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Author Topic: This Day in History Thread.........  (Read 27620 times)
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« Reply #425 on: June 03, 2014, 01:40:56 AM »

Jun 3, 2010


Van der Sloot arrested for murder in South America
 


On this day in 2010, Joran van der Sloot, a longtime suspect in the unsolved 2005 disappearance of American teen Natalee Holloway in Aruba, is arrested in Chile in connection with the slaying of 21-year-old Stephany Flores, in Lima, Peru. Flores was murdered on May 30, 2010, exactly five years to the day after Holloway went missing while on a high school graduation trip to the Caribbean island. In January 2012, Van der Sloot pleaded guilty to Flores’ murder.

In May 2010, Van der Sloot, who was born in the Netherlands in 1987 and raised in Dutch-speaking Aruba, was in the Peruvian capital for a poker tournament. He reportedly met Flores, a college student and daughter of a prominent Peruvian businessman, at a Lima casino. The two were seen entering Van der Sloot’s room at Hotel TAC around 5 a.m. on May 30. Approximately four hours later, surveillance video captured Van der Sloot leaving the room alone and carrying his bags. After Flores’ family reported her missing, she was found dead in the hotel room on June 2, beaten and with a broken neck. Her money and credit cards were missing.

After Peruvian officials reviewed the hotel surveillance video, Van der Sloot emerged as the prime suspect in the murder investigation. Police believed he had fled in Flores’ car and later abandoned it in another part of Lima, before traveling south to Chile. On June 3, Van der Sloot was arrested in Chile, and deported to Peru soon afterward. On June 7, the Dutchman admitted to Peruvian authorities he had killed Flores during an argument after she used his computer without permission (authorities suggested she might have discovered he was linked to the Holloway case). Van der Sloot stated he beat and strangled Flores then suffocated her with his shirt. The Dutchman later retracted this confession, saying he was frightened and confused when he made it.

On the day Van der Sloot was arrested in South America, U.S. authorities issued a warrant for his arrest in connection with a plot to extort $250,000 from Holloway’s family in exchange for revealing the location of her remains. Holloway, an 18-year-old from Mountain Brook, Alabama, was last seen leaving an Aruban bar and restaurant with Van der Sloot and two of his friends in the early hours of May 30, 2005. Her disappearance generated widespread media coverage in the United States. Despite an extensive search, Holloway’s body was never found. Van der Sloot was arrested twice in Aruba in conjunction with her disappearance but never charged.

On January 11, 2012, Van der Sloot, who has been behind bars in Peru since his June 2010 arrest, pleaded guilty in a Lima courtroom to Flores’ murder. Two days later, a panel of judges sentenced him to 28 years in prison and ordered him to pay $75,000 in reparation to Flores’ family.

One day before Van der Sloot was sentenced, a judge in Birmingham, Alabama, signed an order declaring Natalee Holloway legally dead. The judge made the ruling at the request of Holloway’s father, so that he could settle his daughter’s estate.

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« Reply #426 on: June 04, 2014, 01:12:01 AM »

Jun 4, 1986


Pollard admits to selling top-secret information to Israel
 


Jonathan Pollard pleads guilty to espionage for selling top-secret U.S. military intelligence information to Israel. The former Navy intelligence analyst sold enough classified documents to fill a medium-sized room.

Pollard was arrested in November 1985 after authorities learned that he had been meeting with Israeli agents every two weeks for the last year. He was paid approximately $50,000 for the highly sensitive documents and expected to receive as much as $300,000 in a secret Swiss bank account. The top-secret information included satellite photos and data on Soviet weapons.

Pollard was sentenced to life in prison while his wife Anne received a five-year sentence for being an accessory to the crimes. The discovery of his betrayal put a chill on the relationship between the U.S. and Israel. Viewing the U.S. as its ally, Israel believed that the information should have been passed along anyway. But the fact that some Israeli agents remained in high positions despite their involvement in the espionage angered the United States.

Israel has since stuck by Pollard. During peace negotiations mediated by President Clinton in the late 1990s, the nation made Pollard's release from prison a key point. Though Israel continues to work toward Pollard's release, the United States has declined to work out such a deal.

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« Reply #427 on: June 05, 2014, 01:16:13 AM »

Jun 5, 1968


Bobby Kennedy is assassinated
   
 

Senator Robert Kennedy is shot at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles after winning the California presidential primary. Immediately after he announced to his cheering supporters that the country was ready to end its fractious divisions, Kennedy was shot several times by the 22-year-old Palestinian Sirhan Sirhan. He died a day later.

The summer of 1968 was a tempestuous time in American history. Both the Vietnam War and the anti-war movement were peaking. Martin Luther King Jr. had been assassinated in the spring, igniting riots across the country. In the face of this unrest, President Lyndon B. Johnson decided not to seek a second term in the upcoming presidential election. Robert Kennedy, John's younger brother and former U.S. Attorney General, stepped into this breach and experienced a groundswell of support.

Kennedy was perceived by many to be the only person in American politics capable of uniting the people. He was beloved by the minority community for his integrity and devotion to the civil rights cause. After winning California's primary, Kennedy was in the position to receive the Democratic nomination and face off against Richard Nixon in the general election.

As star athletes Rafer Johnson and Roosevelt Grier accompanied Kennedy out a rear exit of the Ambassador Hotel, Sirhan Sirhan stepped forward with a rolled up campaign poster, hiding his .22 revolver. He was only a foot away when he fired several shots at Kennedy. Grier and Johnson wrestled Sirhan to the ground, but not before five bystanders were wounded. Grier was distraught afterward and blamed himself for allowing Kennedy to be shot.

