Today In History - Friday, December 9th

2013


At least seven are dead and 63 are injured following a train accident near Bintaro, Indonesia.
2008


The Governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, is arrested by federal officials for crimes including attempting to sell the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by President-elect Barack Obama's election to the Presidency.
2006


Moscow suffers its worst fire since 1977, killing 45 women in a drug rehabitation center.
2003


A blast in the center of Moscow kills six people and wounds several more.
2000


The United States Supreme Court stays the Florida recount.
1996


The War on Cancer hits it's 25th mark.
1990


Lech Wałęsa becomes the first directly elected president of Poland.
1988


The Michael Hughes Bridge in Sligo, Ireland, is officially opened.
1987


Israeli-Palestinian conflict: The First Intifada begins in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.
1979


The English physician Edward Jenner demonstrated the effectiveness of cowpox to protect humans from smallpox in 1796, after which various attempts were made to eliminate smallpox on a regional scale. The introduction of the vaccine to the New World took place in Trinity, Newfoundland in 1800 by Dr. John Clinch, boyhood friend and medical colleague of Jenner. As early as 1803, the Spanish Crown organized a mission (the Balmis expedition) to transport the vaccine to the Spanish colonies in the Americas and the Philippines, and establish mass vaccination programs there. The U.S. Congress passed the Vaccine Act of 1813 to ensure that safe smallpox vaccine would be available to the American public.

By about 1817, a very solid state vaccination program existed in the Dutch East Indies. In British India a program was launched to propagate smallpox vaccination, through Indian vaccinators, under the supervision of European officials. Nevertheless, British vaccination efforts in India, and in Burma in particular, were hampered by stubborn indigenous preference for inoculation and distrust of vaccination, despite tough legislation, improvements in the local efficacy of the vaccine and vaccine preservative, and education efforts.

By 1832, the federal government of the United States established a smallpox vaccination program for Native Americans. In 1842, the United Kingdom banned inoculation, later progressing to mandatory vaccination. The British government introduced compulsory smallpox vaccination by an Act of Parliament in 1853.

In the United States, from 1843 to 1855 first Massachusetts, and then other states required smallpox vaccination. Although some disliked these measures, coordinated efforts against smallpox went on, and the disease continued to diminish in the wealthy countries.

By 1897, smallpox had largely been eliminated from the United States. In Northern Europe a number of countries had eliminated smallpox by 1900, and by 1914, the incidence in most industrialized countries had decreased to comparatively low levels. Vaccination continued in industrialized countries, until the mid to late 1970s as protection against reintroduction. Australia and New Zealand are two notable exceptions; neither experienced endemic smallpox and never vaccinated widely, relying instead on protection by distance and strict quarantines.

The first hemisphere-wide effort to eradicate smallpox was made in 1950 by the Pan American Health Organization. The campaign was successful in eliminating smallpox from all American countries except Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Ecuador. In 1958 Professor Viktor Zhdanov, Deputy Minister of Health for the USSR, called on the World Health Assembly to undertake a global initiative to eradicate smallpox. The proposal (Resolution WHA11.54) was accepted in 1959. At this point, 2 million people were dying from smallpox every year.

The global eradication of smallpox was certified, based on intense verification activities in countries, by a commission of eminent scientists on 9 December 1979 and subsequently endorsed by the World Health Assembly on 8 May 1980.
1973


British and Irish authorities sign the Sunningdale Agreement in an attempt to establish a power-sharing Northern Ireland Executive and a cross-border Council of Ireland.
1971


The United Arab Emirates join the United Nations.
Indo-Pakistani War: The Indian Air Force executes an airdrop of Indian Army units, bypassing Pakistani defences.
1969


U.S. Secretary of State William P. Rogers proposes his plan for a ceasefire in the War of Attrition; Egypt and Jordan accept it over the objections of the PLO, which leads to civil war in Jordan in September 1970.
1968


NLS (a system for which hypertext and the computer mouse were developed) is publicly demonstrated for the first time in San Francisco.
Douglas Engelbart gave what became known as "The Mother of All Demos", publicly debuting the computer mouse, hypertext, and the bit-mapped graphical user interface using the oN-Line System (NLS).
1966


Barbados joins the United Nations.
1965


Kecksburg UFO incident: A fireball is seen from Michigan to Pennsylvania; witnesses report something crashing in the woods near Pittsburgh. In 2005 NASA admits that it examined the object.
A Charlie Brown Christmas, first in a series of Peanuts television specials, debuts on CBS.
1962


