On February 14, people in many countries celebrate love and friendship by exchanging cards, flowers, and candy. But for others, February 14 is a day of protest, a day of pain, death, and disasters—both natural and by human hands. Read this blog and weep. (Author’s Note: The pictures provided to illustrate this blog are not the gruesome, tragic images of the events described.)

Writers: Could your work use a slanted work at Valentine’s Day? Could you use one of these real events as a trigger for action or tension among your characters? It could be an older event that is read about or studied.


The Saint Valentine of Christian tradition is most likely an amalgamation of two or three different historical figures. Valentine of Terni was the bishop of what is now known as Interamna, known as Terni today; he was martyred in 273 under the reign Emperor Aurelian. Valentine of Rome was a priest who was martyred in 270; more information is provided about him below. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, there is a third saint named Valentine who is mentioned on the date of February 14th under early lists of the martyrs. The only thing known of this Valentine is he was martyred with his companions in Africa and had his head added to the reliquaries of the New Minster Abbey in Winchester, England in 1041.

Relics of Saint Valentine preserved in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, Rome
  • 270 c.e. Feb 14 The early Christian martyr, St. Valentine, was executed by Emperor Claudius II. The Catholic Bishop Valentine was clubbed, stoned, and beheaded for refusing to acknowledge the Roman Emporer’s outlawing of marriage. St. Valentine’s Day evolved from Lupercalia, a Roman festival of fertility.  The early Christians made Valentine a symbol to oppose the Roman mid-February ceremony in honor of the god Lupercus, in which Roman teenage girls’ names were put in a box and selected by young Roman men for “sex toy” use until the next lottery. The two or three historical Valentines became merged into a single legendary patron of young lovers.
  • 869 Cyrillus, Greek apostle to the Slavs (creator of the Cyrillic alphabet, used in Russian and most Slavic languages today), died.
  • 1009 St. Bruno of Querfurt was beheaded as a martyr. News of his death included the first mention of Lithuania is official Papal archives. 
  • 1076 Pope Gregory VII excommunicated English King Henry IV.
  • 1130 Half of the College of Cardinals elected Pietro Pierleone as Pope (or anti-Pope) Anacletus II, in opposition to Pope (or anti-Pope) Innocent II, elected by the other half of the College of Cardinals. The schism in the Catholic Church was not resolved until 1139.
  • 1400 Richard II, deposed king of England (1377-99), was murdered in Pontefract Castle in Yorkshire. 
  • 1405  Timur, aka Tamerlane (b. 1336), crippled Mongol monarch, died in Kazakhstan. In 2004 Justin Marozzi authored Tamerlane: Sword of Islam, Conqueror of the World.
  • 1540 Holy Roman Emperor Charles V entered Ghent with no resistance to put down a citizen’s revolt against taxes. Leaders were executed, and other rebels were paraded through the city barefoot and wearing nooses.
  • 1556 Archbishop Thomas Cranmer was declared a heretic, caught up in the aftermath of the religious and political turmoil caused by the Tudor dynasty.
  • 1571 Benvenuto Cellini (b. 1500), Italian goldsmith and sculptor, writer (Perseus), died. His 1545 autobiography greatly influenced the Renaissance. 
  • 1610 The Polish army deposed Russian Czar Vasili Shuishki by forcing the (probably impostor) Czar Dimitri II and the Romanov family to imprison Shuiski as a monk in Warsaw during The Time of Troubles.
  • 1645 Robert Ingle, commissioned by the English Parliament and captain of the tobacco ship Reformation, sailed to St. Mary’s (Maryland) and seized a Dutch trading ship. This marked the beginning of what came to known as “The Plundering Time.” 
  • 1670 Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I expelled the Jews from Austria.
  • 1779 Nearly 250 soldiers died at the Battle of Kettle Creek in Georgia, which resulted in American Revolutionary Patriot forces defeating Colonial Loyalists.
  • 1779 Captain James Cook (b. 1728), English explorer, was killed on the Big Island in Hawaii. In 2002 Tony Horwitz authored “Blue Latitudes,” and Vanessa Collingridge authored “Captain Cook: A Legacy Under Fire.”
  • 1780 William Blackstone (56), English lawyer, died.
  • 1797 The Spanish fleet was destroyed by the British under Admiral Jervis (with Nelson in support) at the battle of Cape St. Vincent, off Portugal. 
  • 1879 Chile invaded the Bolivian port of Antofagasta after Bolivian authorities attempted to auction the confiscated property of CSFA, a Chilean mining company.


