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^  On a 17 November:
2005 Presidential election in Sri Lanka. Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse or Rajapaksha [18 Nov 1945~] (United Peoples Freedom Alliance) wins narrowly over opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe [24 Mar 1949~] (United National Party), a former Prime Minister (07 May 1993 - 19 Aug 1994 and 09 Dec 2001 - 06 Apr 2004]. The other 11 candidates, who trail far behind, are: Wimal Geeganage (Sri Lanka National Front), Chamil Jayaneththi (New Left Front), Ajith Kumara Jayaweera Arachchige (Democratic Unity Alliance), Siritunga Jayasuriya (United Socialist Party), P. Nelson Perera (Sri Lanka Progressive Front), Wije Dias (Socialist Equality Party), Anura de Silva (United Lalith Front), Achala Ashoka Suraweera (Jathika Sangwardhena Peramuna), Aruna de Soyza (Ruhunu Janatha Party), Victor Hettigoda (Eksath Lanka Podujana Pakshaya), Hewaheenipallage Shantha Dharmadwaja (United National Alternative Front). — (051116)
2003 A prime number larger than any previously known is found by the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search, which uses the idle idle time of the ordinary computers of some 211,000 volunteers, one of whom, Michigan State University graduate student Michael Shafer, 26, sees it appear on his computer. The search has taken 2 years and a total of 25'000 years of computer time on the computers in the project. The number is 2^20'996'011 – 1. It is a Mersenne prime (the 40th known), i.e. 20'996'011 is a prime. Written in the usual decimal notation, it would be a 1 followed by 6'320'429 digits, which, on a computer screen like mine (40 lines of 150 characters each), would require 1054 screens to show completely. The previous largest prime (the 39th known Mersenne prime) was discovered on 14 November 2001.
2002 First ever elections in Peru for 25 new regional governments, in which the party of President Alejandro Toledo is roundly defeated and the Aprista party led by ex-president Alan García wins big.
2002 A baby sitter with five children in her car is arrested for drunken driving after she passed out at a rest stop and one of her charges, a 7-year-old girl, used a cell phone to call 911. Linda Hebert, 40, of Picayune, Miss., is found slumped over the steering wheel and the car is still running. The children are unhurt. Hebert's blood-alcohol level registers 0.27 on a breath test, well over the 0.10 limit. Deputies said that they had to use pepper spray when Hebert became "combative". Two of the children, ages 5 and 9, were Hebert's. The others, 4, 6, and 7, were left in her care by a woman who expected Hebert to keep them in Picayune, more than 30 km from the Interstate 12 rest stop near Covington where the car was found. A passer-by at the rest stop let the 7-year-old call for help.
2001 Elections in Kosovo for a 120-seat assembly that in turn will choose a president and form the Kosovo administration to govern alongside the UN officials and NATO-led peacekeepers who drove Milosevic's Yugoslav (Serb) criminal forces out of Kosovo in 1999. The small Serb minority remaining in Kosovo is guaranteed at least 10 seats in the assembly, it could have gotten 20 seats if their turnout had been high, but it isn't. Pacifist ethnic Albanian leader Ibrahim Rugova's Democratic League of Kosovo wins 46% of the vote, in what he calls a step toward Kosovo's "independence, freedom, democracy, prosperity, and economic development." The party of former ethnic Albanian rebel leader Hashim Thaci, the Democratic Party of Kosovo, finishes second with 25%.
2000 The Florida Supreme Court froze the state's presidential tally, forbidding Secretary of State Katherine Harris from certifying results of the marathon vote count just as Republican George W. Bush was advancing his minuscule lead over Democrat Al Gore. Also, a federal appeals court refused to block recounts under way in two heavily Democratic counties.
^ 2000 Clinton's mention of human rights in Hanoi speech made unintelligible
      Bill Clinton is the first US president to visit Vietnam. He makes a broadcast address in the spirit of reconciliation. No one mentions that this is the 30th anniversary of the start of the court-martial of Lieutenant Calley, the mass murderer of My Lai, who ended up serving only 4 years in prison for 22 murders he committed and 200 by the platoon he commanded.
     Communist Vietnam gives President Clinton the unprecedented honor of addressing the nation live on television, but translation of his remarks becomes virtually unintelligible when he mentioned sensitive rights issues. In the televised speech to students at Hanoi's National University, Clinton gently urged communist Vietnam to consider strengthening its respect for human rights, opening up its political system and further liberalizing its economy. Simultaneous translation of the speech as broadcast on state-run Vietnam Television largely drowned out the original English. Most of Clinton's uncontroversial remarks were rendered clearly, but the translation became hopelessly garbled when Clinton touched on human rights.
      For example, Clinton's words: "In our experience, guaranteeing the right to religious worship and the right to political dissent does not threaten the stability of the society; instead it builds people's confidence in the fairness of the institution..." Became the equivalent of: "According to our experience, the issue of allowing worshipping, allowing, (pause) that does not affect the regime but to improve our regime..." And his comments: "...only you can decide how to weave individual liberties and human rights into the rich and strong fabric of Vietnamese national identity..." Became: "...only you can decide (pause) on how to live with the issue, um, (pause) in the issue that human rights in Vietnam and in the society then you make a decision on your own..." Vietnamese who listened to the speech said the poor translation made Clinton's remarks on rights totally incomprehensible.
      Clinton was the first foreign head of state to give such an address. Earlier in his speech, he acknowledged the huge suffering of the Vietnamese people during the Vietnam War, but stopped short of offering any apology for US actions during the conflict. US officials had said Clinton, under pressure at home to raise the rights issue, saw the speech as an opportunity to speak directly to the Vietnamese people. Diplomats say the Communist leadership, which tightly controls its media, had been nervous about the prospect. As it was, Clinton's comments on rights were expectedly low key, given the main aims of his visit have been reconciliation and business promotion and the fact that some rights improvements have been seen over the years.
      Human rights groups and religious groups had urged Clinton to take a strong stand on rights in Vietnam though. Last week, Washington-based Human Rights Watch said that although Vietnam had taken steps in recent years to address some violations, it continued to seriously curtail fundamental political, religious and labor rights and press freedom. — // http://news.excite.com/news/r/001117/08/odd-translation-dc
1998 Sun beats Microsoft in lawsuit
     A Federal judge orders Microsoft to make Windows comply with Sun's standards for the Java programming language. The judge gave Microsoft ninety days to comply or else they must stop shipping Windows 98 and other products. Sun had sued Microsoft in 1997, claiming that Microsoft had breached a licensing agreement with Sun for Java. Sun said Microsoft's use of Java did not pass Sun's compatibility tests and represented an attempt to "pollute" the market by creating software with Java code that performed better with Microsoft products than with competing software.
1995 Italian high officials indicted for corruption
       Bettino Craxi, who served as Italy's first Socialist prime minister from 1983 to 1987, is indicted on corruption charges along with seventy-four others, many of them present or former government officials. Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian opposition leader who held power in Italy after the Christian Democrats fell in 1994, is also implicated. In December of 1995, Berlusconi is forced to resign. In the subsequent trial, the intimate connection between the government and the Italian Mafia is exposed, and in some cases the differences between these two organizations is heavily blurred. In 1998, Bettino Craxi, who had fled to Tunisia several years before, is tried in absentia and is sentenced to a four-year term and an $11.2 million fine. Berlusconi is convicted of bribery, tax evasion, and illegal contributions to Craxi's Socialist Party, and is sentenced to approximately three years in prison and a $5.6 million fine.
^ 1994 Sony writes off Columbia Pictures
      Sony's move to purchase Columbia Pictures in 1989 sounded like a great idea. The $5 billion acquisition enabled the electronics hardware giant to spread its tentacles into the world of "entertainment software," thus creating lucrative opportunities for product synergy. However, Columbia proceeded to release a string of flops, including the The Last Action Hero, and Sony's dream quickly turned sour. Faced with staggering losses, including $3.2 billion during the second quarter of 1994, Sony officials decided on this day in 1994 to swallow a bitter financial pill and take a $2.7 billion write-off on the studio, since renamed Sony Pictures. While some analysts applauded the write-off as a "daring" attempt to right the company's financial course, others focused blame on Sony brass, arguing that the studio's woes stemmed from poor fiscal mismanagement.
1993 US Congress votes for NAFTA
^ 1993 Annie Proulx novel wins National Book Award
      Annie Proulx wins the National Book Award for her novel The Shipping News. Proulx was born in 1935 in Norwich, Connecticut. Her mother was a painter and her father an executive in a textile company. Annie lived in various towns in New England and in North Carolina during her childhood and wrote her first short story at age 10 when she was home sick with the chicken pox. In college, she majored in history and later worked toward a doctorate. However, she abandoned academia to make her living writing magazine articles and how-to books for nearly 20 years. She married and divorced three times, raised three sons as a single mother, and still found time to write and publish a few short stories every year. Her first collection of short stories, Heart Songs and Other Stories, was published in 1988. Her first novel, Postcards (1992), won the PEN/Faulkner award. Her second novel, The Shipping News, about an out-of-luck journalist and father who rebuilds his life after moving to Newfoundland, won the Pulitzer Prize as well as the National Book Award. Her short story collection Close Range was published in 1999.
