International Asteroid Day

The United Nations has declared “30 June as International Asteroid Day to mark the anniversary of the Siberian Tunguska event that took place on June 30th, 1908, and is the most harmful known asteroid-related event on Earth in recent history and to raise public awareness about the asteroid impact hazard
Asteroid Day also aims to raise awareness about asteroids and what can be done to protect the Earth, its families, communities, and future generations from a catastrophic event.

Asteroid Day was co-founded by filmmaker Grigorij Richters, B612 Foundation COO Danica Remy, Apollo 9 astronaut Rusty Schweickart and Brian May, Queen guitarist and astrophysicist. Over 200 astronauts, scientists, technologists and artists, including Richard Dawkins, Bill Nye, Peter Gabriel, Jim Lovell, Apollo 11 Astronaut Michael Collins, Alexei Leonov, Bill Anders, Kip Thorne, Lord Martin Rees, Chris Hadfield, Rusty Schweickart and Brian Cox co-signed the Asteroid Day Declaration. Asteroid Day was officially launched on December 3, 2014. In February 2014, Brian May, astrophysicist and guitarist for the rock band Queen, began working with Grigorij Richters, director of the film 51 Degrees North, the story of a fictional asteroid impact on London and the human condition resulting from such an event. May composed the music for the film. After screening the film at the 2014 Starmus Festival, Richters and May co-founded Asteroid Day in October 2014 which they officially announced during a press conference with Lord Martin Rees, Rusty Schweickart, Ed Lu, Thomas Jones, Ryan Watt and Bill Nye. The event was live streamed from the Science Museum in London, the California Academy of Sciences, New York and São Paulo. On Asteroid Day 2017, minor planet 248750 (discoverer M.Dawson) was officially named Asteroidday by the International Astronomical Union.

The workgroup of Asteroid Day created a declaration called “100X Declaration”, which appeals to all scientists and technologists who are supporting the idea of saving the earth from asteroids, but not only specialists are asked to sign, everyone can sign this declaration. Today, the 100X Declaration has been signed by more than 22,000 private citizens. More than 1M asteroids have the potential to impact Earth and through all the available telescopes worldwide, we have discovered only about one percent. The 100X Declaration calls for increasing the asteroid discovery rate to 100,000 (or 100x) per year within the next 10 years. The more we learn about asteroid impacts, the clearer it became that the human race has been living on borrowed time.

Asteroid Day and the 100X Declaration are ways for the public to contribute to an awareness of the Earth’s vulnerability and the realization that Asteroids hit Earth all the time. Asteroid Day is also a way garner public support to increase our knowledge of when asteroids might strike and how we can protect ourselves.” The main three goals are:

  • Employ available technology to detect and track Near-Earth Asteroids that threaten human populations via governments and private and philanthropic organisations.
  • To acceleratethe discovery and tracking of Near-Earth Asteroids to 100,000 per year within the next ten years.
  • to adopt Asteroid Day Globally to increase awareness of the asteroid hazard and our efforts to prevent impacts.

On Asteroid Day 2015-2016, there were over 600 events According to the AsteroidDay.org website in 78 countries participated. The general goal was to raise awareness about the threat posed by asteroid impacts. Institutions such as the Natural History Museum in Vienna, the American Natural History Museum, the California Academy of Sciences, the Science Museum in London, the SETI institute, the European Space Agency, the UK Space Agency, and others participated in educational activities. The first Asteroid Day was held on June 30, 2015. In February 2016, Romanian astronaut Dumitru Prunariu and the Association of Space Explorers submitted a proposal to the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee of the United Nations which was accepted by the subcommittee and in June 2016 the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space included the recommendation in its report. The report of the Committee was presented for approval to the United Nations General Assembly’s 71st session which it approved on December 6, 2016..”

Hal Lindes (Dire Straits)

Hal Lindes, The American-English singer-songwriter and former guitarist with Dire Straits , Was Born 30 June 1953. Dire Straits were formed in 1977 by Brothers Mark (lead vocals and lead guitar)and David Knopfler (rhythm guitar and backing vocal), and friends John Illsley (bass guitar and backing vocals, and Pick Withers (drums and percussion), they recorded a five-song demo tape which included their future hit single, “Sultans of Swing”, as well as “Water of Love”, “Down to the Waterline”, “Wild West End” and David Knopfler’s “Sacred Loving”.

The group’s first album, was intitled Dire Straits the album had little promotion when initially released in the United Kingdom However, the album came to the attention of A&R representative Karin Berg, working at Warner Bros. Records in New York City. She felt that it was the kind of music audiences were hungry for, That same year, Dire Straits began a tour as opening band for the Talking Heads after the re-released “Sultans of Swing” which scaled the charts to number four in the United States and number eight in the United Kingdom. The song was one of Dire Straits’ biggest hits and became a fixture in the band’s live performances. “ Recording sessions for the group’s second album, Communiqué, took place in December 1978, Released in June 1979 Communiqué Featured the single “Lady Writer”, the second album continued in a similar vein as the first and displayed the expanding scope of Knopfler’s lyricism on the opening track, “Once Upon a Time in the West”. In 1980, Dire Straits were nominated for two Grammy Awards for Best New Artist and Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group for “Sultans Of Swing.

