Tuesday, 22 December 2020

December 22, 2020

Born on this date
Happy Birthday, Elena!

925 years ago

Born on this date
Ruggero II
. King of Sicily, 1130-1154. Ruggero II, the son of Ruggero I, Count of Sicily, succeeded his older brother Simone as Count of Sicily in 1105, and was made King as a reward for supporting Antipope Anacletus II in his successful power struggle with Innocent II. King Ruggero had to deal with internal rebellions and invasion from imperial forces, but succeeded in becoming one of the strongest kings in Europe. He died on February 26, 1154 at the age of 58, and was succeeded by his son Guglielmo I.

720 years ago

Born on this date
Khutughtu Khan
. Khagan (Emperor) of the Mongolian Empire, 1329. Khutughtu Khan, born Kusala, was a son of Külüg Khan, and was crowned on February 27, 1329; his younger brother Jayaatu Khan abdicated on April 3. Khutughtu Khan took ill and died on September 30, 1329 at the age of 28, four days after a banquet with his brother, and possibly the result of poisoning. Jayaatu Khan resumed the throne upon his older brother's death.

230 years ago

The Turkish fortress of Izmail was stormed and captured by General Aleksandr Suvorov and his Russian armies.

170 years ago

Born on this date
Mary Dobie
. U.K.-born artist. Miss Dobie travelled to the south seas and moved to New Zealand in 1878, painting scenes of her travels. On November 25, 1880, she was confronted in Opunake by a local Maori named Tuhiata, and thought he was going to rob her. When she threatened to report him to the English authorities, he stabbed her in the throat, 27 days before her 30th birthday. Tuhiata was hanged for the murder on December 29, 1880.

Victoriano Huerta. 35th President of Mexico, 1913-1914. General Huerta served under President Francisco Madero during the early stages of the Mexican Revolution, but seized power in a coup in February 1913. The new regime failed to secure foreign support, and Gen. Huerta resigned in July 1914 and fled to Spain. He was arrested in 1915 while attempting to intrigue with German spies in the United States, and died in El Paso, Texas on January 13, 1916 at the age of 65, while in U.S. custody. Gen. Huerta remains largely vilified in Mexico.

150 years ago

Died on this date
Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, 34
. Spanish writer. Mr. Bécquer, whose real name was Gustavo Adolfo Claudio Domínguez Bastida, was a Romanticist poet, author (mainly of short stories), playwright, and literary columnist, most of whose works were published posthumously. He was the younger brother of artist Valeriano Bécquer, who died of a liver ailment on September 23, 1870 at the age of 36. Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer suffered from poor health, and his brother's death sent him into a deep depression and probably hastened his death, which may also have been from a liver ailment.

140 years ago

Died on this date
George Eliot, 61
. U.K. writer. Miss Eliot, born Mary Anne Evans, wrote fiction, journalism, and poetry, but was best known for her seven novels, including Adam Bede (1859); Silas Marner (1861); and the eight-volume Middlemarch (1871-1872). She used a male pseudonym for her fiction an apparent attempt to avoid stereotyping of fiction written by women. Miss Eliot suffered from kidney disease for years before her death from a throat infection, a month after her 61st birthday.

130 years ago

The Cornwallis Valley Railway began operation between Kentville and Kingsport, Nova Scotia.

120 years ago

Born on this date
Alan Bush
. U.K. composer. Mr. Bush wrote four symphonies, and numerous chamber, piano, choral, and piano works, as well as compositions for stage and screen. He was a member of the Labour Party before joining the Communist Party in 1935, and used his music to promote Marxism and Communism, resulting in his works being banned for many years. Mr. Bush died on October 31, 1995 at the age of 94.

100 years ago

Died on this date
Tom Bassoff
. Canadian criminal. Mr. Bassoff was hanged in Lethbridge, Alberta for the murder of Alberta Provincial Police Constable F.W.E. Bailey in Bellevue, Alberta on August 7, 1920.

Economics and finance
The GOELRO economic development plan was adopted by the 8th Congress of Soviets of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic.

80 years ago

On the radio
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, starring Richard Gordon and Leigh Lovell, on NBC
Tonight’s episode: The Noble Bachelor

80 years ago

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

The final half of this broadcast still exists, if the reader cares to search for it.

Died on this date
Nathanael West, 37
. U.S. author. Mr. West’s novels--The Dream Life of Balso Snell (1931); Miss Lonelyhearts (1933); A Cool Million (1934); and The Day of the Locust (1939)--reflected a cynical view of America. Mr. West’s last novel was influenced by several years he spent in Hollywood as a screenwriter; his screenplays included those for the films Five Came Back (1939) and Stranger on the Third Floor (1940). Mr. West--born Nathan Weistein--and his wife Eileen McKenney were driving back to Los Angeles from a hunting trip in Mexico to attend the funeral of F. Scott Fitzgerald, who had died the day before, when Mr. West ran a stop sign in El Centro, California, and the two were killed in the resulting accident.

