Conditions of Hong Kong Reverting to Chinese Rule

Talks began in 1982 between Margaret Thatcher and Deng Xiaoping that would determine the future fate of Hong Kong. Prime Minister Thatcher flew to Peking (Beijing the capital of the People’s Republic of China) in September 1982 in hopes of retaining Hong Kong as British, but she failed in her attempt.

Two years later in 1984 the signing between China and Britain of a “Joint Declaration” permitted that China would take back Hong Kong in 1997. Thatcher insisted on the inclusion of certain contingencies, being that during the 50 years following China’s take back of sovereignty, Hong Kong must remain a special administrative region; meaning Hong Kong SAR would be a separate system in two respects retaining its capitalist economy and a partial democratic political system.

But Thatcher from her own words revealed her thoughts and feelings regarding the chances for this “one country, two systems” success. Only continued British administration – British ‘rule’, she said – could guarantee Hong Kong’s well-being beyond 1997.

Proving her premonition we read today that in fact Mainlaind China is chipping away at Hong Kong’s democracy by limitting the people’s electoral choices to be only those first approved by China, which of course is not a true free election by the people and for the people. Many Hong Kong people are protesting this violation of their rights. We will watch to see how things will play out in the years to come.
Tags: Hong Kong SAR, China’s Take Back of Hong Kong, Margaret Thatcher, Hong Kong Democracy

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World War I Facts

World War 1 began on July 28, 1914 and lasted until November 11, 1918. Differences in foreign policies were to blame, although the immediate cause was the assassination of Austria’s Archduke Ferdinand.

The two main sides were the Allies, which included France, Great Britain and Russia; and Germany and Austria-Hungary. In total, 30 countries were involved in the conflict. Italy, once part of the Triple Alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary, fought on the side of the Allies.

Soldiers fought largely in trenches during the war, and thousands suffered from stress, known as shell-shock. The British and French trenches were often squalid, whereas the German trenches were almost luxurious in comparison, with bunks and decent cooking facilities. (Click here to learn more about life in the trenches)
By the end of WW1, over 9 million soldiers had been killed, and another 21 million wounded. Over a million soldiers were killed in the infamous Battle of the Somme alone, including about 30,000 in just one day.

Around 11 percent of the population of France was killed or wounded during the war. About 116,000 Americans were killed, even though the US was only in the war for about 7 months.

World War 1
During World War 1, dogs were used to carry messages in capsules attached to their body. Dogs also carried and placed telegraph wires in important areas.
Pigeons were also used during the war. About 500,000 pigeons were regularly dropped into enemy lines by parachute, and then sent back with messages.

On Christmas Eve, 1914, both sides declared an unofficial truce and sung Christmas carols to each other. A football match was played in no-man’s land (the area between the German and British) trenches, and German and British soldiers exchanged food and souvenirs. The following Christmas, sentries on both sides had orders to shoot any soldier who did this.

Cannons and artillery were often extremely loud. In 1917, the explosives used to destroy a bridge in France could be be heard over 130 miles away in London.

Many new weapons were invented or first used during World War 1. Big Bertha was one of the most famous; it was a 48 ton gun capable of firing a shell over 9 miles. It took 200 men several hours to assemble the gun.

Tanks were so called because of early attempts to disguise them as water tanks. They were also known as male and female tanks; male tanks had cannons and female tanks had machine guns.

The Trail of Tears

Millions of acres of American Indian ancestral land (in Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina and Florida) was stolen by the Federal Government. The reason? So that white settlers could move in and use the land for their advantage in such endeavors as growing cotton.

The removal of native people from their lands and homes of many generations began in the early 1830s, when nearly 125,000 Native Americans began their tragic journey known as the Trail of Tears. They were sent to live in Indian Territory what eventually would become the state of Oklahoma. Oklahoma meaning: “red people”. The translation is from the Choctaw Indian words okla and humma.


European Town Graves Reveal Historical Clues

Two years following Christopher Columbus ‘s journey across the Atlantic in 1492, Columbus and colonists took off on a second trip. The result of their subsequent voyage was the foundation of the first established European town in the New World. It was given the name La Isabela.

La Isabela had a short four year existence. The demise of the town has always been believed by historians to have been the result of the diseases smallpox, influenza, and malaria.

However, recent findings from the town’s graves, from the bones that remained, also show that the colonist suffered as well from a condition known as scurvy. To be sure scurvy would have made the towns people vulnerable targets to the diseases that befell them.

Scurvy is a condition developed from low levels of Vitamin C. Before 1747 when James Lind was able to prove the connection between scurvy and vitamin c depletion, people did not know the importance of eating citric fruit and other fresh foods that contain Vitamin C. Therefore in the 15th century town of La Isabela scurvy was rampant and contributed to the vulnerability of the immune system to fight off disease.

Read more in National Geographic:

Severe Scurvy Struck Christopher Columbus’s Crew

IBM Introduces the System/360

May the computers unite and with that revolutionary concept the IBM System/360 was born. Before the uniting of computers into a network of systems, each was its own creation uniquely customized for each of IBM’s clients.

It has been 50 years since the 360 mainframe was introduced in 1964. It boasted the first mainframe computers that IBM customers could optimize from a lower cost model to something upgraded in power. ABC News