On this day in 1919, after nearly 33 years of planning and construction, including two collapses which resulted in 89 deaths, the Quebec Bridge finally opened to traffic.
The Quebec Bridge is a road, rail and pedestrian bridge across the lower Saint Lawrence River between Sainte-Foy and Lévis, Quebec, Canada.
The bridge accommodates three highway lanes, one rail line, and a pedestrian walkway originally two, at one time it also carried a streetcar line.
It has been owned by the Canadian National Railway since 1993.
The Quebec Bridge was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1995.
*On this day in 1976, there was an assassination attempt on Jamaican human rights activist and reggae music icon, Robert Nesta Marley, commonly known as Bob Marley.
He was shot twice, but he still played in a concert two days later.
The origination of that 1976 assassination attempt on Marley is highly complicated, twisted and complex.
The root of the tension however, was the approaching election between the United States CIA-backed Jamaican Labour Party and the People’s National Party, linked to Cuba and Russia.
Both aggressively courted Marley’s support for their cause, since he’d become an artistic totem of Jamaica, and as much as Bob tried to remain impartial in his small, open-house at Hope Road in Kingston.
Marley had organised a non-political free concert called Smile Jamaica to help ease tensions, but the incumbent PNP moved the date of the election to coincide with the concert, effectively turning it into a rally for the government.
Bob was furious and danger crowded in upon Hope Road.
On the day of the incident, Bob’s wife Rita was the first to be shot by the intruders before they gained entry into the house where they shot Bob and several members of his band.
By some miracle the gunmen sped off leaving behind no serious casualties.
Thereafter, lots of conspiracy theories followed the attempt.
While some believe the incumbent President of Jamaica at that point in time, wanted Marley dead due to his outrageous popularity others felt the CIA wanted him dead for fear he wouldn’t support America’s candidate for the coming elections.
Meanwhile, the December 5, 1976, Smile Concerts at the National Heroes Park, Kingston, performed by Bob Marley & The Wailers went ahead despite fears it wasn’t going to hold.
Marley who had originally agreed to perform one song for the 80,000 people in attendance; however, went on and staged a whole 90-minute performance—despite injuries he sustained two days earlier.
*On this day in 1994, the PlayStation developed and marketed by Sony Computer Entertainment was released in Japan.
The PlayStation (officially abbreviated to PS, and commonly known as the PS1 or its codename, PSX) is a home video game console developed and marketed by Sony Computer Entertainment.
The console was released on 3 December 1994 in Japan, 9 September 1995 in North America, 29 September 1995 in Europe, and 15 November 1995 in Australia.
The console was the first of the PlayStation lineup of home video game consoles.
It primarily competed with the Nintendo 64 and the Sega Saturn as part of the fifth generation of video game consoles.
The PlayStation is the first “computer entertainment platform” to ship 100 million units, which it had reached 9 years and 6 months after its initial launch.
In July 2000, a redesigned, slim version called the PS one was released, replacing the original grey console and named appropriately to avoid confusion with its successor, the PlayStation 2.
The PlayStation 2, which is backwards compatible with the PlayStation’s DualShock controller and games, was announced in 1999 and launched in 2000.
The last PS one units were sold in late 2006 to early 2007 shortly after it was officially discontinued, for a total of 102 million units shipped since its launch 11 years earlier.
Games for the PlayStation continued to sell until Sony ceased production of both the PlayStation and PlayStation games on 23 March 2006 – over 11 years after it had been released, and less than a year before the debut of the PlayStation 3.
On 19 September 2018, Sony unveiled the PlayStation Classic, to mark the 24th anniversary of the original console.
The new console is a miniature recreation of the original PlayStation, preloaded with 20 titles released on the original console. It is set for release on 3 December 2018, the exact date the console was released in Japan in 1994.
*On this day in 1992, a test engineer for Sema Group used a personal computer to send the world’s first text message via the Vodafone network to the phone of a colleague.
It is now one of the the most prominent mode of communication worldwide.
Text messaging, or texting, is the act of composing and sending electronic messages, typically consisting of alphabetic and numeric characters, between two or more users of mobile devices, desktops/laptops, or other type of compatible computer.
Text messages may be sent over a cellular network, or may also be sent via an Internet connection.
The term originally referred to messages sent using the Short Message Service (SMS).
It has grown beyond alphanumeric text to include multimedia messages (known as MMS) containing digital images, videos, and sound content, as well as ideograms known as emoji (happy faces, sad faces, and other icons).
As of 2017, text messages are used by youth and adults for personal, family, business and social purposes.
Governmental and non-governmental organizations use text messaging for communication between colleagues.
In the 2010s, the sending of short informal messages has become an accepted part of many cultures, as happened earlier with emailing.
This makes texting a quick and easy way to communicate with friends, family and colleagues, including in contexts where a call would be impolite or inappropriate (e.g., calling very late at night or when one knows the other person is busy with family or work activities).
