I'm from Australia, or Aussieland, OZ, The Greatest Country on the planet, or simply: The Great Southern Land; a sunburned country, land of blistering deserts and killer wildlife.
I've been a gamer since writing my first game on bit data cards in 1977 and a PC gamer since 1979.
As well as being a SI Member, I also act as an Admin on this site.
Hope you to see you 'round the ridges and please contact me by PM if you have any questions about the site or contents herein.
On this day in 1980, American oil tycoon Armand Hammer pays $5,126,000 at auction for a notebook containing writings by the legendary artist Leonardo da Vinci.
The manuscript, written around 1508, was one of some 30 similar books da Vinci produced during his lifetime on a variety of subjects. It contained 72 loose pages featuring some 300 notes and detailed drawings, all relating to the common theme of water and how it moved. Experts have said that da Vinci drew on it to paint the background of his masterwork, the Mona Lisa. The text, written in brown ink and chalk, read from right to left, an example of da Vinci's favored mirror-writing technique. The painter Giuseppi Ghezzi discovered the notebook in 1690 in a chest of papers belonging to Guglielmo della Porto, a 16th-century Milanese sculptor who had studied Leonardo's work. In 1717, Thomas Coke, the first earl of Leicester, bought the manuscript and installed it among his impressive collection of art at his family estate in England.
More than two centuries later, the notebook--by now known as the Leicester Codex--showed up on the auction block at Christie's in London when the current Lord Coke was forced to sell it to cover inheritance taxes on the estate and art collection. In the days before the sale, art experts and the press speculated that the notebook would go for $7 to $20 million. In fact, the bidding started at $1.4 million and lasted less than two minutes, as Hammer and at least two or three other bidders competed to raise the price $100,000 at a time. The $5.12 million price tag was the highest ever paid for a manuscript at that time; a copy of the legendary Gutenberg Bible had gone for only $2 million in 1978. "I’m very happy with the price. I expected to pay more," Hammer said later. "There is no work of art in the world I wanted more than this." Lord Coke, on the other hand, was only "reasonably happy" with the sale; he claimed the proceeds would not be sufficient to cover the taxes he owed.
Hammer, the president of Occidental Petroleum Corporation, renamed his prize the Hammer Codex and added it to his valuable collection of art. When Hammer died in 1990, he left the notebook and other works to the Armand Hammer Museum of Art and Cultural Center at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). Several years later, the museum offered the manuscript for sale, claiming it was forced to take this action to cover legal costs incurred when the niece and sole heir of Hammer's late wife, Frances, sued the estate claiming Hammer had cheated Frances out of her rightful share of his fortune. On November 11, 1994, the Hammer Codex was sold to an anonymous bidder--soon identified as Bill Gates, the billionaire founder of Microsoft--at a New York auction for a new record high price of $30.8 million. Gates restored the title of Leicester Codex and has since loaned the manuscript to a number of museums for public display.
After ruling for less than one year, Edward VIII becomes the first English monarch to voluntarily abdicate the throne. He chose to abdicate after the British government, public, and the Church of England condemned his decision to marry the American divorcée Wallis Warfield Simpson. On the evening of December 11, he gave a radio address in which he explained, "I have found it impossible to carry on the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge the duties of king, as I would wish to do, without the help and support of the woman I love." On December 12, his younger brother, the duke of York, was proclaimed King George VI.
Edward, born in 1894, was the eldest son of King George V, who became the British sovereign in 1910. Still unmarried as he approached his 40th birthday, he socialized with the fashionable London society of the day. By 1934, he had fallen deeply in love with American socialite Wallis Warfield Simpson, who was married to Ernest Simpson, an English-American businessman who lived with Mrs. Simpson near London. Wallis, who was born in Pennsylvania, had previously married and divorced a U.S. Navy pilot. The royal family disapproved of Edward's married mistress, but by 1936 the prince was intent on marrying Mrs. Simpson. Before he could discuss this intention with his father, George V died, in January 1936, and Edward was proclaimed king.
The new king proved popular with his subjects, and his coronation was scheduled for May 1937. His affair with Mrs. Simpson was reported in American and continental European newspapers, but due to a gentlemen's agreement between the British press and the government, the affair was kept out of British newspapers. On October 27, 1936, Mrs. Simpson obtained a preliminary decree of divorce, presumably with the intent of marrying the king, which precipitated a major scandal. To the Church of England and most British politicians, an American woman twice divorced was unacceptable as a prospective British queen. Winston Churchill, then a Conservative backbencher, was the only notable politician to support Edward.
