So, I've decided to open a thread to record here daily the articles related to each date.
So here goes, starting with today's date: 16th November
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The Luxor Massacre refers to the killing of 62 people, mostly tourists, that took place on 17 November 1997, at Deir el-Bahri, an archaeological site and major tourist attraction located across the Nile River from Luxor in Egypt.
The attack is thought to have been instigated by exiled leaders of Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya, an Egyptian Islamist organization, attempting to undermine the July 1997 "Nonviolence Initiative", devastate the Egyptian economy and provoke the government into repression that would strengthen support for anti-government forces. However, the attack led to internal divisions among the militants, and resulted in the declaration of a ceasefire to suspend hostilities. In mid June of 2013, the group denied that it was involved in the massacre.
Deir el-Bahri is one of Egypt's top tourist attractions, most notably for the spectacular mortuary temple of 18th-dynasty female pharaoh Hatshepsut, known as "Djeser-Djeseru."
In the mid-morning attack on 17 November 1997, six gunmen from the Islamic Group and Jihad Talaat al-Fath ("Holy War of the Vanguard of the Conquest") massacred 62 people at the attraction. The six assailants were armed with automatic firearms and knives, and disguised as members of the security forces. They descended on the Temple of Hatshepsut at around 08:45. They dispatched two armed guards at the site. With the tourists trapped inside the temple, the killing went on systematically for 45 minutes, during which many bodies, especially of women, were mutilated with machetes. They used both guns and butcher knives. A note praising Islam was found inside one disemboweled body. The dead included a five-year-old British child and four Japanese couples on their honeymoons.
The attackers then hijacked a bus, but ran into a checkpoint of armed Egyptian tourist police and military forces. One of the terrorists was wounded in the shootout and the rest fled into the hills where their bodies were found in a cave, apparently having committed suicide together.
Four Egyptians were killed in the massacre, including three police officers and a tour guide. Of the 58 foreign tourists killed, 36 were Swiss, ten were Japanese, six were from the United Kingdom, four from Germany, and two were Colombians. Six gunmen who perpetrated the massacre were also killed.
After the attack, President Hosni Mubarak replaced his interior minister, General Hassan Al Alfi, with General Habib al-Adly.
The tourist industry – in Egypt in general and in Luxor in particular – was seriously affected by the resultant slump in visitors and remained depressed until sinking even lower with the September 11 attacks in the United States in 2001, the 23 July 2005, Sharm el-Sheikh attacks, and the 2006 Dahab bombings.
The massacre, however, marked a decisive drop in Islamist terrorists' fortunes in Egypt by turning Egyptian public opinion overwhelmingly against them. Spontaneous demonstrations broke out in Luxor almost immediately against the terrorists, demanding action by the government and leading to a visit by Mubarak to the region a few days later.
Organizers and supporters of the attack quickly realised that the strike had been a massive miscalculation and reacted with denials of involvement. The day after the attack, al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya leader Refa'i Ahmed Taha claimed the attackers intended only to take the tourists hostage, despite the evidence of the immediate and systematic nature of the slaughter. Others denied Islamist involvement completely. Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman blamed Israelis for the killings, and Ayman Zawahiri maintained the attack was the work of the Egyptian police.
In June 2013 Egypt's then-president Mohamed Morsi appointed Adel el-Khayat as governor of Luxor. El-Khayat is a member of the political arm of al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya.
https://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/King%27s+Cross+fireThe King's Cross fire broke out on 18 November 1987 at approximately 19:30 at King's Cross St. Pancras tube station, a major interchange on the London Underground. The fire killed 31 people. As well as the mainline railway stations above ground and subsurface platforms for the Metropolitan lines, there were platforms deeper underground for the Northern, Piccadilly, and Victoria lines. The fire started on an escalator serving the Piccadilly Line and approximately 15 minutes after being reported, as the first members of the London Fire Brigade were investigating, the fire flashed over, filling the underground ticket office with heat and smoke.
