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Thread: !!! On This Day In History !!!

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    Thumbs up !!! On This Day In History !!!


    Thursday, August 16th

    The 228th day of 2007.
    There are 137 days left in the year.
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    On Aug. 16, 1977, singer Elvis Presley died at Graceland Mansion in
    Memphis, Tenn., at age 42



    Elvis Presley, the first and greatest American rock-and-roll star, died yesterday at the age of 42. Mr. Presley, whose throaty baritone and blatant sexuality redefined popular music, was found unconscious in the bedroom of his home, called Graceland, in Memphis yesterday at 2:30 P.M.
    He was pronounced dead an hour later at Baptist Memorial Hospital, after doctors failed to revive him.
    Dr. Jerry Francisco, the Shelby County coroner, who conducted a two-hour examination of the body, said "preliminary autopsy findings" indicated that the cause of death was "cardiac arrhythmia," which a hospital spokesman defined as "an irregular and ineffective heart beat." The coroner was not immediately able to determine the cause of the "cardiac arrhythmia."
    Mr. Presley was once the object of such adulation that teen-age girls screamed and fainted at the sight of him. He was also denounced for what was considered sexually suggestive conduct on stage. Preachers inveighed against him in sermons and parents forbade their children to watch him on television. In his first television appearance on the Ed Sullivan show, his act, which might be thought of as tame by today's standards, was considered by the broadcasters to be so scandalous that the cameras showed him only from the waist up, lest his wiggling hips show.
    Mr. Presley's early hit songs are an indelible part of the memories of anyone who grew up in the 50's. "Hound Dog," "Heartbreak Hotel" and "Blue Suede Shoes" were teen-age anthems. Like Frank Sinatra in the decade before and the Beatles a decade later, Mr. Presley was more than a singer--he was a phenomenon, with 45 gold records that sold more than one million copies each.
    Mr. Presley was a show-business legend before he was 25 years old. At the age of 30 he was the highest-paid performer in the history of the business. He made 28 films, virtually every one of them frivolous personality vehicles and nearly all of them second-rated at best, but they gross millions.
    In recent years, Mr. Presley, who used to carry about 175 pounds on a 6-foot frame, had been plagued with overweight.
    A recently published book called "Elvis, What Happened?" by three of his former bodyguards alleged that the singer was given to using amphetamines.
    History of Mild Hypertension
    Dr. Francisco said yesterday that Mr. Presley had a history of mild hypertension and that he had found evidence of coronary artery disease. Both of these, the coroner said, could have been "contributing causes" in Mr. Presley's death.
    "But the specific cause may not be known for a week or two pending lab studies," he said, adding, "It is possible in cases like this that the specific cause will never be known."
    A hospital spokesman said that the coroner is required by law to conduct an examination if the case of death is not immediately apparent.
    Responding to repeated questions about whether the autopsy had revealed any signs of drug abuse, the coroner said the only drugs he had detected were those that had been prescribed by Mr. Presley's personal physician for hypertension and a blockage of the colon, for which he had been hospitalized twice in 1975.
    Dr. George Nichopoulos, Mr. Presley's personal physician told the Associated Press that Mr. Presley was last seen alive shortly after 9 A.M. Dr. Nichopoulos said that Mr. Presley had been taking a number of appetite depressants, but the physician said they had not contributed to his death.
    Elvis Aron Presley was born in a two-room house in Tupelo, Miss., on Jan. 8, 1935. During his childhood, he appeared with his parents, Gladys and Vernon Presley, as a popular singing trio at camp meetings, revivals and church conventions.
    The family moved to Memphis when Mr. Presley was 13. He attended L. O. Humes High School and worked as an usher in a movie theater. After graduation, he got a job driving a truck for $35 a week. In 1953, Mr. Presley recorded his first song and paid $4 for the privilege; he took the one copy home and played it over and over.
    A shrewd song promotor called "Colonel" Thomas A. Parker was impressed by the early records and took over the management of Mr. Presley's career. Mr. Presley toured in rural areas under the sobriquet "The Hill Billy Cat." Colonel Parker, a character of P. T. Barnum proportions, followed the credo, "Don't explain it, just sell it." He once observed, "I consider it my patriotic duty to keep Elvis up in the 90 percent tax bracket."
    When Colonel Parker went to negotiate with 20th Century-Fox on a film deal that would be Mr. Presley's screen debut, the studio executives dwelled on the singer's youth and inexperience. "Would $25,000 be all right?" one executive finally asked. Colonel Parker replied: "That's fine for me. Now, how about the boy?"