In July 1980 the band started recording tracks for their third album. Making Movies which featured longer songs with more complex arrangements, a style which would continue for the rest of the band’s career. The album featured many of Mark Knopfler’s most personal compositions. The most successful chart single was “Romeo and Juliet” and was released in October 1980. Dire Straits’ fourth studio album Love Over Gold, an album of songs filled with lengthy, experimental passages, was well received when it was released in September 1982, going gold in America and spending four weeks at number one in the United Kingdom, its main chart hit, “Private Investigations”, gave Dire Straits their first top 5 hit single in the United Kingdom, where it reached the number 2 position despite its almost seven-minute length, and became another of the band’s most popular live songs. along with “Industrial Disease”, a song that looks at the decline of the British manufacturing industry in the early 1980s. In 1983, a four-song EP titled ExtendedancEPlay was released while Love Over Gold was still in the album charts. It featured the hit single “Twisting By the Pool”. Dire Straits also embarked on a world tour. wgich resulted in The double album Alchemy Live, a recording of two live concerts of the group at London’s Hammersmith Odeon in July 1983, was released in March 1984.

Dire Straits returned to the recording studios at the end of 1984 to record their biggest selling album to date, Brothers in Arms, which has so far sold over 30 million copies and contains the songs “Money for Nothing”, “Walk of Life”, “So Far Away”, “Your Latest Trick” and “Brothers in Arms”. Released in May 1985, Brothers In Arms entered the UK Albums Chart at number 1 and spent a total of 228 weeks in the charts, It went on to become the best-selling album of 1985 in the UK, “Money for Nothing” was also the first video ever to be played on MTV in Britain and featured guest vocals by Sting, who is credited with co-writing the song with Mark Knopfler, although in fact, it was just the inclusion of the melody line from “Don’t Stand So Close To Me”.Brothers in Arms was among the first albums recorded on digital equipment due to Knopfler pushing for improved sound quality The album’s title track is reported to be the world’s first CD single. The album is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the first compact disc to sell a million copies, and has been credited with helping to popularise the CD forma

Their sound drew from a variety of musical influences, including jazz, folk, blues, and came closest to beat music within the context of rock and roll. Despite the prominence of punk rock during the band’s early years, the band’s stripped-down sound contrasted with punk, demonstrating a more “rootsy” influence that emerged out of pub rock. Many of Dire Straits’ compositions were melancholic and they have gone on to became one of the world’s most commercially successful bands, with worldwide album sales of over 120 million. making them One of the world’s best selling music artists, and their fifth album, Brothers in Arms, has won many accolades. In November 2009, Dire Straits were honoured by the new PRS for Music Heritage Award. A special blue plaque was erected at Farrer House, Church Street, Deptford in south London, where the original group, Mark Knopfler, David Knopfler, John Illsley and Pick Withers once shared a council flat and performed their first ever gig in 1977. PRS for Music has set up the Heritage Award to recognise the unusual “performance birthplaces” of famous bands and artists. Dire Straits have also won numerous music awards during their career, including four Grammy Awards, three Brit Awards—winning Best British Group twice, and two MTV Video Music Awards. The band’ most popular songs include “Sultans of Swing”, “Romeo and Juliet”, “Tunnel of Love”, “Private Investigations” .Dire Straits’ career spanned 18 years. Mark Knopfler and John Illsley were the only two original bandmates who remained until Dire Straits disbanded in 1995.

UK Armed Forces Day

Armed Forces Day (formerly Veterans’ Day) in the United Kingdom is an annual event celebrated in late June to commemorate the service of men and women in the British Armed Forces. Veterans’ Day was first observed in 2006. Although an official event, it is not a public holiday in the UK. The name was changed to Armed Forces Day in 2009. Armed Forces Day has so far been observed on the last Saturday of June. Plans for a Veterans’ Day were announced in February 2006 by then-Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, who said the aim was to ensure the contribution of veterans was never forgotten. The day is marked across the UK by local ceremonies and the presentation of medals to living ex-servicemen and women. Veterans Day was created as a permanent extension of Veterans’ Awareness Week first held in 2005. Armed Forces Day generally focuses on celebrating living current/ex servicemen & women, whereas Remembrance Day focuses on honouring the dead. Although it used to be called Veteran’s Day in the UK, it is not the same as the United States’ Veterans Day which is more similar to Remembrance Day in the Commonwealth. On 25 June 2007, Jim Devine the Member of Parliament for Livingston, tabled a House of Commons Early Day Motion calling for the day to be a public holiday, stating “that this House recognises the outstanding contribution that veterans have made to the country; and believes that Veterans’ Day should be a national public holiday across the United Kingdom.

