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A Blast from the Past

By United Press International   |   Nov. 19, 2002 at 3:15 AM   |   Comments

Today is Nov. 25.


The first major entry of American ground troops in the war on terrorism in Afghanistan took place on this date in 2001 when hundreds of Marines landed near the southern city of Kandahar. On the same day about 400 Taliban captives revolted and overpowered their guards at a prison near Mazar-c Sharif. In the fierce battle that followed, U.S. planes were called in to bomb the prison and America suffered its first combat casualty of the war before the three-day uprising was quelled.


The first-ever human embryos created by cloning was announced on this date in 2001 by a Massachusetts biotechnology company. Scientists at Advanced Cell Technology in Worcester said the objective was to produce stem cells that could serve as replacements tissue to fight disease. The embryos did not live long. President Bush said later he considered the work on human cloning to be immoral.


The world mourned on this date in 1963 when President John F. Kennedy, assassinated in Dallas three days earlier, was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.


The Iran-Contra scandal began, more or less, on this date in 1986 when President Reagan announced the resignation of national security adviser John Poindexter and the firing of Poindexter aide Lt. Col. Oliver North in the aftermath of the secret sale of arms to Iran. Money from the arms sales went to support the Contra rebels fighting to overthrow the leftist government of Nicaragua, at a time when Congress said such aid was illegal.


Chicago went into mourning on this date in 1987 when the city's first black mayor, Harold Washington, died in office of a heart attack at the age of 65.


More than 6,000 British troops evacuated New York City on this date in 1783 after the peace treaty ending the Revolutionary War was signed.


Poland's first direct presidential elections took place on this date in 1990. Because no candidate received a majority of vote, labor leader Lech Walesa was forced into a run-off against businessman Stanislaw Tyminski, while Polish President Tadeusz Maziwoecki was knocked out of the race. Walesa would eventually win the presidency.


It was on this date in 1992 that the Czechoslovak Parliament voted to dissolve the country at the end of the year into separate Czech and Slovak states.


As the gasoline shortage continued, President Nixon on this date in 1973 ordered the national highway speed limit cut from 70 to 55 miles per hour to save lives and also to save gas. Sales of radar detectors and CB radios began to boom.


On this date in 1919, radio station WTAW in College Station, Texas, broadcast the first play-by-play description of a football game, between Texas and Texas A&M. The world would never be the same. By the way, A&M blanked Texas, 7-0.


And Agatha Christie's "The Mousetrap," listed by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's longest running play, opened in London on this date in 1952.


We now return you to the present, already in progress.

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Today is Nov. 26.


The U.S. identified the first combat casualty of the war on terrorism in Afghanistan on this date in 2001 as a CIA operative and former Marine captain named Johnny Michael Spann, 32. He was killed in the prison uprising at Mazar-c Sharif in which Taliban captives overpowered their guards. Five other Americans were injured.


The "Warsaw Ghetto" was established on this date in 1940, when the Nazi occupiers of Poland forced 500,000 Jews in Warsaw to live in a confined area surrounded by an eight-foot-high concrete wall.


As World War II raged in Europe and Japan continued its conquests in the Pacific, the United States was trying very hard to stay out of the fray. It was on this date in 1941 that Secretary of State Cordell Hull submitted American proposals to the Japanese peace envoys that were in Washington, D.C. The surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor would occur less than two weeks later.


The United States and Iraq restored diplomatic relations on this date in 1984, ending a 17-year break. They wouldn't last long.


It was on this date in 1992 that the United States offered to send up to 20,000 ground troops to civil war-torn Somalia as part of a United Nations force to get relief supplies to the starving populace.


This is the anniversary of the first U.S. holiday by presidential proclamation. President Washington had declared Nov. 26, 1789, to be Thanksgiving Day. Both houses of Congress had recommended to him that a day of public thanksgiving be observed. The actual proclamation was issued Oct. 3, 1789.


It was on this date in 1832 that the first streetcar railway in America started public service in New York City, from City Hall to 14th Street. The car was pulled by a horse, and the fare was 12 1/2 cents.


In Egypt's Valley of the Kings, on this date in 1922, British archaeologists Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon became the first people to enter King Tutankhamen's tomb in more than 3,000 years. Tutankhamen's sealed burial chambers were miraculously intact, containing several thousand priceless objects.


And the film "Casablanca" premiered in New York City on this date in 1942. The movie originally had been scheduled to premiere in June 1943. However, the Allied invasion of North Africa, which had begun on Nov. 8, 1942, prompted the studio to push up the premiere. The movie opened nationwide on Jan. 23, 1943.