    "Heartbreak Hotel," Mr. Presley's first song hit, was released by RCA in January 1956. A blood- stirring dirge about love and loneliness, it burned up the jukeboxes and eventually sold two million copies.
    A phenomenal string of hit songs followed, and Elvis Presley fan clubs sprouted all over the world; membership at one time numbered 400,000.
    In 1957, he went to Hollywood to make his first film, "Love Me Tender." It opened to unanimous jeers from the critics and grossed between five and six times what it cost to make.
    His later films were conducted equally obnoxious by cinEastes. One critic remarked of "Jailhouse Rock" that Mr. Presley had been "sensitively cast as a slob." Mr. Presley responded, "That's the way the mop flops."
    Drafted Into the Army
    In the spring of 1958, Mr. Presley was drafted into the Army as a private, an event that caused as much stir as an average Super Bowl. "The Pelvis," as he was known, was stationed in West Germany for two years and was given an ecstatic welcome home by his fans.
    In 1967, Mr. Presley married Priscilla Beaulieu, the daughter of an Air Force colonel. They met during his military service, and had a daughter named Lisa Marie, born on Feb. 1, 1968. Although concrete details of their private life remained sketchy through his deliberate design, the fan magazines were full of reports of marital difficulties, and the couple separated in February 1972. They were divorced in Santa Monica, Calif., in 1973.
    Mr. Presley was said to have been a shy person, and rarely granted interviews. He seems to have been scarred by some of the early heavy publicity, and returned from his stint in the Army more withdrawn than he had been.
    In the early 60's, he made no personal or even television appearances, but earned $5 million a year simply by cutting a few records and making three movies a year. He made a picture called "Harem
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    Holiday" in 18 days and was paid $1 million.
    In the 70's Mr. Presley appeared with some frequency in Las Vegas, Nev., nightclubs. Although he sometimes appeared bloated, he was still an excellent showman and audiences always loved him.
    In his nightclub act, he would occasionally parody himself. "This lip used to curl easier," he joked, referring to his one-time trademark of singing with a sneer.
    It was believed that Mr. Presley neither smoked nor drank, but according to the book by his former aides, he depended heavily on stimulant and depressant drugs. He is also said to have been depressed by the book's "iconoclastic" treatment of him.
    He was a generous and often sentimental man. He deeply mourned the death of his mother, and kept a suite for his grandmother, Minnie Presley, at his home in Memphis.
    The house, Graceland, was an 18-room $1 million mansion with a jukebox at the poolside. Mr. Presley surrounded himself with a retinue of young men called the Memphis Mafia, who served as bodyguards, valets and travel agents. He had a passion for cars, especially Cadillacs, which he tended to acquire in multiples.
    Preferred Night Hours
    Mr. Presley also gave Cadillacs away with startling frequency. He would from time to time see some stranger, nose pressed against a car-showroom window, and invite the person to go inside and pick out the color he or she liked best. Mr. Presley would then pay the entire cost of purchase on the spot.
    Mr. Presley was a nocturnal person who thrived when most others were asleep.
    Maurice Elliott, a vice president and spokesman for Baptist Hospital, said Mr. Presley had gone to sleep yesterday morning at 6 A.M. Some time during the evening or early morning hours, Mr. Elliott said Mr. Presley visited a dentist. Then, between 4 A.M. and 5:30 A.M. he played racket ball on the court of his mansion, the hospital official reported.
    When Mr. Presley was a patient in the hospital, Mr. Elliott recalled, "he would put tin foil over the windows. He would normally not get up until noon or thereafter, and not go to bed until 2, 3, 4 A.M."
    Mr. Presley's movie career ended in 1970, and in that year he made a successful television special. Critics remarked on how little he had aged. He kept in shape for years with karate, in which he had a black belt. But his penchant for peanut butter and banana sandwiches washed down with soda finally caught up. In one of his last appearances, his trademark skintight pants split open.
    After his death became known yesterday, radio stations around the country began playing nothing but old Presley records. Mr. Presley recorded about 40 albums, many of them soundtracks of his films. They include "Loving You," "King Creole," "Frankie and Johnny," "Paradise, Hawaiian Style," "Clambake" and "Speedway."
    At his death, Mr. Presley had been an indelible part of the nation's musical consciousness for 20 years.
    The funeral is being handled by the Memphis Funeral Home. A spokesman said late yesterday that arrangements had not been completed.
    Mr. Presley is survived by his 9-year-old daughter, father and grandmother. His father and his daughter were reportedly at Graceland at the time of his death.
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    On Aug. 16, 1913, Menachem Begin, the prime minister of Israel from 1977 to 1983, was born. Following his death on March 9, 1992, his obituary appeared in The Times

