Today in History - December 15

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37CE        Dec 15, Nero Claudius Caesar, emperor of Rome who is blamed for the great fire of Rome, was born. Nero (Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus) was born (d. 68CE). [see Feb 15]
    (WUD, 1994, p.959)(HN, 12/15/98)

1025        Dec 15, Basil II was succeeded as emperor [by] Constantine VIII, his brother and co-ruler.
    (HN, 12/15/98)

1791        Dec 15, The US Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution, took effect following ratification by Virginia. The First Amendment declared the separation of church and state and guaranteed freedom of religion, speech, the press and assembly. In 2007 Anthony Lewis authored “Freedom for the Thought That We Hate: A biography of the Frist Amendment."
    (SFC, 6/24/96, p.A19)(AP, 12/15/97)(SFC, 1/21/04, p.D2)(Econ, 1/12/08, p.75)

1811        Dec 15-16, A 7.3 earthquake struck the central US on the Mississippi River. It was centered at New Madrid, Missouri, and reversed the course of the Mississippi for a while. Aftershocks continued into 1812. In 1976 James Penick Jr. authored "The New Madrid Earthquakes of 1811-1812." Three intraplate tremblers hit New Madrid.
    (HC, 6/7/98)(ON, 10/99, p.5,6)(SFC, 2/24/01, p.A10)(NH, 3/1/04, p.66)

1832        Dec 15, Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel, designed named the tower in Paris, was born.
    (HN, 12/15/98)

1849        Dec 15, California's first legislature convened in San Jose.
    (SFC, 9/2/99, p.A12)(SFC, 1/16/04, p.A23)

1862        Dec 15, Nathan B. Forrest crossed the Tennessee River at Clifton with 2,500 men to raid the communications around Vicksburg.
    (HN, 12/15/98)
1862        Dec 15, In New Orleans, Union Major General Benjamin F. Butler turned his command over to Nathaniel Banks. The citizens of New Orleans held farewell parties for Butler, "The Beast," but only after he had already left. Maj. Gen Benjamin Butler was given the unusual nickname “Spoons" due to his apparent penchant for stealing the silver while occupying New Orleans. He was also called “Beast" for alleged insults to the women in the town. Both the names were coined by Confederates.
    (HN, 12/15/98)(HNQ, 7/29/00)

1864        Dec 15, The battle at Nashville began.
    (HN, 12/15/98)

1883        Dec 15, William A. Hinton, developer of the “Hinton Test" for diagnosing syphilis, was born.
    (HN, 12/15/98)

1890        Dec 15, Sioux Indian Chief Sitting Bull and 11 other tribe members were killed in Grand River, S.D., during a fracas with Indian police [US troops]. In an attempt to arrest Sitting Bull at his Standing Rock, South Dakota, cabin, shooting broke out and Lt. Bullhead shot the great Sioux leader.
    (WUD, 1994, p.1680)(AP, 12/15/97)(HN, 12/15/98)

1892        Dec 15, J. Paul Getty, American oilman and art collector, was born.
    (HN, 12/15/98)

1893        Dec 15, Anton Dvorak's Symphony No. 9 in E-minor, Opus 95, "From the New World," was performed during a "public rehearsal" at New York's Carnegie Hall (the official world premiere was the next day).
    (AP, 12/15/03)

1899        Dec 15, In South Africa the Boars defeated the British at the Battle of Colenso.
    (HN, 12/15/98)

1903        Dec 15, The British Parliament placed a 15-year ban on whale fishing in Norway.
    (HN, 12/15/98)

1909        Dec 15, San Francisco’s Palace Hotel re-opened. It had survived the 1906 earthquake but was gutted by the following fire.
    (SFEC, 11/17/96, p.C4)(SFC, 8/22/09, p.A10)

1916        Dec 15, The French defeated the Germans in the World War I Battle of Verdun. [see Dec 18]
    (AP, 12/15/97)

1919        Dec 15, In Cairo, Egypt, medical student Iryan Yusuf threw a bomb at the car of the prime minister as he arrived at the Café Riche. The PM  survived the attack.
    (Econ, 12/17/11, p.85)