We now return you to the present, already in progress.

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Today is Nov. 27.


The nation's first living donor liver transplant took place on this date in 1989. Doctors at the University of Chicago removed a portion of a woman's liver and implanted it in her 21-month-old daughter. Both recovered, and the procedure has since become an alternative to transplants involving cadaver livers.


Also on this date in 1989, Virginia certified Douglas Wilder as the nation's first elected black governor by a razor-thin margin of 0.38 percentage points.


British treasury chief John Major was elected leader of the ruling Conservative Party on this date in 1990, succeeding Margaret Thatcher as prime minister. Thatcher, Britain's first female prime minister, also was the longest-serving PM of the 20th century, having taken office in 1979.


It was on this date back in 1901 that the U.S. War Department authorized creation of the Army War College to instruct commissioned officers. The officers' school was to be built in Leavenworth, Kan.


During a visit to the Philippines, Pope Paul VI was stabbed in the chest by a Bolivian painter disguised as a priest on this date in 1970. The pontiff survived the attack at Manila Airport and continued as leader of the world's Roman Catholics for another eight years.


And town officials in Stratford-upon-Avon, England, evicted the Rev. Francis Gastrell, the Vicar of Frodsham, from William Shakespeare's home on this date in 1759 after he cut down a 150-year-old tree that had been planted by the famed writer. Gastrell chopped down the tree because he was annoyed by the many Shakespeare enthusiasts who came to look at it. He sold the tree for firewood, but it was recovered by a jeweler-woodcarver, who fashioned hundreds of relics from the wood.


We now return you to the present, already in progress.

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Today is Nov. 28.


It was on this date in 1963 that Cape Canaveral, the space center in Florida, was renamed Cape Kennedy in honor of President John F. Kennedy, who had been assassinated in Dallas six days earlier. The name change was initiated by President Johnson. Area residents later voted to revert to the original name.


41 years of Communist rule in Czechoslovakia ended on this date in 1989, when Czechoslovak Premier Adamec agreed to a coalition government. The next day, the Czechoslovak Parliament revoked the Communist Party's monopoly. The vote followed a wave of demonstrations sparked by the beating of protesters earlier in the month.

Czechoslovakia would later split up into two nations: the Czech Republic and Slovakia.


Tragedy struck a Boston nightclub on this date in 1942. A fire swept the Cocoanut Grove, killing 491 people. Most of the victims suffocated or were trampled to death.


On this date in 1520, Ferdinand Magellan sailed around the tip of South America and entered the Pacific Ocean on his way around the world. He was the first European to sail the Pacific from the east.


The British Parliament got its first female member when Virginia-born Lady Nancy Astor took her seat on this date in 1919.


And it was on this date in 1994 that serial killer/cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer got what the families of many of his victims probably thought he deserved. Dahmer and a second inmate at the Columbia Correctional Center in Portage, Wis., were beaten to death by another inmate who thought he was Jesus Christ.

Dahmer, a Milwaukee chocolate factory worker, had pleaded guilty to killing 15 young men and teenage boys and was sentenced to life in prison. When police finally caught up with him, they had found bodies, parts of bodies, and bones stashed in his apartment. Dahmer also admitted to having sex with his dead victims, and eating their flesh.


We now return you to the present, already in progress.

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Today is Nov. 29.


It was on this date in 1990 that the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution authorizing "all necessary means" -- including military force -- against Iraq if it does not withdraw from Kuwait by Jan. 15, 1991. It was the first such resolution since U.N. sponsorship of the Korean War in 1950.

Iraq did not comply, and the Allied Forces began their attack, code-named "Operation Desert Storm," within hours of the expiration of the deadline.


In 1947, the United Nations, despite strong Arab opposition, voted for the partition of Palestine and creation of an independent Jewish state.


One week after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963, President Johnson appointed the Warren Commission to investigate the slaying. U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren headed the panel, which would eventually rule that all evidence pointed to Lee Harvey Oswald being the sole gunman.


U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Richard Byrd radioed that he and three crewmen aboard his plane had just passed over the South Pole on this date in 1929. They were the first people to fly over the southernmost point on Earth.


It was on this date in 1877 that Thomas Edison demonstrated his latest invention: a hand-cranked phonograph that recorded sound on grooved metal cylinders. Edison shouted verses of "Mary Had a Little Lamb" into the machine, which played back his voice.


