21st January 1950: Acclaimed author George Orwell dies|
The writer, George Orwell, has died after a three-year battle against tuberculosis.
Until the last, news had been positive and it was hoped Mr Orwell was improving.
On Friday morning he had a long talk with a friend about his plans for the future.
However, a few hours later he suffered a fatal haemorrhage in a London hospital.
But illness had not dimmed George Orwell's enthusiasm for writing.
His last novel, 1984, published last summer was written in between periods spent in hospital.
The controversial book - like Animal Farm - was widely viewed as an attack on the Communist system.
However, it brought George Orwell widespread critical acclaim including the award of £357 by the influential Partisan Review for the year's most significant contribution to literature.
George Orwell was born Eric Arthur Blair in June 1903 into a family of relatively prosperous civil servants working in India on behalf of the British Empire.
He is said to have assumed his pseudonym, inspired by the River Orwell, near his parent's house in Suffolk, to spare his family embarrassment.
Orwell's early writings often drew on his own experiences of poverty which were in marked contrast to his privileged background.
He spent time living as a tramp in the East End of London and as a dishwasher in Paris - events which inspired his first book in 1933, Down and Out in London and Paris.
It was followed in 1934 by his first novel, Burmese Days.
And in 1938 after returning wounded after fighting for the socialists in the Spanish Civil War he wrote Homage to Catalonia.
But it was only five years ago that the book which made him world-famous, Animal Farm, appeared.
In reaction to the sudden glare of fame, Orwell moved to the island of Jura, off the coast of Scotland.
The move aggravated his tuberculosis which had developed after his return from Spain.
Reply #421. Jan 21 09, 1:37 AM
January 22nd 1962: 'A6 murder' trial begins|
The man accused of the "A6 murder" has entered a plea of "not guilty" at the start of his trial at Befordshire Assizes in Bedford.
James Hanratty denied shooting Michael Gregsten, a physicist, twice in the head last August.
Mr Gregsten's companion, Valerie Storie, was raped, shot and left for dead.
But she survived and picked out Mr Hanratty at an identity parade from her hospital bed, where she lay paralysed from the waist down.
Mr Hanratty has not been charged with the attack on Ms Storie who is expected to give evidence from a wheelchair during the trial.
In his opening statement, prosecution barrister Graham Swanwick QC said Mr Hanratty may have shot the physicist "for no better reason than to possess himself of Mr Gregsten's companion".
'Remarkably clear memory'
The prosecution alleges that, armed with a gun, Mr Hanratty, 25, confronted Mr Gregsten and Ms Storie in a cornfield in Berkshire.
Mr Swanwick said Mr Hanratty then forced Mr Gregsten to drive 60 miles to Deadman's Hill at Clophill in Bedfordshire where he shot the physicist twice in the head.
He then raped and shot Ms Storie, Mr Swanick added.
"Fortunately for justice, you may come to the conclusion that in spite of her ordeal she has a remarkably clear memory of what happened that night," Mr Swanick told the 12-man jury.
Mr Hanratty has always maintained his innocence.
He told police he was 250 miles away in a guest house in Rhyl, North Wales, at the time of the attack.
The trial is expected to last up to three weeks during which time approximately 75 witnesses will be called.
Reply #422. Jan 22 09, 9:09 AM
23rd January 1955: Express train crashes killing 14|
Fourteen people were killed and dozens injured when an express train travelling from York to Bristol derailed and overturned at Sutton Coldfield station.
The accident happened at approximately 1615 GMT today.
The train, which was carrying about 300 passengers, had been diverted via Sutton Coldfield from its usual route through Tamworth because of essential maintenance to tracks.
It is understood seven bodies, including those of the two drivers, are still trapped inside the wreckage.
A spokesperson for British Railways said nine out of 10 carriages were derailed as the train passed through Sutton Coldfield station.
He said the cause of the accident was not yet known but was being investigated.
One passenger, Mr W Forrest of South Shields, who was travelling in the fifth coach on his way to Coventry, said: "The train had been swaying from side to side.
"Suddenly there was a terrific rending noise and we were all thrown in a heap.
"Some of us were thrown up and struck the roof."
Twenty fire engines attended the scene and 50 extra police officers were mobilised from Birmingham.
A total of 36 ambulances transported the injured to Sutton Coldfield hospital.
