ON THIS DAY: December 18, 2019

December 18th is

Arabic Language Day *

Bake Cookies Day

International Migrants Day *

Roast Suckling Pig Day

Save the Brazilian Rainforests Day *


MORE! Henrietta M. Edwards, Saki and Noriko Matsueda, click



Roman Catholicism – Feast of the Expectation of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
Celebrated mostly in Spain, Portugal, Italy and Poland

Australia – Bowen Hills:
Brisbane Music Festival

Canada – New Westminster:
Winter Celebrations

China – Jinan: China Strawberry Festival

Czechia – Josefov:
Romantic Christmas in Old Prague

Germany – Berlin:
Stars in Concert Christmas Show

Haiti – Les Cayes:
Speciale Noel (art event)

India –Hyderabad:
Ramoji Film City Winter Fest

Kenya – Mombasa:
Jamhuri Festival & Expo

Mexico – Zapopan: Festival de navidad

Niger – Republic Day

Nigeria – Calabar: Calabar Carnival & Festival

Peru – San Luis:
Almuerzo Navideño y de fraternidad

Qatar – National/Founder’s Day

Singapore – Air Play Imaginique
Children’s Festival

South Africa – Mossel Bay:
Mossel Bay Food & Wine Festival

United Kingdom – Islington: A Victorian Christmas


On This Day in HISTORY

218 BC – Second Punic War: At the Battle of the Trebia, Hannibal’s Carthaginian forces defeat the army of the Roman Republic under Tiberius Sempronius Longus

1271 – Kublai Khan renames his empire “Yuan” (元 yuán), marking the start of the Yuan dynasty of Mongolia and China, even though his conquest of northern China was not complete until 1279

1552 – Ahmad ibn al-Qadi born, (full name: Shihab al-Din abu l-‘Abbas Ahmad ibn Mohammed ibn Mohammed ibn Ahmed ibn Ali ibn ‘Abd er-Rahman ibn Abi’l-‘ Afiyya el-Miknasi ez-Zanati), a leading writer from the court of Ahmad al-Mansur, renowned judge and mathematician; primarily remembered for a meditation on the character qualities of Ahmad al-Mansur which showed him to the rightful caliph of Islam, andn two collections of biographies, Jadwat al Iqtibas Fi-man halla min al’alam madinata fas (The Torch of learning, a recollection of the most influential notables of the city of Fez) and Durrat al-hidjāl fī asmā’ al-ridjāl, both of which have become primary sources for the period

1622 – Kongo-Portuguese War, Battle of Mbumbi: Portuguese Angolan forces under Captain Major Pedro de Sousa Coelho score a victory over troops of Duke of Mbamba Dom Paulo Alfonso of the Kingdom of the Kongo. The Portuguese colony had first invaded Kazanze, a Kongo vassal state, on the pretext of recovering runaway slaves

Kongo bowmen, who made up the majority of the Kongo forces

1655 – The Whitehall Conference, convened by Oliver Cromwell, ends with the determination that there was no law preventing Jews from re-entering England after the Edict of Expulsion of 1290

1707 – Charles Wesley born, English missionary-hymn lyricist, “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”

1787 – New Jersey becomes the third state to ratify the U.S. Constitution

1847 – Augusta Holmès born, Irish-French composer, whose early works were published under the pseudonym Hermann Zenta; she also wrote the libretto for her opera La Montagne Noire (The Black Mountain)

1849 – Henrietta Muir Edwards born, one of Canada’s “Famous Five” who fought and won the battle for legal recognition of women as persons and citizens. During WWI, she became the first woman in Canada to serve on an advisory committee to the Canadian government, formed to suggest ways of increasing the effectiveness of wartime conservation measures.  She was the chair of the National Council of Women of Canada’s committee for Laws Governing Women and Children for 35 years, where she campaigned for recognition of women’s dower and matrimonial property rights. She also co-founded a Working Girl’s Association in Montreal to provide meals, reading rooms and study classes, which became one of the first YWCAs in Canada, and published the periodical Working Women of Canada. Edwards was the author of the authoritative Legal Status of Canadian Women (1908). In 1962, the Canadian government recognized Edwards as a Person of National Historic Significance, and in 1997, recognized the “Persons Case” as a Canadian Historic Event. In 2009, the Canadian Senate voted to name the “Famous Five” as Canada’s first “honorary senators.”

