3rd January 2000: Art theft was 'professional' job|
Police have said the Cezanne painting taken from the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford on New Year's Eve was probably stolen to order.
The painting - Auvers-sur-Oise - was bought by the Ashmolean in 1980 and is said to be worth £3m.
It was the museum's only work by French impressionist Paul Cezanne and was integral to their collection of art from that period, which included works by Monet, Van Gogh and Picasso.
Superintendent John Carr of Oxford Police said: "Whoever has taken this painting has given some thought to how to steal it. The person has some reason for it and some outlet for it."
Thieves entered the gallery through the glass roof, via scaffolding around a new library extension being added to the building.
The Ashmolean, which is the oldest public museum in the world, maintains that its security systems did not fail. But the thieves used smoke canisters to set off fire alarms and cause enough confusion to escape with the prized landscape.
Museum director Christopher Brown said: "Cezanne played an absolutely key role in the representation of a key period in 19th century painting and it really is a great blow to us and the way in which we can display that moment in Western painting."
Police are circulating details of the painting internationally in the hope that its whereabouts can be traced. They are also appealing for any New Year revellers that witnessed anything suspicious on the night of the crime to come forward.
The work is an oil on canvas depicting a group of small, white cottages in a lush, tree-filled valley. It was framed and measured 18 by 22 inches.
Reply #401. Jan 05 09, 2:43 AM
4th January 1958: Explorer Hillary arrives at South Pole|
Sir Edmund Hillary has reached the South Pole - the first overland explorer to do so since Captain Robert F Scott's expedition in 1912.
The New Zealander and his team arrived safely after travelling 70 miles (113km) through mist and poor weather conditions.
They described seeing the round tower of the South Pole for the first time as a "black blob" on the horizon.
Sir Edmund and his colleagues had only one drum of petrol left when they sighted the Polar base. This would have been enough for the "tractor train" to travel 20 miles (32km).
Earlier, the explorer had said fuel consumption was the party's main worry and that the team were "cutting it fine" because of very soft snow. Members of the team had to use shovels to clear a path for their tractors.
It took the tractor train, which included three tractors, a caboose and two sledges, more than 80 days to complete the 1,200-mile (1,930km) journey.
Sir Edmund was reportedly enthusiastic ahead of his arrival at the South Pole, and had told colleagues of heavy going in snow with a consistency of sugar, although he said good progress had been made.
In the final leg of the journey, the sky was overcast and there was no sun to warm the polar plateau. The party had to travel in "white-out" conditions for most of the time, with Sir Edmund telling Scott Base by radio: "It is tough, but not too tough."
The explorer later thanked his team, which included Ron Balham, Peter Mulgrew, Murray Ellis, Jim Bates and Derek Wright, and everyone involved in the expedition to the South Pole.
A broadcast message congratulating the triumphant group has been sent by New Zealand Prime Minister Walter Nash. All the explorers have spent 16 hours sleeping following their gruelling journey.
Crossing the polar plateau has led to several problems for Sir Edmund and the others in his party, including engine failure and poor weather conditions such as low cloud and strong winds, plus the hidden danger of crevasses.
Meanwhile, Sir Vivian Fuchs - director of the British Antarctic Survey - has reported a significant advance to about 200 miles (322km) from the Pole, and hopes to advance by around 50 miles (80km) per day. The two parties, approaching from opposite directions, had originally intended to link up on the Scott Base side of the South Pole.
Both teams of explorers were able to report progress by radio to the outside world and also made radio contact with each other to discuss future plans. They were also helped by the Beaver aircraft of the Royal New Zealand Air Force.
Sir Edmund Hillary's team is one of two Commonwealth Antarctic Expeditions.There are also 10 other national expeditions currently exploring the vast Antartic continent.
Since October 1956, the Americans have had a station at the geographical pole, with 20 men there at any one time. Russia has five bases - including the biggest in the Antarctic, which is at Mirny.
Reply #402. Jan 05 09, 2:45 AM
January 5th 1952: Churchill renews 'special relationship'|
The British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, has arrived in the United States for an official visit, his first since re-election last October.
