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Events, deaths, births, of APR 08

[For Apr 08 Julian go to Gregorian date:
1583~1699: Apr 181700s: Apr 191800s: Apr 201900~2099: Apr 21]
• Il viaggio della Commedia ha inicio... • Kenyatta convicted for Mau Mau uprising... • Picasso dies... • Arafat survives plane crash... • US Congress approves WPA... • US First Aero Squadron in WW I... • Policewoman's murder that will lead to murder by police... • Guillotinés par la Révolution... • Ryan White dies... • McCarthy defames Lattimore... • First woman executed in electric chair... • Gautama Buddha's birth is celebrated... • Writer Kingsolver is born... • Mrs. Custer is born... • Arithmometer's inventor dies... • Cray unveils new supercomputer... • Microsoft to buy a pen based computer company... • Microsoft settles with 3Com unit... • 3rd North Vietnamese front in South... • Report to US Congress on Vietnam... • Steel industry seizure... • Russians attack to drive Germans from Crimea... • General Bradley dies...
ACDO price chartOn an April 08:
2003 After Accredo Health (ACDO) reduces its projected 2003 earnings per share to $1.22 from $1.35, its stock is downgraded by JP Morgan from Overweight to Neutral, by AG Edwards from Buy to Hold, by Raymond James from Strong Buy to Market Perform. On the NASDAQ, 29.5 million of the 47.6 million ACDO shares are traded, dropping from their previous close of $25.40 to an intraday low of $12.60 and closing at $14.29. They had traded as high as $39.67 as recently as 23 January 2003. They had started trading on 12 April 1999 at $5.64. [5~year price chart >] Accredo Health provides specialized contract pharmacy and related services pursuant to agreements with biotechnology drug manufacturers relating to the treatment of patients with certain costly chronic diseases.
2002 The 2002 Pullet Surprises are announced. They include, among others, the editorial cartooning prize to Clay Bennett of The Christian Science Monitor; the fiction prize to Richard Russo for Empire Falls; the drama prize to Suzan-Lori Parks for Topdog/Underdog, the history prize to Louis Menand for The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America. David McCullough won the biography prize for John Adams; Carl Dennis the poetry prize for Practical Gods, Diane McWhorter the general non-fiction prize for her first book, Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama, the Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution. [oh yeah, by the way those are Pulitzer Prizes not Pullet Surprises].
2001 Congressional and presidential elections in Peru. None of the 8 candidates for president achieves an absolute majority. Thus there will be a run-off between the two leaders: Alejandro Toledo, 55, and either discredited former president Alan García or Lourdes Flores, 41.
Ganga and Jamuna Shrestha, 10-month-old conjoined twin girls from a poor Nepalese family from the outskirts of Katmandu, undergo an operation to separate their brains, at Singapore's General Hospital. The operation started at 16:00 on 06 April and continued until completed on 08 April,. by two team of surgeons headed by Dr. Keith Goh. Each multidisciplinary team consists of a neurosurgeon, a plastic surgeon and. others, they worked in relays. The girls were born joined at the head (vertical craniopagus), their brains sharing some blood vessels. Sandhya and Bushan Shrestha are, respectively, the father and mother of the babies.
1998 Microsoft and 3Com unit settle lawsuit       ^top^
      Microsoft agrees to settle a lawsuit by Palm Computing, the division of 3Com responsible for the PalmPilot. 3Com had sued Microsoft over the company's use of the term "Palm PC" for a new category of handheld devices introduced in January. Microsoft agreed to call the new gadgets "Palm-size PCs."
1998 The major US cigarette makers withdraw support for a tobacco settlement, saying that Congress has distorted their offer to help cut teen smoking into a harsh attack on their industry and sharp tax increases for smokers.
1996 Microsoft agrees to buy a pen-based computer company.       ^top^
      Microsoft agreed to buy Aha! Software Company, makers of a pen-based operating system that recognized handwriting, on this day in 1996. Although the Apple Newton-an early attempt at a handheld, pen-based computer-failed, palm-sized computers, including the PalmPilot, caught on rapidly in the mid-1990's.
1995 Former US Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara, in an interview with AP Network News and Newsweek' magazine to promote his memoirs, calls the US's Vietnam War policy “terribly wrong.”
1992 After 151 years, Britain's Punch magazine's final issue.
1992 Arafat survives plane crash       ^top^
      Yasser Arafat, the founder and leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), survived a deadly plane crash in the Sahara Desert that killed the plane's three crew members. Arafat was subsequently rescued and returned to Palestine, where he resumed his efforts to negotiate a secret peace conference with Israel.
      As leader of the PLO, Arafat originally employed guerrilla warfare and terrorism against Israel in his struggle for an independent Palestinian state. However, in the early 1990s, he stunned Israel and the world when he began seeking diplomatic solutions in his quest for a Palestinian homeland. Arafat persuaded the PLO to formally acknowledge Israel's right to co-exist with the independent state of Palestine, and in 1993 signed the historic Israel-Palestinian Declaration of Principles along with Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
      One year later, Arafat and Rabin signed a major peace agreement granting Palestine limited self-government in territories occupied by Israel. In 1995, Arafat shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Rabin and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres for his peace efforts. In the Palestinian people's first democratic election on 20 January 1996, Arafat won an overwhelming electoral majority, consolidating his rule over the West Bank and Gaza Strip areas granted autonomy in the 1995 agreement.
1988 Televangelist Jimmy Swaggert, 52, is defrocked by the Assemblies of God following the disclosure of his involvement with a prostitute. (Swaggert is ordered to stay off TV for a year, but returns after only three months.)
1985 India files suit against Union Carbide over Bhopal disaster.
1975 US Chief of Staff reports to Congress on Vietnam.       ^top^
      After a weeklong mission to South Vietnam, Gen. Frederick Weyand, US Army Chief of Staff and former Vietnam commander, reports to Congress that South Vietnam cannot survive without additional military aid. Questioned again later by reporters who asked if South Vietnam could survive with additional aid, Weyand replied there was "a chance." Weyand had been sent to Saigon by President Gerald Ford to assess the South Vietnamese forces and their chances for survival against the attacking North Vietnamese. The South Vietnamese were on the verge of collapse. The most recent assaults had begun in December 1974 when the North Vietnamese launched a major attack against the lightly defended province of Phuoc Long--located north of Saigon along the Cambodian border--and overran the provincial capital at Phuoc Binh on 06 January 1975.
