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Published:April 4th, 2008 11:48 EST
World Chronicle: April 4

World Chronicle: April 4

By Krzys Wasilewski

It happened today in Paramaribo, Surinam…

The tiny Latin American country of Surinam is still in shock after a Thursday plane crash which killed 19 passengers and crew members. Due to undiscovered reasons, the Russian machine, owned by the national airlines, went down near the border with French Guiana and exploded, burning any potential survivors. An official told the Associated Press that the Surinamese government would launch an investigation to find out what had caused the tragedy and prevent further similar accidents. Dutch specialists arrived in the capital city of Paramaribo today to help local authorities conduct the difficult investigation.


It happened today in Washington, DC…

With 80,000 people losing their jobs in March, the unemployment has risen to 5.1 percent. The Associated Press reports that since the beginning of this year, over 220,000 Americans have been made unneeded, lifting the unemployment rate to the levels unseen for almost three years. With this data released by the Labor Department, experts have concluded that the recent quakes in the American economy have been the first signs of recession rather than minor problems. George Soros, an American businessman whose personal assets are estimated at $8.5 billion, warned that the upcoming crisis might be comparable to the one from the 1920s.


It happened 40 years ago in Memphis, Tennessee…

Martin Luther King Jr., an activist who epitomized the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s, was assassinated on this day in 1968. The deadly shot was fired by fugitive James Earl Ray when King was standing on the balcony of his hotel room in Memphis, Tenn. It still remains unknown whether Ray operated on his own or if other people were involved in the murder. The assassin, who managed to flee the United States afterwards but was later caught in Great Britain and extradited to America, first plead guilty only to withdraw his statements soon after the court sentenced him to 99 years in prison. King’s assassination took place only two months before another political murder would shake the country. On June 5, Sen. Robert Kennedy was shot dead in his hotel suite in Los Angeles, California.


It happened 190 years ago in Washington, DC…

The modern American flag – with 13 stripes and 50 stars symbolizing each state – was introduced by Congress on this day in 1818. Acting on the advice of Captain Samuel C. Reid, legislators decided that with the accession of any new state, a new star would be added to the flag. The number of stripes, however, was to remain unchanged to commemorate the 13 original British colonies. The flag that had been in use before – the so-called Star Spangled Banner flag – contained 15 stars and 15 stripes (the first 13 colonies plus newly admitted Kentucky and Vermont). Since 1818 the number of stars has risen from 20 to 50 and the flag has been flown wherever Americans made their mark. On July 20, 1969, the captain of the Apollo 11 mission, Neil Armstrong, carried the American flag to the Moon, making it the first and only flag to ever travel beyond the face of earth.


It happened 527 years ago in London, England…

It was on this day in 1581 that Captain Francis Drake was knighted by Queen Elizabeth I. Drake’s marine life could easily match the screenplay of the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy. Sailing the world’s seas since the age of 13, Drake won fame as a faithful subject of the English Crown, robbing foreign ships and discovering new traveling passages. But abroad, especially at the royal court in Madrid, Drake was regarded as a brutal pirate who was killing foreign sailors and destroying their ships. Nonetheless, Queen Elizabeth I closed her eyes to Drake’s amounting treasure and gave her captain a blessing to seek new ports on the American continent. Drake rose from a mere pirate to the national hero in 1588 when, as a vice admiral of the English Fleet, he helped defeat the Spanish Armada, saving the fledgling English empire. Surviving many attempts on his life, Drake was finally struck by dysentery and died in Panama in 1596. He was 56.


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