Wednesday, December 15, 2010

POPnews - December 15th

[Baudouin, King of the Belgians, married Spanish noblewoman Fabiola Fernanda María de las Victorias Antonia Adelaida de Mora y Aragón in Brussels on this day in 1960; wearing Queen Astrid's 1926 Art Deco tiara and a gown designed by Cristóbal Balenciaga the bride here strikes an uncharacteristically Evita-esque pose. Though it was by all accounts a happy enough marriage, dynastically it proved a heartache, as Her Majesty would suffer five miscarriages but provide no heir; following His Majesty's death in July 1993 she has maintained a high profile in Belgium in support of the new king, her brother-in-law Albert II.]

533 CE - Byzantine general Belisarius defeated Gelimer, King of the Vandals, at the Battle of Ticameron.

1167 - Sicilian chancellor Stephen du Perche moved the royal court from Palermo to Messina in order to prevent a rebellion against King William II's regent and mother, Margaret of Navarre.

1256 - Hulagu Khan captured and destroyed the Hashshashin stronghold at Alamut (in present-day Iran) as part of the Mongol offensive on Islamic southwest Asia.

1467 - At the Battle of Baia, Moldavia's Prince Stephen III defeated Hungarian King Matthias Corvinus, who was later said to have been injured three times at the battle.

1791 - The US Bill of Rights became law upon its ratification by the Commonwealth of Virginia.

1868 - Shogunate rebels founded the Ezo Republic on Japan's northernmost island, Hokkaidō.

1891 - The first basketball game was played; invented by Canadian James Naismith while a teacher in Springfield, Massachusetts, the game was apparently derived from a childhood pastime of Naismith's called Duck on a Rock.

1939 - Gone with the Wind had its world premiere, at the Loew's Grand Theater in Atlanta.

1941 - In temperatures hovering around -15 degrees Celsius, Nazi troops executed over 15,000 Jews at Drobitsky Yar, a ravine southeast of the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv.

1960 - Richard Paul Pavlick was arrested for attempting to blow up and assassinate the U.S. President-Elect, John F. Kennedy only four days earlier.

1961 - Adolph Eichmann was sentenced to death in a Jerusalem courtroom after being found guilty of 15 criminal charges, including charges of crimes against humanity, crimes against the Jewish people, and membership in an outlawed organization.

1965 - As part of NASA's Gemini Program, Gemini 6A - crewed by Wally Schirra and Thomas Stafford - was launched from Florida's Cape Kennedy; four orbits later, it achieved the first space rendezvous with Gemini 7.

1967 - 46 people died when the Silver Bridge connecting Point Pleasant, in West Virginia, to Gallipolis, Ohio, collapsed into the Ohio River during rush hour; the ruin was demolished and in 1969 the Silver Memorial Bridge was opened to replace it.

1970 - The Illinois State Constitution was adopted at a special election.

1973 - John Paul Getty III, grandson of American billionaire J. Paul Getty, was found alive near Naples, having being kidnapped by an Italian gang on July 10th.

1982 - The gates connecting Gibraltar to Spain were re-opened on humanitarian grounds.

1993 - The Downing Street Declaration was issued by British Prime Minister John Major and Irish Taoiseach Albert Reynolds.

2001 - The Leaning Tower of Pisa reopened after 11 years and a $27,000,000 restoration to fortify it, without fixing its famous lean.

2005 - The 2005 Atlantic Power Outage began, plunging the American Eastern Seaboard into bitter cold and darkness; owing to the seriousness of the ice storm that'd caused it, power wouldn't be fully restored until December 20th.
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