21 July 2005

The London bombings occur.

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On Thursday 21 July 2005, four attempted bomb attacks disrupted part of London’s public transport system two weeks after the 7 July 2005 London bombings. The explosions occurred around midday at Shepherd’s Bush, Warren Street and Oval stations on the London Underground, and on a bus in Bethnal Green. A fifth bomber dumped his device without attempting to set it off.

Connecting lines and stations were closed and evacuated. Metropolitan Police later said the intention was to cause large-scale loss of life, but only the detonators of the bombs exploded, probably causing the popping sounds reported by witnesses, and only one minor injury was reported. The suspects fled the scenes after their bombs failed to explode.

On Friday 22 July, CCTV images of four suspects wanted in connection with the bombings were released. Two of the men shown in these images were identified by police on Monday 25 July as Muktar Said Ibrahim and Yasin Hassan Omar The resultant manhunt was described by the Metropolitan police commissioner Sir Ian Blair as “the greatest operational challenge ever faced” by the Met. During the manhunt, police misidentified Jean Charles de Menezes as one of the suspected bombers and shot and killed him.

By 29 July, police had arrested all four of the main bombing suspects from 21 July attempted bombings. Yasin Hassan Omar was arrested by police on 27 July, in Birmingham. On 29 July, two more suspects were arrested in London. A fourth suspect, Osman Hussein, was arrested in Rome, Italy, and later extradited to the UK. Police also arrested numerous other people in the course of their investigations.

On 9 July 2007, four defendants, Muktar Said Ibrahim, 29, Yasin Hassan Omar, 26, Ramzi Mohammed, 25, and Hussain Osman, 28, were found guilty of conspiracy to murder. The four attempted bombers were each sentenced to life imprisonment, with a minimum of 40 years’ imprisonment.

20 July 1189

Richard I of England is invested as Duke of Normandy.

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Richard I was King of England from 6 July 1189 until his death. He also ruled as Duke of Normandy, Aquitaine and Gascony, Lord of Cyprus, Count of Poitiers, Anjou, Maine, and Nantes, and Overlord of Brittany at various times during the same period. He was the third of five sons of King Henry II of England and Duchess Eleanor of Aquitaine. He was known as Richard Cœur de Lion or Richard the Lionheart because of his reputation as a great military leader and warrior. He was also known in Occitan as Oc e No, because of his reputation for terseness.

By the age of 16, Richard had taken command of his own army, putting down rebellions in Poitou against his father. Richard was a central Christian commander during the Third Crusade, leading the campaign after the departure of Philip II of France and scoring considerable victories against his Muslim counterpart, Saladin, although he did not retake Jerusalem from Saladin.

Richard spoke both French and Occitan. He was born in England, where he spent his childhood; before becoming king, however, he lived most of his adult life in the Duchy of Aquitaine, in the southwest of France. Following his accession, he spent very little time, perhaps as little as six months, in England. Most of his life as king was spent on Crusade, in captivity, or actively defending his lands in France. Rather than regarding his kingdom as a responsibility requiring his presence as ruler, he has been perceived as preferring to use it merely as a source of revenue to support his armies. Nevertheless, he was seen as a pious hero by his subjects. He remains one of the few kings of England remembered by his epithet, rather than regnal number, and is an enduring iconic figure both in England and in France.

19 July 1553

Lady Jane Grey is replaced as Queen of England by Mary I of England after only nine days on the throne.

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Tragic Lady Jane Grey is remembered in British history as the monarch with the shortest reign… just nine days.
Why was Lady Jane Grey’s reign as Queen of England so short?

Lady Jane Grey was the eldest daughter of Henry Grey, Duke of Suffolk and she was the great-grand-daughter of Henry VII.She was proclaimed Queen after the death of her cousin, the protestant King Edward VI, son of Henry VIII. She was actually fifth in line to the throne, but was his personal choice as she was a Protestant.Edward’s half-sister Mary, Henry VIII’s daughter with Catherine of Aragon, was actually next in line for the throne but as a devout Catholic, was out of favour.

Edward wanted to keep England firmly Protestant and he knew that Mary would take England back into the Catholic faith.John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, was Protector to King Edward VI. He persuaded the dying young king to will his crown to Lady Jane Grey, who by coincidence just happened to be the Duke’s daughter-in-law.

Edward died on 6th July 1553 and Lady Jane ascended to the throne with her husband Lord Guildford Dudley at her side – she was just sweet sixteen.

Lady Jane was beautiful and intelligent. She studied Latin, Greek and Hebrew and was fluent in French and Italian.
Queen Mary IHowever the country rose in favour of the direct and true royal line, and the Council proclaimed Mary queen some nine days later.

