Thursday, July 3, 2008

On July 3

On this day in ...
... 1844, on a small island near Iceland, for reasons that are unclear, 3 fishermen strangled to death the last pair of Great Auks and smashed the egg the couple was incubating. Although a single adult was sighted in Newfoundland a few years afterward, by the end of the mid-18th C. the once-prevalent Great Auk (left), a flightless, 30-some-inch-tall, 11-pound bird that resembled a penguin, was extinct.
... 1979, U.S. President Jimmy "Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul," Afghanistan (map below), as described in an interview by Carter's National Security Adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski. The Soviet Union would send its troops to invade the country in December of the same year.

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