      Despite previous presidential promises to aid South Vietnam in such a situation, the United States did nothing. By this time, Nixon had resigned from office and his successor, Gerald Ford, was unable to convince a hostile Congress to make good on Nixon's earlier promises to Saigon. The situation emboldened the North Vietnamese, who launched a new campaign in March 1975, in which the South Vietnamese forces fell back in total disarray. Once again, the United States did nothing. The South Vietnamese abandoned Pleiku and Kontum in the Highlands with very little fighting. Then Quang Tri, Hue, and Da Nang fell to the communist onslaught. The North Vietnamese continued to attack south along the coast toward Saigon, defeating the South Vietnamese forces at each encounter. As Weyand reported to Congress, the South Vietnamese were battling three North Vietnamese divisions at Xuan Loc, the last defense line before Saigon. Indeed, it became the last battle in the defense of the Republic of South Vietnam. The South Vietnamese forces managed to hold out against the attackers until they ran out of tactical air support and weapons, finally abandoning Xuan Loc to the communists on 21 April. Saigon fell to the communists on 30 April.
1972 North Vietnamese forces open a third front.       ^top^
     North Vietnamese 2nd Division troops drive out of Laos and Cambodia to open a third front of their offensive in the Central Highlands, attacking at Kontum and Pleiku in attempt to cut South Vietnam in two. If successful, this would give North Vietnam control of the northern half of South Vietnam. The three-front attack was part of the North Vietnamese Nguyen Hue Offensive (later known as the "Easter Offensive"), which had been launched on 30 March. The offensive was a massive invasion by North Vietnamese forces designed to strike the knockout blow that would win the war for the communists. The attacking force included 14 infantry divisions and 26 separate regiments, with more than 120'000 troops and approximately 1200 tanks and other armored vehicles. North Vietnam had a number of objectives in launching the offensive: impressing the Communist world and its own people with its determination; capitalizing on US antiwar sentiment and possibly hurting President Richard Nixon's chances for re-election; proving that "Vietnamization" was a failure; damaging the South Vietnamese forces and government stability; gaining as much territory as possible before a possible truce; and accelerating negotiations on their own terms. Initially, the South Vietnamese defenders in each case were almost overwhelmed, particularly in the northernmost provinces, where they abandoned their positions in Quang Tri and fled south in the face of the enemy onslaught. At Kontum and An Loc, the South Vietnamese were more successful in defending against the North Vietnamese attacks. Although the defenders suffered heavy casualties, they managed to hold out with the aid of US advisors and American airpower. Fighting continued all over South Vietnam into the summer months, but eventually the South Vietnamese forces prevailed against the invaders, even retaking Quang Tri in September. With the communist invasion blunted, President Nixon declared that the South Vietnamese victory proved the viability of his Vietnamization program, instituted in 1969 to increase the combat capability of the South Vietnamese armed forces.
1970 The US Senate rejects President Nixon's nomination of G. Harold Carswell to the Supreme Court.
1969 The first artificial heart was implanted into a human.
1968 New socialist constitution of East Germany takes effect.
1953 Kenyatta convicted for Mau Mau uprising       ^top^
      Jomo Kenyatta, one of modern Africa's earliest nationalist leaders, was convicted by Kenya's British rulers for leading the Mau Mau Rebellion against the white settlers of his country. Along with five other Mau Mau leaders, he was subsequently sentenced to seven years' hard labor.
      Of Kikyu descent, he became a leader of his tribal association in 1928, a capacity in which he campaigned for land reform and political rights for his people. After World War II, he founded the Pan-African Federation with other African nationalists and became president of the Kenya African Union. In the early 1950s, he joined the Mau Mau, a secret militant organization established to force the expulsion of the British and Dutch colonists of Kenya.
      Comprised primarily of Kikuyu tribesman like himself, the Mau Mau began a campaign of guerrilla action in 1952 against settlers in Kenya's so-called "white highlands." The settlers and British authorities retaliated and Jomo Kenyatta and other nationalist leaders were imprisoned.
      By 1956, British troops had arrested or killed the remaining Mau Mau, and the entire Kikuyu tribe was interned within a guarded area. In 1959, Kenyatta was released from prison but remained under house arrest. In 1960, he was elected president of the newly founded Kenya African National Union while in internal exile; one year later, he negotiated with the British for Kenyan independence.
      In 1963, Kenya was granted autonomy and Kenyatta became prime minister; the following year, the country became an independent republic with Kenyatta as Kenya's first president.
1952 Truman's seizure of steel industry.       ^top^
      The Youngstown, Ohio, steelworkers were preparing to go out on strike. With the US embroiled in the Korean War, the walkout loomed as an ill-timed irritant to the government's battle against communism. And so on this day in 1952, President Truman stepped into the breach and placed the steel plants under his control. There was some reason to believe that Truman's bald face play to squelch the strike was a legal maneuver. Indeed, Article II of the Constitution held that the President could only unilaterally pass and/or create legislation during periods of war. Nonetheless, Truman's seizure of the steel mills stirred controversy and led to a heated battle before the Supreme Court. On 02 June 1952, the Court rules in Youngstown Sheet and Tube Co. v. Sawyer 343 US 579 (1952) that Truman had, in fact, overstepped his bounds. The finding effectively limited the President's expansion of power during times of national emergency.
1950 McCarthy attacks Owen Lattimore.       ^top^
     Senator Joseph McCarthy labels Professor Owen Lattimore "extremely dangerous so far as the American people are concerned" in a carefully worded public speech, but stops short of calling him a Soviet spy. The speech was yet another example of McCarthy's ability to whip up damaging Red Scare hysteria with no real evidence. In February 1950, the little-known Senator McCarthy gave a speech in which he charged that there were over 200 "known communists" in the Department of State. When pressed for particulars, McCarthy made an appearance before a special joint session of Congress. During the course of presenting his "evidence," McCarthy declared that Professor Owen Lattimore was a "top Soviet spy." Lattimore, an expert on Chinese history, had served as a special consultant about Chinese affairs during and after World War II and had been a consistent critic of the Nationalist Chinese regime of Chiang Kai-Shek. Word soon leaked out about McCarthy's charge. Though Lattimore decried the senator's statements as lies, there was nothing he could legally do, since McCarthy's testimony was protected by congressional immunity.
      On 08 April 1950, McCarthy gives a public speech in which he continues his attacks on Lattimore. He starts by stating, "The reason we find ourselves in a position of impotency is not because our powerful potential enemy has sent men to invade our shores but rather because of the traitorous actions of those who have been treated so well by this nation." He calls Lattimore "extremely dangerous," and declares that the professor has been "invaluable to Russia." McCarthy's attacks on Lattimore would continue for years. A congressional committee cleared Lattimore of McCarthy's charges in 1950, but in 1951 the Senate reopened the investigation. This new investigation, spearheaded by McCarthy, claimed that Lattimore had perjured himself during his earlier testimony. In 1952, Lattimore was formally charged with perjury in connection to his 1950 testimony. A very long and costly legal battle ensued, and eventually Lattimore succeeded in having all charges dropped. His career in American academia, however, was ruined and he left the country in 1963. He later returned to the United States and died in 1989. Lattimore was just one of many people smeared by McCarthy's reckless and unsubstantiated charges during the anticommunist hysteria of the Red Scare.
