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On this day May 6, 1937

The German zeppelin Hindenburg catches fire and is destroyed within a minute while attempting to dock at Lakehurst, New Jersey. Thirty-six people are killed.

Hindenburg catching fire

Hindenburg catching fire

The disaster took place as the German rigid airship Hindenburg caught fire and was destroyed within one minute while attempting to dock at the Lakehurst Naval Air Station, New Jersey.

Of the 97 people on board, 35 people died in addition to one fatality on the ground.

The disaster is well recorded because of the significant extent of newsreel coverage and photographs, as well as Herbert Morrison’s recorded, on-the-scene, eyewitness radio report being made from the landing field for station WLS in Chicago which was broadcast the next day. Read More…

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On this day April 29, 1882

The “Elektromote” – forerunner of the trolleybus – is tested by Ernst Werner von Siemens in Berlin.

World's first trolleybus

World's first trolleybus

The Elektromote was the world’s first trolleybus, which was first presented to the public on April 29, 1882 by its inventor Dr. Ernst Werner von Siemens in Halensee, a suburb of Berlin, Germany.

The Elektromote operated from April 29 to June 13, 1882, on a 540 m (591 yard) trail-track starting at Halensee train station, and thence to “Straße No. 5”, today’s Joachim-Friedrich-Straße, and “Straße No. 13”, today’s Johann-Georg-Straße, crossing the Kurfürstendamm at the Kurfürstenplatz. Read More…

Nuclear Security Summit

President Barack Obama open the 47-nation Nuclear Security Summit in Washington.  The president says he wants new commitments to secure weapons-grade plutonium and uranium to prevent nuclear terrorism.

With concerns about the nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea a major backdrop to the conference, this is the biggest U.S.-sponsored gathering of world leaders in more than 60 years.

The New START treaty was signed on April 8, 2010 in Prague by U.S. President Obama and Russian President Medvedev and Iran will hold the Tehran International Conference on Disarmament and Non- Proliferation, 2010, announced on April 4, 2010 and to be held April 17–18, 2010.

The Summit is the largest gathering of heads of state called by a United States president since the 1945 United Nations Conference on International Organization. Delegations from forty-six governments plus the United States are attending, thirty-eight of which are represented by heads of state or government. Read More…

Eurozone growth lowered to zero

According to revised official figures, the economy of the eurozone, the sixteen European countries using the euro, did not grow at all in the final quarter of last year. Eurostat reports that the number was revised from an initial figure of +0.1%.

Eurozone 2010

Meanwhile, the eurozone’s lost more than 2.2% in a year-on year comparison, more than the initial estimate of 2.1%.

According to the numbers, Ireland saw an output drop of 2.3% in the last quarter of 2009, while Greece, the country in the eurozone with the most debt, had its economy contract by 0.8%. Italy was down by 0.3%, Germany saw no gain, but France posted a 0.6% quarterly growth.

The Associated Press reports the stagnation was unexpected by analysts, and will only reinforce expectations that the European Central Bank will keep the key interest rate at one percent for most of 2010.

TV Movie portrays dark side of Scientology

The Church of Scientology is attempting to block the broadcast of a film on the German television broadcaster ARD, claiming the film is “intolerant” and violates the broadcaster’s guidelines.

The film titled Until Nothing Remains (Bis Nichts Mehr Bleibt) due to be broadcast during prime-time on March 31 tells the fictionalised story of a German family destroyed by their involvement in Scientology.

It is based on the true story of former member Heiner von Rönn who lost thousands of euros and his wife and two children who are still members. von Rönn was a member of the organisation for ten years.

Scientology in Germany claims the movie is top secret propaganda and is attempting to undermine the organisation and its’ adherents. Scientology spokesman Jürg Stettler told the daily Munich newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, “What they’re planning to show is a violation of ARD’s programming guidelines. The station is required to support religious tolerance, not the opposite.” He added, “The truth is precisely the opposite of what ARD is showing.” Read More…

On this day March 9, 1276

Augsburg in the Holy Roman Empire became a Free Imperial City. The city was founded in 15 BC in the reign of Roman emperor Augustus as a garrison called Augusta Vindelicorum.

augsburgAround 120 AD Augsburg became the capital of the Roman province Raetia. It was laid to waste by the Huns in the fifth century, by Charlemagne in the eighth, and by Welf of Bavaria in the eleventh; it rose each time only to greater prosperity.

It became an Imperial Free City on March 9, 1276. Given its strategic location on the trade routes to Italy, it became a major trading centre. It produced large quantities of woven goods, cloth and textiles, and was the base for the Fugger banking empire. The Fuggerei, part of the city devoted to housing for the needy citizens of Augsburg, was founded in 1516 and is still in use today. Read More…

On this day February 18, 1943

Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s Propaganda Minister, delivered the Sportpalast speech to motivate the German people when the tide of World War II was turning against Germany.

Berlin Sportpalast

Berlin Sportpalast

It is considered the most famous speech of Josef Goebbels.

Although the speech claimed that the audience included people from “all classes and occupations” (including “soldiers, doctors, scientists, artists, engineers and architects, teachers, white collars”) it was evident in the free West that the propagandist had carefully selected the listeners. Read More…