He arrived in New York on board the liner Queen Mary earlier today and was welcomed by Mayor Impelliterri before being taken to Long Island for a flight to Washington.
Mr Churchill, who was returned to power last year following six years in opposition, is anxious to maintain what is called the "special relationship" between Britain and the US.
In a brief news conference before boarding his flight, he spoke of his hopes for peace and also of Britain's ties with the US.
He said: "It is of great importance when a new government comes in in our country that those who have the grave responsibility of guiding it, like Mr Eden and myself, should get in touch at an early stage with our American friends and colleagues.
"Our two governments must understand each other's points of view and do all we can to work together for the common cause, trusting we will be able to build up that common understanding and intimacy which enabled us to go through safely in the past and without which no full settlement of new problems can be reached."
Mr Churchill arrived in Washington where he was welcomed officially by President Harry S Truman.
Mr Truman also spoke of the close ties between Britain, the Commonwealth and the United States.
"Great Britain and the Commonwealth and the United States are the closest of friends and you and I want to keep it that way," he said.
Mr Churchill thanked the president. "It is always a great joy to me to come to the United States," he said, "where I have many and ancient connections and I look forward very much indeed to renewing the comradeship which grew up during the struggles of the war."
The two men then retired for lunch at Blair House. A number of other government officials were present for the meal including Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden, US Secretary of State Dean Acheson, and Chief of Staff Admiral William Leahy.
After lunch the prime minister and the president went on board the presidential yacht Williamsburg for informal talks which lasted about two hours.
Reports prior to Mr Churchill's arrival suggested relations between the two leaders may be strained by some differences of opinion over policy in the Middle and Far East, as well as aspects of defence policy and the supply of American steel.
A spokesman said later the talks had "covered a wide range of topics" and "clarified the atmosphere" for the formal discussions which will begin on Monday.
Tomorrow (Sunday) Mr Churchill will have lunch at the Pentagon with the Secretary of Defense Robert Lovett.
Reply #403. Jan 05 09, 2:47 AM
6th January 1994: Mystery assailant attacks top US skater|
An unknown man brandishing a metal crowbar has attacked American figure-skater Nancy Kerrigan.
The 24-year-old skater was forced to withdraw from the US national championships in Detroit after the incident, which left her with severe bruising to her right knee.
The competition was expected to decide who would represent the United States in the forthcoming winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, next month. But that now hangs in the balance.
Normally the top two finishers in these championships would qualify for the Olympics, although the US Figure Skating Association does have some discretion in the electoral process.
'Screaming and sobbing'
The attack happened as Ms Kerrigan, who won a bronze medal in the 1992 Olympics, was leaving the ice after a practice session at Cobo Hall, Detroit.
An eye-witness said: "Before she could say anything, a guy ran by, crouched down, whacked her on the knee and kept running.
"Nancy just dropped and started screaming and sobbing."
Ms Kerrigan's agent, Jerry Solomon said: "Nancy sustained quite a blow, physically and mentally.
"This could really affect her mental approach which is so important on the ice."
Police investigating the incident have been told by witnesses that the attacker had been video-taping Ms Kerrigan as she skated before he struck.
It is understood that he was wearing official credentials around his neck but detectives still have no identification.
The attack comes just eight months after tennis player Monica Seles was stabbed by a spectator with a kitchen knife as she played on a court in Hamburg, Germany.
Reply #404. Jan 06 09, 5:16 AM
7th January 1965: Krays in custody over menace charge|
Identical twin brothers Ronald and Reginald Kray have been remanded in custody charged in connection with running a protection racket in London.
The brothers, described in court as company directors of the Glenrae Hotel, in Seven Sisters Road, North London, have been charged with demanding money with menaces in the County of London between 1 October 1964 and 6 January 1965.
The twins, who are 31, were distinguishable in court only by their clothes. Ronald wore a dark suit and Reginald a light one.
They have been remanded in custody for a week to give police time to make more arrests in connection with the case.