  • 1900 General Roberts invaded South Africa’s Orange Free State with 20,000 British troops. 
  • 1904 The “Missouri Kid” was captured in Kansas.
  • 1913 Jimmy Hoffa (James Riddle Hoffa) was born in Brazil, Indiana, U.S. Remembered as the General President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, one of the most powerful unions in the United States and with links to organized crime. He is also remembered for his conviction for attempted bribery of a grand juror and defrauding the union’s pension fund. Following his release in 1971, he attempted to rebuild his influence in the Union but on July 30, 1975 he disappeared from the Machus Red Fox Restaurant in Bloomfield and was never seen again. Hoffa is the subject of many urban legends as to who, how and why he was murdered and books and movies have been made about his life.
  • 1917 In San Francisco a police raid closed down the Barbary Coast. The red lights of the Barbary Coast went out. Louis Sidney “Sid” LeProtti was the pianist who led the So Different Jazz Band at Purcell’s, one of the most famous Negro dance halls in the country at 520 Pacific St of the San Francisco Barbary Coast district. A 1982 book by Tom Stoddard: Jazz on the Barbary Coast covers the era.
  • 1921 The Literary Review faced obscenity charges in NY for publishing Ulysses by James Joyce.
  • 1929 St. Valentine’s Day Massacre: seven gangster rivals of Al Capone were murdered in a garage in Chicago when Jack “Machine Gun” McGurn ordered the kill of rival George “Bugs” Moran.  
  • 1933 Governor William A. Comstock declared an eight-day bank holiday—really a temporary moratorium. This decision was made in light of the financial emergency that was taking place in the city of Detroit and the rest of the state of Michigan. The main reason for this temporary bank closure was the Detroit Ford Motor Company’s refusal to entrust its deposits to the Union Guardian Trust. Governor Comstock felt that it would help protect the interest of small depositors. 
  • 1939 The German Reich launched the battleship Bismarck, which was the largest battleship ever commissioned up to that date. The Bismarck sunk the pride of the British fleet the battle-cruiser HMS Hood in the Battle of the Denmark Strait in May 1941, but in September after spending months trying to gain revenge The Bismarck was sunk by the British Royal Navy.  
  • 1940 Britain announced that all merchant ships would be armed. 
  • 1941 German Afrika Korps landed in Tripoli, Libya.
  • 1942 The Japanese attacked Sumatra. Aidan MacCarthy’s RAF unit flew to Palembang, in eastern Sumatra, where 30 Royal Australian Air Force Lockheed A-28 Hudson bombers were waiting. The elation was short-lived as Japanese soldiers were parachuting into the jungle that surrounded the airfield. 
  • 1943 
    • One of the most significant World War II American defeats occurred during the battle of the Kasserine Pass (de Faïd pass). German General Erwin Rommel and African troops headed an attack against American and other allied forces in Tunisia, North Africa. The Battle of the Kasserine Pass resulted in the death of over 1,000 American soldiers. Hundreds of others were taken prisoner.  
    • David Hilbert (b.1862), German mathematician, died. He is considered the father of modern mathematics.
  • 1944 An anti-Japanese revolt took place on Java.
  • 1945
    • 521 American heavy bombers flew daylight raids over Dresden, Germany following the British assault. The firestorm killed an estimated 135,000 people. At least 35,000 died and some people place the toll closer to 70,000. The novel Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut was set in Dresden during the firebombing where he was being held as a prisoner of war. US B-17 bombers dropped 771 more tons on Dresden while P-51 Mustang fighters strafed roads packed with soldiers and civilians fleeing the burning city. In 2006 Marshall De Bruhl authored Firestorm: Allied Airpower and the Destruction of Dresden.
    • The siege of Budapest ended as the Soviets took the city. Only 785 German and Hungarian soldiers managed to escape.
  • 1949 The United States charged the USSR with interning up to 14 million in labor camps. 


  • 1955 A Jewish couple lost their fight to adopt Catholic twins as the U.S. Supreme Court refused to rule on state law. 
  • 1956 The B.F. Huntley furniture plant in Winston-Salem, NC, was destroyed by fire. The factory was rebuilt and the Huntley name continued until it was sold to Thomasville Furniture Industries in 1961.
  • 1957 The Georgia Senate approved Sen Leon Butts’ bill barring blacks from playing baseball with whites.
  • 1965 Malcolm X’s home was firebombed. No injuries were reported. 
  • 1967 Ramparts Magazine published an ad in the NY Times and Washington Post saying: “In its March issue, Ramparts magazine will document how the CIA has infiltrated and subverted the world of American student leaders over the past fifteen years.”
  • 1974  Soviet authorities formally charged Russian author Alexander Solzhenitsyn with treason one day after expelling him from the country and revoking his Russian citizenship.  
  • 1979
    • Adolph Dubs, the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, was kidnapped in Kabul by Muslim extremists and killed in a shootout between his abductors and police. 
    • Armed guerrillas attacked the U.S. embassy in Tehran. 
  • 1984 In South Africa under Apartheid rule the Black community at Mogopa was displaced in a “force removal” action. Some 300 homes and a cluster of community buildings were bulldozed over.
  • 1989 Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a ( FATWA ) death sentence on British writer Salman Rushdie for his authorship of the book Satanic Verses
  • 1990 Ninety-four people were killed when an Indian Airlines passenger jet crashed while landing at a southern Indian airport.
  • 1991
    • Iraq charged the bombing of an underground facility the day before, which killed hundreds of civilians, was a deliberate attack on an air raid shelter, a charge denied by the US.
    • The Iraqi weapons depot at Ukhaydir was bombed. Iraqi authorities revealed to US authorities in 1996 that the site stored hundreds of rockets filled with mustard gas and nerve gas.
  • 1993 The body of James Bulger, a 2-year-old boy who had been lured away from his mother in a Liverpool, England, shopping mall two days earlier, was found along a stretch of railroad track. Two boys (10), Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, were later convicted of murdering James; they spent eight years in detention before being paroled. 
  • 1994 Andrei Tsjikatilo, (the Rostov Ripper), Russian mass murderer, was executed.
  • 1996
    • Eva Hart (90), Titanic survivor, died.
    • A failed Loral Intelsat satellite launch caused a rocket to hit a village near the Xichang Space Center in China’s southwest Sichuan province. China acknowledged 6 deaths. US intelligence estimated the death toll at 200. The rocket was a new-generation Long March 3B. The satellite was intended for TV shows in Latin America for Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.
  • 1997
    • In Burma some 3,000 Karen refugees fled into Thailand to escape fighting. The Karen National Union had been fighting for autonomy since 1948. Thailand said 16,000 Karens were crossing over its border.
    • In Cambodia Khmer Rouge guerrillas killed all but three government officials sent to make peace.
    • In Egypt Muslim militants slew 9 Copts. Coptics?
  • 1998 
    • Authorities officially declared Eric Rudolph a suspect in the bombing of a Birmingham, Ala., abortion clinic and offered a $100,000 reward.
    • In India the Tamil Nadu election campaign ended with bombings and riots in Coimbatore. Some 13 bombs in 11 places took 46 lives.
    • In Cameroon, a train hauling oil tanker cars derailed and collided with an oncoming train outside Yaounde. It exploded and killed up to 100 people.
  • 1999
    • John D. Ehrlichman, President Nixon’s domestic affairs adviser imprisoned for his role in the Watergate cover-up that ultimately led to Nixon’s resignation, died in Atlanta at age 73. He wrote at least 4 novels and the memoir Witness to Power: The Nixon Years.
    • Eritrea shot down an Mi-24 Ethiopian helicopter gunship at Bure and the crew was killed. Eritrea said that 16 civilians had been killed by Ethiopian aircraft since Feb 6.
    • In Hungary the death toll from the Feb 10 snow storm reached 19, and army helicopters were used to drop food to snow-bound villages.
    • On Haruku and Saparua Islands in Maluku province of Indonesia at least 20 people were killed in rioting as troops dispersed gangs of Muslims and Christians. 
    • Iraq said that air attacks had killed 5 people and wounded 22 and threatened Kuwait and Saudi Arabia with missile attacks for permitting US warplanes to fly from their countries.
    • In Kosovo a bomb explosion in Urosevac wounded at least 9 people. Serbian police rounded up about 40 independence activist Albanians.
    • In Uganda, 2 bombs exploded in Kampala bars and 5 people were killed and 35 injured.