Those passengers with more serious injuries were transferred to Birmingham Accident hospital and Birmingham General hospital.
Members of the RAF also gave their assistance in the rescue efforts.
Reply #423. Jan 23 09, 2:16 AM
January 24th 1961: End of the road for Monroe and Miller|
The Hollywood screen star Marilyn Monroe has divorced her husband, playwright Arthur Miller, after less than five years of marriage.
The divorce was granted in Mexico, where a judge signed the decree. The grounds of divorce were listed as "incompatibility".
It has been rumoured that the pair have had frequent quarrels over their differing lifestyles.
Mr Miller has recently been working with his wife on her most recent film, The Misfits, based on a short story he wrote, although the pair were reported to be barely speaking on set.
The film is due to be released this month.
The divorce was officially announced last November, and a spokesman at the time said they had already separated.
Sources close to the couple said Arthur Miller had in fact left Miss Monroe for German-born photographer Inge Morath, whom he met on the set of The Misfits.
The couple married in 1956, five years after they first met. Marilyn Monroe converted to Judaism for her new husband, who rose to prominence with his play "Death of a Salesman" in 1949, which won the Pulitzer Prize.
Soon after they were married, Arthur Miller told journalists: "Marilyn will only make one film in every 18 months or so, which will take her about eight weeks."
When asked what she would do for the rest of the time, he replied, "She will be my wife. That's a full-time job."
Marilyn Monroe disagreed, and continued to pursue her film work to the full, travelling to England to shoot "The Prince and the Showgirl" with Laurence Olivier shortly after the wedding.
However, she used her influence - and risked her own career - to help her husband after he was found guilty of contempt of Congress by the House Un-American Activities Committee for refusing to reveal the names of a literary group suspected of Communist sympathies.
Marilyn Monroe went with him to Washington to speak in his favour at the contempt hearings, and her intervention is widely thought to have contributed to the overturning of his conviction the following year.
Marilyn Monroe had been married twice before. Her first husband was Jimmy Dougherty, whom she married aged 16. The marriage did not survive her "discovery" and subsequent rise to fame.
In 1954, she met and married baseball star Joe DiMaggio, but it was a tempestuous partnership and ended just nine months later.
Reply #424. Jan 24 09, 3:33 AM
25th Jamuary 1971: Idi Amin ousts Uganda president|
General Idi Amin has seized power from President Milton Obote, the man who led Uganda to independence in 1962.
The general led a military coup while the president was out of the country attending the Commonwealth conference in Singapore.
Ugandan troops have sealed off Entebbe airport and there are reports of tanks and soldiers on the streets of the capital, Kampala. The president's residence is said to have been surrounded and major road links have been blocked.
Dr Obote became the country's first prime minister in 1962 at the head of an uneasy coalition between his own Uganda People's Congress and the Kabaka Yekka or King's party representing the Baganda tribe from the largest and richest province of the country.
Sir Edward Mutesa, better known as "King Freddie", became president.
Four years later Obote ousted the king and revised the constitution to make himself president.
General Amin, for seven years heavyweight boxing champion of Uganda, spent most of his army career as a sergeant, but once Dr Obote became president was rapidly promoted to chief of the armed forces.
A broadcast on Uganda radio accused the Obote government of corruption and said that ministers and senior civil servants owned cars, fleets of buses and even aeroplanes.
The broadcast said the army believed President Obote's policies would lead to bloodshed, accusing him of giving preferential treatment to the Lango region in the north of the country.
Cheering crowds were reported in the streets of Kampala after the radio broadcast.
The army has imposed a night-time curfew.
Dr Obote arrived at Nairobi airport in Kenya tonight and was taken immediately to a hotel where he is holding talks with the Kenyan vice president, Arap Moi and the attorney general and foreign minister.
Reply #425. Jan 25 09, 2:22 AM
26th January 1950: India becomes a republic|
The independent republic of India is officially born today, after nearly 100 years of British rule.
A public holiday has been declared throughout the country, and millions of people have been celebrating with processions and ceremonies to hoist the new flag of India for the first time.
India has been running her own affairs since the actual transfer of power from British to Indian hands on 15 August 1947.
But today's ceremonies mark the cutting of her last ties to Britain. India's first president has been sworn in, replacing the King as the country's head of state, and the new constitution ratified.
