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CURRENT EVENTS

Obama Dedicates African-American Museum
September 25, 2016
President Barack Obama, America’s first African-American President, cut the ribbon at the opening of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, an act that many observers found poignant in its symbolism. Obama also gave a speech dedicating the museum. The President’s address was part of a three-day celebration on the National Mall that also included musical performances and oral history activities.

Skeleton Found in Antikythera Wreckage
September 25, 2016
The discovery of a partial skeleton could solve a 2,000-year-old mystery. Archaeologists have found multiple bones from a person aboard the shipwreck that yielded the Antikythera Mechanism, a device from Ancient Greece that some people think was a prototype for today’s computers. Found were a partial skull, two arm bones, two femurs, and some rib fragments. Early indications are that the bones belonged to a man in his early 20s. Scientists hope to do DNA testing on the bones to find out more. Also planned is a 3D reconstruction of the skull.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT

The First Sino-Japanese War
The First Sino-Japanese War was a late 19th Century struggle largely over control of Korea, won convincingly by Japan. The war is known in Japan as the Japan-Qing War, in Korea as the Qing-Japan War, and in China as the War of Jiawu. The empire ruling China in the late 19th Century was the Qing. China had maintained a large military and political presence in Korea for a few hundred years; and for most of that time, China had a strong military and a feared reputation. Two Opium Wars in the early and mid-19th Century, however, weakened Chinese military forces and influence. At the same time, Japan, in 1854, had agreed to open its border and trade with the United States and then, after the Meiji Restoration, embarked on a period of industrialization that produced growth and modernization across all aspects of the country, including its military might.

The Russo-Japanese War
Japan’s victory over China in the First Sino-Japanese War was an elevation of one country in world stature and prestige over another. The same was true of the Russo-Japanese War. In both cases, Japan emerged the stronger. One of the provisions of the treaty that ended that war was the cession of the Liaodong Peninsula, with its strategic Port Arthur, from China to Japan. Soon after, however, international pressure from France, Germany, and Russia convinced Japan to hand back the Liaodong Peninsula.Russia had a vested interest in seeing the Liaodong Peninsula return to Chinese control, not just because it was within China’s traditional borders. Russia soon had a naval base at Port Arthur, on that peninsula, satisfying a desire long held by Russia’s leaders of having a warm-water port on the Pacific Ocean that was not subject to winter freezes, as was Russia’s one existing Pacific port, at Vladivostok, in the north. In fact, Russia had, in 1900, occupied the Chinese area of Manchuria, as a result of the international fighting that resulted from the Boxer Rebellion. Thus, Russia was in control of an imporant port and an important chunk of land that had both been in China’s possession during the war between China and Japan.


A Brief History of Presidential Debates
Presidential candidates have not always debated one another in public, let alone in front of a television audience. It was not common for presidential candidates to be in one place during most of American presidential campaign history. Much more common were speeches on the stump, usually to friendly crowds. People who did not attend such events found out what presidential candidates prioritized and would do if elected by doing their own research or by reading newspapers (and, later, by listening to the radio and watching television). The first televised general election debates took place in 1960. Then-Vice President Richard Nixon and then-Senator John F. Kennedy faced in a series of four debates that were televised and also broadcast on radio. The first debate, which took place in September 26, 1960, is thought to have set the tone for the rest of that election campaign.


In this week's Significant Sevens, it's a look at theSeven Largest Islands on Earth.

THIS WEEK IN HISTORY

John Philip Sousa
John Philip Sousa is one of American music’s most well-known figures, primarily for his association with the U.S. Marine Band and with the writing and performing of marches. Young John went to school in Washington, D.C., and also attended a private music conservatory, excelling at the playing of several instruments and preferring the piano and, most of all, the violin. The impressionable Sousa wanted to join a circus band, but his father convinced him to be an apprentice musician in the Marine Band instead, and Sousa was a member of that band until he was 20. He eventually took over as leader of the Marine Band, and his first public performance as leader of the Marine Band was on Sept. 26, 1892.

The Gutenberg Bible
The Gutenberg Bible is thought to have been the first major book produced by a printing press, ever. The name comes from the printer Johan Gutenberg, who is credited with inventing a printing press that used movable type. It was first published on September 30, 1452.

Johan Gutenberg: Inventor of Modern Printing
Johan Gutenberg grew up in relatively obscurity in medieval Germany, but his invention of movable type revolutionized the world of communication and his name and his invention live on in worldwide fame.

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