This Day In History – November 23rd
LIFE REBORN AS WEEKLY PHOTOJOURNALISM MAGAZINE – NOV. 23, 1936
In 1936 publisher Henry Luce paid $92,000 to the owners of Life magazine because he sought the name for Time Inc. Wanting only the old Life’s name in the sale, Time Inc. sold Life’s subscription list, features, and goodwill to another magazine.
Convinced that pictures could tell a story instead of just illustrating text, Luce launched Life on November 23, 1936. The third magazine published by Luce, after Time in 1923 and Fortune in 1930, Life gave birth to the photo magazine in the U.S., giving as much space and importance to pictures as to words. The first issue of Life, which sold for ten cents (approximately USD $1.48 in 2007, see Cost of Living Calculator) featured five pages of Alfred Eisenstaedt’s pictures.
When the first issue of Life magazine appeared on the newsstands, the U.S. was in the midst of the Great Depression and the world was headed toward war. Adolf Hitler was firmly in power in Germany. In Spain, General Francisco Franco’s rebel army was at the gates of Madrid; German Luftwaffe pilots and bomber crews, calling themselves the Condor Legion, were honing their skills as Franco’s air arm. Italy under Benito Mussolini annexed Ethiopia. Luce ignored tense world affairs when the new Life was unveiled: the first issue depicted the Fort Peck Dam in Montana photographed by Margaret Bourke-White.
Perhaps one of the best-known pictures printed in the magazine was Alfred Eisenstaedt’s photograph of a nurse in a sailor’s arms, snapped on August 27, 1945, as they celebrated VJ Day in New York City. The magazine’s place in the history of photojournalism is considered its most important contribution to publishing. [Source]
BBC BROADCASTS FIRST EPISODE OF ‘DOCTOR WHO’, THE LONGEST RUNNING SCI-FI SHOW ON TV – NOVEMBER 23, 1963
Doctor Who is a British science fiction television programme produced by the BBC. The programme is listed in Guinness World Records as the longest-running science fiction television show in the world, and as the “most successful” science fiction series of all time, in terms of its overall broadcast ratings, DVD and book sales, iTunes traffic, and “illegal downloads”. It has been recognised for its imaginative stories, creative low-budget special effects during its original run, and pioneering use of electronic music (originally produced by the BBC Radiophonic Workshop).
Doctor Who first appeared on BBC television at 17:16:20 GMT on 23 November 1963. The first episode was overshadowed by the assassination of US President John F. Kennedy the previous day. Therefore, the BBC re-aired it prior to the second episode the following Saturday. [Source]
JACQUES MAYOL BECOMES FIRST FREE DIVER TO DESCEND 100 METERS – NOVEMBER 23, 1976
Jacques Mayol was a French national born in Shanghai, China. He was the first free diver to descend to 100 meters (330 ft) (November 23, 1976), and he managed to descend to 105 meters when he was 56 years old. During the scientific research phase of his career, he tried to answer the question of whether man had a hidden aquatic potential that could be evoked by rigorous physiological and psychological training.
On December 22, 2001, Mayol committed suicide by hanging himself in Elba, Italy, at the age of 74. His ashes were spread over the Tuscany coast.
Jacques Mayol predicted that, within a couple of generations, some people would be able to dive to 200m and hold their breath for up to ten minutes. Today the no-limits record stands at 214m (Herbert Nitsch, June 2007), and Stéphane Mifsud holds the record for Static Apnea (breath holding underwater) at 11 minutes and 35 seconds (June 2009). [Source]
HIJACKING OF ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES FLIGHT 961, THIRD DEADLIEST IN HISTORY – NOVEMBER 23, 1996
Ethiopian Airlines Flight 961, a Boeing 767-260ER, was hijacked on 23 November 1996, en route from Addis Ababa to Nairobi on a Bombay–Addis Ababa–Nairobi–Brazzaville–Lagos–Abidjan service, by three Ethiopians seeking political asylum in Australia. The plane crash-landed in the Indian Ocean near Comoros due to fuel starvation, killing 125 of the 175 passengers and crew on board, along with the hijackers. The other 50 survived with injuries. At the time this accident took place, it was the second deadliest one involving a hijacked aircraft. However, it shifted to the third place after the occurrence of the September 11, 2001 attacks.
The plane was nearly out of fuel as it approached the island group, but the hijackers continued to ignore the captain’s warnings. Out of options, Leul began to circle the area, hoping to land the plane at the Comoros’s main airport. When the plane ran out of fuel, both engines failed. The crew used a ram air turbine to preserve the aircraft’s most essential functions, but in this mode some hydraulic systems — such as the flaps — were inoperative. This forced Leul to land at more than 175 knots (about 320 km/h or 200 mph).
Leul tried to make an emergency landing at Prince Said Ibrahim International Airport on Grande Comore, but a fight with the hijackers at the last minute caused him to lose his visual point of reference, leaving him unable to locate the airport. While still fighting with the hijackers, he tried to ditch the aircraft in shallow waters 500 yards (457 m) off Le Galawa Beach Hotel, near Mitsamiouli at the northern end of Grande Comore island.
