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Aceasta zi in istorie - This day in history

By 1978, there had been at least 14 failed attempts to cross the Atlantic by balloon, during which five people died. One of the failures was that of the Double Eagle I in 1977. A year later, however, Ben Abruzzo, Maxie Anderson, and Larry Newman landed the Double Eagle II in a field in Miserey, France, 137 hours after leaving Presque Isle, Maine. After their successful flight, the trio drew straws to determine who would get to sleep in a bed at the US Embassy once slept in by whom? Discuss
On August 16, 1819, 60,000 men, women, and children gathered at St. Peter's Field in Manchester, England, to protest unemployment and high food prices. To disperse the gathering, city officials sent in the untrained volunteer cavalry, which attacked the unarmed crowd with sabers. At least 11 people were killed and hundreds more were wounded. The incident, likened to the Battle of Waterloo, sparked widespread indignation. In 2007, a memorial plaque at the site was changed to include what? Discuss
The explosion at Cameroon's Lake Monoun, which killed 37 people, at first baffled investigators. It was only after a similar event at nearby Lake Nyos two years later claimed the lives of 1,700 people that experts determined that high concentration of carbon dioxide in the lakes had caused the suffocating limnic eruptions. Venting pipes were inserted into Lake Monoun to remove the gas and prevent future eruptions. How many lakes in the world are susceptible to this sort of deadly gas release? Discuss
In 1936, convicted rapist Rainey Bethea was sentenced to be hanged in Owensboro, Kentucky, at a time when such hangings were conducted publicly. Because the county sheriff supervising the execution was a woman, the case sparked national press coverage, and up to 20,000 spectators gathered to watch the event, the last of its kind in the US. Two years later, the Kentucky legislature officially put an end to public executions. How did newspaper reports depict the hanging? Discuss
After World War II, the Soviet Union occupied East Berlin while control of West Berlin was split between the US, the UK, and France. From 1949 to 1961, more than 2 million East Germans fled to West Germany to escape Communist rule before the wall was built to stop the tide of defectors. First constructed of barbed wire and erected at night, the barrier was eventually replaced by a concrete structure studded with watchtowers manned by East German soldiers. What was the "Death Strip"? Discuss
While completing naval exercises with dummy torpedoes on August 12, 2000, the Russian submarine Kursk suffered two explosions two minutes and 15 seconds apart. The second explosion registered about a 3.5 on the Richter scale. The blasts destroyed the front hull, and all 118 crew members died. It was initially believed that the entire crew died quickly. However, what evidence later suggested that some survived in another area of the submarine for about four hours after the explosions? Discuss
For a week in 2005, a choking, smog-like haze brought the central part of peninsular Malaysia to a standstill. Air quality was so poor that a state of emergency was declared in the district of Kuala Selangor and the country's major shipping center, Port Klang. Residents were instructed to stay home, and schools were closed. Only supermarkets and essential services remained open. Miraculously, Kuala Lumpur's main airport was unaffected. What was identified as the primary cause of the haze? Discuss
The European heat wave of 2003 resulted in the deaths of more than 40,000 people. In France, where summers are usually very mild and many homes do not have air conditioning, nearly 15,000 people died from heat-related issues—at a time when many physicians were on summer holiday. So many died that undertakers ran out of room in their own facilities and had to keep corpses in off-site warehouses. The UK, meanwhile, suffered through violent storms and experienced what record high temperature? Discuss
Although no working model of his design was ever built, Ames is credited with patenting the first escalator. His idea for the "revolving stairs" was largely speculative. It was not until the 1890s that the first working escalator—called the "inclined elevator"—was produced, based on another's designs. It was installed among the amusements at New York's Coney Island but did not remain a novelty for long. How did shoppers react when Harrods in London debuted its first escalator in 1898? Discuss
On the night of August 7, 1963, a postal train left Glasgow with a High Value Package (HVP) coach containing registered mail and a large sum of money. Before dawn the next morning, the driver sighted a red signal and, not knowing that the light had been tampered with, brought the train to a halt as was protocol. Fifteen robbers descended on the train, attacking the train's operators, restraining the postal workers in the HVP coach, and making off with £2.6 million. Were the robbers ever caught? Discuss
