Sunday, December 31, 2017

2018: The Year Ahead


170th Anniversary of the French Revolution of 1848

The Town Hall of Paris, February 25, 1848

In 1848, there was a wave of revolutions in Europe, including the February Revolution in France.  On February 18, 1848, the Orleans monarchy of King Louis Philippe was overthrown and replaced by the elected government of the French Second Republic.  In the ensuing months, the government became more conservative.  On June 23, 1848, the people rose up in an insurrection.known as the June Days.  This was a bloody rebellion by Paris workers against the government's conservatism.  On December 1848, Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, was elected President of the Second Republic, largely with the support of the peasants.  Three years later, however, he suspended the elected assembly and established the Second French Empire.  As Napoleon III, he ruled as Emperor of France from 1852 to 1870.

100th Anniversary of the end of World War One

Photo taken in the forest of  Compiègne after Armistice agreement

World War One came to an end on November 11, 1918.  It came into effect at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.  The fighting ended that day with the Armistice between the Allies and their last opponent, Germany, was signed in the forest of Compiègne, approximately 60 kilometres (37 miles) north of Paris (The Allies had already reached agreements for armistices with Bulgaria, the Ottoman Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire).  Although the Armistice ended more than four years of bloody warfare, it had to be prolonged three times until the Treaty of Versailles came into effect on January 10, 1920.

100 years since the post-World War One Flu Pandemic

Soldiers from Fort Riley, Kansas, ill with Spanish influenza in hospital ward

The 1918-1920 flu pandemic was an exceptionally deadly influenza.  It is estimated to have infected 500 million people worldwide.  It resulted in the deaths of millions and was one of the deadliest natural disasters in human history.  It killed more people than the Great Wat (World War One) that proceeded it.              


80 years since Kristallnacht ("Crystal Night") 

"Crystal Night" shop damage in Magdeberg, Germany  Attribution: German Federal Archives

On November 9-10, 1938, a pogrom against Jews was carried out in Nazi Germany.  It is known as Kristallnacht ("Crystal Night" or "Night of Broken Glass."  The name "Crystal Night" is derived from the shards of broken glass that littered streets from the damaged windows of Jewish-owned shops and buildings.  Jewish homes, hospitals and schools were ransacked.  The windows of synagogues were smashed.  Many deaths resulted from "Crystal Night," including suicides and the post-arrest maltreatment of the 30,000 Jewish men who were imprisoned in concentration camps.

The "Crystal Night" attacks were in retaliation for the assassination of the Nazi German diplomat Ernst vom Rath by a German-born Polish Jew named Herschel Grynszpan.

80 years since the Munich Pact

Chamberlain greeted by Hitler Sept. 24, 1938  Attribution; German Federal Archives

After negotiations by major European powers at a conference in Munich Germany, a settlement was reached that allowed Nazi Germany to annex portions of Czechoslovakia inhabited primarily by Sudeten Germans.  These German-speakers had lived in the border districts of Czechoslovakia since the time of the Austrian- Empire.  In the early hours of September 30, 1938, the agreement (dated September 29, 1938) was signed by the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Italy.  On September 30th, upon returning home, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain delivered his "peace for our time" speech to London crowds.

80 years since Germany annexed Austria

German and Austrian border police dismantle a border post in 1938.  Attribution: German Federal Archives  
On March 12, 1938, Nazi Germany forcibly annexed neighbouring Austria and German troops invaded the country.  This was known as "Anschluss" or the union of the two countries. After annexing Austria, Nazi leader Adolf Hitler appointed a new government of his choosing to replace Austrian Chancellor Kurt Schuschnigg who had opposed the annexation. Schuschnigg had been coerced by Hitler to appoint Austrian Nazis to positions of power and later resign.  Note: Above is a photo of German and Austrian border police dismantling a border post in 1938.