Oath of office
In the capital, Delhi, the day began with the 34th and last Governor-General of India, Chakravarti Rajagopalachari, reading out a proclamation announcing the birth of the Republic of India.
The new President, Dr Rajendra Prasad, then took the oath of office.
Dr Prasad was a key campaigner in the nationalist movement of Mahatma Gandhi, along with India's interim Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.
The president then addressed the crowd first in Hindi, and then in English.
"Today, for the first time in our long and chequered history," he said, "we find the whole of this vast land... brought together under the jurisdiction of one constitution and one union which takes over responsibility for the welfare of more than 320 million men and women who inhabit it."
Dr Prasad then drove through the streets in his state coach, greeted by thousands of people along the way.
The crowds were jubilant, but restrained - a marked change from the highly-charged atmosphere of August 15 1947, when the British finally left India.
Then, there were scenes of total chaos as the police struggled to control the crowd, and riots broke out across the city.
Over the next two years, hundreds of thousands died in the terrible violence that followed partition - the division of the British colony into two nations, the secular but Hindu-dominated India and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
Then in 1948 the man who steered India to independence, Mahatma Gandhi, was assassinated.
Today, the place where he was cremated on the banks of the River Jumna became a site of pilgrimage for thousands of people.
Dr Prasad visited the spot soon after daybreak and joined in paying homage to the memory of the man now known as "the father of the nation".
Reply #426. Jan 26 09, 1:54 AM
Happy 59th Birthday (since independence) India :-)|
Reply #427. Jan 26 09, 3:24 AM
27th January 1967: Three astronauts die in Apollo 1 tragedy|
Three American astronauts have died after fire swept through the Apollo spacecraft designed for a manned flight to the Moon during rehearsals at Cape Kennedy.
It is thought an electrical spark started in the area holding oxygen supplies and other support systems. The fire spread quickly in the oxygen-filled atmosphere of the capsule, killing the crew within seconds.
The space crew, flight commander Gus Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee, were taking part in a test run for the launch of the first Apollo mission.
Navy Lieutenant Commander Chaffee, aged 31, had never flown in space before. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Grissom, 39, was the first American to make two flights. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel White, 35, made America's first space walk.
It is feared the disaster on launch pad 34 could delay America's plans to put a man on the Moon by as much as a year.
The three men were in the command module, mounted on the Saturn rocket as if ready for launch, but Saturn was not loaded with fuel.
At 1831 hours one of the astronauts was heard to say, "Fire, I smell fire."
Two seconds later, another astronaut, probably Lt Col White said, "Fire in the cockpit."
The fire spread through the cabin rapidly. The last communication from the crew was heard just 17 seconds later.
The pressurised atmosphere inside the capsule meant the astronauts would not have had time to open the hatch.
Under ideal conditions, the process takes about 90 seconds. It involves venting the cabin to relieve the interior pressure which helps hold the door closed.
It took technicians on the outside about five minutes after the fire had started to open the hatch.
There will be a full investigation into what caused the fire, but already questions are being asked about whether safety corners were cut in the race to be first to the Moon.
The astronauts knew there were risks involved. Lt Col Grissom became the second American in space in the Liberty Bell 7. On splashdown, the space capsule filled with water and sank and he almost drowned.
A few weeks before the launch pad tragedy, he wrote: "There will be risks, as there are in any experimental programme, and sooner or later, we're going to run head-on into the law of averages and lose somebody.
"I hope this never happens, and... perhaps it never will, but if it does, I hope the American people won't think it's too high a price to pay for our space programme."
The Apollo mission's maiden flight was due to blast off into space on 21 February.
Reply #428. Jan 27 09, 2:00 AM
January 28th 1953: Derek Bentley hanged for murder|
Teenager Derek Bentley has been executed at Wandsworth Prison in London for his part in the murder of Pc Sidney Miles.
The 19-year-old was hanged at 0900 hours after last-minute appeals for clemency were rejected.
Bentley was sentenced to death on 11 December for killing Pc Miles during a bungled break-in at a warehouse in Croydon, Surrey.
The court was told his co-defendant, Christopher Craig, fired the fatal shot but because he was still a juvenile in the eyes of the law he escaped the death sentence and was ordered to be detained at Her Majesty's pleasure.
Bentley must not die
A large crowd began gathering outside Wandsworth jail from early this morning. Some sang the hymn Abide With Me and the 23rd Psalm.
