Wednesday, 17 February 2021

February 17, 2021

650 years ago

Died on this date
Ivan Aleksandǎr
. Czar of Bulgaria, 1331-1371. Ivan Aleksandǎr, a nephew of Czar Michael Asen III, acceded to the throne as a result of a coup d'état that deposed Czar Ivan Stefan. Ivan Aleksandǎr dealt with internal problems and external threats posed by the Byzantine Empire and Serbia, and led the Second Bulgarian Empire into a period of economic recovery and cultural and religious renaissance, but in the later years of his reign, he divided Bulgaria between his sons Ivan Sracimir and Ivan Šišman, leaving the country weaker in the face of imminent Ottoman invasion.

400 years ago

Myles Standish was appointed as first military commander of the English Plymouth Colony in North America.

240 years ago

Born on this date
René Laennec
. French physician. Dr. Laennec was a flautist in addition to being a physician, and he used his skill at carving flutes to aid in his invention of the stethoscope in 1816. He also contributed to the understanding of peritonitis, cirrhosis, and tuberculosis, the latter of which caused his death at the age of 45 on August 13, 1826.

220 years ago

Politics and government
Thomas Jefferson was elected President of the United States on the 36th ballot in the House of Representatives.

200 years ago

Born on this date
Lola Montez
. U.K.-born dancer. Miss Montez, born Eliza Gilbert in Ireland, began using her stage name in 1843, and achieved success on stage in Europe. She arrived in Munich in 1846 and became the mistress of King Ludwig I of Bavaria, who made her Countess of Landsfeld in 1847. Miss Montez exercised considerable influence over King Ludwig until he was forced to abdicate in March 1848. She spent a brief time in Switzerland and then in London before moving to the United States in 1851. Miss Montez's theatrical career declined, and by 1857 she was delivering lectures on morality. She engaged in rescue work among women before tertiary effects of syphilis led to her death in Brooklyn, New York on January 17, 1861, a month before her 40th birthday. Miss Montez has been the subject of numerous works in popular culture.

180 years ago

Died on this date
Ferdinando Carulli, 71
. Italian composer. Mr. Carulli was a classical guitarist who composed more than 400 works for the instrument, including chamber works and several concertos. He died eight days after his 71st birthday.

150 years ago

The victorious Prussian Army paraded through Paris after the end of the Siege of Paris during the Franco-Prussian War.

125 years ago

Isabel, Lady Aberdeen, the wife of Governor General John Hamilton-Gordon, the Earl of Aberdeen, hosted, with help from Dr. John Bourinot, the clerk of the House of Commons and a prominent historian, the Grand Historical Ball – a Canadian history costume pageant in the Senate chamber of the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa. The 800 participants were costumed in period clothes, and ten courts of players depict the history of the Norsemen, Cabot, Cartier, and on to the United Empire Loyalists, performing dances appropriate to their set time period. Dancing and drinking continued until 5 A.M.

110 years ago

Glenn Curtiss landed his plane on the deck of the U.S. Navy battleship USS Pennsylvania in San Diego Bay and had lunch with the ship's captain and crew. His plane was lowered into the water afterward, and he departed. The Navy immediately ordered three of Mr. Curtiss's model "E" planes in what is regarded as the birth of U.S. naval aviation.

100 years ago

Born on this date
Duane Gish
. U.S. biochemist. Dr. Gish was an assistant professor at Cornell University Medical College for 18 years before joining the Upjohn Company in 1960. He became a Christian at an early age, and joined the faculty of San Diego Christian College in 1971 and the Institute for Creation Research in 1981. Dr. Gish was known for his numerous debates with evolutionists, although he was criticized for his debate methods. His books included Evolution: The Fossils Say No! (1972); Evolution: The Fossils Still Say No! (1995); and Teaching Creation Science in Public Schools (1995). Dr. Gish died on March 5, 2013, 16 days after his 92nd birthday.

80 years ago

Died on this date
Juvenal Viegas Silva
. Brazilian politician. Mr. Viegas, the leader of the Brazilian Communist Party, was killed by police in Porto Alegre while resisting arrest.

Bulgaria and Turkey signed a declaration of friendship and non-aggression.