70 years since Communist takeover of   Czechoslovakia

Czechoslovakia 1948

On February 25, 1948, under pressure from the Czechoslovakian Communist party, President Edward Benes permitted a communist-dominated government to be organized (Above is a photo of the resignation of th democratic ministers).  Although the Soviet Union did not physical interfere (as in 1968), the virtually bloodless coup was described in the West as Soviet expansion into Eastern Europe.

70th Anniversary of the birth of Israel

On May 14, 1948, the State of Israel was proclaimed by Jewish Agency Chairman David Ben-Gurion at the Tel Aviv Art Museum.  Ben-Gurion's proclamation brought tears and applause from the crowd at the museum and he went on to become prime minister of the first Jewish State in 2,000 years.

50th Anniversary of the flight of Apollo 8

Left to right: F. Borman, W. Anders, J. Lovell

Earthrise photo from Apollo I

Apollo 8 was the second manned spaceflight in the Apollo program and was launched on December 21, 1968.  Its accomplishments were as follows: It became the first manned spacecraft to leave the orbit of the Earth, reach the Earth's Moon, orbit it  and return safely. The crew was made up of three astronauts - Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot James Lovell and Lunar Module Pilot William Anders.

Apollo 8's journey to the moon took three days.  The crew made a Christmas Eve television broadcast in which they read the the first ten verses from the Book of Genesis.  The flight of Apollo 8 helped to set the stage for the moon landing in July of 1969 and Neil Armstrong's first steps on the lunar surface.

50th Anniversary of the Soviet Invasion of Czechoslovakia

On the night of August 20=21, 1968, Soviet-led Warsaw Pact troops invaded Czechoslovakia to put an end to reforms made during the "Prague Spring."  Tanks rolled into Prague.  The invasion cracked down on Czech leader Alexander Dubček's liberal reforms and strengthened the power of authoritarian wing of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia.

50 years since the riots at the 1968 Democratic Convention

In the United States, the Democratic Party held its convention to nominate a candidate for president.  The convention took place in Chicago from August 26 to August 29,1968.  Demonstrators came to the Windy City that summer to protest American involvement in Vietnam. During the buildup to the convention, Chicago mayor Richard Daley repeatedly stated that law and order would be maintained.  For eight days, counter-culture and anti-Vietnam protesters were met by police with guns, billy clubs, mace and riot helmets.  One of the major groups involved in the organization of the protests was the Youth International Party, known as the Yippies. 

50 years since the assassination of Bobby Kennedy

On June 5, 1968, Senator Robert F. Kennedy won the California primaries, a major victory in his campaign for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States.  After addressing his supporters in a ballroom at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, Kennedy was fatally shot while exiting through the hotel kitchen.  His assassin was Sirhan Sirhan, a Palestinian with Jordanian citizenship, and a strong opponent of Israel.

50th Anniversary of the student and worker riots in France
Strikers in Southern France occupying factory.  Attribution: BeenAroundAWhile 

After months of conflicts between students and authorities at the Paris University at Nanterre, the administration closed down the university on May 2, 1968.  The next day, students at the Sorbonne University protested the closing.  These events spurred great unrest in France throughout the month of May.  There was a series of student occupation protests against capitalism, unemployment, poverty, consumerism and traditional institutions.  Workers joined the students and there were more demonstrations and general strikes.  Universities and factories were occupied, stalling the nation's economy.  The crisis became so serious that civil war or revolution was feared.

Police used force against the student occupations and wildcat strikes.  This led to street battles, more occupations and the spread of general strikes.  President Charles fled the country briefly. The protests did not quell, however, until May 30, when De Gaulle dissolved the National Assembly and called an election.

50 years since the My Lai Massacre

The My Lai Massacre was the mass killing of hundreds of unarmed Vietnamese civilians by U.S. Army soldiers from Company C, Ist Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 11th Brigade, 23rd (America) Infantry Division.  The killings occurred on March 16, 1968 in the hamlets of My Lai and My Khe in South Vietnam.  The victims included women, children and infants.  26 soldiers were charged with criminal offences, but Lt. William Calley Jr.., a platoon leader in C Company was the only one convicted.  Calley was found guilty of the murder of 22 villagers and originally received a life sentence, but his sentence was reduced to 20 years by the Court of Military Appeals.  It was later reduced to 10 years by the Secretary of the Army.  Calley was pardoned by Richard Nixon in 1974 after serving three and a half years under house arrest.

