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Saturday, December 14

December 7, 2013

Today is Saturday, Dec. 14, the 348th day of 2013. There are 17 days left in the year.

Highlights in history on this date:

1542 - Accession of Mary Queen of Scots following the death of King James V.

1799 - George Washington, the first president of the United States, dies at his Mount Vernon, Virginia, home at age 67.

1822 - Congress of Verona ends, ignoring Greek war of independence.

1877 - Serbia joins Russia in war on Turkey.

1911 - Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen becomes first man to reach South Pole.

1912 - Louis Botha resigns as South Africa’s premier.

1913 - Greece formally annexes Crete.

1916 - People of Denmark vote to sell Danish West Indies to United States for $25 million.

1918 - Sidonio Paes, President of Portugal, is assassinated.

1927 - Britain recognizes Iraq’s independence; China and Soviet Union break relations.

1937 - Japan establishes puppet Chinese government in Peking — now Beijing.

1939 - The Soviet Union is dropped from the League of Nations.

1941 - U.S. Marines make stand in battle for Wake Island in Pacific during World War II.

1946 - U.N. General Assembly votes to establish U.N. headquarters in New York City.

1952 - Eighty-four Korean Communist prisoners interned on Pongam Island are killed during a riot after attempting to escape.

1958 - The United States, Britain and France reject Soviet demands that they withdraw their troops from West Berlin and agree to liquidate the Allied occupation in West Berlin.

1962 - North Rhodesia’s first African-dominated government is formed under Kenneth Kaunda.

1967 - Israel submits to the United Nations a five-year plan to solve the Arab refugee problem conditioned on a general peace settlement between Israel and the Arab states.

1972 - U.S. Apollo 17 astronauts blast off from the moon after three days of exploration on lunar surface.

1977 - The South African government eases job restrictions on blacks.

1981 - Israel annexes Golan Heights, captured from Syria in 1967.

1985 - Wilma Mankiller becomes the first woman to lead a major American Indian tribe, taking office as principal chief of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma.

1988 - Sixty more survivors are pulled from rubble of earthquake that rocked Armenia.

1989 - Opposition leader Patricio Aylwin is elected president in Chile’s first free election since 1970.

1990 - In Hong Kong, 10 Vietnamese boat people set fire to themselves to protest a screening policy that could prevent them from settling in the West.

1991 - Former East German leader Erich Honecker, facing extradition to Germany and trial on manslaughter charges, is offered asylum in North Korea.

1992 - Easing a 17-year trade embargo, the United States allows its companies to sign contracts in Vietnam.

1994 - Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic asks former U.S. President Jimmy Carter to mediate a lasting peace in Bosnia.

1995 - Heavy fighting erupts in Gudermes, Chechnya, when rebels disrupt Kremlin-imposed elections. At least 267 Chechen civilians are reported killed in the following 10 days.

1997 - Iranian President Mohammed Khatami says he is ready to re-establish dialogue with the United States, the first such statement since the 1979 revolution in Iran.

1998 - In the presence of U.S. President Bill Clinton, the Palestinian Council votes to revoke a paragraph in its charter that demanded the destruction of Israel.

1999 - U.S. and German negotiators agree to establish a fund of $5.2 billion for Nazi-era slaves and forced laborers.

2000 - Vladimir Putin, the first Russian president to visit Cuba since the collapse of the Soviet Union, holds talks with Fidel Castro in Havana.

2001 - Israeli troops raid four Palestinian towns and villages in the West Bank, killing eight Palestinians and arresting dozens of suspected militants.

2002 - A ferry carrying 200 passengers capsizes near the coastal town of Robersport in northwest Liberia. At least 50 people died, and more than 100 others are missing.

2003 - Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf escapes an assassination attempt when a powerful bomb explodes on a bridge in Rawalpindi less than a minute after his motorcade crosses it.

2004 - Hundreds of Belgrade university students and other Serbs demonstrate in the capital to protest the election of Ramush Haradinaj, Kosovo’s new prime minister — a former ethnic Albanian rebel leader whom Serbs accuse of war crimes.

2005 - Top European Parliament officials propose to set up an inquiry committee to establish whether U.S. intelligence agents held terror suspects in secret prisons in Europe.

2006 - The Israeli Supreme Court upholds Israel’s policy of targeted killings of Palestinian militants, allowing the army to maintain a practice that has drawn widespread international condemnation.

2007 - A bus collides with a train in northern India, killing at least 16 people, including nine children on their way to school.

2008 - Voters in Turkmenistan cast ballots in a parliamentary election, the first since the death of dictator Saparmurat Niyazov in late 2006.

2009 - The military may not finish its surge of 30,000 American troops to Afghanistan until nearly a year from now, a senior U.S. commander says — a slower pace than President Barack Obama has described. The White House insisted it was sticking with a goal of completing the buildup by late summer.

2010 - Silvio Berlusconi pulls off another astonishing escape from the political dead, scraping through two confidence votes in a dramatic parliamentary showdown as violent street protests show growing unease with his rule.

2011 - A commercial U.S. satellite company says it has captured a photo of China’s first aircraft carrier in the Yellow Sea off China’s coast.

2012 - A man opens fire inside an elementary school in the northeast state of Connecticut, killing 26 people including 20 children in the second-deadliest school shooting in the U.S.

Today’s Birthdays:

Nostradamus, French astrologer and physician (1503-1566); Tycho Brahe, Danish astronomer (1546-1601); James Bruce, Scottish explorer (1730-1794); Roger Fry, English artist (1866-1934); Shirley Jackson, U.S. author (1919-1965); Lee Remick, U.S. actress (1935-1991); Patty Duke, U.S. actress (1946--).

Thought for Today:

You can close your eyes to reality but not to memories — Stanislaw J. Lec, Polish author (1909-1966).

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