1920        Dec 15, China won a place on the League Council; Austria was admitted.
    (HN, 12/15/98)

1924        Dec 15, Soviets warned the U.S. against repeated entry of ships into the territorial waters of the USSR.
    (HN, 12/15/98)

1933        Dec 15, In San Francisco Lloyd J. Evans became the first worker on the Bay Bridge to die. He had been working 112 feet down on the bay bottom and experienced decompression sickness. An 11-hour effort to revive him in a recompression chamber failed.
    (SSFC, 12/14/08, p.54)

1938        Dec 15, Washington sent its fourth note to Berlin demanding amnesty for Jews.
    (HN, 12/15/98)
1938        Dec 15, Groundbreaking ceremonies for the Jefferson Memorial took place in Washington, D.C.
    (AP, 12/15/97)

1939        Dec 15, The motion picture "Gone With the Wind" had its world premiere in Atlanta.
    (AP, 12/15/97)

1941        Dec 15-1941 Dec 23, Catholic Sisters Jula Ivanisevic, Berchmana Leidenix, Krizina Bojanc, Antonija Fabjan and Bernadeta Banja, who helped the poor regardless of religion in the majority Serb village of Pale, Bosnia, were killed in Gorazde and thrown into the River Drina. The sisters were beatified in 2011.
    (AP, 9/24/11)(

1943          Dec 15, Thomas "Fats" Waller (39), US jazz stride piano artist (Hot Chocolate), died in Kansas City, Mo. Guitarist Al Casey performed with Waller for 10 years prior to WW II.
    (SFEM, 10/6/96, p.16,18)

1944        Dec 15, The US Senate approved the promotions of Henry H. Arnold, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Douglas MacArthur and George C. Marshall to the five-star rank of General of the Army and the nominations of William D. Leahy, Ernest J. King and Chester W. Nimitz as Admirals of the Fleet.
    (AP, 12/15/04)
1944        Dec 15, In the Philippines the opening of the battle for Luzon started when MacArthur ordered troops ashore on the nearby island of Mindoro.
    (HN, 12/15/98)(AP, 12/15/07)
1944        Dec 15, Bandleader Glenn Miller, a US Army major,  was lost in a single-engine plane flight over the English Channel en route to Paris. His music included “Kalamazoo," “Chattanooga Choo Choo," “Tuxedo Junction," and “In the Mood." Trombonist Glenn Miller boarded a single-engine C-64 Norseman in England for a flight to France, where he was to make arrangements for a Christmas broadcast. The plane never reached France and no trace of it or its occupants was ever found. Iowa-born Glenn Miller became a professional musician after graduating from high school. By the time he volunteered for military service in 1942, the Glenn Miller Orchestra was world famous and had appeared in two motion pictures. Miller persuaded the U.S. Army to accept his service to "put a little more spring into the feet of our marching men and a little more joy into their hearts." For the next 18 months, Miller's 50-member band stayed busy with morale-building concerts and radio broadcasts. No cause has ever been established for the loss of Miller's aircraft, but the Norseman did not have de-icing equipment on board and it is likely that icy weather forced the plane down in the English Channel.
    (WSJ, 10/24/96, p.A16)(SFC, 1/7/97, p.A18)(AP, 12/15/97)(HNPD, 12/15/98)
1944        Dec 15, In Hungary a gold train departed Budapest on orders from Adolf Eichmann. In May it was intercepted by American forces in Austria. Some of the valuables were requisitioned by US commanders and the rest was later auctioned in NY and the proceeds given to a UN agency to help Jewish refugees. Kenneth Alford later authored "The Spoils of World War II."
    (SFC, 10/15/99, p.A18)

1946        Dec 15, Vietnam leader Ho Chi Minh sent a note to the new French Premier, Leon Blum, asking for peace talks.
    (HN, 12/15/98)

