Wednesday, December 17
Today is Wednesday, Dec. 17, the 351st day of 2014 There are 14 days left in the year.
Highlights in history on this date:
1531 - Pope Clement VII introduces the Inquisition to Portugal.
1538 - Pope Paul III excommunicates England’s King Henry VIII.
1718 - England declares war on Spain.
1777 - France recognizes United States’ independence.
1788 - The Russian army under Gregory Potemkin takes Ochakov on the Black Sea.
1885 - France acquires control of Madagascar’s foreign relations.
1903 - Orville and Wilbur Wright make the first successful sustained powered flights by a heavier-than-air craft, near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
1908 - The Ottoman Parliament holds first meeting.
1914 - Abbas II is deposed, and Prince Hussein Kemel becomes Khedive of Egypt, over which Britain proclaims a protectorate.
1922 - The last British troops leave the Irish Free State.
1939 - German battleship Graf Spee is scuttled off Uruguay to prevent it from falling into British hands in World War II.
1941 - Japanese troops begin invasion of North Borneo in World War II.
1944 - The U.S. Army announces the end of its policy of excluding Japanese-Americans from the West Coast.
1948 - The Dutch attack Indonesia, invade the republic’s capital of Yogyakarta, and arrest President Sukarno and other leaders.
1957 - The United States successfully test-fires the Atlas intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time.
1961 - A fire sweeps through a circus tent at Niteroi, a suburb of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, killing 323 people, mostly children, and injuring 800. A disgruntled ex-employee admits to starting the fire.
1967 - Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt disappears while swimming at Portsea, Victoria.
1969 - The U.S. Air Force closes its Project “Blue Book” by concluding there was no evidence of extraterrestrial spaceships behind thousands of UFO sightings.
1971 - India and Pakistan end a two-week war in East Pakistan — now Bangladesh.
1975 - Lynette Fromme is sentenced to life in prison for her attempt on the life of U.S. President Gerald Ford.
1979 - In a case that aggravated racial tensions, Arthur McDuffie, a black insurance executive, is fatally beaten after a police chase in Miami. Four white police officers are later acquitted of charges stemming from McDuffie’s death.
1985 - Uganda’s military government and its guerrilla rivals sign peace treaty dividing power and ending almost five years of civil war.
1988 - Israeli soldiers shoot and wound at least 18 Palestinians during a protest strike in occupied lands.
1989 - A number of people are killed by Romanian security forces as a pro-democracy demonstration turns violent.
1990 - Tens of thousands of students and workers strike across Romania, calling for the government’s resignation as they commemorate the first anniversary of the uprising that ousted Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.
1991 - Boris Yeltsin and Mikhail Gorbachev agree to dissolve the Soviet Union and proclaim a new commonwealth on New Year’s Day.
1992 - Egyptian officials fight to save one of Cairo’s picturesque and historic quarters, the early Christian mecca at Babylon that was rattled by an October earthquake.
1993 - Former Italian Prime Minister Bettino Craxi testifies on behalf of the defendant in a corruption case in Rome. Craxi is himself later convicted of taking bribes.
1995 - Elections in Russia give the parliamentary majority to communists and their allies.
1996 - About 20 Tupac Amaru guerrillas seize the Japanese ambassador’s residence in Lima, Peru, take hundreds of diplomats and government officials hostage and demand the release of 300 imprisoned comrades.
1997 - Thirty-four countries sign a treaty aimed at eradicating bribery in international business.
1998 - For the second day, a wave of U.S. and British cruise missiles and warplanes strike targets in Iraq. Authorities report more than 25 dead.
2002 - The Congolese government and the country’s main rebel groups sign a peace accord in Pretoria, South Africa, in hopes of ending Congo’s four-year-old civil war.
2003 - The U.S. and four Central American nations — Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua — reach a free trade agreement. CAFTA calls for eliminating tariffs on all industrial goods over 10 years and phasing out most agricultural trade barriers over 18 years.
2005 - Anti-globalization protesters in Hong Kong armed with bamboo sticks rush police and try to storm the convention center where trade accord negotiations are being held. At least 41 people are injured and 900 detained after the worst street violence in Hong Kong in decades.
2006 - Gunmen in Iraqi army uniforms burst into Red Crescent offices in Baghdad and kidnap more than two dozen people at the humanitarian organization.
2007 - A gang-rape victim sentenced to six months in prison and 200 lashes for being alone with a man not related to her is pardoned by the Saudi king after the case sparked rare criticism from the U.S., the kingdom’s top ally.
2008 - The U.N. Security Council votes unanimously to extend the investigation into the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
2009 - Scientists have witnessed the eruption of the deepest submarine volcano ever discovered, capturing for the first time video of fiery bubbles of molten lava as they exploded 4,000 feet (1,220 meters) beneath the surface of the Pacific Ocean in what researchers are calling a major geological discovery.
2010 - Three American missile attacks kill 54 alleged militants close to the Afghan border, an unusually high number of victims that includes commanders of a Taliban-allied group that were holding a meeting.
2011 - Flash floods devastate a southern Philippines region unaccustomed to serious storms, killing more than 400 people while they slept, rousting hundreds of others to their rooftops and turning two coastal cities into muddy, debris-filled waterways.
2012 - Syria’s vice president acknowledges that the army cannot defeat the rebel forces trying to topple the regime and calls for a negotiated settlement to save the country from ruin.
2013 — The arrest and alleged strip search of an Indian diplomat in New York escalates into a major diplomatic furor as India’s national security adviser called the woman’s treatment “despicable and barbaric.”
Domenico Cimarosa, Italian composer (1749-1801); Ludwig van Beethoven, German composer (1770-1827); Ford Madox Ford, English author (1873-1939); Arthur Fielder, U.S. conductor (1894-1979); Erskine Caldwell, U.S. author (1903-1987); Kerry Packer, Australian media magnate (1937-2005); William Safire, U.S. newspaper columnist (1929--2009).
Thought For Today:
You have no idea how big the other fellow’s troubles are ... Bertie Charles Forbes, Scottish journalist (1880-1954).