Quality Control the Hard Way
The Hanseatic League [hahn-say-ah-tic] is a guild of merchants with strict rules on commerce and quality control. They recently took over the herring trade from Finland due to problems with rotting fish at the bottom of the barrel. The League can be quite forceful at times. This year they caught a British fishing vessel violating the League's fishing grounds so they tied up the crew of 96 men and tossed them overboard to drown. 
Great Schism: Pope Innocent Returns to Rome
Two years ago Pope Innocent the 7th in Rome elevated his nephew to cardinal. The Cardinal then rounded up several of Rome's leading troublemakers and murdered them. Rome dissolved into riots and the Pope vacated the Vatican with the Romans in hot pursuit. This year Pope Innocent returns triumphant after his troops restore order. Frankly, the Romans want order but by November the Pope will be dead. Although people suspect foul play there is no evidence of murder. Pope Gregory the 12th will succeed him before the year is out.  
As a side note: Mad King Charles of France has already chased Antipope Benedict the 13th out of Avignon but the Great Schism is not yet over..
Italy: Selling Out Pisa
Italy is not yet Italy. It is like Greece was in ancient times... various warring states fueled by petty jealousies and dynastic feuds that have gone on for generations. It's the Hatfields against the McCoys and for the city of Pisa, the McCoys have just won. Gabriele Maria Visconti is a nobleman of Milan who recently inherited Pisa and the lands surrounding it but Florence has sent ships to take it. Fearing he wouldn't be able to hold the city (which was a valid concern), Gabriele entered into secret negotiations and sold Pisa to Florence for 200,000 florins. (29.4 million dollars as of August 11, 2014.) The people of Pisa were shocked and horrified. They rebelled but it has been a century since Pisa was a significant military force so they finally surrender to Florence this year. Next year Gabriele Maria Visconti will lose his head as he tries to collect on his share of the florins.     
This Year in Wikipedia
Year 1406, Wikipedia.
- Kurlansky, Mark. Salt: A World History. New York:Penguin Books. 2002. (BOOK) quote="In 1406, the Hanseatics caught ninety-six British fishermen off Bergen, tied their hands and feet, and threw them overboard."
- Hanseatic League - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
- Durant, Will and Durant, Ariel. The Story Of Civilization, Volume 5, The Renaissance: A History of Civilization in Italy from 1304-1576 A.D.. 1953. pp. 402-403. (BOOK)
- Pope Innocent VII - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
- Antipope Benedict XIII - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
- Catherine of Siena - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
- Gabriele Maria Visconti, Signore di Piza, Sarzana e Crema b. 1385 of, Milano, Lombardy, Italy d. 15 Dec 1407 Genoa, Liguria, Italy - Community Trees Project. histfam.familysearch.org. 2014 [last update]
- Gabriele Maria Visconti - Wikipedia. it.wikipedia.org. 2014 [last update]. lang=Italian. quote="Florence then bought the lordship of Pisa by Gabriele Maria (meanwhile retired to Sarzana) for 200,000 gold florins (of which three-fifths went to Boucicaut, the rest of the Visconti); acquiring the city, with its harbor, Florence had its own access to the sea, thus being able to compete with Genoa, but the transition was not well accepted in Florence to Pisa, where an uprising broke out again, to which the Florentines responded by placing the 'siege', which ended with the conquest of the city exhausted."
- House of Visconti - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
- Gold Price Calculator, goldprice.org, 2014 [last update]
- Toren van Pisa, dutchthings.nl, 2014 [last update]. lang=Dutch with an English quote. quote="In 1392 Pisa was sold to Florence, a big humiliation for the people of Pisa. The [sic] started a rebellion but in 1406 they had to surrender because they were under siege and everybody was dying of starvation."
- Mexican-American War - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
- Gadsden Purchase - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
- Chavez, Linda. Out of the Barrio: Toward a New Politics of Hispanic Assimilation. New York: Basic Books. 1992. (BOOK)
- Linda Chavez - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]