1856 – Sir J.J. Thomson born, English physicist whose discovery of the electron revolutionized the understanding of atomic structure; 1906 Nobel Prize in Physics

1862 – Hospital for Ruptured and Crippled, the first orthopedic hospital, is organized in New York City

1863 – Archduke Franz Ferdinand of the Austro-Hungarian Empire is born

1865 – US Secretary of State William Seward proclaims the adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment, prohibiting slavery throughout the U.S.

1870 – Saki (H.H. Munro) born, Burmese-English author and playwright

1879 – Paul Klee born, Swiss-German painter, noted for single-line drawings;  author, Schriften zur Form und Gestaltungslehre (Writings on Form and Design Theory)


Katze Lauert, by Paul Klee – 1939

1888 – Robert Moses born, American public official, the “master builder” who was appointed to a dozen commissions, oversaw development of New York City and its surrounding area, from the Triborough Bridge to Lincoln Center

A motorcade led by President Franklin D. Roosevelt opens the Harlem River
lift span of the Triborough Bridge in this 1936 photo – New Deal Network photo archive

1898 – A new automobile speed record is set at 39 mph (63 kph)

1903 – The Panama Canal Zone is acquired ‘in perpetuity’ by the U.S. for an annual rent

1913 – Willy Brandt born, Chancellor of West Germany (1969-1974); awarded the 1971 Nobel Peace Prize

1920 – Conductor Arturo Toscanini makes his first recording for Victor Records

1922 – Esther Lederberg born, American microbiologist; pioneer in bacterial genetics. Her notable contributions include the discovery of the bacterial virus λ; the transfer of genes between bacteria by specialized transduction, the development of replica plating, and the discovery of the bacterial fertility factor F (F plasmid). She also founded and directed the Plasmid Reference Center in 1976 at Stanford University, where she maintained, named, and distributed plasmids of many types, including those coding for antibiotic resistance, heavy metal resistance, virulence, conjugation, colicins, transposons, and other factors. Now known as the Lederberg Plasmid Collection, it was transferred to Dr. Greg Phillips at Iowa State University. In spite of her outstanding work, she faced gender discrimination, including being excluded from writing a chapter in the 1966 book Phage and the Origins of Molecular Biology, a commemoration of molecular biology. According to the science historian Prina Abir-Am, her exclusion was “incomprehensible” because of her important discoveries in bacteriophage genetics. She was often overshadowed by her more famous husband, Joshua Lederberg, and some of her work was attributed to him.  As her husband began his tenure as head of the genetics department at Stanford in 1959, she and two other women petitioned the dean of the medical school to remedy the lack of women faculty. She was eventually appointed to an untenured faculty position as Research Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. When the Lederbergs divorced in 1968, she had to fight to stay employed at Stanford. In 1974 as a Senior Scientist, she was forced to transition to a position as Adjunct Professor of Medical Microbiology, effectively a drop in position. This short-term appointment was renewed on a rolling basis, dependent on her securing grant funding

1927 – Ramsey Clark born, American lawyer; U.S Attorney General (1966-1969) opponent of the death penalty, strong supporter of civil liberties, civil rights, and anti-trust laws; supervised the drafting of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and Civil Rights Act of 1968


1931 – Alison Plowden born in India, English historian, biographer, BCC scriptwriter and non-fiction author of works on the Tudor, English Civil War and Victorian periods, including  The Young Elizabeth; Tudor Women; The Young Victoria; Women All on Fire: Women of the English Civil War; ‘In a Free Republic – life in Cromwell’s England; and The Winter Queen