1947        Dec 15, Arthur Machen (b.1863), Welsh author of classic horror stories, died.
    (WSJ, 10/30/07, p.D6)(

1948        Dec 15, Former State Department official Alger Hiss was indicted by a federal grand jury in New York on charges of perjury. They charged that he lied in denying that he gave Chambers confidential documents and that he had spoken with Chambers in Feb and Mar of 1938. A first trial ended in a hung jury. Hiss, accused of lying about dealings with confessed Communist spy Whittaker Chambers, was convicted in 1950 and served nearly four years in prison.
    (SFC, 11/16/96, p.A3)(AP, 12/15/98)
1948        Dec 15, The French brought the first nuclear reactor into service.
    (HN, 12/15/98)

1954        Dec 15, Fess Parker (1924-2010) starred as "Davy Crockett, Indian Fighter" in its premier as part of the new Disneyland TV show. It was possibly the first miniseries.
    (SFEC, 5/24/98, DB p.38)(SFC, 3/19/10, p.C6)(

1961        Dec 15, Adolf Eichmann, the former German Gestapo official accused of a major role in the Nazi murder of 6 million Jews, was sentenced by a Jerusalem court to be hanged. Adolf Eichmann was the administrator of the so-called Final Solution and supervised the transportation of prisoners to concentration camps.
    (AP, 12/15/97)(HN, 12/15/98)

1964        Dec 15, Canada's House of Commons approved dropping the "Red Ensign" flag in favor of a new design.
    (AP, 12/15/97)

1965        Dec 15, The U.S. dropped 12 tons of bombs on an industrial center near Haiphong.
    (HN, 12/15/98)
1965        Dec 15, Two U.S. manned spacecraft, Gemini 6 and Gemini 7, maneuvered to within 10 feet of each other while in orbit.
    (AP, 12/15/97)
1965        Dec 15, In Karachi, Pakistan, a cyclone killed some 10,000 people.

1966        Dec 15, Walt Disney (b.1901), movie producer, actor and director, died in Los Angeles. In 1998 a CD-ROM was produced titled: “Walt Disney: An Intimate History of the Man and His magic." In 2006 Neal Gabler authored “Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination."
    (AP, 12/15/97)(SFC, 11/4/98, p.E1)(WSJ, 11/3/06, p.W6)

1967        Dec 15, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the meat bill in the presence of Upton Sinclair the author of the controversial book “The Jungle."
    (HN, 12/15/98)
1967        Dec 15, The US Age Discrimination Employment Act became public law.
1967        Dec 15, In Point Pleasant, West Virginia, it took less than 30 seconds for the Silver Bridge to tumble into the Ohio River, killing 46 people and leaving towns on either side stunned and bereft. The bridge had linked Point Pleasant and Kanauga, Ohio, since 1928.
    (AP, 12/15/07)

1969        Dec 15, President Nixon announced the third round of Vietnam withdrawals.

1971        Dec 15, Pres. Nixon signed the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burro Act. An  $18 million Wild Horse and Burro Program, headed by the Bureau of Land Management, was designed to find homes for wild horses. "Excess" animals were annually culled. The 10-17,000 wild horses grew to some 43,000 in 1998. In 2004 Conrad Burns, Republican Senator for Montana, introduced an amendment that removed protection for wild horses over age 10.
    (, 8/25/98, p.A1)(Econ, 6/28/08, p.90)

1972        Dec 15, The Commonwealth of Australia ordered equal pay for women.
    (HN, 12/15/98)(

1977        Dec 15, Charles Finley sold his Oakland A’s baseball team to Marvin Davis for a reported $12.5 million. A lease with the Oakland Coliseum was still a problem.
    (SFC, 12/13/02, p.E8)

1978        Dec 15, President Carter announced he would grant diplomatic recognition to Communist China on New Year's Day and sever official relations with Taiwan.
    (AP, 12/15/98)
1978        Dec 15, Cleveland became the first major US city since the Great Depression to default on its loans.
    (AP, 12/15/08)
1978        Dec 15, Aides of Tennessee Gov. Ray Blanton (1930-1996) were charged with accepting money in exchange for approving paroles. Two were convicted and sent to prison. The scandal inspired a book, ''Marie: A True Story'' (1983) by Peter Maas.
    (SFC, 11/25/96, p.A3)(

