ON THIS DAY: December 27, 2019

December 27th is

Fruitcake Day

Howdy Doody Day *

Visit the Zoo Day


MORE! Manuela Sáenz, Ghalib and Marlene Dietrich, click



Angola – Luanda: Luanda Semba Festival

Brazil – Lagoinha:
São Paulo Reveillóz Festival

Bulgaria – St. Stephen’s Day
(patron saint of Bulgaria)

Canada – Vancouver:
Contact Winter Music Festival

Chile – Concepción: In Edit Chile
(film and musical documentary festival)

France – Ornolac-Ussat-les-Bains
Winter Fests in Lombrives’ Cave

Ghana – Accra: Afrochella Ghana
(cultural festival)

India – Goa: Sunburn Festival

Italy – Orvieto: Umbria Jazz Winter

Japan – Osaka: Ramen Expo 2019

Mexico – Tulum: Esto es Tulum

Netherlands – Utrecht:
International Chamber Music Festival

New Zealand – Matakana: Hidden Valley Festival

North Korea – Constitution Day

Romania – St. Stephen’s Day

Russia – Emergency Rescuer’s Day

South Africa – Stanford:
Blues Rock & Roots Festival

Thailand – Bangkok: Piyarom Festival


On This Day in HISTORY

36 – Victorious General Wu Han of Eastern Han grants permission for his soldiers to loot and burn the imperial palace of Chengdu, the capital of the Chengjia empire; many members of the Chenggjia court are killed, but the court musicians are sent to Luoyang, the capital of the Han dynasty

537 – The Hagia Sophia (‘holy wisdom’), ordered by Byzantine Emperor Justinian I, is completed in Constantinople – now Istanbul – in Turkey. It was the world’s largest cathedral until the completion of the Seville Cathedral in 1520

1512 – The Spanish Crown issues the Leyes de Burgos (laws of Burgos) which forbid maltreatment of indigenous people in the ‘New World’ while endorsing converting them to Catholicism, and laying out the system of Encomiendas – employing Indians in groups of 40-150 as workers under heads of estates, with a list of regulations for work, pay, provisioning, living quarters, hygiene, and care, including exempting women more than 4 months pregnant from work. The encomenderos (bosses) were prohibited from directly punishing workers – offenders were to be bound over to civil officials instead

1571 – Johannes Kepler born, German mathematician, astronomer, and astrologer

1657 – The Flushing Remonstrance is signed, a petition to Director-General of New Netherland Peter Stuyvesant by residents of the small settlement at Vlishing requesting an exemption to his ban on Quaker worship (he banned all public religious worship other than the Dutch Reformed Church.)  None of the signers were Quakers. It is considered a precursor to the U.S. Constitution’s provision on freedom of religion in the Bill of Rights

1741 – Jean Etienne Bore born; inventor of the sugar granulating process, and founder of the sugar industry in Louisiana

1797 – Manuela Sáenz born, Ecuadorian revolutionary; she left her husband to join Simón Bolívar, who led the fight against Spain to liberate the Spanish Empire in South America, now the republics of Venezuela, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Panama.  In choosing the revolution and its charismatic leader over her rich husband, she said, “Marriage pledges one to nothing.”

1797 – Mizra Ghalib born, the last great poet of the Mughal Empire; wrote in Urdu and Persian; used Ghalib as his pen name

1821 – Lady Jane Wilde born, Irish poet, essayist, and women’s rights advocate, supporter of the nationalist movement writing under the pseudonym Speranza, known for collections of folktales; mother of Oscar Wilde

1822 – Louis Pasteur born, French chemist and microbiologist, developed Pasteurization process to kill microorganisms responsible for food spoilage and disease transmission, also vaccines for anthrax, cholera and rabies

1831 – Charles Darwin embarks on his five year journey aboard the HMS Beagle from Barn Pool, near Plymouth, England

HMS Beagle

1845 – Ether anesthetic is used for childbirth for the first time by Dr. Crawford Long in Jefferson, Georgia

1845 – Journalist John L. O’Sullivan, writing in his newspaper the New York Morning News, argues that the United States has the right to claim the entire Oregon Country “by the right of our manifest destiny”

