Bit Longer by Maxi Priest (#74); I Don't Know Anybody Else by Black Box (#79); Give it to Me Good by Trixter (#81); Remember My Name by House of Lords (#84); Get Here by Oleta Adams (#85); The Obvious Child by Paul Simon (#87); Show Me the Way by Styx (#90); and Spend My Life by Slaughter (#91).

Canada's Top 10 (RPM)
1 More than Words Can Say--Alias (4th week at #1)
2 Impulsive--Wilson Phillips
3 Something to Believe In--Poison
4 I’m Your Baby Tonight--Whitney Houston
5 Stranded--Heart
6 Love Takes Time--Mariah Carey
7 So Close--Daryl Hall John Oates
8 Miracle--Jon Bon Jovi
9 From a Distance--Bette Midler
10 One and Only Man--Steve Winwood

Singles entering the chart were Moneytalks by AC/DC (#66); Good to the Last Drop by Helix (#70); My Head's in Mississippi by ZZ Top (#79); You Taught Me Well by Rita MacNeil (#91); Night and Day by U2 (#95); Show Me the Way by Styx (#96); Over and Over by Neil Young and Crazy Horse (#98); and I Saw Red by Warrant (#99).

World events
Eight days of violence between Hindus and Muslims in India concluded with about 300 dead, the worst such violence since the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947. The viloence had begun on December 7 in Aligarh, a city near Ayodhya, where Hindu fundamentalists wanted to tear down a mosque and build a temple to the god Rama, whom they believed was born on the site.

A rancher and his son were convicted in the murder of Chico Mendes, a defender of the Amazon rain forest in Brazil. Mr. Mendes, a leader of the rubber tappers--men who collect latex from trees--had resisted the burning and cutting of the forest by ranchers, and had gained international recognition as an environmental champion before being shot to death in 1988. Mr. Mendes was the subject of the made-for-television movie The Burning Season (1994).

25 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in Sweden (Topplistan): Gangsta's Paradise--Coolio feauring L.V. (8th week at #1)

#1 single in Ireland (IRMA): Father and Son--Boyzone (3rd week at #1)

The International Committee of the Red Cross announced that it had suspended all activity in Burundi because of increasing danger to personnel in the country.

Arturo Gatti (24-1) won the International Boxing Federation world super featherweight title with a 12-round unanimous decision over defending champion Tracy Harris Patterson (54-4-1) at Madison Square Garden in New York.

20 years ago

The Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine, site of the world’s most serious nuclear accident in 1986, was officialy decommissioned by President Leonid Kuchma.

Outgoing U.S. First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton received an $8-million advance after reaching an agreement with Simon & Schuster to write a memoir of her years in the White House.

Dave Hilton, Jr. (40-2-2) won the World Boxing Council super middleweight title with a 12-round split decision over defending champion Dingaan Thobela (40-8-2) before 10,000 fans at Molson Centre in Montreal. Mr. Hilton was stripped of the title shortly thereafter when he was charged, and eventually convicted of molesting his daughters. He had just one more fight.

10 years ago

Died on this date
Bob Feller, 92
. U.S. baseball pitcher. "Rapid Robert" played with the Cleveland Indians (1936-1941, 1945-1956), compiling a record of 266-162 with an earned run average of 3.25 in 570 games. He led the American League in wins six times and in strikeouts seven times, and was regarded as the best pitcher of his era. Mr. Feller served in the U.S. Navy during World War II; had his career not been interrupted by the war, he would have finished with well over 300 wins. He was the first president of the Major League Baseball Players Association in 1956, and was one of the shrewdest players when it came to finances. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962, his first year of eligibility.

Blake Edwards, 88. U.S. director, and screenwriter. Mr. Edwards, born William Blake Crump, created and wrote the radio (1949-1953) and television (1957-1960) series Richard Diamond, Private Detective, but was best known for writing and directing comedy movies such as the Pink Panther series; The Party (1968); 10 (1979); and Victor/Victoria (1982). He also had success with the occasional dramatic film, such as Experiment in Terror (1962) and The Days of Wine and Roses (1962), and received an Honorary Academy Award in 2004 for his body of work. Mr. Edwards married actress and singer Julie Andrews in 1969, and they remained married until his death from pneumonia.

The United Nations Security Council gave a unanimous vote of confidence to the government of Iraq by lifting 19-year-old sanctions on weapons and civilian nuclear power.

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