Eileen McKenney, 26. U.S. literary figure. Miss McKenney was the sister of Ruth McKenney and was the inspiration for Ruth’s novel My Sister Eileen (1938). Eileen was married to Nathanael West, and the two were killed in a car accident in El Centro, California days before they were to fly to New York to attend the Broadway opening of the play My Sister Eileen.

The U.S. National Board of Review announced its awards for 1940. The winners included: Film: The Grapes of Wrath; Foreign Film: La femme du boulanger (The Baker's Wife).

The U.S. No Foreign War Committee published full-page advertisements in 50 newspapers appealing for public support. The 3rd Infantry Division of the Greek Army entered the Himarë region of Albania after defeating Italian forces, while the Greek government reported that three Italian divisions, numbering approximately 45,000 men, were being hemmed in aropund Tepelini and Kisura.

U.K. Foreign Secretary Lord Halifax was appointed by Prime Minister Winston Churchill as British Ambassador to the United States. A British goodwill mission left Uruguay after a week of the most enthusiastic demonstrations the Uruguayan public had ever accorded a foreign mission, according to a report from Montevideo.

Politics and government
Anthony Eden was appointed by British Prime Minister Churchill to succeed Lord Halifax as Foreign Secretary, while David Margesson was named War Secretary.

U.S. Congress of Industrial Organizations President Philip Murray urged affiliates and members to lobby against a "sabotage bill" and a "model state home guard bill," saying that the first would give local authorities the right to suppress strikes, and the second would exempt state guard units "from any civil responsibility for their acts by making them subject to military law only."

75 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in the U.S.A. (Billboard): It's Been a Long, Long Time--Harry James and His Orchestra with Kitty Kallen (Best Seller--3rd week at #1; Airplay--2nd week at #1); I Can't Begin to Tell You--Bing Crosby with Carmen Cavallaro (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--6th week at #1)

Died on this date
Arthur Korn, 75
. German-born physicist. Dr. Korn pioneered the specifically the transmission of photographs or telephotography--known as the Bildetelegraph, related to early attempts at developing a practical mechanical television system, and a forerunner of the modern fax machine.

World events
The Panamanian government of provisional President Enrique Adolfo Jiménez arrested former President Arnulfo Arias on charges of instigating a revolt in Colon.

The United Kingdom and United States recognized the new Yugoslavian Republic and the end of the 11-year reign of King Peter II.

U.S. Interior Secretary Harold Ickes proposed that Hawaii be granted statehood because of its excellent war record.

Ford Motor Company in the United States laid off 80,000 workers, while Packard Motors laid off 10,000 and Briggs Manufacturing Compnay laid off 2,000 because of parts shortages.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 335 new strikes in November, involving 405,000 workers and 6.1 million man-hours lost.

The U.S. War Department revealed the "static finder," a weather detector based on electronics which could detect a thunderstorm at a 2,000-mile range within two degrees of accuracy.

70 years ago

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

Abe Burrows interviewed Santa Claus on tonight's program.

Died on this date
Walter Damrosch, 88
. German-born U.S. conductor and composer. Mr. Damrosch, who moved to the United States with his parents at the age of 9, wrote several operas, but was best known as director of the New York Symphony Orchestra (1885-1928). He was also the National Broadcasting Company's music director, and hosted the radio network's Music Appreciation Hour (1928-1942), aimed at popularizing classical music.

U.S. Secretary of State Dean Acheson, reporting to congressional foreign affairs committees on the recent NATO conference in Brussels, said that Atlantic defense plans called for the creation of a three-million man army in three years to defend Western Europe against a possible Soviet attack. The West German government named former Generals Hans Speidel and Adolf von Heusinger to negotiate with the Western Allies on the use of West German troops in a Western European defense force.

The U.S. Army Signal Corps described three new devices (using photographs, film, and rock crystals) which measured the amount of radiation to which a victim of atomic contamination had been exposed.

The U.S. Federal Power Commission rejected a New York State plan to develop a power project on the St. Lawrence River, urging instead that the federal government start work on the St. Lawrence Seaway and Power Project.

Economics and finance
U.S. Economic Stabilization Director Alan Valentine froze auto industry wages until March 1, 1951, the first wage curb since World War II.

The Nationalist Chinese government in Taiwan reported "an unprecedented famine" in the central Chinese "rice belt" due to excessive requisitioning of food by the Communist government and the refusal of anti-Communist farmers to work.