1935 – Jacques Pépin born, French-American chef and author

1937 – Nancy A. Ryles born, American politician; Oregon State Senator (1983-1987). She worked for the passage in 1981 of a bill mandating pubic kindergartens in Oregon, which had been introduced originally by Democrat Betty Roberts, who was the first woman to serve in both Oregon state houses, and the first woman Oregon State Senator. Ryles also campaigned for aid in dying legislation in the 1980s, which failed to pass, but laid the groundwork for passage of the Oregon Death with Dignity Act in 1994. Ryles was the first woman to serve on the Oregon Public Utilities Commission, from 1987 until her death from cancer at age 52; the Nancy Ryles Scholarship Fund was set up to honor her at Portland State University

1941 – Joan Wallach Scott born, American historian and author, authority on modern French history, but has also made contributions in gender history and intellectual history; Professor Emerita in the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. Her 1986 foundational article “Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis” was published in the American Historical Review, is one of the most widely read and cited articles by English-speaking historians in the field of gender history; her books include Gender and the Politics of History, Only Paradoxes to Offer: French Feminists and the Rights of Men, and The Glassworkers of Carmaux: French Craftsmen and Political Action in a Nineteenth Century City. She is a founding editor of the journal History of the Present, and has been honored with several awards, including the American Historical Association’s Herbert Baxter Adams Prize, and the Hans Sigrist Award for Outstanding Research in Gender Studies

1942 – Lenore Blum born, American mathematician; founding head of the Mills College Mathematics and Computer Science Department; awarded the first Letts-Villard Chair at Mills in 1979; currently at Carnegie Mellon. Known for the Blum Blum Shub Pseudorandom number generator, the Blum-Shub-Smale machine, and her contributions to the theory of real number computation. She is an advocate for increasing the number of women in science and mathematics, and founded the Women@SCS program at CMU, which has provided both mentoring and outreach opportunities for women in computer science. The program increased the proportion of women in the CMU undergraduate computer science program to nearly 50%. But Blum resigned from CMU, effective August 2019, after a change in management structure at Project Olympus, a business incubator program which she started, led to sexist treatment of her, and the exclusion of other women from Olympus activities. Blum was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1979, and as a fellow of the American Mathematical Society in2012. She became a fellow of the Association for Women in Mathematics in the inaugural class in 2017

1943 – Keith Richards born, English singer-songwriter, guitarist, The Rolling Stones

1944 – The U.S. Supreme Court upholds wartime relocation of Japanese-Americans, but states undeniably loyal Americans of Japanese ancestry could not be detained

1946 – Steve Biko born as Bantu Stephen Biko, South African anti-apartheid activist, African socialist, and a leading figure in the Black Consciousness Movement during the 1960s and 1970s. He published a series of articles about his ideas under the pseudonym Frank Talk.  In 1966, he began studying medicine at the University of Natal, where he joined the National Union of South African Students (NUSAS). Strongly opposed to the apartheid system of racial segregation and white-minority rule in South Africa, Biko was frustrated that NUSAS and other anti-apartheid groups were dominated by white liberals, rather than by the blacks who were most affected by apartheid. He believed that even when well-intentioned, white liberals failed to comprehend the black experience and often acted in a paternalistic manner. He developed the view that to avoid white domination, black people had to organise independently, and to this end he became a leading figure in the creation of the South African Students’ Organisation  (SASO) in 1968, for non-white students only.  The white-minority National Party government saw SASO’s creation as a victory for apartheid’s ethos of racial separatism, and was initially supportive, but as the SASO’s Black Consciousness ideology and campaign to an end to apartheid, and for universal suffrage and a socialist economy became more widely known, the government saw Biko as a sunbersive threat, and place him under a banning order in 1973, severely restricting his activities, and was detained by state security services several times. He was arrested in 1977, and died in custody after being severely beaten by state security officers, then left without medical help. Over 20,000 people attended his funeral