The first Veterans’ Day in 2006 saw a series of events across the UK which included an event at the Imperial War Museum in London, which was attended by Lachhiman Gurung VC, a Nepalese recipient of the Victoria Cross, which was awarded for bravery in 1945 when he was a Rifleman in the 4th Battalion of The 8th Gurkha Rifles, British Indian Army during World War II in Burma (Myanmar), and Corporal Christopher Finney GC of the Blues and Royals who was awarded the George Cross for bravery under friendly fire during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Parades were held in Dundee and Staffordshire as well as a service at Westminster Abbey. There was also an evening reception at 10 Downing Street for representatives of veterans associations. The 2007 national event was held in Birmingham as the start of a five-day event from 27 June to 1 July. In the morning there was a “Parade of Standards” which was led by The Central Band of the Royal Air Force, from the International Convention Centre (ICC) to the Hall of Memory in Centenary Square. The day also included celebrations in Victoria Square where a Spitfire aircraft was on display and the Minister for Veterans Derek Twigg presented five Veterans’ Badges and met the families of service personnel who died in the line of duty.

In 2008 Veterans’ Day, was hosted in Blackpool as part of the resorts annual “National Veterans’ Week” which ran from 21 to 29 June 2008. Events were held throughout the UK and the day was promoted by a nationwide television advert. The National Veterans’ Day Service was held at Blackpool Cenotaph, a Grade II Listed building which had just been restored, by North Pier on central promenade. The service was led by the Bishop of Blackburn and was attended by Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Derek Twigg and General Sir Richard Dannatt, the Chief of the General Staff, as well as Henry Allingham (at the time, he was the oldest surviving veteran of World War I. The service was followed by a “Schools Veterans’ Day Thank You” performed by local school children, Various other events were held throughout Blackpool during the day including a “Badge Presentation ceremony” in the Tower Ballroom with the Duchess of Cornwall presenting veteran badges to among others, Martin Bell There was also a Veterans’ Parade along the promenade and a Falklands War veteran abseiled down Blackpool Tower. The weekly BBC Radio 2 programme, Friday Night is Music Night was broadcast live from the Opera House presented by Ken Bruce with the BBC Concert Orchestra, Alfie Boe and Rebecca Thornhill. The Red Devils parachute display team performed an illuminated “night time parachute drop” outside North Pier and the day ended with a Firework Finale from the pier. Other events included a commemoration at Trafalgar Square in London. In 2009 the name of the event was changed to Armed Forces Day, to raise awareness and appreciation for those on active duty. It took place on Saturday 27 June. The host town was Chatham, Kent with events elsewhere, including London.

In 2010, Armed Forces Day was held on Saturday 26 June hosted in the Welsh capital of Cardiff. The day-long celebrations included a military parade from Cardiff Castle to Cardiff Bay and the city’s waterfront, where a range of events, activities and artistic performances were staged on land, sea and air. The parade was led by HRH the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall. Royal Navy frigate HMS Kent was docked in Cardiff to take part in the events. An estimated 50,000 people attended the celebrations in the city. Among the cities joining Cardiff in hosting events were Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Plymouth, Nottingham, Bristol and Manchester. Events in Cardiff included, A traditional Drumhead Service in Roald Dahl Plass, Fly-overs by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, the Red Arrows and Helicopter Formation, Arena displays in Roald Dahl Plass including the Royal Marine Commando Display Team, and the Royal Marine Band, Military displays representing all of the armed forces took place throughout Cardiff Bay, Search and rescue Sea King rescue display on the water, The opportunity to go aboard HMS Kent docked in Roath Basin for the weekend, An evening of stage performances featuring The Soldiers and Only Men Aloud! Plus A firework finale over the waters of Cardiff Bay.

Armed Forces Day 2011 took place on Saturday 25 June, with the main parade held on the Royal Mile in the Scottish capital of Edinburgh, which was this year’s host city. The personnel of the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force took the salute from Prince Charles, at the Scottish Parliament, in the presence of dignitaries, including the Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary, the Defence Secretary, the First Minister of Scotland, and the Chief of the Defence Staff. Over Edinburgh there was a fly-past by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and the Red Arrows. HMS Portland, a Royal Navy frigate, was moored at Leith, Edinburgh’s port, for public tours. In Windsor, Berkshire, at the Victoria Barracks, the Irish Guards were awarded their Afghan operational medals by Prince William – who is their ceremonial Colonel of the Regiment – and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge Further events and parades were held across the United Kingdom including the Royal Navy’s base in Portsmouth, where a number of public events took place over the weekend, and Royal Navy destroyers HMS Gloucester and HMS Daring were docked and open to the public.