Others began booing when a prison warder came out carrying a glass-covered board containing the execution notice.
Bentley's sentence was sealed last night when the Home Secretary, Sir David Maxwell Fyfe, said he could not see any reason for intervening in the case.
A deputation of MPs had earlier gone to see the home secretary with a petition, said to have been signed by about 200 members.
They urged him to ask the Queen to exercise her royal prerogative of mercy.
They pointed out Craig was the ringleader of the two and that Bentley's mental age was probably younger than his partner - a fact that had not been disclosed to the jury.
They also claimed big public support for a reprieve.
But the home secretary said he could see no grounds for modifying the sentence. Earlier, he had written to Bentley's parents saying the same thing.
A crowd of up to 300 gathered outside the Houses of Parliament last night, chanting "Bentley must not die!" The demonstrators marched to the Home Office and later to Downing Street.
The crowd eventually dispersed in the early hours of this morning after handing in a petition at Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Eden's home.
Bentley's execution comes just three months after the warehouse break-in in Croydon in which Pc Miles died.
Bentley was convicted on the basis of police evidence. Three officers told the court they had heard him encourage Craig to shoot by shouting "Let him have it".
Bentley's defence claimed he was already under arrest at the time the shots were fired and was simply urging Craig to give up his gun.
Reply #429. Jan 28 09, 2:14 AM
29th January 1996: France halts nuclear testing|
The French President, Jacques Chirac, has said France will no longer test nuclear weapons.
The announcement comes a day after France exploded its sixth and biggest nuclear device in the South Pacific.
There have been international protests including boycotts of French products since Mr Chirac announced the resumption of testing last June.
In a live broadcast to the nation, Mr Chirac said the tests mean that "the safety of our country and of our children is assured."
He has stopped the planned programme of eight tests early in the face of the outcry at home and abroad.
"I know the decision I made last June may have provoked, in France and abroad, anxiety and emotion," he said. "But in an ever-dangerous world, [nuclear weapons] act as a weapon of dissuasion, a weapon in the service of peace."
France will now sign an agreement for a nuclear-free zone in the South Pacific this year, as well as the international Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty which unconditionally ends all future tests.
However, critics of the test programme believe France has damaged the future of the test ban treaty by encouraging nations like India, Pakistan and China to take a harder line.
Mr Chirac's popularity ratings have fallen to an all-time low for a new president since he announced his intention to reverse the three-year moratorium on testing established by his predecessor, Francois Mitterrand.
During the tests at Mururoa and Fangataufa atolls, French naval vessels clashed with Greenpeace campaigners, confiscating their equipment and arresting crew members.
As well as being unpopular at home, the nuclear tests have brought French relations with several other countries to an all-time low.
Protests in Australia, New Zealand and other South Pacific countries have been particularly vehement, sometimes ending in violence, and Japan and several European countries have also objected strongly.
Only Britain has spoken out in defence of France's right to carry out the explosions.
The tests made France the only country apart from China to test weapons of mass destruction since 1992.
Yesterday's test, carried out at Fangataufa atoll, was equivalent to approximately 120,000 tonnes of conventional explosives, or six times the force of the bomb dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima in 1945.
Reply #430. Jan 29 09, 8:57 AM
January 30th 1972: Army kills 13 in civil rights protest|
British troops have opened fire on a crowd of demonstrators in the Bogside district of Londonderry, killing 13 civilians.
Seventeen more people, including one woman, were injured by gunfire. Another woman was knocked down by a speeding car.
The army said two soldiers had been hurt and up to 60 people arrested.
It was by far the worst day of violence in this largely Roman Catholic city since the present crisis began in 1969.
Bogsiders said the troops opened fire on unarmed men - including one who had his arms up in surrender.
The trouble began as a civil rights procession, defying the Stormont ban on parades and marches, approached an Army barbed wire barricade.
The largely peaceful crowd of between 7,000 and 10,000 was marching in protest at the policy of internment without trial. Some of the younger demonstrators began shouting at the soldiers and chanting, "IRA, IRA".
A few bottles, broken paving stones, chair legs and heavy pieces of iron grating were thrown at the troops manning the barrier.
Stewards appealed for calm - but more missiles were thrown and the area behind the barricade was quickly strewn with broken glass and other debris.
The 1st Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, which had been standing by in case of trouble, sprang into action. Squads leapt over the barricades and chased the demonstrators.