Sirhan, who was born in Palestine, confessed to the crime at his trial and received a death sentence on March 3, 1969. However, since the California State Supreme Court invalidated all death penalty sentences in 1972, Sirhan has spent the rest of his life in prison. According to the New York Times, he has since said that he believed Kennedy was "instrumental" in the oppression of Palestinians. Hubert Humphrey ended up running for the Democrats in 1968, but lost by a small margin to Nixon.
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« Reply #428 on: June 05, 2014, 02:28:00 AM »

June 5, 2014


Shizzo is a faggot.



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« Reply #429 on: June 05, 2014, 02:04:33 PM »

I think the cats are probably done feeding by now. But no one noticed the smell?
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« Reply #430 on: June 06, 2014, 01:21:20 AM »

Jun 6, 1981


Train avoids cow, but kills 600
 
   
 
More than 500 passengers are killed when their train plunges into the Baghmati River in India on this day in 1981. The rail accident—the worst in India to that date—was caused by an engineer who was reverential of cows.

The nine-car train, filled with approximately 1,000 passengers, was traveling through the northeastern state of Bihar about 250 miles from Calcutta. Outside, monsoon-like conditions were battering the region. Extremely hard rains were swelling the rivers and making the tracks slick. When a cow and a Hindu engineer—who believed that cows are sacred animals—entered the picture, the combination led to tragedy.

As the train approached the bridge over the Baghmati River, a cow crossed the tracks. Seeking to avoid harming the cow at all costs, the engineer braked too hard. The cars slid on the wet rails and the last seven cars derailed straight into the river. With the river far above normal levels, the cars sank quickly in the murky waters.

Rescue help was hours away and, by the time it arrived, nearly 600 people had lost their lives. After a multi-day search, 286 bodies were recovered but more than 300 missing people were never found. The best estimate is that close to 600 passengers were killed by the engineer's decision.

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« Reply #431 on: June 07, 2014, 07:34:45 AM »

Jun 7, 1893


Gandhi's first act of civil disobedience
 
   
 
In an event that would have dramatic repercussions for the people of India, Mohandas K. Gandhi, a young Indian lawyer working in South Africa, refuses to comply with racial segregation rules on a South African train and is forcibly ejected at Pietermaritzburg.

Born in India and educated in England, Gandhi traveled to South Africa in early 1893 to practice law under a one-year contract. Settling in Natal, he was subjected to racism and South African laws that restricted the rights of Indian laborers. Gandhi later recalled one such incident, in which he was removed from a first-class railway compartment and thrown off a train, as his moment of truth. From thereon, he decided to fight injustice and defend his rights as an Indian and a man.

When his contract expired, he spontaneously decided to remain in South Africa and launch a campaign against legislation that would deprive Indians of the right to vote. He formed the Natal Indian Congress and drew international attention to the plight of Indians in South Africa. In 1906, the Transvaal government sought to further restrict the rights of Indians, and Gandhi organized his first campaign of satyagraha, or mass civil disobedience. After seven years of protest, he negotiated a compromise agreement with the South African government.

In 1914, Gandhi returned to India and lived a life of abstinence and spirituality on the periphery of Indian politics. He supported Britain in the First World War but in 1919 launched a new satyagraha in protest of Britain's mandatory military draft of Indians. Hundreds of thousands answered his call to protest, and by 1920 he was leader of the Indian movement for independence. Always nonviolent, he asserted the unity of all people under one God and preached Christian and Muslim ethics along with his Hindu teachings. The British authorities jailed him several times, but his following was so great that he was always released.

After World War II, he was a leading figure in the negotiations that led to Indian independence in 1947. Although hailing the granting of Indian independence as the "noblest act of the British nation," he was distressed by the religious partition of the former Mogul Empire into India and Pakistan. When violence broke out between Hindus and Muslims in India in 1947, he resorted to fasts and visits to the troubled areas in an effort to end India's religious strife. On January 30, 1948, he was on one such prayer vigil in New Delhi when he was fatally shot by Nathuram Godse, a Hindu extremist who objected to Gandhi's tolerance for the Muslims.

Known as Mahatma, or "the great soul," during his lifetime, Gandhi's persuasive methods of civil disobedience influenced leaders of civil rights movements around the world, especially Martin Luther King, Jr., in the United States.

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« Reply #432 on: June 07, 2014, 10:23:22 PM »

Jun 8, 632


Founder of Islam dies
   
 

In Medina, located in present-day Saudi Arabia, Muhammad, one of the most influential religious and political leaders in history, dies in the arms of Aishah, his third and favorite wife.

Born in Mecca of humble origins, Muhammad married a wealthy widow at 25 years old and lived the next 15 years as an unremarkable merchant. In 610, in a cave in Mount Hira north of Mecca, he had a vision in which he heard God, speaking through the angel Gabriel, command him to become the Arab prophet of the "true religion." Thus began a lifetime of religious revelations, which he and others collected as the Qur'an. These revelations provided the foundation for the Islamic religion. Muhammad regarded himself as the last prophet of the Judaic-Christian tradition, and he adopted the theology of these older religions while introducing new doctrines. His inspired teachings also brought unity to the Bedouin tribesmen of Arabia, an event that had sweeping consequences for the rest of the world.

By the summer of 622, Muhammad had gained a substantial number of converts in Mecca, leading the city's authorities, who had a vested interest in preserving the city's pagan religion, to plan his assassination. Muhammad fled to Medina, a city some 200 miles north of Mecca, where he was given a position of considerable political power. At Medina, he built a model theocratic state and administered a rapidly growing empire. In 629, Muhammad returned to Mecca as a conqueror. During the next two and a half years, numerous disparate Arab tribes converted to his religion. By his death on June 8, 632, he was the effective ruler of all southern Arabia, and his missionaries, or legates, were active in the Eastern Empire, Persia, and Ethiopia.

