WHAT HAPPENED ON - 16 February

February 16 1959: Fidel Castro sworn-in as Prime Minister of Cuba

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February 16 1959: Fidel Castro sworn-in as Prime Minister of Cuba
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Fidel Castro was sworn-in as the Prime Minister of Cuba on February 16, 1959. Castro captured power after leading a guerrilla campaign that ousted right-wing dictator Fulgencio Batista. Batista, who was forced into exile, on January 1, 1959, fled to the Dominican Republic. Other rebel leaders did not have the kind of popular support Castro had and on February 16, he took over as the Prime Minister of the country. From 1976 till 2008, he served as the President of the country. Cuba, under Castro, was the first Communist state in the Western Hemisphere.

The United States initially recognized Castro. But the new dictator of Cuba antagonized the US by nationalizing US assets and launching a program of agrarian reform. Much to the discomfort of the US, Fidel Castro declared a Marxist government. Castro’s relations with the United States reached an all time low with an invasion of Cuba known as the Bay of Pigs. The invasion was launched by Cuban exiles with the support of CIA but ended in failure. The support of the Soviet Union to Cuba led to the Cuban Missile Crisis, which ended with the Soviet Union agreeing to remove its nuclear missile weapons in Cuba in exchange for US promise not to invade the country. …(Read more)

February 16 1923 – Howard Carter opens the burial chamber of Pharaoh Tutankhamun

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February 16 1923 – Howard Carter opens the burial chamber of Pharaoh Tutankhamun
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The New York Times called February 16, 1923, “perhaps, the most extraordinary day in the whole history of Egyptian excavation” – on this day celebrated Egyptologist and noted archeologist, Howard Carter, unsealed and opened the burial chamber of the 14th century pharaoh King Tutankhamun in the tomb popularly referred to as KV62 in the Valley of Kings near Cairo in Egypt. The tomb came to be known for many of its unique features. Apart from being one of the best preserved tombs in the valley till this day, it also became known for the stupendous hoard of treasures that it contained, despite estimates that an ancient robbery relieved the tomb of about 60% of the wealth that was interred here with the boy king Tut.

The history and mysterious civilization of ancient Egypt has been the matter of intense study, research, and debate since the early 20th century. The ancient Egyptian rulers, Pharaohs, considered themselves representatives of the Sun God, Ra. They prepared for their death and burial even as they ascended the throne – building elaborate tombs, designating treasures and significant prizes that were to be buried with them. The designing, building, and consecrating of these tombs took many years – each king trying to outdo his predecessor. The tombs provided archeologists amazing insights into the religion, culture, language, and lifestyle of ancient Egypt and provided tomb raiders access to some of the most precious artifacts, jewelry and treasures known to mankind. King Tutankhamun, the boy king of the 18th Dynasty, reigned between 1332 BC and 1323 BC. There has been much speculation regarding the cause of his death but a chariot accident seems the most likely cause. …(Read more)

February 16 2005 – The Kyoto Protocol Becomes Binding

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February 16 2005 – The Kyoto Protocol Becomes Binding
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World map of countries who singed kyoto Protocol In a bid to bring the world’s industrialized nations under one umbrella to slow global warming, the Kyoto Protocol was signed by 83 nations near the end of 1997. Officially part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the environmental treaty came into effect officially on February 16, 2005 when Russia ratified the agreement. The years since have seen a number of twists and turns in the saga to minimize human effects on Mother Nature.

As early as the middle of the 20th century, scientists began to study the effects of human industry on the larger environment. Noticing an appreciable rise in the average temperature worldwide from year to year, researchers posited Earth would face significant changes in weather patterns for generations to come, raising ocean levels and creating extreme climate conditions all over the globe.

In 1985, members of the diplomatic community gathered in Vienna, Austria to discuss the discovery of a thinning in the ozone layer above Antarctica. Reviewing findings of more UV-B radiation filtering in above the South Pole, 28 nations agreed to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and a further 169 ratified it later — all the members of the UN and even smaller principalities like the Vatican. Two-and-a-half years later, a further definition of the substances affecting the atmosphere was agreed to with the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. Once again, UN membership gave its full-throated support to the treaty phasing out the use of cholorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). …(Read more)

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