The gates were opened and eight armoured vehicles went into the Bogside and the remaining demonstrators were quickly surrounded.
Army claims provocation
The army says it opened fire after being shot at first by two snipers in flats overlooking the street. It claims acid bombs were also thrown.
The gun battle lasted about 25 minutes.
Father Edward Daly, a Catholic priest, was caught on film helping to carry a teenager who had been fatally wounded, to safety.
He said: "They just came in firing. There was no provocation whatsoever.
"Most people had their backs to them when they opened fire."
Major General Robert Ford, Commander, Land Forces Northern Ireland, who was in charge of the operation, insisted his troops had been fired on first.
"There is absolutely no doubt at all that the Parachute battalion did not open up until they had been fired at," he said.
Reply #431. Jan 30 09, 1:53 AM
31t January |
2000: Life for serial killer Shipman
Family GP Dr Harold Shipman has been jailed for life for murdering 15 of his patients, making him Britain's biggest convicted serial killer.
Shipman, from Hyde in Greater Manchester, is also suspected of killing more than 100 other patients.
From the dock at Preston Crown Court, Shipman showed no emotion as the verdict was read out: guilty to 15 murders and forging the will of one of his patients.
In sentencing Shipman to life imprisonment the judge, Mr Justice Thayne Forbes, said: "Each victim was your patient. You murdered each and every one by a calculated and cold-blooded perversion of his medical skills.
"You brought them death, disguised by the attentiveness of a good doctor."
All Shipman's victims were women and none was suffering from a serious illness when she died. Each one died suddenly after a visit from Shipman.
The court was told how the doctor would visit the victims in their homes and administer a lethal dose of morphine.
The alarm was raised by solicitor Angela Woodruff, the daughter of Kathleen Grundy, Shipman's last victim. Shipman arrived at Mrs Grundy's home on the pretext of giving her a blood test and had, in fact, given her a massive dose of morphine.
He then crudely forged her will so he would benefit from her substantial estate.
Outside the court, Mrs Woodruff gave her reaction. "Sadly, nothing that has happened here nor can happen in the future can bring back my mum, nor the other victims," she said.
"We hope we can now have the space and time to remember my mum as she was - a happy, active, caring, energetic, loving person whom we miss so much."
Shipman's family, his wife, Primrose, and sons, Christopher and David were in court for the verdict.
The defence said the case against the doctor was based solely on unreliable and unsafe toxicological evidence gathered from the exhumed bodies of nine of his victims.
The family solicitor, Ann Ball, said: "Mrs Shipman is devastated by the verdict that has been reached today. The last 18 months have been an ordeal for her and her family."
Further murder charges are possible. The court was told the police had investigated the deaths of 136 of Shipman's patients.
Reply #432. Jan 31 09, 1:38 AM
February 1st 1979: Exiled Ayatollah Khomeini returns to Iran|
Religious leader Ayatollah Khomeini has made a triumphant return to Iran after 14 years in exile.
Up to five million people lined the streets of the nation's capital, Tehran, to witness the homecoming of the Shia Muslim imam.
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, 78, was imprisoned by the Shah in 1963 for his opposition to reforms and was expelled the following year, to Iraq - via Turkey.
He spent the last few months of his exile in France, near Paris, from where he co-ordinated the revolution in January that forced the Shah of Iran to go into hiding.
The Ayatollah - a title meaning Sign of God - emerged from his chartered plane looking tired and tearful to meet the 1,500 religious and political leaders allowed to meet him in the terminal building.
A force of 50,000 police quickly lost control of the crowds outside the airport clamouring to catch a glimpse of the man who has been their spiritual inspiration.
Hands raised in greeting and appreciation, Ayatollah Khomeini made slow progress as his blue and white Chevrolet forced its way through a mass of people.
The cavalcade did not stop in Tehran itself but made the 12 mile journey south to the Cemetery of Martyrs where Mr Khomeini addressed 250,000 supporters.
He was openly belligerent towards the current government of Prime Minister Shahpur Bakhtiar.
"These people are trying to bring back the regime of the late Shah or another regime. I will strike with my fists at the mouths of this government. From now on it is I who will name the government," he claimed.
Dr Bakhtair responded by saying: "Don't worry about this kind of speech. That is Khomeini. He is free to speak but he is not free to act."
