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A peak at MMVIII
by Asa Butcher
2007-12-31 09:38:15
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Using my mystical crystal ball I can provide you with a sneaky peak at what lays in store for us in 2008. Don't worry! I don't possess supernatural abilities, just extraordinary research skills that can dazzle those easily impressed.

Before I faithfully continue with the Gregorian calendar, it is only fair to remind that the Armenian calendar reads 1457, Buddhist calendar 2552, Ethiopian calendar 2000 – 2001, Hebrew calendar 5768 – 5769, Islamic calendar 1428 – 1430, Julian calendar 2053, Korean calendar 4341 and the Thai solar calendar 2551.

2008 Anno Domini (MMVIII) begins on a Tuesday and is a Leap Year, so take advantage of that extra day in February. 2008 has been designated as International Year of Planet Earth, European Year of Intercultural Dialogue, Australian Year of the Scout, International Year of the Potato, International Year of Sanitation and on February 7 the Chinese celebrate the Year of the Rat.

January begins with the 200th anniversary of the USA's ban on importation of slaves, Cyprus and Malta adopt the Euro currency, Slovenia undertakes its first European Union presidency, the Grand Canyon National Monument celebrates a century, its 100 years since the first long-distance radio message is sent from Eiffel Tower, the African Cup of Nations kicks off in Ghana and the Italian physiologist and physicist Giovanni Alfonso Borelli would have been 400.

February marks the start of the Rugby Union Six Nations Championships, the 80th Academy Awards, the 50th Daytona 500, Sri Lanka (Ceylon) observes 60 years of independence, while Lithuania and Estonia both celebrate 90th anniversary of first becoming independent states. It is fifty years since the Munich air disaster, Alice Cooper turns 60, Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi is 60, Bruce Forsyth and Fats Domino are 80, plus it is the 400th anniversary of the birth of Antonio Vieira, a Portuguese writer, and the 200th anniversary of Honoré Daumier, a French painter, illustrator, and sculptor.

March features the 100th birthday of Italy's Inter Milan and Brazil's Clube Atletico Mineiro, it is 90 years since Moscow becomes the capital of Russia, it is 60 years since Benelux, France, and the UK sign the Treaty of Brussels, it is a decade since the US's FDA approve Viagra, it is 40 years since the death of Yuri Gagarin and Belarusian People's Republic celebrates its 90th birthday. Astronauts Frank Borman and Jim Lovell turn 80, Aerosmith's Steven Tyler and former Vice President of the United States Al Gore are both 60. The 2008 Formula 1 World Championship begins in Melbourne, Australia, and the UK celebrates Mothers Day.

April takes off with the 90th anniversary of the creation of the Royal Air Force, it is 60 years since the World Health Organization is established, it's 40 years since Martin Luther King, Jr was assassinated, 25 years since the US embassy in Beirut is destroyed, 70 years since LSD is first synthesized and 70 years ago Bugs Bunny was born as Happy Rabbit. Betty Ford, former First Lady of the United States, and Jørn Utzon, the Sydney Opera House architect, are both 90, Maya Angelou and Shirley Temple are both 80, Kofi Annan is 70 and Terry Pratchett is 60.

May begins with local elections in the UK, followed by Israel marking 60 years as a nation and 60 years since Palestine (as a British protectorate) came to an end. It's 90 years since the Democratic Republic of Georgia is established and 80 years since the release of the animated short "Plane Crazy" that featured the first appearances of Mickey and Minnie Mouse. Burt Bacharach and Nigel Davenport are both 80, Leo Sayer is 60 and it is the 200th anniversary of Elijah Craig's birth - he invented bourbon. May is a month of finals with the UEFA Champions League Final, the Eurovision Song Contest final and the UEFA Cup Final.

June presents the Vodafone Derby Festival, the 2008 UEFA European Football Championships and the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, plus the 70th anniversary of the first Superman comic. Helsinki's Olympic Stadium was inaugurated 70 years ago and London Gatwick Airport was officially opened 50 years ago. It is 40 years since Valerie Solanas attempted to assassinate Andy Warhol and it is 40 years since Sirhan Sirhan killed Robert F Kennedy. Dr. Ruth, James Ivory, John Forbes Nash and Maurice Sendak all reach four-score (80).

July marks 400 years since Samuel de Champlain founded Quebec City, 80 years since the first colour television broadcast in London, 60 years since Idlewild Field (later renamed JFK International Airport) is dedicated, 60 years since the British National Health Service Act is enacted, 50 years since US Congress formally creates NASA and thirty years since the world's first test tube baby is born. Nelson Mandela turns 90, Cat Stevens reaches 60 and "Calvin and Hobbes" cartoonist Bill Watterson is 50.