Officers arrested the brothers at the Glenrae Hotel last night.
You have been after us long enough
Detective Chief Superintendent Frederick Gerrard told Old Street magistrates' court he and a number of other officers had gone to the hotel the previous evening at 2115.
They found the brothers in the basement bar of the hotel, where they were cautioned, before being taken to Highbury Vale police station and later to City Road police station.
When they were told they would be charged, Ronald Kray said: "It's taken you long enough. You have been after us long enough."
Superintendent Gerrard said he objected to bail because there were two other men involved who had not yet been arrested.
He continued: "If they are granted bail I feel sure that we would be impeded in our endeavours to trace these men, and that essential witnesses will be intimidated by these men or friends acting for them."
Victor Durand QC, who is defending the brothers, said they did not know from whom they were supposed to have demanded money - nor how much money was involved.
"One does not know whether the amount is 5s, £5 or £50," he said.
On the direction of magistrate Neil MacElliot, Superintendent Gerrard wrote the name of the person at the centre of the case on a piece of paper and passed it to him.
But Mr MacElliot ruled the sums involved did not need to be disclosed at this stage of proceedings.
Agreeing to the police request to keep the brothers in custody, Mr MacElliot said: "I am satisfied, as far as I can be at this stage, that there are other persons at large who are in a position to, and will perhaps be in a better position to, interfere with witnesses and to impede the investigation were you at large."
Reply #405. Jan 07 09, 1:44 AM
8th January 2001: Bulger killers win anonymity for life|
The identities and whereabouts of the two boys who murdered toddler James Bulger in 1993 are to be kept secret for the rest of their lives, the High Court has ruled.
Lawyers for Jon Venables and Robert Thompson - who were both aged 10 when they committed the murder - successfully argued that their anonymity should be protected by law after their release, which could be in a few months' time.
The decision was based on fears that the boys would become victims of revenge attacks if information about their new identities became known.
Last October the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Woolf, effectively ended the boys' sentence after eight years in secure accommodation, ruling that they should be considered for immediate parole rather than transfer to the "corrosive atmosphere" of young offenders' institutions.
Public opinion 'running high'
In her ruling on the boys' anonymity, Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss said there was "the real possibility of serious physical harm and possibly death from vengeful members of the public and from the Bulger family".
A family friend of the Bulgers, Lesley Halligan, reacted angrily to the court ruling. She said: "Public opinion is running very high and the fact that they are getting new identities and total anonymity paid for by the taxpayers' money is totally wrong."
The ban on identifying the boys only covers publication in England and Wales.
On 12 February 1993, Venables and Thompson abducted two-year-old James from a shopping centre in Bootle, near Liverpool, before battering him to death and leaving his body on a railway line.
The case provoked widespread public anger and outrage, and the boys were placed in a secure detention unit.
Reply #406. Jan 08 09, 1:03 PM
January 9th 1972: Miners strike against government|
Coal miners walked out at midnight in their first national strike for almost 50 years.
Three months of negotiations with the National Coal Board ended in deadlock four days ago with an offer of 7.9% on the table and the promise of a backdated deal for an increase in productivity.
The 280,000 mineworkers signalled their determination to break the Government's unofficial eight per cent pay ceiling by refusing to put the offer to the vote.
They are looking for an increase of up to £9 a week - on an average take home wage of £25.
Miners have been observing an overtime ban since 1 November in support of their pay claim, which the NCB estimates has already cost the industry £20m.
Yesterday, the NCB announced it was withdrawing its pay offer as it became clear the miners were intent on striking.
NCB Chairman, Derek Ezra, said: "If we had granted the £120m they had asked for and thus presumably satisfied the mineworkers, we would have landed ourselves in a very serious financial situation.
"The only way of recouping that money would then have been to put prices up and we would have had to put the price of coal up by at least another 15%."
Mr Ezra said the strike would mean up to £12m a week in lost revenue - and therefore calculations on which previous pay offers had been made were invalid.
The Trades Union Congress (TUC) is holding meetings at the weekend to discuss support for the strike among transport unions.