50 years since the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., American civil rights leader, was assassinated on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee.  He was fatally shot while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel, where he was staying.  King's assassin, James Earl Ray, ws a fugitive from the Missouri State Penitentiary.  Ray was arrested on June 8, 1968 at London's Heathrow airport.  He died in 1998 at the age of 70.




NEW YEAR'S DAY (Gregorian Calendar): Monday, January 1, 2018

FEAST OF THE EPIPHANY:  Saturday, January 6, 2018

MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY (United States):  Monday, January 15, 2018


MARDI GRAS (SHROVE TUESDAY):  Tuesday, February 13, 2018

ASH WEDNESDAY:  Lent begins Wednesday, February 14, 2018

VALENTINE'S DAY:  Wednesday, February 14, 2018


2019 is The Year of the Dog.  The Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, in determined according to the Chinese lunar calendar.  This year the festival begins on Friday, February 16, 2018, the first day of the lunar calendar.  It lasts for seven days.

PRESIDENTS' DAY (United States):  Monday, February 19, 2018


INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY:  Thursday, March 8, 2018

ST. PATRICK'S DAY:  Saturday, March 17, 2018

GOOD FRIDAY:  Friday, March 30, 2018

PASSOVER:  Begins the evening of March 30, 2018 and ends the evening of Saturday, April 7, 2018.


EASTER SUNDAY:  Sunday, April 1, 2018

EARTH DAY:  Sunday, April 22, 2018


MOTHER'S DAY:  Sunday, May 13, 2018

RAMADAM:  Begins at sunset on Tuesday, May 15, 2018 and ends on Thursday, June 14, 2018 (Dates may vary)

VICTORIA DAY (Canada):  Monday, May 21, 2018

MEMORIAL DAY (United States): Monday, May 28, 2018


EID-AL-FITR (End of Ramadan): Begins in the evening of Thursday, June 14, 2018 and ends in the evening of Friday, June 15, 2018.

FATHER'S DAY:  Sunday, June 17, 2018 (the third Sunday in June)


CANADA DAY (Canada):  Sunday, July 1, 2018

INDEPENDENCE DAY (United States):  Wednesday, July 4, 2018



LABOUR DAY (Canada), LABOR DAY (United States):  Monday, September 3, 2018

ROSH HASHANA (Jewish New Year):  Begins at sunset Sunday, September 9, 2018 and ends at nightfall on Tuesday, September 11, 2018

YOM KIPPUR (Jewish Day of Atonement):  Begins the evening of Tuesday, September 18, 2018 and ends the evening of Wednesday, September 19, 2018.


THANKSGIVING DAY (Canada):  Monday, October 8, 2018 (the second Monday in October)

HALLOWEEN:  Wednesday, October 31, 2018


ALL SAINTS DAY:  Thursday, November 1, 2018

DIWALI (Hindu Festival of Lights, beginning of Hindu New Year): Begins on Tuesday, November 6, 2018 and ends Saturday, November 10, 2018

REMEMBRANCE DAY (Canada), VETERAN'S DAY (United States):  Sunday, November 11, 2018

THANKSGIVING DAY (United States):  Thursday, November 29, 2018 (the last Thursday in November)


HANUKKAH:  Begins the evening of Sunday, December 2, 2018 and ends the evening of Monday, December 10, 2018

CHRISTMAS DAY:  Tuesday, December 25, 2018

BOXING DAY (Canada):  Wednesday, December 26, 2018



A general election is scheduled in the province of Ontario.  It will take place on or before Thursday, June 28, 2018.  There are 122 seats in the Ontario legislature.

