Sunday, February 12, 2006

1986: Scharansky released

After spending eight years in Soviet prisons and labor camps, human rights activist Anatoly Scharansky is released. Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and U.S. President Ronald Reagan arranged the amnesty deal at a summit meeting three months earlier. Scharansky was imprisoned for his campaign to win the right for Russian Jews, who were officially forbidden to practice Judaism, to emigrate from the USSR. Convicted of treason and agitation, Soviet authorities also labeled him an American spy. After his release, he immigrated to Israel, where he was given a hero's welcome. Later, as a member of Israel's parliament, he was an outspoken defender of Russian Jews.
1797More than 1,000 French troops, led by Irish-American General William Tate attempt an invasion of Britain but surrender shortly after landing in Pembrokeshire on the Welsh coast.
1818Chile proclaims its independence.
1851Start of the Australian Gold Rush in New South Wales when prospector Edward Hargreaves finds gold at Summerhill Creek.
1912China becomes Republic with the overthrow of the Manchu Dynasty.
1924'Rhapsody In Blue' by George Gershwin is first performed in New York .
1965British musician Donovan releases 'Catch the Wind'.
1973Following the successful ceasefire negotiations with the United States of America, North Vietnam releases the first batch of American prisoners of war.
1986An agreement between Britain and France to build the Channel Tunnel is signed at Canterbury.
1993In Britain, a 2 year old boy, Jamie Bulger, is abducted from a shopping centre and killed by two boys aged 10 and 11.
1996British Prime Minister John Major pledges to rebuild the Ulster Peace Process telling Sinn Fein to choose between 'the ballot or the bullet'
1809Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States is born in Kentucky.
1809British naturalist and author, born in Shrewsbury. Best known work is 'The Origin of Species (1859) giving his theory of evolution and natural selection: i.e. the survival of the fittest.
1870Music hall entertainer Marie Lloyd - real name Matilda Alice Victoria Wood is born in London.
1893American general Omar Nelson Bradley.
1923Italian opera, film, and theatre director Franco Zeffirelli.
1934British actress Annette Crosby.
1554Lady Jane Grey, Queen of England for 9 days, is executed on Tower Green on the order of her cousin Mary - a rival claimant to the English throne.
1804Immanuel Kant, German philosopher.
1929English actress Lillie Langtry - friend and companion of King Edward VII.


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