UK Armed Forces Day 2012 was centred on Plymouth and took place on Saturday 30 June. the following year UK Armed Forces Day 2013 was centred on Nottingham and took place on Saturday 29 June. UK Armed Forces Day 2014 was centred on Stirling while UK Armed Forces Day 2015 was centred on Guildford and occurred on Saturday 27 June while UK Armed Forces Day 2016 was centred on the Lincolnshire resort of Cleethorpes on Saturday 25 June with some activities on 26 June hosted in Grimsby Docks. Many similar events were also held throughout the United Kingdom.

In Northern Ireland, there is much support for Armed Forces Day from the unionist community. However, each year the flying of Armed Forces Day flags from council buildings has met with opposition, due to some of the actions of the British Army during The Troubles. The opposition has come from Irish nationalist/republican groups, and from the families of those who were victims of the British Army. Sinn Féin argued that it dishonours the “hundreds of Irish citizens” killed by the British Army during the conflict and is an insult to their families. Republican group Éirígí, who hold a yearly protest in Belfast, have called the event a “propaganda stunt” motivated by “rising recruitment rates” and “growing disgust at the British military’s wars of conquest” Before 2012, the Ministry of Defence had asked Belfast City Council to fly the flag from Belfast City Hall for one day. Since 2012, it has asked that the flag be flown for six days.

Severn Valley Railway 40’s Weekend

The Severn Valley Railway’s “Step back to the 1940’s” event takes place Sat 30 June and Sunday 1 July. The event gives visitors a taste of wartime Britain with a host of attractions up and down the line, including a battle at Highley Engine House, costumed re-enactors at every station, military and Classic vehicle displays including tanks, DUKWS, jeeps, Scout Cars and many other 1940’s Vehicles. Musical entertainment including the Big Band Show, there will also be a Flypast by the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, featuring an Avro Lancaster on Saturday 30th June, a Hawker Hurricane on Sunday 1st July, a Douglas Dakota on Saturday 7th July and Supermarine Spitfire on Sunday 8th July.

Winston Churchill & King George VI will also be in attendance. There is also a Dig for Victory garden and privy , more Classic vehicle displays , Replica air-raid shelter, Bombed out building , ARP post, ID card checkpoint, an Allotment, replica Operations Room, conscientious Objectors Display, replica air Raid Shelter and themed Replica Blackout Air-Raid shelter plus a bombed out building.

The National Fire Service & AUxiliary Fire Service Vehicles Group will also be at the Severn Valley Railway’s Step Back to the 1940s event To display an array of firefighting equipment and take part in an exciting reenactment at Kidderminster Signalbox to demonstrate the vital work carried out by the National Fire Service and the Auxiliary Fire Service during the Second World War. Visitors to Kidderminster Station will also be able to Visit the Hairdresser to get ‘Victory Rolls’ or take Free Vintage Bus Rides and watch the Exhilarating firefighting reenactment each afternoon and a display of firefighting vehicles, courtesy of the National Fire Service & Auxilary Fire Service Vehicles Group. There will also be an All-new shop display at Kidderminster including a Vintage clothing stall, tobacconist and a sweet shop, an Air Raid Shelter and ARP Post plus many Vintage vehicles will be on display and Paul Harper will be performing 1940’s songs.

At Bewdley station there will be a Mechanical horse and vintage vehicle display, plus a Vintage stall selling clothing and memorabilia. At Arley station there will be a Hospital train housing the Royal Army Medical Corps Field Hospital, a Vintage caravan and vehicle display and a wartime wedding on the platform at 2.30pm. 1940s Crooner’, Kevin Mack, will also be entertaining with his repertoire of catchy and nostalgic 1940’s numbers. At Highley station and the Engine House There will be a Battle reenactment: set two days after the Normandy Invasion, and featuring a German Troop train which is about to be attacked by Allied Paratroopers and members of the French Resistance. There will also be a Vintage Marketplace in The Engine House selling memorabilia, nostalgic 1940’s clothing and Army uniforms, Wartime newsreels will also be shown, Paul Harper will be entertaining each morning. There will also be a Display of military vehicles adjacent to the signal box and the Allied’s Encampment next to the station. Visitors will also have the chance to see King George VI’s Royal Saloon on display in the Engine House.

At Hampton Loade station there is a German presence with the German military police demanding to see your travel documents and identity cards. There is also the Paddock Miniature Railway and Classic vehicles from the period will also be on display, as well as motorcycles. Entertainment will be provided by the D-Day Darlings and the ‘Big Band Show’ at Kidderminster featuring a fantastic jazz orchestra alongside special guests playing tunes from the 1940s. The show begins at 7.30pm on both evenings.