On this day in history 1st December 1990

Chunnel makes breakthrough

Shortly after 11 a.m. on December 1, 1990, 132 feet below the English Channel, workers drill an opening the size of a car through a wall of rock. This was no ordinary hole–it connected the two ends of an underwater tunnel linking Great Britain with the European mainland for the first time in more than 8,000 years.

The Channel Tunnel, or “Chunnel,” was not a new idea. It had been suggested to Napoleon Bonaparte, in fact, as early as 1802. It wasn’t until the late 20th century, though, that the necessary technology was developed. In 1986, Britain and France signed a treaty authorizing the construction of a tunnel running between Folkestone, England, and Calais, France.

Over the next four years, nearly 13,000 workers dug 95 miles of tunnels at an average depth of 150 feet (45 meters) below sea level. Eight million cubic meters of soil were removed, at a rate of some 2,400 tons per hour. The completed Chunnel would have three interconnected tubes, including one rail track in each direction and one service tunnel. The price? A whopping $15 billion.

After workers drilled that final hole on December 1, 1990, they exchanged French and British flags and toasted each other with champagne. Final construction took four more years, and the Channel Tunnel finally opened for passenger service on May 6, 1994, with Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and France’s President Francois Mitterrand on hand in Calais for the inaugural run. A company called Eurotunnel won the 55-year concession to operate the Chunnel, which is the crucial stretch of the Eurostar high-speed rail link between London and Paris. The regular shuttle train through the tunnel runs 31 miles in total–23 of those underwater–and takes 20 minutes, with an additional 15-minute loop to turn the train around. The Chunnel is the second-longest rail tunnel in the world, after the Seikan Tunnel in Japan.

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Andy Murray gives Britain Davis Cup title after 79 years

GHENT, Belgium (AP) — With one perfect lob, Andy Murray ended eight decades of Davis Cup frustration for Britain.

By beating David Goffin 6-3, 7-5, 6-3 on Sunday, Murray secured Britain’s 3-1 victory over Belgium in the Davis Cup final and ended a drought for the country dating back to 1936. The 79-year gap is the longest between titles in Davis Cup history.

“I can’t believe we did it,” Murray said on court. “We may never get an opportunity to do this again. We should celebrate tonight.”

Murray won all three points for Britain over the weekend and with his team holding an unassailable lead in the best-of-five series the final singles match was not played.

Britain is the only nation to have competed in all Davis Cup editions since 1900 and its 10th title makes it the third most successful nation after the United States (32) and Australia (28). But the last time it won the team competition, Fred Perry was its star. Britain last played in the final in 1978.

After hitting the backhand lob that clinched the match, Murray fell on his back on the clay at the Flanders Expo arena.

His teammates piled atop him but Murray was quick to wiggle himself out and ran toward the Belgian bench to congratulate his opponents, before being hoisted by the other British players and coaches.

Murray, who ended Britain’s 77-year wait for a men’s Wimbledon champion in 2013, then sat on the British team’s bench, his face hidden behind a Union Jack flag. He now has two Grand Slam titles and an Olympic gold medal to go with the Davis Cup title.

“Nice point to finish off, you just can’t believe you’ve won a major competition. It’s probably the most emotional I’ve been at the end of a match,” Murray said. “Nothing may ever top this, it’s definitely one of the highlights of all of our careers.”

Murray, ranked No. 2 in the world, is unbeaten in Davis Cup play this year.

He became only the third player after John McEnroe in 1982 and Mats Wilander in 1983 to achieve an 8-0 singles record in one calendar year since the introduction of the World Group in 1981 — and the first to win eight matches that counted.

“What he’s managed to do for the team is astonishing,” Britain’s captain Leon Smith said. “Absolutely incredible, amazing.”

After teaming with brother Jamie to win the doubles on Saturday, he is the first player since Pete Sampras in 1995 to win three live matches in a Davis Cup final. He is also only the second player to win 11 live matches in the same Davis Cup year after Ivan Ljubicic in 2005.

McEnroe had a 12-0 record in 1982 and Michael Stich had 11 wins in 1993.

On Friday, Goffin came back from two sets down for the first time in his career to beat Kyle Edmund in the opening singles. Murray then leveled the series by beating Ruben Bemelmans in straight sets.

Goffin, ranked No. 16, had not won a set against Murray in two previous matches on the tour.

The Belgian appeared to get a glimmer of hope when he broke Murray’s serve for the first time for a 2-0 lead in the third set. But with nine sets of tennis over two days behind him, Goffin was unable to sustain the momentum and dropped his serve in the very next game. A sizzling backhand cross-court winner gave Murray two break points and Goffin then played a forehand wide.

Murray faced a break point in the next game but hit a service winner and an ace to come out unscathed. Then, as many times during the match, he pounced on Goffin’s second serve to break the Belgian at love and regain the initiative.

“Andy was very solid today,” Goffin said. “I gave it all I had, I have no regrets.”

Belgium captain Johan van Herck said Murray “was just a better player” as his team failed to win its first title. “He played the big points better.”

Murray wasted his first match point by netting a backhand return. But the final lob was a superb shot to finish the long quest for the title as the loud British supporters — exploded in joy.

Murray said he stayed up late to watch fellow Briton Tyson Fury win the heavyweight boxing title, but did not need extra motivation.

“I was pumped the entire match,” he said.

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On this day in history 30th November 1886

Folies Bergere stage first revue

Once a hall for operettas, pantomime, political meetings, and vaudeville, the Folies Bergère in Paris introduces an elaborate revue featuring women in sensational costumes. The highly popular “Place aux Jeunes” established the Folies as the premier nightspot in Paris. In the 1890s, the Folies followed the Parisian taste for striptease and quickly gained a reputation for its spectacular nude shows. The theater spared no expense, staging revues that featured as many as 40 sets, 1,000 costumes, and an off-stage crew of some 200 people.The Folies Bergère dates back to 1869, when it opened as one of the first major music halls in Paris. It produced light opera and pantomimes with unknown singers and proved a resounding failure. Greater success came in the 1870s, when the Folies Bergère staged vaudeville. Among other performers, the early vaudeville shows featured acrobats, a snake charmer, a boxing kangaroo, trained elephants, the world’s tallest man, and a Greek prince who was covered in tattoos allegedly as punishment for trying to seduce the Shah of Persia’s daughter. The public was allowed to drink and socialize in the theater’s indoor garden and promenade area, and the Folies Bergère became synonymous with the carnal temptations of the French capital. Famous paintings by Édouard Manet and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec were set in the Folies.

In 1886, the Folies Bergère went under new management, which, on November 30, staged the first revue-style music hall show. The “Place aux Jeunes,” featuring scantily clad chorus girls, was a tremendous success. The Folies women gradually wore less and less as the 20th century approached, and the show’s costumes and sets became more and more outrageous. Among the performers who got their start at the Folies Bergère were Yvette Guilbert, Maurice Chevalier, and Mistinguett. The African American dancer and singer Josephine Baker made her Folies debut in 1926, lowered from the ceiling in a flower-covered sphere that opened onstage to reveal her wearing a G-string ornamented with bananas.

The Folies Bergère remained a success throughout the 20th century and still can be seen in Paris today, although the theater now features many mainstream concerts and performances. Among other traditions that date back more than a century, the show’s title always contains 13 letters and includes the word “Folie.”

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