1991 Vukovar in Croatia (with a large Serb population) falls to the Yugoslavs after an 86-day siege.
1988 Benazir Bhutto wins election in Pakistan
^ 1979 Iran frees minority and women hostages
      During the Iran Hostage Crisis, the Ayatollah Khomeini, Iran's political and religious leader, orders the release non-US captives and 13 female and minority Americans, citing these groups as among the people oppressed by the US government. Two weeks earlier, the crisis began when militant Iranian students, outraged that the US government had allowed the ousted Shah of Iran to travel to New York City for medical treatment, seized the US embassy in Teheran. The Ayatollah Khomeini, Iran's political and religious leader, took over the hostage situation, refusing all appeals to release the hostages, even after the UN Security Council demanded an end to the crisis in an unanimous vote. However, two weeks after the storming of the embassy, the Ayatollah began to release all non-US captives, and all female and minority Americans, citing these groups as among the people oppressed by the government of the United States. The remaining fifty-two captives remained at the mercy of the Ayatollah for the next fourteen months. US President Jimmy Carter was unable to diplomatically resolve the crisis, and on April 24, 1980, he ordered a disastrous rescue mission in which eight US military personnel were killed and no hostages rescued. Three months later, the former shah died of cancer in Egypt, but the crisis continued. In November of 1980, Carter lost the presidential election to Republican Ronald Reagan, and soon after, with the assistance of Algerian intermediaries, successful negotiations began between the US and Iran. On the day of Reagan's inauguration, the US freed almost $8 billion in frozen Iranian assets, and the hostages were released after 444 days. The next day, Jimmy Carter flew to West Germany to greet the freed US hostages on their way home.
1977 Egyptian President Sadat formally accepts invitation to visit Israel
1973 US President Nixon tells Associated Press managing editors meeting in Orlando, Florida "...people have got to know whether or not their President is a crook. Well, I'm not a crook" [just what a used car salesman would say]
^ 1973 Student uprising would give name to terrorist group
     Student uprising in Greece against the military dictatorship supported by the US (which would fall the following year).
      Two years later a small but deadly terrorist group would call itself “November 17” and become infamous for a series of killings starting with the 1975 assassination of Richard Welch, the CIA's station chief in Athens and continuing with others including those of US Embassy defense attaché Capt. William Nordeen in June 1988, US Air Force Sgt. Ronald O. Stewart in March 1991, Greek-British businessman Constantinos Peratikos in 1997, British Defense attaché Brig. Stephen Saunders on 08 June 2000.
      The group would remain active until arrests of nine of its members in July 2002: Vassilis Tzortzatos, Theodoros Psaradelis; the 3 sons of Orthodox priest Triandafyllos Xiros (who said on 20 July 2002 that they have abandoned God and must be punished): Savas Xiros, 40, Christodoulos Xiros, 44 (musical instrument maker), and Vassilis Xiros, 30 (mechanic); the last named's high school friend Dionissis Georgiakis, 26; the group's Paris-born chief ideologist, Alexandros Giotopoulos, 58, (son of Trotzkyite Dimitris Giotopoulos) who was arrested on 17 July 2002 on a hydrofoil leaving the island of Lipsi; and on 20 July 2002 the two real estate agents and close friends Iraklis Kostaris, 36, and Costas Karatsolis, 36.
      Icon painter Savas Xiros was the first one arrested after a bomb he was carrying exploded injuring him severely on 29 June 2002. .
^ 1970 US officer who led My Lai massacre goes on trial
      The court-martial of 1st Lt. William Calley begins. Calley, a platoon leader in Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry, 11th Infantry Brigade (Light) of the 23rd (Americal) Division, had led his men in a massacre of Vietnamese civilians, including women and children, at My Lai 4 on March 16, 1968. My Lai 4 was one of a cluster of hamlets that made up Son My village in the northern area of South Vietnam. The company had been conducting a search-and-destroy mission as part of the yearlong Operation Wheeler/Wallowa (November 1967-November 1968). In search of the 48th Viet Cong Local Force Battalion, the unit entered the village but found only women, children, and old men. Frustrated by unanswered losses due to snipers and mines, the soldiers took out their anger on the villagers, indiscriminately shooting innocent people as they ran from their huts. They then systematically rounded up the survivors, allegedly leading them to nearby ditch and killing them. Calley was charged with six specifications of premeditated murder. During the trial, Chief Army Prosecutor Capt. Aubrey Daniel charged that Calley ordered Sgt. Daniel Mitchell to "finish off the rest" of the rounded-up villagers. The prosecution stressed that all the killings were committed despite the fact that Calley's platoon had met no resistance and that no one had fired on the men.
      The My Lai massacre was initially covered up, but came to light a year later. An Army board of inquiry, headed by Lt. Gen. William Peers, investigated the massacre and produced a list of 30 persons who knew of the atrocity, but only 14, including Calley and his company commander, Capt. Ernest Medina, were charged with crimes. All eventually had their charges dismissed or were acquitted by courts-martial except Calley, whose platoon allegedly killed 200 innocent persons. Calley was found guilty of personally murdering 22 civilians and sentenced to life imprisonment, but his sentence was reduced to 20 years by the Court of Military Appeals and further reduced to 10 years by the Secretary of the Army. Proclaimed by much of the public as a "scapegoat," Calley was paroled by President Richard Nixon in 1974. Justice in not meted to war criminals unless tried by an international tribunal.
^ 1970 First wheeled-vehicle on the Moon
      An unmanned Soviet lunar probe, Luna 17, soft-landed in the Sea of Rains on the surface of the moon on this day. Hours later, Lunokhod 1, a self-propelled vehicle controlled by Soviet mission control on earth, rolled out of the Luna landing probe, and became the first wheeled vehicle to travel on the surface of the moon. Lunokhod, which explored the Mare Imbrium region of the Sea of Rains, sent back television images and took soil samples. Despite this notable space first, the Soviet space program was trailing considerably behind the US program which in 1969 had succeeded in putting an American on the moon with the Apollo 11 lunar mission. In August of 1971, during the fourth manned lunar landing, the United States achieved another first: astronauts David R. Scott and James B. Irwin drove the Lunar Rover — the first manned lunar automobile — on the surface of the moon.
^ 1969 Strategic Arms Limitation Talks begin
      Soviet and US negotiators meet in Helsinki to begin the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT). The meeting was the climax of years of discussions between the two nations concerning the means to curb the Cold War arms race. Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency Gerard Smith was put in charge of the US delegation. At the same time, National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger began negotiations with the Soviet ambassador in America. The negotiations continued for nearly three years, until the signing of the SALT I agreement in May 1972.
      Talks centered around two main weapon systems: anti-ballistic missiles (ABM) and multiple independent re-entry vehicles (MIRVs- missiles with multiple warheads, each capable of striking different targets). At the time the talks began, the Soviets held a slight advantage in ABM technology; the United States, however, was quickly moving ahead in developing MIRVs, which would give it a tremendous qualitative advantage over Soviet offensive missile systems. From the US perspective, control of ABMs was key. After all, no matter how many missiles the United States developed, if the Soviets could shoot them down before they struck their targets they were of limited use. And, since the Soviets had a quantitative lead in the number of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and submarine launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), an effective Soviet ABM system meant that the Russians could launch devastating nuclear attacks with little fear of reprisal.
      From the Soviet side, the US development of MIRV technology was particularly frightening. Not only were MIRV missiles technologically superior to Soviet weapons, there were also questions as to whether even an advanced ABM system could protect the Soviet Union from this type of missile. It was obviously time to discuss what seemed to be a never-ending arms race. The SALT I agreement reached in May 1972 limited each nation to no more than 100 ABM launchers at each of two sites of their own choosing. Offensive weapons were also limited. The United States would be held to 1000 ICBMs and 710 SLBMs; the Soviets could have 1409 ICBMs and 950 SLBMs. The administration of President Richard Nixon defended the apparent disparity by noting that nothing had been agreed to concerning MIRVs. American missiles, though fewer in number, could therefore carry more warheads. Whether all of this made the world much safer was hard to say. The United States and Soviet Union essentially said they would limit efforts to both defend themselves and destroy the other. Their nuclear arsenals, however, were still sufficient to destroy the world many times over.