August is filled with the 100th anniversaries of England's first beauty contest, the first Model T Ford to be built and Wilbur Wright's first flight at a French racecourse. It is 90 years since women enlist in the United States Marine Corps for the first time, 60 years since the Republic of Korea is established and 40 years since France explodes its first hydrogen bomb. Frederick Forsyth is 70, Robert Plant is 60 and Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson, Madonna, Michael Jackson and Tim Burton all turn 50. Don't forget that we'll finally see the opening ceremony for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

September sees General Motors celebrating its 100th anniversary and it is 80 years since Sir Alexander Fleming first discovers penicillin. It is also 80 years since the Republic of China is recognised by the United States and 80 years since the UK passes the Dangerous Drugs Act outlawing cannabis. The Honda Motor Company is 60 and it is 30 years since The Who's drummer Keith Moon died from an overdose.

October sees the Pravda newspaper reach 100 and it is 80 years since the iron lung respirator is used for the first time. It's 70 years since Orson Welles broadcasts his radio play of H. G. Wells's The War of the Worlds and it is 40 years since the 1968 Olympics Black Power salute is performed. Christopher Lloyd and Derek Jacobi hit 70, Status Quo's Rick Parfitt is 60, Simon Le Bon and Tim Robbins are 50, plus Radiohead's Thom Yorke is 40.

November marks the 70th anniversary of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk's death, the 60th anniversary of T. S. Eliot winning the Nobel Prize in Literature, 40 years since Enid Blyton's death, 30 years since Dominica gained its independence from the UK, 25 years since the Brinks Mat robbery, 20 years since the first Fairtrade label is launched and ten years since the the European Court of Human Rights is instituted. It is 500 years since the birth of Italian architect Andrea Palladio, it is 200 years since the birth of Thomas Cook, while Ennio Morricone and Mickey Mouse are both 80 and Prince Charles is 60.

December commemorates the 400th birthday of English poet John Milton, celebrates the 200th anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven's premiere of his Fifth Symphony and observes the 20th anniversary of the Lockerbie bombing. It is thirty years since Spain became a democracy after 40 years of dictatorship and it is 20 years since Benazir Bhutto was sworn in as Prime Minister of Pakistan. Noam Chomsky turns 80, Jon Voight is 70 and Gérard Depardieu and Ozzy Osbourne hit 40 - oh yes, I am also thirty in December.

So, that was 2008 or at least all I can tell you. If any of these events inspire you, then please send us a submission to bring further awareness to it. Don't be shy! Join our growing to of voluntary contributors and see if you can make a difference!

Happy New Year!

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Emanuel Paparella2007-12-31 14:09:19
The trouble with commemorations on the calendar is that after a while they begin to sound like Nietzsche’s “eternal return.” The eternal return can get quite boring after a while. No doubt commemorating and celebrating is integral part of being human. However, historian Tony Judt, in his “Europe since 1945” has a caveat: he coins the word “misremembering” by which he means a proclivity to put to rest a problem or an issue by simply commemorating or celebrating it without bothering to reflect upon it and discuss it in depth, or, even worse, the tendency to assert and lay out one’s own view in a glib line or two and then say: this is so obvious that I don’t know why it needs reiterating and then put and issue presented in a couple thousand words the issue to rest in one’s memory; hence “misremembering.” In effect one has narcissistically debated and persuaded oneself and is not interested in giving other ideas the time of day. The same with the building of monuments and museums and placing commemorative dates on calendars of any stripe; if Judt is right, it seems to somehow absolve those who build and devise them from the hard thinking that accompanies any serious dialogue. And that is why it is commendable on your part, Mr. Butcher, to call for sustained reflection and intelligent discussion of important issues beyond mere commemoration or celebration, as important as those are. Happy New Year to Ovi and its whole team.

Jack2007-12-31 17:35:58
It is like you are almost Janus my friend Mr. Butcher. We can look ahead while looking at what's occured in the past year. How appropriate for Ovi...always looking beyound today and the present and scribing important (as yet) unwritten articles about our world that are both relevant and interesting. It has been a good year Ovi. A happy one to you and all and a prosperouse 2008. I look forward in eager anticipation to this open door that is Ovi. How refreshing. Thanks contributors and staff at Ovi. You are all the best and you have made a great deal of difference.

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