1979        Dec 15, The deposed Shah of Iran left the US for Panama, the same day the International Court of Justice in The Hague ruled that Iran should release all its American hostages.
    (AP, 12/15/99)

1983        Dec 15, In Ohio motel clerk Helen Vantz was killed in Elyria. Ronald Post was convicted of her murder and sentenced to death. Post was granted clemency from death in 2013 on the grounds that at 450 lbs he was too obese to be executed humanely. Post (53) died in prison on July 26, 2013.
    (SFC, 7/27/13, p.A6)

1986        Dec 15, Army cook Ronald A. Gray raped and killed Army Pvt. Laura Lee Vickery-Clay of Fayetteville. She was shot four times with a .22-caliber pistol that Gray confessed to stealing. She suffered blunt force trauma over much of her body. Gray (42) was convicted in connection with a spree of four murders and eight rapes in the Fayetteville, NC, area between April 1986 and January 1987 while he was stationed at Fort Bragg. He was convicted at Fort Bragg in April 1988 and unanimously sentenced to death.
    (AP, 7/29/08)

1987        Dec 15, Gary Hart, who had dropped out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination amid questions about his relationship with Miami model Donna Rice, made a surprise return to the campaign, saying, "Let's let the people decide."
    (AP, 12/15/97)

1988        Dec 15, U.S. Ambassador Robert H. Pelletreau Jr. telephoned the PLO's headquarters in Tunisia, one day after President Reagan authorized direct talks.
    (AP, 12/15/98)

1989        Dec 15, GM and SAAB agreed to form a 50-50 joint auto-making company, called Saab Automobile A.B. GM acquired the rest of SAAB a decade later.
    (, 1/31/09, p.72)
1989        Dec 15, Mt. Redoubt erupted in Alaska and sent baseball-sized pieces of pumice over 20 miles from the volcano. A 747 jet flew into its ash cloud, lost all four engines and dropped 4,000 feet before it recovered. No one was hurt but the plane sustained $80 million in damage.
    (AAM, 3/96, p.84)(PacDisc. Spring/’96, p.31)
1989        Dec 15, Drug trafficker Gonzalo Rodriguez Gacha was killed in northern Colombia following a shootout with police.
    (AP, 12/15/99)
1989        Dec 15, A popular uprising that resulted in the downfall of Romania's Nicolae Ceausescu began as demonstrators gathered in Timisoara to prevent the arrest of the Reverend Laszlo Tokes, a dissident clergyman.
    (AP, 12/15/99)

1990        Dec 15, European Community leaders wrapped up a historic summit in Rome committed to creating a politically unified federation.
    (AP, 12/15/00)
1990        Dec 15,  With one month left before a UN deadline for Iraq to leave Kuwait, Iraq gave no indication it was prepared to pull out.
    (AP, 12/15/00)

1991        Dec 15, Six Democratic presidential hopefuls criticized President Bush's handling of the economy during a debate on NBC TV.
    (AP, 12/15/01)
1991        Dec 14-1991 Dec 15, At least 464 people were left dead or missing when an Egyptian-registered ferry sank in the Red Sea near the port of Safaga after coral reef tore a hole in a ferry's side.
    (SFC, 5/22/96, p.A8)(AP, 2/3/06)
1991        Dec 15, Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev asked U.S. Secretary of State James Baker for formal U.S. recognition of the various Soviet republics that had declared independence.
    (AP, 12/15/01)

1992        Dec 15, President-elect Clinton concluded a two-day conference on the economy, saying the nation must tame "the monster of spiraling health care costs" in order to slash the huge budget deficit.
    (AP, 12/15/97)
1992        Dec 15, IBM announced it would eliminate 25,000 more employees in the coming year.
    (AP, 12/15/97)

1993        Dec 15, US Defense Secretary Les Aspin announced his resignation, citing "personal reasons."
    (AP, 12/15/98)
1993        Dec 15, Britain and Ireland issued a “framework for peace."
    (SFC, 6/18/96, p.A8)
1993        Dec 15, In Geneva, 117 countries completed the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, agreeing on a reform package intended to jump-start the global economy.
    (AP, 12/15/98)

