April 15th, 2008 14:08 EST
World Chronicle: April 15
It happened today in the Vatican…
There is no place for pedophiles in the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI said today. Hours before landing at Andrews Air Force Base, the pope told journalists gathered onboard of his plane that the past scandals involving priests had hurt the Church and necessary steps must be taken to prevent them from happening again. “I am deeply ashamed and we will do what is possible so this cannot happen again in the future,” Benedict XVI told the Associated Press.
It will be the first papal pilgrimage to the United States since cases of priests abusing young people were revealed. During his first day, Benedict XVI is expected to talk to President Bush. Among the topics which may be discussed are the Iraq war and immigration.
It happened today in Mexico City, Mexico…
Tuesday has been the sixth day of a parliamentary deadlock that began last week when the leftist parties blocked the podium in Congress. By keeping the legislators from the presidential camp from the speaker’s platform, the opposition hopes to force the government to a debate on the future of Mexican oil companies. A bill proposed by conservative President Felipe Calderon would allow private firms partner with Mexico’s oil producers, the move that, according to the left, could lead to the selling off of the national companies.
It happened 53 years ago in Des Plaines, Illinois…
It was on April 15, 1955, in Des Plaines, IL that the chain of fast food restaurants, McDonald’s, began its worldwide march. Originally opened in 1940 in California by Dick and Mac McDonald, the new eating place with “speedee service system” would not sign first franchise agreements until 1955. From then on, however, the restaurants with the characteristic yellow “M” would spread across the United States and, later, all over the world. At the onset of the 21st century, McDonald’s is present in 120 countries and serves almost 54 million people every day. With the accusations of unhealthy products, came the change of the menu: traditional cheeseburgers and Big Macs now have to compete with low-fat salads. Recently, the chain has undergone exterior redesign which hopes to attract more sophisticated clients.
It happened 253 years ago in London, England…
It was on this day in 1755 that Samuel Johnson published his Dictionary of the English Language. Contrary to his American colleague, Noah Webster who spent 27 years writing his dictionary which eventually made him bankrupt, Johnson, an acclaimed linguists and lexicographer, had no problems with attracting sponsors for his work. It took him nine years to complete the job, during which he recorded almost 43,000 words. Apart from the traditional explanation of the meaning and pronunciation, Johnson’s dictionary included illustrations and literary quotations, often from the works of Shakespeare and Milton. Although A Dictionary of the English Language did not make its author rich, it certainly solidified his status as the country’s greatest authority on the English language. In 1762 King George III (the same who lost the American colonies) offered Johnson an annual pension of 300 pounds sterling, a considerable sum at that time. Johnson was a prolific writer who not only wrote dictionaries and linguistics treatises, but also fiction and political essays.
It happened 556 years ago in Tuscan, Italy…
It’s the birthday of the author of Mona Lisa, Leonardo da Vinci. The future painter and architect was born in 1452, the result of an extramarital relationship between a peasant girl and a local advocate. Little is known about Leonardo’s childhood, except for the fact that he spent it with his father’s family. He started practicing painting at 14, when he joined workshop of Andrea di Cione, one of the best painters of his epoch. Ten years later, he was on his own, working for rich Italians and foreigners who quickly grasped Leonardo’s great talent. Only 17 of his paintings have survived throughout the centuries, but da Vinci is remembered mostly for his revolutionary inventions. He was the first to introduce the concept of the parachute and flying machine. Sketched in the 15th century, they had to wait for almost five hundred years to prove their usefulness. Leonardo lived to an old age -- as for his epoch - and died on May 2, 1519, being 67 years old.
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