U.S. Senator Alben Barkley (Democrat--Kentucky) began debate in the Senate on the Lend-Lease bill by saying that the only way to stop German Fuehrer Adolf Hitler was to defeat him.

Politics and government
The U.S. Supreme Court rejected Communist Party USA General Secretary Earl Browder's appeal of his four-year prison sentence and $2,000 fine for using a falsely-obtained passport.

Economics and finance
U.S. Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles rejected former U.S. President Herbert Hoover's multinational plan to feed three million people in Belgium, saying that it was Germany's obligation to feed the population she had conquered.

The American Federation of Teachers executive council urged that charters of teachers' locals in New York City and Philadelphia be revoked because of Communist influence.

Joe Louis (46-1) retained his world heavyweight title with a knockout of Gus Dorazio (51-10-1) at 1:30 of the 2nd round before 15,903 fans at Convention Hall in Philadelphia.

75 years ago

Died on this date
Dorothy Gibson, 56
. U.S.-born French actress. Miss Gibson, born Dorothy Brown, appeared in silent films in the 1910s. She survived the sinking of RMS Titanic in 1912, and starred in Saved from the Titanic (1912), the first movie about the disaster. Miss Gibson moved to France following the dissolution of her marriage in 1919, eventually becoming a Nazi sympathizer and alleged spy. She renounced her sympathies in 1944 and was imprisoned in Italy as an anti-Fascist agitator, but escaped and returned to Paris, where she died of a heart attack.

The Chinese government in Chungking reported the resumption of fighting between Nationalists and Communists in Manchuria.

Polish emigre army commander Wladyslaw Anders denied Soviet and Yugoslav charges that his troops were menacing the peace.

Adrian Pelt of the Netherlands was appointed assistant secretary of the United Nations in charge of conferences and services, while Arkady Sobolev of the U.S.S.R. was named to head the department of Security Council affairs.

Politics and government
Ismail Sidky Pasha formed a new Egyptian cabinet, composed of five liberals and seven independents.

Belgian parliamentary elections gave Socialists and Communists a majority in the Chamber of Deputies, and right-wing parties a majority in the Senate.

The 1945 Fawcett Award for "the greatest scientific contribution to the progress of aviation" was given to Fred E. Weick, designer of the Ercoupe "spinproof" plane.

70 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in Australia (Kent Music Report): Bewitched--Gordon Jenkins and his Orchestra; Doris Day (4th week at #1)

#1 single in the U.S.A. (Billboard): The Tennessee Waltz--Patti Page (Best Seller--8th week at #1; Disc Jockey--7th week at #1; Jukebox--7th week at #1)

U.S.A. Top 10 (Cash Box)
1 My Heart Cries for You--Guy Mitchell (2nd week at #1)
--Dinah Shore
--Vic Damone
--Jimmy Wakely
2 If--Perry Como
3 Be My Love--Mario Lanza
4 The Tennessee Waltz--Patti Page
--Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians
--Les Paul and Mary Ford
--Jo Stafford
5 You’re Just in Love--Perry Como
6 The Roving Kind--Guy Mitchell
--The Weavers
7 The Thing--Phil Harris
8 Harbor Lights--Sammy Kaye and his "Swing and Sway" Orchestra
--Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians
--Ray Anthony and his Orchestra
--Bing Crosby
9 Nevertheless (I’m in Love with You)--Paul Weston and his Orchestra
--The Mills Brothers
--Ralph Flanagan and his Orchestra
--Ray Anthony and his Orchestra
10 Thinking of You--Don Cherry
--Eddie Fisher

Singles entering the chart were Jet by Nat King Cole (#23); John and Marsha by Stan Freberg (#25); Would I Love You (Love You, Love You) by Patti Page (#31); and In Your Arms by Dinah Shore and Tony Martin (#32).

The 900-man 2nd Battalion of Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry arrived at the front as a component of the 27th British Commonwealth Brigade of the IX Corps in the 8th U.S. Army, becoming the first Canadian infantry unit to see combat in the Korean War.

In a reply to U.S.S.R. charges of treaty violation, the United Kingdom presented its rearmament effort as a legitimate response to the presence of vastly superior Soviet forces in Europe, designed to "undermine the independence of the free nations of West Europe."

