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It Happened Today: January 2nd

It is more difficult to find events that happened on January 2nd, just because the start of official matters (acts, treaties, etc.) usually happens the day before: January 1st….
However, the USSR and Mauritania were protagonists of two significant events that happened on January 2nd.

January 2nd, 1920

In Petrovichi, Isaac Yudovich Asimov was born. He is one of the three big names of world science fiction writing, the other two being Robert Anson Heinlein and Sir Arthur Charles Clarke. Clarke and Asimov first met in 1953 and their relationship was characterised by friendly insults and gibes for decades. They finally established a verbal agreement, the Clarke–Asimov Treaty: when asked who was best, the two would say Clarke was the best science fiction writer and Asimov was the best science writer. In 1968, the Science Fiction Writers of America voted Asimov’s Nightfall the best science fiction short story ever written.
His family emigrated in the United States when he was three and he grew up in Brooklyn, New York. Very few know that he was actually a professor of biochemistry at Boston University. Aside from his science fiction work – which gave him fame and recognition – he also wrote more than fifty science books. He would pass way on April 6th, 1992 in New York.

January 2nd, 1959

Мечта (pronounced Mechta, Dream), later renamed Luna 1, was launched by the Soviet Space Program. It was the first spacecraft to reach the vicinity of the Moon. The object was supposed to crash into the Moon surface but it failed to do so, because of a malfunction in the engine control systems: the Moon was missed by 5,900 km. So, it became the first man-made object to reach heliocentric orbit: since then, it is orbiting around the Sun between the Earth and Mars!

January 2nd, 1974

US President Richard Nixon signs a bill lowering the maximum speed limit to 55 miles per hour, in order to conserve gasoline. This was happening while the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was conducting an embargo, in response to the US support to Israel during the Yom Kippur War. The embargo was lifted in March 1974.

January 2nd, 2013

Mauritania officially banned the use of plastic bags. This measure is for the protection of the environment, especially domestic fauna which was reported to die because of plastic bags ingestion. As BBC reports, plastic bags manufacturers could be jailed for up to one year….

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