Video encyclopedia

Flashback calendar

Russia and India sign major weapons deals worth $3bn

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh signed arms deals, which say that Russia will sell India military helicopters and equipment worth about $3bn. In that time, India was the world's largest arms importer, and one of Russia's top clients.

Japan approves its biggest budget ever

Because of the consequences of the world's financial crisis, Japan's cabinet approved a record $980.6 billion budget for the next fiscal year starting in April. The stimulus plan boosted spending by 9 percent compared with the previous year's initial budget.

Titan lander

European probe Huygens was released by its mothership Cassini and began a descent to the surface of the Saturn’s moon Titan. The descent took 22 days. It was finished by a successful landing. It was furthest landing from Earth a spacecraft has ever made and the first landing on a moon other than our own.

The IMF and G7 grant $10bn bailout to South Korea

Because of the Asian financial crisis, South Korea received $10bn in loans from the IMF and G7 to avoid a default on its short-term loan. South Korea also agreed to open its domestic financial markets to foreign institutions.

Taboo-breaking drama 'Philadelphia' is released

Philadelphia is an American drama film and one of the first mainstream Hollywood films to acknowledge HIV/AIDS, homosexuality, and homophobia. It was written by Ron Nyswaner, directed by Jonathan Demme and stars Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington. Hanks won the Academy Award for Best Actor at the 66th Academy Awards for his role as Andrew Beckett.

Tom Cruise marries Nicole Kidman

Cruise met his 2nd wife, actress Nicole Kidman, on the set of their film Days of Thunder. The couple married the same year. Cruise and Kidman adopted 2 children, Isabella Jane, and Connor Antony. In February 2001, Cruise filed for divorce from Kidman while she was unknowingly pregnant. The pregnancy ended in a miscarriage.

Nirvana start recording their first album

Nirvana began recording with a 5-hour session. Three of the album's songs – Floyd the Barber, Paper Cuts, and Downer – were recorded during a previous session at Reciprocal Studios, featuring Dale Crover on drums. Despite attempts to re-record them with new drummer Chad Channing, the band ultimately decided to remix the versions recorded with Crover for the final version of Bleach.

Bee Gees are at #1 on the US singles chart

How Deep Is Your Love is a pop ballad written and recorded by the Bee Gees and released as a single in September of that year. It was ultimately used as part of the soundtrack to the film Saturday Night Fever. It was a number 3 hit in the UK and Australia. In the US, it topped the Billboard Hot 100.

Walt Disney's 'Aristocats' is released

The Aristocats is an American animated romantic adventure musical comedy movie produced by Walt Disney Productions and released by Buena Vista Distribution. The movie is based on a story by Tom McGowan and Tom Rowe, and revolves around a family of aristocratic cats, and how an alley cat acquaintance helps them after a butler has kidnapped them to gain his mistress's fortune which was intended to go to them.

Genesis from the Moon

American astronauts Frank Bowman, Bill Anders, and Jim Lovell read the beginning of the Book of Genesis from the lunar orbit. They were on the board of the Apollo 8 spacecraft. At the time, the broadcast was the most watched TV program ever. Bowman, Anders, and Lovell were the first humans to trowel beyond Earth’s orbit.

The first night of 'The Beatles Christmas' show in London

Tickets had gone on sale on 21 October 1963, and by 16 November all 100,000 had sold out. There were 30 shows altogether, with two performances on each day, except for 24 and 31 December when the only one took place.

Cuba releases some Bay of Pigs prisoners

Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro and James B. Donovan, a US lawyer aided by Milan C. Miskovsky, a CIA legal officer, signed an agreement to exchange 1,113 prisoners for $53 million US dollars in food and medicine. Some prisoners were flown to Miami, others following on the ship African Pilot, plus about 1,000 family members also allowed to leave Cuba.

Sears accidentally launches a tradition of "Santa tracking"

According to the story, Sears department store placed an advertisement in a Colorado Springs newspaper, which told children that they could reach Santa Claus on the number ME 2-6681. As one digit was misprinted, a call came through to Colorado Springs' Continental Air Defense Command.

Tangiwai disaster

The Tangiwai disaster occurred when the Whangaehu River bridge collapsed beneath Wellington-to-Auckland express passenger train № 626 at Tangiwai, in the central North Island of New Zealand. The locomotive and first six carriages derailed into the river, killing 151 people.

The first television opera airs

Amahl and the Night Visitors is an opera in one act by Gian Carlo Menotti with an original English libretto by the composer. It was commissioned by NBC and first performed by the NBC Opera Theatre in New York City at NBC studio 8H in Rockefeller Center, where it was broadcast live on television from that venue as the debut production of the Hallmark Hall of Fame.

Buzzbomb's first powered flight

Early German cruise missile, the V-1 (V stands for Vergeltungswaffe, the vengeance weapon), made its first powered flight in Peenemunde, Germany. The bomb was the only aircraft in history to use the pulsejet. It is an engine type, in which combustion occurs in pulses. It can be made with few or no moving parts and does not need to have air forced into its inlet.

Verdi's 'Aida' opens in Cairo

Aida is an opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto by Antonio Ghislanzoni. Set in the Old Kingdom of Egypt, it was commissioned by Cairo's Khedivial Opera House where it had its première in a performance conducted by Giovanni Bottesini. Today the work holds a central place in the operatic canon, receiving performances every year around the world.

Ku Klux Klan is founded

The Ku Klux Klan is the name for 3 distinct movements in the USA, which have called for white supremacy, white nationalism or anti-immigration. The 1st Klan intended to bring down the Republican government in the South during the Reconstruction Era by using violence against African American leaders.

The first known Christmas carol is performed

The song was first performed on Christmas Eve at St Nicholas parish church in Oberndorf, a village in the Austrian Empire on the Salzach river in present-day Austria. A young priest, Father Joseph Mohr, had come to Oberndorf the year before. He had written the lyrics of the song "Stille Nacht" at Mariapfarr, the hometown of his father in the Salzburg Lungau region.

The Treaty of Ghent is signed

The Treaty of Ghent was the peace treaty that ended the War of 1812 between the United States of America and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Both sides signed in the city of Ghent, United Netherlands. The treaty restored relations between the two nations to status quo ante bellum, restoring the borders of the two countries to the lines before the war started in June 1812.

Christmas Island is discovered

Kiritimati was discovered to Europeans by the Spanish expedition of Hernando de Grijalva that charted it as Acea. This discovery was referred by a contemporary, the Portuguese António Galvão, governor of Ternate, in his book Tratado dos Descubrimientos. Captain James Cook visited it on Christmas Eve in 1777. It was claimed by the United States under the Guano Islands Act of 1856.

Anniversaries of the (in)famous

born 1969

Mark Millar

born 1905

Howard Hughes

died 1632

John Wood

born 1925

Les Cowan