The government has tried to re-assert its authority by cutting TV pictures of Mr Khomeini's progress and holding a military parade through Tehran this evening.
Reply #433. Feb 01 09, 2:30 AM
2nd February 1943: Germans surrender at Stalingrad|
The Soviet Government has announced the final defeat of the German 6th Army at the port of Stalingrad, in southern Russia.
A statement late this evening said: "Our forces have now completed the liquidation of the German Fascist troops encircled in the area of Stalingrad.
"The last centre of enemy resistance in the Stalingrad area has thus been crushed."
The declaration brings to an end five months of heavy fighting for the city. The battle has been described as among the most terrible of the war so far.
Another 45,000 German soldiers have been taken prisoner in the last two days, bringing the total in custody to over 90,000 officers and men.
The prisoners are understood to be in an appalling condition after enduring months of starvation in temperatures down to -30°C.
They are the remains of the 330,000-strong German force sent to take Stalingrad.
The rest - about a quarter of a million men - have died, as many from illness, starvation and frostbite as from the fighting itself.
The 6th Army has been trapped inside the city, completely surrounded by the Red Army, for almost three months during the harshest part of the Russian winter.
They have had to rely totally on air drops by the Luftwaffe for food.
Atrocious weather conditions have reduced the amount getting through to just 90 tonnes a day - less than a third of what they needed.
The German commander of the 6th Army, Field-Marshal Friedrich Paulus, gave himself up two days ago.
He had been in a hopeless position since early December, when a last-ditch rescue attempt was driven back by Soviet troops.
He was given one earlier chance to surrender, on 8 January, by Soviet Regional Commander, Marshal Rokossovsky.
But Hitler repeated his order to the 6th Army that surrender would not be contemplated, and two days later the final Soviet offensive began to flush the Germans out of Stalingrad.
Paulus lost his last German-controlled airfield ten days later, on 22 January, and with it the last hope of any more regular supplies.
By 29 January the desperately weak 6th Army was split into two pockets of men.
The surrender of Field-Marshal Paulus brought the ordeal to an end for one of the groups.
The defeat of the second remnant today closes at last one of the most horrific chapters of the war so far.
Reply #434. Feb 02 09, 2:03 AM
3rd February 1960: Macmillan speaks of 'wind of change' in Africa|
The Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan, has had a frosty reception from politicians in South Africa after speaking frankly against the country's system of apartheid.
In a speech to MPs in the Houses of Parliament in Cape Town, Mr Macmillan spoke of the "wind of change" blowing through the continent of Africa, as more and more majority black populations in the colonies claim the right to rule themselves.
"Whether we like it or not," he said, "this growth of national consciousness is a political fact."
The government's aim, he said, was to "create a society which respects the rights of individuals - a society in which individual merit, and individual merit alone, is the criterion for a man's advancement, whether political or economic."
Nationalist Party politicians listened to him in silence, and a number refused to applaud when he had finished.
Dr Verwoerd, the South African Prime Minister and the architect of the apartheid system, thanked Mr Macmillan for his speech, but said he could not agree.
"We are the people who brought civilisation to Africa," he said. "To do justice in Africa means not only being just to the black man of Africa, but also to the white man of Africa."
Mr Macmillan's speech is the first time a senior international figure has given voice to the growing protest against South Africa's laws of strict racial segregation.
The speech was widely anticipated throughout the country, as Mr Macmillan had already said he would take the chance to say what he thought about the situation in South Africa.
Even so, the plain-speaking nature of the speech took many in Cape Town by surprise.
Mr Macmillan is in South Africa at the end of a month-long tour of the African continent, in which he has travelled about 17,000 miles.
His visit was always controversial, and many accused him of giving the Nationalist Party credibility by allowing himself to be a guest of the South African government.
His speech today is likely to lay those criticisms to rest.
Reply #435. Feb 03 09, 2:03 AM
4th February 1988: Defiant seamen strike on|
Thousands of seamen at major British ports are continuing to strike even though their union has called an end to the action.
The National Union of Seamen (NUS) backed down in the High Court this morning after a three-day stoppage, which has stifled seafaring trade and transport in the UK.
But 3,000 ferry men at Dover, Harwich and Portsmouth are refusing to return to work and have shifted their protest to local concerns.
Tailbacks of up to 300 freight lorries are clogging roads to the ports.