Despite the seemingly united front against him, Edward could not be dissuaded. He proposed a morganatic marriage, in which Wallis would be granted no rights of rank or property, but on December 2, Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin rejected the suggestion as impractical. The next day, the scandal broke on the front pages of British newspapers and was discussed openly in Parliament. With no resolution possible, the king renounced the throne on December 10. The next day, Parliament approved the abdication instrument, and Edward VIII's reign came to an end. The new king, George VI, made his older brother the duke of Windsor. On June 3, 1937, the duke of Windsor and Wallis Warfield married at the Château de Cande in France's Loire Valley.
For the next two years, the duke and duchess lived primarily in France but visited other European countries, including Germany, where the duke was honored by Nazi officials in October 1937 and met with Adolf Hitler. After the outbreak of World War II, the duke accepted a position as liaison officer with the French. In June 1940, France fell to the Nazis, and Edward and Wallis went to Spain. During this period, the Nazis concocted a scheme to kidnap Edward with the intention of returning him to the British throne as a puppet king. George VI, like his prime minister, Winston Churchill, was adamantly opposed to any peace with Nazi Germany. Unaware of the Nazi kidnapping plot but conscious of Edward's pre-war Nazi sympathies, Churchill hastily offered Edward the governorship of the Bahamas in the West Indies. The duke and duchess set sail from Lisbon on August 1, 1940, narrowly escaping a Nazi SS team sent to seize them.
In 1945, the duke resigned his post, and the couple moved back to France. They lived mainly in Paris, and Edward made a few visits to England, such as to attend the funerals of King George VI in 1952 and his mother, Queen Mary, in 1953. It was not until 1967 that the duke and duchess were invited by the royal family to attend an official public ceremony, the unveiling of a plaque dedicated to Queen Mary. Edward died in Paris in 1972 but was buried at Frogmore, on the grounds of Windsor Castle. In 1986, Wallis died and was buried at his side.
On this day in 1992, 1,800 United States Marines arrive in Mogadishu, Somalia, to spearhead a multinational force aimed at restoring order in the conflict-ridden country.
Following centuries of colonial rule by countries including Portugal, Britain and Italy, Mogadishu became the capital of an independent Somalia in 1960. Less than 10 years later, a military group led by Major General Muhammad Siad Barre seized power and declared Somalia a socialist state. A drought in the mid-1970s combined with an unsuccessful rebellion by ethnic Somalis in a neighbouring province of Ethiopia to deprive many of food and shelter. By 1981, close to 2 million of the country's inhabitants were homeless. Though a peace accord was signed with Ethiopia in 1988, fighting increased between rival clans within Somalia, and in January 1991 Barre was forced to flee the capital. Over the next 23 months, Somalia's civil war killed some 50,000 people; another 300,000 died of starvation as United Nations peacekeeping forces struggled in vain to restore order and provide relief amid the chaos of war.
In early December 1992, outgoing U.S. President George H.W. Bush sent the contingent of Marines to Mogadishu as part of a mission dubbed Operation Restore Hope. Backed by the U.S. troops, international aid workers were soon able to restore food distribution and other humanitarian aid operations. Sporadic violence continued, including the murder of 24 U.N. soldiers from Pakistan in 1993. As a result, the U.N. authorised the arrest of General Mohammed Farah Aidid, leader of one of the rebel clans. On October 3, 1993, during an attempt to make the arrest, rebels shot down two of the U.S. Army's Black Hawk helicopters and killed 18 American soldiers.
As horrified TV viewers watched images of the bloodshed—-including footage of Aidid's supporters dragging the body of one dead soldier through the streets of Mogadishu, cheering—-President Bill Clinton immediately gave the order for all American soldiers to withdraw from Somalia by March 31, 1994. Other Western nations followed suit. When the last U.N. peacekeepers left in 1995, ending a mission that had cost more than $2 billion, Mogadishu still lacked a functioning government. A ceasefire accord signed in Kenya in 2002 failed to put a stop to the violence, and though a new parliament was convened in 2004, rival factions in various regions of Somalia continue to struggle for control of the troubled nation.
I still remember this day clearly in my final year of high school, shortly after the release of Lennon's final album (which wasn't all that good, but hey). For it was on this day in 1980 that John Lennon, a former member of the Beatles and sometime suspect in the death of ex-Beatle and long time friend Stuart Sutcliffe, was shot and killed by an obsessed fan in New York City.