During the next century, vast conquests continued under Muhammad's successors and allies, and the Muslim advance was not halted until the Battle of Tours in France in 732. By this time, the Muslim empire, among the largest the world had ever seen, stretched from India across the Middle East and North Africa, and up through Western Europe's Iberian peninsula. The spread of Islam continued after the end of the Arab conquest, and many cultures in Africa and Asia voluntarily adopted the religion. Today, Islam is the world's second-largest religion.

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« Reply #433 on: June 07, 2014, 10:34:04 PM »

Jun 8, 632


Founder of Islam dies
   
 

In Medina, located in present-day Saudi Arabia, Muhammad, one of the most influential religious and political leaders in history, dies in the arms of Aishah, his third and favorite wife.

Born in Mecca of humble origins, Muhammad married a wealthy widow at 25 years old and lived the next 15 years as an unremarkable merchant. In 610, in a cave in Mount Hira north of Mecca, he had a vision in which he heard God, speaking through the angel Gabriel, command him to become the Arab prophet of the "true religion." Thus began a lifetime of religious revelations, which he and others collected as the Qur'an. These revelations provided the foundation for the Islamic religion. Muhammad regarded himself as the last prophet of the Judaic-Christian tradition, and he adopted the theology of these older religions while introducing new doctrines. His inspired teachings also brought unity to the Bedouin tribesmen of Arabia, an event that had sweeping consequences for the rest of the world.

By the summer of 622, Muhammad had gained a substantial number of converts in Mecca, leading the city's authorities, who had a vested interest in preserving the city's pagan religion, to plan his assassination. Muhammad fled to Medina, a city some 200 miles north of Mecca, where he was given a position of considerable political power. At Medina, he built a model theocratic state and administered a rapidly growing empire. In 629, Muhammad returned to Mecca as a conqueror. During the next two and a half years, numerous disparate Arab tribes converted to his religion. By his death on June 8, 632, he was the effective ruler of all southern Arabia, and his missionaries, or legates, were active in the Eastern Empire, Persia, and Ethiopia.

During the next century, vast conquests continued under Muhammad's successors and allies, and the Muslim advance was not halted until the Battle of Tours in France in 732. By this time, the Muslim empire, among the largest the world had ever seen, stretched from India across the Middle East and North Africa, and up through Western Europe's Iberian peninsula. The spread of Islam continued after the end of the Arab conquest, and many cultures in Africa and Asia voluntarily adopted the religion. Today, Islam is the world's second-largest religion.



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« Reply #434 on: June 09, 2014, 04:48:45 AM »

Jun 9, 1973


Secretariat wins Triple Crown
   
 

On this day in 1973, Secretariat wins the Belmont Stakes to become the first Triple Crown winner since Citation in 1948. Secretariat ran the mile-and-a-half race in 2:24, a world record that many believe will never be broken.


Secretariat, the son of Bold Ruler and Somethingroyal, was raised in Doswell, Virginia, at Meadow Stable by owner Penny Tweedy. He won seven of nine races started as a two-year-old and was the first horse of his age to be named Horse of the Year. After winning the first two races of his three-year-old career, he lost the third, which was also the final tune-up before that year’s Kentucky Derby. Afterward, a painful abscess was found under the horse’s lip, which supporters hoped was the reason for his unexpectedly slow performance. Secretariat did not disappoint at the 1973 Kentucky Derby, where he set a track record of just over 1:59 to beat Sham by two-and-a-half lengths. Secretariat then won the Preakness, and though unofficial timers and spectators insisted the horse had also set a new record there, the official time keeper clocked Secretariat a few seconds slower.


Secretariat came into the Belmont Stakes in Long Island, New York, at 1-to-10 odds, making him the overwhelming favorite. Secretariat’s jockey Ron Turcotte, however, expected a close race with Sham at the longer Belmont. At the beginning of the race, Sham and jockey Laffit Pincay kept pace with the so-called "super horse" but expended too much energy in the process and eventually faded to last place, while Secretariat pulled away from the pack. Secretariat crossed the finish line an amazing 31 lengths ahead of My Gallant and Twice a Prince in a show of speed and endurance horse enthusiasts had never seen. Turcotte later said of the race, "I know this sounds crazy, but the horse did it by himself. I was along for the ride."


Years later, Secretariat’s dominance as a race horse was attributed to the size of his heart, which was found to weigh 22 pounds, more than twice that of a typical thoroughbred.

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« Reply #435 on: June 10, 2014, 01:42:10 AM »

Jun 10, 1692


First Salem witch hanging
 


In Salem Village in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Bridget Bishop, the first colonist to be tried in the Salem witch trials, is hanged after being found guilty of the practice of witchcraft.

Trouble in the small Puritan community began in February 1692, when nine-year-old Elizabeth Parris and 11-year-old Abigail Williams, the daughter and niece, respectively, of the Reverend Samuel Parris, began experiencing fits and other mysterious maladies. A doctor concluded that the children were suffering from the effects of witchcraft, and the young girls corroborated the doctor's diagnosis. Under compulsion from the doctor and their parents, the girls named those allegedly responsible for their suffering.

On March 1, Sarah Goode, Sarah Osborne, and Tituba, an Indian slave from Barbados, became the first Salem residents to be charged with the capital crime of witchcraft. Later that day, Tituba confessed to the crime and subsequently aided the authorities in identifying more Salem witches. With encouragement from adults in the community, the girls, who were soon joined by other "afflicted" Salem residents, accused a widening circle of local residents of witchcraft, mostly middle-aged women but also several men and even one four-year-old child. During the next few months, the afflicted area residents incriminated more than 150 women and men from Salem Village and the surrounding areas of satanic practices.