Leul attempted to land parallel with the waves instead of against the waves in an effort to smooth the landing. ET-AIZ’s left engine and wingtip struck the water first. The engine acted as a scoop and struck a coral reef, slowing that side of the aircraft quickly, causing the Boeing 767 to violently spin left and break apart. Island residents and tourists, including a group of scuba divers and some French doctors on vacation, came to the aid of crash survivors. Many passengers died because they inflated their life jackets in the cabin, causing them to be trapped inside by the rising water. This led to further notices about not inflating the vests before exiting the plane. [Source]
ELLEN JOHNSON SIRLEAF ELECTED PRESIDENT OF LIBERIA. FIRST WOMAN TO LEAD AN AFRICAN COUNTRY – NOV. 23, 2005
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (born 29 October 1938) is the 24th and current President of Liberia. She served as Minister of Finance under President William Tolbert from 1979 until the 1980 coup d’état, after which she left Liberia and held senior positions at various financial institutions. She placed a very distant second in the 1997 presidential election.
Later, she was elected President in the 2005 presidential election and took office on 16 January 2006. She successfully ran for re-election in 2011. Sirleaf is the first and currently the only elected female head of state in Africa.
Sirleaf was awarded the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, jointly with Leymah Gbowee of Liberia and Tawakel Karman of Yemen. The women were recognized “for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.”
Forbes magazine named Sirleaf as the 51st most powerful woman in the world in 2006. In 2010, Newsweek listed her as one of the ten best leaders in the world, while Time counted her among the top ten female leaders. That same year, The Economist called her “arguably the best president the country has ever had.” [Source]
THE MAGUINDANAO MASSACRE: SINGLE DEADLIEST EVENT FOR JOURNALISTS IN HISTORY – NOVEMBER 23, 2009
The Maguindanao massacre, also known as the Ampatuan massacre after the town where the mass graves were found, occurred on the morning of November 23, 2009, in the town of Ampatuan in Maguindanao province, on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines. While the victims were on their way to file a certificate of candidacy for Esmael Mangudadatu, vice mayor of Buluan town, they were kidnapped and brutally killed. Mangudadatu was challenging Datu Unsay mayor Andal Ampatuan, Jr., son of the incumbent Maguindanao governor Andal Ampatuan, Sr., in the forthcoming Maguindanao gubernatorial election, part of the national elections in 2010.
The 58 people killed included Mangudadatu’s wife, his two sisters, journalists, lawyers, aides, and motorists who were witnesses or were mistakenly identified as part of the convoy. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has called the Maguindanao massacre the single deadliest event for journalists in history. At least 34 journalists are known to have died in the massacre. In a statement, CPJ executive director Joel Simon noted that the killings, “appears to be single deadliest event for the press since 1992, when CPJ began keeping detailed records on journalist deaths.” The CPJ further noted that, “Even as we tally the dead in this horrific massacre, our initial research indicates that this is the deadliest single attack on the press ever documented by CPJ.” Even before the Maguindanao massacre, the CPJ had labeled the Philippines the second most dangerous country for journalists, second only to Iraq. [Source]
Buluan Vice Mayor Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu invited 37 journalists to cover the scheduled filing of his certificate of candidacy (COC) at the Commission on Elections provincial office in Shariff Aguak. He said reports had reached him that his rivals had threatened to chop him into pieces once he filed his COC, and felt the presence of journalists would deter such an attack.
Before reaching its destination (about 10 km from Shariff Aguak, four on other versions), the convoy was stopped by 100 armed men, who abducted and later killed most or all of its members. There is evidence that at least five of the female victims, four of them journalists, were raped before being killed, while “practically all” of the women had been shot in their genitals and beheaded. Mangudadatu’s youngest sister and aunt were both pregnant at the time of their murders. [Source]
On Wednesday, November 25, 2009, the executive committee of the Lakas-Kampi-CMD political party unanimously voted to expel three members of the Ampatuan family – Maguindanao Gov. Datu Andal Ampatuan Sr. and his two sons, Gov. Datu Zaldy Uy Ampatuan of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr. – from the party for their alleged role in the Maguindanao massacre. An emergency meeting of the Lakas-Kampi-CMD was held in Pasig, during which the Ampatuans were stripped of their membership.
At least 198 suspects, including Andal Ampatuan Jr. and Andal Ampatuan Sr. and several other members of the Ampatuan clan, have been charged with murder. In April 2010, the government dropped murder charges against Zaldy Ampatuan and Akhmad Ampatuan who had presented alibis. This led to protests by family members of the victims.
In a statement commemorating the massacre, the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility remarked that the trial was “ongoing, but is rather moving slowly.” Andal Ampatuan Sr. was arraigned in a special court inside a Manila maximum-security prison on June 1, 2011, 18 months after he and a dozen family members were arrested over the killings. After a court clerk read the names of the 57 victims, he was asked to enter a plea and responded in English, “Not guilty.” [Source]