The General Secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers, Lawrence Daly, has predicted coal stocks will quickly run down.
"Industrialists in this country will be pressing the Government to get the door open for serious talks," he added.
Three-quarters of the electricity used in the United Kingdom comes from coal-burning power stations.
The strike comes at a time when the stations are facing long periods of peak demand during the cold weather.
All 289 pits across the country have been closed by the strike. Miners say they are prepared for a long fight.
A south Wales miner said: "We are going into this now, not thinking it's going to be over in a week or a fortnight. We are determined to win this battle however long it may take."
Reply #407. Jan 09 09, 1:46 AM
10th January 1957: Macmillan becomes Prime Minister|
Harold Macmillan has accepted the Queen's invitation to become prime minister following the sudden resignation of Sir Anthony Eden.
The appointment was officially announced from Buckingham Palace this afternoon after the Queen had held meetings with Tory elders Sir Winston Churchill and the Marquess of Salisbury.
In a televised speech this evening, Mr Macmillan, 62, said: "We have a difficult task before us in this country - all of us.
"It will need all our courage and strength, and we shall need the sympathy, good will and understanding of everyone in the country, whatever their party or beliefs."
'Greatest possible success'
Sir Anthony Eden resigned yesterday on the grounds of ill health in the wake of the Suez crisis.
Many had expected his deputy, Rab Butler, to succeed him but it is understood his views on the Suez crisis would have split the Conservative party.
Accepting the decision gracefully, Mr Butler, 54, today pledged his support to the new prime minister and wished him "the greatest possible success".
Opposition leader Hugh Gaitskell, who is currently on a lecture tour of the United States, has called for an immediate general election but this has been rejected by Harold Macmillan.
Born in 1894 to an American mother and British father, Harold Macmillan served in WWI. He was wounded three times and received the Military Cross.
He was educated at Eton and Balliol College, Oxford before beginning his political career in 1924, when he was elected MP for Stockton-on-Tees.
In 1938 he published his book "The Middle Way", which advocated a wide extension of social enterprise and credit.
He was also one of the first supporters of the United Europe movement.
From 1940 he served in Churchill's war cabinet.
He was appointed Minister of Housing in 1951 and was very successful in this post, keeping to his pledge of building 300,000 houses a year.
In 1954 he became Minster of Defence, before being appointed Foreign Secretary in 1955 and most recently Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Mr Macmillan, who is married with four children, has vowed to repair damaged relations with the US and the UN following the Suez crisis.
Reply #408. Jan 10 09, 2:17 AM
11th January 1962: Thousands killed in Peru landslide|
At least 2,000 people are believed to have been killed after a massive avalanche of rocks and ice buried an entire mountain village and several settlements in north-west Peru.
Last night millions of tons of snow, rocks, mud and debris tumbled down the extinct volcano of Huascaran, Peru's highest mountain in the Andes range.
The village of Ranrahirca and its inhabitants was totally destroyed along with eight other towns. The mayor Alfonso Caballero said only about 50 of its 500 inhabitants survived. "In eight minutes Ranrahirca was wiped off the map," he said.
Relief efforts are being hampered by the very storms that started the devastating landslide, but there are believed to be few survivors.
Wall of rock and ice
Colonel Umberto Ampuera, head of emergency services, said the disaster was "like a scene from Dante's Inferno".
He appealed to the Peruvian Government for aid to restore stricken communications and reach anyone who escaped the landslide.
Two Peruvian Air Force planes have carried relief supplies to the area and troops have been sent there to open up roads to Ranrahica and other areas cut off by the avalanche.
A massive wall of ice and rocks, about 12 metres (40ft) high and 1km (1,000 yards) high, roared down the River Santa. The river rose by eight metres (26ft) carrying with it everything in its path down the Rio Santa valley.
Bodies have been found at the port of Chimbote, 60 miles from the scene of the tragedy, where the river meets the sea.
Help from United Nations
The President of the Peruvian Red Cross, Roberto Thorndike, estimated between 2,000 and 2,500 people were killed.
