2015: A 12-year-old boy stumbles and punches a fist-sized hole through the canvas of Paolo Porpora’s Flowers, a seventeenth century still life on display at a Taipei exhibition. The boy and his family are apologetic and aren’t required to pay for the restoration of the insured painting, which is valued at upwards of $1.5 million and was on display at the Huashan 1914 creative arts center while on loan from Italy. The incident, captured on closed-circuit television, recalls other similar accidents, like the time a visitor to Fitzwilliam Museum shattered three Qing dynasty Chinese vases after tripping on his shoelace, and the time casino owner Steve Wynn accidentally elbowed Picasso’s Le Rêve while showing it to friends.
2008: Angel Valodia Matos, 31, of Cuba, deliberately kicks referee Chakir Chelbat of Sweden square in the face after Chelbat disqualifies him (for taking too long during an injury timeout) in the middle of a bronze-medal taekwondo match at the Beijing Summer Olympics. Matos also pushes another judge and spits on the mat before being ushered out of the arena by security. The attack prompts the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) to recommend that Matos be banned from competition for life. “This is an insult to the Olympic vision, an insult to the spirit of taekwondo and, in my opinion, an insult to mankind,” says WTF secretary general Yang Jin-suk.
1989: As punishment for betting on baseball, Cincinnati Reds manager Pete Rose accepts a settlement that includes a lifetime ban from the game. In 2004, after years of repeated denials, Rose publishes “My Prison Without Bars,” in which he confesses to betting on his own team, though he claims he always bet the Reds to win.
1939: In a surprising political union, ideological enemies the Soviet Union & Nazi Germany sign the Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact in Moscow. The treaty would ensure peace for the Soviets and allow Hitler to pursue military initiatives in the West without the threat of intervention from the U.S.S.R. The 10-year agreement is broken less than two years later.
1921: The British dirigible R 38 (at the time the world’s largest airship) embarks on its fourth flying test. During a series of high-speed turns the hull snaps in half. The front two-thirds of the craft explodes and falls into a river below while the rear third falls to the ground. It's one of many spectacular airship accidents that pre-date the Hindenburg Disaster.