The Quebec Winter Carnival (Carnaval de Québec) will be held in held in Quebec City, Quebec from January 26, 2018 to February 11, 2018.  Below is a drawing of Bonhomme Carnaval, the festival's mascot.

The Calgary Stampede with take place in Calgary, Alberta from July 6, 2018 to July 15, 2018.

The 139th Canadian National Exhibition (also known as the CNE or The Ex) will be held from August 17, 2018 to September 3, 2018 at Exhibition Place in Toronto, Ontario.

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), the leading public film festival in the world, will take
place in Toronto, Ontario from Friday, September 7, 2018 to Sunday, September 16, 2018.


There will be general elections in Costa Rica on February 4, 2018 to elect both the President and Legislative Assembly.


A presidential election will be held in the Czech Republic on January 12-13, 2018, with a runoff to be held on January 26-27, 2018 if required. The incumbent president Miloš Zeman is standing for re-election.


The 71st Cannes Film Festival {Festival de Cannes) will be held in Cannes, France from May 8, 2018 until May 19, 2018.


Federal elections will be held in Germany between August 17. 2017 and October 22, 2017.


A general election is due to be held in Italy on May 20, 2018.  Voters will elect the 630 members of the Chamber of Deputies and the 313 elective members of the Senate of the Republic for the 18th Parliament.


On June 24, 2018, Saudi Arabia will allow women to drive.



The marriage of Britain's Prince Harry of Wales will marry American actress Meghan Markle.  The wedding will likely take place in the spring of 2018.


The 2018 United States midterm elections will mostly be held on Tuesday, November 6, 2018.  All 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and 33 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate will be contested.



COMMONWEALTH GAMES:  The 2018 Commonwealth Games are scheduled to be held on the  Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia from April 4, 2018 to April 15, 2018.

TENNIS:  The Australian Open will take place from Monday, January 15, 2018 to Sunday, January 28, 2018 at Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Australia.


HORSE RACING:  The 158th running of the Queen's Plate, the first jewel of Canada's Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Horse Racing, will take place at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, Ontario on Saturday, June 30, 2018.  The Queen's Plate, founded in 1860, is the longest, continuously run stakes race in North America.  

GOLF:  The Canadian Open will be played at the Glen Abbey Golf  Club in Oakville, Ontario.  The tournament will take place from July 23 to July 29, 2018.

CANADIAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE (CFL):  The 106th Grey Cup will be held on Sunday, 
November 25, 2018 at the Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, Alberta.


TENNIS:  The French Open (also known as the Roland Garros) will take place at Stade Roland Garros in Paris, France from May 27 to June 10, 2018.


SOCCER (FOOTBALL):  The FIFA World Cup will be held from June 14, 2018 to July 15, 2018 in Russia.


The 2018 WINTER OLYMPICS:  The XXIII Olympic Winter Games will be held in Pyeomgchang, South Korea from February 9, 2018 to February 25, 2018.


TENNIS:  The prestigious Wimbledon tournament will run from Monday, July 2, 2018 until Sunday, July 15, 2018.  It will take place at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbleton, London, England.

GOLF:  The 147th British Open Championship will be held at Carnoustie Golf Links in Carnoustie, Angus, Scotland from July 16, 2018 to July 22, 2018.


NFL FOOTBALL:  Super Bowl LII (the 52nd edition of the Super Bowl) will take place on Sunday, February 4, 2018 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  U.S. Bank Stadium is the home of the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League (NFL).

AUTO RACING:  The 102nd Indianapolis 500 will take place on Sunday, May, 27, 2018 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana.

GOLF:  The 82nd edition of the Masters Tournament will be held from April 5, 2018 to April 8, 2018 at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia.

HORSE RACING:  The 144th running of the Kentucky Derby, known as "The Run for the Roses," will be held on Saturday, May 5, 2018 (the first Saturday in May) at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.

GOLF:  The 118th United States Open Championship (U.S. Open) will be contested from June 14, 2018 to June 17, 2018 at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in  Shinnecock Hills, New York, east of New York City on Long Island.