Economics and finance
A U.S. Senate investigating subcommittee that had scrutinized United Nations operations since 1948 issued a report warning that the organization and its specialized agencies were spending themselves into deep trouble. It urged stringent budget control over outgoing programs to alleviate the threat to the UN's financial structure.

The U.S. National Production Authority ordered an extension of existing rubber controls, banning white sidewall tires and placing limitations on the style and colour of many industrial rubber goods.

60 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in the U.K. (New Musical Express): Are You Lonesome To-night?--Elvis Presley (4th week at #1)

Died on this date
Nita Naldi, 66
. U.S. actress. Miss Naldi, born Mary Nonna Dooley, began her career in vaudeville in New York, and performed in the Ziegfeld Follies (1918-1919) before becoming famous as a "vamp" in silent movies. Her films included Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920); Blood and Sand (1922); and The Ten Commandments (1923). Miss Naldi retired from movies in the late 1920s, and returned to occasional stage acting through the 1950s. She lived in poverty and suffered from heart disease in her later years, and her body wasn't discovered until two days after her death in her room at the Wentworth Hotel in New York City.

The United States launched Discoverer 20, the largest and heaviest of the Discoverer satellites so far, from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. The satellite, 25 feet long and weighing 2,450 pounds--including a 300-pound re-entry capsule--was sent aloft by an improved 81-foot-tall Thor-Agena B rocket. The plan was to eject the capsule after four days and try to capture it in the air, but a malfunction in the satellite caused the plan to be abandoned.

50 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in the U.K. (New Musical Express): My Sweet Lord--George Harrison (4th week at #1)

Former U.S. Army Sergeant Major William Woolridge and seven others were indicted by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles on charges of conspiring to defraud servicemen's clubs in Vietnam from 1965-1969 by monopolizing sales to the clubs and inflating the prices of the various items they controlled.

40 years ago

Pope John Paul II arrived in Manila, and was greeted at the airport by church leaders and by Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos and his wife Imelda.

General Motors and Ford Motor Company announced that they would institute the largest rebate plans in their histories. GM’s rebates were to run from $500-$700, and Ford was to rebate 10% on its mid-size and large cars.

30 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in New Zealand (RIANZ): Do the Bartman--The Simpsons (3rd week at #1)

#1 single in Switzerland: Sadeness Part I--Enigma (10th week at #1)

Austria's Top 10 (Ö3)
1 Unchained Melody--The Righteous Brothers (3rd week at #1)
2 Hello Afrika--Dr. Alban featuring Leila K.
3 Sadeness Part I--Enigma
4 Keep on Running--Milli Vanilli
5 To Love Somebody--Jimmy Somerville
6 Ice Ice Baby--Vanilla Ice
7 Fantasy--Black Box
8 I'll Be Your Baby Tonight--Robert Palmer and UB40
9 Justify My Love--Madonna
10 Kränk di net--Jazz Gitti & her Disco Killers

Singles entering the chart were Beinhart by Torfrock (#27); and All the Man that I Need by Whitney Houston (#29).

Died on this date
Travis Williams, 45
. U.S. football player. Mr. Williams, nicknamed "The Roadrunner," was a running back and kick returner at Arizona State University before playing with the Green Bay Packers (1967-1970) and Los Angeles Rams (1971-1972). His best season in the National Football League was his first, whe rushed 35 times for 188 yards (5.4 per carry) and 1 touchdown; caught 5 passes for 80 yards (16.0 average) and 1 touchdown; and returned 18 kickoffs for 739 yards and record 4 touchdowns, setting NFL records for kickoff return average and TDs in a season as he helped the Packers win the Super Bowl. Mr. Williams spent the entire 1972 season on the injured list with a knee injury, which finished his career. In 62 games he rushed 289 times for 1,166 yards (4.0 average) and 6 touchdowns; caught 52 passes for 598 yards (11.5 average) and 5 TDs; returned 13 punts for 213 yards (16.4 average) and a touchdown; and returned 102 kickoffs for 2,801 yards (29.7 average) and 6 TDs, scoring 108 points on 18 touchdowns. Mr. Williams fell on hard times with drinking, poverty, and homelessness after his playing career, and died of heart failure.

