ON THIS DAY: December 10, 2019

December 10th is

Dewey Decimal System Day *

Jane Addams Day *

National Lager Day

Nobel Prize Day *

International Human Rights Day *

International Animal Rights Day 

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MORE! Ada Lovelace, Albert Luthuli and Wangari Maathai, click

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WORLD FESTIVALS AND NATIONAL HOLIDAYS

Cambodia – Human Rights Day

Canada – Cambridge: Global
Migration Film Festival

Costa Rica – Limon: Limon Carnival

Czechia – New Town: Adventní Koncert

Germany – Munich:
Whisky, Chocolate and Lipstick

India – Tiruvannamalai:
Karthigai Deepam (Hindu light festival)

Iraq – Victory over Daesh Day

Kenya – Nairobi: Unganisha Festival
(Culture and music)

Kiribati – Human Rights & Peace Day

Namibia – Namibian Women’s Day

New Zealand – Rangiora: North
Canterbury News Christmas Tree Festival

South Africa – Cape Town
Charity Milonga – Tango After Party

Thailand – Constitution Day

Turkey – Konya:
Whirling Dervishes Festival

United Kingdom – Blackpool:
Blackpool Christmas Festival

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On This Day in HISTORY

553 – Chen Shubao born, last Emperor of the Chen dynasty (582-589); his capital, Jiankang, was captured by Sui forces, ending his rule and unifying China under Emperor Wen of Sui. He was taken to the Sui capital Chang’an, and lived there, treated fairly kindly by Wen and his successor, Emperor Yang, until his death in 605


Emperor Wen of Sui

1317 – The “Nyköping Banquet” – King Birger of Sweden treacherously seizes his two brothers Valdemar, Duke of Finland and Eric, Duke of Södermanland, who are subsequently starved to death in the dungeon of Nyköping Castle

1520 – Outside Wittenberg’s Elster Gate, Martin Luther burns his copy of Pope Leo X’s papal bull Exsurge Domine (‘Arise O Lord’ in Latin), which threatens Luther with excommunication if he doesn’t recant



1538 – Battista Guarini born, Italian poet, dramatist and diplomat; noted for his play, Il pastor fido (The Faithful Shepherd), and the use of his poetry as madrigal lyrics

1541 – Thomas Culpeper and Francis Dereham are executed for treason for having sexual relations with Catherine Howard, Queen of England and wife of Henry VIII – in Culpeper’s case, his confession under torture may not have been true, as the evidence against him is Dereham’s allegation. Catherine Howard was beheaded the following February

1684 – Isaac Newton’s derivation of Kepler’s laws from his theory of gravity, contained in the paper De motu corporum in gyrum (“On the motion of bodies in an orbit”), is read to the Royal Society by Edmond Halley



1768 – The Royal Academy of Arts is founded in London by George III, with Joshua Reynolds is its first president

1783 – María Bibiana Benítez born, Puerto Rico’s first woman poet and one of its first playwrights; she published her first poem in 1832, La Ninfa de Puerto Rico (The Nymph of Puerto Rico), which is also the best known of her poems. She also wrote the first dramatic play by a Puerto Rican, La Cruz del Morro (The Cross of El Morro) in 1862. She adopted the daughter of her brother Pedro José and his wife after they died. Her niece, Alejandrina Benítez de Gautier, would also become a notable poet



1787 – Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet born, American educator, founder of the American School for the Deaf


1799 – France adopts the metre as its official unit of length

1811 – Caroline Mehitable Fisher Sawyer born, American poet, biographer, editor and translator of German literature; after a short time at a Baptist school, her uncle, an invalid but highly educated in science and literature, took over her schooling. Her poems began to be published in newspapers like the Burlington Sentinel and the Boston Evening Gazette when she was still a young girl. She became one of the most prolific writers of Christian Universalism after her marriage to Reverend Thomas J. Sawyer in 1831. She took over as editor of the Rose of Sharon in 1849, after being one of its most regular contributors since its inception in 1840. She also edited The Ladies’ Repository (1860-?) and the youth department of the Christian Messenger (1835-1847)



1815 – Ada Lovelace born, pioneering English mathematician and computer scientist, who collaborated with inventor Charles Babbage, designer of an “Analytical Engine.” She was one of the first to recognize the potential of computers and has been called the first computer programmer. (The programming language Ada is named after her.) Her other plans, such as a Calculus of the Nervous System, failed to mature – the obstacles in her way because she was a woman were simply too great. For example, women were denied access to the Royal Society Library, and many other sources of research material. In 1844, her paper on the theoretical Analytical Machine was published under the pseudonym A.A.L.  She said the machine would be able to handle complex computations, but also envisioned a time when it could be used for all kinds of  tasks, including creating music. It was not until the 1870s, 20 years after her death, that A.L.L. was publicly recognized as Augusta Ada Lovelace, the only the only legitimate child of poet Lord Byron.