The subsequent public inquiry determined that the fire had started due to a lit match being dropped onto the escalator and suddenly increased in intensity due to a previously unknown trench effect. London Underground were strongly criticised for their attitude toward fires. Complacent because there had never been a fatal fire on the Underground, staff had been given little or no training to deal with fires or evacuation.
The publication of the report led to resignations of senior management in both London Underground and London Regional Transport and to the introduction of new fire safety regulations.
At King's Cross, as well as the mainline railway station above ground and subsurface platforms for the Metropolitan line, there are platforms deeper underground for the Northern, Piccadilly, and Victoria lines. There were two separate escalator shafts leading down to the Victoria and Piccadilly lines; the Northern line was reached from the Piccadilly line. Stairs connected the Piccadilly and Victoria line platforms and from these there was a subway to platforms used by British Rail Midland City (later Thameslink) trains to Moorgate and an entrance in Pentonville Road.
At about 19:30 several passengers reported seeing a fire on a Piccadilly line escalator. Staff and police went to investigate and on confirming the fire one of the policemen went to the surface to radio for the fire brigade. Four fire appliances and a turntable ladder were dispatched at 19:36 by the London Fire Brigade. The fire was beneath the escalator, impossible to get close enough to use a fire extinguisher. There was water fog equipment but staff had not been trained in its use. The decision to evacuate the station was made at 19:39, using the Victoria line escalators. A few minutes later the fire brigade arrived and several firemen went down to the escalator to assess the fire. They saw a fire about the size of a large cardboard box and plans were made to fight it with a water jet using men with breathing apparatus.
At 19:45 flashover occurred and a jet of flames came from the escalator shaft filling the ticket hall with intense heat and thick black smoke, killing or seriously injuring most of the people in the ticket hall. This trapped several hundred people below ground, who escaped on Victoria line trains. A number of policemen with an injured man attempted to leave via the Midland City platforms, but found their way blocked by locked gates until these were unlocked by a cleaner. Staff and a policewoman trapped on a Metropolitan line platform were rescued by a train.
Thirty fire crews—over 150 firefighters—were deployed.] Fourteen London Ambulance Service ambulances ferried the injured to local hospitals, including University College Hospital. The fire was declared out at 01:46 the following morning.
Thirty-one people died and 100 people were taken to hospital, 19 with serious injuries. Fire Brigade station officer Colin Townsley was in charge of the first pump fire engine to arrive at the scene and was down in the ticket hall at the time of the flashover. He did not survive, his body being found beside that of a badly burnt passenger at the base of the exit steps to Pancras Road. It is believed that Townsley spotted the passenger in difficulty and stopped to help her.
An initially unidentified man, commonly known as "Michael" or "Body 115" after its mortuary tag, was eventually identified on 22 January 2004, when forensic evidence confirmed he was 73-year-old Alexander Fallon of Falkirk, Scotland. He was the subject of a 1990 Nick Lowe song, "Who Was That Man?"
The ticket hall and platforms for the Metropolitan line were undamaged and reopened the morning after the fire; the Victoria line, its escalators only slightly damaged, resumed normal operation on the following Tuesday. The ticket hall for the three tube lines was reopened in stages over a period of four weeks. The three escalators for the Piccadilly line had to be completely replaced, the new ones being commissioned on 27 February 1989, more than 16 months after the fire. Until that time, the only access to the Piccadilly line was via the Victoria line or Midland City platforms, and at peak hours was possible in one direction only.
Access to the Northern line platforms was indirect, its escalators connecting with the Piccadilly line. As the traffic from all three tube lines would have overcrowded the Victoria line escalators, Northern line trains ran through without stopping until repairs were complete. The nearly life-expired Northern line escalators were replaced as well and the Northern line station reopened, completing the return to normal operation, on 5 March 1989.