This blogger attended a performance of William Shakespeare's Richard III at Thrust Theatre in the University of Alberta's fine arts building. I enjoyed the play, but found the Thrust Theatre to be a most uncomfortable place to sit.

25 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in Australia (ARIA): Boombastic--Shaggy (2nd week at #1)

#1 single in Flanders (VRT): Spaceman--Babylon Zoo

#1 single in Wallonia (Ultratop 40): Gangsta's Paradise--Coolio featuring L.V. (12th week at #1)

#1 single in France (SNEP): Gangsta's Paradise--Coolio featuring L.V. (12th week at #1)

#1 single in the Netherlands (De Nederlandse Top 40): 15 miljoen mensen--Fluitsma & Van Tijn

#1 single in the U.K. (BMRB): Spaceman--Babylon Zoo (4th week at #1)

U.S.A. Top 10 (Billboard)
1 One Sweet Day--Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men (12th week at #1)
2 Missing--Everything But the Girl
3 Exhale (Shoop Shoop)--Whitney Houston
4 Not Gon' Cry--Mary J. Blige
5 Nobody Knows--The Tony Rich Project
6 Sittin' Up in My Room--Brandy
7 Hey Lover--LL Cool J
8 Be My Lover--La Bouche
9 One of Us--Joan Osborne
10 Name--Goo Goo Dolls

Singles entering the chart were I Want to Come Over by Melissa Etheridge (#32); Don't Cry by Seal (#33); Promises Broken by Soul Asylum (#63); Can't Be Wasting My Time by Mona Lisa featuring Lost Boyz (#66); Microphone Master by Das EFX (featuring Mobb Deep) (#86); I Will Survive by Chantay Savage (#90); Not a Dry Eye in the House by Meat Loaf (#93); and A Thin Line Between Love and Hate by H-Town (#97). Can't Be Wasting My Time was from the movie Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood (1996).

U.S.A. Top 10 (Cash Box)
1 One Sweet Day--Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men (10th week at #1)
2 Missing--Everything But the Girl
3 One of Us--Joan Osborne
4 Not Gon' Cry--Mary J. Blige
5 Exhale (Shoop Shoop)--Whitney Houston
6 Be My Lover--La Bouche
7 Nobody Knows--The Tony Rich Project
8 Til I Hear it from You/Follow You Down--Gin Blossoms
9 Sittin' Up in My Room--Brandy
10 Tonite's Tha Night--Kris Kross

Singles entering the chart were Follow You Down; Jesus to a Child by George Michael (#47); Get Money by Junior M.A.F.I.A. (#49); All the Things (Your Man Won’t Do) by Joe (#58); I Want to Come Over by Melissa Etheridge (#68); Oh Virginia by Blessid Union Of Souls (#85); and I Will Survive by Chantay Savage (#86).

NASA's Discovery Program began as the NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft lifted off on the first mission ever to orbit and land on an asteroid, 433 Eros.

Two days of negotiations began in Rome among the parties in the Bosnian peace agreement.

Politics and government
Michel Gauthier was elected interim leader of the Bloc Québecois, replacing BQ founder Lucien Bouchard, who had moved to provincial politics to become leader of the Parti Québecois and Premier of Quebec. Meanwhile, Glen Clark won the leadership of the British Columbia New Democratic Party; the former Employment and Investment Minister was sworn in as B.C. Premier on February 22, replacing Mike Harcourt.

The 8.2-Mw Biak earthquake shook the Papua province of eastern Indonesia with a maximum Mercalli intensity of VIII (Severe). A large tsunami followed, leaving 166 people dead or missing and 423 injured.

World champion Garry Kasparov won the sixth and final game of his match in Philadelphia against the IBM supercomputer Deep Blue, winning 4-2--3 wins to 1, with 2 draws.

10 years ago

On what became known in Bahrain as "Bloody Thursday," Bahraini security forces killed four protesters in a pre-dawn raid at the Pearl Roundabout in Manama. A "Day of Rage" took place in Libya with nationwide protests against Muammar Gaddafi's government.

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