1888 –Thea von Harbou born, German screenwriter, novelist, actress and film director; noted for writing the original story and the screenplay for the science fiction silent film classic Metropolis, in which she also starred

1900 – Astley John Goodwin born, first professional South African archaeologist, author, first professor of archaeology and first head of the Archaeology department at the University of Cape Town. He developed the standard terminology of South African archaeology, and founded the South African Archaeological Society. His books include  The Stone Age Cultures of South Africa and Method in Prehistory

1901 – Marlene Dietrich born, legendary actor-singer, early opponent of Nazism, financed escape of several Jewish friends before WWII. In 1937, Hitler’s agents offered her an almost blank check to return home to star in movies of her choice – she angrily rejected the offer, and her films were banned in Germany. She became an American citizen in 1939. During World War II, she made anti-Nazi broadcasts in German, sold war-bonds, and tirelessly entertained half a million Allied troops and war prisoners across North Africa and Western Europe

1911 – The national anthem of India, Jana Gana Mana, with lyrics by Rabindranath Tagore, is first sung in the Calcutta Session of the Indian National Congress:

You, the ruler of our minds, our nation
To you our humble salutations!
You, the custodian of so many!
You, the guardian of India’s destiny!
Through Punjab and Sindh, Gujarat and Maratha
Dravida, Orissa and Bengal
Across lofty crests and mellow leas of the Vindhyas and the Himalayas
Your name awakens one and all!

1918 – The Great Poland Uprising against the Germans begins

1922 – Japanese aircraft carrier Hōshō becomes the first purpose built aircraft carrier to be commissioned in the world

1924 – Jean Bartik born, American computer scientist and engineer; one of the original programmers for the ENIAC computer; studied mathematics in school then began work at the University of Pennsylvania, first manually calculating ballistics trajectories, then using ENIAC to do so. She and her colleagues developed and codified many of the fundamentals of  programming while working on the ENIAC, since it was the first computer of its kind. After her work on ENIAC, Bartik went on to work on BINAC and UNIVAC, and spent time at a variety of technical companies as a writer, manager, engineer and programmer

1927 – Audrey Wagner born, All-American Girls Professional Baseball League outfielder (1943-1949), and All Star player for the National Girls Baseball League of Chicago (1950-1953). Wagner later earned a Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Illinois, and became an obstetrician and gynecologist; she earned a private pilot’s license, and also served on the Crescent City city council in Northern California. She was killed in a small plane accident in Wyoming at the age of 56

1927 – Show Boat, considered the first true American musical, opens at the Ziegfeld Theatre on Broadway

1927 – Anne Armstrong born, American diplomat and Republican politician; first woman Counselor to the President; first woman U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom; Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient

1929 – Soviet Secretary Joseph Stalin orders “liquidation of the kulaks as a class”

1930 – Meg Greenfield born, named editorial editor at the Washington Post in 1979 after winning a Pulitzer Prize; penned commentaries on civil rights, integration, nuclear arms and the military establishment

1932 – Radio City Music Hall “Showplace of the Nation” opens in New York City

1935 – Regina Jonas receives her semicha and is ordained as a rabbi, becoming the first woman to officially serve in that role

1943 – Joan Manuel Serrat born, Spanish singer-songwriter and guitarist

1943 – Cokie Roberts born, American television journalist and syndicated columnist; reporter on National Public Radio; won the Edward Weintal Prize for Diplomatic Reporting in 1988 for coverage of the Iran-Contra Affair; author of Capital Dames: The Civil War and the Women of Washington, 1848-1868

1945 – The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are created with the signing of an agreement by 28 nations

1946 – Janet Street-Porter born, English journalist, broadcaster and media personality; career highlights include: reporter on LWT’s The London Weekend Show (1975-1979); produced Twentieth Century Box (1980-1982) for LWT; editor of Network 7 (1987-1988) for Channel Four; editor of The Independent on Sunday (2000-2002); since 2011, she has been a regular panelist on ITV’s Loose Women

1946 – Polly Toynbee born, British journalist and author; worked for The Guardian, the BCC and The Independent newspaper; president of the British Humanist Association (2007-2012)