Investigation and report
A public inquiry into the incident was conducted by Desmond Fennell, OBE QC, assisted by a panel of four expert advisers. The inquiry opened at Central Hall, Westminster on 1 February 1988 and closed on 24 June, after hearing 91 days of evidence.
Wooden escalators at Greenford tube station in 2006, similar to those that caught fire at King's Cross
Although smoking had been banned on underground sections of the London Underground in February 1985 (a consequence of the Oxford Circus fire), the inquiry found the fire was most probably caused by a traveller discarding a burning match that fell down the side of the moving staircase on to the running track of the escalator. The possibility that the fire had been started deliberately was discounted by police, as there was no evidence that an accelerant had been used and access to the site of the fire was difficult. Investigators found charred wood in eight places on a section of skirting on an escalator and matches in the running track, showing that similar fires had started before but had burnt themselves out without spreading. These combustion points were on the right-hand side, where standing passengers are most likely to light a cigarette (passengers stand on the right to let walking passengers pass on the left). Smoking on Underground trains was banned in July 1984 and following a fire at Oxford Circus station the ban was extended to all underground stations but smokers often ignored this and lit cigarettes on the escalators on their way out. The investigators found a build-up of grease under the tracks, which was believed to be difficult to ignite and slow to burn once it started, but it was noted that the grease was heavily impregnated with fibrous materials. A test was conducted where lit matches were dropped on the escalator to see if ignition would occur. Matches dropped did ignite the contaminated grease and the fire began spreading, being allowed to burn for nine minutes before being extinguished.
This test replicated the initial eyewitness reports up to that point but four expert witnesses could not agree as to how the small fire flashed over, with some concern that the paint used on the ceiling had contributed to the fire. A model of King's Cross station was built at the Atomic Energy Research Establishment using computer simulation software; this showed the flames first spreading along the floor of the escalator, rather than burning vertically and suddenly producing a jet of flame into the ticket hall, matching the tube fire. A fire behaved as in the computer model during experiments with a third scale replica of the escalator. The metal sides of the escalator contained the flames and directed hot air ahead of the fire. Sensors indicated that wooden treads for 20 feet in front of the flames (corresponding to 60 feet of track in the actual-size disaster) quickly reached between 500°C and 600°C. When the treads of the escalator flashed over, the size of the fire increased exponentially and a sustained jet of flame was discharged from the escalator tunnel into the model ticket hall. The conclusion was that this newly discovered trench effect had caused the fire to flashover at 19:45.
London Underground were strongly criticised in the report for their attitude to fires underground, underestimating the hazard because no one had died in a fire. Staff were expected to send for the Fire Brigade only if the fire was out of control, dealing with it themselves if possible. Fires were called smouldering and staff had little or no training to deal with fires or evacuation.
The publication of the report led to resignations of senior management of both London Underground and London Regional Transport. Wooden panelling was to be removed from escalators, heat detectors and sprinklers were to be fitted beneath escalators, and the radio communication system and station staff emergency training were to be improved.
The Fire Precautions (Sub-surface Railway Stations) Regulations 1989 were introduced. Smoking was banned in all London Underground stations, including on the escalators, on 23 November, five days after the fire. Wooden escalators were gradually replaced, some remaining into the early 2000s (Wanstead replacing theirs in 2003 and Marylebone in 2004) and as of 2013 only one remains at Greenford, which is above ground.
Six firemen received Certificates of Commendation for their actions at the fire, including Station Officer Townsley who was given the award posthumously. Station Officer Townsley was also posthumously awarded the George Medal.
Soon after the fire a commemoration service was held at held at St Pancras Church. Further commemoration services were held on 18 November 1997, the tenth anniversary of the blaze, on the twentieth anniversary in 2007 at the station itself and on the twenty-fifth anniversary in 2012 at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament near the station.
