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 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

Today in History: June 6th

1981: More than 500 passengers are killed when a train plunges into a river in India. Heavy rains meant the tracks were slick. The engineer was Hindu and believed that cows are sacred. As the train was going over a bridge, a cow appeared on the track. The engineer, wanting to avoid hitting the cow, braked too hard, and the train derailed.

1971: A mid-air crash between two airplanes near Los Angeles kills 50 people. A DC-9 with five crew and 44 passengers collided with a U.S. Navy F-4 Fighter. One of the two F-4 crew members was also killed.

1944:  The Battle of Normandy begins. D-Day begins with the landing of 155,000 Allied soldiers on the beaches of Normandy in France, in the largest amphibious military operation in history.

Today in History: June 4th

1979: Pierre Trudeau’s first term as Canadian Prime Minister ends as he is replaced by Joe Clark, who defeated him in the May 22nd Federal election.

Political Conventions – Pirates and Thieves
Political Columns – Pugnacious Pierre — Trudeau

1972: The collision of two trains in Bangladesh kills 76 people. The disaster results from one simple error by a train-station operator, who threw the wrong switch. With no other safeguards in place to protect it, the train was sent on local tracks straight into a train standing at the station.

1940: British Prime Minister Winston Churchill delivers his famous “We shall fight on the beaches” speech to the United Kingdom’s House of Commons.

Today in History: June 2nd

1997: Prime Minister Jean Chretien is re-elected, with the Liberals taking 155 of the 301 seats. The Reform party wins 60 seats; the Bloc Québecois, 44; the NDP, 21; the Progressive Conservatives, 20; and there was 1 Independent.

1953: Queen Elizabeth II is formally crowned in a lavish ceremony, with 1,000 dignitaries and guests at London’s Westminster Abbey. Hundreds of millions listened on radio and for the first time watched the proceedings on television. In five decades of rule, Queen Elizabeth II’s popularity has hardly subsided. She has traveled more extensively than any other British monarch.

1921: Torrential rains slam Colorado, causing a flash flood and the Arkansas River overflows. Earth levees prove no match for the extremely heavy rains and 120 people lost their lives. Further, a massive mudflow caused by the floods knocks over homes and causes $25 million in damages. The flood waters take nearly a week to recede.

Today in History: June 1st

1980: The world’s first 24-hour TV news network, Cable News Network, signs on. CNN changes the idea that news TV news is packaged for a once-daily 30-minute newscast. Although first ridiculed, CNN soon was known for broadcasting news events as they unfolded, and often beat the conventional networks.

1974: An explosion occurs at a chemical facility in Flixborough, England, killing 28.

An Ounce of Prevention – Flixborough Chemical Facility Explosion

1965: A coal mine explosion kills 236 workers at a mine in Japan.  A sudden explosion led to the collapse of many of the mine shafts and caused boulders to block the escape routes. The trade and industries minister of Japan, Yoshio Sakarauchi, resigned in the aftermath of the disaster.

Today in History: May 23rd

1967: Ernest Manning’s Social Credit Party is re-elected in Alberta, with a ninth consecutive majority. Social Credit wins 55 of the 65 seats, but popular vote drops to 45 percent.

1960: A tsunami caused by an earthquake near Chile travels across the Pacific Ocean and kills 61 people in Hawaii. Warnings are issued six hours before the wave’s expected arrival, but some ignore the warnings, and others head to the coast to view the wave. More than a day after the earthquake, the tsunami reaches Japan, killing 180 people.

1949:  The Federal Republic of Germany – known as West Germany – is formally established as a separate nation. Following  World War II, Germany was divided into four occupation zones, with the British, French, Americans, and Soviets each controlling one zone. But there were differences between the communist and non-communist controlled sections. East and West Germany, symbols of Cold War animosities, were reunited in 1990.

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 11th

1985: Fifty people die in a fire in the grandstand at a soccer stadium in Bradford, England. The wooden roof that burned was scheduled to be replaced by a steel roof later that same week. The official inquiry blames an accumulation of garbage beneath the stands. Most likely, the fire was sparked by a cigarette.

1963: Prime Minister Lester Pearson says Canada will buy nuclear war heads after meeting with President Kennedy. Pearson’s predecessor, John Diefenbaker, had refused.

1919: The German delegation to the Versailles Peace Conference, convenes in Paris after the end of the First World War and pore over their copies of the Treaty of Versailles, drawn up in the previous months by representatives of their victorious enemies. They prepare to lodge their objections to what they consider to be unfairly harsh treatment.

Today in History: May 10th

1940: Winston Churchill is called to replace Neville Chamberlain as British Prime Minister following the latter’s resignation after losing a confidence vote in the House of Commons. Churchill forms an all-party coalition and quickly wins the popular support of Britons. In his first speech Churchill declares that “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat.”

1920: The Canadian government sends its own ambassador to Washington, instead of being represented by the ambassador from Great Britain.

1877: President Rutherford Hayes has the first telephone installed in White House. He embraces the new technology, though he rarely receives phone calls as phone service is in its infancy in 1877. It will be another 50 years until President Hoover has the first telephone line installed on the President’s desk in the Oval Office.