    Menachem Begin, the Israeli Prime Minister who made peace with Egypt, lived much of his life in the opposition. A Jewish underground leader before Israel gained independence in 1948, he openly fought the established Zionist leadership of the struggle against British rule.
    Then for nearly three decades, he headed Israel's major opposition party.
    Ultimately and to many Israelis, surprisingly, his minority bloc ousted the Labor Party, which had governed continuously in the three decades since statehood, and Mr. Begin, as party leader, became Prime Minister. He was to govern an ever more divided and troubled nation.
    Mr. Begin, who led Israel from May 1977 until he resigned as Prime Minister in 1983, stretched the national mood from great pride to deep dismay. He guided the nation to a peace treaty with Egypt, the first such pact with an Arab country. But he also presided over a bitterly divisive war against Palestinian guerrillas in Lebanon.
    If the treaty with Egypt, which brought Mr. Begin a shared 1978 Nobel Peace Prize with President Anwar el-Sadat, represented a high point in his political leadership, the war in Lebanon in 1982 and the stalemate that followed, with its steady toll of dead and wounded, were its low point.
    Started with the announced aim of evicting Palestinian guerrillas from operating too close to Israel's border with Lebanon, it brought Israeli troops to the outskirts of Beirut. It enmeshed Israel in the lethal sectarian politics of Lebanon, and led to a costly and indecisive occupation.
    The invasion in June 1982 was seen by Israelis at first as a justified response to years of border harassment. But when the Israelis advanced to the outskirts of Beirut and bombed and shelled the Lebanese capital for 10 weeks, criticism and anguish arose.
    Massacres at Camps Deeply Affect Israelis
    Dissent reached a peak in the fall of 1982, when Lebanese Christian militia units entered Palestinian refugee districts at Sabra and Shatila that were supposedly under Israeli guard and killed hundreds of people.
    The massacre led to an independent investigation ordered by the Israeli Government, which concluded that Israeli troops watched the killing from a distance and did nothing to stop it. Mr. Begin survived in office, but was shaken politically.
    His medical problems -- he had suffered three heart attacks -- became an increasing burden. And in November 1982, his wife of 43 years, Aliza, died while he was on a trip to the United States. Thereafter, Mr. Begin became increasingly listless, participating little in debate in Parliament, taking less and less interest in politics and limiting his public appearances. On Aug. 28, 1983, he announced that he planned to quit and on Sept. 15 he formally resigned as Prime Minister.
    Mr. Begin became something of a recluse. He lived with his daughter Leah in an apartment near the Jerusalem residence of his son, Benjamin, now a member of the Israeli Parliament and a leader in the Likud Party.
    He was rarely seen in public and left his house only for rare visits to a hospital and memorial services for his wife. Yehiel Kadishai, a close friend and longtime adviser, visited daily and enabled Mr. Begin to keep up with correspondence. Mr. Begin also received visits from a small circle of friends.
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    When he became Prime Minister, Mr. Begin represented both political and stylistic change. He brought a new demeanor to the Prime Minister's office with his remote manner, a sharp contrast to the earthy and informal style of his Labor Party predecessors. Unlike the bulk of Israeli politicians, he was seldom seen other than in suit and tie.
    Land and Ideology; Legacy and Withdrawal
    And he moved the country in a distinctly different ideological direction. Hours after his election victory, he visited an Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank, which had been captured in the 1967 war, declaring it part of "liberated Israel." Labor Governments had avoided such declarations, but to Mr. Begin the West Bank was Judea and Samaria, Jewish land from biblical times.
    His Government did not formally annex the West Bank, as it did the Golan Heights, a Syrian promontory captured in 1967 after its long use as a base for shelling northern Israel. But under Mr. Begin, the West Bank began to be heavily settled by Israelis.
    He was also to return some Arab land taken in battle, a strip of Syrian territory won in 1973 and a town on the Golan Heights taken in 1967.
    But the most significant territorial withdrawal, and for Mr. Begin the most personally wrenching, was in the Sinai Peninsula, which Israel returned to Egypt in three stages from 1979 through 1982. Jewish settlements in Sinai were abandoned despite intense protest by their residents.
    The Sinai withdrawal was the last stage of a process that began with Mr. Sadat's landmark visit to Jerusalem in November 1977, six months after Mr. Begin took office.
    The Egyptian President, frustrated by the intransigence of Arab neighbors in the dealing with Israel, had hinted that he was prepared to go it alone in seeking peace and had said he would even travel to even Jerusalem, in pursuit of that goal. Mr. Begin responded with an invitation.
    On a warm November evening, the wheels of the presidential aircraft, Egypt 01, touched down at Ben-Gurion International Airport. Mr. Begin stepped forward and said: "I am waiting for you, Mr. President, and all the ministers are waiting for you."
    Sixteen months of arduous negotiations followed, including the marathon talks at Camp David, Md., with the intercession of President Jimmy Carter. The process culminated in the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty signed in Washington on March 26, 1979.
    But Mr. Begin's wariness toward the Arabs, on behalf of what he considered Israel's vital security interests, remained undiminished. In June 1981, he ordered the bombing of an Iraqi nuclear reactor near Baghdad. This was followed in July by two weeks of bombing in Lebanon.
    In December, he pushed through Parliament a measure to annex the Golan Heights. This drew sharp criticism from Washington and other capitals, but Mr. Begin held his ground. His relations with the United States included many other difficult moments. When the Reagan Administration suspended a strategic cooperation pact with Israel and imposed financial sanctions because of the Golan annexation, Mr. Begin said Israel was being treated like a "vassal state."
    His relations with Egypt also changed. After Mr. Sadat was shot to death by Muslim extremists in October 1981, his successor, President Hosni Mubarak, seemed determined to calm the hostility toward Egypt in the rest of the Arab world because of its peace treaty with Israel. Relations between Egypt and Israel cooled, especially after the invasion of Lebanon the following year.
    The 1977 visit to Jerusalem by Mr. Sadat and the subsequent treaty gave Mr. Begin one of the great satisfactions of his career. He explained his feelings in a forceful and eloquent speech in Parliament that also addressed deeper concerns.
