April 2nd 1962: New pedestrian crossings cause chaos|
A new style of pedestrian crossing has caused confusion among both drivers and pedestrians following its launch in London.
The first Panda crossing was officially opened today in York Road, opposite Waterloo Station in London by the Minister of Transport, Mr Ernest Marples.
He described the crossings, which are being experimented for a year in 45 selected sites across the country, as "a new idea in pedestrian safety".
But the black and white triangular markings with their sequence of flashing lights have caused little more than utter confusion on the roads.
One old lady, who was one of the first pedestrians to use the new crossing in York Road, was not impressed.
She said: "That man Marples is up to too many tricks. It's a hairbrained scheme and most dangerous."
The panda crossing is activated when the pedestrian presses a button that lights up a "wait" sign.
This results in a flashing amber light warning drivers to stop.
After five seconds a pulsating red light tells the driver to stop and a "cross" sign is illuminated indicating to the pedestrian that it is safe to cross the road.
Eight seconds later the red light is replaced by a flashing amber light.
At the same time the "cross" sign begins to flash, at first slowly and then faster to warn the pedestrian that his time to cross the road is running out.
After 17 seconds both lights are extinguished and the driver is free to drive on.
Cars still don't stop as they should on these crossings, only yesterday i witnessed a crossing near me going to amber, and a driver speed up and go through on red lucky i was not crossing. He got his cumuppance a unmarked police car was behind him and pulled him up.
Reply #101. Apr 02 08, 1:05 AM
1898 Adoption of U.S. Naval Academy coat of arms|
Reply #102. Apr 02 08, 6:07 AM
1951 First Navy use of jet aircraft as a bomber, launched from a carrier, USS Princeton.|
Reply #103. Apr 02 08, 6:11 AM
3rd April 1993: Grand National ends in 'shambles'|
The Grand National has ended in chaos after a series of events at the start which reduced the world-famous horse race to a shambles.
An estimated 300 million people around the world were watching the race, held at the Aintree racecourse in Liverpool, live on television, when 30 of the 39 riders failed to realise a false start had been called and set off around the racetrack.
The Jockey Club was forced to declare the race void after several riders completed both laps of the gruelling 30-obstacle course and passed the finish line before they realised their mistake.
Aintree has said it is unlikely the race will be re-run, and bookmakers are faced with repaying the £75 million in bets placed on the race.
Reply #104. Apr 03 08, 12:47 AM
4th April 1968: Martin Luther King shot dead|
The American black civil rights leader, Dr Martin Luther King, has been assassinated.
Dr King was shot dead in the southern US city of Memphis, Tennessee, where he was to lead a march of sanitation workers protesting against low wages and poor working conditions
He was shot in the neck as he stood on a hotel balcony and died in hospital soon afterwards.
Reverend Jesse Jackson was on the balcony with Dr King when the single shot rang out.
"He had just bent over. I reckon if he had been standing up he would not have been hit in the face," said Mr Jackson.
Reply #105. Apr 03 08, 10:24 PM
5th April 1976: Billionaire Howard Hughes dies|
Eccentric American billionaire Howard Hughes has died aged 70.
One of the world's richest men, Mr Hughes was best known as a movie magnate, aviation pioneer and businessman.
He had spent the last 20 years out of the public eye living as a recluse in hotel penthouses around the world.
He died on a plane flying him from Acapulco, Mexico, to Houston, in Texas, for medical treatment at the Methodist Hospital.
There has been much speculation in the media about his lifestyle.
Some reports say he had a phobia of germs that kept him out of contact with the outside world - in darkened rooms, eating little and wearing nothing for fear of catching a disease.
He is believed to have lived on the top floor of the Xanadu Princess Hotel in Freeport, Bahamas, since 1973.
Before that he had spent a few months in a penthouse at London's Inn on the Park and some years in Managua, Nicaragua.
From 1966 until 1970 he occupied the top floor of the Desert Inn in Las Vegas where he bought several properties, casinos and mining claims.
Reply #106. Apr 07 08, 12:56 AM
April 6th 1968: United States erupts in race violence|
Dozens of major cities in the United States have been rocked by an escalation in the race riots which began two days ago.
At least 19 people have died so far in the arson, looting and shootings provoked by the assassination of black civil rights leader Martin Luther King on 4 April.
Several hundred have also been injured and about 3,000 people have been arrested - most of those in Washington DC.
Curfews are in place in many areas of the country and National Guard soldiers have been mobilised to help quell the violence which is threatening to engulf the US in a race war.
Twelve thousand troops in the nation's capital were called on to help protect fire fighters tackling at least eight blazes started by rioters.
Other fires started in Chicago were accompanied by looting and sniping, and at least 20 buildings have been completely destroyed.
There have also been 38 arson attacks in Detroit, shootings reported in Pittsburgh and a four-hour gun battle at Tennessee State Univers
Reply #107. Apr 07 08, 12:57 AM
April 7th 1999: US claims 'banana war' victory|
The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has ruled in favour of the United States in its long-running trade dispute with Europe over bananas.