  • 2000 
    • A series of tornadoes swept through Georgia, killing 22 people.  
    • In Colorado, 2 teens, Nicholas Kunselman (15) and Stephanie Hart (16), from Columbine High School were shot and killed in a sandwich shop near the school, which was still reeling from the April 1999 massacre.
    • In Afghanistan, 73 passengers from the hijacked jet returned home, while 74 remained in Britain seeking asylum. The passengers reported that 9 men had taken over their flight and appeared to be relatives of many passengers.
    • In Russia, 7 mountain climbers, including 3 Britons, were reported killed in an avalanche in the Caucasus Elbrus Range near the Georgia border.
    • In Turkey, 8 people were killed in 2 clashes between Hezbollah and police.
  • 2001
    • The Kansas Board of Education approved new science standards restoring evolution to the state’s curriculum.
    • Khalil Abu Olbeh (35), a Palestinian bus driver, drove his bus into a group of Israelis in Tel Aviv and killed 8 people. The dead included 3 male and 4 female soldiers and 1 civilian woman. Olbeh was later sentenced to eight life terms.
    • In Chechnya, rebels opened fire on Russian positions and 12 Russian soldiers were killed.
  • 2002 
    • The 168th annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science opened in Boston with a bleak assessment of planet health and a call for conservation of resources.
    • Jayson Williams (34), former NBA star and NBC Sports commentator, accidentally shot and killed Costas Christofi (55), a limousine driver.
    • In China, 41 foreigners were arrested and later expelled following pro Falun Gong demonstrations on Tiananmen Square.
    • Militant Palestinians attacked an Israeli tank in the Gaza Strip and 3 soldiers were killed.
    • In Brazil, police found the bullet-riddled bodies of six men in the back seat and trunk of a car parked near a Rio de Janeiro slum.
  • 2003
    • In Colombia a massive explosion rocked the southern city of Neiva as police searched a house for explosives. 15 people died and about 30 were wounded.
    • Popocatepetl volcano southeast of Mexico City erupted but caused no significant damage.
    • In Zimbabwe, 2 Valentine’s Day peace parades by women clutching roses and singing hymns were broken up by baton-wielding police who arrested at least 88 people as well as eight journalists.
  • 2004
    • Valentine’s Day march stopped when Zimbabwe police in the capital, Harare, dispersed more than 100 women who were planning the march to urge national reconciliation. In Bulawayo, the high court refused to hear an urgent application by the Women of Zimbabwe Arise that would have compelled the police to allow the march.
    • China executed Yang Xinhua (38), a man convicted of murdering 67 people, in what media said might be the country’s longest killing spree in modern history. Yang was convicted of 67 killings and 23 rapes in Henan and three other provinces.
    • In Iraq, guerrillas launched a bold daylight assault on an Iraqi police station and security compound west of Baghdad, freeing prisoners and sparking a gunbattle that killed 23 people and wounded 33.
    • In Moscow, Russia, an indoor water park roof collapsed, killing 28 people and injuring more than 100.
    • In northern Pakistan, two strong earthquakes triggered landslides and toppled walls that killed at least 24 people and injured about 30 others.
    • In Uganda, a tanker truck carrying diesel fuel collided with a packed minibus and burst into flames, killing at least 32 people.
  • 2005 
    • A terrorist bomb in West Beirut killed nine, including the Former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in an apparent assassination. 
    • A gas explosion in China’s northeast Sunjiawan mine killed 214 people in the deadliest mining disaster reported since communist rule began in 1949.
    • In Iran a mosque fire killed 59 people and injured another 350. It was blamed on a kerosene heater that was placed too close to a thick curtain that separated male and female worshipers.
    • A roadside bomb killed three Iraqi National Guard troops. Insurgents blew up an oil pipeline near Kirkuk and killed two senior police officers in Baghdad.
    • In western Japan, a man carrying a knife burst into a public elementary school and stabbed at least 3 adults. Kyodo News reported that one of the victims died.
    • In Beirut, Lebanon, Rafik Hariri (60) was killed in a massive bomb explosion, as well as twenty two other people were killed and 100 wounded in the blast that devastated the front of the famous St. George Hotel. An Islamist group calling itself the Victory and Jihad Organization in the Levant claimed responsibility.
    • Three bombs jolted Manila and two other Philippine cities, killing at least 12 people and wounding more than 100 others. The Muslim extremist group Abu Sayyaf claimed responsibility for the blasts.
    • Togo police in riot gear faced off with crowds who blocked roads and intimidated residents during a general strike to protest the army’s installation of Faure Gnassingbe to succeed his late father as president.
  • 2006 
    • The UNHCR said flooding left more than 50,000 Sahrawi refugees homeless, destroying up to half of the mud-brick houses in their camps of Awserd, Smara, and Laayoune in the Tindouf region of western Algeria. 
    • Two Australians were sentenced to death by firing squad for leading a drug smuggling ring on Indonesia’s resort island of Bali, verdicts that could strain ties between the countries. Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran masterminded the trafficking of 18 pounds of heroin to their homeland.
    • In southern China, toxic wastewater was flushed untreated into a river, prompting the government to cut water supplies to 28,000 people in Guanyin for at least four days. A power plant on the upper reaches of the Yuexi River in Sichuan province was to blame for the pollution.
    • The UN said 13 Eritreans employed by the UN peacekeeping mission in Eritrea have been detained by local authorities and another 30 are in hiding for fear of being arrested.
    • Gunmen attacked a group of Iraqi Shiites working on a farm north of Baghdad, killing 11 and wounding two. A roadside bomb killed a US Marine in western Baghdad in one of two attacks that also wounded six coalition military personnel.
