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Infamous drug lord "El Chapo" is captured by Mexican authorities

August 28, 2019 in History

By History.com Editors

In the early hours of January 8, 2016, Mexican authorities apprehend the drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán. It was the third time that the law caught up to El Chapo, a figure whose crimes, influence and mystique rival those of Pablo Escobar.

Guzmán became involved in the drug trade as a child, dealing in cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and amphetamines. He became the leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, the wealthiest and most powerful cartel in Mexico. After his arrest in Guatemala in 1993, Guzmán was extradited to Mexico and sentenced to over 20 years in prison. While incarcerated, he continued to run the cartel and lived comfortably, having bribed much of the staff. In 2001, when a Mexican Supreme Court ruling increased the likelihood that he would be extradited to the United States, Guzmán escaped by hiding in a laundry cart – over 70 people, including the director of the prison, have been implicated in his escape.

Guzmán remained at large for over a decade, leading the cartel through a vicious series of conflicts with the government and rival cartels. One of the central conflicts revolved around Guzmán’s bloody and ultimately successful bid for control over the Ciudad Juárez routes that transport drugs into the United States. Guzmán became infamous for his cartel’s extreme violence and its extensive network of tunnels and distribution cells on both sides of the border. It was widely known that the Sinaloa Cartel had a number of informants and agents within the Mexican government, and many in Mexico believed that the government’s war on drugs was actually being waged to eliminate Sinaloa’s rivals.

During this time, Guzmán was understood to be living in the mountainous and sparsely populated Sierra Madre region. He was arrested for a second time in February of 2014 when the Mexican Navy raided a seaside hotel where he had been visiting family. He was placed in a maximum security prison to await trial, but escaped in July of 2015 via an elaborate tunnel nearly one mile long, estimated to have taken over a year and $1 million to build. His escape was a major embarrassment for the government of President Enrique Peña Nieto, and his recapture became a top priority.

Finally, nearly six months later, an operation involving every law enforcement agency in Mexico resulted in a raid of a house in Los Mochis, Sinaloa. Guzmán escaped the house— again …read more

Source: HISTORY

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7 Ways the Printing Press Changed the World

August 28, 2019 in History

By Dave Roos

In the 15th century, an innovation enabled people to share knowledge more quickly and widely. Civilization never looked back.

Knowledge is power, as the saying goes, and the invention of the mechanical movable type printing press helped disseminate knowledge wider and faster than ever before.

German goldsmith Johannes Gutenberg is credited with inventing the printing press around 1436, although he was far from the first to automate the book-printing process. Woodblock printing in China dates back to the 9th century and Korean bookmakers were printing with moveable metal type a century before Gutenberg.

But most historians believe Gutenberg’s adaptation, which employed a screw-type olive press to squeeze down evenly on the inked metal type, was the key to unlocking the modern age. With the newfound ability to inexpensively mass-produce books on every imaginable topic, revolutionary ideas and priceless ancient knowledge were placed in the hands of every literate European, whose numbers doubled every century.

Here are just some of the ways the printing press helped pull Europe out of the Dark Ages and accelerate human progress.

1. A Global News Network Was Launched

Johannes Gutenberg’s first printing press.

Gutenberg didn’t live to see the immense impact of his invention. His greatest accomplishment was the first print run of the Bible in Latin, which took three years to print around 200 copies, a miraculously speedy achievement in the day of hand-copied manuscripts.

But as historian Ada Palmer explains, Gutenberg’s invention wasn’t profitable until there was a distribution network for books. Palmer, a professor of early modern European history at the University of Chicago, compares early printed books like the Gutenberg Bible to how e-books struggled to find a market before Amazon introduced the Kindle.

“Congratulations, you’ve printed 200 copies of the Bible; there are about three people in your town who can read the Bible in Latin,” says Palmer. “What are you going to do with the other 187 copies?”

Gutenberg died penniless, his presses impounded by his creditors. Other German printers fled for greener pastures, eventually arriving in Venice, which was the central shipping hub of the Mediterranean in the late 15th century.

“If you printed 200 copies of a book in Venice, you could sell five to the captain of each ship leaving port,” says Palmer, which created the first mass-distribution mechanism for printed books.

