Friday, 18 December 2020

December 18, 2020

730 years ago

Died on this date
Magnus III, 50 (?)
. King of Sweden, 1275-1290. Magnus III acceded to the throne by deposing his older brother Valdemar after the Battle of Hova, but Valdemar was able to regain provinces in Gothenland in the southern part of the kingdom by 1277. Magnus III was succeeded on the throne by his son Birger.

160 years ago

Born on this date
Edward MacDowell
. U.S. composer. Mr. MacDowell is best known for his second piano concerto and the piano suites Woodland Sketches (1896), Sea Pieces (1898), and New England Idylls (1902). In 1896 he was considered America's finest composer, but his reputation began to wane around World War I, perhaps as a result of the instant American dislike for all things German (Mr. MacDowell had spent some time in Germany, and was heavily influenced by German romanticism). Mr. MacDowell was chairman of the music department at Columbia University for a number of years, but left after a dispute with university president Nicholas Murray Butler over the importance of fine arts as an educational requirement. Mr. MacDowell and his wife then settled in Peterborough, New Hampshire, where they established an artists' colony. Mr. MacDowell died on January 23, 1908 at the age of 47 of a progressive degenerative nervous disease, which some in recent times have postulated to be bromide poisoning. His wife continued to operate the colony, and the MacDowell Colony continues to this day; its alumni include composer Aaron Copland and writer Thornton Wilder.

Politics and government
Canada East voted to abolish the seigneurial system and feudal rights over land in the province. Chief Justice Sir Louis-Hippolyte La Fontaine presided over the court of indemnification, and $10 million was paid out of the Municipal Load Fund to buy out these rights.

150 years ago

Born on this date
. U.K. author. Saki was the pen name of Hector H. Munro, who was a journalist under his real name before switching to fiction, achieving fame under his pseudonym with numerous short stories satirizing Edwardian society and culture. He served with the Royal Fusiliers in Wold War I, and was killed by a German sniper on November 14, 1916 at the age of 45.

130 years ago

Born on this date
Howard Armstrong
. U.S. radio engineer. Mr. Armstrong was one of the greatest pioneers of radio; he held 42 patents and was best known as the inventor of frequency modulation (FM) radio. Years of litigation battles with his former employer, the Radio Corporation of America (RCA), broke his spirit, and he committed suicide on January 31, 1954 at the age of 63 by jumping out the window of his 13th-floor New York apartment. His wife Marion eventually won all of his legal battles.

E.W. Sansom. Canadian military officer. Lieutenant-General Ernest William Sansom, a native of Stanley, New Brunswick, served in both world wars. He was Director of Military Training at the start of World War II, and was the third-ranking commander of Canadian troops in Europe by 1944 before being sent home for medical reasons. Lt.-General Sansom died in Fredericton on October 18, 1982 at the age of 91.

120 years ago

The Upper Ferntree Gully--Gembrook narrow-gauge railway (now the Puffing Billy Railway) in Victoria, Australia was opened for traffic.

110 years ago

Born on this date
Abe Burrows
. U.S. author and playwright. Mr. Burrows, born Abraham Borowitz, co-created and wrote Duffy's Tavern and other radio comedy programs in the 1940s, and hosted The Abe Burrows Show (1947-1949). He then worked on Broadway shows, often as a "script doctor." Mr. Burrows shared a Tony Award for Best Author with Jack Weinstock and Willy Gilbert for How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1961). He died from Alzheimer's disease on May 17, 1985 at the age of 74.

100 years ago

Born on this date
Robert Leckie
. U.S. journalist and author. Mr. Leckie served with the U.S. Marine Corps in the Pacific theatre in World War II, and his service influenced his later work. He was a reporter with various newspapers after the war, and then wrote more than 40 books on American war history, with his best-known book being his first, Helmet for My Pillow (1957). Mr. Leckie died after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease on December 24, 2001, six days after his 81st birthday.

Canton (7-4-2) 39 @ Richmond 0

90 years ago

Primo Carnera (41-3) scored a technical knockout of Reggie Meen (26-14-2) in the 2nd round of a heavyweight bout before 10,000 fans at Royal Albert Hall in London.