    • In Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, armed men forced their way into a hospital and killed a teenager under treatment for an earlier attempt on his life.
    • In Pakistan, thousands of protesters rampaged through Islamabad and Lahore, storming into a diplomatic district and torching Western businesses and a provincial assembly in Pakistan’s worst violence against the Prophet Muhammad drawings. At least two people were killed and 11 injured.
    • Darfur rebels said they had shot down a government helicopter and captured the only surviving crew member, named as Captain Muawiya Zubeir.
    • Zimbabwe police arrested at least 60 women who took part in a march with a Valentine’s Day theme calling for love and harmony and protesting food shortages and alleged human rights violations. 
      • (VPM: as far as I can tell, this is not an annual event.)
  • 2007
    • Sleet stung the faces of pedestrians in New York and snow and ice coated windshields and streets as a Valentine’s Day blizzard roared out of the Midwest and shut down parts of the Northeast.
    • ConAgra recalled all Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butter made at a Georgia plant because of a salmonella outbreak.
    • German-US auto giant DaimlerChrysler said it planned to axe 13,000 jobs at its loss-making Chrysler subsidiary as part of a broad restructuring plan aimed at returning the US unit to profitability by 2009. The bulk of the job losses will affect union workers, with 9,000 hourly jobs eliminated in the United States and 2,000 in Canada.
    • NATO officials said warplanes struck a Taliban compound in southern Afghanistan with “precision munitions,” killing an area commander and about 10 of his men. Villagers said the raid in the southern province of Helmand also killed civilians. NATO said Taliban fighters used children as human shields to flee heavy fighting this week during an operation by foreign and Afghan forces to clear rebels from around a key hydro-electric dam. In eastern Afghanistan US-led troops killed a suspected militant and detained 6 others, including one with alleged links to fugitive Taliban leader Mullah Omar.
    • In Brazil violence cast a shadow over Rio’s famed Carnival when gunmen killed Guaracy Paes Falcao (42), a leader of one of the premiere samba band groups. Falcao was with an unidentified woman who was also shot dead.
    • A car loaded with explosives blew up near a bus carrying members of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards in southeastern Iran, killing 11 of them and wounding 31. An al-Qaida-linked Sunni militant group reportedly claimed responsibility. Within a week, Nasrollah Shanbe Zehi was convicted and executed for the bombing.
    • The Iraqi government formally launched a long-awaited security crackdown in Baghdad. A parked car bomb struck a predominantly Shiite district elsewhere in central Baghdad, killing four civilians and wounding 10. In Mosul a suicide car bomber targeted an Iraqi army patrol, killing one soldier and four civilians and wounding 20 other people.
    • Mexican immigration agents allegedly locked 10 Guatemalan and two Salvadoran migrants in a trailer after they refused to pay a bribe of $110 each. In late 2008, the country’s National Human Rights Commission called for a government investigation.
  • 2008 
    • A former student of Northern Illinois University, Steven Kazmierczak (27) opened fire at a lecture hall at Northern Illinois University killing 7 and injuring 14 more. The school placed the campus on lock down, and students and teachers were advised to head to a secure location or take cover. The perpetrator committed suicide at the scene. This was the fourth-deadliest university shooting in the United States.      
    • Chad’s President Idriss Deby declared a state of emergency and signed a decree increasing government powers for 15 days.
    • The chief of Hezbollah vowed to retaliate against Israeli targets anywhere in the world after accusing the Jewish state of killing the militant Imad Mughniyeh in Syria.
    • In Thailand, General Secretary Mahn Sha (64), leader of the Karen National Union (KNU), was shot and killed at his home in Mae Sot by three men who arrived in a pickup truck. The KNU is one of the biggest ethnic groups fighting Myanmar’s military government. Initial investigations showed that the assailants were also Karen.
    • Zimbabwe’s inflation rate, already the highest in the world, soared to a new high of 66,212.3%.
Yes, these chocolates are filled with ketchup.
  • 2009
    • In Alabama, suspicious fires destroyed 2 churches (Union CME Church and Liberty CME Church) and damaged a third near the Georgia border. Both are historically black churches, Christian Methodist Episcopal Church being the present name for former Colored Methodist Episcopal Church.    
    • In Canandaigua, New York, Kimberly and Christopher Glatz were killed at their home. Mary Silliman (23) was slain along with Randall Norman (41) a motorist who intervened when he saw her being roughed up in the parking lot in a pre-dawn attack outside Lakeside Memorial Hospital in Brockport. In August Frank Garcia, a nursing supervisor, was convicted of the Glatz killings and faced another trial for the Brockport killings. On Sep 1 Garcia was sentenced to life in prison.
    • Over 6,000 people fled the Ndele region of the Central African Republic for a Chadian border village after violence erupted between two ethnic groups, the Runga and the Gulus.
    • In Iraq, a roadside bomb killed two civilians and wounded four others, including a soldier, when it exploded near an Iraqi army patrol in western Mosul.
    • In northwestern, Pakistan a suspected US missile strike by a drone aircraft flattened a militant hide-out, killing 27 local and foreign insurgents. Two officials said dozens of followers of Pakistan’s top Taliban leader, Baitullah Mehsud, were staying in the housing compound when it was hit.
    • In Sri Lanka, a suspected Tamil Tiger rebel hurled a hand grenade at a bus full of war-displaced refugees, killing a woman and wounding 13 others.
  • 2010 
    • In Arizona a helicopter crashed north of Phoenix killing 5 people on-board, including Thomas Stewart (64), the head of Services Group of America.