1946 – Steven Spielberg born, American filmmaker, considered a pioneer of the ‘New Hollywood’ as one of the post successful producers and directors in Hollywood history; winner of two Oscars for Best Director for Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan, and Schindler’s List also won for Best Picture. He was also honored with the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award for his work as a creative producer, and the American Film Institute Life Achievement Award; co-founder of Amblin Entertainment and DreamWorks Studios

1950 – Gillian Armstrong born, Australian director-producer-screenwriter; best known for  My Brilliant Career, the first feature-length film directed by an Australian woman in 46 years; Mrs. Soffel; The Last Days of Chez Nous; and the 1994 film version of Little Women. Her 2006 documentary, Unfolding Florence: The Many Lives of Florence Broadhurst, an Australian designer, was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival

1956 – To Tell the Truth debuts on CBS-TV

1957 – The Shippingport Atomic Power Station in Pennsylvania is the first U.S. civilian nuclear facility to go online

1958 – Julia Wolfe born, American composer; won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Music for Anthracite Fields

1958 – The world’s first communications satellite is launched by the U.S.

1961 – Leila Steinberg born, American music manager and marketer, writer, poet, and founder of AIM4TheHeART, a non-profit helping at-risk youth with literacy and writing workshops

1965 – ‘Taste of Honey’ by Herb Alpert & Tijuana Brass is #1 on the charts

1966 – Saturn’s moon Epimetheus is discovered by astronomer Richard Walker

1968 – Alejandro Sanz, AKA Sánchez Pizarro born, Spanish singer-songwriter

1969 – The British Parliament abolishes the death penalty for murder

1970 – Divorce becomes legal in Italy

1971 – Noriko Matsueda born, Japanese composer, best known for her scores for video games, including Front Mission 2, and her collaboration with Takahito Eguchi on Final Fantasy X-2 

1972 – Vietnam War: U.S. begins its heaviest bombing of North Vietnam

1973 – The Islamic Development Bank is founded in Saudi Arabia

1980 – Christina Aguilera born, American singer-songwriter-producer

1981 – First flight of the Russian heavy strategic bomber Tu-160, the world’s largest combat aircraft

1984 – Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” was the No. 1 Billboard Pop Hit

1987 – Ivan F. Boesky is sentenced to three years in prison for plotting Wall Street’s biggest insider-trading scandal

1991 – Save the Brazilian Rainforests Day * – The International Project to Save the Brazilian Rainforests is launched

2000 – International Migrants Day * is designated by the UN General Assembly

2002 – California Governor Gray Davis announces that the state  faces a record budget deficit of $35 billion, roughly double the figure reported during his reelection campaign one month earlier

2006 – United Arab Emirates holds its first-ever elections

2010 – UNESCO starts Arabic Language Day * to promote cultural understanding and highlight the importance of the Arabic language to world culture

2015 – The last deep coal mine in Britain, Kellingley Colliery, is closed

2016 – The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals upholds the November 10th lower court order that Michigan must deliver bottled water or provide in-home filtration to all qualified residents affected by lead contamination in the city of Flint. This was the third ruling by a federal court that the state must begin water deliveries

2018 – The Associated Press reports that Trump’s charitable foundation agreed to shut down in a deal reached with New York’s attorney general. The deal will resolve allegations that the Trump Foundation misused assets to settle some of Trump’s business disputes and support his bid for the White House. The agreement, which was reached under court supervision, also calls for distributing the foundation’s remaining $1.7 million to other nonprofit groups. Despite the deal, New York state Attorney General Barbara Underwood’s lawsuit, which accuses the Trumps of illegally running the foundation as part of their real estate empire and Trump’s presidential campaign, remains ongoing. The lawsuit seeks $2.8 million in restitution and a 10-year ban to prevent Trump and his three eldest children from operating charities in the state 

2018 – Nevada becomes the first U.S. state with a majority of women in the state legislature. In 2019, women are in 32 of the 63 seats in the state’s Assembly and Senate. In addition, half of Nevada’s representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives are also women


About wordcloud9

Nona Blyth Cloud has lived and worked in the Los Angeles area for over 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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