1966 Leonids meteor shower peaks (150'000+ per hour)
1959 De Beers firm of South Africa announces synthetic diamond
1949 Czech clergy are told by their bishops to prepare to renounce state stipends rather than play Judas by doing the state’s will.
1948 Britain's House of Commons votes to nationalize steel industry
^ 1941 US ambassador to Japan warns of Pearl Harbor attack
      Joseph C. Grew cables to the US State Department that he has heard that Japan had "planned, in the event of trouble with the United States, to attempt a surprise mass attack at Pearl Harbor." His warning was ignored by the Office of Naval Intelligence.
      Grew had been a US diplomat since the early 1900s and was appointed ambassador to Japan by President Hoover in 1932. His diplomatic relations with Japan were cordial until the late 1930s, when Japanese expansionism became openly aggressive toward Asian neighbors like China. The US increased economic pressures on Japan until, in late1939, Grew predicted that the situation would soon come to a head. He told Roosevelt in October 1939 that "if we start sanctions against Japan we must see them through to the end, and the end may conceivably be war." And right he was.
      After the Pearl Harbor attack he had predicted occurred on December 7, 1941, Grew was interned in Japan. When he was finally returned to the US in the summer of 1942, he immediately began writing and lecturing against the popular belief that America, after defeating Germany, would instantly crush the Japanese. He explained that despite their admiration for American technology and resources, the Japanese felt superior to Americans as human beings and were wholly convinced they would win the war.
1938 Italy passes its own version of the anti-Jewish Nuremberg laws
1931 Charles Lindbergh inaugurates Pan Am service from Cuba to South America in the Sikorsky flying boat American Clipper.
1918 German troops evacuate Brussels.
^ 1917 Clemenceau forme un gouvernement de choc
      Georges Clemenceau [28 Sep 1841 – 24 Nov 1929] forme un gouvernement de choc afin de poursuivre et intensifier la guerre avec l'Allemagne. Il est appelé à la présidence du Conseil par son vieil ennemi, le président de la République Raymond Poincaré.
      Obnubilé par la volonté de poursuivre la guerre jusqu'à la victoire, Clemenceau a déjà torpillé une offre de paix séparée de l'empereur d'Autriche-Hongrie, Charles 1er, qui a été communiquée aux Alliés par le prince Sixte de Bourbon-Parme.
      Il prend la tête du gouvernement français à un moment crucial où le pays est saisi par le doute. Sur le front, des soldats excédés par l'incompétence de leur chef en arrivent à se mutiner. Dans son discours d’investiture devant la Chambre des députés, le nouveau président du Conseil annonce son intention de traquer les défaitistes et les traîtres de l’arrière:
      "Nous prenons devant vous, devant le pays qui demande justice, l'engagement que justice sera faite, selon la rigueur des lois... Plus de campagnes pacifistes, plus de menées allemandes. Ni trahison, ni demi-trahison. La guerre. Rien que la guerre. Nos armées ne seront pas prises entre deux feux. La justice passe. Le pays connaîtra qu'il est défendu."
     L'argument avait été fait qu'une négotiation avec l'ennemi aurait sans doute évité une inutile prolongation de la guerre. Certains responsables français y ont été sensibles. Clemenceau va s'attaquer à ces défaitistes-là. Il veut prouver aux soldats qui se battent dans les tranchées que l’on se préoccupe d’eux et que l’arrière assume sa part de leurs souffrances. Pour les besoins de sa démonstration, il va chercher à faire des exemples sans s’embarrasser de juridisme.
      Son ancien ministre des Finances Joseph Caillaux, qui fit voter en 1911 l’impôt sur le revenu, sera jeté en prison sur une fausse accusation et échappera de justesse à une exécution dans les fossés de Vincennes. Un ancien ministre de l'Intérieur, Louis Malvy, échappera aussi de peu à la mort. D’autres, moins connus et moins entourés, n’auront pas leur chance.
      Sa détermination vaut au Président du Conseil d'être surnommé le "Tigre" ou le "Père de la Victoire". Avec une grande affection pour le vieillard qui n'hésite pas à ramper jusqu'à eux dans les tranchées, les poilus l'appellent plus simplement "Le Vieux".
     C'est la crise politique, militaire que traverse la France. Elle emporte les ministères les uns après les autres en quelques semaines. Au ministère Ribot a succédé le ministère Painlevé, qui n'est en place que depuis deux mois et qui a été renversé le 13. Clemenceau apparaît comme le seul recours possible d'un pays qui vit dans le doute et l'angoisse. Le président de la République Poincaré appelle dont celui-ci à la présidence du Conseil . Son caractère implacable, sa rigueur et sa détermination lui vaudront en quelques mois les surnoms, le Tigre, le Père la Victoire. A la tribune de l'Assemblée, il déclare ce jour : " Nous voulons vaincre pour être juste ! "
1913 Panama Canal opens
1903 Vladimir Lenin's efforts to impose his own radical views on the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party splits the party into two factions, the Bolsheviks, who support Lenin, and the Mensheviks.
1885 The Serbian Army, with Russian support, invades Bulgaria.
1877 Russia launches a surprise night attack that overruns Turkish forces at Kars, Armenia.
1864 Skirmish at Maysville, Alabama
^ 1863 Siege of Knoxville begins
      Confederate General James Longstreet places the city of Knoxville, Tennessee, under siege. After two weeks and one failed attack, he abandoned the siege and rejoined General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia.
      The Knoxville campaign began in November when Longstreet took 17'000 soldiers from Chattanooga and moved to secure eastern Tennessee for the Confederates. Longstreet's corps was normally part of Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, but after the Battle of Gettysburg in July, Longstreet took two of his divisions to shore up the Confederate effort in the West. He and his troops participated in the victory at Chickamauga in September and the siege of Chattanooga in October and November. Longstreet quarreled with Braxton Bragg, the Confederate commander in the West, and he was given independent command of the Department of East Tennessee.
      Longstreet took his 17'000 soldiers and moved toward Knoxville. Facing him was General Ambrose Burnside and 5000 Yankees. Burnside fought a delaying action at Campbell Station on 16 November before retreating into the Knoxville defenses. The next day, Longstreet pulled into position around the north side of the city, but he could not cut off supplies to the Union troops. Longstreet waited for reinforcements to arrive, which they did on 28 November. He attacked, but was repulsed with heavy loses. Longstreet continued the siege in order to draw troops away from Chattanooga. The ruse worked, and 25'000 Union soldiers were dispatched from Chattanooga to chase Longstreet's force away.
      Ultimately, Longstreet retreated back to Virginia. His Knoxville campaign was disappointing for the Confederates, who had hoped to secure eastern Tennessee. Longstreet rejoined Lee in the spring after his disappointing turn as head of an independent command.
1862 Confederate Secretary of War George B Randolph resigns
1862 Union General Ambrose Burnside marches north out of Washington, D.C., to begin the Fredericksburg campaign.
1860 Orélie-Antoine de Tounens (12/05/1825-20/09/1878), aventurier français, originaire de Chourgnac en Dordogne arrive au Chili en 1858. L'année suivante, il gagne l'Araucanie où il se fait proclamer roi des Araucauniens et des Patagons le 17 novembre 1860. Il est arrêté en 1862 par les Chiliens qui le jugent à Santiago et le déclarent fou. Il rentre en France en 1863. Il fera deux tentatives pour retourner en Araucanie en 1869 et en 1874. Il meurt dans la misère à Tourtoirac en 1878.
1858 Origin of Modified Julian Period.
^ 1856 US establishes Fort Buchanan
      The United States strengthens control over the Gadsden Purchase with the establishment of Fort Buchanan. Named for recently elected President James Buchanan, Fort Buchanan was located on the Sonoita River in present-day southern Arizona. The US acquired the bulk of the southwestern corner of the nation from Mexico in 1848 as victors' spoil after the Mexican War. However, congressional leaders, eager to begin construction of a southern railroad, wished to push the border farther to the south. The government directed the American minister to Mexico, James Gadsden, to negotiate the purchase of an additional 75'000 square kilometers.
      Despite having been badly beaten in war only five years earlier and forced to cede huge tracts of land to the victorious Americans, the Mexican ruler Santa Ana was eager to do business with the US Having only recently regained power, Santa Ana was in danger of losing office unless he could quickly find funds to replenish his nearly bankrupt nation. Gadsden and Santa Ana agreed that the narrow strip of southwestern desert land was worth $10 million. When the treaty was signed on December 30, 1853, it became the last addition of territory (aside from the purchase of Alaska in 1867) to the continental United States. The purchase completed the modern-day boundaries of the American West. The government established Fort Buchanan to protect emigrants traveling through the new territory from the Apache Indians, who were strongly resisting Anglo incursions. However, the government was never able to fulfill its original purpose for buying the land and establishing the fort — a southern transcontinental railroad. With the outbreak of the Civil War four years later, northern politicians abandoned the idea of a southern line in favor of a northern route that eventually became the Union Pacific line.