The NUS called a national strike last Sunday (31 January) in support of the 161 crew sacked by the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company for refusing to accept new terms and conditions.
The strike was hailed as a success by the union when fifty ships were prevented from sailing from 12 ports around the country, stopping all British sea traffic to the Continent, Ireland and the Scottish islands.
By Tuesday Mr Justice Kennedy had granted injunctions to seven ferry companies ordering the NUS to stop its action.
After accepting the High Court rulings NUS general secretary Sam McCluskie told the media: "I do not believe our members will go back. I have told them to go back, I have complied with the court."
The NUS has described the dispute as "the last straw in a decade that has seen nearly every shipping company sack British seafarers in favour of low-cost Third World crews."
In Dover the principle operators, P & O European Ferries, have just released proposals to cut back the number of seamen it employs from 2,000 to 1,600.
Ferry workers have been on strike in the Isle of Man since 29 December over changes to staffing, hours and leave entitlements.
Six hours of talks at Acas - the conciliation service - in London between Chief executive of the Steam Packet Company, David Dickinson, and NUS leaders, ended without agreement this evening.
Reply #436. Feb 04 09, 1:06 AM
February 5th 1953: Sweet rationing ends in Britain|
Children all over Britain have been emptying out their piggy-banks and heading straight for the nearest sweet-shop as the first unrationed sweets went on sale today.
Toffee apples were the biggest sellers, with sticks of nougat and liquorice strips also disappearing fast.
One firm in Clapham Common gave 800 children 150lbs of lollipops during their midday break from school; and a London factory opened its doors to hand out free sweets to all comers.
Adults joined in the sugar frenzy, with men in the City queuing up in their lunch breaks to buy boiled sweets and to enjoy the luxury of being able to buy 2lb boxes of chocolates to take home for the weekend.
The government and manufacturers have been quick to reassure the public that there would be no repeat of the first attempt to de-ration sweets, in April 1949, when demand far outstripped supply and they were put back on ration after just four months.
This time, the Minister of Food, Major Gwilym Lloyd-George, has told the House of Commons that he has no doubt that stocks are sufficient. He has ordered a one-off allocation of extra sugar to manufacturers to help them meet the anticipated surge in demand.
Sugar still rationed
Sugar itself, though, still remains rationed, and manufacturers say the Ministry of Food should have freed sugar supplies as well as those of sweets and chocolate.
As it is, they will have to make enough sweets to meet the demand of a de-rationed market, but with only 54% of the sugar supplies they had before the war.
However, overall the industry gave a warm welcome to the news. "We are very glad about it," said a spokesman for the Cocoa, Chocolate and Confectionery Alliance. "We will do all we can to make it work."
So far, despite the heavy sales, there have been no signs of panic buying, even though there are already shortages of the most popular brands.
One reason may be that the price of confectionery has nearly doubled during the war, and many have not been taking up their full 6oz ration.
Sweet coupons, though, will be with us for some time yet: it takes so long to print all 50m ration books that next year's have been designed already, sweet ration and all.
Reply #437. Feb 05 09, 7:25 AM
6th February 1952: King George VI dies in his sleep|
His Majesty, King George VI, has died peacefully in his sleep at Sandringham House.
The official announcement from Sandringham, given at 1045 GMT, said the King retired in his usual health, but passed away in his sleep and was found dead in bed at 0730 GMT by a servant.
He was 56, and was known to have been suffering from a worsening lung condition.
Princess Elizabeth, who is at the Royal hunting lodge in Kenya, immediately becomes Queen at the age of 25.
She has been informed of her father's death, and is preparing to return to London, but a thunderstorm has delayed the departure of her plane.
She is expected back tomorrow afternoon, when she will take the Royal Oath which will seal her accession to the throne.
The cabinet met this morning as soon as the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, was informed of the news, to discuss the constitutional implications.
The House of Commons has also been suspended as a mark of respect.
Before MPs adjourned, Prime Minister Winston Churchill offered their condolences, saying, "We cannot at this moment do more than record the spontaneous expression of grief."
He is due to make a broadcast to the nation at 2100 GMT tomorrow.
As the news of the King's death spread, all cinemas and theatres closed, and BBC programmes were cancelled except for news bulletins. Flags in every town were at half-mast, and sports fixtures were cancelled.