    • An apartment fire in Cicero, Ill., killed at least 7 people including 4 children. The fire spread to nearby buildings and over 20 people were left homeless. On March 4 landlord Lawrence Myers (60) and handyman Marion Comier (47) were each charged with seven counts of first-degree murder and two counts of aggravated arson.
    • Twelve Afghans, including 6 children, died when two rockets fired at insurgents missed their target and struck a house during the second day of NATO’s most ambitious effort yet to break the militants’ grip on the country’s dangerous south. Thousands of NATO and Afghan troops encountered pockets of resistance, as they moved deeper into Marjah, a town of 80,000 people that is the linchpin of the militants’ logistical and opium-smuggling network in Helmand province. Afghan officials said at least 27 insurgents have been killed in the operation. In the south two British service members died, one from small-arms fire and the other from a roadside bomb explosion.
    • Department of Conservation workers in New Zealand found nine whales dead on Stewart Island. Wild seas and strong winds made it impossible to mount a rescue for another nineteen beached whales, and conservation officials were forced to euthanize the animals.    
    • A Yemeni military helicopter crashed killing at least 10 troops in the north, as the government sought to implement a ceasefire with Shiite rebels in the mountainous area.
  • 2011
    • Afghan government prosecutors and police stormed into election commission offices in Kabul to seize control of voting data, accusing the body of not cooperating with a probe into fraud. A suicide bomber blew himself up at the entrance of a Kabul shopping and hotel complex. Nine employees of Afghanistan’s Central Bank and a troubled private bank (Kabul Bank), were accused of stealing $1.5 million through a fake check scheme.
    • Bahrain’s security forces fired tear gas and rubber bullets at thousands of anti-government protesters attempting to bring the Arab reform wave to the Gulf. Ali Abdulhadi Mushaima (21) died.
    • Iran’s security forces blockaded the home of an Iranian opposition leader in attempts to stop him attending a rally in support of Egypt’s uprising. Security forces and opposition protesters sporadically clashed in Tehran’s Enghelab Square. Sanee Zhaleh (26) was shot dead during the opposition rally.
    • A plane used to deliver World Food Program aid crashed in Bukavu, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, killing its Russian pilot and his Congolese co-pilot.
    • A Honduran commercial airliner crashed near the capital, killing all 14 people aboard, including Assistant Secretary for Public Works Rodolfo Rovelo, United Workers Federation of Honduras leader Jose Israel Salinas, and former Economy Secretary Carlos Chain.
    • A series of drug cartel shootings in Mexico left 18 people dead in Padilla, Tamaulipas state. In neighboring Nuevo Leon state,  gunmen killed Homero Salcido Trevino, a top intelligence officer.
    • In Malaysia, Islamic morality police detained 40 unmarried Muslim couples in hotel rooms during Operation Valentine, aimed at curbing illegal premarital sex. The main Islamic body issued an edict in 2005 banning Muslims from celebrating what it said was a day synonymous with vice.
    • In Dagestan, on the border between Eastern Georgia and Russia, a pair of suicide bombers attacked security forces, killing 2 officers and wounding 21 others.
    • A couple in Pattaya, Thailand, locked lips for 46 hours, 24 minutes and 9 seconds to celebrate Valentine’s Day. A previous world record of 32 hours was set by a German couple in 2009.
  • 2012
    • Baton-wielding police in Harare, Zimbabwe disrupted a Valentine’s Day march of some 200 women, aimed at promoting peace and love between foes. No arrests were reported. Police said the demonstration was illegal under sweeping security laws that require police clearance.
    • Ten people were killed in Madagascar after Cyclone Giovanna struck land; a building collapsed in Alaotra Mangoro, killing six.
    • Boko Haram claimed responsibility for a series of bomb attacks in Nigeria targeting two major military bases and a highway overpass that wounded an unknown number of people in Kaduna.
    • A Ugandan minister raided and shut down a workshop run by homosexual rights activists in Entebbe, days after a draconian anti-gay bill was reintroduced.
    • Somali government forces backed by the African Union attacked Islamist Shebab rebel posts on the outskirts of the war-torn capital Mogadishu with tanks and artillery.
    • In Iraq, two separate attacks against Iraqi security forces in Mosul and Baghdad killed three people and wounded 18 others.
    • Bahraini security forces arrested 150 people while dispersing protesters attempting to march on the former Pearl Square in an event marking the one-year anniversary of the Shiite-led uprising against its Sunni rulers.
    • Syrian government forces renewed their assault on the city of Homs; twenty people were reported killed as pro-Assad forces and army defectors battled for hours in the northern town of Atareb.
    • Snow as deep as 15 feet (4.5m) isolated areas of Albania, Moldova, and Romania, requiring helicopters and military assistance to deliver food and medicine. Nearly 100 people died weather-related deaths in the extreme cold of early February.
    • Bolivian police arrested Julio Edwin Valdez (33), the leader of a gang in El Alto believed to have killed 69 people.
    • A fire in a prison in the Honduran town of Comayagua killed 362 people. When the fire started, the 852 inmates were locked into the prison that had been built for half that number. Most inmates had never been charged, let alone convicted. Many of the survivors of the fire escaped the prison in the chaos.
    • In South Korea, people rallied near the Chinese Embassy to protest China’s state security police for arresting dozens of North Korean defectors who face torture, imprisonment, and even death if returned to their homeland.
    • In Thailand, an Iranian man, Saeid Moradi, carrying grenades lost at least one leg in a grenade blast and wounded four civilians in Bangkok. A second man, Mohammad Kharzei, was arrested in Bangkok as he tried to board a flight to Malaysia.