80 years ago

Macleod air base at Fort Macleod, Alberta was officially opened for training British Commonwealth Air Training Program personnel. Canadian Munitions Minister C.D. Howe and 152 other survivors of the torpedoed liner Western Prince arrived safely in England. The British government reported that two Italian Army divisions and thousands of Blackshirt militiamen had been bottled up in Bardia, Libya. British warships sailed through the Strait of Otranto and bombarded Valona.

The U.S. government reported that President Franklin D. Roosevelt had advised British officials to go ahead with their plan to order about $3 million of additional war materiel without waiting for the completion of financial arrangements. U.S. Representative Everett Dirksen (Republican--Illinois) criticized Mr. Roosevelt's plan to lend guns and munitions to Britain as a "plain effort to circumvent" the Neutrality and Johnson Acts. Congress of Industrial Organizations President Philip Murray sent U.S. President Roosevelt a plan proposing the creation of a new National Defense Board, with industry-labour-government councils in every basic industry.

Ousted Vichy Vice Prime Minister Pierre Laval was reported to be in Paris with German Ambassador to Vichy France Otto Abetz.

Politics and government
U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt vetoed the Walter-Logan bill providing for court review of the rulings of government agencies, stating that the bill was "an invitation to endless...controversies at a moment when we can least afford" it. A motion in the House of Representatives to override the President's veto failed by a vote of 153-127.

The U.S. Agriculture Department reported that 1940 crop production was the largest for any year except 1937, due to favourable weather and increased farm labour and improvements.

Economics and finance
A Japanese delegation headed by Kenkichi Yoshizawa was reported en route to Batavia, Netherlands East Indies to seek an economic accord between the countries.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Jesse Jones announced the Export-Import Bank's approval of a $10-million credit to Peru to cover purchases in the United States.

75 years ago

The first total lunar eclipse since 1942 to be visible in North America occurred at 6:40 P.M. Mountain Standard Time.

The British House of Lords dismissed William "Lord Haw Haw" Joyce's appeal of his death sentence for treason for his radio broadcasts from Germany on behalf of the Nazis during World War II. 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, former U.S. Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles said that President Franklin D. Roosevelt had agreed with U.K. Prime Minister Winston Churchill on warning Japan in August 1941 against further aggression in hopes of gaining 30 days' time.

The U.S. State Department admitted that the decision to send British troops to Java was made by the Anglo-American combined chiefs of staff.

Politics and government
The Allied Council approved the new Austrian coaltion cabinet after Chancellor Leopold Figl dropped three members accused by the U.S.S.R. of having fascist connections.

The U.S. Ambassador to Mexico was ordered to investigate charges by a Mexican labour leader that certain American companies had smuggled arms to a rival union.

U.S. United Auto Workers rejected a Ford Motor Company offer of a 15c hourly wage increase in return for which the union would have to guarantee elimination of work stoppages; reduction in the number of union committeemen; and other concessions.

70 years ago

The 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, landed at Pusan as the first Canadian troops in Korea.

Ignoring West German and Soviet threats, NATO foreign and defense ministers, meeting in Brussels, approved a master plan for integration of their armed forces, including small German units.

A U.S. advisory committee on the draft recommended indefinite deferment for superior college students.

Politics and government
U.S. President Harry Truman asked Congress to revive two war powers which would allow him to create major defense agencies and to alter government contracts in favour of manufacturers faced with rising prices or hazardous work.

A strike by printers and compositors in Britain was settled in time for the country’s most popular magazine, Radio Times, and other publications, to publish Christmas editions.

First baseman-outfielder Tommy Henrich retired as a player with the New York Yankees and was signed by the team as a coach. "Old Reliable" batted .282 with 183 home runs and 795 runs batted in in 1,284 games from 1937-1942 and 1946-1950, hitting .262 with 4 homers and 8 RBIs in 21 games in four World Series. He was bothered by knee problems in 1950, hitting .272 with 6 homers and 34 RBIs in 73 games, and was left off the Yankees' roster in their 4-game World Series sweep of the Philadelphia Phillies.