A crowd began to gather outside Buckingham Palace during the afternoon, as diplomats from around the world arrived in official cars to write their condolences in the visitors' book.
By 2100 GMT the police had to press the growing number of mourners back from the gates and on to the pavement. Despite the bitter cold and rain, the silent, weeping crowd stayed until long after it grew dark.
The news was greeted with shock and grief throughout the world. In the United States, President Truman, in a formal statement from the White House, paid tribute to the King.
He said, "He shared to the end of his reign all the hardships and austerities which evil days imposed on the brave British people.
"In return, he received from the people of the whole Commonwealth a love and devotion which went beyond the usual relationship of a King and his subjects."
Both the US Senate and the House of Representatives voted to adjourn out of regard for the dead King.
The body of King George is to lie in state in Westminster Hall from next Monday, 11 February, until the funeral.
Reply #438. Feb 06 09, 2:19 AM
7th February 1945: Black Sea talks plan defeat of Germany|
Plans are being drawn up by London, Washington and Moscow for the final phase of the war against Germany.
Leaders of the three countries, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, US President Franklin D Roosevelt and Marshal Joseph Stalin, have been meeting at a secret location in the Black Sea area.
A statement issued this evening is the first official confirmation of the talks which are said to have begun three days ago.
According to the statement issued by the Ministry of Information in London the purpose of the meeting is to complete plans for the defeat of the "common enemy" and to build firm foundations for a lasting peace.
The three leaders, who are also accompanied by their chiefs of staff, foreign secretaries and other advisers, are said to have reviewed the latest information from all the battle fronts in Europe.
The statement continued: "There is complete agreement for joint military operations in the final phase of the war against Nazi Germany. The military staffs of the three governments are now engaged in working out jointly the detailed plans."
Discussions on how to secure a lasting peace have also been held. Topics likely to be considered are the occupation and control of Germany, the political and economic problems of a liberated Europe and proposals for an international organisation to maintain peace.
A further communiqué is to be issued at the conclusion of the talks.
The statement gave no further details of the exact location of the meeting. But the Black Sea was considered an ideal choice as it gave Marshal Stalin easy access to Moscow and news from the eastern front.
There has been some speculation the three leaders might appeal over the heads of the German leadership to the people themselves to get out of a "lost war". The German media has already issued warnings that any such appeal should be ignored as an attempt to undermine the fighting will of its forces.
It seems likely much of the conference will be spent on working out the details of the administration of an occupied Germany. Already General Charles de Gaulle of France has declared his country would like to be involved.
There is also the thorny issue of a Russo-Polish settlement as well as a need to get urgently needed food and other supplies distributed as quickly as possible.
Reply #439. Feb 07 09, 2:06 AM
8th February 1974: Americans end outer space marathon|
Three US astronauts have returned safely to Earth after a record-breaking stay in space.
The men - Dr Edward Gibson, Lieutenant Colonel Gerald Carr and Lieutenant Colonel William Pogue - proved mankind can live in space for prolonged periods.
They spent 85 days in the American space station, Skylab, which orbits the Earth at a height of 270 miles.
It was Nasa's last manned space flight for this decade and the third and final mission to Skylab.
Skylab will now be abandoned as space junk and is expected to break up in the atmosphere in about 11 years.
After a five hour journey through space the astronauts splashed down, as planned, in the Pacific Ocean in spite of a leak in one of the two jets on their landing craft.
Dr Gibson emerged from the scorched Apollo capsule saying "I feel great".
The three men overcame many of the problems associated with living in space, such as weightlessness.
The astronauts experimented with new diets and exercise routines to counter the changes in muscle, blood and bone commonly experienced by space crews.
It will still take them several weeks to fully recover from their three month trip, but they were already re-gaining their sense of gravity on board the assault ship - New Orleans - that picked them up off San Diego.
The 20,000 photographs and 19 miles of sound recordings the astronauts brought back with them will take scientists and astronomers several years to analyse.
A joint US-Soviet mission early next year - the Apollo-Soyuz project - will mark the last use of the rocket technology that landed Apollo on the Moon and launched Skylab.
Nasa's first phase of extra-terrestrial adventure began 15 years ago and has so far cost millions of dollars.
The second chapter of space discovery will begin in the 1980s with a reusable shuttle.
Reply #440. Feb 08 09, 2:30 AM
Legal / Conditions of Use