1842 A grim abolitionist meeting is held in Marlboro Chapel, Boston, after the imprisonment of a mulatto named George Latimer, one of the first fugitive slaves to be apprehended in Massachusetts.
^ 1800 US Congress in Washington DC, for the first time.
      The United States Congress (the 6th, 2nd session) convenes for the first time in the new nation's capital, meeting in the partially completed Capitol building. Also during the month, President John Adams and his wife Abigail move into the White House, the new official residence of the president at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The city of Washington was created to replace Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as the nation's capital because of its geographical position in the center of the new republic. The states of Maryland and Virginia ceded land around the Potomac River to form the District of Columbia, and work began on Washington in 1791. French architect Charles L'Enfant designed the city's radical layout, full of dozens of circles, crisscross avenues, and plentiful parks. In 1792, work began on the neoclassical White House building under the guidance of Irish-American architect James Hoban, and in the next year, Benjamin Latrobe began construction on the other principal government building, the US Capitol. During the War of 1812, both buildings are set on fire in 1814 by British soldiers in retaliation for the burning of government buildings in Canada by US troops. A torrential downpour saves the still uncompleted Capitol building, but the White House is burned to the ground. Hoban, whose White House design was a virtual copy of a building design in James Gibbs's Book of Architecture, finishes reconstruction of the executive building in 1817.
1734 Arrest of journalist John Peter Zenger [1697 – 28 Jul 1746] for alleged libel. On 05 November 1733, Zenger published his first issue of the New York Weekly Journal, the political organ of a group of residents who opposed the policies of the colonial governor William Cosby. Although many of the articles were contributed by his more learned colleagues, Zenger was still legally responsible for their content as publisher. For a year the paper continued its scathing attacks on Cosby until, on 17 November 1734, Zenger was arrested for libel. Remaining in prison for nearly 10 months, he was finally brought in August of the following year to a trial presided by James Delancey [27 Nov 1703 – 30 Jul 1760], Chief Supreme Court Justice of the colony. Disregarding the judge's admonition, his brilliant Philadelphia defense attorney, Andrew Hamilton [1676 – 04 Aug 1741], argued that the jury itself was competent to decide the truth of Zenger's printed statements. To the acclaim of the general public and the spectators, the colonial jury acquitted Zenger on the ground that his charges were based on fact, a key consideration in libel cases since that time.
1667 Racine offre à la Cour la première représentation d'Andromaque.
1636 Henrique Dias, Brazilian general, wins a decisive battle against the Dutch in Brazil.
^ 1558 The Elizabethan Age begins
      Queen Mary I, 42, the reigning monarch of England and Ireland since 1553, dies, and her half-sister, Elizabeth, 25, ascends to the throne. The two half-sisters, both daughters of Henry VIII, had a stormy relationship during Mary's five-year reign. Mary, who was brought up as a Catholic, enacted pro-Catholic legislation and made efforts to restore papal supremacy on the island. A Protestant rebellion ensued, and Queen Mary imprisoned Elizabeth, a Protestant, in the Tower of London on suspicion of complicity. Elizabeth's ascension to the throne upon Mary's death is greeted with general approval by England's lords, who hope for greater religious tolerance under a Protestant queen. Under the early guidance of Secretary of State Sir William Cecil, Elizabeth repeals Mary's Catholic legislation, establishes a permanent Protestant Church of England, and encourages the Calvinist reformers in Scotland.
      In foreign affairs, Elizabeth practices a policy of strengthening England's Protestant allies and dividing her foes. In 1588, Elizabeth's unabashed hostility toward Spain leads to a failed Spanish invasion, and the Spanish Armada, the greatest naval force in the world at the time, is destroyed by storms and a persistent English navy. With increasing English domination at sea, Elizabeth encourages voyages of discovery, such as Sir Francis Drake's circumnavigation of the world, and Sir Walter Raleigh's expeditions to the North American coast. The long reign of Elizabeth, who became known as the "Virgin Queen" for her reluctance to endanger her authority through marriage, also coincides with the flowering of the English Renaissance, associated with such renowned authors as William Shakespeare. By her death in 1603, England has become a major world power in every respect, and Queen Elizabeth I passes into history as one of England's greatest monarchs.
1417 Election of a third pope, Martin V, ends the papal schism.
1278 680 Jews arrested (293 hanged) in England for counterfeiting coins
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< 16 Nov 18 Nov >
^  Deaths which occurred on a 17 November:

2005 Andy Stevens, 37, California traffic policeman shot during a traffic stop on a rural road north of Sacramento. —(060807)
2005 32 insurgents among those attacking US and Iraqi troops in Ramadi, Iraq, in various spots but mostly near the Al-Karber Mosque. A US Marine and an Iraqi soldier suffer minor injuries. —(051118)
Eban2005 A US Marine killed in Haditha, Iraq. —(051118)
2005 A US soldier in a traffic accident near Beiji, Iraq. —(051118)
2005 A US soldier in a traffic accident near Balad, Iraq. —(051118)
2004 Thomas Grove, 61, a few hours after collapsing (heart attack?) at 15:55 (20:55 UT) while at the wheel of an Amtrak shuttle bus near the top of the Sunshine Skyway bridge at St. Petersburg, Florida. The bus slammed into the 1-meter-high concrete guard wall, and was prevented from falling 60 meters into Tampa Bay by being brought to a stop by one of the 5 passengers, Kenneth McAllister, 70.
2004 Eleven persons, including a suicide car bomber who drives into a US convoy during fierce fighting in Beiji, Iraq. 12 persons are wounded.
2002 Aubrey Solomon Meir “Abba Eban” [photo >], great Israeli diplomat born in South Africa on 02 February 1915, who grew up in England, and spoke 10 languages. Ambassador to the UN, he obtained on 29 November 1947 the two-third majority needed for the partition Palestine and the creation of a Jewish state. Then he became simultaneously ambassador to the US (1950-1959). He was elected to the Knesset in 1959, became education minister, deputy prime minister, and from 1966 to 1974 foreign minister, after which he remained in the Knesset until 1988. He criticized the refusal to give up conquered territory, saying that Israel was "tearing up its own birth certificate. Israel's birth is intrinsically and intimately linked with the idea of sharing territory and sovereignty." Yet he once said that the Arabs "never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity" to make peace with Israel. Among his 8 major books are an autobiography, and Heritage: Civilization and the Jews — The New Diplomacy — Diplomacy for the Next Century.EBAN ONLINE: 4 speeches: The Armistice Agreements - Statement to the Security Council (04 Aug 1949) — Jerusalem and the Holy Places - Statement to the Trusteeship Council (20 Feb 1950) — The Six Day War - Statement to the Security Council (06 Jun 1967) — The Yom Kippur War and Aftermath - Statement to the General Assembly (08 Oct 1973)
2002 Billy Joe Hall, 54, driving, and his wife Dorris Jean Hall, 52, in one Jeep Cherokee, and her sister Sheila Wentworth, 45, driving another Jeep Cherokee, in a 100 km/h head-on collision at a bend in two-lane Highway 25, near Sixmile, Alabama (33º00'28"N 87º00'20"W), at 16:15. Dorris and Sheila, daughters of Talmadge Smith (who died in 1973 of a heart attack along Highway 25), were each on her way to make an unannounced visit to the other. The Halls' grand-daughter Amber survives with injuries, as does Sheila 's young nephew Frankie Wentworth. The Halls lived in a trailer in Montevallo (33º06'33"N 86º51'04"W). Sheila lived with her husband Brian Wentworth in a little brick house in Centreville (32º57'32"N 87º07'58"W), a logging hub, 37 km by road to the west-south-west, Sixmile being about halfway (17 km from Centreville, 20 km from Montebello).
Adam Morrell2002:: 17 prisoners, by suffocation, while awaiting a hearing, among 130 in a cell designed for 30 is Rujewa, Tanzania, to where they had been transported from Ruanda Remand Prison in Mbeya, 100 km away.
2002 Adam Morrell, 14 [< photo], in Loughborough, England, after having been tortured for hours, by being kicked, punched, and stamped on at least 280 times by a gang led by Matthew Welsh, 18, and including his girlfriend, Sarah Morris, 16, his best friend, Nathan Barnett, 26, and Daniel Biggs, 18. They then cut his completely disfigured body into pieces which they dump in various locations. The five had been taking the drug ecstasy, smoking cannabis, and drinking alcohol. Morrell, an unruly boy, had been staying with the others, away from his home, since 14 November. On 18 December 2003, Welsh, son of a policeman, is sentenced to 20-years-to-life in prison, Morris to 4 years, and Barnett is ordered detained indefinitely under the Mental Health Act after he pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. Biggs is cleared of murder and inflicting grievous bodily harm but, having admitted to conspiring to pervert the course of justice, is sentenced to 2Ĺ years in prison.