In June 1692, the special Court of Oyer and Terminer ["to hear and to decide"] convened in Salem under Chief Justice William Stoughton to judge the accused. The first to be tried was Bridget Bishop of Salem, who was accused of witchcraft by more individuals than any other defendant. Bishop, known around town for her dubious moral character, frequented taverns, dressed flamboyantly (by Puritan standards), and was married three times. She professed her innocence but was found guilty and executed by hanging on June 10. Thirteen more women and five men from all stations of life followed her to the gallows, and one man, Giles Corey, was executed by crushing. Most of those tried were condemned on the basis of the witnesses' behavior during the actual proceedings, characterized by fits and hallucinations that were argued to have been caused by the defendants on trial.

In October 1692, Governor William Phipps of Massachusetts ordered the Court of Oyer and Terminer dissolved and replaced with the Superior Court of Judicature, which forbade the type of sensational testimony allowed in the earlier trials. Executions ceased, and the Superior Court eventually released all those awaiting trial and pardoned those sentenced to death. The Salem witch trials, which resulted in the executions of 19 innocent women and men, had effectively ended.

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« Reply #436 on: June 11, 2014, 12:22:47 AM »

Jun 11, 1982


E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial released
 
   
 
Then 34-year-old director Steven Spielberg reportedly drew on his own experiences as an unusually imaginative, often-lonely child of divorce for his science-fiction classic E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, which is released on this day in 1982.

For Spielberg, E.T. marked a return to territory he had first visited with the classic Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), in which Richard Dreyfuss plays a man who comes face to face with a fearsome alien force that eventually proves to be human-friendly. With E.T., Spielberg would create an even more appealing vision of alien life, in the form of a diminutive creature with wrinkled skin and a glowing belly. Spielberg worked closely with the screenwriter, Melissa Mathison (future wife of Harrison Ford, the star of Spielberg’s Indiana Jones films) to capture on film the story of the wise, kind and cuddly alien botanist who is stranded on Earth and needs the help of a sensitive little boy, Elliott (Henry Thomas) to get back home. Elliott and his siblings, played by Robert MacNaughton and a seven-year-old Drew Barrymore, hide E.T. (as the alien dubs himself) in a closet to keep him out of sight from prying adults, including their mother, who is distracted by her painful separation from her husband. Before long, a special link develops between E.T. and Elliott, who will eventually risk his own safety to return E.T. to his planet.

From the time that E.T. had its first showing, on closing night at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival, the film’s buzz was overwhelmingly positive. Richard Corliss raved in TIME magazine: “[E.T.] is a perfectly poised mixture of sweet comedy and ten-speed melodrama, of death and resurrection, of a friendship so pure and powerful it seems like an idealized love.” TIME also included the fictional alien in its list of candidates for Man of the Year--the first film character to receive that honor. Nominated in nine categories at the 1983 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, the film won four Oscars, for Best Sound Effects Editing, Best Visual Effects, Best Original Score and Best Sound.

E.T. had stupendous success at the box office, eventually raking in some $435 million (it was re-released in 1985 and a special 20th-anniversary edition was issued in 2002). As of 2008, it stood at No. 5 on the list of the highest-earning films of all time.

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« Reply #437 on: June 25, 2014, 10:36:14 AM »

http://www.history.com/news/scotland-fights-its-way-to-freedom-700-years-ago

Scotland Fights Its Way to Freedom, 700 Years Ago

During eight previous years of warfare with the English, Scottish King Robert the Bruce had never engaged his numerically superior foes in a major pitched battle. But on June 24, 1314, he finally stood his ground near the present-day town of Bannockburn, using tightly packed formations of pikemen to send the English into a wild retreat. From that point forward, Scotland was on the offensive, and in 1328 it officially won its independence.

In 1291, following a century of peace between the two kingdoms, English King Edward I pronounced himself the feudal overlord of Scotland, and he cemented his authority five years later with a successful invasion. Although a Scottish rebellion then broke out led by William Wallace, Edward I once again emerged victorious. He let most of the Scottish leaders opposed to him off the hook with little punishment, except for Wallace, who was captured and tortured to death.

Robert the Bruce, a noble who believed himself the heir to the Scottish throne, sat out much of this fighting. But in 1306 he stabbed a political rival inside a church and left him bleeding at the high altar for two of his men to finish off. Subsequently declared an outlaw by Edward I and excommunicated by the pope, Robert crowned himself king of the Scots in a desperate bid to take power. Immediate defeats at the hands of his English and Scottish enemies forced him to take refuge on a small island near Ireland. His wife was placed under house arrest, three of his brothers were captured and brutally executed, his sister was displayed in a cage like an animal at the zoo and his daughter was sent off to a nunnery.

Nonetheless, Robert gained a toehold on the mainland through the use of guerilla warfare and then gradually extended his dominion, making new allies, holding a series of parliaments and even raiding northern England. By 1314 every province in Scotland had accepted him as king, and English forces essentially all had disappeared with the exception of a garrison at Stirling Castle. Early that year, England’s Edward II, who had succeeded his father, began mobilizing a massive army to put down the uprising. Historians roughly estimate that he had about 15,000 infantrymen and archers and at least 2,000 heavily armed cavalry at his disposal when he crossed into Scotland on June 17, 1314. By comparison, Robert’s army consisted of approximately 6,000 poorly equipped troops, including perhaps 500 on horseback.

After a couple of days of hard marching, Edward II’s troops reached the city of Edinburgh, from where they followed an ancient Roman road northwest toward Stirling Castle. They soon found themselves blocked by Robert’s men, who had positioned themselves along a section of the road surrounded by nearly impenetrable bogs, thickly wooded hills and tidal streams. To make the terrain even more difficult to navigate, the Scots dug small hidden pits and built barricades out of felled trees. Meeting with Edward II, the English governor of Stirling Castle warned that a direct attack would be difficult. Yet the king decided to press ahead anyway.

