8 July

It's the Wall Street Journal's birthday

So we are drinking a...

The Business

The origins of the Wall Street Journal lie in a series of bulletins that were issued throughout the working day and delivered by hand to traders on the New York Stock Exchange by the Dow Jones & Company.

These were then compiled at the end of the day into the Customers' Afternoon Letter and it was this that later became the Wall Street Journal, first published this day in 1889. It currently has the highest newspaper circulation in the United States and has won a Pulitzer Prize 40 times, reason enough we think to toast it with a gin-based cocktail, The Business, to say Happy Birthday to this long-standing publication.

It's the anniversary of Rhode Island receiving its Colonial Charter

On this day in 1663, the USA's smallest state, Rhode Island, received its colonial charter from King Charles II (no, not the one who got his head cut off -- the other one).

What was so remarkable about this? Well, it guaranteed the new colony religious freedom, making it the first document of the modern era to allow this basic human right. And it was all thanks to Roger Williams, who had been banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony for, umm, following the wrong type of Christianity.

He established Rhode Island on the basis that all people, of all religions, would be free to choose their faith, including those persecuted in other colonies: Rhode Island would never have a witchcraft trial.

In a world increasingly dominated by religion, this is an occasion well worth commemorating, so we are toasting Williams with a Rhode Island Red.

A Night Witch died six years ago today

Ever heard of the Night Witches? They were a division of female combat pilots who fought the Nazis from converted cropdusters during World War II.

All volunteers, some only in their teens, the women would fly eight or more missions a night - in planes so flimsy that a tracer bullet would set them alight. They flew in the dark, without parachutes, guns, radios or radar, without even a screen to stop their faces from freezing in the open cockpits. And, amazingly, many of them survived.

One of the last Night Witches, Nadia Popova, died on this day in 2013, aged 91. We are toasting her and her fellow aviators - many of whom, like the regiment's founder Marina Raskova, did not survive the war - with an Aviation.

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