1947 Largest recorded sunspot (7000) observed.
1946 In Geneva, the League of Nations assembles for the last time.
1944 Russians attack Germans in drive to expel them from Crimea       ^top^
      Russian forces led by Marshal Fedor Tolbukhin attack the German army in an attempt to win back Crimea, in the southern Ukraine, occupied by the Axis power. The attack would result in the breaking of German defensive lines in just four days, eventually sending the Germans retreating. Crimea was the territorial plaything of many great powers, from the Ottoman Turks to the Russia of Ivan III. It had declared its independence in 1918 but was occupied again by Germany in 1941. It was "liberated" by the Russians, only to find itself trapped within the greater Soviet Union. It once again declared itself an independent republic in the 1990s.
1942 Production for the war mandated to US industries.       ^top^
      After a lengthy spate of speculation and debate, in which anti-war forces and isolationists went toe-to-toe with advocates of engagement, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in late 1941 finally pushed US forces into battle. Along with myriad cultural and social adjustments, America's entrance into World War II also triggered a profound fiscal shift: the industrial sector was now forced to gear its efforts almost exclusively toward wartime production.
      On 08 April 1942, the War Production Board accelerated the transformation of the nation's economy by ordering a halt to all production that was not deemed necessary to the war. The War Production Board's mandate quickly took hold; at the peak of the war, the military utilized nearly half of the nation's production and services. Far from causing fiscal woe, World War II proved to be a great boon to the economy: unemployment, which had climbed up to fourteen percent in 1940, all but evaporated, while the gross national product doubled by the close of the war.
1939 Italy invaded Albania.
1935 WPA established by US congress       ^top^
      The US Congress votes to approve the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a center point of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's “New Deal” for America's vast numbers of unemployed citizens.
      In 1932, at the height of the Great Depression, Governor Roosevelt of New York was elected the thirty-second president of the United States. In his inaugural address on 04 March 1933, President Roosevelt promised Americans that "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself" and outlined his New Deal--an expansion of the federal government as an instrument of employment opportunity and welfare.
      On 06 April 1935, the WPA was established under the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act, as a means of creating government jobs for the nation's unemployed. Under the direction of Harry L. Hopkins, the WPA employed more than 8.5 million persons on 1.4 million public projects before it was disbanded in 1943. The program chose work that would not interfere with private enterprise, especially vast public building projects like the construction of highways, bridges, and dams.
     However, the WPA also provided federal funding for students, who were given work under the National Youth Administration; the careers of several important American artists and writers were launched thanks to WPA endowments. Although its scale was unprecedented, the WPA never managed to serve more than a quarter of the nation's unemployed. Nevertheless, its programs were extremely popular, and contributed significantly to Roosevelt's landslide re-election in 1936
1918 US First Aero Squadron assigned to the Western Front       ^top^
      One year after the American entrance into World War I, the US First Aero Squadron was assigned to the Western Front for the first time on observation duty. Six days later, members of America's first air squadron engaged in their first aerial dogfight with enemy aircraft. In a battle fought almost directly over the Allied Squadron Aerodome at Toul, France, US pilots Douglas Campbell and Alan Winslow succeeded in shooting down two German two-seaters.
      By the end of April, Campbell had shot down five enemy aircraft, making him the first American to qualify as an "ace" in World War I.
      The First Aero Squadron, organized in 1914 after the outbreak of World War I, undertook its first combat mission on March 19, 1917, in support of the seven thousand US troops who had invaded Mexico to capture Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa. Despite numerous mechanical and navigational problems, the American flyers flew hundreds of scouting missions for US Brigadier General John J. Pershing, and gained important experience that would later be used by the pilots over the battlefields of Europe.
1914 US and Columbia sign a treaty concerning the Panama Canal Zone.
1913 17th amendment to the US Constitution, requiring direct election of senators, ratified.
1908 Herbert Henry Asquith becomes PM of England.
1904 Entente Cordiale signed by France and England.
1898 Battle of Atbara River, Anglo-Egyptian forces crush 6000 Sudanese.
1865 Lee's retreat cut off near Appomattox Court House.
1865 Siege at Spanish Fort, Alabama concludes.
1864 Battle of Mansfield (Sabine Crossroads), Louisiana (Red River Expedition). Federals routed by General Richard Taylor.
1862 Siege of Yorktown, Virginia continues.
1861 US mint at Dahlonega, Georgia seized by confederacy.
1802 French Protestant church becomes state-supported and -controlled.
1789 US House of Representives' first meeting.
1546 At its fourth session, the Council of Trent adopted Jerome's "Latin Vulgate" as the official Bible of the Roman Catholic Church. (Included in the Vulgate O.T. were the 15 deuterocanonical books which Protestants reject in their biblical canon.)
1525 Albert von Brandenburg, the leader of the Teutonic Order, assumes the title “Duke of Prussia” and passes the first laws of the Protestant church, making Prussia a Protestant state.
1513 On his 53rd birthday, Ponce de León claims Florida for Spain.
Dante Alighieri1300 La Divina Commedia: il viaggio ha inizio.       ^top^
      Poema da Dante Alighieri in terza rima, iniziato nel 1307, composto di tre Cantiche (Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso) che comprendono 100 canti complessivi: 34 l'"Inferno", 33 ciascuno il "Purgatorio" e il "Paradiso". Argomento dell'opera è il viaggio compiuto da Dante nell'Oltretomba. Tre guide conducono il poeta: Virgilio nell'Inferno, e parte del Purgatorio, fino all'Eden; Beatrice, la donna amata da Dante in gioventù e il cui ricordo lo ha distolto dal traviamento, conduce il poeta fino all'Empireo, alla Rosa celeste; e San Bernardo che mostra a Dante la gloria di Dio. Il viaggio dura circa una settimana e ha inizio nella notte del Venerdì Santo, l'08 aprile 1300.
     Dante Alighieri nasce nel 1265 da una famiglia guelfa di Firenze, di piccola nobiltà. Amico di Guido Cavalcanti, di cui inizialmente subì l'egemonia culturale, partecipò con lui e con altri poeti al movimento del Dolce Stil Nuovo. Gran parte delle sue rime giovanili sono dedicate ad una "Beatrice", che viene tradizionalmente identificata con l'omonima figlia di Folco Portinari, sposata a Simone de' Bardi, e morta di parto l'08 Jun 1290. Il poeta tra il 1293 e il 1294 rielabora la storia spirituale del suo amore nella "Vita Nuova", un libriccino mescolato di versi e di prosa.