2000 Sharami Dudagov, and Khasmagomed Tsumtsayev, respectively Russian-imposed puppet administrator and deputy of the south-eastern Chechen village Mesker-Yurt, killed by Chechen patriots.
1997: 58 foreign tourists, 2 Egyptian guides, 2 Egyptian policemen, and 6 attackers, Islamic militants, outside the Temple of Hatshepsut, in Luxor, Egypt.
1986 Georges Besse, president of Renault, shot to death by leftists of the Direct Action Group in Paris
1974 Erskine Hamilton Childers, 68, Dublin Irish statesman and fourth president of the Irish Republic (1973-74). He was the second Protestant to hold the office. His father, Robert Erskine Childers, was a leader of the struggle for Irish independence, but was executed on 24 November 1922 during the Irish civil war.
^ 1972 Barbara Baekeland, daughter-in-law of Bakelite inventor, murdered by son
      Wealthy socialite Barbara Baekeland is stabbed to death with a kitchen knife by her 25-year-old son, Antony, in her London, England, penthouse. When police arrived at the scene, Antony was calmly placing a telephone order for Chinese food. Antony's grandfather, Leo Baekeland, acquired his family's fortune with the creation of Bakelite, an early plastic product. Though financially successful, the family was far from stable. Leo's son Brooks was a decadent adventurer and a self-described writer who rarely put pen to paper. Brooks' wife Barbara, a model and would-be Hollywood starlet, had her own problems: she attempted suicide several times and was reportedly so deeply distressed by her son Antony's homosexuality that she attempted to seduce him as a "cure." Though Antony displayed signs of schizophrenia, his father called psychiatry "professionally amoral" and refused to pay for treatment. Barbara and Antony's tempestuous mother-son relationship worried her friends. Indeed, Antony's erratic behavior was cause for concern, and over the years the two had several threatening arguments involving knives. After the murder, Antony was institutionalized at Broadmoor until a bureaucratic mistake resulted in his release in July 1980. He then relocated to New York City, where he lived with his grandmother for a short time until he beat and stabbed her to death in 1980. Antony was sent to Riker's Island, where he suffocated himself to death on 20 March 1981.
^ 1965 Hundreds of US and Vietnamese, as 1st Cavalry is ambushed in Ia Drang Valley
      During part of what would become known as the Battle of the Ia Drang Valley, a battalion from the 1st Cavalry Division is ambushed by the 8th Battalion of the North Vietnamese 66th Regiment. The battle started several days earlier when the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry engaged a large North Vietnamese force at Landing Zone X-Ray at the base of the Cheu Pong hills (Central Highlands). As that battle subsided, the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry, was ordered to move cross-country to Landing Zone Albany, where it was to be picked up by helicopter and moved to a new location. The US unit was moving through the jungle in a long column when the North Vietnamese sprang a massive ambush along the length of the column from all sides. Companies C and D took the brunt of the Communist attack — within minutes, most of the men from the two companies were hit. The North Vietnamese forces had succeeded in engaging the US forces in very tight quarters, where supporting US firepower could not be used without endangering American lives. The cavalrymen returned fire, but the Communistss were fighting from prepared fighting positions and many of the American leaders had been felled in the initial stages of the ambush. As night fell, the cavalrymen waited for the North Vietnamese to attack but illumination flares provided by air force aircraft made the enemy cautious. By morning, they had withdrawn. Senior US military leaders declared the Battle of the Ia Drang Valley an American victory. That had clearly been the case with the fight at Landing Zone X-Ray, where the three-day battle resulted in 834 North Vietnamese soldiers confirmed killed with another 1000 communist casualties likely.
      However, the battle at Landing Zone Albany was another story. Although there were over 400 enemy soldiers lying on the battlefield after the fighting was over, the battle had been an extremely costly one for the 1st Cavalry troopers. Of the 500 men in the original column moving to Landing Zone Albany, 151 had been killed and only 84 were able to return to immediate duty. 93% of Company C sustained some sort of wound or injury — half of them died. The Battle of the Ia Drang Valley was important because it was the first significant contact between US troops and North Vietnamese forces. The action demonstrated that the North Vietnamese were prepared to stand and fight major battles, and senior American leaders concluded that US forces could wreak significant damage on the communists in such battles. The North Vietnamese also learned a valuable lesson during the battle: they saw that they could negate the effects of superior American firepower by engaging American troops in physically close combat, so that US artillery and air fire could not be used without endangering American lives. This became standard North Vietnamese practice for the rest of the war.
1962 Arthur Vining Davis , 92, CEO (Alcoa-1910-57), in Miami
1958 Frank Cadogan Cowper, English painter born on 16 October 1877. . — MORE ON COWPER AT ART “4” OCTOBER with links to images.
1958 Taniyama, mathematician.
1953 Pierre Humbert, mathematician.
1941 Ernst Udet, German Luftwaffe general and World War I fighter-ace, suicide. The Nazi government tells the public that he died in a flying accident.
^ 1936 Roger Salengro, suicide
     Il est maire de Lille, député socialiste et ministre de l'Intérieur. Lors des grandes grèves qui ont marqué le Front populaire, il a refusé le recours à la force pour faire évacuer les usines occupées. Son refus a fait de lui pour l'extrême droite l'homme à abattre. Tous les coups sont permis. Le journal Gringoire, hebdomadaire nationaliste, ressort un vieux dossier de désertion dont il a été blanchi par une commission militaire présidée par le général Gamelin. Dénigrement, accusations, attaques, coups bas ne cessent pas pendant des semaines. Salengro craque, il succombe aux calomnies. Ce jour il pose sa tête dans un four à gaz ... Lors de ses obsèques à Lille, le président de la République, celui de l'Assemblée nationale, le président du Conseil Léon Blum, le ministre de la Guerre Daladier sont présents. Cet hommage de l'État n'empêche pas un journaliste d'écrire dans L'Écho de Paris (journal à tendances nationalistes) : " On ne va pas chercher des ministres sur les bancs des conseils de guerre. "
1929 Herman Hollerith, mathematician who obtained a patent for his electric tabulating machine in 1889. The machine tallied numbers fed to it on punch cards and was first used extensively to compile statistics for the eleventh federal census in 1890. In 1896, Hollerith organized the Tabulating Machine Company, which later grew into the International Business Machines Corporation, better known today as IBM.
1918 Influenza deaths reported in the United States have far exceeded World War I casualties.
1917 Auguste Rodin, Meudon, France, born on 12 November 1840, he was famous as a sculptor, but was also an author and painter. — MORE ON RODIN AT ART “4” NOVEMBER 12 with links to images.
1668 Joseph Alleine, 34, English Puritan, having burned himself out for the Lord. He wrote Alleine's Alarm.
1862 Ramsay Richard Reinagle, British painter born on 19 May 1775. — more with links to images.
^ 1858 Robert Owen, in Newtown, Wales, where he was born on 14 May 1771. Welsh manufacturer turned reformer, he was one of the most influential early 19th-century advocates of utopian socialism. His New Lanark mills in Lanarkshire, Scotland, with their social and industrial welfare programs, became a place of pilgrimage for statesmen and social reformers. He also sponsored or encouraged many experimental “utopian” communities, including one in New Harmony, Indiana, US.
     Owen was the second youngest of seven children of Robert Owen, the postmaster of Newtown, and Anne Williams. He attended local schools until the age of 10, when he became an apprentice to a clothier. His employer had a good library, and Owen spent much of his time reading. His reading of books on religious controversies led him to conclude at an early age that there were fundamental flaws in all religions. Excelling in business, by the time he was 19 he had become superintendent of a large cotton mill in Manchester, and he soon developed it into one of the foremost establishments of its kind in Great Britain. Owen made use of the first American Sea Island cotton (a fine, long-staple fibre) ever imported into Britain and made improvements in the quality of the cotton spun. On becoming manager and a partner in the Manchester firm, Owen induced his partners to purchase the New Lanark mills in Lanarkshire.
      There were 2000 inhabitants of New Lanark, 500 of whom were young children from the poorhouses and charities of Edinburgh and Glasgow. The children, especially, had been well treated by the former proprietor, but their living conditions were harsh: crime and vice were bred by demoralizing conditions; education and sanitation were neglected; and housing conditions were intolerable. Owen improved the houses and, mainly by his personal influence, encouraged the people in habits of order, cleanliness, and thrift. He opened a storethat sold sound-quality goods at little more than cost and strictly supervised the sale of alcoholic beverages. His greatest success was in the education of the young, to which he devoted special attention. In 1816 he opened the first infant school in Great Britain at the New Lanark mills and gave it his close personal supervision. The schools, which eschewed corporal punishment and other traditional methods, emphasized character development and included dancing and music in the curriculum.