1816 – U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary is established, one of the original standing committees, and one of the oldest and most influential in Congress. Responsible for oversight of key activities of the executive branch, consideration of proposed constitutional amendments, and for the initial stages of the confirmation process for all nominations for the federal judiciary

1822 – César Franck born, Belgian composer, pianist, organist, and music teacher who worked in Paris. In 1858, he became organist at the Basilica of St. Clotilde, Paris, a position he retained for the rest of his life. He became professor at the Paris Conservatoire in 1872; he became a French citizen, a requirement of the appointment. Franck wrote several pieces that have entered the standard classical repertoire, including symphonic, chamber, and keyboard works.

1824 – George MacDonald born, Scottish novelist, poet and minister; At the Back of the North Wind, Wee Sir Gibbie of the Highlands, Within and Without: A Dramatic Poem



1830 – Emily Dickinson born, one of the greatest, most original and prolific American poets, and one of its most famous recluses; her friendships were maintained by correspondence



1845 – British civil engineer Robert Thompson patents the first pneumatic tires

1851 – Dewey Decimal System Day *– Melvil Dewey born, American creator in 1876 of the library classification system named for him, now used in 135 countries and translated into 30 languages



1864 – Major General William Tecumseh Sherman’s Union Army troops reach the outer Confederate defenses of Savannah, Georgia

1868 – The first traffic lights are installed, outside the Palace of Westminster in London. Resembling railway signals, they use semaphore arms and are illuminated at night by red and green gas lamps

1869 – American Women win the right to vote in the Wyoming Territory 

1870 – Adolf Loos born, influential Austrian Vienna Secession architect and theorist; Ornament and Crime

1884 – Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is published



1885 – Elizabeth Faulkner Baker born, American economist and academic who specialized in scientific management, and the relationship between employment and technological change, especially the role of women; she earned her M.A (1919) and Ph.D. (1925), both in economics, while teaching a Barnard College, where she became chair of the Department of Economics (1940-1952). During WWII, she also served as a hearing officer of the National War Labor Board

1885 – Marios Varoglis born in Belgium, Greek composer. He studied music at the Conservatoire de Paris, and remained in Paris until the early 1920s, then taught at the Athens Conservatory, and was also a music critic and conductor. 

1891 – Nelly Sachs born, German-Swedish poet and playwright, Nobel Prize laureate; born into a Jewish family in Berlin, she started writing as a teenager, and became a pen-pal of Swedish writer Selma Lagerlöf. Shortly before Lagerlöf died in 1940, she convinced the Swedish royal family to help Sachs and her mother escape to Stockholm, as Sachs had been told to report to work at a concentration camp. They lived in a tiny apartment, and Sachs supported them by translating from German into Swedish. Sachs wrote poetry and plays inspired by family members who lost their lives in concentration camps. Best known for her first collection of poems, In den Wohnungen des Todes (In the Habitations of Death). Sachs was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1966 



1896 – When French symbolist Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi (‘King Ubu’) premieres in Paris, a riot breaks out at the end of the performance. Ubu Roi is widely regarded as a forerunner of Dadaism, Surrealism and Theatre of the Absurd

1898 – A treaty signed in Paris officially ends the Spanish-American War, and makes Cuba independent of Spain

1901 – The first Nobel Prizes are awarded

1903 – Mary Norton born, English children’s author; noted for The Borrowers series



1906 – U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt wins the Nobel Peace Prize for his mediation of the Russo-Japanese War, becoming the first American to win a Nobel Prize

1907 – The worst night of the ‘Brown Dog Riots’ in London. 1,000 medical students clash with 400 police officers over an anti-vivisectionist memorial statue of the dog used in a vivisection, which triggered allegations in 1903 that William Bayliss of the Department of Physiology at University College London performed a ‘cruel and unlawful’ vivisection, before an audience of 60 medical students, on a brown terrier dog – adequately anaesthetized, according to Bayliss and his team; conscious and struggling, according to Swedish activists who had infiltrated the college. The procedure is condemned by the National Anti-Vivisection Society.  Bayliss, whose research on dogs led to the discovery of hormones, is outraged by the assault on his reputation, sues for libel and wins

1908 – Olivier Messiaen born, influential French composer, organist, and teacher, noted for his use of mystical and religious themes. He was also an ornithologist

1909 – Selma Lagerlöf becomes the first woman writer to win the Nobel Prize in Literature



1909 – Hermes Pan born, American choreographer who collaborated with Fred Astaire on many of his film musicals