      Dopo questa data Dante comincia a partecipare alla vita politica di Firenze, del cui esercito ha fatto parte in diverse occasioni (nel giugno 1289 lo troviamo tra i "feditori" a cavallo nella battaglia di Campaldino contro i ghibellini di Arezzo, nell'agosto dello stesso anno è nell'esercito fiorentino che tolse ai pisani la fortezza di Caprona). Dante, che aveva trascorso un periodo di studi a Bologna, si iscrisse alla corporazione dei medici e degli speziali per iniziare la carriera politica (gli Ordinamenti di Giustizia di Giano della Bella riservavano il governo del comune solo ai cittadini iscritti a una delle corporazioni d'arti e mestieri).
      Nel 1300 le sue responsabilità politiche aumentarono, e Dante divenne uno dei Priori, dedicando la maggior parte delle sue energie a contrastare i piani del papa Bonifacio VIII. Questi infatti , approfittando del conflitto presente in Firenze fra i Bianchi, capeggiati dalla consorteria dei Cerchi, e i Neri guidati da quella dei Donati, cercava di di estendere la sua autorità su tutta la Toscana.
      Nell'ottobre del 1301 il papa inviò a Firenze Carlo di Valois, fratello del re di Francia, apparentemente come paciere: ma in realtà Carlo aveva l'incarico di debellare i Bianchi. Mentre Dante si trovava a Roma come ambasciatore del comune di Firenze presso il Pontefice, Corso Donati e i neri conquistarono, con uccisioni e violenze, il potere.
      Dante fu condannato all'interdizione perpetua dai pubblici uffici, a una multa e all'esilio per due anni, per furto del denaro pubblico, azioni ostili verso il papa e la città (non essendosi presentato a discolparsi fu condannato ad essere bruciato vivo se fosse caduto in mano al Comune). Dal 1302 comincia il periodo dell'esilio, che durerà fino alla morte del poeta. Iniziò un pellegrinaggio per l'Italia. Prese contatto con Bartolomeo della Scala a Verona e con i conti Malaspina in Lunigiana, e tra il 1304 e il 1307 compose il Convivio (poi rimasto interrotto) per acquisire meriti di fronte all'opinione pubblica (per lungo tempo coltivò l'illusione di poter essere richiamato nella sua città come riconoscimento della sua grandezza culturale). Appartiene allo stesso periodo il De Vulgari Eloquentia.
      Col passare degli anni Dante iniziò a vedere il suo esilio come simbolo del distacco dalla corruzione, dagli odi e dagli egoismi di parte, e si considerò guida per gli uomini alla riconquista di essa, della verità e della pace. Tale vocazione ispira la Divina Commedia, cominciata probabilmente dopo il 1307. Nel 1310 il nuovo imperatore Arrigo VII scese in Italia e Dante, scrisse delle lettere per esortare tutti ad accogliere colui che poteva riportare alla pace; scrisse inoltre il suo trattato politico più importante, la Monarchia. Ma nel 1313 Arrigo morì improvvisamente a Buonconvento presso Siena, e Dante abbandonò ogni speranza di tornare a Firenze. Negli ultimi anni, fu ospite di Can Grande della Scala a Verona e di Guido Novello da Polenta a Ravenna. Qui portò a termine l'ultima parte della Commedia, di cui era già stata pubblicata prima del 1315 la prima cantica, l'Inferno. Lo scrittore muore a Ravenna nella notte di 13 Sep a 14 Sep 1321.
A map of the earth showing Hell and Purgatory 
    Dante Alighieri's La Divina Commedia it is the allegorical story of spiritual journey, one which began on Good Friday, 08 April 1300 — when Dante was 35 and thus midway through his allotted span — and lasted for just seven days; but it is also a bitter political polemic, excoriating those in authority in Italy, and above all in his native Florence, and denouncing the papacy for its wealth and corruption. It embraces the celestial and the terrestrial, the mythological and the historical, the practical and the ethical; it discusses reason and faith, of society and the individual;  finally, it claims to speak with the voice of God.
        The earth, we must understand, is the centre of the universe, of which only the northern hemisphere is inhabited. Within this hemisphere is hell, a vast funnel formed by the fall of Lucifer. The earth displaced by the fall descended to the southern hemisphere where it formed the mountain of purgatory, rising from the ocean.
      This too is conical, with seven ledges rising to its summit, paradise. Around the earth are nine concentric revolving heavens , encircling which is the empyrean, home to the nine orders or angels and the seat of God. Dante's journey therefore takes him through the entire universe. It begins in the dark wood of sin where he finds the poet Virgil, who undertakes to guide him. Down they go through the deepening circles, speaking with the damned, who are being punished according to their sins on earth.
      Some are mythological, some historical, some contemporary Florentines. Emerging in the southern hemisphere, Dante and Virgil sail to purgatory, on whose successive ledges they find those guilty of the seven deadly sins. They too suffer horribly but, unlike the denizens of Hell, they have hope; they are working up towards paradise. There the pagan Virgil must take his leave , while Dante finds his long-last Beatrice, through whom he is led to his final vision of God.
      Dante was not the first poet to write in Italian; but he, more than anyone, made his native Tuscan dialect the literary language of the whole peninsula. His limpid Italian might have been written yesterday. The work is not easy, but for anyone prepared to make the effort, the rewards are great.
     The Divine Comedy is a poem which describes the journey of Dante the Pilgrim as he is lead, firstly by Virgil through Hell and Purgatory and secondly by Beatrice through to Heaven. The poem is therefore separated into three volumes. Each volume (Inferno, Purgatory and Paradise) is of 33 cantos, except for Inferno which contains one extra introductory canto which serves as an overview to what will come.
     The interpretation of The Divine Comedy is much more than a simple poem. In fact Dante even tells us so in a letter he wrote. Dante says that in the literal sense his work is a description of 'the state of souls after death' but if his work is to be taken allegorically then the subject is ' Man-as, according to his merits or demerits in the exercise of his free will, he is subject to reward or punishment by Justice...'. The work therefore investigates Mankind's search for salvation where man must first descend into humility before he can raise himself to God. Before man can hope to climb the mountain of salvation he must first know what sin is. This is exactly what the Pilgrims journey represents as his pilgrimage takes Dante (who represents all Mankind) through all the types of sin in preparation for his ascent to God.

