Friday, July 11, 2008

On July 11

On this day in ...

... 2006, in Mumbai, "bombs ripped through seven commuter trains" (map at right; credit), killing nearly 200 people and injuring more than 800. The effects of the tragedy in the Indian city, believed to be an act of terrorism, linger to this day.

... 1977, Mary Whitehouse (below left; photo credit), a "Christian values" crusader and secretary of a British group called the National Viewers and Listeners Association, won her blasphemous libel prosecution against the fortnightly Gay News, a case stemming from a poem entitled The Love that Dares to Speak its Name, "about a homosexual centurion's love for Christ at the Crucifixion." The verdict came after 6-day trial in which novelist Margaret Drabble (below right), among others, "testified that the Gay News was a responsible paper that did not encourage illegal sexual practices." It was the 1st such prosecution in at least a half-century. The paper's editor was given a 9-month suspended jail sentence and fined £500; the newspaper "was fined £1,000 but with court costs the paper had to pay £10,000."

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