60 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in the U.K. (Record Retailer): It's Now or Never--Elvis Presley (8th week at #1)

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

At the movies
The Great Impostor, directed by Robert Mulligan, and starring Tony Curtis, Edmond O'Brien, Arthur O'Connell, and Karl Malden, received its premiere screening in Milan.

The U.S. National Board of Review announced its awards for 1960. The winners included: Film: Sons and Lovers; Foreign Film: The World of Apu; Director: Jack Cardiff (Sons and Lovers); Actor: Robert Mitchum (The Sundowners, Home from the Hill); Actress: Greer Garson (Sunrise at Campobello); Supporting Actor: George Peppard (Home from the Hill); Supporting Actress: Shirley Jones (Elmer Gantry).

A U.S. State Department spokesman said that U.S. aid to Laos was "to enable the Royal Lao Army to maintain the integrity and independence of the country." He said that Soviet aid, in contrast, was to help pro-Communist elements overthrow the established government and destroy Laos’ independence.

Economics and finance
The Supreme Soviet adopted unanimously in Moscow a fiscal 1961 budget providing for a decrease in defense spending but a 15% increase in allocations to science. Estimated in the new rubles to go into effect on January 1 at the rate of 10 new rubles for one old ruble, the budget planned for revenues of 78.993 billion rubles and expenditures of 77.589 billion rubles. Figured at the new Soviet official rate of one ruble for US$1.11, this would be equivalent to revenues of about $87.7 billion and expenditures of about $86.2 billion.

Popular culture
The first aluminum Christmas trees went on sale in Canada.

A Philippine Air Lines plane crashed after takeoff from Manila, killing 28 of 37 aboard.

50 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in Sweden (Kvällstoppen): Cracklin' Rosie--Neil Diamond (3rd week at #1)

#1 single in Switzerland (Swiss Hitparade): San Bernadino--Christie (3rd week at #1)

Politics and government
Quebec's Ministry of Social Affairs officially came into being as a result of the merger of the Ministries of Family and Welfare, and Health, with Claude Castonguay as Minister of Social Affairs in the Liberal government of Premier Robert Bourassa.

40 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in Australia (Kent Music Report): Shaddap You Face--Joe Dolce Music Theatre (5th week at #1)

#1 single in Japan (Oricon Singles Chart): Sneaker Blues--Masahiko Kondō

#1 single in Spain (PROMUSICAE): Woman in Love--Barbra Streisand (3rd week at #1)

#1 single in West Germany (Media Control): Super Trouper--ABBA

Iraq claimed to have captured one-third of Iran’s oil-producing province of Khuzistan.

10 people had been killed and 21 wounded in clashes between Syrian troops and Christian militia forces in Zahle, Lebanon.

Politics and government
U.S. President-elect Ronald Reagan named five more nominees for his cabinet: James Watt--Secretary of the Interior; John Block--Secretary of Agriculture; Samuel Pierce, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development; James Edwards--Secretary of Energy; and Jeane Kirkpatrick--U.S. Representative to the United Nations.

Pittsburgh (9-7) 17 @ San Diego (11-5) 26

30 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in Australia (Australian Music Report): Unchained Melody--The Righteous Brothers (5th week at #1)

#1 single in Italy (FIMI): I've Been Thinking About You--Londonbeat (3rd week at #1)

#1 single in Spain (PROMUSICAE): I've Been Thinking About You--Londonbeat (3rd week at #1)

#1 single in Flanders (Ultratop 50): Show Me Heaven--Maria McKee (4th week at #1)

#1 single in France (SNEP): Une femme avec une femme--Mecano (7th week at #1)

#1 single in the U.K. (CIN): Ice Ice Baby--Vanilla Ice (4th week at #1)

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

Singles entering the chart were Maar Vanavond Heb Ik Hoofdpijn by Hanny (#28); To Love Somebody by Jimmy Somerville (#29); Christmas Without You by Kenny & Dolly (#30); Groovin' by UB40 (#32); Get Here by Oleta Adams (#34); The Greatest Gift of All by Grant & Forsyth (#35); Operaa House by Malcolm McLaren presents The World Famous Supreme Tram Show (#36); and Tick Tock by the Vaughan Brothers (#39). Kenny & Dolly were Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton.

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

Singles entering the chart were All the Man that I Need by Whitney Houston (#53); It Never Rains (In Southern California) by Tony! Toni! Tone! (#66); This is Ponderous by 2nu (#86); This House by Tracie Spencer (#89); One More Try by Timmy -T- (#92); and Spend My Life by Slaughter (#96).