But local authorities believe the death toll is higher - between 3,000 and 4,000 people.
The region is prone to major avalanches at this time of year when glaciers melt and break off sliding through the "quebracas" (deep canyons) in the valley below.
U Thant, the acting United Nations Secretary General, has offered Peru aid to alleviate the situation.
In a telegram to President Manuel Prado he said representatives of the UN technical assistance board and the UN children's fund would be ready to give any help required of them.
Reply #409. Jan 11 09, 6:58 AM
January 12th 1971: British minister's home bombed|
Two bombs have exploded at the Hertfordshire home of Employment Secretary Robert Carr causing serious damage.
The first device went off soon after 2200, near the kitchen of the house in Barnet, where moments earlier Mr Carr's wife Joan had been preparing some drinks.
The second went off a few minutes later. A policeman answering an emergency call after the first explosion was blown off his feet as he hurried towards the house.
The explosions blew out windows and extensively damaged the ground floor of the house.
Mr Carr, his wife and their youngest daughter, Virginia, 13, left the house after the first explosion and took cover in a neighbour's home. No-one was hurt.
The blasts came after a day of protest against the new industrial relations bill.
Mr Carr described what happened: "I had just opened my dispatch box to do my evening's work and there was this loud explosion.
"The windows in the room we were in weren't blown in, but it was obvious we could hear other windows blown in and when we looked out into the hall, the front door had been blown open."
He said it was too soon to say who had planted the bomb and refused to be drawn on whether the attack could have anything to do with the industrial relations bill.
Mr Carr added: "I think it would be wrong to associate this with anything at the moment.
"The police are investigating and until they've investigated it would really be very foolish and wrong to suggest anything at all."
Mr Carr has been the chief negotiator with the unions over the industrial relations bill, which passed its second reading in the Commons on 15 December.
The government hopes to reduce industrial disruption by introducing the idea of strike ballots and a cooling off period before any action is taken. There are also proposals aimed at limiting the practice of closed shop agreements.
Labour and the unions claim the proposals are too restrictive and infringe workers' freedoms.
Reply #410. Jan 12 09, 2:06 AM
13th January 2004: Serial killer Shipman found hanged|
Harold Shipman, the former GP who is believed to have killed more than 200 people, has been found dead in his prison cell.
He was found hanging by a bed sheet strung around the bars of his cell at Wakefield Prison at 0620 GMT. Prison staff tried to revive him but he was pronounced dead at 0810 GMT.
Shipman, who hanged himself in his cell on the eve of his 58th birthday, was one of 563 inmates at the jail, regarded as one of the UK's best high-security prisons.
Prison officials have described his death as an "apparent suicide" and added he was taken off suicide watch 18 months ago. Shipman was on a standard security watch at the West Yorkshire jail at the time of his death.
The Prison Service said Shipman was "showing no signs whatsoever of pre-suicidal behaviour at all". The 57-year-old was behaving normally and there was "absolutely no indication" of the events to come, according to a spokeswoman.
Shortly after 1100 GMT, an undertaker's van took Shipman's body from Wakefield prison to the Medico Legal Centre in Sheffield for a post-mortem and formal identification.
Prisons Minister Paul Goggins said prisons ombudsman Stephen Shaw would carry out an investigation into Shipman's death. A separate police and coroner inquiry will also be carried out.
Shipman was jailed for life at Preston Crown Court in January 2000 for murdering 15 patients.
The murders took place between 1975 and 1998 with the victims dying from lethal injections administered by the doctor. His oldest victim was a 93-year-old woman and the youngest a 41-year-old man.
Dame Janet Smith, who ran the ensuing Shipman inquiry, reported in 2002 that she believed that over a period of 23 years he had killed 215 patients and there was a "real suspicion" that he had killed another 45.
Shipman was serving 15 concurrent life sentences and had been told by the government he would never be allowed parole.
He had shown no remorse for - nor ever admitted to - his crimes, insisting he always delivered appropriate treatment to his patients. He was planning an appeal of the convictions when he died.