      Although Owen initially was regarded with suspicion as an outsider, he quickly won the confidence of the people, especially because of his decision during an embargo against the United States during the War of 1812 (18 Jun 1812 – 24 Dec 1814) to pay wages to the workers while the mills were closed for four months. The mills continued to thrive commercially, but some of Owen's schemes entailed considerable expense, which displeased his partners. Frustrated by the restrictions imposed on him by his partners, who emphasized profit and wished to conduct the business along more ordinary lines, Owen organized a new firm in 1813. Its members, content with a 5 percent return on their capital and ready to give freer scope to his philanthropy, bought out the old firm. Stockholders in the new firm included the legal reformer and utilitarian Jeremy Bentham [15 Feb 1748 – 06 Jun 1832] and the Quaker William Allen.
     In 1813 Owen published two of the four essays in A New View of Society; or, Essays on the Principle of the Formation of the Human Character, in which he expounded the principles on which his system of educational philanthropy was based. Having lost all belief in the prevailing forms of religion, he developed his own creed that he took to be an entirely new and original discovery. The chief point in Owen's philosophy was that man's character was formed by circumstances over which he had no control. For this reason, man was not a proper subject of either praise or blame. These convictions led him to the conclusion that the great secret in the right formation of man's character was to place him under the proper influences from his earliest years. The nonresponsibility of man and the effect of early influences were the hallmark of Owen's entire system of education and social amelioration.
      For the next few years, Owen's work in New Lanark was to have a national as well as a European significance. New Lanark became a place of pilgrimage for social reformers, statesmen, and royal personages, and, according to the unanimous testimony of all who visited it, the results achieved by Owen were singularly good. Children brought up on his system were generally felt to be graceful, genial, and unconstrained; health, plenty, and relative contentment prevailed; and the business also was a commercial success.
      In 1815 Owen convened a meeting of manufacturers and successfully lobbied them to support the removal of import taxes on cotton. However, his proposal to reduce the number of hours that children could work in the mills was defeated. His agitation for factory reform met with little effect, and by 1817 his work as a practical reformer had given way to the still vital ideas that were to make him the forerunner of socialism and the cooperative movement. Owen argued that the competition of human labour with machinery was a permanent cause of distress and that the only effective remedy lay in the united action of men and the subordination of machinery to man. His proposals for the treatment of pauperism were based on those principles.
      Owen recommended that villages of “unity and cooperation” be established for the unemployed. Each village would consist of about 1200 persons on 400 to 600 hectares, all living in one large structure built in the form of a square, with a public kitchen and messrooms. Each family would have its own private apartment and the entire care of their children until the age of three, after which they would be raised by the community. Parents would have access to them at meals and all other proper times. Owen believed that such communities could be established by individuals, by parishes, by counties, or by the state; in each case there would be supervision by duly qualified persons. Work and the enjoyment of its results would be shared collectively.
      The size of the projected community had been suggested by that of the village of New Lanark, and Owen soon advocated an extension of the scheme to the reorganization of society in general. His plan would establish largely self-contained, mainly agricultural communities of between 500 and 3000 persons that would be equipped with the most modern machinery. As the communities increased in number, he wrote, “unions of them, federatively united, should be formed in circles of tens, hundreds, and thousands,” until they embraced the whole world in a common interest.
      Owen's plans for the cure of pauperism were received with considerable favor until he declared his hostility to religion as an obstacle to progress. Many of Owen's supporters believed that this action made him suspect to the upper classes, though he did not lose all support from them. To carry out his plan for the creation of self-contained communities, he went in 1825 to the US, with his son Robert Dale Owen [09 Nov 1801 – 24 Jun 1877] and he bought 12'000 hectares of land in Indiana from a religious community, and renamed it New Harmony. Life in the community generally was well ordered and contented under Owen's practical guidance for a time, but differences in opinion about the form of government and the role of religion soon appeared, though a historical consensus exists that an admirable spirit prevailed amid the dissension. Owen withdrew from the community in 1828, having lost £40'000, 80% of his fortune. The other chief Owenite community experiments were in Great Britain: at Queenwood, Hampshire (1839–1845), in which Owen took part for three years; at Orbiston, near Glasgow, Lanarkshire (1826–1827); and at Ralahine, County Cork (1831–1833). He was not directly involved with either of the latter two communities.
     In his “Report to the County of Lanark” (a body of landowners) in 1820, Owen declared that reform was not enough and that a transformation of the social order was required. His proposals for communities attracted the younger workers brought up under the factory system, and between 1820 and 1830 numerous societies were formed and journals organized to advocate his views. The growth of labor unionism and the emergence of a working-class point of view caused Owen's doctrines to be accepted as an expression of the workers' aspirations, and, when he returned to England from New Harmony, he found himself regarded as their leader. In the unions Owenism stimulated the formation of self-governing workshops. The need for a market for the products of such shops led in 1832 to the formation of the National Equitable Labour Exchange, which applied the principle that labour is the source of all wealth.
      The unprecedented growth of labor unions made it seem possible that the separate industries and eventually all industry might be organized by these bodies. Owen and his followers carried on ardent propaganda all over the country, and this effort resulted in the transformation of the new National Operative Builders Union into a guild and the establishment of the Grand National Consolidated Trades Union (1834). Although the enthusiasm of the unions and the numbers of labourers joining them were remarkable, determined opposition by employers and severe repression by the government and courts ended the movement within a few months. It was two generations before socialism, first popularly discussed at this time, again influenced unionism. Throughout these years Owen's community ideas maintained a hold, and ultimately they provided the basis for the worldwideconsumers' cooperative movement. After 1834 Owen devoted himself to preaching his ideas on education, morality, rationalism, and marriage reform. At the age of 82 he became a spiritualist.
      Owen's autobiography, The Life of Robert Owen, was published in two volumes in 1857–1858.
1853 Charles-Auguste van den Berghe, Belgian artist born on 30 April 1798.
1842 John Varley, English painter born on 17 August 1778. — MORE ON VARLEY AT ART “4” NOVEMBER with links to images.
1814 Gottfried Mind (or Mindt) “le RaphaŽl des Chats”, Swiss artist born in 1768. [It seems that the Internet has lost its Mind, if it ever had one: I cannot find there any reproduction of a work by this artist]
^ 1796 The dead of the battle of Arcole
      The French of Napoléon Bonaparte forces beat Austrians in Italy, near the Alpone River.
— Voici le récit d'un jeune général, Bonaparte:
"L'ennemi avait envoyé quelques régiments dans le village d'Arcole, au milieu des marais et des canaux. Ce village arrêta l'avant-garde pendant toute la journée... Augereau, empoignant un drapeau, le porte jusqu'à l'extrémité du pont : "Lâches, cria-t-il à ses troupes, craignez-vous donc tant la mort ?" Cependant il fallait passer ce pont: je m'y portais moi-même, je demandai aux soldats s'ils étaient encore les vainqueurs de Lodi. Ma présence produisit sur les troupes un mouvement qui me décida encore à tenter le passage ... A la petite pointe du jour le combat s'engagea avec la plus grande vivacité. Masséna sur la gauche mit en déroute l'ennemi, et le poursuivit jusqu'aux portes d'Arcole. Le fruit de la bataille d'Arcole est 4000 à 5000 prisonniers, quatre drapeaux, dix-huit pièces de canon."
1775 Michel-Hubert Descours, French artist born on 12 September 1707.
1767 Giovanni Battista Pittoni, Venetian painter of religious, historical, and mythological pictures, born in 1686 (or 1687?). — MORE ON PITTONI AT ART “4” NOVEMBER with links to images.
1632 Gottfried Heinrich, Graf zu Pappenheim, born on 29 May 1594, dies from wounds received the previous day at the battle of Lützen.
1494 Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, Italian Renaissance humanist philosopher and scholar born on 24 February 1463. He was a friend of Girolamo Savonarola [21 Sep 1452 – 23 May 1498], Angelo “Poliziano” [14 Jul 1454 – 24 Sep 1494], and Girolamo Benivieni; and the uncle of Gianfrancesco Pico della Mirandola [1469 – 15 Oct 1533]. — (060725)
1231 Elizabeth of Hungary. Spurned by her family for her faith and charities, she also cared for lepers.
0680 Hilda of Whitby, the influential abbess of Northumbria, England.
0594 Gregory of Tours, historian of the Franks and the Bishop of Tours, France.
0375 Valentinian, the Emperor of the West, of apoplexy in Pannonia in Central Europe, enraged by the insolence of barbarian envoys.