1994        Dec 15, President Clinton, in a 12-minute prime-time address, presented a package of tax cuts for middle-income families raising children, and outlined deep reductions in government programs to help pay for them.
    (AP, 12/15/99)

1995        Dec 15, President Clinton defied a deadline for turning over a former aide’s Whitewater notes, prompting a deeply divided Senate investigative committee to vote to challenge him in federal court. The White House agreed six days later to turn over the notes.
    (AP, 12/15/00)
1995        Dec 15, The US stock market set a volume record of 636 million shares traded.
    (WSJ, 12/18/95, p.A-1)
1995        Dec 15, Louis Monier of Digital Equipment Corp. unveiled the Alta Vista search engine. It used several hundred “spiders" in parallel to index the web. The engine was co-invented by Paul Andrew Flaherty (1964-2006) of DEC. Alta Vista faded with the rise of Google and was acquired by Yahoo in 2003 as part of a $1.7 billion purchase of Overture Services. In 2013 Yahoo announced the closure of Alta Vista.
    (Econ, 9/18/04, TQ p.33)(SFC, 3/24/06, p.B5)(SFC, 7/9/13, p.D2)
1995        Dec 15, French rail workers voted to end a three-week-old strike.
    (AP, 12/15/00)

1996        Dec 15, The Tyco Toys Tickle Me Elmo stuffed animal that giggles and says "that tickles" when squeezed retailed for $30 and was flying out of stores. It was based on a character from the children’s TV show Sesame Street.
    (WSJ, 12/16/96, p.B1)(WSJ, 9/15/06, p.B1)
1996        Dec 15, Boeing Co. announced plans to pay $13.3 billion to acquire rival aircraft manufacturer McDonnell Douglas Corp.
    (WSJ, 12/16/96, p.A1)(AP, 12/15/97)
1996        Dec 15, In Mexico Humberto Roque Villanueva was sworn in as the new head of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).
    (SFC, 12/18/96, p.A25)

1997        cDec 15, Pres. Clinton answered a written discovery posed by Ms. Jones to identify all women who were state or federal employees since 1986 that he had had sexual relations with. His response under oath was none.
    (SFC, 9/12/98, p.A12)
1997        Dec 15, Over Republican objections, President Clinton appointed Bill Lann Lee acting assistant attorney general for civil rights.
    (AP, 12/15/98)
1997        Dec 15, US Defense Sec. Cohen ordered all 1.5 million men and women in uniform to be inoculated against anthrax.
    (WSJ, 12/16/97, p.A1)
1997        Dec 15, It was reported that the US carried out 74 executions this year.
    (SFC,12/15/97, p.A2)
1997        Dec 15, In Missouri the nation’s last workable Minuteman II missile silo was destroyed in Dederick. It was the last of 150 in Missouri aimed at the Soviet Union. The missiles were deactivated and the silos destroyed due to the 1995 signing of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.
    (SFC,12/16/97, p.A3)
1997        Dec 15, In Australia a government report said that at least 1,045 retarded women and girls have been sterilized since a 1992 law that made it illegal without special approval.
    (SFC,12/16/97, p.B3)
1997        Dec 15, In Colombia at least 26 peasants were killed about this time after paramilitary groups began to "cleanse" the Riosucio region of leftist guerrillas.
    (SFC, 1/5/98, p.A10)
1997        Dec 15, In Egypt a court sentenced a physician, Dr. Rabie Ibrahim Mahgoub, one year in prison and a fine of $150 for the April death of a 14-real-old girl, Amina Abdel-Hamid Abu-Elah, who was undergoing circumcision surgery (called genital mutilation by opponents).
    (SFC,12/16/97, p.B2)
1997        Dec 15, In Guyana Janet Jagan (77) won the elections for president.
    (SFEC,12/14/97, p.A22)(SFC,12/18/97, p.C14)
1997        Dec 15, In Mexico a gang of armed masked men raided several homes and seized some 20 teenagers and young adults. Several were tortured and Salvador Jimenez Lopez (25) was found dead a week later. On Jan 7 authorities arrested 28 officers and soldiers who were believed to be responsible.
    (SFC, 1/8/98, p.B10)
1997        Dec 15, In Mexico Peter Zarate (40), an executive for New York-based Cushman and Wakefield, was shot and killed in a taxi robbery in a wealthy Mexico City neighborhood.
    (SFC,12/20/97, p.A12)
1997        Dec 15, In Sierra Leone at least 60 people died in a canoe mishap on the Manor River near the Liberian border while fleeing renewed violence.
    (SFC,12/16/97, p.B2)
1997        Dec 15, In the UAR a Russian Tu-154 charter flight from Tajikistan crashed 9 miles from Sharjah and 85 people were killed.
    (SFC,12/16/97, p.B1)