    • Hackers claimed to have broken into Combined Systems Inc.’s website and stolen personal information belonging to clients and employees of the Jamestown, Pennsylvania-based firm, whose tear gas has been used against Egyptian demonstrators.
    • In Massachusetts, eleven dolphins beached themselves at Cape Cod. Ten were rescued. In January and February, 178 dolphins were stranded in the area and 125 died.
  • 2013 
    • Zimbabwean riot police in Bulawayo  broke up the eleventh annual Valentine’s Day march by Women of Zimbabwe Arise. The marches are an opportunity for the 80,000 members of WOZA to call for government action on such issues as access to water. In Harare, police used tear gas to scatter approximately 1,000 protesters. Bulawayo police detained 195 protesters, who say they were assaulted during the arrests. WOZA members the majority of those arrested suffered injuries and 25 sought medical treatment.
    • Dozens of Afghan activists and supporters marked Valentine’s Day by marching in Kabul to denounce violence against women amid reports that domestic abuse is on the rise.
    • Security forces in Bahrain clashed with anti-government protesters, leaving a sixteen year old boy and a police officer dead.
    • In Pakistan, a roadside bomb hit a vehicle carrying members of an anti-Taliban militia in Stanzai village, killing seven militiamen. A suicide car bomber detonated next to a police post in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, killing eleven police officers and wounding twenty three others.
    • Fighting between the Syrian government and Syrian rebels caused major destruction to the Syrian Air Force, military bases, the towns of Shadadah and al-Sahwa as well as the Jbeysa oil field. In addition to the deaths of soldiers and civilians, 42 Shiite women and children were kidnapped.
    • Turkish authorities arrested eight retired military officers over their alleged involvement in the ousting of an Islamic-led government in the late 1990s.
    • Indian troops shot and killed a Pakistani soldier who crossed the makeshift border separating Indian and Pakistani held Kashmir.
    • Mali’s military detained eight Arab men in Timbuktu in a sweep that raised fears of further reprisals against the region’s Arab minority. Hundreds of others have fled to Algeria and Mauritania, where they are living in refugee camps.
    • Oscar Pistorius, Olympic and Paralympic gold medalist runner, was arrested after shooting and killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.  
    • A Norwegian court in Oslo sentenced Sadi Bugingo (47) of Rwanda to 21 years in prison after he was found guilty of taking part in the slaughter of more than a thousand Tutsis in his home country.
  • 2014
    • A blast struck a bus in Bahrain carrying police as anti-government activists clashed with police, killing one police officer. Twenty six people were arrested in addition to the 29 people arrested the day before.
    • Egyptian police and residents clashed with supporters of ousted President Morsi, leaving a man shot dead in Damietta and a child killed in Minya.
    • Iraqi troops regained ground in the northern town of Sulaiman Pek, a day after parts of it were overrun by Sunni Islamist insurgents. At least 12 militants were killed by the army.
    • A car bomb in Syria killed 32 people the town of al-Yaduda (Yadouda) near the border with Jordan. Five soldiers were killed when Islamist rebels detonated mines under the Carlton Hotel in Aleppo. In Geneva, Syrian government and opposition delegates in Geneva said talks to end their country’s civil war have reached an impasse.
    • The death toll from a prison break in Sanaa rose to ten, according to Yemeni military and security officials. The government claimed al-Qaida received help from inside the prison to facilitate the escape of 29 inmates.
    • Dave Walker (58), a Canadian filmmaker, went missing in Cambodia. His body was found April 30 in the woods near the Angkor temple complex.
    • Eleven Chinese “terrorists” were reported killed during an attack in Wushi County in Xinjiang. The Chinese government sacked the police chief of the southern “sin city” of Dongguan following a report on the underground sex industry there.
    • In eastern China, a wedding hall collapsed, killing 10 people in Yazhuang village, Zhejiang province.
    • A volcanic eruption on Java, Indonesia sent a 17 km (10 mile) ash cloud into the air. More than 56,000 people fled their homes and 4 were killed when Mount Kelud erupted. Seven Japanese divers went missing off the island of Bali; five of the divers were found alive on February 17.
    • A UN Commission of Inquiry found that crimes against humanity had been committed in North Korea and recommended that its findings be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
    • Thousands of Muslims who tried to flee the violence in Bangui in the Central African Republic were turned back by peacekeepers, as crowds of angry Christians shouted “we’re going to kill you all.”
    • Twenty two Congolese soldiers and 230 Ugandan rebels were been killed in a nearly month-long offensive in eastern .
    • Zambian ex-diplomat and son of former president Rupiah Banda was sentenced to two years in prison after being found guilty of corruption.
    • German Agriculture Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich announced his resignation over claims he leaked confidential information about an international child porn probe.
    • Italy’s Premier Enrico Letta drove himself to the president’s palace and resigned following questionable back-room political maneuvering.
    • In Venezuela, soldiers fired tear gas and deployed water cannons to break up hundreds of student demonstrators blocking a highway in protest against President Nicolas Maduro, ultimately arresting more than 100 protesters.
    • In New Mexico, unusually high levels of radioactive particles were found at an underground nuclear waste site; investigators later found five other potentially explosive barrels in West Texas that came from the same Los Alamos waste stream.
    • About $2.5 million of Bitcoin was apparently stolen from Silk Road 2.0, a website used to trade mainly illegal drugs. A flaw in Bitcoin’s code was discovered earlier in the month.


