Today in History: July 9th

2010: Prime Minister Stephen Harper appoints legal scholar David Johnston the next governor general.

1991: In St. Lazare, Manitoba, 400 residents flee their homes when a train carrying highly corrosive acetic anhydride derails. The emergency evacuation ends after six days. For more on Crisis Management:Click Here

1960: President Dwight Eisenhower and and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev trade verbal threats over the future of Cuba. The relationship between the United States and Cuba deteriorated rapidly after this exchange. The Castro regime accelerated its program of expropriating American-owned property. In response, the Eisenhower administration severed diplomatic relations with Cuba.

Today in History: June 29th

1995: A department store in Seoul, South Korea, collapses, killing more than 500 people. The tragedy occurs due to a series of errors made by the designers and contractors who built the store and the criminal negligence of the store’s owner. Rescue efforts continue for weeks and one survivor is pulled out 16 days after the collapse.

1995: The American space shuttle Atlantis docks with the Russian space station Mir to form the largest man-made satellite ever to orbit the Earth. This was an historic moment of cooperation between former rival space programs. Daniel Goldin, chief of NASA, called it the beginning of “a new era of friendship and cooperation” between the U.S. and Russia.

1974: With Argentine President Juan Peron on his deathbed, Isabela Martinez de Peron, his wife and vice president, is sworn in as the leader of the South American country. President Isabela Peron, a former dancer and Peron’s third wife, was the Western Hemisphere’s first female head of government.

Today in History: June 26th

1995: Ontario Progressive Conservative Party leader Mike Harris is sworn in as the 22nd Premier of Ontario, replacing Bob Rae of the NDP, who had been in power since 1990. Harris won 82 out of 130 seats.

1963: US President John F. Kennedy delivers his famous “Let them come to Berlin” speech in West Berlin, West Germany. Also from this speech is the quote “Ich bin ein Berliner”.

Political Conventions – Let Them Come to Berlin

1807: Lightning hits a gunpowder factory in Luxembourg, killing more than 300 people. This may have been the most deadly lightning strike in history. Usually, victims of lightening strikes are killed one at a time. Luxembourg was occupied by Napoleon’s army, and the country was used to stockpile weapons and ammunition.

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.

Today in History: June 12th

1987: US President Ronald Reagan delivers a speech at the Brandenburg Gate in West Berlin, West Germany, near the Berlin Wall, in which he famously said “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”, addressing the leader of the USSR, Mikhail Gorbachev.

Political Conventions – Let Them Come to Berlin
Political Conventions – The CV Generation

1924: George H.W. Bush, the 41st President of the United States, is born.

1897:  A powerful earthquake in India triggers deadly landslides and waves, killing more than 1,500 people. For hundreds of miles near the epicenter, nearly every building collapses. Hundreds of aftershocks in the following months delay the rebuilding efforts.

Today in History: May 19th

1967: The Soviet Union ratifies an agreement banning nuclear weapons from outer space. With the advent of the space race in 1957, some begin to fear that outer space might be the next frontier for the expansion of nuclear weapons. With this action, outer space is officially declared off-limits for nuclear weapons.

1958: United States and Canada military formally establish the North American Air Defence Command (NORAD) to coordinate continental defence.

1939:  King George VI becomes the first reigning monarch to address the Canadian Parliament.

Today in History: May 16th

2001:  The Liberals in British Columbia, under Gordon Campbell, come to power with a landslide victory, winning 77 of the 79 seats, while the NDP wins only two seats. It is the most lopsided win in B.C history.

1961: U.S. President John Kennedy and his wife, Jackie, begin a state visit to Ottawa. The President addresses Parliament. A crowd of 50,000 people gather on Parliament Hill in hopes of seeing the new President and his wife.

1960: In the wake of the Soviet downing of an American U-2 spy plane on May 1, Russian leader Nikita Khrushchev lashes out at U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower at a Paris summit meeting between the two heads of state. Khrushchev’s outburst angers Eisenhower and dooms any chances for successful talks or negotiations at the summit.

Today in History: May 7th

1960:  Leonid Brezhnev is selected as Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet – the  Soviet equivalent to the presidency. This was another important step in Brezhnev’s rise to power in Russia, a rise that he later capped by taking control of the Soviet Union in 1964.

1915: The British ocean liner, Lusitania, was torpedoed by a German U-Boat, killing 1,198 (including 128 Americans) of the 1,959 people on board. The sinking of the Lusitania appalled many and contributed to the decision by the United States to eventually get into World War One.

1902:  Mount Pele on the French Caribbean island of Martinique begins the deadliest volcanic eruption of the 20th century. The following day, the city of Saint Pierre is virtually wiped off the map. Residents failed to heed warnings and evacuate. The city was buried within minutes and virtually everyone died instantly. In all, about 30,000 people died.

Today in History: May 5th

1989: Clyde Wells becomes takes office as premier of Newfoundland, after the Liberals are elected, ending 17 years of Progressive Conservative rule. Wells became known for his opposition to several provision of the Meech Lake Accord.

1961: Alan Shepard becomes the first American in space and second overall after the Soviet Union’s Yuri Gagarin.

See also the Resurgence of Russia, Canada in Space

1950: Severe flooding by the Red River in Manitoba kills one person in Winnipeg and causes $600 million in damages. Winds of 80 kph cause waves to break through the dikes of Winnipeg. One third of the population is forced to flee their homes.

Today in History: March 28th

1979: The worst accident in the U.S. nuclear power industry begins when a pressure valve at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania fails to close. Cooling water, contaminated with radiation, drains from the open valve, and the core begins to dangerously overheat. Plant workers are exposed to unhealthy levels of radiation, and the incident greatly erodes the public’s faith in nuclear power.

1969: Dwight Eisenhower, former President and World War II general, dies in Washington, D.C., at the age of 78. As supreme commander of Allied forces, Eisenhower earned the respect of his British and Canadian subordinates. Elected President in 1952 and again in 1956, he oversaw a period of strong economic growth in the U.S. and increasing Cold War tensions.

1984:  Bob Irsay, owner of the Baltimore Colts of the National Football League, moves the team to Indianapolis. Without any sort of public announcement, Irsay hires movers to pack up the team’s offices in the middle of the night, while the city of Baltimore slept.