1998        Dec 15, Pres. Clinton met with Yasser Arafat and Benjamin Netanyahu without achieving any tangible results to move the Peace Talks forward. President Clinton concluded his three-day Middle East journey on a disappointing note as Israel refused to resume the West Bank troop withdrawals called for under the Wye River peace accord; nevertheless, Clinton declared his trip a success.
    (SFC, 12/16/98, p.A1)(AP, 12/15/99)
1998        Dec 15, Richard Butler, chairman of the UN Special Commission overseeing the disarmament of Iraq, reported that Saddam’s government continued to obstruct inspections.
    (SFC, 12/16/98, p.A1)
1998        Dec 15, The 2-day ASEAN summit opened in Hanoi. Cambodia was admitted informally.
    (WSJ, 12/16/98, p.A19)
1998        Dec 15, A 40-nation conference on the Dayton accord opened in Madrid.
    (WSJ, 12/16/98, p.A1)
1998        Dec 15, US forces in the Persian Gulf were ordered on high alert following credible information of an imminent terrorist attack.
    (SFC, 12/16/98, p.A18)
1998        Dec 15, Marine scientists reported that trawling by fishing fleets was causing widespread disruption of ocean bottom habitats. They said that each year trawl nets disturb an area twice the size of the contiguous US.
    (SFC, 12/16/98, p.A10)
1998        Dec 15, The Endeavour shuttle and crew returned to Cape Canaveral in a night time landing following NASA’s first space station-building mission.
    (SFC, 12/16/98, p.A7)
1998        Dec 15, Congo rebels claimed to have killed 47 Zimbabwean troops fighting for Kabila at Kabala.
    (WSJ, 12/16/98, p.A1)
1998        Dec 15, In Japan Nawaki Hashimoto was found dead from cyanide poisoning. He had peddled cyanide to suicidal Japanese over a web site and one Tokyo woman died the same day from his cyanide.
    (SFC, 1/9/99, p.A11)
1998        Dec 15, The 500 members of Libya’s General People’s Congress voted for conditional approval for the trial of Pan Am Flight 103 bombing suspects in a 3rd country.
    (SFC, 12/16/98, p.A15)
1998        Dec 15, In South Africa a tornado killed 13 people in Umtata. Pres. Mandela narrowly escaped injury while shopping there.
    (SFC, 12/16/98, p.C3)

