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Published:April 21st, 2008 10:40 EST
World Chronicle: April 21

World Chronicle: April 21

By Krzys Wasilewski

It happened today in Jerusalem, Israel...

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter announced today in Jerusalem that Hamas would welcome peaceful coexistence with Israel on condition that the Jewish State would withdraw to its 1967 borders. Carter held talks with Hamas representatives in Syria last weekend, effectively breaking the political sanctions that the Israeli government and Bush Administration imposed on Hamas, which is considered a terrorist organization. Quoted by the Associated Press, the former president said on Monday that: “They (Hamas) said that they would accept a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders, if approved by Palestinians and that they would accept the right of Israel to live as a neighbor next door in peace.”

It happened today in Kabul, Afghanistan...

Eleven Taliban fighters lost their lives in clashes with government forces, the Associated Press writes on Monday. The information, provided by the Afghan Defense Ministry, speaks of seven fighters being killed in an air strike carried out south of Kabul; the other four were shot by Afghan soldiers in the Kandahar province. Also on Sunday five soldiers were wounded in the Zabul province after their vehicle hit a land mine. According to the figures published by the Associated Press, in this year alone, over 1,000 people have been killed in clashes between the US-backed government and Taliban forces.

It happened today 12 years ago in Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania...

Those who always believed that ours was not the sole inhabited planet received a great gift on this day in 1994, with the discovery of other earth-like planets. Aleksander Wolszczan, a Polish astronomer practicing at Pennsylvania State University, announced as early as 1992 that around a pulsar with the mysterious name of PSR 1257+12 were revolving several planets whose mass and shape resembled those of earth. Rejected at first by other scholars, his suspicions were confirmed in 1994 when a new group of astronomers proved that Wolszczan was right. So far almost 300 similar planets have been discovered, yet it remains unknown whether they are or ever have been inhabited.

It happened today 110 years ago in Washington, DC...

April 21, 1898, was the first day of the Spanish-American War. Although Spain withdrew its ambassador from the United States on April 23 and it would be two more days until Congress officially declared war, April 21 is widely considered as the beginning of the conflict. What spurred traditionally isolationist Americans to wage a war against the crumbling European empire was the tragedy of USS Maine which, due to unknown reasons, was sunk with more than 250 men on board on February 15, 1898. Many believed that it was the Spanish who did it since the ship was anchored in Cuba, controlled by Spain. The anti-Spanish sentiment was additionally inflamed by the yellow journalism of William R. Hearst's newspapers. Cuba became the centerpiece of the war, but American forces fought battles in various places-- sometimes as distant as the Philippines and Guam. During the 100 or so days of the war, approximately 5,500 American soldiers lost their lives, although only about 300 due to military activities. The rest of the casualties resulted from diseases that spread quickly in tropical climates. On December 10, 1898, the Treaty of Paris was signed between the United States and the Kingdom of Spain; it awarded America with Guam, Puerto Rico and the Philippines-- this last territory for the price of $20 million.

It happened today 172 years ago in San Jacinto, Texas...

It is the 172nd anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto, April 21, 1836, that paved the way for the independence of Texas. Along with such names as the Alamo, San Jacinto became the epitome of Texas' unbreakable spirit and strength. Despite the overwhelming numerical superiority of the Mexicans (1,400 against some 800 Texans), led personally by President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, the 18-minute battle was decisively won by the forces of Sam Houston. The latter decided to attack first which surprised the enemy and reduced the usage of the Mexican artillery. Within minutes the battle was won; the Texans lost only nine people while Mexican casualties amounted to hundreds. One day after the battle, President Santa Anna was captured and forced to sign a peace treaty.

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