The WTO says the European Union (EU) has broken international rules on trade but Brussels says it may appeal.
The banana row centres on the preferential treatment allegedly given by the EU to banana producers from former African, Caribbean and Pacific colonies at the expense of Latin American growers and their US backers.
The WTO was asked last month to rule on whether the EU had done enough to amend its import regime and whether retaliatory American sanctions were legitimate.
Washington had sought $520m (£330m) in retaliatory sanctions as compensation for lost business in Europe
However, the WTO awarded only $191m (£120m).
Reply #108. Apr 07 08, 12:59 AM
April 8th 1994: Rock musician Kurt Cobain 'shoots himself'|
The lead-singer of American grunge rock band Nirvana, Kurt Cobain, has been found dead in his Seattle home.
The 27-year-old rock star had a single gunshot wound to the head. A gun and suicide note were found nearby.
It appeared he had been dead for at least 34 hours when his body was discovered by an electrician who was carrying out repairs at the musician's house. Mr Cobain's mother, Wendy O'Connor, said she had not heard from him for six days.
The troubled singer, whose band achieved global fame with the release of its album Nevermind in 1991, survived a drug and alcohol-induced coma in Rome last month.
Reply #109. Apr 08 08, 12:44 AM
April 9th 2003: Saddam statue topples with regime|
There have been scenes of jubilation in Baghdad as US tanks rolled into the very heart of the Iraqi capital, confirming that the government of Saddam Hussein has been ousted from power.
In the main square in Baghdad, a group of Iraqi men attempted to pull down a massive statue of Saddam Hussein in an unprecedented show of contempt for the Iraqi leader.
The metal plaque at the base of the statue was torn off and the statue's marble plinth attacked with a sledgehammer.
The men scaled the statue to secure a noose around its neck but were unable to pull it down.
Then US troops joined in, and used an armoured vehicle to gradually pull down the statue.
The extraordinary scenes were watched by millions across the world live on television.
The square is opposite the Palestine Hotel, used as a base by the world's media during the war in Iraq.
A little before the statue came down, a US soldier climbed up and draped the face with a US flag.
The crowd did not welcome the move, seeing it as a step too far towards American triumphalism, and the flag was quickly removed.
i cant believe its been 5 years since saddam was toppled and both British troops and American are still dying for What?
Reply #110. Apr 09 08, 4:10 AM
10th April 1981: Hunger striker elected MP|
Imprisoned IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands has been elected to Westminster as the MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone.
Sands stood as a candidate of the "Anti-H Block" campaign - the section of the Maze prison in Belfast reserved for republicans and loyalists convicted of terrorist offences.
He won just over 52% of the vote in the Northern Ireland by-election compared to 49% for the candidate of the Official Unionist party, Harry West.
Sands' winning margin was 1,400 but over 3,000 ballot papers were spoiled.
Recriminations have already begun over his victory.
Unionist parties have come under fire for not mounting an effective challenge.
There has also been sharp criticism of the failure of the moderate Catholic Social Democratic and Labour Party to contest the seat.
Reply #111. Apr 10 08, 12:43 AM
11th April 1961: Nazi war crimes trial begins|
The trial has begun in Israel of the man accused of helping Hitler in his plan to exterminate the Jews.
Adolf Eichmann faces 15 charges, including crimes against humanity, crimes against the Jewish people and war crimes.
He sat in a bullet-proof glass dock flanked by two guards specially chosen because their families had not suffered directly at the hands of the Nazis.
The three judges hearing the case in Jerusalem were all refugees from the Nazi regime in Germany.
The charges were read out in Hebrew by chief judge Mr Justice Moshe Landau and translated into German for the prisoner.
It took one hour and 15 minutes to list all the details of the charges against Adolf Eichmann during which time the 55-year-old stood stiffly in the dock.
Reply #112. Apr 11 08, 12:45 AM
April 12th 1961: Soviets win space race|
The Soviet Union has beaten the USA in the race to get the first man into space.
At just after 0700BST, Major Yuri Alexeyevich Gagarin was fired from the Baikonur launch pad in Kazakhstan, Soviet central Asia, in the space craft Vostok (East).
Major Gagarin orbited the Earth for 108 minutes travelling at more than 17,000 miles per hour (27,000 kilometres per hour) before landing at an undisclosed location.
The Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev has congratulated Major Gagarin on his achievement.
He sent the cosmonaut a message from his holiday home on the Black Sea.
"The flight made by you opens up a new page in the history of mankind in its conquest of space," Mr Khrushchev said.
The Soviet news agency, Tass, made the first official announcement of Major Gagarin's flight at just before 0800BST.
Reply #113. Apr 12 08, 12:50 AM
April 13th 1964: Poitier breaks new ground with Oscar win|
The acting profession's top award has gone to a black actor for the first time.