  • 2015        
    • Jason Hendrix (16) was killed in a shootout with Maryland police as they tried to pull him over for a speeding violation. A search of his home in Corbin, Kentucky revealed the bodies of his parents and a younger sister.  
    • Fighting intensified ahead of a midnight ceasefire in eastern Ukraine. Shelling killed at least eight people and wounded 23, focused in Donetsk and Debaltseve.
    • A barrage of shots were fired at the Krudttoenden cafe in Copenhagen, Denmark, disrupting a freedom of speech event and killing filmmaker Finn Noergaard (55).
    • Dozens of anti-coup Thai activists held a demonstration in central Bangkok, handing out roses and copies of George Orwell’s 1984 — a rare expression of public dissent in a nation still under strict martial law.
    • Algerian soldiers shot dead a heavily armed Islamist in the Tebessa region on the northeastern border with Tunisia.
    • Pakistani gunmen killed a driver and wounded a polio worker in the Khyber tribal region as another vaccination team went missing ahead of a nationwide vaccination drive.
    • Twenty six people were killed in Yemen in fighting overnight between Shiite rebels and Sunni tribesmen left 26 dead. Tens of thousands marched in protest against the Houthis in the cities of Ibb, Taiz, Hodeida, Dhamar, and the capital, Sanaa.
  • 2016        
    • Four American journalists, who were covering the anniversary of Bahrain’s 2011 uprising, were arrested and accused of participating in an illegal gathering amid a long crackdown on dissent.
    • Cameroon ended a four day operation during which its special forces reportedly killed 162 Boko Haram militants in Nigeria’s northeastern town of Goshi, destroying bomb factories and weapons to retake the extremist stronghold.
    • In Indian-controlled Kashmir, two students were killed during an anti-India protest that followed the killing of a local rebel in a gunbattle with government forces in southern Kakpora village.
    • A train crashed into a van at a crossing in southern Pakistan, killing eight people and injuring four.
    • Three Palestinian teenagers were shot and killed while protesting Israeli security forces in the West Bank. Yasmin al-Zaru (20) tried to stab an Israeli policeman in Hebron in the West Bank, but she was shot in the attempt. Two armed Palestinians attacked Israeli police just outside the Old City walls before being shot dead by officers.
    • The Turkish army shelled positions held by Kurdish-backed militia in northern Syria for a second day, killing two fighters.
    • Zimbabwe aviation authorities impounded a US-registered cargo jet, with a dead body and millions of South African rand reportedly on board.
  • 2017        
    • Amid anarchist riots and police officers’ strike threats, Brazilian President Michel Temer deployed 9,000 soldiers to maintain security in Rio de Janeiro’s until the end of Carnaval celebrations.
    • Two journalists were shot dead during a live radio broadcast in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic.
    • In China, a gas explosion at a coal mine in Hunan province killed at least ten people. Three attackers with knives killed five people and injured another five before being shot dead by police in Xinjiang province.
    • Seven Hong Kong police officers were convicted in the 2014 assault (caught on tape!) of pro-democracy activist Ken Tsang.
    • Congo police made a pre-dawn raid on Bundu dia Kongo (BDK), a separatist group in Kinshasa, killing four people.
    • Four Indian soldiers and four militants were killed in gun-battles in the Bandipora district of northern Kashmir, in the second outbreak of violence between security forces and separatists in three days. 
    • A passenger train and a freight train collided in Luxembourg, killing one person and injuring several more.
    • Hundreds of Malians fled villages close to the city of Macina after violent clashes between Fulani herders and Bambara farmers over the weekend killed 20 people. 
    • Two days of fighting in northern Syria left 69 dead, including 39 from the Levant Liberation Committee and 30 dead from Jund al-Aqsa.
    • Police in Vietnam forcibly prevented hundreds of protesters from marching to present compensation claims against a steel plant over a toxic spill in 2016.
    • Storms packing heavy rains, lashing winds and tornadoes hit the Houston, Texas metropolitan area, ripping roofs off homes, blowing windows out of frames, and leaving tens of thousands of people without power.
  • 2018       
    • Nikolas Cruz (19) barged into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida and opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle. He killed 17 students and teachers and injured 17 more.
    • Youth in Iran, Indonesia, and Saudi Arabia celebrated Valentine’s Day in protest of religious government authorities banning the celebrations as part of “decadent Western culture.”
    • In Afghanistan, Taliban attacks on police stations killed at least ten police officers and thirteen insurgents. A land mine in western Herat province killed two children of a local Taliban figure.
    • Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jafari announced that 18,000 people had been killed and 36,000 wounded in the war with the Islamic State militant group since 2014.
    • Two airport vehicles collided on the airfield at London’s Heathrow Airport, killing a British Airways engineer and injuring another man.
    • In the Netherlands, former prime minister Ruud Lubbers (b. 1939), died in Rotterdam. He had governed the country from 1982 to 1994.
    • Bulgaria’s ruling GERB party withdrew from parliament a European treaty designed to combat violence against women after language around gender roles triggered uproar in the European Union’s poorest country.
    • Most schools in Slovenia closed as nearly 40,000 teachers held a one-day strike following a week of protests by public sector workers.
    • In north-central Mexico, a train hit a bus carrying factory workers, and at least seven people were killed in San Luis Potosi.
    • Bolivia’s defense minister said an explosive was used in a blast that killed at least four people during Carnaval de Oruruo celebrations.
    • Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte offered a nearly $500 bounty for each communist rebel killed by government forces and told soldiers to shoot female communist guerrillas in the genitals to render them “useless.”
    • Cambodian lawmakers unanimously approved changes to the criminal code and the constitution making lese majeste – insulting the monarchy – a criminal offense punishable by a fine and up to five years in prison.
    • In Sri Lanka, a building collapsed in a busy part of Colombo’s Grandpass district, killing seven. 
  • 2019       
    • The World Health Organization (WHO) said that at least 922 children and young adults had died of measles in Madagascar since October, despite a huge emergency vaccination program.
    • In Iraq, eight members of a militia linked to Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr were killed in a bomb blast near Samarra.
    • Adil Ahmad Dar rammed a car full of explosives into a paramilitary convoy in Kashmir along a key highway on the outskirts of Srinagar, killing 41 soldiers and wounding more than two dozen others.
    • An armed group in Libya kidnapped 14 Tunisian workers in the western city of Zawiya, near Tripoli.
    • Yusuf Saloojee, South Africa’s former ambassador to Iran, was arrested in Johannesburg on charges of bribery with international corporations.
    • In Sudan, security forces fired teargas to disperse hundreds of protesters close to the presidential palace in Khartoum, before plainclothes officers armed with plastic piping rounded up around 30 people.
    • Italian police arrested Francesco Strangio, convicted in 2018 for international drug trafficking.
    • Louisiana State Univ. in Baton Rouge announced the arrest of nine members of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity for hazing related crimes.