The man they called "the quiet Beatle" died on this date in 2001. George Harrison, lead guitarist and spiritual anchor for the legendary British rock group, died of cancer at the age of 58.


We now return you to the present, already in progress.

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Today is Nov. 30.


Provisional articles of peace, which were to end America's War of Independence, were signed in Paris on this date in 1782. The formal peace treaty between the United States and Britain would be inked on Sept. 3, 1783, also in Paris. France had supported the Americans in their battle for freedom.


On this date in 1939, the Russo-Finnish War started after the Soviet Union failed to obtain territorial concessions from Finland.


As the Persian Gulf crisis continued, and the United States and its allies deployed troops in Saudi Arabia in response to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait more than four months earlier, President Bush made a bid for a diplomatic solution on this date in 1990. He offered to send Secretary of State Baker to Baghdad and to receive Iraq's foreign minister in Washington, D.C., to discuss things.


On this date in 1975, Israel withdrew from a 93-mile-long corridor along the Gulf of Suez as part of an interim peace agreement with Egypt.


More than 100,000 people were killed on this date in 1731 when a series of earthquakes struck China.


And it was on this date in 1992 that Sen. Bob Packwood, R-Ore., entered an alcohol-treatment facility. The veteran lawmaker was facing a Senate Ethics Committee investigation into allegations that he sexually harassed women who worked for him. While Packwood denied it, several other women came forward with similar stories, and he eventually resigned his Senate seat.


And, in 1954, came the first modern instance of a meteorite striking a human being. It happened in Sylacauga, Ala., when a meteorite crashed through the roof of a house and into a living room, bounced off a radio, and struck the hip of Elizabeth Hodges, who was sleeping on a couch. The space rock was a sulfide meteorite weighing 8.5 pounds and measuring seven inches in length. Mrs. Hodges was not permanently injured but suffered a nasty bruise along her hip and leg.


We now return you to the present, already in progress.

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Today is Dec. 1.


As December dawned in 2000, there still was no winner declared in the presidential race between George W. Bush and Al Gore as various courts took turns with several questions concerning the disputed Florida vote. Meanwhile, the Senate found the November elections had left it evenly divided 50-50.


On this date in 1824, another presidential stalemate of note was decided in the House. Andrew Jackson was first in both electoral and popular votes, the latter being counted for the first time, with John Quincy Adams, son of former President John Adams, second on both counts. But, Jackson did not get a majority (it was a four-man race) and Henry Clay, who was fourth, threw his support to Adams when the issue went to the House and Adams was elected. Jackson came back four years later and defeated Adams.


Remember the photos of Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Josef Stalin sitting together after talking about how they were going to gang up on Hitler? It was on this date in 1943 that their "Big Three" meeting in Tehran, Iran, ended with the leaders pledging a concerted effort to defeat Nazi Germany.


Another historic meeting took place on this date in 1989. Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and Pope John Paul II met at the Vatican and announced agreement to establish diplomatic ties. Gorbachev also renounced more than 70 years of oppression of religion in the U.S.S.R.

The Soviet Union itself had only a couple more years to live when that happened. Voters in the Soviet republic of Ukraine overwhelmingly voted for independence on this date in 1991. Ukraine became the second biggest post-Soviet republic, after Russia itself.


This is the anniversary of the first big milestone in the modern civil rights movement. On this date in 1955, a black seamstress named Rosa Parks was arrested in Montgomery, Ala., for refusing to give up her seat to a white man on a city bus. The event triggered a yearlong boycott of the city bus system and led to the end of racial segregation on municipal buses throughout the South.


It was on this date in 1992 that Amy Fisher was sentenced to 5 to 15 years in a New York prison for shooting the wife of her alleged lover, Joey Buttafuoco. The wife survived the attack and later would campaign to have Fisher released from prison.


Father Edward Flanagan founded Boys Town near Omaha, Neb., on this date in 1917. Spencer Tracy would later play the priest in a movie about his life. By the way, Boys Town -- a place for orphaned, abandoned or otherwise wayward children through age 18 -- now takes in girls, and is known as Boys and Girls Town. There are several such "towns" across the United States.


The first Playboy magazine was published on this date in 1953 by Chicagoan Hugh Hefner. On the cover: a rising young actress named Marilyn Monroe.


And it was on this date in 1903 that the world's first drive-in gasoline station opened for business in Pittsburgh.


We now return you to the present, already in progress.

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© 2002 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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