On June 23, front-line English knights came across a group of Scots withdrawing into the woods. Recognizing one of the Scots as Robert the Bruce himself, Sir Henry de Bohun charged with his lance extended. Rather than flee, Robert turned his horse to meet the challenge, swerved to avoid Bohun’s lance, raised himself up on his stirrups and then cleaved Bohun’s head in two with a powerful swing of his axe. Having witnessed this duel, the rest of the Scots rushed out and forced the English to retreat. Later that day, on a different section of the battlefield, other English knights were similarly unsuccessful. Unable to penetrate the tightly packed formation of pikemen known as a schiltron, some ended up fleeing toward Stirling Castle, whereas others galloped in the opposite direction toward the main body of English soldiers.

That evening, Robert is believed to have considered withdrawing until a defector appeared in his camp. In addition to relaying tactical information about the English, he told Robert that Edward II’s men had lost heart. “Sir, if you ever intend to reconquer Scotland now is the time,” the defector purportedly said before pledging his life that Robert would win the battle easily. Meanwhile, many English troops spent a largely sleepless night moving across the Bannock Burn, a stream that shares a name with the town and battle, so that their horses could be watered.

As the opposing armies assembled on the morning of June 24, Robert told his men that they had right on their side. “Our enemies are moved only by desire for dominion, but we are fighting for our lives, our children, our wives and the freedom of our country,” he said, according to a 14th century Scottish poet who chronicled the battle. After archers briefly exchanged fire, the English cavalry charged, only to be repulsed. The Scottish schiltrons then went on the attack, penning the English cavalry into a cramped space surrounded by water on three sides. English archers, so devastating in the defeat of William Wallace’s schiltrons at the 1298 Battle of Falkirk, this time had trouble getting into position. And when they finally did start shooting arrows into the Scottish flanks, Robert’s 500 or so cavalrymen drove them off. Trapped in the rear, the large English infantry played almost no role in the fighting at all.

At first, the English fell back slowly. But when Edward II was coaxed into leaving along with his 500 bodyguards, the orderly retreat turned into a panicked rout. “On them! On them! They fail!” the Scots yelled as lightly armed camp followers jumped into the fray, possibly prompting the English to believe a second Scottish army had arrived. Hundreds of English soldiers either drowned or were trampled to death in the Bannock Burn and the River Forth, and others fled to Stirling Castle, which would surrender hours later. In addition to capturing numerous English nobles, who were ransomed back for a price, the Scots seized a huge cache of supplies, weapons and food. They even chased Edward II for about 60 miles, killing one of his horses and capturing his royal shield.

Though Scotland was now entirely outside of his control, Edward II refused to make peace, even after Robert launched invasions into both northern England and Ireland (controlled by the English at the time.) Finally, after Edward II’s deposal and the renewal of a Scottish-French alliance, England agreed to the 1328 Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton, which recognized Scotland’s independence and Robert’s claim to the throne. Despite periodic fighting between the two sides, Scotland would retain its independence until 1707, when it combined with England to form Great Britain. This September, Scottish residents will vote in a referendum on whether the country should once again be independent.
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« Reply #438 on: July 23, 2014, 01:40:12 PM »

Jul 23, 1885


Former President Ulysses S. Grant dies
   


On this day in 1885, just after completing his memoirs, Civil War hero and former President Ulysses S. Grant dies of throat cancer.

The son of a tanner, Grant showed little enthusiasm for joining his father's business, so the elder Grant enrolled his son at West Point in 1839. Though Grant later admitted in his memoirs that he had no interest in the military apart from honing his equestrian skills, he graduated in 1843 and went on to serve first in the Mexican-American War, which he opposed on moral grounds, and then in California and Oregon, tours of duty that forced him to leave behind his beloved wife and children. The loneliness and sheer boredom of duty in the West drove Grant to binge drinking. By 1854, Grant's alcohol consumption so alarmed his superiors that he was asked to resign from the Army. He did, and returned to Ohio to try his hand at farming and land speculation. Although he kicked the alcohol habit, he failed miserably at both vocations and was forced to take a job as a clerk in his father's tanning business.

If it were not for the Civil War, Grant might have slipped quickly into obscurity. Instead, he re-enlisted in the Army in 1861 and embarked on a stellar military career, although his tendency to binge-drink re-emerged and he developed another unhealthy habit: chain cigar-smoking, which probably caused the throat cancer that eventually killed him. In 1862, Grant led troops in the captures of Forts Henry and Donelson in Tennessee, and forced the Confederate Army to retreat back into Mississippi after the Battle of Shiloh. After the Donelson campaign, Grant received over 10,000 boxes of congratulatory cigars from a grateful citizenry.

In 1863, after leading the Union Army to victory at Vicksburg, Grant caught President Abraham Lincoln's attention. The Union Army had suffered under the service of a series of incompetent generals and Lincoln was in the market for a new Union supreme commander. In March 1864, Lincoln revived the rank of lieutenant general—a rank that had previously been held only by George Washington in 1798--and gave it to Grant. As supreme commander of Union forces, Grant led troops in a series of epic and bloody battles against Confederate General Robert E. Lee. On April 9, 1865, Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Court House. The victory solidified Grant's status as national hero and, in 1869, he began his first of two terms as president.

Grant's talent as political leader paled woefully in comparison to his military prowess. He was unable to stem the rampant corruption that plagued his administration and failed to combat a severe economic depression in 1873. However, successes of Grant's tenure include passage of the Enforcement Act in 1870, which temporarily curtailed the political influence of the Ku Klux Klan in the post-Civil War South, and the 1875 Civil Rights Act, which attempted to desegregate public places such as restrooms, "inns, public conveyances on land or water, theaters, and other places of public amusement." In addition, Grant helped to improve U.S. and British diplomatic relations, which had been damaged by the British offer to supply the Confederate Army with tools to break the Union naval blockade during the Civil War. He also managed to stay sober during his two terms in office.