Unfortunately for Lady Jane, her advisors were grossly incompetent, and her father was partly responsible for her untimely execution as he was involved in an attempted rebellion.This was the Wyatt rebellion, named after Sir Thomas Wyatt, who was an English soldier and a so-called ‘rebel’.

In 1554 Wyatt was involved in a conspiracy against the marriage of Mary to Phillip of Spain. He raised an army of Kentish men and marched on London, but was captured and later beheaded.After the Wyatt rebellion was quashed, Lady Jane and her husband, who were lodged in the Tower of London, were taken out and beheaded on 12th February 1554.
Guildford was executed first on Tower Hill, his body taken away by horse and cart past Lady Jane’s lodgings. She was then taken to Tower Green within the Tower, where the block was waiting for her.

18 July 1841

The coronation of Emperor Pedro II of Brazil takes place.

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Dom Pedro II, nicknamed “the Magnanimous”, was the second and last ruler of the Empire of Brazil, reigning for over 58 years. Born in Rio de Janeiro, he was the seventh child of Emperor Dom Pedro I of Brazil and Empress Dona Maria Leopoldina and thus a member of the Brazilian branch of the House of Braganza. His father’s abrupt abdication and departure to Europe in 1831 left a five-year-old Pedro II as Emperor and led to a grim and lonely childhood and adolescence. Obliged to spend his time studying in preparation for rule, he knew only brief moments of happiness and encountered few friends of his age. His experiences with court intrigues and political disputes during this period greatly affected his later character; he grew into a man with a strong sense of duty and devotion toward his country and his people, yet increasingly resentful of his role as monarch.

The reign of Pedro II thus came to an unusual end—he was overthrown while highly regarded by the people and at the pinnacle of his popularity, and some of his accomplishments were soon brought to naught as Brazil slipped into a long period of weak governments, dictatorships, and constitutional and economic crises. The men who had exiled him soon began to see in him a model for the Brazilian republic. A few decades after his death, his reputation was restored and his remains were returned to Brazil with celebrations nationwide. Historians have regarded the Emperor in an extremely positive light and several have ranked him as the greatest Brazilian.

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17 July 2014

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is shot down near the border between Ukraine and Russia.

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A Malaysia Airlines passenger jet crashed in a rebel-controlled part of eastern Ukraine on Thursday, spurring swift accusations from Ukrainian officials that “terrorists” shot down the aircraft.

The United States has concluded a missile shot down the plane, but hasn’t pinpointed who was responsible, a senior U.S. official told CNN’s Barbara Starr.

The Boeing 777 with 298 people aboard fell from the sky near the town of Torez in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, officials said. A top Ukrainian official said the plane, which was on the way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was flying at about 10,000 meters (nearly 33,000 feet) when the missile hit.

A radar system saw a surface-to-air missile system turn on and track an aircraft right before the plane went down, the senior U.S. official said. A second system saw a heat signature at the time the airliner was hit, the official said. The United States is analyzing the trajectory of the missile to try to learn where the attack came from, the official said.

The Obama administration believes Ukraine did not have the capability in the region — let alone the motivation — to shoot down the plane, a U.S. official told CNN’s Jake Tapper.

16 July 1965

The Mont Blanc Tunnel linking France and Italy is opened.

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After 19 years of planning and construction, the Mont Blanc Tunnel officially opens. The new tunnel stretches 7 miles, linking the French town of Chamonix and the Italian town of Courmayeur. Buried 1.5 miles under the Alps’ highest peak, it becomes the world’s deepest road tunnel beneath rock and gains infamy after a deadly 1999 fire.

Until the opening of the tunnel, road traffic in the Alps between France and Italy wended its way over hairpin turns and sharp grades, with mountain passes closed the majority of the year because of snow. Italian construction teams began drilling a tunnel into Mont Blanc (or Monte Bianco on their side) to build a year-round route in 1946. The next year, France and Italy signed an agreement to build the tunnel together.

Construction, however, did not begin in earnest until May 30, 1959, with the help of an 82-ton tunnel-boring machine. Tunneling began at 4,091 feet on the French side and at 4,530 feet on the Italian side.

It took 783 tons of explosives to complete the drilling. The French and Italian teams met Aug. 4, 1962, with a discrepancy of only 5.12 inches between the two sides.

When it opened in a ceremony featuring Presidents Charles De Gaulle of France and Giuseppe Saragat of Italy, the Mont Blanc Tunnel became the world’s longest highway tunnel, more than three times longer than the previous recordholder, Liverpool’s Mersey Tunnel.