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Nov. 17 in history: Listening in on Lewinsky, Suez Canal opens, Mulroney lights the torch

In 1987, then Prime Minister Brian Mulroney lit the 1988 Winter OlympicGames torch atop Signal Hill in St. John's, Nfld. The torch was carriedby 7,000 Canadians on its way to the Games in Calgary, arriving thefollowing Feb. 13th.

In 1987, then Prime Minister Brian Mulroney lit the 1988 Winter Olympic Games torch atop Signal Hill in St. John's, Nfld. The torch was carried by 7,000 Canadians on its way to the Games in Calgary, arriving the following Feb. 13th.

Also on this date:

In 1558, Queen Mary I, known as Bloody Mary, who tried to return Protestant Britain to Catholicism, died. She was succeeded by her half-sister, Elizabeth I, who ended the religious persecutions of the English Counter-Reformation.

In 1800, Congress held its first session in Washington in the partially completed Capitol building.

In 1856, the Grand Trunk Railway was completed between Guelph and Stratford, Ont.

In 1866, Vancouver Island was united with the colony of British Columbia. Vancouver Island was first visited by British explorer Captain James Cook in 1778. It was named for Captain George Vancouver, who explored and surveyed its coasts in 1792. The United States recognized the island as British territory in 1846.

In 1869, the Suez Canal formally opened for navigation. The manmade waterway, which stretches 168 km and joins Port Said on the Mediterranean Sea to Suez on the Red Sea, greatly reduced the distance by sea between Europe and the East.

In 1903, the North West Mounted Police occupied Herschel Island and raised the British flag.

In 1917, sculptor August Rodin died in Meudon, France.

In 1938, a trade agreement was signed in Washington between Canada and the United States.

In 1959, the Soviet bloc in the United Nations agreed to the Canadian proposal to study the effect of radiation from atomic explosions.

In 1967, a melee erupted outside the U.S. Consulate in Montreal as 2,000 students protested the Vietnam War.

In 1968, Toronto golfers Al Balding and George Knudson defeated 41 other national teams at the World Cup golf tournament in Rome. It was the first victory for a Canadian team since Canada donated the cup in 1953. The tournament was called the Canada Cup until 1968.

In 1970, the Soviet Union landed an unmanned, remote-controlled vehicle on the moon, the “Lunokhod 1.”

In 1973, U.S. President Nixon told Associated Press managing editors meeting in Orlando, Fla.: “People have got to know whether or not their president is a crook. Well, I'm not a crook.”

In 1979, Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini ordered the release of 13 American hostages held at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.

In 1981, Angus MacLean officially resigned as premier of Prince Edward Island. James Lee, who was elected leader of the P.E.I. Progressive Conservative Party on Nov. 7, was sworn in as premier.

In 1981, the NDP under Howard Pawley won the Manitoba election, defeating the Progressive Conservative government.

In 1987, Toronto Blue Jays outfielder George Bell was selected the American League's most valuable player for 1987. He was the first member of a Canadian-based major-league team to win an MVP award.

In 1987, a federal jury in Denver convicted two neo-Nazis and acquitted two others of civil rights violations in the 1984 slaying of radio talk show host Alan Berg.

In 1992, the federal government offered $100,000 to each victim of the CIA brainwashing scandal at Montreal's Allen Institute between 1957-62.

In 1993, South African President F. W. de Klerk, ANC leader Nelson Mandela and other political leaders endorsed a new constitution that finally destroyed apartheid by guaranteeing equal rights for blacks and ended three centuries of white dominance.

In 1993, the U.S. House of Representatives ratified the North American Free Trade Agreement. Senate ratification came three days later and the Mexican government gave its blessing on Nov. 22. Canada had passed NAFTA legislation in May, but it was not proclaimed until after the Chretien Liberals won the 1993 federal election.

In 1997, terrorists gunned down 58 tourists, at the Hatshepsut Temple, one of Egypt's archeological wonders. Two policemen and six gunmen were also killed in the shooting, bringing the total death toll to 68.

In 1998, the public got to hear Monica Lewinsky's voice for the first time as the House Judiciary Committee released 22 hours of tape recordings secretly made by Linda Tripp.

In 2000, a teenaged boy who fatally shot one student and wounded another at W. R. Myer High School in Taber, Alta., on April 28, 1999, was sentenced to three years in prison.

In 2002, Abba Eban, who dominated Israeli diplomacy for decades and helped persuade the world to approve the creation of the Jewish state, died at age 87.

In 2002, Giulio Andreotti, 83, Italy's former prime minister and confidant of popes and princes for more than half a century, was found guilty of ordering the 1979 murder of a journalist and was sentenced to 24 years in prison.

In 2003, John Muhammad was found guilty in the sniper killings that terrorized the Washington, D.C. area for three weeks in 2002 and left 10 people dead. He was convicted on four counts, including taking part in multiple murders and terrorizing people. He was later sentenced to death and was executed on Nov. 10, 2009.

In 2003, movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger was sworn in as governor of California.

In 2003, Conrad Black was forced out as CEO of Hollinger International and he and two other executives said they would repay their share of $32 million in payments that were not properly authorized by the board of the company.

In 2004, Quebec Premier Jean Charest kicked off a trade mission to Mexico, accompanied by French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin, the first time the federal government had allowed a premier to travel with a foreign leader to promote common interests.

In 2004, Kmart Holding Corp. and Sears, Roebuck and Co. announced they would merge in an US$11 billion deal. The merger would create a new retail company named Sears Holdings Corp., which was expected to be the third-largest retailer in the U.S. behind Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Target Corp.

In 2004, Pauline Michel, a Quebec novelist and screenwriter, was named as Canada's new poet laureate, the first francophone to hold the post. She took over from George Bowering.

In 2005, former media mogul Conrad Black was charged with eight counts of fraud in the U.S. in connection with his role as an executive of Hollinger International.

In 2007, two Canadian soldiers -- Pte. Michel Levesque, 25, of the Royal 22nd Regiment and Cpl. Nicholas Raymond Beauchamp, 28, of the 5th Field Ambulance of CFB Valcartier, and an Afghan interpreter were killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.

In 2008, actress Charlize Theron was named the newest UN Messenger of Peace, turning her Academy Award-winning fame to ending violence against women and girls around the globe.

In 2009, Kate Pullinger won the Governor General's Literary Award for fiction for her Victorian-era novel “The Mistress of Nothing.” M.G. Vassanji nabbed the non-fiction award for “A Place Within: Rediscovering India.” Kevin Loring won the drama prize for “Where the Blood Mixes,” while David Zieroth picked up the poetry prize for “The Fly in Autumn.”

In 2009, Mosha Michael, considered by some as Canada's first Inuk filmmaker, died in Toronto at age 61. His first short film, Natsik Hunting, was about a seal and caribou hunt made for the National Film Board in 1975 for which he also composed and played the music. Michael also made two more NFB short films in the '70s, The Hunters (Asivaqtiin) and Whale Hunting (Qilaluganiatut).

In 2010, Brig.-Gen. Daniel Menard voluntarily tendered his resignation. He was charged with allegedly having an inappropriate intimate relationship with a female subordinate, and then urging her to cover it up. (He left the Canadian army ranks on Dec. 17. At his court martial in July 2011, he pleaded guilty. His punishment included a $7,000 fine and a symbolic demotion to the rank of colonel.)

In 2010, Vancouver-born actor Ryan Reynolds became the first Canadian to be named People magazine's “sexiest man alive” as the annual list marked its 25th anniversary.

 
 
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