Upon leaving office, Grant's fortunes again declined. Although he and his wife Julia traveled to Europe between 1877 and 1879 amid great fanfare, the couple came home to bankruptcy caused by Grant's unwise investment in a scandal-prone banking firm. Grant spent the last few years of his life writing a detailed account of the Civil War and, after he died of throat cancer in 1885, Julia managed to scrape by on the royalties earned from his memoirs.
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« Reply #439 on: July 24, 2014, 01:29:56 AM »

Jul 24, 1567


Mary Queen of Scots deposed
   


During her imprisonment at Lochleven Castle in Scotland, Mary Queen of Scots is forced to abdicate in favor of her one-year-old son, later crowned King James VI of Scotland.

In 1542, while just six days old, Mary ascended to the Scottish throne upon the death of her father, King James V. Her mother sent her to be raised in the French court, and in 1558 she married the French dauphin, who became King Francis II of France in 1559 but died the following year. After Francis' death, Mary returned to Scotland to assume her designated role as the country's monarch.

In 1565, she married her English cousin Lord Darnley in order to reinforce her claim of succession to the English throne after Elizabeth's death. In 1567, Darnley was mysteriously killed in an explosion at Kirk o' Field, and Mary's lover, the Earl of Bothwell, was the key suspect. Although Bothwell was acquitted of the charge, his marriage to Mary in the same year enraged the nobility, and Bothwell and Mary were imprisoned. Mary was held on the tiny island of Loch Leven, where she was forced to abdicate in favor of her son by Darnley, James.

In 1568, she escaped from captivity and raised a substantial army but was defeated and fled to England. Queen Elizabeth initially welcomed Mary but was soon forced to put her friend under house arrest after Mary became the focus of various English Catholic and Spanish plots to overthrow Elizabeth. Nineteen years later, in 1586, a major plot to murder Elizabeth was reported, and Mary was brought to trial. She was convicted for complicity and sentenced to death.

On February 8, 1587, Mary Queen of Scots was beheaded for treason. Her son, King James VI of Scotland, calmly accepted his mother's execution, and upon Queen Elizabeth's death in 1603 he became king of England, Scotland, and Ireland.
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« Reply #440 on: July 25, 2014, 01:52:54 AM »

Jul 25, 1988


A young man turns the death of his parents into a game
 


Police responding to an emergency call in Washington, North Carolina, find Lieth and Bonnie Von Stein stabbed and beaten in their home. Lieth was dead, but Bonnie, barely clinging to life, somehow survived. Angela, Bonnie's 18-year-old daughter, was found in the next room; she said that she had slept through the brutal attack.

Investigators were immediately distrustful of the crime scene, which appeared to have been staged as though to suggest a robbery. Detectives caught a lucky break when a hog farmer happened to spot a fire in the woods around the time of the murder. A hunting knife, some clothing, and a scrap of paper with a map of the Von Stein's neighborhood were recovered from the remains of the fire.

Detectives assigned to the case learned that Lieth had had a poor relationship with his two stepchildren, Angela and her older brother, Chris, both of whom were known drug users. The police also found out that Lieth had inherited over a million dollars shortly before he was killed. As the investigation dragged on into 1989, police turned their attention to Chris, who refused to take a polygraph test (which his mother and sister had passed).

A devotee of the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game, Chris often vented his frustration to his fellow players at North Carolina State University. Reportedly, Chris was bitter toward his stepfather for not spending more of the inheritance on him. When pressured, some of Chris' friends revealed that James Upchurch and Neal Henderson, other D&D players on campus, may have been involved in some sort of plot with Chris.

After turning Henderson, who accompanied Upchurch to the Von Stein home, into a state witness, prosecutors persuaded Chris to plead guilty to aiding and abetting the murder. Chris testified that he had supplied a key and the map to the house where Upchurch had killed Lieth Von Stein. Although Henderson's testimony was not entirely compatible, and there was no physical evidence tying him to the murder, Upchurch was convicted of murder in 1990 and sentenced to death.

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« Reply #441 on: July 26, 2014, 06:56:07 AM »

Jul 26, 1984


Real-life Psycho Ed Gein dies
   


On July 26, 1984, Ed Gein, a serial killer infamous for skinning human corpses, dies of complications from cancer in a Wisconsin prison at age 77. Gein served as the inspiration for writer Robert Bloch's character Norman Bates in the 1959 novel "Psycho," which in 1960 was turned into a film starring Anthony Perkins and directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

Edward Theodore Gein was born in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, on July 27, 1906, to an alcoholic father and domineering mother, who taught her son that women and sex were evil. Gein was raised, along with an older brother, on an isolated farm in Plainfield, Wisconsin. After Gein's father died in 1940, the future killer's brother died under mysterious circumstances during a fire in 1944 and his beloved mother passed away from health problems in 1945. Gein remained on the farm by himself.

In November 1957, police found the headless, gutted body of a missing store clerk, Bernice Worden, at Gein's farmhouse. Upon further investigation, authorities discovered a collection of human skulls along with furniture and clothing, including a suit, made from human body parts and skin. Gein told police he had dug up the graves of recently buried women who reminded him of his mother. Investigators found the remains of 10 women in Gein's home, but he was ultimately linked to just two murders: Bernice Worden and another local woman, Mary Hogan.

Gein was declared mentally unfit to stand trial and was sent to a state hospital in Wisconsin. His farm attracted crowds of curiosity seekers before it burned down in 1958, most likely in a blaze set by an arsonist. In 1968, Gein was deemed sane enough to stand trial, but a judge ultimately found him guilty by reason of insanity and he spent the rest of his days in a state facility.

