ON THIS DAY: August 23, 2020

August 23rd is

International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade & its Abolition *

Ride the Wind Day *

Spongecake Day

Valentino Day *

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MORE! Nazik Al-Malaika, Frank Capra and Halimah Yacob, click

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WORLD FESTIVALS AND NATIONAL HOLIDAYS

Australia – Daffodil Day Appeal
(National Fundraiser for Cancer Research)

European Union/Lithuania – Black Ribbon Day (for victims
of totalitarianism)

Iran – National Physicians Day

Romania – Liberation from Fascism Day

Russia – Battle of Kursk Day

Ukraine – National Flag Day

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On This Day in HISTORY

30 BC – After invading Egypt, Octavian executes Caesarion, Cleopatra’s son by Julius Caesar, and Marcus Antonius Antyllus, Mark Antony’s eldest son

AD 79 – Mount Vesuvius begins stirring, on the feast day of Vulcan, the Roman god of fire, metalworking and volcanoes


Hand-colored etching by Peter Fabris, circa 1760: a plate
in William Hamilton’s Campi Phlegraei

1244 – Siege of Jerusalem: The city’s citadel, the Tower of David, surrenders to the Sunni Muslim Khwarezmian Empire

1305 – First War of Scottish Independence: Sir William Wallace is executed for treason at Smithfield in London

1524 – François Hotman born, French Protestant lawyer and legal scholar, writer, humanist, opposed absolute monarchy, labeled “one of the first modern revolutionaries”

1614 – University of Groningen is established in the Dutch Republic



1628 – George Villiers, first Duke of Buckingham, stabbed to death by John Felton

1754 – French King Louis XVI born, destined to be sentenced to the guillotine and executed during the French Revolution

1769 – Georges Cuvier born, French major figure in natural sciences, zoologist and pioneer in comparative anatomy and vertebrate paleontology; early proponent of catastrophism in geology, which his work helped establish extinction as fact



1785 – Oliver Hazard Perry born, American naval commander who served in the West Indies, in the First Barbary War, and against piracy and the slave trade in the Caribbean, but is best known for the 1813 Battle of Lake Eire, a turning point for the U.S. during the War of 1812. Noted for his dispatch after the battle to General William Henry Harrison, “We have met the enemy and they are ours. Two ships, two brigs, one schooner and one sloop.”  It was the first time in British naval history that a commander had been forced to surrender his entire squadron

1817 – Emily Chubbuck Judson born, author and poet under pen-names Fanny Forrester and Emily Judson; married missionary and went to Burma (1846-1851), but returned to the U.S. after her husband died; she died of consumption in 1854; noted for An Olio of Domestic Verses



1838 – First graduating class from Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, South Hadley MA, one of the earliest colleges for women



1843 – Lillie Hitchcock Coit born, ‘Firebelle Lil’ was a wealthy socialite fascinated by firefighting, who became a mascot as a teen, and then an honorary member of Engine Company No. 5, often riding along to fires, sometimes scandalously wearing trousers, or appearing when the engine company was in a parade; she left one-third of her estate to the City of San Francisco, which used the bequest to build the landmark Coit Tower, and to place a statue of three firefighters in Washington Square Park


1847 – Sarah Frances Whiting born, American physicist,  astronomer and first professor of physics at Wellesley College (1876-1916); Whiting was quick to explore the newest techniques being applied to astronomy, and became the first director of the college’s Whitin Observatory. Annie Jump Cannon was among her notable students, one of the most effective Harvard “computers,” a group of women who worked on completing the Henry Draper Catalogue, an ambitious project to map and define every star in the sky to a photographic magnitude of around 9. Whiting also wrote numerous articles for Popular Astronomy, and became a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1883



1849 – William Ernest Henley born, English poet and editor, remembered for “Invictus”



1852 – Arnold Toynbee born, English economist, historian, author and social reformer; 12-volume A Study of History; he helped establish public libraries in East London, and encouraged his students to offer free classes for the working poor; Toynbee Hall, a settlement house still active today, is named for him



1868 – Edgar Lee Masters born, American poet and novelist; Spoon River Anthology

1871 – Jack Butler Yeats born, Irish artist; Ireland’s first Olympic medalist, a silver for his painting Swimming, in the arts and culture segment of the 1924 Paris games; brother of poet William Butler Yeats