Memorial plaques commemorating the disaster were installed at St Pancras Church, unveiled by the Princess of Wales, and at King's Cross station.
https://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Prestige+oil+spillThe Prestige oil spill was an oil spill off the coast of Galicia caused by the sinking of an oil tanker in 2002. The spill polluted thousands of kilometers of coastline and more than one thousand beaches on the Spanish, French and Portuguese coast, as well as causing great harm to the local fishing industry. The spill is the largest environmental disaster in the history of both Spain and Portugal.
The Prestige was a Greek-operated, single-hulled oil tanker, officially registered in the Bahamas, but with a Liberian-registered single-purpose corporation as the owner.
The ship had a deadweight tonnage, or carrying capacity, of approximately 81,000 tons, a measurement that put it at the small end of the Aframax class of tankers, smaller than most carriers of crude oil but larger than most carriers of refined products. It was classed by the American Bureau of Shipping and insured by the London Steam-Ship Owners' Mutual Insurance Association, a shipowners' mutual known as the London Club.
The French, Spanish and Portuguese governments refused to allow the Prestige to dock in their ports.
On November 13, 2002, while the Prestige was carrying a 77,000 metric tons cargo of two different grades of heavy fuel oil, one of its twelve tanks burst during a storm off Galicia, in northwestern Spain. Fearing that the ship would sink, the captain called for help from Spanish rescue workers, with the expectation that the vessel would be brought into harbour. However, pressure from local authorities forced the captain to steer the embattled ship away from the coast and head northwest. Reportedly after pressure from the French government, the vessel was once again forced to change its course and head southwards into Portuguese waters in order to avoid endangering France's southern coast. Fearing for its own shore, the Portuguese authorities promptly ordered its navy to intercept the ailing vessel and prevent it from approaching further.
With the French, Spanish and Portuguese governments refusing to allow the ship to dock in their ports, the integrity of the single-hulled oil tanker was deteriorating quickly and soon the storm took its toll when it was reported that a 40-foot (12 m) section of the starboard hull had broken off, releasing a substantial amount of oil.
At around 8:00 AM on November 19, the ship split in half. It sank the same afternoon, releasing over 20 million US gallons (76,000 m3) of oil into the sea. The oil tanker was reported to be about 250 kilometers from the Spanish coast at that time. An earlier oil slick had already reached the coast. The Greek captain of the Prestige, Apostolos Mangouras, was taken into custody, accused of not co-operating with salvage crews and of harming the environment.
After the sinking, the wreck continued leaking oil. It leaked approximately 125 tons of oil a day, polluting the sea bed and contaminating the coastline, especially along the territory of Galicia. The affected area is not only a very important ecological region, supporting coral reefs and many species of sharks and birds, but it also supports the fishing industry. The heavy coastal pollution forced the region's government to suspend offshore fishing for six months.
In the subsequent months, thousands of volunteers were organized with the help of neither the Galician nor the Spanish Government -both belonging to the conservative Partido Popular- to help clean the affected coastline. The massive cleaning campaign was a success, recovering most portions of coastline from not only the effects of the oil spill but also the accumulated usual contamination. A year after the spill, Galicia had more Blue Flags for its beaches (an award for those beaches with the highest standards in the European Union) than in the previous years.
Initially, the government thought just 17,000 tons of oil had been lost, and that the remaining 60,000 tons would freeze and not leak from the sunken tanker. In early 2003, it announced that half of the oil had been lost. Now that figure has risen to about 63,000 tons according to some sources. In 2004 the remaining 13,000 m³ of cargo oil was removed from the wreck, by means of aluminium shuttles and remotely operated vehicles (ROVs). In total, 20 million US gallons (76,000 m3) of oil were spilled.
More than eighty percent of the tanker's 77,000 tons of fuel oil is now thought to have been spilled off Spain's north-west coast.
Experts predicted marine life could suffer pollution from the Prestige for at least ten years due to the type of oil spilt, which contain light fractions called polyaromatic hydrocarbons. These toxic chemicals could poison plankton, fish eggs and crustaceans, leading to carcinogenic effects in fish and other animals higher in the food chain.