There have been calls for an investigation into how such a notorious inmate was apparently able to kill himself.
For 23 years, Shipman had convinced people in the close-knit Manchester suburb of Hyde that he was a good family doctor.
The GP preyed mainly on elderly women living alone as his victims and he often administered lethal injections on home visits. He worked for many years as a solo GP, free from the scrutiny of other doctors.
Shipman stockpiled diamorphine by issuing false prescriptions and retaining leftover supplies from patients, helped by an inadequate system for monitoring controlled drugs.
Over Christmas 2003, Shipman was put on "basic privileges" after he was uncooperative with staff. He would have had to wear prison uniform and would have had no TV in his cell. He was moved back to the "standard privilege" level a week before he died.
An inquest into the death of mass murderer Harold Shipman is due to be held in April 2005.
A spokesman for the coroner said the resumed inquest would be at Leeds Crown Court on April 11, and was expected to last two weeks.
Two post-mortems have provisionally concluded Shipman's death was consistent with being hanged by a ligature.
His body was released for cremation but it has never been retrieved from a mortuary in Sheffield.
Shipman's family are understood to have doubts that he took his own life and believe his corpse has unexplained injuries.
But a Home Office spokesman said: "We can't comment until we receive the results of the coroner's inquest and independent investigation into Harold Shipman's death."
Reply #411. Jan 13 09, 2:10 AM
January 14th 1975: Heiress Lesley Whittle kidnapped|
A 17-year-old heiress has been kidnapped from her home in Shropshire.
Lesley Whittle, left £82,000 in her father's will, was snatched from her bed at the family home in Highley.
Her mother was asleep in the house at the time.
Police were called in after Lesley's brother, Ronald, received a ransom demand for £50,000.
The Whittle family run one of the biggest private coach companies in the country, based at Highley and Kidderminster.
Ronald Whittle followed the kidnapper's instructions to take the money to a telephone box and await further instructions there, but he was late making the rendez-vous and no-one came to meet him.
'Kidnapping only explanation'
Hundreds of police are now scouring the area for clues. They have begun door-to-door inquiries and sniffer dogs are also being used.
Police say they are treating the ransom demand as a possible hoax.
But they are still hopeful of finding Lesley alive.
Lesley's boyfriend says kidnapping is "the only possible explanation" for her disappearance.
Reply #412. Jan 14 09, 11:07 AM
15th January 1997: Princess Diana sparks landmines row|
Princess Diana has angered government ministers after calling for an international ban on landmines.
Her comments - made during a visit to Angola to see for herself some of the victims of landmines - are being seen as out of step with government policy.
The Junior Defence Minister, Earl Howe, has described the princess as a "loose cannon", ill-informed on the issue of anti-personnel landmines.
Although he is now seeking to distance himself from the criticism, other Conservative backbenchers have been more outspoken.
Peter Viggers, Tory member of the defence select committee, said: "We all know landmines and other weapons are vicious and nasty. The question is how best to negotiate so they are not used in future.
"The government's policy on this has been an extremely careful one and the statements made by the Princess of Wales have not been in line with that policy."
The government is involved in international negotiations for a worldwide ban on landmines, but in the meantime the army is still using them.
The princess has insisted the row over her comments is a distraction and all she was trying to do was help.
She is in Angola as a guest of the International Red Cross, which has been pressing for a landmine ban.
Labour has welcomed the intervention by the princess. It is backing calls for an international moratorium on the use of anti-personnel mines.
Shadow defence spokesman, David Clark, said: "I think we should all welcome the fact she has gone to Angola and she has tried to warn the world of the dangers of these terrible weapons. I think we should be applauding what she's doing."
Reply #413. Jan 15 09, 9:40 AM
16th January 1979: Shah of Iran flees into exile|
The Shah of Iran has fled the country following months of increasingly violent protests against his regime.
Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlevi and his wife, Empress Farah, left Tehran and flew to Aswan in Egypt.
The couple's three youngest children were flown to the United States yesterday.
