Today in History - Oct. 19

Today in History for Oct. 19:

On this date:

In 1216, King John of England died after consuming what was described as an excessive number of peaches and too much beer.

In 1656, Massachusetts passed a law preventing the further immigration of Quakers into the Puritan colony. This resulted in the establishment of Pennsylvania as a Quaker colony.

In 1745, Jonathan Swift, an English satirist, churchman and political writer, died.

In 1781, Gen. Lord Cornwallis surrendered the British garrison of 7,000 at Yorktown, Va., after a three-week siege in 1781. He had been sent to seize the harbour for the British fleet but found himself bottled up by the French. The capture of Yorktown virtually ended the American War of Independence and the British hurried to make peace.

In 1812, French forces under Napoleon Bonaparte began their retreat from Moscow.

In 1844, as many as 200 people drowned when strong winds forced water from Lake Ontario and Lake Erie onto the streets of Toronto and Buffalo.

In 1864, a group of Confederate soldiers based in Canada attacked the town of St. Alban's, Vt. The soldiers robbed a bank of $200,000 and killed one man in their escape. The incident strained Canadian-American relations already weakened by the events of the American Civil War.

In 1945, the House of Commons ratified the UN charter.

In 1950, United Nations forces entered Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea.

In 1951, the U.S. Congress officially declared the end of war with Germany.

In 1954, at Cairo, Britain signed the "Suez Treaty" to restore the Suez Canal to Egypt.

In 1956, Quebec Premier Maurice Duplessis rejected a federal offer of grants to universities.

In 1957, Maurice (Rocket) Richard of the Montreal Canadiens became the first NHL player to score 500 career goals. He did it in 863 games. Richard retired in 1960 with a then-record 544 goals. He died of abdominal cancer on May 27, 2000.

In 1960, the United States imposed an embargo on exports to Cuba covering all commodities except medical supplies and certain food products. The embargo followed a reduction of U.S. imports of sugar, Cuba's main source of income, and was meant to punish the new government of Fidel Castro, which had expropriated large American land holdings under its Agrarian Reform Law. Successive punitive embargoes against Cuba have received international criticism.

In 1967, the U.S. space probe "Mariner 5" flew past Venus.

In 1977, the Concorde made its first landing in New York after 19 months of delays caused by residents concerned about the supersonic aircraft's noise.

In 1981, Toronto-born Stanford University physicist Arthur Schawlow was awarded a share of the Nobel prize in physics. He and colleagues from the U.S. and Sweden (Nicolaas Bloembergen and Kai Siegbahn) were recognized for their work on laser spectroscopy -- studying atomic systems using laser light.

In 1982, automaker John De Lorean was arrested in Los Angeles, charged with possessing and conspiring to distribute cocaine. He was later cleared of all charges.

In 1983, Saskatoon native Henry Taube was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry for his work on the mechanisms of electron transfer reactions.

In 1984, Alberta NDP Leader Grant Notley and five others were killed in a plane crash. Four people survived the crash of the twin-engine Piper aircraft, including a prisoner who was credited with helping save the lives of his police escort and two others. Notley, 45, had led the NDP in Alberta since 1968.

In 1987, American warships destroyed two Iranian oil platforms in the Persian Gulf in retaliation for an Iranian missile attack on a U.S.-flagged tanker off Kuwait on Oct. 16.

In 1987, a worldwide financial panic sent the Dow Jones average on the New York Stock Exchange into a tailspin. It plunged an unprecedented 508.32 points, or 22.62 per cent. On the Toronto Stock Exchange, Black Monday saw the 300 Index drop 407 points.

In 1993, Benazir Bhutto was elected prime minister of Pakistan.

In 1995, the Belgium parliament voted to lift diplomatic immunity of NATO Secretary General Willy Claes and have him stand trial on corruption charges stemming from his term as Belgian cabinet minister in late 1980s. He resigned his post the next day, becoming the first person forced to do so in NATO's 46-year history.

In 1999, Indonesia's national assembly voted to recognize East Timor's independence, paving the way for the territory to become the world's newest country.

In 2001, at least 370 people, most of them professionals from Iraq, drowned when their boat sank off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia.

In 2003, Pope John Paul II beatified Mother Teresa before a crowd of 300,000 at the Vatican, calling her an icon of charity and launching her on the fast track to sainthood. (Pope Francis declared her a saint in 2016.)

In 2005, Saddam Hussein and seven co-defendants went on trial on charges of crimes against humanity. (He was hanged on Dec. 30, 2006.)

In 2005, Desire Munyaneza, a Rwandan man fighting to stay in Canada, became the first to be charged under Canada's Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act for alleged activities during 1994 Rwandan genocide. (In 2009, he was convicted and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years.)

In 2007, a three-year global manhunt for a Canadian schoolteacher suspected of sexually abusing Asian boys ended when police in northeastern Thailand arrested Christopher Paul Neil. (Neil later pleaded guilty to sexually abusing a 13-year-old boy and was sentenced to three years and three months in jail; he was later convicted of holding the boy's 9-year-old brother against his will, and was sentenced to five years. He returned to Canada in September 2012 and taken into custody but was released shortly after under strict public safety conditions.)

In 2008, Mr. Blackwell, the acerbic designer whose annual worst-dressed list skewered the fashion felonies of celebrities from Zsa Zsa Gabor to Britney Spears, died at age 86. Born Richard Sylvan Selzer in 1922, he was a little-known dress designer when he issued his first tongue-in-cheek criticism of Hollywood fashion disasters for 1960 -- long before Joan Rivers and others turned such ridicule into a daily affair.

In 2010, Canada's privacy commissioner Jennifer Stoddart said Google broke Canadian privacy laws when it accidentally collected personal information from unsecured wireless networks while putting together its Street View mapping service.

In 2011, food processor Maple Leaf Foods announced it was cutting 1,550 jobs, closing plants in four provinces and streamlining distribution as part of a three-year $560-million restructuring plan.

In 2012, Lincoln Alexander, Canada's first black MP, cabinet minister and lieutenant-governor of Ontario (1985-91), died at the age of 90. His casket lay in state at Ontario's provincial legislature before being given a state funeral in Hamilton on Oct. 26.

In 2015, Justin Trudeau was elected Canada's 23rd prime minister, completing the first father-son dynasty in the country's federal government history. Trudeau led the third-party status Liberals to a stunning majority victory in the federal election, capturing 184 seats in the newly expanded 338-seat House of Commons and relegating the incumbent three-term Conservatives to Official Opposition. Stephen Harper announced immediately that he was stepping down as party leader (but remained an MP until he retired in August 2016). The NDP couldn't sustain its 2011 "orange wave" breakthrough, winning only 44 seats -- down from 95 at dissolution.

In 2018, the Saskatchewan government said its constitutional challenge of Ottawa's carbon tax would not be heard until 2019. The provincial court of appeal had set Feb. 13 and 14 for the hearing.

In 2020, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 around the globe surpassed the 40-million mark. Officials with Johns Hopkins University said the actual worldwide figure is likely to be far higher, as testing has been variable, many people have had no symptoms and some governments have concealed the true number of cases.

In 2020, Canada's COVID-19 case count surpassed the 200,000 mark. The development came just over four months after Canada reached the 100,000 case threshold.

In 2020, Queen's University in Kingston, Ont., said it would remove the name of Sir John A. Macdonald from its law school building, marking the end of a months-long process that began after a petition to change the name gathered support. Macdonald was the first prime minister of Canada, and played a key role in setting up the residential school system that removed Indigenous children from their families.


(The Canadian Press)

The Canadian Press

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