1999        Dec 15, With President Clinton’s close mediation, Syria reopened peace talks with Israel in Washington.
    (AP, 12/15/00)
1999        Dec 15, The US and China agreed to a $28 million compensation package for damage to the Chinese embassy in Belgrade on May 7. China agreed to pay $2.87 million for damage to the US Embassy and consular offices.
    (SFC, 12/16/99, p.A16)
1999        Dec 15, In Virginia a rule took effect for prison inmates to either cut their hair no longer than their collars and shave their beards, or be placed in administrative segregation. Kendall Gibson (21), a Rastafarian by faith and sentenced to 47 years on robbery, abduction and gun charges, refused to have his hair cut and was placed in administrative segregation where he still remained as of 2010.
    (AP, 5/8/10)
1999        Dec 15, In Algeria suspected Islamic militants killed 11 government soldiers and wounded 22 others near Chlef, 148 miles west of Algiers.
    (SFC, 12/16/99, p.C2)
1999        Dec 15, In Chechnya at least 115 Russian soldiers were killed by rocket propelled grenades fired by Chechen guerrillas in Grozny.
    (SFC, 12/16/99, p.A1)(SFC, 12/17/99, p.A12)
1999        Dec 15, In North Korea a US led consortium signed a $4.6 billion deal to build 2 nuclear reactors in Kumho.
    (SFC, 12/16/99, p.C2)
1999        Dec 15, In Sri Lanka Brig. Sunil Tennakoon said 480 rebels had been killed in the attack at Elephant Pass, as opposed to 28 soldiers and that the mass assault was blocked. Guerrillas said 38 fighters were killed as opposed to over 100 soldiers.
    (SFC, 12/16/99, p.C2)
1999        Dec 15, In Venezuela a vote for the approval of the 26th new constitution was scheduled. The new document contained 368 articles and included the possibility of recall referendums. Voters approved the new constitution which included changing the name of the country to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
    (WSJ, 11/26/99, p.A11)(SFC, 12/16/99, p.A16)(Econ, 2/28/04, p.36)(Econ, 3/15/14, p.15)

2000        Dec 15, The Clinton administration issued a 120-page report that called global organized crime a “full-fledged national security crises." Interpol estimated human smuggling across int’l. borders by transnational crime syndicates at 4 million per year with earnings up to $7 billion. Other estimates were much higher.
    (SSFC, 1/7/01, p.A14)
2000        Dec 15, The US 106th Congress closed with a final $450 billion budget package that included increases in education spending, expanded Medicare payments, and modest tax breaks for investments in poor communities.
    (SFC, 12/16/00, p.A3)(SSFC, 12/17/00, p.A3)
2000        Dec 15, US Congressional compromise included federal protection for the Black Rock Desert-High Rock Canyon Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area, 1.2 million acres in northwest Nevada.
    (SFC, 12/16/00, p.C2)
2000        Dec 15, The US Army planned to hold closing ceremonies for the School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Ga. The school planned to reopen in January as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation.
    (SFC, 12/13/00, p.B8)
2000        Dec 15, Federal regulators ordered an overhaul of California's electricity market in a push to control skyrocketing prices and curtail supply shortages.
    (AP, 12/15/01)
2000        Dec 15, First Lady and Senator-elect Hillary Rodham Clinton agreed to an $8 million book deal with publisher Simon and Schuster for her White House memoirs.
    (SFC, 12/16/00, p.A3)(AP, 12/15/01)
2000        Dec 15, Derwin Brown (46), the sheriff-elect of DeKalb County, Georgia,  was gunned down in what police called an assassination. Brown had promised to clean up the sheriff’s dept. and fire 38 employees. Former Sheriff Sidney Dorsey and 2 other men were charged for the murder on Nov 30, 2001. 2 other men involved in the slaying were given immunity for testifying. A 19-count indictment against Dorsey was handed down Feb 22, 2002. Melvin Walker and David Ramsey were acquitted Mar 25, 2002. Dorsey was convicted Jul 10. Dorsey was sentenced to life in prison on Aug 15, 2002. In 2005 a federal jury found Melvin Walker and David Ramsey guilty of conspiracy.
    (SSFC, 12/17/00, p.A2)(SFC, 3/19/01, p.A3)(SFC, 2/23/02, p.A5)(SFC, 3/26/02, p.A5)(SFC, 7/11/02, p.A3)(SFC, 8/16/02, p.A7)(SFC, 8/4/05, p.A3)
2000        Dec 15, Mazen Al-Najjar, a Palestinian immigrant who had taught at the Univ. of South Florida, was released following 3½ years in jail on secret evidence. He still faced deportation and was suspected of having ties with the Syrian-based Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
    (SFC, 12/16/00, p.A8)
2000        Dec 15, In Colombia 2 people were killed in Bogota when right-wing paramilitary gunmen attacked and wounded Wilson Borja, president of the Federation of State Workers. Borja had been organizing peace talks between the government and leftist rebels.
    (SFC, 12/16/00, p.A20)
2000        Dec 15, Under Estonian law the cryptographic signature became legally equivalent to a manual signature.
2000        Dec 15, In Israel Ehud Barak made a bid to restart peace talks as 6 more Palestinians were shot dead by Israeli troops.
    (SFC, 12/16/00, p.A20)
2000        Dec 15, Pres. Mbeki of South Africa spoke at a MERCOSUR meeting in Brazil and planned to begin negotiations to join the trading block.
    (SFC, 12/31/00, p.B2)
2000        Dec 15, In Turkey an earthquake killed 6 people including 5 men praying at the mosque of Yasarlar village.
    (SSFC, 12/17/00, p.11)
2000        Dec 15, In Ukraine the last working nuclear plant at Chernobyl was shut down. It had recently undergone $300 million in safety improvements. The destroyed reactor, which contained up to 66 tons of melted nuclear fuel and 37 tons of radioactive dust, was still leaking radiation. A new sarcophagus was expected to cost $758 million.
    (SFC, 12/15/00, p.D2)(SFC, 12/16/00, p.A22)