    "Why is this peace treaty so important?" he asked. "This is the first peace treaty Israel ever signed, the first peace treaty after five wars in which we have lost 12,000 of our people. Our aim, our yearning and our dream is to smash this helix of hatred. We must sign this treaty because it is a human act of the highest degree."
    At the White House signing, Mr. Begin said it was "the third greatest day of my life" -- after the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 and the unification of Jerusalem in the 1967 war.
    The Israeli leader was seeking to place the signing into the historical context of his life, a life that until 1977 had been spent almost entirely in opposition -- to the mainstream of Jews in his native Poland, to both the German and Russian invaders of his homeland in World War II, to the established leaders of the Jewish military struggle against British rule in Palestine and to the decades of Labor Party government in Israel.
    A Zionism Forged By Bible and Holocaust
    He believed fiercely, and contentiously, that the Jews had a right to a national homeland and that it should range over the land of their biblical forebears. This was Zion and he was a dedicated Zionist, if a follower of the Zionist Revisionist organization founded by Vladimir Jabotinsky.
    Mr. Begin was marked forever by the Holocaust, which had wiped out all vestiges of his former life in Poland. The pursuit of those goals was a thread that ran through his life. He was to he spend much time explaining and trying to justify what some considered extreme actions and statements.
    The best-known of those occurred in 1946, when Irgun Zvai Leumi, the underground terrorist faction he headed during the final years of the British mandate in Palestine, blew up a wing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, the headquarters of the British administrators of Palestine. The attack killed 90 people, among them Jewish and Arab employees as well as British officials.
    The most infamous incident was the Irgun's attack on an Arab village, Deir Yassin, in April 1948, in which more than 200 men, women and children were killed.
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    Two months after that assault, the freighter Altalena, loaded with arms and ammunition and 900 men recruited by the Irgun, came under fire from regular Jewish forces loyal to David Ben-Gurion, by then Prime Minister, who feared that the new Government of Israel might be overthrown or that civil war might break out after the fight against the Arabs was over.
    Another, and sometimes rival underground faction, the Stern Gang, was headed by Yitzhak Shamir, who would in time become Mr. Begin's Foreign Minister, and Prime Minister on his resignation.
    Mr. Begin struggled fiercely against Mr. Ben-Gurion, the mainstream Zionist leader and head of the regular Jewish force in the fight for nationhood. After independence in 1948, Mr. Ben-Gurion became Israel's first Prime Minister, and their conflict exploded frequently.
    From Coalition To Opposition
    From 1967 to 1970, Mr. Begin served in a war coalition, then withdrew when Israel began to consider an American proposal that would have linked withdrawal from the occupied territories with peace. In August 1970 he returned to the political opposition.
    Mr. Begin, a brilliant speaker and writer, was also an enigma: often soft-spoken, mild- mannered and personable. Yet this slight but firmly built man, who dressed in gray and never lost the hand-kissing tradition of his early years in Poland, was described as having the flinty looks of a movie terrorist.
    There was no doubt about his dramatic flair. Once during a speech in the immigrant quarter of Jerusalem, he began to describe the "guarantees" for Israel that were being offered by American diplomats seeking to encourage Arab negotiations. His voice rose and his manner grew intense. He pointed higher and higher, as if searching for something, until he had everyone looking skyward.
    "Guarantees, guarantees -- maybe there you will find guarantees," he said, adding, as he pointed to the ground, "Not here!"
    Early in 1977, with the Labor Government riddled by dissension and tainted, in the view of some, by corruption, Mr. Begin finally achieved the political recognition that had so long eluded him. Though weary from a heart attack two months before the election, he emerged with an upset victory and was asked to form a government.
    Several things brought about his victory: The Labor Party had become increasingly identified with worsening inflation, frequent strikes and a stagnant economy. Its scandals led to the creation of the Democratic Movement for Change, which drew a valuable 15 seats of 120 from Labor in the election, and briefly joined the new Likud coalition.
    In addition, a "second Israel" of Jews from North Africa and the Middle East, the poor of the cities and new towns, had grown to become the nation's majority, and these people were attracted to Mr. Begin. Despite his European origin, they felt that he, too, had been outside the establishment, and he promised greater militancy toward the Arabs.
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    Mr. Begin retained power in 1981 after his right-wing Likud bloc emerged with a one-seat lead over the Labor alignment of Shimon Peres. His margin of success came from the religious parties, which enabled him to form a fragile governing coalition.
    The Old Country Proved a Cruel Home
    Menachem Wolfovitch Begin was born on Aug. 16, 1913, in Brest, when it was still part of the czarist Russian Empire. The area was returned to Poland in 1921, occupied by the Soviet Union in 1939 soon after Hitler's attack on Poland, overrun by the Nazis after Hitler turned on Stalin and attacked the Soviet Union in 1941, and ceded to Moscow in 1945.
    Zionism was central to Mr. Begin's childhood. His father, Dov Zeev Begin, had been educated in Berlin and traveled widely for his father, a timber merchant. Dov Begin's travels brought him into contact with Jewish nationalists, the Zionist "heretics," as they were called by the traditionally minded.
    Menachem, the youngest of three children, developed an early interest in oratory and made his first speech at the age of 10, in a mixture of Hebrew and Yiddish.
    At 15 he joined Betar, the Zionist Revisionists' youth movement, and was trained in the use of weapons. Ten years later, with a law degree from Warsaw University, he headed Betar, which by then had 70,000 members in 600 Polish communities.
    "My friends and I labored to educate a generation to be prepared not only to toil for the rebuilding of a Jewish state but also to fight for it, suffer for it and, if needs be, die for it," he said, paraphrasing Jabotinsky.
    Mr. Begin fled from Warsaw ahead of the advancing Germans in 1939 and was in Polish-controlled Vilna in 1940 when the Russians occupied the city, now Vilnius, Lithuania. He obtained a visa to go to Palestine but gave it to a friend he thought would have more trouble.