Official reports say the Shah has left for a "vacation" and medical treatment. In fact, he was asked to leave by the man he appointed prime minister earlier this month.
Over the past few months, there have been an increasing number of violent clashes between security forces and anti-Shah demonstrators.
Opposition to the Shah has become united behind the Muslim traditionalist movement led by Iran's main spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeini, from exile in France.
There have been calls for the Ayatollah's return - and news of the Shah's departure was greeted with mass celebrations across Iran.
British and United States' ex-patriates living in Iran - regarded as symbols of westernization - have been the frequent target of attacks. Thousands have left the country.
Martial law was declared in many cities on 8 September. But later that month, industrial action by thousands of Iranian workers culminated in a mass strike by employees in the oil industry.
The strike sparked riots and rallies across the country in support of the Ayatollah.
Western governments, like the US, UK and West Germany, have continued to express support for the Shah.
The Shah appointed a new military government in early November. But it failed to stem the rising tide of support for the Ayatollah.
Earlier this month he appointed a new prime minister, Dr Shapur Bahktiar. When, on 13 January, the Ayatollah declared a revolutionary Islamic council to replace what he called the "illegal government" of Iran, Dr Bahktiar persuaded the Shah it was time to leave.
Reply #414. Jan 16 09, 1:43 AM
17th January 1994: Massive earthquake hits Los Angeles|
A huge earthquake has rocked Los Angeles, killing more than 20 people.
The earthquake, which measured 6.6 on the Richter scale and lasted for 40 seconds, struck at 0431 local time (1231 GMT).
More than 1,000 people have been injured and the death toll is expected to rise as rescuers continue to pull bodies from collapsed buildings.
Mayor of Los Angeles Richard Riordan has declared a state of emergency and an evening curfew has been imposed.
The airport has been closed due to a lack of power and doctors are having to perform surgery in the open air because hospital buildings are severely damaged.
'Stay home, stay calm'
The area worst hit is reported to have been the San Fernando Valley where the quake is likely to have affected up to three million people.
Los Angeles emergency services are stretched to the limit and using heat detecting cameras and listening equipment to trace signs of life beneath the rubble.
One of the city's fire fighters, Grove Lumas, said it was fortunate the quake had struck during the night.
He said: "If this had happened in the middle of the day we would have been stacking up the bodies."
Experts are warning of potential aftershocks and police have issued a statement warning of isolated cases of looting.
The authorities have told residents to "stay home" and "stay calm".
Reply #415. Jan 17 09, 2:32 AM
18th January, 2009. |
One year ago today, Professer started this thread! Always a thread I look forward to reading. Thanks Professer and good work.
Reply #416. Jan 18 09, 12:25 AM
18th January 1972: Rhodesia's former leader arrested|
Two leading white campaigners for black majority rule in Rhodesia have been arrested.
The former Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia, Garfield Todd, and his daughter, Judith, were seized after violence erupted over Anglo-Rhodesian plans for independence.
No reason was given for their arrests, but Mr Todd has a ranch in Shabani, which is recognised as a hotbed of nationalist activity. Last week, police shot dead a man and nine others were injured after 400 miners rioted.
The trouble began with the arrival on 11 January of members of the Pearce Commission, appointed by the British government to test public opinion to the settlement proposals.
The plans include a massive injection of British development aid and money for education, linked to more votes for black Rhodesians. There is also provision for black majority rule in the future, but most black Rhodesians want it now.
The Pearce Commission has been holding hearings around the country to explain the proposals and listen to public opinion.
A decision to abandon the hearings in the city of Gwelo because of the violence, sparked another big demonstration which police had to break up using tear gas.
On 18 January, Prime Minister Ian Smith retaliated against the demonstrators by ordering the arrests of Mr Todd and his daughter.
Mr Todd was ousted as Southern Rhodesia's prime minister by Mr Smith's right-wing Rhodesia Front party in 1962.
He had always supported the rights of the black majority but he has now become an outspoken critic of the increasingly repressive white regime.
Mr Todd and his daughter have also played a leading role in the anti-settlement campaign organised by the African National Council.
