1948 – The Genocide Convention is adopted.
The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 9 December 1948 as General Assembly Resolution 260. The Convention entered into force on 12 January 1951. It defines genocide in legal terms, and is the culmination of years of campaigning by lawyer Raphael Lemkin. All participating countries are advised to prevent and punish actions of genocide in war and in peacetime. The number of states that have ratified the convention is currently 147.
Definition of genocide
Article 2 of the Convention defines genocide as
…any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
— Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, Article 2
Article 3 defines the crimes that can be punished under the convention:
(b) Conspiracy to commit genocide;
(c) Direct and public incitement to commit genocide;
(d) Attempt to commit genocide;
(e) Complicity in genocide.
— Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, Article 3
The convention was passed to outlaw actions similar to the Holocaust by Nazi Germany during World War II. The first draft of the Convention included political killings, but the USSR along with some other nations would not accept that actions against groups identified as holding similar political opinions or social status would constitute genocide, so these stipulations were subsequently removed in a political and diplomatic compromise.
1779 – Tabitha Babbitt, American tool maker and inventor (d. ca. 1853)
Sarah “Tabitha” Babbitt (December 9, 1779 – December 10, 1853) was an early American Shaker tool maker and inventor, including inventions for the circular saw, spinning wheel head, and false teeth. It is contested whether she, or other Shakers, were the first to invent the circular saw. She was a member of the Harvard Shaker community.
Babbitt was born in Hardwick, Massachusetts, the daughter of Seth and Elizabeth Babbitt On August 12, 1793, she became a member of the Shakers at the Harvard Shaker community in Massachusetts.
Toolmaker and inventor
Babbitt, having realized a round blade would be more efficient, is credited with inventing the first circular saw used in a saw mill in 1813. The circular saw was hooked up to a water powered machine to reduce the effort to cut lumber. She was watching men use the difficult two-man whipsaw when she noticed that half of their motion was wasted. The first circular saw she made is in Albany, New York. She did not patent the circular saw so that it could be used by others, but it was patented in the United States by two French men three years later when they found out about the saw in Shaker papers.
M. Stephen Miller contends that Babbitt was not the first inventor of the circular saw, based upon the date that she joined the sect. He states that the circular saw was invented at Mount Lebanon Shaker Village by Amos Bishop or Benjamin Bruce in 1793 —or not by a Shaker at all.
It is also claimed that she invented a process for the manufacture of false teeth and an improved spinning wheel head.
She also shares the invention of cut nails with Eli Whitney.[dubious – discuss] As a Shaker, Babbitt never patented any of her inventions.
She died in Harvard, Massachusetts, in 1853.
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