60 years ago

World events
Laotian Prince Boun Oum, backed by General Phoumi Nosavan, proclaimed a rightist government in Vientiane, with Prince Boun Oum as Premier. The United States was quick to recognize the Boun Oum regime as the legal Laotian government, and resumed arms shipments to Laos, which had been stopped temporarily at the request of the previous neutralist regime of Premier Souvanna Phouma.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization Ministerial Council, meeting in Paris, issued a closing communiqué expressing "great interest" in the U.S. plan to commit to NATO five atomic submarines equipped with 80 Polaris missiles by the end of 1963, and instructed the permanent NATO representatives to study it.

Cleveland (8-3-1) 48 @ New York (6-4-2) 34
Philadelphia (10-2) @ Washington (1-9-2) 28
Chicago (5-6-1) 0 @ Detroit (7-5) 36
Pittsburgh (5-6-1) 7 @ St. Louis (6-5-1) 38
Baltimore (6-6) 10 @ San Francisco (7-5) 34

Buffalo (5-8-1) 7 @ Dallas (8-6) 24
Boston (5-9) 21 @ Houston (10-4) 37
New York (7-7) 43 @ Los Angeles (10-4) 50

50 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in New Zealand (RIANZ): Cracklin' Rosie--Neil Diamond (5th week at #1)

#1 single in Ireland (IRMA): If Those Lips Could Only Speak--Dermot Henry

South Africa's Top 10 (Springbok Radio)
1 Looky Looky--Giorgio
2 Cracklin' Rosie--Neil Diamond
3 Paranoid--Black Sabbath
4 Indiana Wants Me--R. Dean Taylor
5 Woodstock--Matthews Southern Comfort
6 Zanzibar--Wanda Arletti
7 Yo Yo--Chris Andrews
8 You Can Get it if You Really Want--Desmond Dekker
9 Cha-La-La, I Need You--Shuffles
10 Ruby Tuesday--Melanie

Singles entering the chart were Sacha by the Eric Smith Movement (#19); and I Hear You Knocking by Dave Edmunds (#20).

Vancouver's Top 10 (CKLG)
1 My Sweet Lord/Isn't it a Pity--George Harrison (2nd week at #1)
2 Be My Baby--Andy Kim
3 No Matter What--Badfinger
4 Knock Three Times--Dawn
5 One Less Bell to Answer--The 5th Dimension
6 He Ain't Heavy...He's My Brother--Neil Diamond
7 The Tears of a Clown--Smokey Robinson & the Miracles
8 Black Magic Woman--Santana
9 Domino--Van Morrison
10 Does Anybody Really Know What Time it Is?--Chicago

Singles entering the chart were Merry Christmas Darling by the Carpenters (#25); Your Song by Elton John (#26); Sing High--Sing Low by Anne Murray (#27); I Think it's Going to Rain Today by Tom Northcott (#29); and If You Could Read My Mind by Gordon Lightfoot (#30).

Vancouver's Top 10 (CKVN)
1 My Sweet Lord--George Harrison (2nd week at #1)
2 He Ain't Heavy...He's My Brother--Neil Diamond
3 No Matter What--Badfinger
4 Black Magic Woman--Santana
5 Does Anybody Really Know What Time it Is?--Chicago
6 Immigrant Song--Led Zeppelin
7 Domino--Van Morrison
8 Be My Baby--Andy Kim
9 Stoned Love--The Supremes
10 The Tears of a Clown--Smokey Robinson & the Miracles

Singles entering the chart were If You Could Read My Mind by Gordon Lightfoot (#22); Sing High--Sing Low by Anne Murray (#27); For the Good Times by Ray Price (#28); Mr. Guder/Merry Christmas Darling by the Carpenters (#29); and Born to Wander by Rare Earth (#30).

Edmonton's Top 10 (CJCA)
1 My Sweet Lord--George Harrison (2nd week at #1)
2 He Ain't Heavy...He's My Brother--Neil Diamond
3 Knock Three Times--Dawn
4 Gypsy Woman--Brian Hyland
5 I Think I Love You--The Partridge Family
6 Sing High--Sing Low--Anne Murray
7 No Matter What--Badfinger
8 Silver Moon--Michael Nesmith & the First National Band
9 You Don't Have to Say You Love Me--Elvis Presley
10 Fly Little White Dove, Fly--The Bells

On television tonight
The Interns, on CBS
Tonight's episode: Dancy

Eric Laneuville, who was a regular member of the cast of the medical drama series St. Elsewhere (1982-1988), appeared in this episode.