The council has been set up by black Rhodesians to seek political settlement through negotiation.
The couple are being held in separate jails.
Mr Todd said: "It's not very pleasant after having lived in Rhodesia 31 years and having tried to serve the country, to be placed in really what is a comfortable imprisonment without trial. I'm old-fashioned,
"I don't believe in imprisonment without trial."
Reply #417. Jan 18 09, 2:16 AM
January 19th 1966: Indira Gandhi takes charge in India|
Indira Gandhi, only daughter of India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, is to become the country's next leader.
She was chosen at the end of a bitter leadership battle with former finance minister Morarji Desai.
Following her win, Mrs Gandhi pledged herself to serve the Congress Party and the country, and said she would "strive to create what my father used to call a climate of peace."
Crowds had gathered outside Parliament House while the election was held, and cheered Mrs Gandhi wildly as she went to the President's House to report.
She will not become prime minister until she submits her cabinet to the president.
Mrs Gandhi did not confirm she would be a candidate until four days ago, when chief ministers from 11 of India's 16 states let it be known they would support her to take over.
Another leading candidate, Gulzarilal Nanda, withdrew once it was clear Mrs Gandhi would be running.
He has been acting as prime minister since the unexpected death of Mr Nehru's successor, Lal Bahadur Shastri, earlier this month.
Mr Desai was under extreme pressure to pull out as well and avoid a potentially damaging leadership contest, but he insisted on going to a vote.
It was predicted he would get less than 100 of the 526 votes from Congress MPs, but he surprised many by winning 169 votes to Mrs Gandhi's 355.
Afterwards, Mr Desai pledged to cooperate fully with Mrs Gandhi. It is the second time running he has been defeated in a leadership contest: the first time, against Mr Shastri, he withdrew his candidacy without a vote.
Mrs Gandhi, 48, was educated at West Bengal and Oxford and has two sons, Rajiv and Sanjay, who are both studying in England.
She gets her name not from Mahatma Gandhi, the legendary independence campaigner and founder of the Congress Party, but from her husband Feroze Gandhi, a lawyer who died in 1960.
The couple spent 13 months in prison for subversion after fighting against British rule in India during the 1940s.
She has played a key part in the Congress Party since 1955, and served as information minister in Mr Shastri's government.
Reply #418. Jan 19 09, 2:10 AM
And I would like to join leelee in a (belated) happy birthday greeting for this thread, and to thank Gary for all the work and thought that has gone into it. |
Reply #419. Jan 19 09, 5:57 AM
20th January 1958: Explorers meet at South Pole|
Members of the team attempting the first surface crossing of the Antarctic have joined up at the South Pole.
New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary - who has already conquered Mount Everest - arrived with his team 17 days ago.
Early this afternoon Sir Edmund welcomed the British team led by Dr Vivian "Bunny" Fuchs to the South Pole.
The British and New Zealand teams are members of a joint Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic expedition but set off from opposite ends of the continent last November.
The New Zealanders started out from the newly-created Scott camp near the Ross Sea while the British began their journey at Shackleton camp near the Weddell Sea.
Both teams used motorised vehicles for the trip to the South Pole.
En route, Sir Edmund and his team were responsible for setting up food and fuel depots for the British team.
They will now attempt to reach Scott Base and complete the 2158-mile (3473-kilometre) Antarctic crossing.
However, the British team's departure from Shackleton camp was delayed and they are now running almost three weeks behind schedule.
They must now decide when to start the second leg of the journey given the worsening weather conditions.
Dr Fuchs said the team would definitely go on.
"We hope and expect to get out before the winter, if not - bad luck,'" he said.
Asked whether he had considered breaking his journey and continuing in the spring Dr Fuchs replied: "Are the people who suggested that prepared to pay for it?"
He thought it likely the team would reach Scott camp in the first week of March, Dr Fuchs added.
Expedition members are also carrying out scientific experiments including seismic soundings and gravimetric readings during their epic journey.
Reply #420. Jan 20 09, 2:26 AM
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