The environmental damage caused by the "Prestige" was most severe in the coast of Galicia, where local activists founded the environmental movement Nunca Máis (Galician for Never Again), to denounce the passiveness of the conservative government regarding the disaster.
In the two years following the sinking, engineers used ROVs to seal cracks in the tanker's hull, now 4000 meters below the sea surface, and slowed the leakage to a trickle of 20 litres a day. By 2004, engineers had removed the oil still in the tanker by drilling small holes in the wreck, using remotely operated submersible vehicles (ROVs) like the one that originally explored the wreck of the RMS Titanic. The oil was then pumped into large aluminium shuttles, specially manufactured for this salvage operation. The filled shuttles were then floated to the surface. The original plan to fill large bags with the oil proved to be too problematic and slow. After the oil removal was completed, a slurry rich in microbiologic agents was pumped in the hold to speed up the breakdown of any remaining oil. The total estimated cost of the operation was over €100 million.
A recent report by the Galicia-based Barrie de la Maza economic institute criticised the Spanish government's handling of the catastrophe. It estimated the cost of the clean-up to the Galician coast alone at €2.5 billion. The clean-up of the Exxon Valdez cost US$3 billion (almost €2.2 billion).
Since the disaster, oil tankers similar to the Prestige have been directed away from the French and Spanish coastlines. The then European Commissioner for Transport, Spaniard Loyola de Palacio, pushed for the ban of single-hulled tankers.
The government was criticized for its decision to tow the ailing wreck out to sea — where it split in two — rather than in to a port. World Wildlife Fund's senior policy officer for shipping Simon Walmsley believed most of the blame lay with the classification society. "It was reported as being substandard at one of the ports it visited before Spain. The whole inspection regime needs to be revamped and double-hulled tankers used instead," he says. The US and most other countries are phasing out single-hulled tankers by 2012.
For the world maritime industry, a key issue raised by the "Prestige" incident was whether classification societies can be held responsible for the consequences of incidents of this type. In May 2003, the Kingdom of Spain brought civil suit in the Southern District of New York against the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), the Houston-based international classification society that had certified the "Prestige" as "in class" for its final voyage. The "in class" status states that the vessel is in compliance with all applicable rules and laws, not that it is or is not safe. On 2 January 2007, the docket in that lawsuit (SDNY 03-cv-03573) was dismissed. The presiding judge ruled that ABS is a "person" as defined by the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage (CLC) and, as such, is exempt from direct liability for pollution damage. Additionally, the Judge ruled that, since the United States is not a signatory to the International CLC, the US Courts lack the necessary jurisdiction to adjudicate the case. Spain's original damage claim against ABS was some $700 million.
International maritime trade publications including TradeWinds, Fairplay and Lloyd's List regularly presented the dispute as a possibly precedent-setting one that could prove fateful for international classification societies, whose assets are dwarfed by the scale of claims to which they could become subject.
Among the legal consequences of the disaster was the arrest of the captain of the "Prestige", Captain Mangouras. Captain Mangouras sought refuge for his seriously damaged vessel in a Spanish port. This is a request the acceptance of which has deep historic roots. Spain refused and the criminal charges against Captain Mangouras included his refusal to comply immediately with the Spanish demand to restart the engines of the "Prestige" and steam offshore. It is an unanswerable question whether bringing the ship into port and booming around her to contain the leaking oil would have been less harmful than sending her back to sea and almost inevitable sinking. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/not_in_website/syndication/monitoring/media_reports/2496101.stm )
“ The environmental devastation caused is at least on a par, if not worse, than the Exxon Valdez. The amount of oil spilled is more than the Valdez and the toxicity is higher, because of the higher temperatures. ”
—Simon Walmsley, World Wildlife Fund's senior policy officer for shipping.
The massive environmental and financial costs of the spill have resulted in an ongoing inquiry into how a structurally deficient ship was able to travel out to sea, much less approach Spain.