BASEBALL:  The 89th edition of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be hosted by the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C..  The game between the stars of the American League and the National League will take place on Tuesday, July 17, 2018.

BASKETBALL:  The 67th National Basketball Association (NBA) All-Star Game will be held on Sunday, February 18, 2018 in Los Angeles California at Staples Center, home of the Los Angeles Lakers.

TENNIS:  The U.S. Open will be held from Monday, August 27, 2018 through Sunday, September 9, the USTA Billie Jean King Center in New York, New York.


The 75th Golden Globe Awards ceremonies, presented by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, will be held on Sunday, January 7, 2018. at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. These awards recognize excellence in film and television, both American and foreign.

The 60th annual Grammy Awards, honouring the best of the music industry, will be held on Sunday, January 28, 2018 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

The 90th Academy Awards ceremonies will take place on Sunday, March 4, 2018 at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California.

Vancouver, British Columbia will host the 47th annual Juno Awards, honouring the best in Canadian music. The ceremony will be broadcast from Rogers Arena on Sunday, March 25, 2018.

The 72nd Antoinette Perry Awards for Excellence in Theatre, better known as the Tony Awards, will be held at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on Sunday, June 10, 2018.

WHO TURNS 50 IN 2018?

Gillian Anderson, American-British actress, born August 9, 1968 in Chicago, Illinois, United States

Patricia Arquette, American actress, born April 8, 1968 in Chicago, Illinois, United States

Marc Anthony, American singer, born September 16, 1968 in New York City, United States.

Josh Brolin, American actor, born February 12, 1968 in Santa Monica, California, United States

Kenny Chesney, American country singer, born March 26, 1968 in Knoxville, Tennessee, United States.

Daniel Craig, British actor, born March 2, 1968 in Chester, England, United Kingdom.

Billy Crudup, American actor, born July 8, 1968 in Manhasset, Nassau County, New York, United States

Céline Dion, Canadian singer, born May 30, 1968 in Charlemagne, Quebec, Canada.

Megan Follows, Canadian-American actress, born March 14, 1968 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Brendan Fraser, American-Canadian actor, born December 3, 1968 in Indianapolis, Indiana, United States

Aiden Gillen, Irish actor, born April 24, 1968 in Drumcondra, Dublin, Republic of Ireland

Cuba Gooding Jr., American actor, born January 2, 1968 in The Bronx, New York City, United States

Tony Hawk, American skateboarder, was born on May 12, 1968 in Carlsbad, California, United States.

Hugh Jackman, Australian actor singer, born October 12, 1968 in Sydney, New South Wales,

Ashley Judd, American actress and political activist, born April 19, 1968 in Los Angeles, California, United States

LL Cool J, American rapper, born January 14, 1968 in Long Island, New York, United Stats

Lucy Lawless, New Zealand actress, born March 29, 1968 in Mount Albert, New Zealand

Lucy Liu, American actress, born December 2, 1968 in New York City, United States

Sarah McLachlan, Canadian singer and songwriter, born January 28, 1968 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Parker Posey, American actress and musician, born Novermber 8, 1968 in Baltimore, Maryland, United States

Lisa Marie Presley, American singer, daughter of Elvis, born February 1, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee, United States

Rachael Ray, American television personality, chef, businesswoman, born August 25, 1968 in Glens Falls, New York, United States

Molly Ringwald, American actress, singer, dancer and author, born February 18, 1968 in Roseville, California, United States

Guy Ritchie, British filmmaker, born September 10, 1968 in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, England, United Kingdom

Barry Sanders, former American football player, born July 16, 1968 in Wichita, Kansas, United States.

Will, Smith, American actor, rapper, born September 25, 1968 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United

Naomi Watts, British actress, born September 28, 1968 in Shoreham, Kent, England, United Kingdom

Owen Wilson, American actor, producer, born November 18, 1968 in Dallas, Texas, United States.

- Joanne