Salvador Dali's illustrations for The Divine Comedy: http://narthex.com/gallerya.htm

  • The Divine Comedy
  • The Divine Comedy
  • The Divine Comedy
  • HellPurgatoryParadise
  • HellPurgatoryParadise
  • The Vision: or, Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise
  • The Divine Comedy (in Italian and English)
  • Protysyuk Deaths which occurred on an April 08:
    2003 Dave Davenport, 40, Will Forshay, 37, and Wallis Bouldin, 34, all three of Grand Aire Inc., on one of its three planes, twin-engine Falcon 20 turbojets, coming from Traverse City MI, as it approaches the Toledo OH airport at 14:00 (18:00 UT). There was no one else on board. At 18:00 (23:00 UT) one of the two remaining Grand Aire planes, coming from Del Rio TX, crashes into the Mississippi River just north of downtown St. Louis MO. The two aboard, pilot and co-pilot Saleem Iqbal, 34, and Mohammed Saleh, 44, are rescued, injured.
    2003 Dr. Brian McGovern, 47, and a woman nurse, murder-suicide at 10:05 (14:05 UT) by handgun, at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, in the office of Dr. McGovern, co-director of the hospital's Cardiac Arrhythmia Service. He was also an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
    2003 Cloned banteng male, born on 03 April 2003, deliberately killed in Iowa, because, born at twice the normal weight of 20 kg, it does not have a good chance of survival according to the attending scientists.
    2003 Taras Protysyuk, 35 [photo >], and José Couso, 37, by a shell fired by a US tank at the 15th floor of the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad, Irak, where they were among the foreign correspondents staying there, some of them were on the roof observing through binoculars. The US troops mistook them for Iraqi guerilla spotters for snipers which the US soldiers erroneously thought were shooting at them from the hotel. Protysyuk, a Ukrainian based in Warsaw, was part of an 18-member Reuters team at the hotel. Couso was a camareman of the Telecino Spanish television station. Wounded are three Reuters employees: Lebanese-born woman Samia Nakhoul, Reuters' Gulf bureau chief based in Dubai, and Iraqi photographer Faleh Kheiber are wounded in the face and head; television satellite dish coordinator Paul Pasquale, a Briton, suffers leg wounds. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) sends a letter to US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld saying that it believes that “these attacks violate the Geneva Conventions,” and that even if US forces had been fired on from the hotel “the evidence suggests that the response of US forces was disproportionate and therefore violated international humanitarian law.” The reporters who were in the hotel are in agreement with Swiss television correspondent Ulrich Tilgner who says: “In all the three weeks I have worked from this hotel I have not heard a single shot fired from here and I have not seen a single armed person enter the hotel” US commanders claim that they had warned journalists 48 hours beforehand that Iraqi military commanders were using the building for meetings. Correspondents at the hotel say that they were unaware of any such warning.
    2003 Tariq Ayoub, a Jordanian reporter of the Arabic Al-Jazeera satellite TV channel, whose Baghdad, Iraq, headquarters, a private home near the [mis]Information Ministry, are hit by two US [mis?]guided bombs or missiles, while he was on the roof. Al-Jazeera cameraman Zuhair al-Iraqi (an Iraqi) is wounded. The US regime, including usurper-President “Dubya” Bush, has explicitely condemned Al-Jazeera's reporting as anti-US (it highlights the innocent victims of the US-led attack on Iraq, generally referring to them as shaheeds). Al Jazeera is the most watched television channel in the Arab world. In a 24 February 2003 letter to Victoria Clarke, the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the Pentagon, Al Jazeera gave the co-ordinates of its office as latitude 33.19, longitude 44.24 and altitude 63 meters. The house on the Al Kharkh Road served as the Baghdad base for Al Jazeera, with six reporters, as well as cameramen and technical support staff.
          In a second incident in Baghdad this same morning, the nearby home serving as the office of another Arab satellite channel, Abu Dhabi Television, is also hit, by small arms fire and a tank shell, as, from the roof, its crew films two US Abrams tanks positioned on a bridge over the Tigris river. The two TV cameras in use are the only casualties there.
    2003 Sa'id al-Arbid, a senior commander of Izz el-Deen al-Qassam (armed wing of Hamas); his deputy Ashraf al-Halabi; and Hamas activist Amro Nasser, in the Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City, after sundown, in a car hit by two of three missiles fired by an Israeli F-16 plane; a bystander, killed by the missile that misses the car and also wounds 7 persons; then 4 civilians in the crowd that gathered, into which Israeli Apache attack helicopters fire two missiles, which also wound some 40 persons.
    Sgt. Robinson Sgt. Weiss2002 Israelis Staff Sergeant Matanya Robinson, 22, and Sergeant Shmuel Weiss, 19, in attack on the Palestinian Jenin refugee camp. [< Robinson ||| Weiss >]
    2001 Tayseer el-Omolee, 45, Palestinian, by three bullets received in cross fire between a Palestinian security office and an Israeli army base, near Beitunia on the outskirts of Ramallah.
    2001 Mamoun Freij, 37, Palestinian collaborator of Israel, shot in his shop in Tulkarem, West Bank, by three masked men of the Asfah Forces Unit 77, a group associated with Fatah.
    2000: Keoki Santos, 24, Staff Sgt. William Bryan Nelson, and 17 other US Marines in the crash of an Osprey MV-22 tilt-rotor aircraft in southern Arizona. On 11 December 2000, another Osprey would crash, killing 4 Marines. In 2001, Marine officers would be found to have falsified records to conceal the lack of adequate testing and maintenance of the Ospreys.
    Joyce Carnegie1999 Joyce Carnegie, policewoman, murdered       ^top^
         Officer Joyce Carnegie [photo >] was working solo in the patrol division of the City of Orange, Essex County, NJ.. A report of multiple armed robberies was transmitted on the south side of Orange. Officer Carnegie responded to an area of her sector that would serve as a likely escape route. Just before 21:00, near Rah-Rah's go-go bar at South Day Street and Freeway Drive West, near Route 280, she observed an individual fitting the description of the suspect. As she exits her vehicle the man produced a Tec 9 and fires at her, striking her in the abdomen and subsequently firing another fatal round to her head. A Drug Enforcement Administration agent, who happens to go by, notices the police car with its lights on and no officer. He gets out of his car and sees the officer down.He rushes her to the shock-trauma unit at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-University Hospital in Newark, where she dies at 21:25.
          A multi agency manhunt was launched.
    Police mistakenly arrest innocent man, and so brutalize him that he dies within the hour.
         On 11 April, Orange officers, Lt. Thomas Smith, 36, of Caldwell; his brother Brian Smith, 30, of Orange; Tyrone Payton, 34, of Orange; Paul Carpinteri Jr., 36, of Orange; and Andrew Garth, 31, of Bloomfield, think that Earl Faison, 27, of East Orange, an aspiring rap artist, resembles a police artist's sketch. They arrest him, douse him with pepper spray, and beat him severely while in their custody. Faison dies within an hour of being stopped by the police.
