30 years ago today, Benazir Bhutto became the first woman to lead a Muslim state when she was elected the Prime Minister of Pakistan in the first open election there in more than a decade. A liberal and secularist, she also led the centre-left Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) to victory in 1993 as a champion of democracy and women’s rights. (1988)
Following United States-brokered negotiations with President Pervez Musharraf, she returned to Pakistan in 2007 to compete in the 2008 elections, emphasizing civilian oversight of the military and opposition to growing Islamist violence, but during a political rally in 2007, she was assassinated by Islamist extremists. She wrote an autobiography, Daughter of Destiny, and before her death authored Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy, and the West.
MORE Good News on this Date:
- The vacuum tube was invented by English physicist John Ambrose Fleming, a key component of early radios–often considered the beginning of electronics (1904)
- The US and the Soviet Union established formal diplomatic relations (1933)
- LSD was first synthesized by Swiss chemist Dr. Albert Hofmann at the Sandoz Laboratories in Basel, Switzerland (1938)
- China released Wei Jingsheng, a prominant pro-democracy dissident, after detaining him for 18 years for “counterrevolutionary” activities—he was deported to the US where his foundation works to improve human rights and freedom in his homeland (1997)
- Bill Clinton became the first serving U.S. President to visit Vietnam (2000)
- Prince William and Kate Middleton announced their engagement (2010)
With the goal of fostering peace and universal respect for each other, UNESCO (which stands for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) is most known for choosing and trying to protect World Heritage sites, locations around the world chosen as masterpieces of human creative genius or landmarks of natural magnificence. Its list includes 1,092 sites in 167 countries, with Italy having the most (54) of any country, followed by China (53), Spain (47), France (44), Germany (44), India (37), and Mexico (35).