The 40-year-old artist was entering his luxury Manhattan apartment building when Mark David Chapman shot him four times at close range with a .38-caliber revolver. Lennon, bleeding profusely, was rushed to the hospital but died en route. Chapman had received an autograph from Lennon earlier in the day and voluntarily remained at the scene of the shooting until he was arrested by police. For a week, hundreds of bereaved fans kept a vigil outside the Dakota--Lennon's apartment building - and demonstrations of mourning were held around the world.
John Lennon was one half of the singer-songwriter team that made the Beatles the most popular musical group of the 20th century. The other band leader was Paul McCartney, but the rest of the quartet--George Harrison and Ringo Starr--sometimes penned and sang their own songs as well. Hailing from Liverpool, England, and influenced by early American rock and roll, the Beatles took Britain by storm in 1963 with the single "Please Please Me." "Beatlemania" spread to the United States in 1964 with the release of "I Want to Hold Your Hand," followed by a sensational U.S. tour. With youth poised to break away from the culturally rigid landscape of the 1950s, the "Fab Four," with their exuberant music and good-natured rebellion, were the perfect catalyst for the shift.
The Beatles sold millions of records and starred in hit movies such as A Hard Day's Night (1964). Their live performances were near riots, with teenage girls screaming and fainting as their boyfriends nodded along to the catchy pop songs. In 1966, the Beatles gave up touring to concentrate on their innovative studio recordings, such as 1967's Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band, a psychedelic concept album that is regarded as a masterpiece of popular music. The Beatles' music remained relevant to youth throughout the great cultural shifts of the 1960s, and critics of all ages acknowledged the song-writing genius of the Lennon-McCartney team.
Lennon was considered the intellectual Beatle and certainly was the most outspoken of the four. He caused a major controversy in 1966 when he declared that the Beatles were "more popular than Jesus," prompting mass burnings of Beatles' records in the American Bible Belt. He later became an anti-war activist and flirted with communism in the lyrics of solo hits like "Imagine," recorded after the Beatles disbanded in 1970. In 1975, Lennon dropped out of the music business to spend more time with his Japanese-born wife, Yoko Ono, and their son, Sean. In 1980, he made a comeback with Double-Fantasy, a critically acclaimed album that celebrated his love for Yoko and featured songs written by her.
On December 8, 1980, their peaceful domestic life on New York's Upper West Side was shattered by 25-year-old Mark David Chapman. Psychiatrists deemed Chapman a borderline psychotic. He was instructed to plead insanity, but instead he pleaded guilty to murder. He was sentenced to 20 years to life. In 2000, New York State prison officials denied Chapman a parole hearing, telling him that his "vicious and violent act was apparently fuelled by your need to be acknowledged." He remains behind bars at Attica Prison in New York State.
John Lennon is memorialised in "Strawberry Fields," a section of Central Park across the street from the Dakota that Yoko Ono landscaped in honour of her husband.
At 7:55 a.m. Hawaii time, a Japanese dive bomber bearing the red symbol of the Rising Sun of Japan on its wings appears out of the clouds above the island of Oahu, while at the same moment the first of what was to become a wave of torpedoes left the underbelly of a Japanese torpedo aircraft dropping slowly into the shallow harbour aimed at the U.S.S Arizona. At the same moment, a swarm of some 360 Japanese warplanes followed, descending on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor in a ferocious assault on the harbour, the dry docks, the flying boat and submarine pens and the various airfields. The surprise attack struck a critical blow against the U.S. Pacific fleet and drew the United States irrevocably into World War II.
With diplomatic negotiations with Japan breaking down, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his advisers knew that an imminent Japanese attack was probable, but nothing had been done to increase security at the important naval base at Pearl Harbor. It was Sunday morning, and many military personnel had been given passes to attend religious services off base. At 7:02 a.m., two radar operators spotted large groups of aircraft in flight toward the island from the north, but, with a flight of B-17s expected from the United States at the time, they were told to sound no alarm. Thus, the Japanese air assault came as a devastating surprise to the naval base.
Much of the Pacific fleet was rendered useless: Five of eight battleships, three destroyers, and seven other ships were sunk or severely damaged, and more than 200 aircraft were destroyed. A total of 2,400 Americans were killed and 1,200 were wounded, many while valiantly attempting to repulse the attack. Japan's losses were some 30 planes, five midget submarines, and fewer than 100 men. Fortunately for the United States, all three Pacific fleet carriers were out at sea on training manoeuvres. These giant aircraft carriers would have their revenge against Japan six months later at the Battle of Midway, reversing the tide against the previously invincible Japanese navy in a spectacular victory.