Bottom line for writers: This blog is about how horrific a day with generally positive associations can be. Having a fresh and/or slanted take on something familiar is nearly always a winner. Have at it!

PS – Happy Half-Price Chocolate Day! It lasts all weekend this year!

Writing Love

The best written love must overcome obstacles.

writing love romeo and juliet
Romeo and Juliet by Frank Dicksee (1884) [Public domain]
Yes, parental objections, physical distance, poverty, etc., are great ploys. But CONSIDER THE POTENTIAL OF MISCOMMUNICATION.

writing love pride and prejudice cover
Cover of Pride and Prejudice from 1894 [Source: Pinterest]
Jane Austin nailed misunderstanding. You can, too. Want a handy guide? Check out The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman.

writing love five love languages gary chapman

This book explores five ways people express love.

#1 Words of Affirmation
#2 Quality Time
#3 Receiving Gifts
#4 Acts of Service
#5 Physical Touch

According to the author, each person has a predominant mode of expression.

FOR PLOT PURPOSES, you need only have two people with different preferences for expressions of love to go unrecognized.

This book is a NYT #1 Bestseller. The writing is accessible, the examples informative. I recommend it!

And as so often happens, there are now niche sequels.

writing love five love languages gary chapman

GO FOR SOME LOVE! After all, Valentine’s Day is coming soon.