1913 – Morton Gould born, American pianist, composer, and conductor

1913 – Pannonica “Nica” de Koenigswarter born in Britain, champion of Jazz, author of Les musiciens de jazz et leurs trois vœux (“The jazz musicians and their three wishes”); served as a decoder, driver, and radio host for the Free French during WWII



1919 – Alexander Courage born, American composer and conductor



1922 – Agnes Nixon born, American television scriptwriter and producer; best known as the creator of the long-running soap operas One Live to Live (1968-2012) and All My Children (1970-2011). She introduced new storylines to U.S. daytime television: the first health-related storyline, the first storyline related to the Vietnam War, the first on-screen lesbian kiss and the first storyline about abortion. Nixon won 5 Writer’s Guild of America Awards, 5 Daytime Emmy Awards, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences



1925 – Carolyn Kizer born, notable American poet, academic and feminist; won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry  in 1985 for Yin, and three Pushcart Prizes



1931 – Jane Addams Day * – Jane Addams becomes a co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, the first American woman to be honored with the Peace Prize



1932 – Thailand becomes a constitutional monarchy

1936 – Abdication Crisis: British King Edward VIII signs the Instrument of Abdication, so he can marry Wallis Simpson



1939 – Allina Ndebele born, South African artist and master weaver, who established a small workshop in her father’s village to teach neighbourhood women to card, spin, dye and weave. In 2005, President Thabo Mbeki bestowed the Order of Ikhamanga in Silver on Ndebele for excellence and her contributions in the creative arts


Detail from a tapestry by Allina Ndebele, shown at right with her loom

1941 – Japan invades the Philippines

1941 – Fionnula Flanagan born, Irish actress, writer and producer; known as an interpreter of James Joyce, for her roles in the 1967 film of Ulysses, and her one-woman show, James Joyce’s Women, which she also wrote and produced



1942 – Ann Gloag born, Scottish co-founder of the international transport company Stagecoach Group, beginning with a single busline; and founder of the Freedom from Fistula Foundation



1948 – The UN General Assembly adopts the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – In 1950, the Assembly passes a resolution inviting nations and world organizations to join with the UN in marking December 10 as International Human Rights Day *

1949 – The People’s Liberation Army begins its siege of Chengdu, the last Kuomintang-held city in mainland China, forcing President of the Republic of China Chiang Kai-shek and his government to retreat to Taiwan

1949 – Yasmin Alibhai-Brown born in Uganda, British journalist, author and regular columnist for the London Evening Standard and The Independent, known for her commentary on immigration, diversity and multiculturalism. She is a Shia Muslim, and a founding member of British Muslims for Secular Democracy. Alibhai-Brown was awarded the 2002 George Orwell Prize for Political Journalism



1950 – Dr. Ralph J. Bunche is presented the Nobel Peace Prize, the first African-American to receive the award, for his efforts in mediation between the state of Israel and neighboring Arab states



1953 – Hugh Hefner publishes the first Playboy magazine with a $7,600 investment

1954 – Eudine Barriteau born, Barbadian professor of gender and public policy, Principle of the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, Barbados; President of the International Association for Feminist Economics (IAFFE, 2009-2010); noted for her research on feminist theory, gender and public policy, Caribbean political economy, and theories on heterosexual women’s socio-sexual unions. Author of Confronting power, theorizing gender interdisciplinary perspectives in the Caribbean



1955 – Mighty Mouse Playhouse premieres on American television



1956 – Jacquelyn Mitchard born, American journalist and novelist, author of the best-selling novel, The Deep End of the Ocean, as well as A Theory of Relativity, Cage of Stars, No Time to Wave Goodbye, and Still Summer



1958 – The first domestic passenger jet flight took place in the U.S. when 111 passengers flew from New York to Miami on a National Airlines Boeing 707

1958 – Cornelia Funke born, bestselling German-American children’s author, the Inkheart trilogy



1960 – Kenneth Branagh born, British actor-director-producer-screenwriter

1961 – Albert Luthuli, president of the African National Congress, which was banned in South Africa at the time, accepts the Nobel Peace Prize for advocating non-violent resistance to racial discrimination. The apartheid government had restricted his movements, but gave him special permission to attend the award ceremony in Oslo, Norway. Luthuli was the first black African Nobel Peace laureate



1963 – Zanzibar gains independence from the United Kingdom as a constitutional monarchy, under Sultan Jamshid bin Abdullah

1964 – In Oslo, Norway, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. receives the Nobel Peace Prize

1965 – The Grateful Dead’s first concert performance under the band’s new name, changed from the Warlocks, at San Francisco’s Fillmore Auditorium