    The Russians soon arrested him, accusing him of being a Zionist and a British agent, and sent him to Siberia. His wife, whom he had married a year earlier, went on to Palestine, convinced that she could do nothing to help her husband. Later, she became quietly influential in his political life while remaining out of the limelight. Besides their son, Benjamin, they had two other children -- Hasia and Leah -- and eight grandchildren.
    In later years Mr. Begin recalled the interrogations of his Siberian incarceration. They turned on the Russian Revolution, on Britain and Zionism, on Herzl and Jabotinsky.
    "From my early youth," Mr. Begin said later, "I had been taught by my father, who went to his death at Nazi hands voicing his faith in God and singing 'Hatikvah,' that we Jews were to return to the land of Israel -- not go, travel or come, but return."
    It was a tenet that was to sustain him throughout his life. Nearly four decades later, visiting a Jewish settlement in the West Bank, he would chide reporters for calling the area occupied ("These are liberated territories"), for asking if they would be annexed ("You annex foreign land, not your own country"), and for references to the West Bank ("Say Judea and Samaria," the territories' biblical names).
    Though sentenced to eight years in a labor camp, he was released by the Soviet Union in 1941 in an agreement with the Polish government-in-exile that freed 1.5 million Poles. Mr. Begin found his sister, the family's only other survivor, then joined the Free Polish Army. That took him to Iran and to Palestine.
    Having learned English by listening to the BBC, he served in the British Army in Palestine as a conscripted interpreter until the end of 1943. Then he took over the leadership of the Irgun underground in the battle for a Zionist homeland.
    Wanted by British With a $50,000 Bounty
    By 1946 the British authorities were conducting an intensive hunt for the man they described as the "grim-faced, bespectacled Menachem Begin," placing a price of $8,000 on his head. Later, it was raised to $50,000.
    The Irgun, often working with weapons and explosives purchased from the Arabs, set about breaking the grip of colonial rule. Mr. Begin, in his book "The Revolt," explained the group's actions this way:
    "The arrest of British officers in order to secure the annulment of a death 'sentence,' the arrest of more officers which did not prevent the murder of our captive comrades, the whipping of officers in retaliation for the whipping of our young soldiers, hangings in retaliation for hangings."
    In the first elections for Parliament, in January 1949, Mapai, the Labor Party, emerged with 44 seats; the left-wing Mapam won 15, the religious bloc, 16, and Mr. Begin's Herut Party, 14.
    Leading the opposition, Mr. Begin called for retaliatory raids against Arab irregulars. He fought bitterly against ties with West Germany and was suspended from Parliament for organizing demonstrations.
    He was forever demanding apologies in Parliament and being asked to apologize in turn, sometimes for personal remarks and sometimes for policy statements. He would demand preventive war, for example, only to hear an opponent say that "anyone who does so is a criminal against the Jewish nation." A policy dispute would become personal.
    By the time of the 1956 war with Egypt, Mr. Begin's party was the second strongest. With the Israeli move into Sinai, the party lost much of the stigma of extremism, for the war was viewed by many Israelis as the expression of a policy long advocated by Herut.
    In 1973, Mr. Begin broke an embargo on domestic criticism of the Government's action in failing to accurately gauge Arab intentions leading to the war. The Arab attack on Yom Kippur, he said, only underscored the need to retain occupied territories.
    He resisted every pullback agreement, and in 1975 derided Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger for "telling us to trade territory for legitimacy."
    "We don't need legitimacy," Mr. Begin said. "We exist. Therefore we are legitimate."
    Although Mr. Begin did in time exchange territory, giving up the Sinai and withdrawing Jewish settlements in return for peace with Egypt, he began as Prime Minister with familiar militancy. He visited a West Bank settlement, Elon Moreh, the day after the 1977 election and declared: "We stand on the land of liberated Israel. There will be many Elon Morehs. There will be many, many settlements in the coming weeks."
    In supporting the establishment of West Bank settlements, Mr. Begin made a distinction between those in territory within biblical Israel and those outside, like in Sinai.
    As Prime Minister, Mr. Begin became somewhat less outspoken and dramatic, learning to accept the necessary compromises of governing. He drew former opponents into the Cabinet: Moshe Dayan, Defense Minister in Labor Cabinets, became his Foreign Minister, only to resign in October 1979 over relations with the Arabs.
    Bitter and Painful Years: Lebanon, Wife's Death
    In the 1950's, Mr. Begin had called "every German a Nazi, every German a murderer," but as Prime Minister he congratulated the West Germans for freeing a hijacked Lufthansa airliner in Mogadishu, Somalia, and he met with the West German Ambassador.
    Politically, he survived a challenge from the Labor Party a year after he took office. He suffered from diabetes as well as a heart ailment, and there were rumors as early as mid-1979, vigorously denied, that he was working on a reduced schedule. There were calls in Parliament for his resignation, but none was successful and he survived many votes of confidence.
    While Israel under Mr. Begin returned the Sinai to Egypt, it seemed to strengthen its hold on the other occupied territories -- principally, the West Bank and the Golan Heights -- through the establishment of the settlements. The first settlements, similar to those under Labor Governments, were isolated defense posts, with armed farmers tilling fields. Later settlements were built nearer Arab towns, and then within them, such as in Hebron. By 1982, about 30,000 Israelis lived on more than 100 such settlements. New highways encouraged commuting from prefabricated towns to jobs in Tel Aviv.
    Israel, under Mr. Begin, changed the unit of currency from the pound, a vestige of British rule, to the shekel, a coin used by the ancient Hebrews. And Parliament, under his leadership, formally declared all of Jerusalem, a city divided into Jewish and Arab sectors before the 1967 war, to be the nation's undivided and eternal capital -- an act that was not recognized by most other countries.
    Mr. Begin's party was narrowly returned to power in 1981 in an election campaign marked by violence, the first such for Israel. The confrontations often pitted Sephardim, the Jews from the Arab lands who identified with Mr. Begin, against the formerly governing Ashkenazim, those from Europe. These clashes, especially disruptive during the Lebanon war, bespoke a rift in Israel that was to deepen, and would come to fundamentally demark Israeli politics and society.
    Lebanon was Mr. Begin's last war, perhaps the most bitter one for him, and the election his last as well.
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    On August 16, 1879, Harper's Weekly featured a cartoon about hazing