0270 Death of Gregory Thaumaturgus, a well-loved bishop in Pontus and the author of the first Christian biography (on Origen). He is said to have experienced the first apparition of Mary.
 
< 16 Nov 18 Nov >
^  Births which occurred on a 17 November:

1996 Windows CE, an operating system for hand-held devices, introduced by Microsoft. The Winpad, Microsoft's previous attempt to enter the market for hand-held devices, had failed in 1994. The new operating system was designed to communicate with Windows 95 machines and run devices that could synchronize data with desktop applications.
^ 1930 On Formally Undecidable Propositions of “Principia Mathematica” and Related Systems by Kurt Gödel.
     Über formal unentscheidbare Sätze der Principia Mathematica und verwandter Systeme, in German (link is to an English translation), is received by the Monatshefte für Mathematik und Physik. It is as clear as mud. A later introduction by Braithwaite may make the mud murkier; it includes:
     Gödel's Theorem, as a simple [sic] corollary of Proposition VI is frequently called, proves that there are arithmetical propositions which are undecidable (i.e. neither provable nor disprovable) within their arithmetical system, and the proof proceeds by actually specifying such a proposition, namely the proposition g expressed by the formula to which "17 Gen r" refers [188]. g is an arithmetical proposition; but the proposition that g is undecidable within the system is not an arithmetical proposition, since it is concerned with provability within an arithmetical system, and this is a metaarithmetical and not an arithmetical notion. Gödel's Theorem is thus a result which belongs not to mathematics but to metamathematics, the name given by Hilbert to the study of rigorous proof in mathematics and symbolic logic.
1916 Shelby Foote, US historian and novelist, who died on 27 June 2005. He is famous for his three-volume narrative on the US Civil War.
^ 1906 Soichiro Honda, in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka prefecture, Japan
      Honda Motor Company founder Soichiro Honda was born the son of a blacksmith in Hamamatsu, Japan, about 240 km southwest of Tokyo. Honda, who displayed remarkable mechanical intuition even at a young age, began working in an auto repair shop in Tokyo at age fifteen. In 1928, Honda returned to Hamamatsu to set up another branch of the repair shop, and also began pursuing his youthful passion for motor car racing. In 1936, Honda won his first racing trophy at the All-Japan Speed Rally, but nearly died when his car crashed shortly after setting a speed record. After a prolonged recovery, Honda left racing, and during World War II constructed airplane propellers for his country. When the war was over, Japan's industry was in shambles, and Honda saw an opportunity to beat swords into plowshares by starting an automotive company of his own. He bought a surplus of small generator engines from the military at a bargain price and began attaching them to bicycle frames. Honda's fuel-efficient vehicles were popular in a time when fuel was scarce, and in September of 1948, with only $1500, Honda formed the Honda Motor Company in Hamamatsu.
      The company began building a full line of powerful and well-made motorcycles that by 1955 led motorcycle production in Japan. Honda proved as effective a company manager as he was a talented engineer, and by the early 1960s, Honda was the world's largest manufacturer of motorcycles. From this immense success, Honda was inspired to begin automobile production in 1962. Honda's first vehicle, the pint-size S-360, failed to make a dent in the American market, and it was not until 1972, and the introduction of the Civic 1200, that Honda became a serious contender in the industry. The fuel crisis of 1973 was the catalyst that thrust Honda and other Japanese auto manufacturers into the forefront of the international market. Cars like the Honda Civic proved far more durable and fuel-efficient than anything being produced in Detroit at the time, and American consumers embraced Japanese-made automobiles. In 1973, Soichiro Honda retired from the top position at Honda, but the company he founded went on to become an industry leader, establishing such successful marquees as the Accord, which by 1989 was the best-selling car in America.
1902 Eugene Paul Wigner, Hungarian-born physicist and mathematician, died in 1995.
1887 Bernard Law Montgomery, British field marshal who defeated Rommel in North Africa and led Allied troops on D-Day in World War II. He died on 24 March 1976. — Le maréchal anglais Montgomery of Alamein.
1878 Grace Abbott, activist for immigrants' and children's rights, in Grand Island, Nebraska.
^ 1869 Inauguration du canal de Suez
      Le canal de Suez est inauguré en présence de l'impératrice Eugénie, épouse de Napoléon III, et de l'empereur d'Autriche François-Joseph. Le compositeur Giuseppe Verdi écrit "Aïda" pour l'occasion. Il fera jouer son opéra 2 ans plus tard, le 23 décembre 1871, dans le théâtre du Caire. 2000 ans avant JC, le pharaon Nechao avait déjà eu l'idée de relier la mer Rouge à la mer Méditerranée par un canal artificiel. Mais celui-ci ne survécut pas aux invasions arabes.
      L'idée est reprise par Ferdinand de Lesseps. Ce diplomate français est un adepte du comte de Saint-Simon, un théoricien du début du siècle qui promet un avenir rayonnant grâce aux progrès des techniques et de l'industrie. En poste à Alexandrie, il donne des leçons d'équitation au fils du khédive (gouverneur turc) d'Egypte, Méhémet Ali. Lorsque son élève, Muhammad Saïd, devient à son tour khédive, il lui soumet l'idée de creuser l'isthme de Suez.
      Ferdinand de Lesseps obtient en 1854 une concession de 99 ans et fonde le 19 mai 1855 la Compagnie de Suez dont le nom est encore porté par un groupe industriel (Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux). Au terme des travaux, le canal, d'une longueur de 162 km, sur 54 mètres de largeur et 8 mètres de profondeur, traverse de part en part l'isthme. Deux villes nouvelles sont nées dans le désert, à ses embouchures: Port-Saïd sur la Méditerranée et Suez sur la mer Rouge.
      Le canal permet d'abréger de 8000 km la navigation entre Londres et Bombay en évitant de contourner le continent africain. Désireuse de protéger la nouvelle route maritime qui mène à sa principale colonie, l'Angleterre ne tardera pas à imposer sa protection à l'Egypte, qui était jusque-là une province de l'empire ottoman d'Istanbul. L'Angleterre prendra aussi le contrôle financier et militaire du canal et le conservera jusqu'à la nationalisation imposée par l'Egyptien Nasser en 1956. Quant au héros du jour, Ferdinand de Lesseps, il perdra plus tard son honneur dans le scandale financier de Panama.
     Le premier coup de pioche a été donné il y a dix ans. Il a fallu à Ferdinand de Lesseps un acharnement de chaque jour pour ouvrir cette voie d'accès vers l'Extrême-Orient. Ce jour, le canal de Suez, long de 161 kilomètres, traverse le désert de Port-Saïd à Suez, est inauguré à Port-Saïd en présence du khédive et de nombreuses têtes couronnées, dont l'impératrice Eugénie. Après les célébrations conjointes d'un service religieux musulman et d'une messe catholique, le yacht impérial L'Aigle suivi des autres yachts royaux s'engage dans le canal. La foule sur les rives manifeste son enthousiasme. A chaque étape, banquets et fêtes se succèdent. Parmi elles, un opéra qui a été commandé pour la circonstance au compositeur italien Giuseppe Verdi [10 Oct 1813 – 27 Jan 1901], Aïda, est créé. Il a fallu trois jours de festivité pour que la flotte atteigne enfin la mer Rouge.
     The Suez Canal opens.
      In Egypt, the Suez Canal, stretching 162 km across the Isthmus of Suez, opens to navigation inaugurated in an elaborate ceremony attended by French Empress Eugénie [05 May 1826 – 11 Jul 1920], wife of Napoleon III [20 Apr 1808 – 09 Jan 1873]. The Suez Canal project, organized by French diplomat and entrepreneur Ferdinand de Lesseps, took a decade complete. The canal runs from Port Said in the north to Suez in the south, connecting the Mediterranean and the Red seas, and rapidly becomes one of the world's most heavily traveled shipping lanes. France and England take increasing interest in Egypt after the completion of the Suez, and in 1882 British troops invade Egypt, beginning a forty-year occupation of the country. In 1922, Britain recognizes the sovereignty of Egypt, but retains control of the Suez Canal. During the early 1950s, Egyptian nationalists riot in the Canal Zone and organize attacks on British troops.
      Then, on 26 July 1956, Egyptian President Gamal Abdal Nasser nationalizes the canal, and subsequently bars British, French, and Israeli shipping. In response, Israel launches an attack on Egypt and its Arab allies on 29 October 1956. In a lightning attack, Israeli forces under one-eyed General Moshe Dayan [20 May 1915 – 16 Oct 1981] seize the Gaza Strip and drive through the Sinai to the east bank of the Suez Canal. Two days later, Britain and France, whose diplomats are expelled from Egypt and ships also barred from the Suez, enter the conflict in a coalition with Israel, demanding the immediate evacuation of Egyptian forces from the Suez Canal. US and UN pressure force the coalition to halt the hostilities and a UN emergency force is sent to occupy the Canal Zone, eventually leaving the canal in Egypt's hands in the next year.