The day after Pearl Harbor was bombed, President Roosevelt appeared before a joint session of Congress and declared, "Yesterday, December 7, 1941--a date which will live in infamy--the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan." After a brief and forceful speech, he asked Congress to approve a resolution recognising the state of war between the United States and Japan. The Senate voted for war against Japan by 82 to 0, and the House of Representatives approved the resolution by a vote of 388 to 1. The sole dissenter was Representative Jeannette Rankin of Montana, a devout pacifist who had also cast a dissenting vote against the U.S. entrance into World War I. Three days later, Germany and Italy declared war against the United States, and the U.S. government responded in kind.
The American contribution to the successful Allied war effort spanned four long years and cost more than 400,000 American lives.
EDIT: This of course is the official version of the events. I have since found my submission thesis for my B.A. on the attack and the events preceding it, throwing more than a simple dark shadow of doubt on this version. My own opinion, after over two years of research at the time and having access to many documents only then declassified is that this was no surprise attack, except for the people and military personnel of Pearl Harbor and the American people on the whole. Those in charge, however, knew full well what was to happen, by who and when.
Motive? Roosevelt wanted America in the War, as did Churchill yet the United States was split 50/50 maintaining a long time belief in remaining isolationist from Europe.
The solution: allow an "unprovoked" attack on American soil, an attack the American Government did everything in it's power to bring about and then allow to happen.
The Irish Free State, comprising four-fifths of Ireland, is declared, ending a five-year Irish struggle for independence from Britain. Like other autonomous nations of the former British Empire, Ireland was to remain part of the British Commonwealth, symbolically subject to the king. The Irish Free State later severed ties with Britain and was renamed Eire, and is now called the Republic of Ireland.
English rule over the island of Ireland dates back to the 12th century, and Queen Elizabeth I of England encouraged the large-scale immigration of Scottish Protestants in the 16th century. During ensuing centuries, a series of rebellions by Irish Catholics were put down as the Anglo-Irish minority extended their domination over the Catholic majority. Under absentee landlords, the Irish population was reduced to a subsistence diet based on potatoes, and when a potato blight struck the country in the 1840s, one million people starved to death while nearly two million more fled to the United States.
A movement for Irish home rule gained momentum in the late 19th century, and in 1916 Irish nationalists launched the Easter Rising against British rule in Dublin. The rebellion was crushed, but widespread agitation for independence continued. In 1919, the Irish Republican Army (IRA) launched a widespread and effective guerrilla campaign against British forces. In 1921, a cease-fire was declared, and in January 1922 a faction of Irish nationalists signed a peace treaty with Britain, calling for the partition of Ireland, with the south becoming autonomous and the six northern counties of the island remaining in the United Kingdom.
Civil war broke out even before the declaration of the Irish Free State on December 6, 1922, and ended with the victory of the Irish Free State over the Irish Republican forces in 1923. A constitution adopted by the Irish people in 1937 declared Ireland to be "a sovereign, independent, democratic state," and the Irish Free State was renamed Eire. Eire remained neutral during World War II, and in 1949 the Republic of Ireland Act severed the last remaining link with the Commonwealth.
Conflicts persisted over Northern Ireland, however, and the IRA, outlawed in the south, went underground to try to regain the northern counties still ruled by Britain. Violence between Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland escalated in the early 1970s, and to date the fighting has claimed more than 3,000 lives.
At 2:10 p.m., five U.S. Navy Avenger torpedo-bombers comprising Flight 19 take off from the Fort Lauderdale Naval Air Station in Florida, U.S.A. on a routine three-hour training mission. Flight 19 was scheduled to take them due east for 120 miles, north for 73 miles, and then back over a final 120-mile leg that would return them to the naval base. They never returned.
Two hours after the flight began, the leader of the squadron, who had been flying in the area for more than six months, reported that his compass and back-up compass had failed and that his position was unknown. The other planes experienced similar instrument malfunctions. Radio facilities on land were contacted to find the location of the lost squadron, but none were successful. After two more hours of confused messages from the fliers, a distorted radio transmission from the squadron leader was heard at 6:20 p.m., apparently calling for his men to prepare to ditch their aircraft simultaneously because of lack of fuel.