    State refuses to prosecute the killer cops.
    Feds can charge them only with civil rights violation, so they are let off lightly.

          On 19 December 2000, a federal jury convicted the five Orange police officers. The verdict came on the second day of deliberations after a six-week trial. The suspect, Earl Faison, died in police custody less than an hour after being arrested on 11 April 1999. The officers were charged with violating his civil rights, not with causing his death, which medical experts attributed to an asthma attack. Prosecutors maintained the attack was exacerbated by pepper spray that was shot directly into Faison’s face. Police Blame Victim Defense lawyers, however, said the attack was brought on by Faison’s flight from and violent struggle with the arresting officer, who was not charged. They also say there is no physical evidence of pepper spray being administered to him. A federal indictment was handed up in June against Lt. Thomas Smith, 37, of Caldwell, who retired last year; Officers Paul Carpinteri Jr., 36, of Orange; Andrew Garth, 31, of Bloomfield; Tyrone Payton, 34, of Orange; and Brian Smith, 30, of Orange. The Smiths are brothers. The active officers have been suspended without pay. All have been free on bond. All were convicted of one count of conspiring to deprive Faison of his civil rights by striking Faison after he was handcuffed or trying to conceal the assault. Roll Call of Convictions All but Carpinteri also faced a single charge of depriving Faison of his civil rights: Payton was acquitted of kicking Faison while the suspect was lying handcuffed on the sidewalk. Thomas Smith and Andrew Garth were convicted of hitting Faison when the handcuffed man was lying in the back of a police car. Brian Smith was convicted of shooting pepper spray at close range into Faison’s face while the handcuffed man was lying in a police station stairwell. Each count carries up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
    Dropped Charges, Lingering Scars
          Before summations began the previous week, US District Judge John C. Lifland dropped several charges. He ruled that Payton and Carpinteri did not aid others in violating Faison’s rights when they tossed him in the back of a police car because they did not know others would then allegedly beat Faison in the car. Each had faced one count of depriving civil rights on that. Lifland also ruled that Payton, the only black officer on trial, did not menace Faison with a gun at the Orange police station, because Faison was already unconscious and so could not feel threatened. Assistant US Attorney Patty Shwartz had told the jury that Payton, who was close to Joyce Carnegie, pointed his service handgun at Faison’s head, and said, “Why did you have to do it? Why did you have to kill her?”
         Faison was one of four black men detained in the Carnegie’s death in the days following her shooting. The shoddy investigation into her death brought additional criticism of already embattled Essex County Prosecutor Patricia A. Hurt, who was later removed.
         Condell Woodson, 25, a career criminal, later confessed to the crime and plea-bargained a life sentence without possibility of parole.
          Federal authorities had no basis for a murder charge in Faison’s death because the death did not take place on federal property. The state attorney general’s office said its investigation concluded there was insufficient evidence of homicide.
    1990 Ryan White, 18, hemophiliac AIDS sufferer.
          At 13, all-American kid and honors student Ryan White learned he had a deadly disease with no cure. AIDS. He had contracted it through the blood products he received for his hemophilia. His home town of Kokomo, Indiana, responded -- not with compassion, but with fear and hate. When Ryan White was told he couldn't return to school, he decided to fight back. He went to court and won. But that was only the beginning of his fight to educate the public about AIDS. This young teenager dared to speak out when others kept silent. And the whole world listened."
         On December 26, 1984, Ryan's mother, Jeanne, told him that he had AIDS, which he contracted through a transfusion of tainted blood used in treating his hemophilia. He was one of many victims of discrimination because of his problem: A bullet was fired into his house. Children called him names. Adults refused to shake hands with the White family at church. Ryan stated, "A lot of people would back away from me on the street...or they'd run from me".
          When Ryan started school in 1985, classmates "taunted and ostracized him. Frightened parents asked that Ryan be kept out of school and, as a result, officials prevented him from attending classes. Ryan fought to continue his education by pursuing a court case, which he ultimately won, against the school board.
          The fight to stay in school pushed the sometimes reluctant teen into the limelight, but transformed him into an eloquent spokesman for AIDS sufferers. Ryan still felt uncomfortable in Kokomo, though. The community of Cicero, Indiana, welcomed Ryan with open arms after his move there.
         The Ryan White Foundation was started in 1991 by Jeanne White and Phil Donahue.
    1986  Yukito Okada, de 18 años, cantante pop, suicidio en Tokio. Esto provocará más de 20 suicidios japoneses en los días siguientes.
    1981 General Omar Bradley, 88, last US 5-star general, in NY       ^top^
          General Bradley was commander of the 12th Army Group which ensured Allied victory over Germany. Born on February 12, 1893, Bradley was a graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point (Dwight Eisenhower was a classmate). During the opening days of World War II, he commanded the Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia, and was later placed at the head of the II Corps for the North African campaign, proving instrumental in the fall of Tunisia and the surrender of over 250'000 Axis soldiers.
    Click for full Picasso self-portrait      Bradley led forces in the invasion and capture of Sicily and joined his troops in the Normandy invasion, which culminated in the symbolic liberation of Paris by Bradley's troops. He was promoted to commander of the US 12th Army Group, the largest force ever placed under an American group commander, and led successful operations in France, Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, and Czechoslovakia.
          After the war, Bradley was chosen as the first chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and ultimately promoted to the position of General of the Army in 1950. In 1951, he published his reminiscences of the war in A Soldier's Story. He retired in 1953. Karl Malden portrayed him in the 1970 film Patton.
    1973 Pablo Picasso, 91, artist, near Mougins, France MORE AT “PICASSO 0408” with reproductions of his paintings
    1970: 31 school children, and other civilians, in Bahr Al Bakr School in the village of Houssaneya in Sharkia Province, Egypt, in attack by Israeli Phantom jets. Another 36 school children are injured, and also other civilians.
    1928 Madeleine Jeanne Coll Lemaire, French artist born in 1845.
    1925 Frank Baldwin, 86, inventor of the arithmometer.       ^top^
          Baldwin was born on 10 April 1838. In 1875, he patented the arithmometer, a desktop calculating machine. Although economic factors made it impractical to manufacture Baldwin's apparatus, his later inventions became standard business machines until the dawn of the electronic computer. In 1912, working with business partner Jay Monroe, Baldwin perfected a data processing machine called the Monroe calculator, which was patented in 1913. Baldwin served as research director of the Monroe Calculating Machine Company until he died.
    1919 Lóránd Eötvös, Hungarian physicist and mathematician born on 27 July 1848. He invented the Eötvös balance and showed that, to a high degree of accuracy, gravitational mass and inertial mass are equivalent.