Like e-mail and voice mail, and unlike calls (in which the caller hopes to speak directly with the recipient), texting does not require the caller and recipient to both be free at the same moment; this permits communication even between busy individuals. Text messages can also be used to interact with automated systems, for example, to order products or services from e-commerce websites, or to participate in online contests. Advertisers and service providers use direct text marketing to send messages to mobile users about promotions, payment due dates, and other notifications instead of using postal mail, email,
*On this day in 1940, a Senior Nigerian Army Officer who was a writer as well, Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, and a member of the Supreme Military Council during the military junta of General Ibrahim Babangida, Major General Mamman Jiya Vatsa OFR, was born in Bida, Niger State, North-Central Nigeria.
On the 5th of March 1986 following a military tribunal conviction for treason associated with a controversial abortive coup which was never carried out against the regime, Gen. Vatsa was killed alongside several other officers aged 45.
Vatsa was a childhood friend of Gen. brahim Babangida and both men were peers who attended the same educational institutions.
Like Babangida, Vatsa attended the Provincial Secondary School, Bida from 1957 to 1962 and started his career with the Nigerian Army by enrolling in the Nigerian Military Training College, NMTC, on the 10th of December 1962, the same day as Gen. Babangida so it was ironic that Babangida should take such an action against someone he considered a brother.
Vatsa was also Babangida’s best man at Babangida’s wedding.
After graduating from the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun, Vatsa was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Nigerian Army.
Vatsa commanded the 21 battalion during the Nigerian Civil War and wrote academic articles about the operational aspects of certain battles.
In 1970, Vatsa was an instructor at the Nigerian Defence Academy, before being posted as a Principal Staff Officer at Army Headquarters.
Subsequently, he commanded the 30 Infantry Brigade Ogoja until July 1975, 13 Infantry Brigade Calabar until February 1976, and the Brigade of Guards until 1979.
It was during his tenure that the HQ of the Brigade of Guards was moved from Dodan Barracks to its Kofo Abayomi location in Victoria Island before transfer to Abuja.
Vatsa subsequently served as Commandant of the Nigerian Army School of Infantry NASI from late 1979.
He, along with Lt. Col Bitiyong developed the Special Warfare Wing and established the doctrinal basis for the establishment of the 82nd Composite Division of the Nigerian Army in Enugu. Vatsa was instrumental in naming the Division “82nd Div” after the 82nd West African Division in Burma.
During the latter part of President Shehu Shagari’s government, Vatsa was appointed Quarter-Master General (QMG), the post he held as of the time of the coup of December 1983.
He was on leave during the Buhari coup against Shagari and did not take part.
During the 27 August 1985 Babangida take-over, General Vatsa was in Mecca with Major General Tunde Idiagbon on pilgrimage.
As of the time of his arrest in December 1985 on suspicion of conspiracy to commit treason he was the Federal Minister for the Federal Capital Territory.
He was a member of the AFRC, Federal Executive Council and occasionally, the National Council of States, the only military officer, other than the C-in-C, to be a member of all three ruling bodies.
Participation in the Nigerian Counter Coup of July 1966
Vatsa, then a Lieutenant with the 4th Battalion in Ibadan, was one of the many officers of northern Nigerian origin, who staged the Nigerian Counter-Coup of 1966 because of grievances they felt towards the administration of General Aguiyi Ironsi’s government which quelled the 15 January 1966 coup.
Other participants in the coup included 2nd Lieutenant Sanni Abacha, Lieutenant Muhammadu Buhari, Lieutenant Ibrahim Babangida, Lieutenant Ibrahim Bako, and Lieutenant Buka Suka Dimka among others.
Then Colonel Vatsa, Commander of 13 Infantry Brigade in Calabar, took to the airwaves to oppose Lt. Col Buka Suka Dimka’s 13 February 1976 coup.
During the Dimka coup investigation, Vatsa served as Secretary of the Court-Martial Tribunal.
In 1981, when Cameroon soldiers shot and killed five Nigerian soldiers in the disputed Bakassi area, then Brigadier Vatsa was named the Commander of the Joint Military Task Force during the massive border mobilization along the entire length of the Nigeria-Cameroon border.
Vatsa developed the operational plan of attack through Garoua in northern Cameroon, which was approved in principle by the National Defence Council, pending the outcome of diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis.
Vatsa was also an accomplished poet and writer, publishing eight poetry collections for adults and 11 for children, with titles such as Back Again at Wargate (1982), Reach for the Skies (1984) and Verses for Nigerian State Capitals (1973). His books are about ordinary people’s lives and simple creatures, including the pidgin collection Tori for Geti Bow Leg (1981), his cultural picture book in Hausa, Bikin Suna, and a charming picture storybook entitled Stinger the Scorpion (1979).
Vatsa was a facilitator and patron of the arts in Nigeria, where he organized writing workshops for his fellow soldiers and their children and got their works published. He helped the Children’s Literature Association of Nigeria with funds, built a Writers’ Village for the Association of Nigerian Authors, and hosted their annual conferences.
The Writers’ Village finally became a reality on the 24 January 2013, when the National Executive of the Association, led by its president, Prof. Remi Raji, performed a groundbreaking ceremony at the site. The Village has been named in Gen. Vatsa’s honour.