Today in History: June 24th

2002: Two trains collide in Tanzania, and 281 people are killed. It’s the deadliest train crash in African history.

1975: An Eastern Airlines jet crashes near JFK International Airport in New York City,  killing 115 people. The Boeing 727 was brought down by wind shear, a sudden change in wind speed or direction. Two different flights arriving had reported significant problems with winds, but  air traffic controllers ignored the warnings and kept the runway open.

1973:  Eamon de Valera, the world’s oldest statesman, resigns as president of Ireland at the age of 90.  His political careers began in 1917, and he served multiple terms as head of government and head of state in Ireland.

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Today in History: June 22nd

2009: Two subway trains collide inWashington, D.C., killing nine people and injuring more than 80 others. It’s the deadliest crash in the history of the Washington Metro system. An investigation finds that a problem with the signaling system means there was no indication there was a train stopped on the tracks when the other train approached and slammed into it.

1989: After nearly 15 years of civil war, opposing factions in the African country of Angola agree to a cease-fire to end a conflict that claimed hundreds of thousands of lives.

1962: An Air France Boeing 707 crashes on the island of Guadeloupe, killing all 113 passengers and crew members aboard. The flight occurred before the advent of the black box flight recorder and no reason for the crash was ever found.

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Today in History: June 21st

1990: An 7.7 magnitude earthquake in Iran kills more than 50,000 and injures another 135,000 people. An estimated 400,000 people were left homeless by the earthquake. Worldwide relief efforts are undertaken, but the Iranian government refuses help from Israel and South Africa. Many relief workers from western nations are sent home after a brief time and before critical assistance can be provided.

1977: A fire at a police lockup at City Hall in Saint John, New Brunswick, kills 21 prisoners and injures seven others, as well as six police officers and a fireman. A prisoner, John Kenney, is later convicted of arson and sentenced to five years in jail.

1957: John Diefenbaker is sworn in as Canada’s first Conservative Prime Minister in 22 years, replacing Louis St. Laurent. He serves as Prime Minister until April 1963.

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Today in History: June 20th

2011: The Bank of Canada unveiled the new Polymer series of bank notes which were designed in large part, to protect against counterfeiting.

2002:  A gas explosion in a Chinese coal mine kills 111 workers. Poor safety regulations in China have long made mining there an extremely hazardous occupation. Most of these disasters are barely reported, even in the Chinese media, so little effort has been made to correct the problem.

1956: Tommy Douglas leads the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (forerunner of the NDP) to a fourth consecutive majority government in the Saskatchewan election.

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Boris Yeltson

Today in History: June 19th

1992: Soviet President Boris Yeltsin visits Ottawa and signs a $200 million wheat deal to tide Russia over until fall harvest. He tells Parliament the Soviet Union has embraced democracy.

1959: A severe storm beings in the Northumberland Strait off the coast of New Brunswick and sinks 50 fishing boats and drowns 35 fishermen.

1938: A flood in Montana washes out train tracks, killing 46 people and seriously injuring more than 60. A pitch-black night on the Great Plains makes rescue efforts extremely difficult.

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Today in History: June 18th

1985: Ontario Conservative Premier Frank Miller is defeated on a series of confidence votes by an alliance of David Peterson’s Liberals and Bob Rae’s NDP. Miller resigns the next day, ending 42 years of Conservative rule in Ontario.

1979: During a summit meeting in Vienna, President Jimmy Carter  and Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev sign the SALT-II agreement, dealing with limitations and guidelines for nuclear weapons. SALT-II thus remained signed, but unratified.

1972: A jetliner crashes after takeoff from Heathrow Airport in London, killing 118 people. Just after its wheels retracted after takeoff, it fell from the sky. An intense fireball from the plane’s fuel supply erupted. The official cause of this accident remains unknown, but it may have happened simply because the plane was carrying too much weight.

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Today in History: June 17th

1972: Five burglars are arrested in the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office and apartment complex in Washington, D.C. An extensive investigation shows a comprehensive scheme of political sabotage and espionage designed to discredit Democratic candidates. It was eventually tied to the Office of the President, and facing impeachment, Richard Nixon resigns in August 1974.

1958: The Second Narrows Bridge, under construction across Burrard Inlet in Vancouver, collapses, killing 59 workers and injuring 20 others. An investigation finds an engineering error caused the accident, although some workers claim that substandard materials were used. The bridge has been renamed the Ironworkers Bridge.

1946: A tornado hits Windsor, Ontario, killing 16 people and injuring hundreds more. It was the third-deadliest tornado in Canadian history (behind Regina in 1912 and Edmonton in 1987). In a demonstration of co-operation, with the printing office of the Windsor Star damaged, the Detroit News across the river offered to help print the Star until repairs were made.

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Today in History: June 16th

1984: John Turner is chosen as Liberal Party leader on second ballot, with 1,862 votes, to Jean Chretien’s 1,368. Turner is sworn in to replace retiring Pierre Trudeau as Prime Minister on June 30, but loses the September election to Brian Mulroney and the Conservatives.

1963: For the first time, a woman travels in space. She’s Soviet Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova. After 48 orbits and 71 hours, she returned to earth, having spent more time in space than all U.S. astronauts combined to that date. The first American woman in space was Sally Ride on the space shuttle Challenger in 1983.

1896: A tsunami in Japan overnight leaves about 25,000 people dead. Entire villages all along the coast are washed away. Fishermen who were working at sea and people living several miles inland, though, had no clue about the destruction until the following morning, when they arrived at the shore to find miles of the coast lined with wreckage and corpses.

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Today in History: June 15th

1993: Ralph Klein leads the Progressive Conservatives to a seventh consecutive majority win in Alberta. The Conservatives were trailing in opinion polls under former leader and Premier Don Getty, before electing Klein, a former Liberal and mayor of Calgary.

1962: Canada becomes the third power to reach space with the launch of a scientific satellite by NASA.

1215: King John of England is forced by his barons to sign the Magna Carta.

Political Conventions – Happy 43rd Birthday, America

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Today in History: June 14th

1967: Mariner 5 in launched towards Venus. Arriving near the surface of Venus in October, Mariner 5 showed that it was clear that Venus had a very hot surface and an atmosphere even denser than expected. Mariner 5 continues to send back data until November 1967.

1922:  President Warren Harding becomes the first president to have his voice transmitted by radio. He was speaking at a dedication of a memorial site for Francis Scott Key, the composer of the “Star Spangled Banner.” Harding was also the first president to own a radio and was the first to have one installed in the White House.

1903: A flash flood in Oregon leaves 324 people dead and caused millions of dollars in damage. A third of the town of Heppner is destroyed. The rainstorm lasts only one hour, but it overflows small streams of the area and causes a 20-foot wave of water to gush through the town, sweeping away the victims.

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