Sidney Poitier won the best actor Oscar for his role in Lilies of the Field.
In the film, released last year, he played construction worker Homer Smith whom a group of nuns believe was sent to them by God to build their church.
The only other black person to win an Oscar was the best supporting actress award given to Hattie McDaniel in 1939 for her role in Gone with the Wind.
Alongside 'Rat Pack' actor Sammy Davis Jnr and, earlier, Paul Robeson, Poitier is one of only a handful of black men to gain recognition in Hollywood for roles not involving singing or dancing.
Reply #114. Apr 13 08, 1:46 AM
I turned 57. But still going strong. As long as I can remember. Or not.|
Reply #115. Apr 13 08, 5:08 AM
14th April 1970: Critical explosion cripples Apollo 13|
An explosion on board Apollo 13 has caused one of the most critical situations in American space history and put the lives of the three astronauts on board in severe jeopardy.
The explosion happened in the fuel cells of the spacecraft's service module approximately 56 hours after lift-off.
This resulted in the loss of Apollo 13's main power supply which means oxygen and water reserves are now critically low.
The safety of the three astronauts, Captain James Lovell, Jack Swigert and Fred Haise, is uncertain although Nasa is hoping emergency contingency plans will ensure their safe return.
The cause of the explosion is not yet clear although it is understood it could have been the result of a meteorite crashing into the service module.
It is unlikely the exact cause will ever be ascertained as the service module will burn up before the spacecraft's re-entry into the earth's atmosphere.
The crew are currently surviving on the emergency battery power supply of the lunar module, Aquarius.
If the accident had occurred after the lunar module had been detached for the moon landing, the astronauts would have faced certain death.
Reply #116. Apr 14 08, 12:47 AM
15th April 1945: British troops liberate Bergen-Belsen|
British troops have entered the German concentration camp of Bergen-Belsen.
Inside the camp the horrified soldiers found piles of dead and rotting corpses and thousands of sick and starving prisoners kept in severely overcrowded and dirty compounds.
Belsen, near Hanover in Germany, is the first concentration camp to be liberated by the British. Details of the conditions inside are likely to horrify a public which until now has only heard limited descriptions from the camps in Poland freed by the Red Army.
The first British soldiers who entered Bergen-Belsen have described seeing a huge pile of dead, naked women's bodies within full view of several hundred children held at the camp.
Reply #117. Apr 15 08, 1:02 AM
16th April 1964: 'Great Train Robbers' get 300 years|
Some of the longest sentences in British criminal history have been imposed on men involved in the so-called "Great Train Robbery".
Sentences totalling 307 years were passed on 12 men who stole £2.6m in used bank notes after holding up the night mail train travelling from Glasgow to London last August.
The judge at Buckinghamshire Assizes in Aylesbury, Mr Justice Edmund Davies, said it would be "positively evil" if he showed leniency.
The robbery was the biggest-ever carried out in Britain.
The scale and style of the theft led to comparisons with rail robberies of the Wild West and the hunt for the perpetrators captured the public imagination.
But the judge said the robbers' crime had in no way been "romantic" and was obviously motivated by greed.
The attack on train driver Jack Mills was proof of their violent tendencies, he added.
"Anybody who has seen that nerve-shattered engine driver can have no doubt of the terrifying effect on law-abiding citizens of a concerted assault by armed robbers," the judge said.
Reply #118. Apr 16 08, 12:58 AM
April 17th 1984: Libyan embassy shots kill policewoman|
A police officer has been killed and ten people injured after shots were fired from the Libyan People's Bureau in central London.
WPC Yvonne Fletcher had been helping control a small demonstration outside the embassy when automatic gunfire came from outside.
She received a fatal stomach wound and some of the demonstrators were also severely injured.
WPC Fletcher, 25, died soon afterwards at Westminster Hospital.
Her fiancé, another police officer who was also at the demonstration, was at her side.
After the shooting people were cleared from surrounding offices in St James' Square.
Some had witnessed events from their workplace.
Film maker Ray Barker said people were stunned by what had happened.
"Several of my colleagues burst into tears. It was unbelievable that sort of thing could happen at such an insignificant demonstration," he said.
Reply #119. Apr 17 08, 7:55 AM
18th April 1955: Albert Einstein dies|
Albert Einstein has died in hospital in Princeton, New Jersey, aged 76.
The eminent scientist and originator of the theory of relativity was admitted to hospital three days ago with an internal complaint.
In recent years Dr Einstein had lived a secluded life although he was still a member of staff at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University.
In a statement issued following the scientist's death, US President Dwight Eisenhower said: "No other man contributed so much to the vast expansion of the 20th century knowledge.
"Yet no other man was more modest in the possession of the power that is knowledge, more sure that power without wisdom is deadly.
"To all who live in the nuclear age, Albert Einstein exemplified the mighty creative ability of the individual in a free society."
Reply #120. Apr 18 08, 1:21 AM
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