The ships left Venice carrying religious texts and literature, but also breaking news …read more

Source: HISTORY

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President George H.W. Bush vomits on the Prime Minister of Japan

August 28, 2019 in History

By History.com Editors

One of the most widely ridiculed and memorable gaffes in the history of the United States Presidency occurred in Japan on the evening of January 8, 1992, when President George H.W. Bush vomits on the Prime Minister of Japan.

Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa was hosting a dinner for the president in honor of his state visit. Bush, who was 67 at the time, appeared to be in fine health, playing doubles tennis with the Emperor of Japan and his son that morning. During the dinner, however, Bush suddenly fell ill. He leaned forward, then fell to his side, vomiting into the lap of his host, the Prime Minister. Bush then fainted as his wife Barbara, his aides, and members of the Secret Service swiftly attended him. He was revived within moments, and was able to leave the dinner under his own power, apologizing for the incident.

Doctors later stated that the president has suffered acute gastroenteritis and felt fine after taking an anti-nausea drug. He resumed his normal schedule the following afternoon. Nonetheless, the incident and the blurry video of Bush’s collapse received enormous attention in his home country. Saturday Night Live spoofed the incident, comparing it to the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Though he refused to make hay of it publicly, Bush’s challenger, Bill Clinton, likely benefitted from the incident. Clinton’s relative youth and vitality were key to his public image, and Bush’s very public illness only served to reinforce the differences between the two men.

Bush lost his re-election bid the following November, although he would live to see his son, George W. Bush, serve two terms as president. Even today, the time Bush vomited on the Japanese prime minister holds a special place in the annals of American presidential goofs. It also entered the Japanese lexicon—the colloquial phrase bushuru, which roughly translates to “to pull a Bush,” became a popular slang term for vomiting in the wake of the incident.

…read more

Source: HISTORY

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Harvey Milk becomes the first openly gay person elected to public office in California

August 28, 2019 in History

By History.com Editors

Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected official in the history of California, takes his place on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors on January 8, 1978. The first and, for years, most visible openly gay politician in America, Milk was a longtime activist and pioneering leader of San Francisco’s LGBT community.

After serving in the Navy during the Korean War, Milk held several white-collar jobs in New York City. Initially conservative and reluctant to advocate for gay rights, Milk’s views changed around the time he and his then-partner opened a camera shop on Castro Street, the heart of the San Francisco’s LGBT community, in 1973.

Like many business owners and citizens of the largely-gay Castro District, Milk was harassed by police and local officials. Realizing the community’s burning desire to challenge the status quo, he decided to run for the city’s Board of Supervisors shortly after opening his store. Despite alienating many Democrats, including other gay activists, with his bombastic language and flower-child persona, he won the Castro district handily and came in 10 out of 32 candidates. Though he did not win his race, Milk established himself as a highly effective speaker and organizer. Over the next several years, he partnered with unions and other marginalized groups, creating coalitions that fought for everyday San Franciscans and educating the public about the plight of the LGBT community. Due to these efforts, as well as his own talent for self-promotion, Milk became known as the Mayor of Castro Street.

Milk cleaned up his image, started wearing suits, and swore off marijuana as his political ambitions grew. He argued in favor of free public transportation, public oversight of the police, and other street-level political causes. Still, Milk and the Castro’s rise to power coincided with the rise of anti-gay reactionaries like Anita Bryant, and Milk understood both the power and the danger of his position as de facto leader of the largest gay community in America. Fearing assassination, he took to recording his thoughts, including a sadly prescient one: “If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door.”

Finally, in 1977, Milk was elected to the Board of Supervisors to represent his beloved Castro. His first act was to introduce a bill outlawing discrimination based on sexual orientation, which Mayor George Moscone signed into law with a pen Milk had given him. …read more

Source: HISTORY

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Moscow’s Domodedovo International Airport is bombed by Chechen terrorists

August 28, 2019 in History

By History.com Editors

On September 24, 2011, a bomb explodes in the international arrivals hall of Moscow’s Domodedovo International Airport, killing 35 people and injuring 173 others. The Caucasus Emirate, a militant jihadist group based in Chechnya, claimed responsibility, adding to a string of terrorist attacks stemming from the conflict in Russia’s Caucasian territories.

