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Saturday. December 28

December 21, 2013

Today is Saturday, Dec. 28, the 362nd day of 2013. There are 3 days left in the year.

Highlights in history on this date:

1694 - Queen Mary II of England dies after five years of joint rule with her husband, King William III.

1832 - John C. Calhoun becomes the first U.S. vice president to resign, stepping down over differences with President Andrew Jackson.

1836 - Spain recognizes independence of Mexico.

1869 - William E. Semple of Ohio patents chewing gum.

1897 - “Cyrano de Bergerac,” the play by Edmond Rostand, premieres in Paris.

1917 - Bessarabia proclaims independence as Moldavian Republic.

1938 - Iraq severs relations with France.

1942 - Japanese planes bomb Calcutta, India, in World War II.

1948 - Premier Nokrashy Pasha of Egypt is assassinated.

1950 - Chinese forces cross the 38th parallel in Korea.

1966 - China detonates its fifth atomic bomb.

1968 - Israeli commandos raid Beirut Airport, destroying 13 aircraft.

1970 - Military court in Spain sentences six Basque separatists to death.

1972 - Four Arab guerrillas hold six hostages in the Israeli embassy in Bangkok for 19 hours, then free their prisoners and fly to Cairo, Egypt.

1973 - Alexander Solzhenitsyn publishes “Gulag Archipelago,” an expose of the Soviet prison system.

1974 - Leftist guerrillas in Managua, Nicaragua, invade a Christmas party for the U.S. ambassador, killing three guards and taking several prominent Nicaraguans hostage.

1981 - Elizabeth Jordan Carr, the first American test-tube baby, is born in Norfolk, Virginia.

1984 - Cambodian guerrillas counterattack for the fourth straight day despite withering artillery fire from a Vietnamese-occupying refugee camp along the Thai-Cambodian border.

1989 - Alexander Dubcek, the former Czechoslovak Communist leader who was deposed in a Soviet-led Warsaw Pact invasion in 1968, is named chairman of the country’s parliament.

1990 - Indian government opens talks with Sikh leaders on ending a seven-year-old secessionist struggle in Punjab.

1991 - Croatian President Franjo Tudjman vows to recapture all territory lost to Serb-led forces in Yugoslavia’s civil war.

1992 - Western forces take control of Belet Huen, Somalia, the eighth and final town they plan to use to distribute food and medicine to starving Somalis.

1993 - Bulgaria orders Russian ultranationalist leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky to leave the country.

1994 - CIA director R. James Woolsey resigns in aftermath of the discovery of an American spy for Moscow.

1995 - Judges in Beijing reject an appeal by dissident Wei Jingsheng, upholding his 14-year sentence on charges of trying to overthrow the government.

1996 - Peru’s official negotiator enters the Japanese ambassador’s residence where Tupac Amaru guerrillas hold 103 hostages, the government’s first face-to-face contact with the guerrillas. Afterward, the guerrillas release 20 hostages.

1997 - Egypt’s highest court backs a ban on female genital mutilation.

1998 - In western India, Hindu radicals burn down a church and storm three others with axes, iron rods, and hammers, sending Christian missionaries fleeing for safety in the tenth such attack since Christmas.

2001 - Challenging Yasser Arafat’s truce call, the militant Islamic Jihad group claims responsibility for a suicide attack in the Gaza Strip that was thwarted by Israeli troops.

2002 - Iraq gives United Nations weapons inspectors a list of more than 500 scientists who had knowledge of its weapons programs.

2004 - Police capture a reputed leader of the Norte del Valle drug cartel as part of a U.S.-backed effort to dismantle a gang accused of trafficking half of all cocaine sold in the United States in the 1990s.

2005 - A Russian parliamentary commission investigating the deadly school siege in Beslan criticizes officials for not following orders and for trying to disguise the seriousness of the terrorist attack that left more than 330 people dead.

2006 - Ten people show signs of low-level exposure to polonium-210, the rare radioactive element that killed one-time Russian intelligence agent Alexander Litvinenko. Seven were staff from London’s Millennium Hotel Pine Bar, which Litvinenko visited the day he became ill.

2007 - Hundreds of thousands of mourners gather in front of the mausoleum where Benazir Bhutto is to be interred in southern Pakistan the same day the government says al-Qaida and the Taliban were responsible for her death.

2008 - A single-file line of schoolchildren in Afghanistan walks past a military checkpoint as a bomb-loaded truck veers toward them and explodes, killing 14.

2009 - Israel announces it is building nearly 700 new apartments for Jews in east Jerusalem, where Palestinians hope to set up the capital of a future state.

2010 - Pakistan’s U.S.-allied ruling party suffers a fresh blow to its fragile hold on power when a coalition partner says it will quit the cabinet, deepening the nation’s political turmoil.

2011 - North Korea’s next leader escorts his father’s hearse in an elaborate state funeral, bowing and saluting in front of tens of thousands of citizens who wail and stamp their feet in grief for Kim Jong Il.

2012 - President Vladimir Putin signs bill banning Americans from adopting Russian children, abruptly terminating the prospects of more than 50 youngsters planning to join new families.

Today’s Birthdays:

Juan Zorrilla de San Martin, Uruguayan poet (1855-1931); Woodrow Wilson, U.S. president (1856-1924); Philip Wilson Steer, English artist (1860-1942); Sir Arthur S. Eddington, English scientist (1882-1944); Earl Hines, U.S. jazz pianist (1905-1983); King Birenda of Nepal (1945-2001); Maggie Smith, British actress (1934--);Denzel Washington, U.S. actor (1954--); Sienna Miller, British actress (1981--); John Legend, U.S. singer (1978--).

Thought For Today:

Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art .... It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival — C.S. Lewis, British author (1898-1963).

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