By this time, several land radar stations finally determined that Flight 19 was somewhere north of the Bahamas and east of the Florida coast, and at 7:27 p.m. a search and rescue Mariner aircraft took off with a 13-man crew. Three minutes later, the Mariner aircraft radioed to its home base that its mission was underway. The Mariner was never heard from again. Later, there was a report from a tanker cruising off the coast of Florida of a visible explosion seen at 7:50 p.m.
The disappearance of the 14 men of Flight 19 and the 13 men of the Mariner led to one of the largest air and seas searches to that date, and hundreds of ships and aircraft combed thousands of square miles of the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and remote locations within the interior of Florida. No trace of the bodies or aircraft was ever found.
Although naval officials maintained that the remains of the six aircraft and 27 men were not found because stormy weather destroyed the evidence, the story of the "Lost Squadron" helped cement the legend of the Bermuda Triangle, an area of the Atlantic Ocean where ships and aircraft are said to disappear without a trace. The Bermuda Triangle is said to stretch from the southern U.S. coast across to Bermuda and down to the Atlantic coast of Cuba and Santo Domingo.
The Dei Gratia, a small British brig under Captain David Morehouse, spots the Mary Celeste, an American vessel, sailing erratically but at full sail near the Azores Islands in the Atlantic Ocean. The ship was seaworthy, its stores and supplies were untouched, but not a soul was on board.
On November 7, the brigantine Mary Celeste sailed from New York harbor for Genoa, Italy, carrying Captain Benjamin S. Briggs, his wife and two-year-old daughter, a crew of eight, and a cargo of some 1,700 barrels of crude alcohol. After the Dei Gratia sighted the vessel on December 4, Captain Morehouse and his men boarded the ship to find it abandoned, with its sails slightly damaged, several feet of water in the hold, and the lifeboat and navigational instruments missing. However, the ship was in good order, the cargo intact, and reserves of food and water remained on board.
The last entry in the captain's log shows that the Mary Celeste had been nine days and 500 miles away from where the ship was found by the Dei Gratia. Apparently, the Mary Celeste had been drifting toward Genoa on her intended course for 11 days with no one at the wheel to guide her. Captain Briggs, his family, and the crew of the vessel were never found, and the reason for the abandonment of the Mary Celeste has never been determined.
ADD-IT: "MARY CELESTE WAS ABANDONED DURING A SEAQUAKE!"
According to latest research by U.S.N. Captain (ret.) David Williams in 2012:
"The British brigantine Dei Gratia came upon the Mary Celeste sailing erratically midway between the Azores and Portugal on 4 December 1872. The crew could not see anyone on deck through their spy glass so the captain of the Dei Gratia dispatched a boarding party lead by 1st Mate Oliver Deveau. Deveau's team reported that the ship was fully provisioned and perfectly seaworthy yet mysteriously abandoned.
A few clues indicated the crew of the Mary Celeste had quickly launched a small yawl for no apparent reason.
The Mary Celeste had departed New York on 5 November loaded with 1,709 barrels of grain alcohol bound for Genoa, Italy.
The crew endured strong winds from the time they left New York until arriving at Santa Maria Island in the Azores - they'd sailed the last few hundreds miles in a gale.
It seems reasonable to suggest that in order to take a break from the pounding sea, the captain gave the order to sail to the lee side of Santa Maria Island where the cook started a fire in the large galley stove to make hot food while other members of the crew furled most of the sails, leaving just enough canvas up to hold her heading as they made their way slowly along the lee shore of the island.
Other crew members set about pumping the bilge and doing other chores.
When the food was ready, the men stopped what they were doing and ate. After taking a smoke break, the Captain gave orders to get underway and the crew went back to work. Some went back to pumping the bilge; others started to set the sails they had recently furled.
Just then the seafloor near Mary Celeste was ripped apart by a shallow-focused earthquake, a relatively common occurrence in the Azores.
Whenever the hard bottom shifts vertically at a relative fast pace, the seabed acts like a giant piston, pushing and pulling the water, sending powerful waves of alternating pressure towards the surface. The results on board the boat were as if there was no water at all under the ship....just as if she was setting on dry land during an earthquake.
Magnitude does not determine the degree of disturbance on a ship; whether of not a vessel suffers severe damage is based on the instantaneous acceleration of the rocky seafloor at the epicenter. Said differently, it is the speed at which the seafloor shifts vertically that determines the intensity of the shock waves in the water. A magnitude 5.5 earthquake could have easily occurred under the Mary Celeste and scared the bejesus out of the crew and been barely noticeable on Santa Maria Island.