In the wake of the Soviet Union’s dissolution, the North Caucasian region of Chechnya experienced decades of unrest. While Russia officially re-established control over the region in 2009, an increasingly jihadist insurgency continued fighting government forces. Bombings by Chechen separatists and jihadists were common throughout Russia in the 2000s—Chechen terrorists had also destroyed two aircraft after smuggling bombs through security at Domodedovo in 2004. The Caucasus Emirate was founded by Duka Umarov, the former president of the breakaway Chechen Republic of Ichkeria who declared his state a Salafist emirate in 2007. The emirate claimed responsibility for the bombing of a Russian train in 2009 and a bombing that killed 40 on the Moscow metro in 2010.

The 2011 attack occurred around 4:30pm. An improvised explosive device filled with wire and shrapnel exploded in the international arrivals section of the airport. Among the dead was 29-year-old Anna Yablonskaya, a Ukrainian playwright who was on her way to receive an award. Russian authorities believed that foreign nationals were the primary target, and suspected Chechen radicals, but were unable to identify the culprits or even discern if the attack was a suicide bombing for some time. Eventually, they identified the bomber as a 20-year-old Chechen, Magomed Yevloyev. Umarov claimed responsibility on behalf of the Caucasian Emirate the following day, railing against Russia and other “satanic” foreign powers.

Four men, including Yevloyev’s 15-year-old brother, were eventually arrested in connection with the bombing. Three received life in prison, while Akhmed Yevloyev received a 10-year sentence. Though the insurgency in the Caucasus continues, the Domodedovo attack is the last major attack in Russia for which the Emirate claims responsibility. Though Umarov remains at large, his forces are now heavily depleted, not only due to casualties and battle fatigue but also due to a number of his fighters leaving to join the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The bombing demonstrated not only the continued problem posed by Chechnya to the Russian state but also the complex web of identities and allegiances that make the Caucasus a hotbed of sectarian conflict and a …read more

Source: HISTORY

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The Moral Dimension to Our National Debt

August 28, 2019 in Economics

By Michael D. Tanner

Michael D. Tanner

Oh Lord, give me chastity,” St. Augustine is reputed to
have said. “But don’t give it yet.” So it is with
Republicans who have vowed to show some fiscal discipline —
sometime during President Trump’s second term.

But while we are waiting, the Congressional Budget Office has
announced that this year’s budget deficit will top $960
billion, $63 billion more than predicted in May of this year. And
next year’s deficit will almost certainly exceed it. After
that, the era of trillion-dollar deficits is here to stay. By 2029,
CBO reports our $22 trillion national debt will top around $34
trillion.

President Trump may accomplish the truly Herculean feat of
becoming a bigger deficit spender than President Obama. And
he’ll do it without a catastrophic recession to deal
with.

Every child born today
inherits a portion of that debt, and we are living at our
children’s expense.

How did we get here? Contrary to conventional wisdom, it
wasn’t the Republican tax cut. In fact, when compared to
2018, tax revenues went up 3 percent in the first nine months of
fiscal year 2019. Would they be even higher in the absence of those
cuts? Maybe. But the real problem, as usual, is out-of-control
spending.

The CBO estimates that federal outlays in 2019 will total $4.4
trillion, a $300 billion increase in nominal spending since 2018.
Discretionary spending is up. Defense spending is up. Entitlement
spending is up. There is no effort to prioritize or make the
difficult choices of governing, there is only … more.

While I realize that Congress controls the purse strings, it is
also true that President Trump has shown exactly zero interest in
restraining spending. The only time he speaks out on budget matters
is to demand more money for his latest pet project.

As bad as this is, we can hardly look to the Democrats for
relief. Their spending plans would make Caligula look like Scrooge
McDuck. Consider that with the release of his $16.3 trillion
green-energy plan, Bernie Sanders has now promised more than $58
trillion in additional spending over the next ten years.

Ok, you say, but Bernie is an avowed socialist, so we should
expect as much. What then about Elizabeth Warren, who “has a
plan for that,” proposing an estimated $40 trillion in new
spending over the next decade. Or Kamala Harris, who would spend an
additional $43 trillion over ten years. And Pete Buttigieg wants to
spend an additional $6.9 trillion. Even supposed moderate Joe Biden
has called for around $2.97 trillion in spending so far.

Worse, the Iowa caucuses are still six months away. The giant
pander-fest that is …read more

Source: OP-EDS