1954: Eisenhower gives famous “domino theory” speech: President Dwight D. Eisenhower coins one of the most famous Cold War phrases when he suggests the fall of French Indochina to the communists could create a “domino” effect in Southeast Asia. The so-called “domino theory” dominated U.S. thinking about Vietnam for the next decade. More here
1961: JFK lobbies Congress to help save historic sites in Egypt: On this day in 1961, President John F. Kennedy sends a letter to Congress in which he recommends the U.S. participate in an international campaign to preserve ancient temples and historic monuments in the Nile Valley of Egypt. The campaign, initiated by UNESCO, was designed to save sites threatened by the construction of the Aswan High Dam. More here
1969: The Internet’s symbolic birth date: publication of RFC 1: In computer network engineering, a Request for Comments (RFC) is a memorandum published by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) describing methods, behaviors, research, or innovations applicable to the working of the Internet and Internet-connected systems. Through the Internet Society, engineers and computer scientists may publish discourse in the form of an RFC, either for peer review or simply to convey new concepts, information, or (occasionally) engineering humor. The IETF adopts some of the proposals published as RFCs as Internet standards. First Publication here. More here and here.
1990: Twin ferry accidents on opposite ends of world: In a tragic coincidence, two separate ferry accidents in different areas of the world take the lives of a reported 325 people on this day in 1990. The first took place in Myanmar (formerly Burma) on the Gyaing River. Later in the day, Scandinavia was also rocked by tragedy.
A double-decker ferry traveling from Moulmein to Kyondo along the Gyaing River in Myanmar was carrying approximately 240 passengers and crew through a violent storm with very strong winds. The intensity of the wind gusts was compounded by the ferry operators failure to properly distribute the weight of the passengers in the boat, a deadly error. The combination caused the ferry to tip over and eventually to turn over completely in the water. Many of the people on board were trapped underwater. An estimated 215 of the ferry s 240 passengers perished. (Exact numbers are impossible to know because reporting of the accident was restricted by Myanmar s military dictatorship.)
On the night of that same day, the Scandinavian Star, a Danish-owned vessel, was making its first trip after being bought by VR-DANO from SeaEscape, Ltd. It was carrying 493 passengers and their cars and trucks from Oslo, Norway, to Frederikshaven, Denmark. The vessel was in the Skagerrak Strait, which stretches between Norway and Denmark, when fire broke out on board. While the crew put out the fire, a second undetected fire was raging out of control. Smoke detectors failed and no fire alarm was set off. The crew, most speaking only Portuguese, were not prepared for the emergency and were unable to communicate escape plans to the passengers. While some made it to lifeboats, panic ensued, and 110 died, mainly from smoke inhalation. More here
1994: The Rwandan genocide: Rwandan armed forces kill 10 Belgian peacekeeping officers in a successful effort to discourage international intervention in their genocide that had begun only hours earlier. In less than three months, Hutu extremists who controlled Rwanda murdered an estimated 800,000 innocent civilian Tutsis in the worst episode of genocide since World War II. The Tutsis, a minority group that made up about 10 percent of Rwanda’s population, received no assistance from the international community, although the United Nations later conceded that a mere 5,000 soldiers deployed at the outset would have stopped the wholesale slaughter. More here
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