     On 30 November 1854, Sa'id Pasha [1822 – 18 Jan 1863], newly appointed Ottoman khedive (viceroy) of Egypt, had signed the first act of concession authorizing Ferdinand de Lesseps [19 Nov 1805 – 07 Dec 1894] to build a canal across the Isthmus of Suez. An international team of engineers drew up a construction plan, and in 1856 the Suez Canal Company was formed and granted the right to operate the canal for 99 years after completion of the work. Construction began in April 1859, and at first digging was done by hand with picks and shovels wielded by forced laborers. Later, European workers with dredgers and steam shovels arrived. Labor disputes and a cholera epidemic slowed construction, and the Suez Canal was not completed until 1869, four years behind schedule.
      On 17 November 1869, the Suez Canal is opened to navigation. Ferdinand de Lesseps would later attempt, unsuccessfully, to build a canal across the Isthmus of Panama. When it opened, the Suez Canal was only 8 meters deep, 22 meters wide at the bottom, and 60 to 100 meters wide at the surface. Consequently, fewer than 500 ships navigated it in its first full year of operation. Major improvements began in 1876, however, and the canal soon grew into the one of the world's most heavily traveled shipping lanes. In 1875, Great Britain became the largest shareholder in the Suez Canal Company when it bought up the stock of the new Ottoman governor of Egypt. Seven years later, in 1882, Great Britain invaded Egypt, beginning a long occupation of the country. The Anglo-Egyptian treaty of 1936 made Egypt virtually independent, but Great Britain reserved rights for the protection of the canal.
      After World War II, Egypt pressed for evacuation of British troops from the Suez Canal Zone, and in July 1956 Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser [15 Jan 1918 – 28 Sep 1970] nationalized the canal, hoping to charge tolls that would pay for construction of a massive dam on the Nile River. In response, Israel invaded in late October, and British and French troops landed in early November, occupying the canal zone. Under pressure from the United Nations, Britain and France withdrew in December, and Israeli forces departed in March 1957. That month, Egypt took control of the canal and reopened it to commercial shipping.
      Ten years later, Egypt shut down the canal again following the Six Day War and Israel's occupation of the Sinai Peninsula. For the next eight years, the Suez Canal, which separates the Sinai from the rest of Egypt, existed as the front line between the Egyptian and Israeli armies. In 1975, Egyptian President Anwar el-Sadat [25 Dec 1918 – 06 Oct 1981] reopened the Suez Canal as a gesture of peace after talks with Israel. Today, an average of 50 ships navigate the canal daily, carrying more than 300 million tons of goods a year.
1854 Louis-Hubert-Gonzalve Lyautey, French statesman, soldier, marshal of France (from 1921), and devoted believer in the civilizing virtues of colonialism, who built the French protectorate over Morocco. He died on 21 July 1934. Author of: Le rôle social de l'officier (1891) — Du rôle colonial de l'armée (1900) — Dans le Sud de Madagascar, pénétration militaire, situation politique et économique (1903) — Lettres du Tonkin et de Madagascar, 1894-1899 (1920) — Paroles d'action, 1900-1926 (1927) — Lettres de jeunesse, 1883-1893 (1931)
1854 Josef Reznicek Gisela, Austrian artist who died on 24 August 1899.
1799 Titian Ramsey Peale US artist and naturalist (American Ornithology) who died in 1885. — more with links to images.
1793 Francis Danby, English painter of Irish birth, specialized in landscapes, who died on 10 February 1861. — MORE ON DANBY AT ART “4” NOVEMBER with links to images.
1790 August Ferdinand Möbius, mathematician inventor (Mobius strip)
^ 1755 Louis XVIII, 1st post-revolutionary king of France (1814-1824)
      A Versailles (France), naissance de Louis, Comte de Provence. En 1814, après la défaite de Napoléon [15 Aug 1769 – 05 May 1821], les alliés favorisent la restauration de la monarchie en France abolie par la Révolution et Louis de Provence monte sur le trône resté vacant par l'exécution de son frère Louis XVI [23 Aug 1754 – 21 Jan 1793] et la disparition de petit Louis XVII [27 Mar 1785 – 08 Jun 1795]. Il règnera sous le nom de Louis XVIII. Le retour de Napoléon de l'île Elbe, l'obligera à un départ précipité. Rétabli sur le trône après la défaite de Waterloo, il règnera jusqu'à sa mort le 16 september 1824.
1717 Jean d'Alembert, French mathematician and philosopher (Traité de Dynamique)
1690 Noël-Nicolas Coypel, French painter who died on 14 December 1734. — MORE ON COYPEL AT ART “4” NOVEMBER with links to images.
1612 Pierre Mignard I “le Romain”, French artist who died on 13 May 1695 — MORE ON MIGNARD AT ART “4” NOVEMBER with links to images.
1597 Gellibrand, mathematician.
1587 Joost van den Vondel Cologne Germany, Dutch poet/dramatist (Jephtha)
^ — 3 BC Jesus Christ, according to early Christian theologian Clement of Alexandria (ca.0155 - ca.0220)
      The Bible tells us with certainty the fact of Jesus' birth and the place. But not the exact date. Although many Christians celebrate Christ's birthday on 25 December, it has not always been so. In fact, one of the early church fathers, Clement of Alexandria speculated that Christ was born on this day, 17 November 3 BC!
      In the early church there was no celebration of Jesus' birth. Each Sunday was a celebration of Christ's resurrection. The Jewish festivals of Passover and Pentecost continued to be celebrated by the church for a time since they were closely associated with Christ's death and resurrection. In the third century, some churches in the east began to celebrate 06 January as the Epiphany, the time that Christ revealed himself to the people as the Messiah. Jesus' incarnation — when God became man — was also commemorated at this time.
      Many speculated that since shepherds were in the field the night Christ was born, it must have been in spring or summer. Some said 20 May; others fixed the date on 19 or 20 April. Still others thought 25 March most likely. No one really knew.
      In 354, the Bishop of Rome started to observe 25 December as the date of Christ's birth. Four major Roman festivals were held in December, including Saturnalia which celebrated the returning Sun-god. It was easy to adapt this to the Christian celebration of the coming of the Son of God.
      As Christianity expanded in Europe, Jesus' birth continued to be celebrated on 25 December, and as each nationality converted to Christianity its own customs were added to the celebration. But if Clement of Alexandria were still alive today he probably would be wishing us a "Merry Christmas" on this day.

 
Holidays Zaire : Army Day
Religious Observances Ang : St Anianus' Day (bishop/martyr) / RC : St Gregory the Wonderworker, bishop/confessor / Ang : Hugh, Bishop of Lincoln / RC, Luth : Elizabeth of Hungary, princess/widow / Sainte Elisabeth. Princesse hongroise, Elisabeth épouse le duc de Thuringe à quatorze ans. L'amour vient au-devant des époux. Hélas, le duc est tué à la croisade en 1227. Sa veuve se consacre alors au service des malades.


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Thoughts for the day:
Thrift is a wonderful virtue — in an ancestor.”
"Childlessness is an undesirable condition — in an ancestor."
"Thrift is a despicable vice — in a customer."
"Procrastination is a wonderful virtue — in your creditor."
"Procrastination is a damnable vice — in your debtor."
“The validity of some statements cannot be determined, and this is one of them.”
"Religion is an attempt, a noble attempt, to suggest in human terms more-than-human realities."
— Christopher Morley, US author-journalist [05 May 1890 – 28 Mar 1957]
“Morley's statement is an attempt, a questionable attempt, to suggest what religion is.”
“Religion is something about which nothing valid can be said in a single sentence, this one for example.”
“It's risky to believe a used car salesman who says that he isn't a crook.”
“We are ready for any unforeseen event which may or may not happen.”
— George “Dubya” Bush [06 Jul 1946~]
“DON'T BEAT AROUND THE BUSH, BEAT ON THE BUSH.”
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PLEASE CLICK HERE TO WRITE TO “TODAY IN HISTORY”
http://www.safran-arts.com/42day/history/h4nov/h4nov17.html
http://www.intergate.com/~canu/history/h4nov/h4nov17.html
http://www.freewebtown.com/canu/history/h4nov/h4nov17.html
updated Thursday 20-Nov-2008 21:47 UT
Principal updates:
v.6.a0 Friday 17-Nov-2006 2:10 UT
v.5.a1 Friday 18-Nov-2005 15:49 UT
Wednesday 29-Jun-2005 15:21 UT
Wednesday 17-Dec-2003 22:36 UT

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