World events
Fred Eidlin, 24, a student from Rochester, New York, was sentenced to four years in prison in a one-day trial in Prague because he had once worked for Radio Free Europe. He had been held incommunicado since his arrest in july while a tourist in Prague.

15 were killed and 200 injured when fire swept through an automobile plant in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

40 years ago

The U.S. National Board of Review announced its awards for 1980. The winners included: Film: Ordinary People; Foreign Film: The Tin Drum; Director: Robert Redford (Ordinary People); Actor: Robert De Niro (Raging Bull); Actress: Sissy Spacek (Coal Miner's Daughter); Supporting Actor: Joe Pesci (Raging Bull); Supporting Actress: Eva Le Gallienne (Resurrection). The awards were presented on January 26, 1981.

World events
Seven inmates in Northern Ireland who had been on hunger strikes for about two months in opposition to British rule in Northern Ireland called off their strikes, as two of them were nearing starvation, although the British government had not acceded to their demands. The hunger strikers demanded to be treated as political prisoners instead of as the violent criminals they were.

Economics and finance
It was announced that Poland had begun its first meat rationing since World War II, and that the rationing would last until the end of the year. Each person would be limited to 1.1 pounds of prime meat, 1.8 pounds of smoked meat, and 3.3 pounds of lower quality meat until the beginning of 1981.

Montreal-based Provigo acquired 87 grocery stores from Dominion Stores for $100 million.

20 years ago

Died on this date
Joseph Zubin, 90
. Lithuanian-born U.S. psychologist. Dr. Zubin moved to the United States in 1900, and acquired a degree in chemistry before becoming an eductional psychologist and an authority in schizophrenia.

Anne Revere, 87. U.S. actress. Miss Revere won the Academy Award for her supporting performance in National Velvet (1944), and was nominated for Oscars for her supporting performances in The Song of Bernadette (1943) and Gentleman's Agreement (1947). She won a Tony Award for her starring performance in Toys in the Attic (1960).

Paul Tortelier, 76. French musician. Mr. Tortelier was a cellist who performed as a member of several orchestras and as a featured soloist in a career that spanned more than 50 years.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights Michael Williams announced a partial reversal of a policy he had announced six days earlier that the department would prohibit institutions receiving federal funds from awarding scholarships on the basis of race. Mr. Williams now said that he had been "politically naive" in his earlier announcement, and said that the department would allow colleges receiving federal money to give scholarships to minority students if the money came from private donors or from U.S. programs established to aid minority students.

Economics and finance
The U.S. Federal Reserve Board reduced its rate for loans to member institutions from 7% to 6.5%. This cut, an effort to stimulate the economy, was the first in the discount rate since 1986. Meanwhile, the United States Labor Department reported that consumer prices had risen 0.3% in November, and the Commerce Department reported that the merchandise trade deficit in October was $11.61 billion, the highest level since February 1988.

25 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in Spain (PROMUSICAE): I Don't Wanna Be a Star--Corona (2nd week at #1)

#1 single in Norway (VG-lista): Gangsta's Paradise--Coolio featuring L.V. (10th week at #1)

#1 single in Germany (Media Control): Earth Song--Michael Jackson (2nd week at #1)

Canada's Top 10 (RPM)
1 Hand in My Pocket--Alanis Morissette (3rd week at #1)
2 Name--Goo Goo Dolls
3 Blessed--Elton John
4 Breakfast at Tiffany's--Deep Blue Something
5 Fantasy--Mariah Carey
6 Back for Good--Take That
7 I Wish You Well--Tom Cochrane
8 Your Little Secret--Melissa Etheridge
9 Runaway--Janet Jackson
10 Exhale (Shoop Shoop)--Whitney Houston

No new singles entered the chart.

Died on this date
Konrad Zuse, 85
. German computer scientist and engineer. Mr. Zuse invented the Z3 computer, the world's first working programmable, fully automatic digital computer, in 1941. He died of heart failure.

Ross Thomas, 69. U.S. author. Mr. Thomas was an author of crime fiction who wrote 25 novels, five under the pseudonym Oliver Bleeck about professional go-between Philip St. Ives. He died of lung cancer.