Investigators have since learned that prior to the spill, the "Prestige" had set sail from St. Petersburg, Russia, without being properly inspected. It traveled to the Atlantic via the shallow and vulnerable Baltic Sea. A previous captain who complained about numerous structural deficiencies within the ship was rebuffed, and later resigned in protest.
The ownership of the Prestige is unclear, making it difficult to determine exactly who is responsible for the oil spill. Evidence is now pointing to a secretive Greek family who allegedly registered the ship to a front company in Liberia. Thus the sinking of the "Prestige" has exposed the difficulties in regulations posed by flags of convenience.
Others have argued that the Spanish government's refusal to allow the ship to take refuge in a sheltered port was a major contributing factor to the scale of the disaster.
Spanish investigators have concluded that the failure in the hull of the "Prestige" was entirely predictable and indeed had been predicted already: her two sister ships, "Alexandros" and "Centaur", had been submitted to extensive inspections under the "Safe Hull" program in 1996. The organization in charge of the inspections, the American Bureau of Shipping, found that both "Alexandros" and "Centaur" were in terminal decline. Due to metal fatigue in their hulls, modeling predicted that both ships would fail between frames 61 and 71 within five years. "Alexandros", "Centaur" and a third sister-ship, "Apanemo", were all scrapped between 1999 and 2002. For some reason, however, "Prestige" was not scrapped, and, little more than five years after the inspection, as predicted, her hull failed between frames 61 and 71.
Health problems among cleaning staff
Five years later after the cleaning activities, a study found that people participating in the cleaning activities, many of them volunteers, suffered several health problems, such as pulmonary, cardiovascular, and chromosomal diseases. This was found among a study of 800 involved Spanish Navy personnel.
In March 2006, new oil slicks were detected near the wreck of the "Prestige", slicks which investigators found to match the type of oil the "Prestige" carried. A study released in December 2006 led by José Luis De Pablos, a physicist at Madrid's Center for Energetic and Environmental Research, concluded that 16,000 to 23,000 tons of oil remained in the wreck, as opposed to the 700 to 1300 tons claimed by the Spanish government; that bioremediation of the remaining oil failed; and that bacteria corroding the hull could soon produce a rupture and quickly release much of the remaining oil and create another catastrophic spill. The report urged the government to take "prompt" action.
In March 2009, eight years after the instruction of the "Prestige" case began in the Corcubion Court, UDNG, a small independentist Galician Party, analyzed some of the main facts in the instruction as evidence of strong corruption in Spain's judicial system.
Prestige oil spill trial date is finally set 10 years after Galicia coast was blighted. The date for the trial against officers and merchant shipping companies over the Prestige disaster has been set for October 16, 2012, the Galicia regional High Court announced on Monday, 14 June 2012. The initial hearing began on 16 June 2012 and is the expected to be adjorned until November - the tenth anniversary of the disaster. The trial will be held in a specially constructed courtroom in A Coruña’s exhibition complex, where it will consider evidence from 133 witnesses and 98 experts.
Whiskers wrote:Is working good now KK. I presume you are now just copy and pasting This Day in History now?
I am loving these very interesting free dictionary articles. Pity though they disappear once you log in to the forum! This is a good idea to keep them for each day.
The pioneering ballooning efforts of the Montgolfier brothers of France made 1783 a noteworthy year in aviation history. That year, the pair developed the first practical hot-air balloon - and demonstrated its safety by sending aloft a sheep, a duck, and a rooster. Months later, Jean-Francois Pilatre de Rozier and Francois Laurent, Marquis d'Arlandes, made the first manned, untethered flight in a Montgolfier balloon, but they had not been the first choices to pilot the historic flight.
Partly, Jamboree. After all, 1st January is a holiday - a day of rest and recuperation for most.Jamboree wrote:This Day in History no longer renews to current day. Is that because of the new year?
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