    his anti-hazing cartoon is a sequel to the artist's cartoon of July 5, 1879 in which he contrasts the respectable image of a West Point cadet to that of a shoulder-hitter (the rough and tough enforcer of the will of a political boss). In the earlier cartoon, Nast defended West Point against charges of elitism leveled by those seeking to cut congressional appropriations for the U.S. Military Academy. The debate over West Point was part of a larger effort by the Democratically-controlled Congress to reduce military appropriations across the board.
    In this cartoon, however, Nast turns the tables by having the shoulder-hitter pointedly condemn the hypocritical arrogance of West Point cadets for their practice of hazing, which the artist equates with the violent methods of the shoulder-hitters. Notice that on the right shoulder-hitters from Five Points, a poor immigrant area of New York City, are beating up a political opponent.
    In 1878 (a year before this cartoon was published), a hazing incident at Princeton University prompted Harper's Weekly to editorialize against the practice, calling it a "mean and sneaking business." Editor George William Curtis called for the targets of hazing to defend themselves against such attacks; for the immediate expulsion of the perpetrators from their respective colleges; and, for police intervention if public order was disturbed.
    In 1879, as congressional attention focused on the military, West Point came under scrutiny for its toleration of hazing. On July 22, the superintendent of the institution, General John Schofield, wrote to Secretary of War George McCrary in strong support of the dismissal of cadets guilty of hazing and of those who shielded their identities. Superintendent Schofield complained, however, that every time he expelled a cadet, the War Department reinstated him.
    Other West Point superintendents over the years expressed similar anti-hazing sentiments, but, as Schofield's comments indicate, few of the other parties involved shared that view. Besides an uncooperative War Department, congressmen refused to allow dismissal of cadets from their districts, even though Congress periodically held hearings on hazing at the Military Academy. In addition, West Point alumni, faculty, the academic board, and students, including the first-year plebes who were the victims, overwhelmingly upheld the tradition. Therefore, prohibitions and pronouncements against the practice by superintendents were not enforced.
    Some defended hazing as consisting of harmless pranks (despite incidents of physical harm or suicide), while others noted that it was a unifying experience for cadets and alumni. A more substantial reason was that hazing allegedly undermined the brashness and inflated egos of the plebes, whose prestigious appointment to the Military Academy usually capped athletic and academic achievements in their hometowns. Many spoke as hazing as a ritual of passage making them better men and better soldiers.
    In earlier years, hazing at West Point was restricted to the summer when first-year plebes were at a training camp, and involved minor pranks, such as pulling the cadet out of bed by his heels. In the post-Civil War period, hazing intensified at West Point, became associated with the martial spirit of the school, and lasted the entire first year. Upperclassmen forced the plebes to undergo various forms of hazing, including strenuous physical exercises; menial labor; chewing rope ends; eating soap, hot sauce, or unpalatable foods; having hot oil dropped on their feet; reciting nonsensical verse; performing pointless tasks; or other behavior meant to demean the victims
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    On this date in:

    1777American forces won the Revolutionary War Battle of Bennington, Vt.

    1812Detroit fell to British and Indian forces in the War of 1812.

    1829Chang and Eng, a pair of conjoined twins from Siam, arrived in Boston to be exhibited to the Western world. (The term Siamese twins became a common phrase for conjoined twins.)

    1858A telegraphed message from Britain's Queen Victoria to President James Buchanan was transmitted over the recently laid trans-Atlantic cable.

    1861President Abraham Lincoln prohibited the states of the Union from trading with the seceding states of the Confederacy.
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    1888T.E. Lawrence, the British soldier who gained fame as "Lawrence of Arabia," was born in Tremadoc, Wales.

    1913Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin was born in Brest-Litovsk in present-day Belarus.

    1948Baseball Hall of Famer Babe Ruth died at age 53.

    1954Sports Illustrated was first published by Time Inc.

    1956Adlai E. Stevenson was nominated for president at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

    1960Britain granted independence to Cyprus.

    1987Northwest Airlines Flight 255 crashed while trying to take off from a Detroit airport, killing 156 people; the sole survivor was a 4-year-old girl.
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    1987Thousands of people worldwide began a two-day celebration of the "harmonic convergence," which believers called the start of a new, purer age of humankind.

    1988Vice President George H.W. Bush tapped Indiana Sen. Dan Quayle to be his running mate on the Republican ticket.

    2000Delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles nominated Vice President Al Gore for president.

    2002Terrorist mastermind Abu Nidal was found shot to death in Baghdad, Iraq.

    2003A car driven by U.S. Rep. Bill Janklow ran a stop sign on a rural road in South Dakota and collided with a motorcyclist, who died in the accident. (Janklow was later convicted of manslaughter and resigned from Congress.)

    2003Idi Amin, the former dictator of Uganda, died in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia.

    2006John Mark Karr was arrested in Thailand as a suspect in the slaying of child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey. (Karr's confession that he had killed JonBenet was later discredited.)

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    ..very informative..

    !!..nic post ahmed bro..!!



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    Good Keeep It Up..........!!

    Good Information...!!

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    Friday, August 17th

    The 229th day of 2007.
    There are 136 days left in the year.