Auto racing
In a power struggle with Indianapolis Motor Speedway, car owners who hired the drivers to race there announced that they would stage the United States 500 in Michigan opposite the Indy 500 the following May.

20 years ago

Died on this date
Randolph Hearst, 85
. U.S. businessman. Mr. Hearst was the fourth and last surviving son of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, and joined the Hearst Corporation in 1938. He was active in management of the San Francisco Examiner, and was chairman of the board of directors of the Hearst Corporation from 1973-1996. Mr. Hearst's daughter Patricia was the victim of a much-publicized kidnapping in 1974. He died 16 days after his 85th birthday.

Stan Fox, 48. U.S. auto racing driver. Mr. Fox, whose real name was Stan Fuchs, participated in 10 Indianapolis 500s (1984, 1987-1995), with a best finish of 7th in 1987. He suffered serious head injuries in a crash on the first lap of the 1995 Indianapolis 500, putting him into a coma for five days and ending his career. Mr. Fox was killed in a head-on crash with a truck and trailer on a highway in New Zealand.

Kirsty MacColl, 41. U.K. singer and songwriter. Miss MacColl, the daughter of folk singer Ewan MacColl, wrote songs that were recorded by various artists. She was best known for the song They Don't Know, which she recorded and released in 1979. It failed to become a hit for her, but was a hit for Tracey Ullman in Britain in 1983 and internationally in 1984. Miss MacColl was diving at a reef while on vacation in Mexico when she was fatally struck by a powerboat travelling at high speed in an area that was supposed to be off-limits to powerboats. The boat was controled by Mexican grocery store magnate Guillermo González Nova, but boathand José Cen Yam claimed to have been at the controls and was convicted of culpaple homicide, but paid a fine and restitution in lieu of a prison sentence. Eyewitnesses denied that Mr. Cen Yam was at the controls.

Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien in Ottawa; they signed an agreement supporting existing nuclear arms accords, but Mr. Chrétien did not join Mr. Putin's opposition to a U.S. missile defense plan.

Politics and government
Texas Governor and Republican Party presidential candidate George W. Bush received 271 votes in the Electoral College balloting, one more than required to give him the majority necessary for him to become the next President of the United States. The Electoral College voting had been delayed because of a court battle over disputed votes in Florida, whose final count would determine the winner of the election. Vice President and Democratic Party candidate Al Gore, who had conceded the election on December 13, received 266 votes. One elector in the District of Columbia abstained from voting in protest at the District not having a voting representative in Congress; the other two D.C. electoral votes went to Mr. Gore.

10 years ago

Died on this date
Phil Cavarretta, 94
. U.S. baseball player and manager. Mr. Cavarretta was a first baseman and outfielder with the Chicago Cubs (1934-1953) and Chicago White Sox (1954-1955), batting .293 with 95 home runs and 920 runs batted in in 2,030 games. He led the National League in 1945 with a .355 batting average and .449 on base percentage, and was named the National League's Most Valuable Player as the Cubs won their most recent NL pennant. Mr. Cavarretta managed the Cubs from 1951-1953, compiling a record of 169-213. He became the first major league manager to be fired during spring training when he told a writer in 1954 that he didn't expect the Cubs to finish higher than fifth in the eight-team league; he was replaced by Stan Hack, to led the Cubs to their second straight seventh-place finish.

James Pickles, 85. U.K. judge and journalist. Mr. Pickles was a circuit court judge who was known for controversial sentences and press statements. He later became a columnist for The Sun and the Daily Sport, wrote several books, and numerous plays, some of which were performed on radio.

Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa, 70. Italian banker and politician. Mr. Padoa-Schioppa joined the Bank of Italy in 1968, and was its Vice-Director General from 1984-1997. He joined the Washington-based Group of Thirty in 1980 and held other influential positions, and was a founding father of the European single currency. Mr. Padoa-Schioppa was Minister of Economy and Finances in the cabinet of Prime Minister Romano Prodi (2006-2008). He died after suffering a fatal heart attack during a dinner he had organized in Rome.

The U.S. Senate vote 65-31 in favour of repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the Clinton-era military policy that forbade sodomites and lesbians and from serving in the military.

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