    1916 Eric Scroeder, and a policeman, by Bob Burman's car (with Scroeder riding as mechanic) crashing through a barrier into the crowd at the last Boulevard Race in Corona, California. 5 spectators are badly injured. The boulevard race started in 1913 on a 3-mile street circuit. This ended racing in inland Southern California for almost 40 years.
    1899 Martha Place, first woman in the electric chair.       ^top^
          The electric chair, ostensibly designed to be less barbarous than hanging, was first used in the execution of William Kemmler in 1890. The use of electricity as a means of capital punishment had arisen in the 1880s after the governor of New York claimed that hanging was a method from the dark ages and that electricity was the modern, scientific way to kill people. People were beginning to feel squeamish about the public spectacle of hangings at that time. The electric chair also had the advantage of taking up less space than the gallows. As electricity was being developed and touted by early supporters for commercial uses in the United States, its energy-source competitors attempted to raise questions about its safety. They hoped that its association with executions would scare the public away from using electricity. It didn't quite work out that way.
          The controversy surrounding the method of execution would arise once more by the end of the century, when most US states would have discontinued the use of the electric chair in favor of lethal injection. Hoping it would scare the public away from injecting themselves with illegal drugs?
    1816 Saint Julie Billiart, foundress and first superior-general of the Congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame of Namur.
    1794 (19 germinal an II) Condamnés à mort par la Révolution:       ^top^
    Par le tribunal révolutionnaire de Paris:
    AGRON Jeanne veuve Henique de Chevilly dite Marsily, domiciliée, à Paris; comme contre-révolutionnaire, le 19 germinal, an 2.
    BORRY Angélique, femme de Pierre Antoine Bonfant, âgée de 50 ans, née à Douay, département du Nord, femme de chambre de la femme Hervilly, ex noble, domicilié à Daignecourt, département de la Somme, comme convaincue d'avoir entretenu des intelligences avec les ennemis de la République.
    BROVHET Antoine (dit Saint Prest), âgé de 25 ans, né à Paris, ex noble et garde du dernier tyran roi, domicilié à Gray, canton de la Ferté-Bernard, département de la Sarthe, comme conspiration, pour avoir conspiré dans la journée du 10 août 1792.
    LARDIN Pierre Saturnin, vigneron, âgé de 31 ans, né à Nogent-sur-Marne, domicilié à Montreuil, département de la Seine, comme contre-révolutionnaire.
    DAUQUECHIN Louise Marie, femme Lardin, ex noble, âgée de 27 ans, née à Montreuil, département de la Seine, le 19 germinale an 2, comme conspiratrice.
    DAUQUECHIN Jean Pierre (dit Dorval), ex noble, officier municipal, âgé de 40 ans, domicilié à Montreuil, département de la Seine, comme contre-révolutionnaire.
    DOIRY Angélique, femme Bonfaut, femme de chambre, domiciliée à Daignecourt, département de la Somme, comme conspiratrice.
    GAURON Joseph Louis, ex curé, domicilié à Nigron, département de l'Indre et Loire, par le tribunal révolutionnaire séant à Paris, comme contre-révolutionnaire.
    GEMPTEL Guillaume, cuisinier, âgé de 26 ans, né à Bresse, domicilié à Paris, département de la Seine, comme marchand d'argent; ce qui établissait entre l'assignat et le numéraire une différence tendante à discréditer les assignats.
    GRINDON Joseph Louis, âgé de 27 ans, né à Limeray, département d'Indre et Loire, ex curé constitutionnel de la commune de Négron, même département, comme convaincu d'avoir en 1792 et 1793 tenu des propos tendant à provoquer la dissolution de la représentation nationale, et des autorités constituées.
    LARDIN Pierre Saturnin, vigneron, âgé de 31 ans, né à Nogent-sur-Marne, domicilié à Montreuil, département de la Seine, comme contre-révolutionnaire.
    Commes brigands de la Vendée, par la commission militaire de Nantes:
    LESAGE Antoine, domicilié à Nantes, département de la Loire Inférieure.
          ... domiciliés à Bouguenais, département de la Loire Inférieure:
    CHATAIGNIER Isabeau, comme complice des brigands de la Vendée.
    BOUGIS Hervé, marchand chiffetier, domicilié à St-James, canton d'Avranches, département de la Manche, comme contre-révolutionnaire, par la commission militaire séante à Grandville.
    OLIVIER Anne, femme de Herné Mougisa, domiciliée à St James, département de la Manches, par la commission militaire de Grandville, même département, comme contre-révolutionnaire.
    BROUMET Rose, marchand, domiciliée à Revel, département de Haute Garonne, comme voleuse avec récidive, par le tribunal criminel dudit département
    DUBAYLE Laurent, ex vicaire, domicilié à Castelnau, département des Landes, comme réfractaire à la loi, par le tribunal criminel dudit département.
    GOUGELET Jean, ex curé, domicilié à Chougy, département de la Marne, par le tribunal criminel dudit département, comme réfractaire.
    GUIZOT-GUIHOUX André François, homme de loi, domicilié à Nismes, département du Gard, par le tribunal criminel dudit département, comme conspirateur.
    MOULLÈ Nicolas, âgé de 24 ans, né à Manois (Haute Marne), hussard au 6° régiment, à Arras le 19 germinal an II
    PELON Jean Jacques, domicilié à Navial département de l’Aveyron, par la commission militaire d’Auxonne, comme émigré.
    VIGNERON Amable Firmin, ex carme, domicilié à Amiens, département de la Somme, comme réfractaire à la loi, par le tribunal criminel dudit département.
    1793 FERY François, cocher, domicilié à Bruz, département d’Ille-et-Vilaine, condamné à mort par le tribunal criminel dudit département comme contre-révolutionnaire.
    1703 Domenico Piola, Italian painter born in 1627. — more with links to images.
    1654 Lorenzo Garbieri “il Nepote”, Italian artist born in 1580. — more
    1461 Georg Peurbach, Austrian astronomer and mathematician born on 30 May 1423.
    1143 John II Byzantine emperor, in an accident
    0490 Saint Perpetuus (one of 3 possible dates for his death) 8th bishop of Tours
    0217 Caracalla [Marcus Aureiius Antoniius], Roman emperor.
    Births which occurred on an April 08:
    1991 New Cray supercomputer.       ^top^
          Cray Research presents a new supercomputer at a trade show in Japan, announcing it would focus on lower-priced supercomputers in the future. With the end of the Cold War, demand for supercomputers-largely used for military and scientific purposes-had declined dramatically.