In addition to "Psycho," films including "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and "Silence of the Lambs" were said to be loosely based on Gein's crimes.
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« Reply #442 on: July 27, 2014, 05:01:12 AM »

Jul 27, 1981


Adam Walsh is abducted

   

Adam John Walsh, age six, is abducted from a mall in Hollywood, Florida, and later found murdered. In the aftermath of the crime, Adam's father, John Walsh, became a leading victims' rights activist and host of the long-running television show America's Most Wanted.

Early in the afternoon on July 27, Adam entered a Sears department store with his mother, Reve. She allowed him to watch a group of older boys play video games in the toy department while she shopped nearby. When she returned for him less than 10 minutes later, he was gone. Investigators learned a teenage security guard had asked the older children to leave because they were causing trouble. Adam, reportedly a timid child who might have been afraid to speak up, followed one of the older boys out and didn't tell the guard his mother was in the store. He was likely kidnapped outside the store after the other child left. Adam's parents launched a massive hunt for their son; however, on August 10, 1981, his severed head was discovered by two fishermen in a drainage canal in Vero Beach, Florida, some 100 miles from Hollywood. His body was never found.

In October 1983, career criminal Ottis Ellwood Toole, then an inmate at a Raiford, Florida, prison, confessed to Adam's abduction and murder and also implicated serial killer Henry Lee Lucas in the crime. However, investigators soon discovered that Lucas couldn't have been involved because he was in jail in Virginia when Adam was kidnapped. Toole then admitted he had carried out the crime on his own and police announced they had found Adam's killer. However, investigators were unable to locate Adam's body where Toole claimed to have buried it and without any physical evidence the Florida state attorney couldn't prosecute the case. Several months later, Toole recanted his confession. In the years that followed, Toole repeatedly confessed to killing Adam Walsh and then took back his story. He died of cirrhosis of the liver and AIDS in 1996 in a Florida prison, where he was on Death Row for another murder. Years later, serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, who was living in Florida at the time of Adam's abduction, was considered a possible suspect in the case. Dahmer died in a Wisconsin prison in 1994. On December 16, 2008, the police department in Hollywood, Florida, announced that the case against Toole was strong enough to close the investigation into Adam's death.

John Walsh channeled his grief into advocacy work for crime victims. He was a founder in 1984 of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and in 1988 he became host of America's Most Wanted, a show that has since helped law enforcement officials track down hundreds of fugitives. On July 27, 2006, 25 years after Adam went missing, President George W. Bush signed the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act into law, which created a national database of convicted child sex offenders, strengthened federal penalties for crimes against children and provided funding and training for law enforcement to fight crimes involving the sexual exploitation of children via the Internet.
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« Reply #443 on: July 28, 2014, 02:25:22 AM »

Jul 28, 1990


A soft drink containing liquid cocaine sickens an unsuspecting drinker
   


Maximo Menendez falls into a coma immediately after drinking a Colombian soft drink, Pony Malta de Bavaria, in Miami, Florida. Drinking half the bottle before heading off to his job at a pet shop, Menendez remarked, "This is poisoned--it's bad stuff," before going into convulsions. The next day, officials at the Food and Drug Administration learned that the soft drink had been laced with a lethal dose of liquid cocaine.

After pulling every bottle of Pony Malta off the local store shelves, authorities discovered that another 45 bottles of the thick, sweet beverage contained cocaine by using a dielectrometer, a piece of equipment usually used by engineers to locate imperfections in building materials. Apparently, a smuggling operation had gone awry; smugglers had planned to reclaim bottles and transform the liquid cocaine back to a sellable crystal form.

Menendez, who had escaped from Cuba only six months earlier, never regained consciousness and died in August. Finally, in June 1993, a federal grand jury indicted Hugo Rios and Alberto Gamba for their role in tampering with the Pony Malta bottles.

The late 1980s and 1990s featured all kinds of innovative smuggling schemes. In 1999, a Ghanian man sued U.S. customs over surgery to remove heroin-filled balloons from his stomach a year earlier. His claim was thrown out of court. Another man entering Puerto Rico had rubber-wrapped packages of cocaine implanted under the skin on his thighs. Earlier, authorities found a shipment of yams had been hollowed out and filled with cocaine.

In 1991, customs officers found that dog carriers from Colombia were actually made of cocaine and fiberglass. That same year, a cast iron pita oven from Turkey had 700 kilos of hashish welded inside: It was discovered when investigators realized there was no way to turn the oven on.
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« Reply #444 on: July 29, 2014, 01:55:39 AM »

Jul 29, 1976


Son of Sam terrorizes New York
   


The so-called "Son of Sam" pulls a gun from a paper bag and fires five shots at Donna Lauria and Jody Valenti of the Bronx while they are sitting in a car, talking. Lauria died and Valenti was seriously wounded in the first in a series of shootings by the serial killer, who terrorized New York City over the course of the next year.

Once dubbed the ".44 Caliber Killer," the Son of Sam eventually got his name from letters he sent to both the police and famed newspaper writer Jimmy Breslin that said, "...I am a monster. I am the Son of Sam. I love to hunt, prowling the streets looking for fair game. The weman are prettyist of all [sic]..."

The second attack came on October 23, 1976, when a couple was shot as they sat in a car in Queens. A month later, two girls were talking on a stoop outside a home when the serial killer approached, asked for directions, and then suddenly pulled a gun out and fired several shots. Joanne Lomino was paralyzed from a bullet that struck her spine, but her friend was not seriously injured.

The Son of Sam attacked again in January and March of 1977. In the latter attack, witnesses provided a description of the killer: an unattractive white man with black hair. After yet another shooting in the Bronx in April, the publicity hit a fever pitch. Women, particularly those with dark hair, were discouraged from traveling at night in the city.