The Learner by Jack Butler Yeats, 1929

1891 – Roy Agnew born, Australian composer and pianist

1898 – Southern Cross Expedition leaves London bound for the Antarctic. First expedition to over-winter on Antarctic mainland, and pioneer in the use of dogs and sledges

1900 – Malvina Reynolds born to Jewish immigrant parents who were socialist and peace activists. She was an American folk/blues singer-songwriter and political activist, best known for her songs, “Little Boxes” and “What Have They Done to the Rain.” Reynolds sang her songs frequently at gatherings for liberal causes. She opposed nuclear weapons, campaigned for civil rights, but also wrote several songs for children, including “Morningtown Ride.” She later contributed several songs and materials to Sesame Street,  and made occasional appearances on the show. She earned a doctorate in English from the University of California, Berkeley (1938), and later returned to UC-Berkeley to study music theory. Reynolds was an associate of the Women’s Institute for Freedom of the Press, which was founded in 1972



1900 – Ernst Krenek born in Austria, son of a Czech soldier, American composer

1902 – Fannie Farmer opens Miss Farmer’s School of Cookery in Boston Massachusetts

1905 – Constant Lambert born, English composer and conductor; He was the first Music Director of the Royal Ballet.

1908 – Hannah Frank born in Glasgow to Russian Jewish immigrants, Scottish artist and sculptor. She was an illustrator for GUM, the student magazine of Glasgow University even after graduation, while she continued her studies at the Glasgow School of Art. In her early career, she was known for her art noveau monochrome drawings, but later focused on small scale plaster, terra cotta and bronze sculptures that are mainly figure studies, often of women. She donated many pieces of her work to fundraisers for Jewish organizations in Glasgow, and was a member of the Glasgow branch of Friends of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her work was exhibited by the Royal Scottish Academy, the Royal Glasgow Institute and the Royal Academy in London



1912 – Gene Kelly born, innovative American dancer, actor, director-choreographer

1922 – Nazik Al-Malaika born to a feminist poet mother and academic father, Iraqi poet, one of the most influential women poets in Iraq. Notable as the first Arabic poet to use free verse, in her ground-breaking second book of poetry, Sparks and Ashes. Her poems covered nationalism, social and feminist issues, honour killings and alienation. She left Iraq with her husband and family in 1970 after the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party came to power, moving to Kuwait, until it was invaded by Saddam Hussein in 1990, and then to Egypt, where she lived for the rest of her life in Cairo. Her other three books of poetry are And the sea changes its colour, Bottom of the Wave, and The Night’s Lover



1926 – Silent film idol Rudolf Valentino dies at age 31 because of a ruptured ulcer. Thousands mourn. Valentino Day * honors the anniversary of his death



1927 – Anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti executed in spite of worldwide pleas for pardon

1933 – Mahatma Gandhi released from jail in Poona, India, after a one-week hunger strike

1938 – Frank Capra’s movie You Can’t Take It With You starring James Stewart opens. It wins Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director



1941 – Onora O’Neill born, Baroness O’Neill of Bengrave, philosopher, academic and crossbench member of the House of Lords; President of the British Academy (2005-2009), the UK’s national academy for the humanities and social sciences; Principal of Newnham College, Cambridge (1992-2006); founding President of the British Philosophical Association (BPA); author of numerous works on political philosophy, ethics, international justice, bioethics, the importance of trust, consent and respect for autonomy in a just society, and the philosophy of Immanuel Kant



1944 – Antonia Coello Novello born, Puerto Rican physician and public health administrator, first woman appointed Surgeon General of the United States, vice admiral in the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, Commissioner of Health for the State of New York



1947 – Keith Moon born, drummer for The Who

1948 – World Council of Churches, a global fellowship of Christian churches, is formed

1949 – Vicky Leandros born as Vassiliki Papathanasiou, Greek singer with an international career, but best known in Europe, record producer and politician. She was elected as town councilor of the Greek harbour town of Piraeus in 2006, and also served as Deputy Mayor until 2008. She has several gold and platinum records, and sings in German, English, French and Spanish as well as Greek



1954 – Halimah Yacob born, Singapore Independent politician; first woman President of Singapore, and also National Singapore University Chancellor since 2017; Speaker of the Parliament of Singapore (2013-2017); Member of Parliament (2001-2017)



