1-Jan-12 World View: Top Ten Stories of the Year, 1942

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com.

Welcome to 2012

New Year in Sydney (Reuters)New Year in Sydney (Reuters)

The first places to celebrate the arrival of 2012 were the two South Pacific nations of Samoa and Tokelan, the two countries that skipped a day yesterday when the international date line moved. BBC

Top Ten Stories of the Year – 1942

1942 was the first full year of World War II. Here are the top ten stories of the year.

  1. U.S. Landings in Africa. To Americans, restive because we hadn’t gotten into European action sooner, the news on Nov. 7 that doughboys had landed in French North Africa came as the most exciting tidings of the year.
  2. Battle of Stalingrad.
  3. Battle of Midway.
  4. Bombing of Tokyo.
  5. Conversion of Auto Industry. By far the most striking symbol of our switch-over from a peacetime to a wartime economy, conversion of the $3,000,000,000 a year automobile industry to a war machine broke the ice that was blocking the flow of war materials that mechanical-minded America could produce.
  6. Gasoline Rationing. If anything was needed to bring the war home to the great bulk of the American people, gasoline rationing did it. Sugar rationing is no hardship, coffee rationing is an irritation to many, but gasoline rationing means a really profound change in our way of life.
  7. Fall of Philippines.
  8. Execution of Nazi Saboteurs. An alert Coast Guardsman patrolling the shores of Long Island gave the nation one of its most sensational stories. Pretending to accept a bribe, he gave the warning that resulted in the round-up of eight Nazis set ashore on Long Island and the Florida coast equipped to sabotage U.S. war industry. The would-be saboteurs were tried before a secret military tribunal in Washington, six of them electrocuted, two sentenced to prison.
  9. Boston Night Club Fire. A flaming disaster that took some 500 lives cannot be omitted from any list of the year’s biggest stories.
  10. Republican Election Gains.

To this list we should add the assassination of Admiral Darlan for its political significance in the war. St. Petersburg Times, Dec 27, 1942

Iran delays long-range missile tests in Persian Gulf

On the eighth day of its war games in Persian Gulf, Iran’s navy announced that it’s postponing its long-range missile tests, even though Iran’s state media initially reported early Saturday that the long-range missiles had already been launched. Deputy Navy Commander Mahmoud Moussavi later went on the English language Press TV channel to deny the missiles had in fact been fired: “The exercise of launching missiles will be carried out in the coming days.” Analysts are saying that the conflicting reports on the missile tests were a “shrewd” move to make the West think twice about pressuring Iran on nuclear development. However, it sounds to me that there’s a much more obvious explanation — Iran’s navy screwed up and something went wrong. Reuters

Nigeria declares state of emergency after Boko Haram attacks

Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan has vowed to crush the Islamist terror group Boko Haram, and has declared a state of emergency in areas hard hit by violence blamed the group. The move came following a series of Christmas Day attacks in northeastern Nigeria, including four that killed about 40 people, most of them Christians. International borders with Cameroon and Chad have been closed, as well as internal borders where violence has been the greatest. The declaration comes as Northern Christian leaders warned that unless the Federal Government moves swiftly to apprehend the perpetrators of the dastardly attack, Nigeria could drift to another civil war. The northern Christian community also called on all concerned Nigerians, no matter their faith, to collaborate with them and the government to return peace and unity in the country. VOA and The Sun (Nigeria)

Arab League observers in Syria contradict each other

A dispute has arisen within the the Arab League team monitoring the violence in Syria. A youtube video shows a woman complaining to one of the Arab League monitors that she can’t go to the store to get bread, because rooftop snipers are killing people on the street. In the video, the monitor says, “You’re telling me there are snipers? You don’t have to tell me, I saw them with my own eyes.” He says the observers’ concerns would be conveyed to the Arab League, and that if the snipers were not removed within 24 hours, action would be taken. However, the leader of the Arab League mission, Sudan’s General Mohammed Ahmed al-Dabi, contradicted the account, saying that the monitor’s account was hypothetical. Al-Dabi’s statement will add to protesters’ allegations that he is biased toward Syria, since he was part of the genocide conducted by Sudan in past years. BBC

Yemen’s president Saleh reverses decision to leave

The plan had been that Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh would come to the United States for medical treatment for injuries incurred from a bomb in his palace mosque in July, and that he would leave his son and nephew in charge of the country. But public unrest is increasing, and Saleh’s regime appears to be deteriorating, and so Saleh has reversed his decision to leave. On several occasions since the Arab Spring protests began in Yemen, Saleh has agreed to step down, only to reverse his decision quickly. Apparently he’s done it again. AP

Egyptians hold protests on anniversary of Alexandria New Year’s church bombing

Hundreds of Egyptians held protests Saturday outside a Cairo courthouse and in the port city of Alexandria to demand answers over who was behind the terrorist bombing outside Two Saints Church in Alexandria a year ago, killing 21 worshipers. The attack in Alexandria took place Jan. 1, 2011, striking worshipers leaving a New Year’s Eve Mass. A year later, no suspects are in custody. AP

Mourning Kurds pummel government official on live TV in Turkey

Angry Kurds on Saturday assaulted a local Turkish government official who sought to offer condolences in a village in Turkey where 35 civilians were mistakenly killed in a military airstrike meant to target PKK terrorists, as we reported two days ago. The televised spectacle of men throwing punches and stones at Naif Yavuz, a district governor, was the latest eruption of fury over Wednesday’s airstrikes, and it highlighted the deep gulf of trust between the Turkish state and large segments of its ethnic Kurd minority. AP