1947 – Howdy Doody Day * – The Howdy Doody Show for children debuts on NBC-TV

1949 – The Netherlands officially recognizes Indonesian independence, which ends the Dutch East Indies after over 300 years

1954 – Mandie Fletcher born, British television and film director; noted for directing series episodes and the 2016 film of Absolutely Fabulous; she also worked on the TV series Hamish Macbeth (1996-1997), and Jam and Jerusalem (2006-2009); her feature film debut was Deadly Advice in 1994; in 2018, she co-authored the screenplay and directed the comedy film, Patrick

1960 – Ray Charles records “One Mint Julep”

1966 – The Cave of Swallows, the largest known cave shaft in the world, is discovered in Aquismón, San Luis Potosí, Mexico

1966 – Marianne Elliott born, British theatre director; currently working with Elliott & Harper Productions since 2017; has worked at the National Theatre (2002-2017), where her production of Saint Joan won the 2008 Olivier Award for Best Revival, and at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester (1995-2005), where she also served as artistic director (1998-2005)

1968 – Apollo program: Apollo 8 splashes down in the Pacific Ocean, ending the first orbital manned mission to the Moon

1969 – Sarah Vowell born, American non-fiction author, journalist, social commentator and essayist, noted for her quirky and amusing books on American History, including: Unfamiliar Fishes, Assassination Vacation, and Lafayette in the Somewhat United States

1971 – Savannah Guthrie born in Australia, Australian-American attorney and broadcast journalist; co-anchor on NBC’s Today show since 2012; NBC News White House correspondent (2008-2010), legal analyst and trial reporter (2007-2008)

1978 – Spain becomes a democracy after 40 years of fascist dictatorship

1980 – Mexico terminates its fishing agreements with the U.S.

1982 – Erin E. Stead born, American children’s book illustrator; winner of the 2011 Caldecott Medal for A Sick Day for Amos McGee

1989 – The Romanian Revolution concludes, as the last minor street confrontations and stray shootings abruptly end in the country’s capital, Bucharest

1989 – Egypt and Syria resume full diplomatic relations after a twelve-year break

1996 – Taliban forces retake the strategic Bagram Airfield which solidifies their buffer zone around Kabul, Afghanistan

2001 – China is granted permanent normal trade relations with the United States

2001 – U.S. officials announce that Taliban and al-Qaida prisoners will be held at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

2004 – Radiation from an explosion on the magnetar SGR 1806-20 reaches Earth, the brightest extrasolar event recorded on the planet

2007 – Former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto is assassinated in Rawalpindi by a gunman, who fired three shots at her, then detonated a suicide vest packed with ball bearings, which also killed twenty people in the crowd

2007 – Riots erupt in Mombasa, Kenya, after Mwai Kibaki is declared the winner of the presidential election amid charges of election irregularities, which triggers a political, economic, and humanitarian crisis

2008 – Israel launches Operation Cast Lead, a three-week assault on the Gaza Strip, attacking police stations, political and administrative institutions, and suspected weapons caches and rocket firing sites, causing the deaths of over 1200 Palestinians. Thirteen Israeli soldiers were killed, four of them by friendly fire. The international community considers indiscriminate attacks on civilians and civilian structures that do not discriminate between civilians and military targets as illegal under international law. The United Nations Human Rights Council ordered Israel to conduct various repairs of the damages. In September 2012, the UN Human Rights Council concluded that 75% of civilian homes destroyed in the attack were not rebuilt

2012 – NASA unveils plans to capture a 500 ton asteroid in 2025; “This mission represents an unprecedented technological feat that will lead to new scientific discoveries and technological capabilities and help protect our home planet,” NASA administrator Charles Bolden said

2017 – A judge in Myanmar extended the detention of two Reuters  journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, as police continue an investigation into whether they violated the Official Secrets Act. The journalists were detained two weeks ago after working on Reuters’ coverage on the exodus of 655,000 Rohingya Muslims from the western state of Rakhine. The refugees have been fleeing a military crackdown in the area following Rohingya rebel attacks. The Ministry of Information has said the journalists “illegally acquired information with the intention to share it with foreign media” in violation of the British colonial-era secrets law. They could be sentenced to up to 14 years in prison under the law


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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