1954 – First Flight of C-130 Hercules aircraft



1956 – Valgerd Svarstad Haugland born, Norwegian teacher, politician and civil servant. Governor of Akershus since 2011; Minister of Culture (2001-2005); leader of the Christian Democratic Party (1995-2004); Minister of Children and Family Affairs (1997-2000)



1958 – Roberta Rudnick born, American earth scientist and professor of geology at University of California, Santa Barbara; world expert on the continental crust and lithosphere; fellow of the American Geophysical Union since 2005, and member of the National Academy of Sciences since 2010; awarded the 2012 Dana Medal by the Mineralogical Society of America; editor-in-chief of Chemical Geology (2000-2010)



1962 – U.S. Telstar relays first live broadcast between U.S. and Europe

1971 – Gretchen Whitmer born, Democratic politician; Governor of Michigan since January, 2019; Ingham County Prosecutor (2016 – finished term of the previous prosecutor after he was arrested on charges of involvement with a prostitute and willful neglect of duty); Minority Leader of the Michigan Senate (2011-2015); member of the Michigan Senate, 23rd district (2006-2015); member, Michigan House of Representatives (2001-2006)



1973 – Stockholm, Sweden, bank robbery hostage crisis lasts 5 days, term “Stockholm syndrome” is coined to describe hostages sympathy with their captors

1977 – National Ride the Wind Day * commemorates Paul MacCready’s Gossamer Condor-2, piloted by cyclist Bryan Allen, winning the Kremer prize for human-powered flight, flying a figure-eight course at 11 mph, for a distance of 2, 172 meters



1983 – Athena Farrokhzad born in Iran, Iranian-Swedish poet, playwright, translator,  literary critic, and controversial host of the Sverges Radio show Sommar since 2014; joint winner of the Karin Boye Literary Prize in 2013



1989 – Singing Revolution: two million people from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania join hands on the Vilnius-Talinn road, singing together

1996 – President Clinton imposed limits on peddling cigarettes to minors, including limiting ads in magazines popular with teens and on billboards to black-and-white, text-only messages, and banning cigarette brand-name sponsorship of sporting events

1998 – UNESCO adopts resolution establishing International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition * in honor of the successful Haitian slave uprising which played a crucial role in abolishing the transatlantic slave trade



2011 – Magnitude 5.8 (moderate) earthquake in Virginia causes an estimated $200 million–$300 million in damages to monuments and structures in Washington DC

2017 – Fields of flowers bloom suddenly after unexpected heavy rain falls on the Atacama Desert in Chile, the driest place on Earth



2018 – Seven in 10 Americans now support Medicare-for-all as a policy, a Reuters poll found. That includes 84.5 percent of Democrats and 51.9 percent of Republicans. Candidates like Senator Bernie Sanders (Independent-Vermont), and New York Democratic congressional nominee Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have drawn attention to the policy in recent years, pushing a populist message that has nudged lawmakers and Americans alike toward a more positive view on the idea that the government should allow everyone to enroll in publicly funded health insurance. In 2017, just 30 percent of Republicans said the government had a responsibility to ensure Americans had health care, and only 18 percent of conservatives said the same in 2014 

2018 – Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the British-Iranian woman sentenced to five years in jail in Iran for spying, has been temporarily released from prison for the first time in over two years. Zaghari-Ratcliffe, whose plight has left a shadow hanging over Iran-UK relations, was given a three-day furlough, taking her and her family by surprise. She has since been reunited with her four-year-old daughter, Gabriella, who has been in the care of her Iranian family since she was 22 months old. The Iranian move comes ahead of critical decisions by the European Union on the extent to which it will resist U.S. sanctions designed to curb European investment in Iran, including purchase of Iranian oil.
In March 2020, she and 85,000 other Iranian prisoners were temporarily released from prison due to the coronavirus pandemic. She is required to wear an angle tag, effectively putting her under house arrest at her parents’ home in Tehran.



2019 – Protesters laid siege to Brazilian embassies around the world, expressing international outrage over Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s failure to protect the Amazon, as the world’s biggest rainforest continues to be ravaged by thousands of deliberately set fires burning out of control. G7 leaders, from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the U.S., took up the issue, pledging millions for more firefighters, and discussing further action


Jacundá National Forest, Rondonia State, Brazil

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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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