Nicknamed the "Stomping Mare" for her violent kicking of prisoners, Braunsteiner was a Nazi concentration camp guard during WWII. After the war, she spent a brief period in jail for war crimes before marrying an American and becoming a US citizen. In 1964, she was confronted at her home in New York by a reporter tipped off about her past by Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal. When her role in the war came to light, she was stripped of her citizenship and extradited to West Germany. What became of her? Discuss
After Germany surrendered in May 1945, the Allied forces focused on ending the war in the Pacific. Japan refused to surrender, dismissing the Allies' vows to devastate the country. The atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima was the first ever dropped on a populated area. At least 130,000 people were killed, injured, or declared missing, and 90 percent of the city was leveled by the blast. Another atomic bomb was dropped on the city of Nagasaki three days later. When did Japan surrender? Discuss
In the European scramble for African territory in the late 19th century, France took control of the region that is now Burkina Faso. During World War I, however, the area was torn apart by violent opposition to colonial rule. To prevent continued uprisings, it was named a separate territory, Upper Volta, in 1919. When anti-colonial agitation resumed after World War II, the area became a republic, achieving full independence two years later in 1960. After what was "Upper Volta" named? Discuss
In the summer of 1964, young civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner travelled to Mississippi to help African Americans register to vote. On June 21, they disappeared. A month and a half later, the FBI found their bodies buried on a nearby farm. The Neshoba County deputy sheriff and 17 others, all Ku Klux Klan members, were indicted for the crime. Seven were convicted in 1967. One suspect whose trial ended in a hung jury was retried in 2005 and convicted of what? Discuss
The USS Nautilus was the world's first operational nuclear-powered submarine. In 1958, the Nautilus embarked on Operation Sunshine, during which it completed the first submerged journey across the North Pole, resurfacing northeast of Greenland 96 hours later. During the mission, deep ice in the area of the Chukchi Sea forced the Nautilus to turn back temporarily. In the event that the submarine became trapped in ice, what dramatic action did its commander plan to take? Discuss
While on patrol in the Gulf of Tonkin, the USS Maddox was attacked by North Vietnamese torpedo boats. Two days later, US boats were supposedly attacked again without provocation. These events—known collectively as the Gulf of Tonkin Incident—prompted US Congress to pass a resolution allowing President Lyndon B. Johnson to use military force in Southeast Asia without a formal declaration of war, leading to increased US involvement in the Vietnam War. Had there in fact been a second attack? Discuss
On August 1, 1966, University of Texas student and former Marine Charles Whitman stabbed his mother and wife to death. He then took an array of firearms to his university's 307-foot (94-m) clock tower. There, he shot and killed more than a dozen people and wounded at least 30 others before police killed him. In his writings, Whitman expressed regret and confusion over his actions and asked that an autopsy be performed to determine what had caused his behavior. What did the autopsy find? Discuss
Rising 28,251 ft (8,611 m) between China and Pakistan, K2 is the second-highest peak in the world after Mount Everest. Severe storms make K2 more dangerous to climb, however, and it has never been summited in winter. Measured in 1856, it was not summited until nearly 100 years later. In 1954, Italians Achille Compagnoni and Lino Lacedelli reached the top with the help of crew members who carried oxygen to above 26,245 feet (8,000 m). What thwarted an American attempt just one year earlier? Discuss
After delivering parts for the first atomic bomb to a US base in the Pacific, the USS Indianapolis was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine. It sank in 12 minutes. Roughly 300 sailors were killed in the initial attack, and the remaining 900 faced exposure, dehydration, and shark attacks while awaiting rescue. The US Navy only learned of the sinking four days later, when survivors were spotted by a pilot on patrol. In the end, only 316 survived. Why was the ship's captain court-martialed? Discuss
In 1953, during the Cold War, US President Dwight D. Eisenhower proposed the creation of an international body to regulate the use of nuclear power in his "Atoms for Peace" address to the United Nations General Assembly. Four years later, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was established to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy. The IAEA may purchase and sell fissionable materials, and it inspects for compliance with the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Is the IAEA part of the UN? Discuss
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