Tuesday, April 13, 2010

POPnews - April 13th

[Designed by John Russell Pope and built by John McShain on a commanding site in West Potomac Park, construction on the Jefferson Memorial began in December 1938 (and was completed by the architectural firm of Eggers & Higgins amid some controversy following Pope's death); the main sculptor was Rudulph Evans, with Adolph A. Weinman selected to sculpt the pediment relief above the entrance. The bronze statue of Thomas Jefferson it contains - also by Evans - was added in 1947. Jefferson wasn't the first choice for a memorial on the site, however. As early as 1901 the McMillan Commission had proposed a similar structure to house numerous sculptures of the nation's most illustrious men; nothing came of that plan, nor of a memorial - proposed in 1925 - to honour the recently deceased Theodore Roosevelt. It was another Roosevelt, FDR, who consulted with the Commission of Fine Arts in 1934 about erecting the colossal shrine to his idol, which stands today amidst thousands of sakura donated to the United States by Japan in both 1912 and 1965.]

1111 - Henry V was crowned Holy Roman Emperor by Pope Paschal II at St. Peter's Basilica.

1598 - France's King Henri IV issued the Edict of Nantes, allowing freedom of religion to the country's minority Protestant Huguenots and ending the French Wars of Religion.

1742 - George Frideric Handel's oratorio Messiah premiered at the Music Hall in Dublin.

1861 - At the outset of the American Civil War, Fort Sumter surrendered to Confederate forces following a 33-hour siege.

1868 - The Abyssinian War ended as British and Indian troops under Robert Napier captured Magdala from forces loyal to Emperor Tewodros II, who committed suicide as his fortress was taken.

1870 - New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art was founded; its doors opened in February 1872, with the core of its collection donated by railroad tycoon John Taylor Johnston.

1873 - The Colfax Massacre took place in Colfax, Louisiana; more than a hundred black men were killed by white supremacists belonging to groups such as the White League while attempting to vote.

1919 - At the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre British troops shot and killed at least 379 unarmed demonstrators in Amritsar.

1921 - The Spanish Communist Workers' Party was founded.

1939 - India's Hindustani Lal Sena (Indian Red Army) was formed on the twentieth anniversary of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, vowing to engage in armed struggle against the British.

1943 - The Jefferson Memorial was dedicated in Washington, DC, on the 200th anniversary of Thomas Jefferson's birth.

1948 - A British soldier and 79 Jewish doctors, nurses, and medical students from Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus were massacred by Arabs in Sheikh Jarra, near Jerusalem, when their convoy of two Haganah escort cars, two ambulances and two buses were attacked. So badly burnt were the bodies that only 31 of them could be identified; the rest were buried in a mass grave at Sanhedria Cemetery. The attack was said to have been ordered by Abdul Kader Husseini in retaliation for the Deir Yassin Massacre.

1953 - CIA director Allen Dulles launched a mind-control program known as MKULTRA.

1969 - Brisbane's tramway network closed, likely because some oil company executive managed to buy himself a local politician or two; all trams were then replaced by - surprise! - diesel buses.

1970 - An oxygen tank aboard Apollo 13 exploded, putting the crew into deadly peril, as dramatized in Ron Howard's 1995 film Apollo 13 as well as 1974's Houston, We've Got a Problem.

1974 - Western Union (in cooperation with NASA and Hughes Aircraft) launched America's first commercial geosynchronous communications satellite, Westar 1.

1975 - An attack by Lebanon's Phalangist resistance resulted in the so-called Bus Massacre, in which 26 members of Palestine's P.F.L. were killed, marking the start of the 15-year Lebanese Civil War.

1976 - The US Treasury Department reintroduced the two-dollar bill as a Federal Reserve Note on Thomas Jefferson's 233rd birthday as part of the United States Bicentennial celebration.

1992 - The Great Chicago Flood occurred when the damaged wall of a utility tunnel beneath the Chicago River opened into a breach which flooded basements and underground facilities throughout the Chicago Loop with an estimated 250 million gallons of water.

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