Friday, August 17, 2007
On this day, August 17, 1999, an earthquake measuring 7.4 on the Richter scale struck northwestern Turkey, near Izmit, in the most prosperous and highly developed area of the country. According to some estimates, more than 30,000 people died and more than 600,000 buildings were destroyed within 20 kilometres of the epicentre, while one third of the city of Gialova sank into the water.
Thirty minutes after the earthquake, the distillation tower in the Turpas refinery (Turkey's largest refinery) collapsed, causing the outbreak of fire in four large petroleum storage tanks.
One of the unexpected good consequences of this disaster was the speed and enthusiasm of the Greek government's response in sending firefighting and disaster assistance to Turkey.... historically 'enemies' for hundreds of years.
This has since developed into Turkey and Greece working together to this day on joint disaster and bushfire fighting plans.
Labels: Earthquake, Greece, Turkey
Thursday, August 16, 2007
On this day, 16th August, 1977, Elvis Aaron Presley, "The King" died at his Memphis home, Graceland.
Elvis was born to Vernon and Gladys Presley in a two-room house in Tupelo, Mississippi on January 8, 1935. His twin brother, Jessie Garon, was stillborn, leaving Elvis to grow up as an only child. He and his parents moved to Memphis, Tennessee in 1948, and Elvis graduated from Humes High School there in 1953.
Elvis’ musical influences were the pop and country music of the time, the gospel music he heard in church and at the all-night gospel sings he frequently attended, and the black R&B he absorbed on historic Beale Street as a Memphis teenager. In 1954, he began his singing career with the legendary Sun Records label in Memphis. In late 1955, his recording contract was sold to RCA Victor. By 1956, he was an international sensation. With a sound and style that uniquely combined his diverse musical influences and blurred and challenged the social and racial barriers of the time, he ushered in a whole new era of American music and popular culture.
He starred in 33 successful films, made history with his television appearances and specials, and knew great acclaim through his many, often record-breaking, live concert performances on tour and in Las Vegas. Globally, he has sold over one billion records, more than any other artist. His American sales have earned him gold, platinum or multi-platinum awards for 150 different albums and singles, far more than any other artist. Among his many awards and accolades were 14 Grammy nominations (3 wins) from the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, which he received at age 36, and his being named One of the Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Nation for 1970 by the United States Jaycees. Without any of the special privileges his celebrity status might have afforded him, he honorably served his country in the U.S. Army.
His talent, good looks, sensuality, charisma, and good humor endeared him to millions, as did the humility and human kindness he demonstrated throughout his life. Known the world over by his first name, he is regarded as one of the most important figures of twentieth century popular culture.
Labels: celebrity, country music, Elvis Presley, hollywood, rock n roll
On this day, 16th August, 1965 , The Watts Riots in South Los Angeles ended.
A routine traffic stop of a black motorist by white police in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Watts six days earlier sparked massive riots that left 34 dead, hundreds more injured and 100 square blocks decimated by fire and looting.
A Photo Documentary: The Watts Riots
Labels: racial equality, riot
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, the terrorist known as "Carlos the Jackal," was jailed in France, on this day, August 15th, 1994, after being captured in Sudan.
Ilich Ramírez Sánchez (born October 12, 1949) is a Venezuelan-born self-proclaimed leftist revolutionary and mercenary. He was given the nom de guerre Carlos the Jackal when he became a member of the leftist Popular Front for Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). After several bungled bombings, Ramírez Sánchez obtained notoriety for a 1975 raid on the OPEC headquarters, resulting in the deaths of three people. For many years he was among the most wanted international fugitives and is now serving life imprisonment in Clairvaux Prison in northeast France.
Labels: Carlos the Jackal, Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, OPEC, terrorism
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
On this day, August 14th, 1945, Japan announced its unconditional surrender in World War II and President Harry Truman announced that World War II was over.
After the completion of the campaigns in the Solomon Islands (late 1943) and New Guinea (1944), the Allied advance moved inexorably, in two lines that converged on Japan, through scattered island groups—the Philippines, the Mariana Islands, Okinawa, and Iwo Jima. Japan, with most of its navy sunk, staggered beneath these blows. At the Yalta Conference, the USSR secretly promised its aid against Japan, which still refused to surrender even after the Allied appeal made at the Potsdam Conference. On Aug. 6, 1945, the United States first used the atomic bomb and devastated Hiroshima; on Aug. 9, the second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. The USSR had already invaded Manchuria. On Aug. 14, Japan announced its surrender, formally signed aboard the U.S. battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay on Sept. 2.
Labels: Admiral Halsey, Admiral Nimitz, Douglas MacArthur, japan, surrender, world war 2
Monday, August 13, 2007
Fidel Castro was born Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz on this day, August 13th, 1926, near Birán, S Cuba.
He was a revolutionary, premier of Cuba (1959-76) and president of the Council of State and of the Council of Ministers (1976- to date). As a student leader and lawyer, Castro opposed the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista y Zaldívar.
On July 26, 1953, he led an unsuccessful attack on an army post in Santiago de Cuba and was imprisoned. Released in 1955 during a general amnesty, he went to Mexico where he organized the 26th of July movement. In Dec., 1956, he landed in SW Oriente prov. with a small group of rebels. Castro and 11 others, including his brother Raúl and Ernesto "Che" Guevara, survived the initial encounter and hid in the mountains of the Sierra Maestra. There, they organized a guerrilla campaign that eventually toppled the Batista regime on Jan. 1, 1959.
3 Days With Castro (2002)
Labels: cuba, Fidel Castro, socialism
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