Men in History (27-02-17)

1902        Harry ‘Breaker’ Morant (1864-1902) and Peter Handcock were executed for the murder of 12 prisoners of war in the dying days of the Boer war. George Witton had his death sentence commuted because it contained serious errors. Morant, who volunteered to fight with the British in South Africa, was born in England but became well known in Australia as a poet and a horsebreaker. In 1980 the film ‘Breaker’ Morant was produced in Australia. In 2010 Australia sent Britain a petition calling for posthumous pardons for Morant and Handcock. The petition argued the accused were denied the right to communicate with the Australian government or relatives after their arrest and during their trials and were refused an opportunity to prepare their cases.
1917       John Connally, Texas Governor, wounded in the assassination of President John Kennedy, was born.
1925       Hitler resurrected the NSDAP (Nazi) political party in Munich.
1929       Briton Hadden (b.1898) co-founder of Time Magazine with his Yale classmate Henry Luce, died of a mysterious infection. In 2006 Isaiah Wilner authored “The Man Time Forgot,” a biography of Hadden.
1933      Germany’s parliament building, the Reichstag, caught fire. The Nazis blamed the Communists and used the fire as a pretext for suspending civil liberties and increasing their power. Georgi Dimitrov, a Bulgarian Communist, was one of the accused plotters, but was acquitted. After WW II Dimitrov became the 1st premier of communist Bulgaria. In 2003 Ivo Banac edited “The Diary of Georgi Dimitrov.” 
1949       Chaim Weizmann became the 1st Israeli president.
1958        Harry Cohn, CEO of Columbia Pictures, died of a heart attack.
1962        South Vietnamese president Ngo Dinh Diem was unharmed as two planes bombed the presidential palace in Saigon. The 1st US national was killed. Although Diem had shortcomings as a leader, he had led South Vietnam for eight years and at the time of his death was attempting to deal with Buddhist factionalism. 
1976        The final meeting between Mao tse Tung and Richard Nixon took place.
1982        Wayne B. Williams was found guilty of murdering two of the 28 young blacks whose bodies were found in the Atlanta area over a 22-month period. 
1986        John Demjanjuk (66), a retired auto worker from Ohio, was extradited to Israel on charges of being “Ivan the Terrible,” a Nazi death camp guard who had killed tens of thousands of people. He was later convicted, but the Israeli Supreme Court overturned the ruling. 
1991        In California Jim Mitchell shot and killed his brother Artie Mitchell at Artie’s home in Corte Madera. The brothers had produced pornographic films and operated a number of pornographic theaters that included the O’Farrell Theater in SF. He was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter and sentenced to 6 years in prison. He was released on parole in 1997.
1992        Tiger Woods (16) became the youngest PGA golfer in 35 years.
1998        FBI arrested suspected serial killer Tony Ray Amati, their 10th most wanted.
1999        In Nigeria Presidential elections were held. Nigerians voted to elect Olusegun Obasanjo their new president as the country marked the final phase of its return to democracy. Also it was reported that some 1,200 soldiers had died in fighting the rebels of the Revolutionary United Front in Sierra Leone.
2000       Jose Imperatori, the Cuban diplomat expelled from the US for spying, took refuge in the Cuban embassy in Ottawa.
2003        Fred Rogers (74), who gently invited millions of children to be his neighbor as host of the public television show “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” for more than 30 years, died of cancer.
2003        In Lithuania Rolandas Paksas became the country’s 3rd president since it gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.
2005       In the 77th Academy Awards “Million Dollar Baby” won 4 Oscars including best picture, best actress (Hilary Swank), best supporting actor (Morgan Freeman) and best director (Clint Eastwood); Jamie Foxx won for best actor (Ray); Cate Blanchett won best supporting actress (Aviator).
2005       Bayaman Erkinbayev, a wealthy playboy and head of the Palvan Corporation, led 2,000 fighters trained in Alysh, Kyrgyzstan’s answer to Kung Fu, to protests launched after the first round of a parliamentary election.
2006       Dan Brown, author of “The Da Vinci Code,” was accused in Britain’s High Court of taking material for his blockbuster conspiracy thriller from a 1982 book about the Holy Grail. The court ruled in favor of Brown’s publisher, Random House, the actual target of the breach-of-copyright lawsuit.
2006       Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian terminated the governmental committee responsible for unifying with rival China, significantly deepening tensions with Beijing and defying opinion in Washington. The National Unification Council had been inactive for 6 years.
2009       President Barack Obama outlined his plan for withdrawing combat troops from Iraq by Aug. 31, 2010.
2009       California’s Gov. Schwarzenegger declared a statewide drought emergency.
2012       James Ibori (49), former governor of Nigeria’s oil-rich Delta state, pleaded guilty in a British court to charges of money-laundering, conspiring to defraud and obtaining a money transfer by fraud.

2013       Brazilian police said Father Emilson Soares Correa, a Roman Catholic priest, is being investigated for allegations of sexual abuse of three young girls in his parish in Niteroi, a city across Guanabara Bay from Rio de Janeiro.
2014       French Pres. Francois Hollande arrived in Abuja and said France stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Nigeria in its battle against Boko Haram. He arrived as a guest of honor for celebrations to mark 100 years since Nigeria’s unification.

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