1965 – Stephanie Morgenstern born in Switzerland, Canadian actress, filmmaker and screenwriter. Co-creator with her husband and writing partner, Mark Ellis, of the Canadian TV police drama Flashpoint (2008-2012). Morgenstern and Ellis wrote the third season of X Company, a WWII espionage thriller series. She also co-wrote and directed the short films Remembrance and Curtains



1966 – Penelope Trunk born as Adrienne Roston, American entrepreneur, author and blogger. Currently CEO of Quistic, an education company. She has been a business advice columnist for Fortune magazine and the Boston Globe, and wrties a blog featuring career advice. Author of Brazen Careerist: The New Rules for Success and The Power of Mentors: The Guide to Finding and Learning from Your Ideal Mentor



1978 – Arab–Israeli conflict: Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and President of Egypt Anwar Sadat are jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize

1979 – Kaohsiung Incident: Taiwanese pro-democracy demonstrations are suppressed by the KMT dictatorship, and organizers are arrested

1982 – The Law of the Sea Convention is signed by 118 countries in Montego Bay, Jamaica; 23 nations in addition to the U.S. are excluded

1983 – Democracy is restored in Argentina with the inauguration of President Raúl Alfonsín

1984 – South African Bishop Desmond Tutu receives the Nobel Peace Prize


Archbishop Desmond Tutu with Nobel Committee Chair Egil Aarvik

1992 – Oregon Senator Bob Packwood holds a news conference, acknowledges that what he called his “unwelcome and offensive” actions toward women were wrong, apologizes to the women he hurt, but claims that his actions were “not done with malice or evil intent” and says he does not intend to resign

1993 – The last shift leaves Wearmouth Colliery in Sunderland. The closure of the 156-year-old pit marks the end of the old County Durham coalfield, which had been in operation since the Middle Ages

1994 – Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin receive the Nobel Peace Prize,  pledging to pursue their mission of healing the Middle East. Yitzhak Rabin is assassinated in November, 1995, by an ultra-orthodox extremist who opposed the signing of the Oslo Accords

1996 – The new Constitution of South Africa is promulgated by Nelson Mandela

1998 – The Amnesty International Concert for Human Rights Defenders takes place at Bercy Stadium in Paris, France

2001 – The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, the first in a three-film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic fantasy trilogy, premieres in London



2002 – Former President Jimmy Carter accepts the Nobel Peace Prize for his diplomacy in the Middle East in the 1970s

2004 – Wangari Maathai of Kenya receives the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, the first African woman to receive the prize. Maathai was a minister in the Kenyan government and founder of the Green Belt Movement



2007 – Cristina Fernandez is sworn in as Argentina’s first elected woman president



2009 – James Cameron’s film Avatar has its world premiere in London

2012 – Unknown gunmen assassinate Nadia Sediqqi, a leading women’s rights activist and head of the Women’s Affairs Department of Laghman Province in Afghanistan. Her predecessor heading the department, Hanifa Safi, was murdered in July 2012 in a bombing that also killed her husband, after her repeated requests for police protection were ignored. According to Amnesty International, “. . . a number of Afghan women in public roles have been assassinated over the past 10 years.” Many Afghan women who are government officials work without the protection of bodyguards, making them especially vulnerable to attacks by religious extremists and others who oppose women’s presence in the workforce



2015 – The Pew Research Center announces a new study that shows the middle class in the U.S., long seen as the economic backbone of the country, is shrinking and no longer constitutes a majority (49.89%). Also, the “nation’s aggregate household income has substantially shifted from middle-income to upper-income households”

2015 – The Vatican releases a 10,000-word document that includes a pronouncement that Jews don’t need to be converted to find salvation, and that Catholics should work with Jews to fight Antisemitism

2017 – Beatrice Fihn, Executive Director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, said in her speech accepting the Nobel Peace Prize on the organization’s behalf that “the deaths of millions may be one tiny tantrum away.” During the ceremony in Oslo she said that the world has a choice to make — “the end of nuclear weapons or the end of us.” Fihn added that the risk of using nuclear weapons is “greater now than during the Cold War.” As North Korea continues to test missiles, including some believed to be able to deliver a nuclear warhead to the continental U.S., and the war of words between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un continues to escalate, she said that a “moment of panic” could lead to “the destruction of cities and the deaths of millions of civilians.”


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About wordcloud9

Nona Blyth Cloud has lived and worked in the Los Angeles area for the past 50 years, spending much of that time commuting on the 405 Freeway. After Hollywood failed to appreciate her genius for acting and directing, she began a second career managing non-profits, from which she has retired. Nona has now resumed writing whatever comes into her head, instead of reports and pleas for funding. She lives in a small house overrun by books with her wonderful husband.
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