The deck of the Celeste shook violently in the vertical plane. The motion tossed the heavy cast iron deck stove up into the air. When it came down, it resettled in a position outside the chocks that normally kept it from sliding about during a heavy sea. Pots and pans went flying about as did the iron covers over the top of the stove. The flew pipe broke loose and red hot embers from the burning fire shot into the air above the deck.
The severe vibrations also loosened the stays around nine barrels of grain alcohol, dumping about 500 gallons of explosive liquid into the bilge. The fumes spread rapidly to the upper deck.
Choking on the smell of alcohol from the leaking barrels, hearing the crashing sounds all around them, and seeing embers flying about from the fire in the cooking stove was all it took to send the crew into panic and cause them to quickly launch the small yawl and try to get away from the pending explosion and certain death.
The crew, now in the small yawl floating behind the Mary Celeste, felt elated when embers died down without causing the alcohol fumes to explode. If was now safe for them to go back aboard and sort out the damage.
But the elation soon vanished, replaced by the horrifying discovery that they were no longer tied to the Mary Celeste. In the fear and rush of the moment, the crew had forgot to properly secure a line from the life boat to the mother ship.
They watched in dismay as the Mary Celeste, now a ghost ship, sailed slowly away from the yawl with her jib and two other small sails set. As she pulled away, the men had to decide quickly whether to try to catch her, or go for the safety of Santa Maria Island, less than 10 miles away.
They likely argued about the merits of each course of action, but, knowing they would be disgraced for having abandoned their seaworthy boat and her valuable cargo, they chose to try to catch the run away ghost in the small yawl, hoping they could overcome her, or the wind would shift and cause her to tack back towards them. Each day of their journey carried them further and further away from the safety of land.
They never caught her. Five months later, five highly decomposed bodies were found tied to two rafts off the coast of Spain. One body was wrapped in an American flag. Thus is the fate of the crew the greatest sea mystery ever told."
Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece, and Montenegro sign an armistice with Turkey, ending the first Balkan War. During the two-month conflict, a military coalition between Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Montenegro--known as the Balkan League--expelled Turkey from all the Ottoman Empire's former European possessions, with the exception of Constantinople (now Istanbul). In January 1913, a coup d'etat in Turkey led to a resumption of fighting, but the Balkan League was again victorious.
In 1913, the Second Balkan War began after Serbia and Greece demanded that Bulgaria cede to them portions of Macedonia. Serbia and Greece formed an alliance against Bulgaria, and Macedonia was partitioned between the victors. Nationalist tension persisted in the Balkans, and Serbia was particularly bitter about being forced to give up some of its conquests by the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
On June 28, 1914, hostility between Serbia and Austria-Hungary over Austria's possession of Bosnia-Herzegovina reached a breaking point when Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip assassinated Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo. Austria-Hungary blamed the Serbian government for the attack and hoped to use the incident as justification for settling the problem of Serbian nationalism once and for all. However, as Russia supported Serbia, an Austro-Hungarian declaration of war was delayed until its leaders received assurances from German leader Kaiser Wilhelm that Germany would support their cause in the event of a Russian intervention.
On July 28, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, and the tenuous peace between Europe's great powers collapsed. Within a week, Russia, Belgium, France, Great Britain, and Serbia had lined up against Austria-Hungary and Germany, and World War I had begun.
James Brokenshire, the UK Crime and Security Minister, has announced his determination to save the United Kingdom from websites which aren’t “British” by censoring the web. Minister claimed the end of the free Internet in the United Kingdom by revealing his plans to order Internet service providers to block websites believed to be too dangerous for the people.
Minister explained he will also create a special department to identify and report material considered too dangerous for publication on the Internet. Brokenshire announced that the unit in question will be responsible for censoring a so-called “extremist content”, which perhaps follows the success off the model to crack on Internet child abuse. You have probably heard of the Internet Watch Foundation, partly industry-funded, which investigates reports of unauthorized child abuse pictures in the web. The outfit can ask ISPs to block or take down websites containing such images. As a result, there’s no child porn in the UK Internet now thanks to this measure.
Minister pointed out that Prime Minister, David Cameron, wanted to see a similar model for terrorist material. Despite numerous “freedom of speech issues”, the government believes it can have a process in place to test what is against the law.
In the meantime, ISPs’ good appeal process might overcome some of the public’s concerns. Apparently, if the government decides to block Welsh or Scottish Nationalist websites, it will have to explain to a judge why they are deemed “extremist”. This might make sense. However, less clear would be websites organizing such things as student protests.