    Tired Rock Fans Begin Exodus

    Bethel, N.Y., Monday, Aug. 18 -- Waves of weary youngsters streamed away from the Woodstock Music and Art Fair last night and early today as security officials reported at least two deaths and 4,000 people treated for injuries, illness and adverse drug reactions over the festival's three-day period.
    However festival officials said the folk and rock music could go on until dawn, and most of the crowd was determined to stay on.
    Campfires Burn
    As the music wailed on into the early morning hours, more than 100 campfires - fed by fence-posts and any other wood the young people could lay their hands on- flickered around the hillside that formed a natural amphitheater for the festival.
    By midnight nearly half of the 300,000 fans who had camped here for the weekend had left. A thunderstorm late yesterday afternoon provided the first big impetus to depart, and a steady stream continued to leave through the night.
    Drugs and auto traffic continued to be the main headaches.
    But the crowd itself was extremely well-behaved. As Dr. William Abruzzi, the festival's chief medical officer, put it: "There has been no violence whatsoever, which is remarkable for a crowd of this size. These people are really beautiful."
    Month's of Planning
    Local merchants and residents eased the food shortage. Youths who endured drenching rain to hear such pop performers as Sly and the Family Stone and the Creedence Clearwater Revival overcame the water shortage by gulping down soft drinks and beer. And as the close of the festival approached, the spirits of the audience- mostly youths of 17 to 20- were high.
    For many, the weekend had been the fulfillment of months of planning and hoping, not only to see and hear the biggest group of pop performers ever assembled, but also to capture the excitement of camping out with strangers, experimenting with drugs and sharing- as one youth put it- "an incredible unification."
    The state police said last night that traffic was moving out of the area at a gradual and slow but steady pace. Throughout the weekend, parked and stalled cars had been stretched out on the roads in all directions.
    The state police said they had about 150 men on duty to help deal with the traffic in a 20- mile radius. They were permitting no cars to enter the area.
    Drugs Kill a Youth
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    Helicopters ferried out some youths who had fallen ill. About 100 people were treated yesterday for bad reactions to drugs, bringing to 400 the number of persons so treated during the three-day affair.
    The pervasive use of drugs at the festival resulted in one death yesterday. The unidentified youth was taken to Horton Memorial Hospital in Middletown, N.Y., where officials said he failed to respond to treatment for what was believed to be an overdose of heroin.
    Three young men were taken to the Middletown hospital yesterday in critical condition as a result of drug overdoses. One of them identified as George Xikis, 18 years old, of Astoria, Queens, also suffered a fractured skull when he fell from a car roof while under the influence of drugs, hospital officials said.
    The two others in critical condition were identified as Anthony Gencarelli, 18, of Port Chester, N. Y., and Arkie Melunow, 22, of Franklin Township, N. J.
    Despite the "bad trips" of many drug users at the festival, sales were made openly. Festival officials made periodic announcements from the stage that impure and harmful drugs were circulating in the crowd.
    The use of heroin and LSD, popularly known as "acid" because of its chemical name, lysergic acid diethylamide, drew the public warnings. But marijuana was the most widely used drug, with many youths maintaining that practically everyone in the audience was smoking.
    Only about 80 arrests were made on drug charges, a dozen inside the fair grounds. In addition to the death attributed to the overdose, one other youth was reported killed. The police identified him as Raymond R. Mizsak, 17, of Trenton, and said he had been run over by a tractor yesterday morning.
    2 Babies Born
    Dr. Abruzzi said yesterday that first-aid facilities were returning to normal after the arrival of medical supplies and a dozen doctors summoned as volunteers.
    Dr. Abruzzi said two babies were worn during the course of the festival, one in a car caught in traffic, on nearby Route 17B and the other in a hospital after a helicopter flight from the festival site. He said four miscarriages also were reported.
    Though the festival was to end early today, there was no assurance that the crowds would vanish quickly. Anticipating massive traffic tie-ups in the area, many in the crowd said they would remain encamped for a day or two on the 600-acre farm of Max Yasgur that was rented for the event.
    "Some of them might decide to live here permanently," one state trooper said.
    Many of the fans, weary after listening to entertainment that started Saturday night and continued until 8 A.M. yesterday, slept late yesterday morning and into the afternoon. Most slept in the open and others in the thousands of tents surrounding the entertainment area.
    Later, [the sun] brightened their outlook and began to dry the mud left by Friday night's heavy rains.
    "The whole thing is a gas," said one long-haired young man, who identified himself as "Speed." "I dig it all," he said, "the mud, the rain, the music, the hassles."
    When the rains came yesterday, however, the crowd began to break.
    The storm, which struck at 4:30 P.M., after a sunny and breezy day, would have washed out any less-determined crowds. But at least 80,000 young people sat or stood in front of the stage and shouted obscenities at the darkened skies as trash rolled down the muddy hillside with the runoff of the rain. Others took shelter in dripping tents, lean-tos, cars and trucks.
    The festival promoters decided to continue the show but also to try to persuade as much of the audience as possible to leave the area for their cars or some sort of shelter.
    The problem was, however, that most of those who remained unsheltered had parked their cars many miles from festival grounds.
    "It is really a problem because the kids are as wet as they can get already and they have miles to go before they can even hope to get dry," said Michael Lang, the executive producer at the festival.
    The threat of bronchial disease and influenza was increased by the downpour, according to staff doctors here. Many boys and girls wandered through the storm nude, red mud clinging to their bodies.
    When the storm struck, the performer on the stage, Joe Cocker, stopped playing and the hundreds of people on the plywood and steel structure scurried off for fear of its being toppled by winds, which were blowing in gusts estimated at up to 40 miles an hour.
    Amplifiers and other electronic devices were covered to avoid damage, and recorded music was played for the crowd.
    Naked Man Cheered
    As performers wandered onto the stage to look at the crowd and to decide whether to play, they were greeted by loud cheering. One naked m an also came up on stage and danced.
    At 6:15 P.M. the sun broke through and spirits rose again.
    Artie Cornfield, a partner in the festival production company, said, "I guess this was meant to happen, and everybody is still with us. We're going to go on all night with the music."
    Some Fans Reach Here
    Young people straggling into the Port of New York Authority bus terminal at 41st Street and Eighth Avenue last night were damp, disheveled and given to such wild eccentricities of dress as the wearing of a battered top hat with grimy jersey, blue jeans and sandals.
    They were, according to a driver, Richard Biccum, "good kids in disguise." Mr. Biccum, who is 26 years old, said: "I'll haul kids any day rather than commuters," because they were exceptionally polite and orderly.
    Reginald Dorsey, a Short Line Bus System dispatcher, agreed that the youths were "beautiful people" who had caused no trouble
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