On November 19 Russia observes the Day of Artillery, or, more elaborately named, the Day of Missile Troops (or Strategic Rocket Forces) and Artillery.
The first celebration of the Day of Artillery was established by the Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR from 21 October 1944. The date was chosen because on November 19, 1942, following a powerful artillery preparation, the Red Army began the operation “Uranus”, the counter-offensive during the epic Battle of Stalingrad that was the beginning of radical change in the course of the Great Patriotic War and the World War II.
Russia’s Strategic Rocket Forces have acquired a new weapon: a heavily armed robot. Chief of the Strategic Rocket Forces’ combat training department Evgeny Shchelkanov told the Interfax news agency about the latest acquisition.
“Just this year we completed testing one such system of protection. Visually speaking it is a small tractor which is armed with machine guns and an automatic grenade launcher, it knows how to detect targets, and it leaves almost no distinct signs.”
Shchelkanov added that the robot could detect targets even in the dark, and that it was almost “invisible.” (The Moscow Times)
World Toilet Day. World Toilet Day is a United Nations (UN) observance, on November 19, that highlights a serious problem – 2.5 billion people in the world do not have access to proper sanitation.
Did You Know? More people in the world have a mobile phone than a toilet. Of the world’s seven billion people, six billion have mobile phones. However, only 4.5 billion have access to toilets or latrines – meaning that 2.5 billion people, mostly in rural areas, do not have proper sanitation.
Some Russian bloggers try to find a hidden meaning in this coincidence. I don’t. It is rather unlikely that the UN designated the World’s Toilet Day to coincide with the Battle of Stalingrad. Sometimes cigar is just a cigar.