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Published:April 8th, 2008 13:28 EST
World Chronicle: April 8

World Chronicle: April 8

By Krzys Wasilewski

It happened today in Harare, Zimbabwe…

President Robert Mugabe admitted to losing the presidential election to the opposition leader, but does not intend to step down. The Associated Press informs that authorities have been arming those who declared their support for the incumbent in what appears to be preparation for the run off that is to take place within three weeks. Although it’s been 10 days since Morgan Tsvangirai, who chairs the only opposition party, declared his victory, Zimbabwe’s election commission has not yet revealed the official results. Tsvangirai and his party fear that the government plans to stay in power by using force like it has done several times before.


It happened today in Moscow, Russia…

Russia will seek permanent access to the anti-missile shield that Washington plans to build in Poland and the Czech Republic, Foreign Minster Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday. His declaration comes only two days after Russian President Vladimir Putin held talks with President George W. Bush where the shield was among the discussed topics. Moscow fears that the American base in Central Europe will be a threat to Russia’s integrity rather than protect Europe and the United States against Iran-launched missiles, the purpose for which Bush advertises the shield. Lavrov is quoted by the Reuters news agency as saying that Russia would accept nothing less than “the permanent presence of our officers and reliable technological means of monitoring.”


It happened 62 years ago in Geneva, Switzerland…

It was on this day in 1946 that the League of Nations held its last meeting. Established shortly after the First World War, it was the first international body that hoped to maintain peace in war-shattered Europe and elsewhere. Although the United States never became a member of the League of Nations, it was an American president who is considered its inventor. Democrat Woodrow Wilson thought that after almost two centuries of isolation, the United States had to participate more actively in world affairs and the League could be a perfect medium to engage in international politics. But with WWI over, Congress was again dominated by isolationists who wanted Americans to come back to “watch movies and drink Coke.” Wilson was replaced by conservative Warren G. Harding and the idea of joining the League of Nations died.


It happened 104 years ago in London, England…

Surprising as it may now seem, until 1904 France and Great Britain had been mortal enemies. Not only had they competed for the same colonies in Africa and Asia, but also aspired to lead Europe. But at the onset of the 20th century it was neither France nor Great Britain that had the money and army to rule the continent, but Germany. Thus, on April 8, 1904, Lord Lansdowne – Edward VII’s foreign secretary – and French Ambassador to Great Britain Paul Cambon signed a document which would be remembered as the Entente Cordiale. The treaty divided much of Africa and Asia into the spheres of influence that both countries were to respect. The most important part of the document, however, was unpublished and guaranteed that in case Germany attacked either of the countries, the other would stand by its side.


It happened 112 years ago in New York City, NY…

Today is the birthday of Edgar Yipsel Harburg, the author of one of the most popular lyrics world wide, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Born to a family of Jewish immigrants in New York, Harburg made his way through university only to flee for Uruguay to avoid fighting in the First World War. In 1918, he returned to America, was married, had two children and found himself in huge debt when his electrical appliance company joined the fate of hundreds of other firms that went bankrupt with the crash of 1929. With very little to lose, Harburg embarked on a career in Hollywood. In 1939, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was released, becoming an instant success. The musical’s lyrics were of Harburg’s authorship and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” won the Oscar for Best Song.


If you have any comments or suggestions, please write to: krzys.wasilewski@yahoo.com