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Published:April 28th, 2008 11:48 EST
World Chronicle: April 28

World Chronicle: April 28

By Krzys Wasilewski

It happened today in Amsetten, Austria...

Austria is in a state of shock after the police discovered a 42-year-old woman, locked for 24 years in a windowless cellar by her father. In 1984, 72-year-old Josef Fritzl took his daughter to a remote building never to release her. The mother of the woman and Fritzl's wife knew nothing as her husband told her that their daughter had probably run away. During the 24 years of imprisonment, Fritzl continually raped his daughter, fathering her seven children. His second life came to light when one of the children fell ill and had to be taken to a hospital. Fritzl released his daughter so she could inform doctors about the girl's previous illnesses. The local police told the Reuters news agency today that Fritzl “has now said that he locked up his daughter for 24 years and that he alone fathered her seven children and that he locked them up in the cellar.”


It happened 39 years ago in Paris, France...

April 28, 1969, was the last day in office for Gen. Charles de Gaulle who after over 10 years as France's president resigned. De Gaulle was an icon for his countrymen, a figure revered as much as Abraham Lincoln in the United States and Winston Churchill in Great Britain. He saved France's honor during World War II when he rebelled against the Vichy government and formed independent forces. In 1958 it was again de Gaulle who turned out to be the only person to bring the crumbling empire from the edge of precipice when chaos and Communism loomed large in all major cities. But what previous generations saw as strong leadership, the socialist and anarchic youth of the late 1960s perceived as an obstacle to the liberation of France's ossified political and social system. Charles de Gaulle decided to step down after he lost an unimportant referendum. Although his advisers begged him to stay in office, the aging general could not accept the fact that the nation had rejected his project of turning the Senate into a purely advisory body. One year later, de Gaulle died suddenly, just before his 80th birthday.


It happened 56 years ago in Tokyo, Japan...

It was on this day in 1952 that Japan regained independence after seven years of the American occupation. During those years, the country had overcome a great change from a state run by militarists to a western-style democracy. In 1946 a new constitution was adopted, drafted mainly by American specialists led by General Douglas MacArthur. Several months later, the nation elected its first prime minister Shigeru Yoshida, a long-time diplomat loosely linked to the war cabinet. Before the American occupation, Japan's political and social system was an almost literal copy of that used in Kaiser's Germany which glorified the militarist spirit. Together with post-war Germany, Japan is considered the greatest success of the policy of nation-building. Now, both countries are stable democracies and allies of the United States.


It happened 63 years ago in Rome, Italy...

Benito Mussolini, the fascist leader of Italy who plunged his country into World War II, was shot 63 years ago today by communist guerrillas. Mussolini, together with his lover, Clara Petacci, was caught one day earlier while trying to sneak into Switzerland. It was April 1945 and most of Italy had already been conquered by the Allied forces and the majority of people decided to stand up against the fascist government and remaining German troops. Mussolini had been arrested before, in 1943, but German commandos released him and reinstated him to power. Two years later he was less fortunate. The communist group that captured Il Duce recognized him at once and after a quick trial sentenced him and his entourage to death. Reportedly, it took several shots into the chest to kill Mussolini, with Petacci glued to his body. The day after, their bodies were taken to Milan where they were hanged upside-down and stoned by an angry mob. Only six years prior the same people were ready to die for the man who had restored pride to Italy.


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