    1944 Barbara Kingsolver, writer, near Annapolis, Maryland.       ^top^
          Kingsolver grew up in rural Kentucky. In 1962, when she was in second grade, her father, a doctor, took the family to Africa for a year, where he operated a medical clinic. The country had been granted its independence from Belgium two years earlier and was locked in civil war. Her experiences there grew into her bestselling novel The Poisonwood Bible (1998), which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. After graduating from DePauw University in Indiana, Kingsolver worked in Europe, then returned to the US, where she worked as a biologist and freelance journalist. Her first novel, The Bean Trees, was published in 1988, followed by Animal Dreams (1990) and Pigs in Heaven (1993). All three explore such social and political issues as feminism, environmentalism, and Indian tribal rights through stories about struggling women in the American Southwest. Kingsolver, a mother of two, lives in Tucson, Arizona, with her husband, an ornithologist, and has also published volumes of poetry and essays.
    1904 Sir John Hicks, English 1972-Nobel- Prize-winning economist who died on 20 May 1989.
    1903 Marshall Stone, US mathematician who died on 09 January 1989.
    1903 Aurel Friedrich Wintner, Hungarian US mathematician who died on 15 January 1958.
    1875 Albert I, King of the Belgians (1909-1934) and leader of Belgian army during World War I. He died on 17 February 1934.
    1867 Sir Arthur Ernest Streeton, Australian painter who died on 02 September 1943, specialized in Landscapes. MORE ON STREETON AT ART “4” APRIL with links to images.
    1866 Fritz Mackensen, German artist who died in 1953.
    1861 Irving Ramsey Wiles, US painter who died in 1941. — MORE ON DE WILES AT ART “4” APRIL with links to images.
    1859 Stanislaw Polian Wolski, Polish artist who died on 02 May 1894.
    1859 Edmund Husserl Germany, philosopher, founded Phenomenology
    1842 Elizabeth Bacon Custer, chronicler of the US West and wife of George Custer, in Monroe, Michigan. . Her diaries, recording the often harsh living conditions, later became the basis for her 1887 book, Tenting on the Plains. She wrote several books recounting the couple's life on the Plains, such as Boots and Saddles (1885) and Following the Guidon (1890). A year after she died in 1933 at the age of 90, the first critical reappraisal of Custer's career appeared with Frederic Van de Water's book The Glory Hunter.
    1830 Jean Antoine Bail, French artist who died in 1919.
    1766 First fire escape patented: wicker basket on a pulley and chain
    1652 Cape Town is founded.
    1631 Cornelis Janszoon de Heem, Dutch painter specialized in Still Life who died on 17 May 1695. — MORE ON DE HEEM AT ART “4” APRIL with links to images.
    1605 Lodewyk de Vadder, Flemish painter who died on 10 August 1655. — link to images.
    1605 Philip IV king of Spain and Portugal (1621-65)
    1460 Ponce de León, would search for fountain of youth and find Florida, 500 years later many retirees would do the same.
    --563 BC Prince Siddhartha, Gautama Buddha.       ^top^
          On this day, Buddhists celebrate the commemoration of the birth of Gautama Buddha , the founder of Buddhism, thought to have lived in India from 563 BC to 483 BC (as celebrated in Japan—Kambutsue). Actually, the Buddhist tradition that celebrates his birthday on April 8 originally placed his birth in the 11th century B.C., and it was not until the modern era that scholars determined that he was more likely born in the sixth century B.C., and possibly in May rather than April.
          According to the Tripitaka, which is recognized by scholars as the earliest existing record of the Buddha's life and discourses, Gautama Buddha was born as Prince Siddhartha, the son of the king of the Sakya people. The kingdom of the Sakyas was situated on the borders of present-day Nepal and India. Siddhartha's family was of the Gautama clan. His mother, Queen Mahamaya, gave birth to him in the park of Lumbini, in what is now southern Nepal. A pillar placed there in commemoration of the event by an Indian emperor in the third century BC still stands. At his birth, it was predicted that the prince would either become a great world monarch or a Buddha--a supremely enlightened teacher. The Brahmans told his father, King Suddhodana, that Siddhartha would become a ruler if he were kept isolated from the outside world. The king took pains to shelter his son from misery and anything else that might influence him toward the religious life. Siddhartha was brought up in great luxury, and he married and fathered a son.
          At age 29, he decided to see more of the world and began excursions off the palace grounds in his chariot. In successive trips, he saw an old man, a sick man, and a corpse, and since he had been protected from the miseries of aging, sickness, and death, his charioteer had to explain what they were. Finally, Siddhartha saw a monk, and, impressed with the man's peaceful demeanor, he decided to go into the world to discover how the man could be so serene in the midst of such suffering. Siddhartha secretly left the palace and became a wandering ascetic. He traveled south, where the centers of learning were, and studied meditation under the teachers Alara Kalama and Udraka Ramaputra. He soon mastered their systems, reaching high states of mystical realization, but was unsatisfied and went out again in search of nirvana, the highest level of enlightenment. For nearly six years, he undertook fasting and other austerities, but these techniques proved ineffectual and he abandoned them. After regaining his strength, he seated himself under a pipal tree at what is now Bodh Gaya in west-central India and promised not to rise until he had attained the supreme enlightenment.
          After fighting off Mara, an evil spirit who tempted him with worldly comforts and desires, Siddhartha reached enlightenment, becoming a Buddha at the age of 35. The Gautama Buddha then traveled to the deer park near Benares, India, where he gave his first sermon and outlined the basic doctrines of Buddhism. According to Buddhism, there are "four noble truths":
    (1) existence is suffering;
    (2) this suffering is caused by human craving;
    (3) there is a cessation of the suffering, which is nirvana;
    (4) nirvana can be achieved, in this or future lives, though the "eightfold path" of right views, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration.
          For the rest of his life, the Buddha taught and gathered disciples to his sangha, or community of monks. He died at age 80, telling his monks to continue working for their spiritual liberation by following his teachings. Buddhism eventually spread from India to Central and Southeast Asia, China, Korea, Japan, and, in the 20th century, to the West. Today, there are an estimated 350 million people in 100 nations who adhere to Buddhist beliefs and practices.
    Religious Observances Buddhist : Kambutsue, Buddha's birthday (Japan, Taiwan, Hawaii, Korea) / St Walter of Pontoise / Our Lady of Good Counsel / Saint Dionysius (Bishop of Corinth about 170) / Ang: William Augustus Muhlenberg, priest
    Palm Sunday in 1900, 1906, 1979, 1990, 2001, 2063, 2074, 2085, 2096.
    Good Friday in 1887, 1898, 1955, 1966, 1977, 2039, 2050, 2061, 2072, 2107, 2118.
    Easter Sunday in 1483, 1917, 1928, 2007, 2012, 2091.

    Thought for the day: “Behind every argument is someone`s ignorance.”
    updated Wednesday 07-Apr-2004 13:14 UT
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