The Petrified Forest National Park is established in Arizona.
1961


The trial of Nazi Adolf Eichmann in Israel ends with verdicts of guilty on 15 criminal charges, including charges of crimes against humanity, crimes against the Jewish people and membership of an outlawed organization.
Tanganyika becomes independent from Britain.
1960


The first episode of Britain's longest running television soap opera Coronation Street is broadcast.
The first episode of Coronation Street, the world's longest-running television soap opera, is broadcast in the United Kingdom.
1958


The John Birch Society is founded in the United States.
1956


Trans-Canada Air Lines Flight 810, a Canadair North Star, crashes near Hope, British Columbia, Canada, killing all 62 people on board.
1953


Red Scare: General Electric announces that all communist employees will be discharged from the company.
1950


Harry Gold is sentenced to thirty years in jail for helping Klaus Fuchs pass information about the Manhattan Project to the Soviet Union. His testimony is later instrumental in the prosecution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.
1946


The "Subsequent Nuremberg Trials" began with the "Doctors' Trial", prosecuting doctors alleged to be involved in human experimentation.
The "Subsequent Nuremberg trials" begin with the "Doctors' trial", prosecuting physicians and officers alleged to be involved in Nazi human experimentation and mass murder under the guise of euthanasia.
The Constituent Assembly of India meets for the first time to write the Constitution of India.
1941


World War II: The Republic of China, Cuba, Guatemala, and the Philippine Commonwealth, declare war on Germany and Japan.
World War II: The American 19th Bombardment Group attacks Japanese ships off the coast of Vigan, Luzon.
1940


World War II: Operation Compass - British and Indian troops under the command of Major-General Richard O'Connor attack Italian forces near Sidi Barrani in Egypt.
1937


Second Sino-Japanese War: Battle of Nanking - Japanese troops under the command of Lt. Gen. Asaka Yasuhiko launch an assault on the Chinese city of Nanjing (Nanking).
1935


Walter Liggett, American newspaper editor and muckraker, is killed in a gangland murder.
The Downtown Athletic Club Trophy, later renamed the Heisman Trophy, is awarded for the first time. The winner is halfback Jay Berwanger of the University of Chicago.
1931


The Constituent Cortes approves a constitution which establishes the Second Spanish Republic.
1922


Gabriel Narutowicz is announced the first president of Poland.
1917


World War I: In Palestine, Field Marshal Edmund Allenby captures Jerusalem.
1911


A mine explosion near Briceville, Tennessee, kills 84 miners despite rescue efforts led by the United States Bureau of Mines.
1905


In France, the law separating church and state is passed.
1897


Activist Marguerite Durand founds the feminist daily newspaper La Fronde in Paris.
1888


Statistician Herman Hollerith installs his computing device at the United States War Department.
1875


The Massachusetts Rifle Association, "America's Oldest Active Gun Club", is founded.
1872


In Louisiana, P. B. S. Pinchback becomes the first serving African-American governor of a U.S. state.
1861


American Civil War: The Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War is established by the U.S. Congress.
1856


The Iranian city of Bushehr surrenders to occupying British forces.
1851


The first YMCA in North America is established in Montreal, Quebec.
1835


The Republic of Texas captures San Antonio, Texas.
Texas Revolution: The Texian Army captures San Antonio, Texas.
1824


Patriot forces led by General Antonio José de Sucre defeat a Royalist army in the Battle of Ayacucho, putting an end to the Peruvian War of Independence.
1793


New York City's first daily newspaper, the ''American Minerva'', is established by Noah Webster.
1775


American Revolutionary War: British troops lose the Battle of Great Bridge, and leave Virginia soon afterward.
1531


The Virgin of Guadalupe first appears to Juan Diego at Tepeyac, Mexico City.
1425


730


Battle of Marj Ardabil: The Khazars annihilate an Umayyad army and kill its commander, al-Jarrah ibn Abdallah al-Hakami.
536


Byzantine General Belisarius enters Rome while the Ostrogothic garrison peacefully leaves the city, returning the old capital to its empire.
Gothic War: The Byzantine general Belisarius enters Rome unopposed; the Gothic garrison flee the capital.
480


Odoacer, first King of Italy, occupies Dalmatia. He later establishes his political power with the co-operation of the Roman Senate.