When the Son of Sam missed his intended victims in another murder attempt in June, vigilante groups formed across New York City looking for the killer. His last two victims were shot on July 31, 1977, in Brooklyn; one died. Then, police following up on a parking ticket that had been given out that night discovered a machine gun in a car belonging to David Berkowitz of Yonkers, New York.

When questioned, Berkowitz explained that "Sam" was his neighbor Sam Carr--an agent of the devil. Sam transmitted his orders through his pet black Labrador. Years earlier, Berkowitz had shot the dog, complaining that its barking was keeping him from sleeping. After the dog recovered, Berkowitz claimed that it began speaking to him and demanding that he kill people.

In an unusual sequence of events, Berkowitz was allowed to plead guilty before claiming insanity and was sentenced to over 300 years in prison. In prison, he later claimed to be a born-again Christian.
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« Reply #445 on: July 30, 2014, 01:47:26 AM »

Jul 30, 1999


Blair Witch Project released
   


On this day in 1999, The Blair Witch Project, a low-budget, independent horror film that will become a massive cult hit, is released in U.S. theaters.

Shot with shaky, handheld cameras, the documentary-style movie told the story of three student filmmakers who disappeared into the woods and were never heard from again, although their footage was later discovered. With the help of a Web-based viral marketing strategy--a relatively new concept at the time--The Blair Witch Project generated huge buzz over the question of whether or not it was based on a true story. In fact, the story was entirely fake. Fake or not, it didn’t matter at the box office: The Blair Witch Project grossed some $250 million worldwide and was featured on the covers of Newsweek and Time magazines.

The Blair Witch Project followed the young filmmakers as they went into the woods near Burkittsville, Maryland, to make a documentary about a local legend known as the Blair Witch. The filmmakers got lost and experienced a series of scary events and unexplained phenomena, such as strange noises and piles of stones being inexplicably re-arranged. The trio never returned to civilization, but their film equipment was supposedly found and the footage they shot became The Blair Witch Project. Unlike other horror films that featured bloody scenes and special effects, The Blair Witch Project scared moviegoers through implied terror and violence.

Eduardo Sanchez and Daniel Myrick, who met as film students at the University of Central Florida, wrote and directed The Blair Witch Project. The two filmmakers had their lead actors--Heather Donahue, Michael Williams and Joshua Leonard--improvise their lines based on private messages each actor received during filming. To make The Blair Witch Project seem more realistic and heighten the psychological tension, Sanchez and Myrick reportedly did things to agitate the actors during production, such as shaking their tent and cutting back on their food supply. They also had the actors do their own filming, and the resulting grainy, black-and-white footage became a Blair Witch trademark.
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« Reply #446 on: July 31, 2014, 01:18:25 AM »

Jul 31, 1975


Jimmy Hoffa vanishes
 


Teamsters Union president Jimmy Hoffa is reported missing in Detroit, Michigan. He was last seen alive in a parking lot outside the Machus Red Fox restaurant the previous afternoon. To this day, Hoffa's fate remains a mystery, although many believe that he was murdered by organized crime figures.

By the time of his disappearance, Hoffa had a long and murky career in union politics. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, he became the main focus of government investigations into corruption. In 1962, Hoffa faced misdemeanor charges in Tennessee. He managed to get a mistrial but was convicted two years later for obstruction of justice by tampering with the jury, receiving an eight-year sentence.

In Chicago, Hoffa was tried for fraud in handling Teamster pension funds, convicted, and sentenced to five years in prison. That sentence was commuted by President Richard Nixon in 1971, and despite his criminal record, Hoffa remained a key Teamster figure until his disappearance.

All types of theories have circulated about what became of him. One popular scenario had Hoffa buried beneath a football field at the Meadowlands complex in East Rutherford, New Jersey. One man even claimed credit for his murder in the mid-1980s, saying that he had dumped Hoffa's body in the Au Sable River after killing him. Authorities have never been able to confirm what really happened to Hoffa. He was declared legally dead in 1982.

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« Reply #447 on: Today at 01:18:31 AM »

Aug 1, 1966


An ex-Marine goes on a killing spree at the University of Texas
   
 

Charles Whitman takes a stockpile of guns and ammunition to the observatory platform atop a 300-foot tower at the University of Texas and proceeds to shoot 46 people, killing 14 people and wounding 31. A fifteenth died in 2001 because of his injuries. Whitman, who had killed both his wife and mother the night before, was eventually shot to death after courageous Austin police officers, including Ramiro Martinez, charged up the stairs of the tower to subdue the attacker.

Whitman, a former Eagle Scout and Marine, began to suffer serious mental problems after his mother left his father in March 1966. On March 29, he told a psychiatrist that he was having uncontrollable fits of anger. He purportedly even told this doctor that he was thinking about going up to the tower with a rifle and shooting people. Unfortunately, the doctor didn't follow up on this red flag.

On July 31, Whitman wrote a note about his violent impulses, saying, "After my death, I wish an autopsy on me be performed to see if there's any mental disorders." The note then described his hatred for his family and his intent to kill them. That night, Whitman went to his mother's home, where he stabbed and shot her. Upon returning to his own home, he then stabbed his wife to death.

The following morning, Whitman headed for the tower with several pistols and a rifle after stopping off at a gun store to buy boxes of ammunition and a carbine. Packing food and other supplies, he proceeded to the observation platform, killing the receptionist and two tourists before unpacking his rifle and telescope and hunting the people below.

An expert marksman, Whitman was able to hit people as far away as 500 yards. For 90 minutes, he continued firing while officers searched for a chance to get a shot at him. By the end of his rampage, 16 people were dead and another 30 were injured.

The University of Texas tower remained closed for 25 years before reopening in 1999.

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