U.S.A. top 10 (Cash Box)
1 Because I Love You (The Postman Song)--Stevie B (2nd week at #1)
2 Justify My Love--Madonna
3 From a Distance--Bette Midler
4 Impulsive--Wilson Phillips
5 Tom’s Diner--D.N.A. featuring Suzanne Vega
6 I’m Your Baby Tonight--Whitney Houston
7 Freedom--George Michael
8 High Enough--Damn Yankees
9 Love Will Never Do (Without You)--Janet Jackson
10 Sensitivity--Ralph Tresvant

Singles entering the chart were All the Man that I Need by Whitney Houston (#50); Here Comes the Hammer by M.C. Hammer (#68); Close to Me by the Cure (#71); Use it Up and Wear it Out by Pat & Mick (#74); Signs by Tesla (#76); Deeper Shade of Soul by Urban Dance Squad (#83); The Only One I Know by Charlatans UK (#85); Melt in Your Mouth by Candyman (#87); This House by Tracie Spencer (#90); and Power of Love by Deee-Lite (#95).

Canada's Top 10 (RPM)
1 Impulsive--Wilson Phillips
2 I’m Your Baby Tonight--Whitney Houston
3 Something to Believe In--Poison
4 More than Words Can Say--Alias
5 One and Only Man--Steve Winwood
6 Miracle--Jon Bon Jovi
7 Freedom--George Michael
8 So Close--Daryl Hall John Oates
9 From a Distance--Bette Midler
10 You Gotta Love Someone--Elton John

Singles entering the chart were I'm Not in Love by Will to Power (#60); House Full of Reasons by Jude Cole (#65); Shelter Me by Cinderella (#71); I Don't Love You Anymore by London Quireboys (#72); Do the Bartman by the Simpsons (#75); A Fishing Day by Roch Voisine (#83); Consequences by the Robert Cray Band (#84); The First Time by Surface (#87); and Just a Little Bit Longer by Maxi Priest (#90).

At the movies
Awakenings, starring Robert De Niro and Robin Williams, opened in theatres in limited release.

The Marshall Islands and Federated States of Micronesia achieved formal independence when the United Nations ended their status as trusteeships administered by the United States.

Politics and government
Lech Walesa, who had recently resigned as leader of the Solidarity trade union movement, was sworn in as President of Poland.

U.S.S.R. President Mikhail Gorbachev warned that "necessary measures" would be taken in Moldavia unless that republic met demands he had made.

25 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in Sweden (Topplistan): Gangsta's Paradise--Coolio feauring L.V. (9th week at #1)

#1 single in Ireland (IRMA): Father and Son--Boyzone (4th week at #1)

At the movies
Nixon, directed, co-produced, and co-written by Oliver Stone and starring Anthony Hopkins and Joan Allen, opened in theatres.

Died on this date
James Meade, 88
. U.K. economist. Professor Meade shared the 1977 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences with Bertil Ohlin of Sweden for their "pathbreaking contribution to the theory of international trade and international capital movements."

Butterfly McQueen, 84. U.S. actress. Thelma McQueen was best known for her supporting role as a maid in the movie Gone with the Wind (1939). She also played a maid in the radio (1945-1954) and television series (1950-1952) Beulah. Miss McQueen died 16 days before her 85th birthday; she was a professing atheist, but she isn't now.

Politics and government
Bloc Québecois founder Lucien Bouchard announced that he was a candidate for the leadership of the Parti Québecois. The leadership was open because of the recent resignation of Premier Jacques Parizeau.

20 years ago

Politics and government
U.S. President-elect George W. Bush named U.S. Senator John Ashcroft (Republican--Missouri), who had just been defeated for re-election, as his choice for Attorney General.

Canadian Alliance leader and former Alberta Treasurer Stockwell Day settled out of court with Red Deer lawyer Lorne Goddard over comments that Mr. Day had made about Mr. Goddard’s defense of a man accused of possession of child pornography. The settlement of the defamation suit came a day after the latest in a series of rulings against Mr. Day’s defense team. Most people are capable of understanding that a lawyer defending a client doesn’t necessarily agree with the views of the client, but Mr. Day didn’t understand that, and his poor judgement ended up costing the Alberta taxpayers $800,000.

10 years ago

Died on this date
Fred Foy, 89
. U.S. broadcaster. Mr. Foy was an announcer of radio and television programs and commercials for almost 50 years. He was best known as the announcer for the radio series The Lone Ranger (1948-1954), as well as the television series in syndication.

U.S. President Obama signed the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010, officially repealing the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" military policy, and allowing sodomites for the first time in history to serve openly in America's military.

The Supreme Court of Canada upheld the right of the provinces to regulate in-vitro fertilization, and also ruled that the federal government was within its rights in banning cloning and human hybrids.

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