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Published:April 7th, 2008 12:38 EST
World Chronicle: April 7

World Chronicle: April 7

By Krzys Wasilewski

It happened today in Paris, France…

The Olympic torch, which arrived in France today, was unexpectedly extinguished. Authorities said that the flame had to be put out due to “technical” reasons. Faced with massive protests on the streets of Paris, the torch carriers had to be taken on the bus and transported to the Charlety Stadium where the welcoming ceremony was to have taken place. However, when it turned out that demonstrators demanding freedom for Tibet (presently a Chinese province) would not back down, the ceremony was called off.

It was the third time in history when the Olympic torch was extinguished. The first such an incident happened in 1976 in Montreal where the holy flame was lost with pouring rain. During the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, the wind blew away the flame during the opening ceremony.

It happened today in Moscow, Russia…

President Vladimir Putin, whose second and last term ends in May, may become the leader of Russia’s biggest party which he helped to create. An official invitation to accept the post was sent today by Boris Gryzlov who currently chairs United Russia. The party was brought to life in 2001 by President Putin, at that time in his rooky year and without support in the parliament. Two years later it won 37 percent of the vote in a parliamentary election and gave Putin years of undisturbed rule.

Also today, the parliament announced that on May 8 it would elect Vladimir Putin prime minister. According to the Russian constitution, president nominates premier, but the parliament has to give its consent.

It happened 14 years ago in Kigali, Rwanda…

On April 6, 1994, an airplane with the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi onboard was shot down and crashed, killing all its passengers. The next day, when the information spread across the country, tribal fights between Hutu and Tutsi began that would unleash the biggest genocide since the Holocaust. In only three months some 800,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutu were brutally murdered, usually by machetes, with the rest of the world impotently watching the bloodshed. From April to July, there were only 260 U.N. peacekeepers, who, according to strict orders, were barred from intervening unless in self-defense. Years later Bill Clinton, who served as the U.S. President from 1992 to 2000, admitted that had he sent American troops to Rwanda during the genocide, it could have saved at least 500,000 people.

It happened 54 years ago in Washington, DC…

It was on this day in 1954 that President Dwight E. Eisenhower announced the domino theory that provided a basis for American military interventions in Vietnam and other countries endangered by communism. At a press conference, the president told journalists: “You have a row of dominoes set up, you knock over the first one, and what will happen to the last one is the certainty that it will go over very quickly.” The theory had many fathers with Eisenhower being a mere messenger rather than its architect. Those who supported the domino effect served in both Democratic and Republican administrations and argued that the United States had to contribute its military to any country where communism loomed large. The theory spurred consecutive presidents to intervene more or less officially in Vietnam and later in Chile, Nicaragua and Grenada.

It happened 80 years ago in New York City, NY…

Alan J. Pakula, a famous Hollywood director and producer, was born on April 7, 1928, in the Bronx, New York City. This son of Polish Jewish immigrants debuted on the big screen in 1957 with the movie Fear Strikes Out, which told the story of the football player Jimmy Piersall. But Pakula would always be remembered as the director of All the President’s Men, a thrilling account of the Watergate scandal that uncovered the Nixon Administration’s unlawful control of the country’s political life. Released in 1976 – only two years after Richard Nixon’s resignation – Pakula’s movie became an even greater success that Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward‘s original book, winning four Oscars and the nomination for the best director. Other highly popular movies directed by Pakula include Sophia’s Choice, Pelican Brief, and The Devil’s Own. On November 19, 1998, Pakula was driving his car on Long Island when suddenly a pipe, hit by another vehicle, smashed through his front window. Struck in the head, Pakula lost control over his car and crashed into a nearby fence, dying at the scene.

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