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4th of April

The 4th of April is International Mine Awareness Day (according to the United Nations). The 4th of April is the 94th day of the year (Gregorian calendar) or 95th day in a leap year.

 

 

 

 

 

4th of April

 

On the 4th of April 1968

Dr Martin Luther King was shot dead by a sniper as he stood on the balcony of his hotel room in Memphis, US. A rifle was recovered and fingerprints found along with eyewitness reports implicated one suspect, escaped convict James Earl Ray. Dr King was in Memphis to lead a protest march for low pay and bad conditions of sanitation workers. Reverend Jesse Jackson was also on the Balcony when King was shot in the neck with a single bullet. Dr King died in hospital of his injuries later that day and 4,000 members of the National Guard were brought in to Memphis in anticipation of riots after Kings death. James Earl Ray was caught at Heathrow airport in England trying to use a forged passport and carrying a gun. He pleaded guilty to murdering Mr King on the understanding that he would not get the electric chair. Many believed that it was a conspiracy which would come to light during the trial but no evidence of this was presented. Three days into his sentence however James Earl Ray did claim that he had been set up by someone named ‘Raoul’, he tried to retract his plea and have a retrial but this was not granted. He died in prison in1998 leaving many, including King’s widow and children, believing Ray was innocent and possibly set up by the Government. Many governmental departments re-examined evidence and all concluded Ray was guilty of the murder.

 

On the 4th of April 1949

The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation or NATO is established uniting 12 (initially) Western nations in a military alliance against Soviet aggression. Originally the United States, Canada, Great Britain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Iceland and Portugal signed the treaty but new members soon followed including West Germany. On the 14th of May 1955 the Soviet response was initialised in “the Warsaw Pact” which was a similar military union with eight soviet countries comprising of the Soviet Union, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Albania. On the 25th of February 1991, following the start of the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Warsaw Pact was officially disbanded and many members would later join NATO. France left NATO in 1966 voluntarily, saying it undermined French sovereignty but they rejoined in March 2012. In 1995 NATO engaged in its first major crisis which was the stabilising of Bosnia and Herzegovina in December 1995. There are currently 28 Members of NATO and in addition to the original 12 Greece (joined in 1952), Turkey (1952), East Germany (so all of Germany 1955), Spain (1982), Czech Republic (1999), Hungary (1999), Poland (1999), Bulgaria (2004), Estonia (2004), Latvia (2004), Lithuania (2004), Romania (2004), Slovakia (2004), Slovenia (2004), Albania (2009) and Croatia (2009) are also members.

 

On the 4th of April 1983

NASA’s space shuttle challenger took its maiden voyage. Challenger completed several successful missions but less than three years later, on the 28th of January 1986, Challenger exploaded killing all seven passengers.