2001        Dec 15, Evander Holyfield was denied a fifth heavyweight championship when his third fight against John Ruiz was called a draw after 12 rounds in Mashantucket, Conn.
    (AP, 12/15/02)
2001        Dec 15, Anthony Zinni, US envoy to Israel, left after his 20 days in the region failed to produce a cease-fire.
    (SSFC, 12/16/01, p.A14)
2001        Dec 15, With a crash and a large dust cloud, a 50-foot tall section of steel, the last standing piece of the World Trade Center's facade, was brought down in New York.
    (AP, 12/15/02)
2001        Dec 15, EU leaders concluded a 2-day Council at Laeken, Belgium. The adoption of the Laeken Declaration on the Future of Europe, established the European Convention. A constitutional convention was planned. This process was supposed to simplify the EU’s legal architecture. The admittance of 10 new members over the next 2 years was also planned. The EU declared their nascent joint military force operational.
    (, 12/17/01, p.A14)(Econ, 10/27/07, p.16)
2001        Dec 15, Pierre Henri Bunel, a former French military intelligence officer accused of passing on NATO war plans to Serbian intelligence in 1998, was found guilty of treason and sentenced by a military/civilian tribunal “Tribunal aux armees" (TPA) to five years in jail. In 2013 Serbia awarded a top state medal to Bunel.
    (, 9/6/13, p.A2)
2001        Dec 15, Israeli forces swept into Beit Hanoun in the Gaza Strip and bulldozed houses and police outposts. 6 Palestinians were killed and 50 injured from fighting.
    (SSFC, 12/16/01, p.A14)
2002        Dec 15, The Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy, was reopened to the public after a $27 million realignment that dragged on for over a decade.
    (AP, 12/15/02)

2002        Dec 15, Former VP Al Gore announced he would not seek the US presidency in 2004.
    (SFC, 12/16/02, p.A1)
2002        Dec 15, Tens of thousands of Hong Kong people took part in one of the territory's biggest marches in years, denouncing plans for an anti-subversion law they fear will erode freedom and civil liberties.
    (Reuters, 12/15/02)
2002        Dec 15, India's ruling Hindu nationalists swept to victory in an election in the western state of Gujarat. The BJP won 125 of 182 seats.
    (Reuters, 12/15/02)(SFC, 12/16/02, p.A14)
2002        Dec 15, Israel barred Palestinian Pres. Yasser Arafat from visiting Bethlehem for Christmas and decided to keep its army in the West Bank city over the holiday.
    (Reuters, 12/15/02)
2002        Dec 15, Japan won golf's World Cup for the first time in 45 years.
    (AP, 12/15/03)
2002        Dec 15, Troops in Nepal shot dead 11 Maoist rebels during gunbattles across the troubled Himalayan nation over the past 24 hours, while guerrillas killed a soldier in the west of the country.
    (Reuters, 12/15/02)
2002        Dec 15, In Venezuela hundreds of thousands of people marched through the capital demanding Pres. Chavez step down. The strike had cut oil output by at least 70%.
    (WSJ, 12/14/02, p.A12)(AP, 12/15/02)

2003        Dec 15, The Bush administration proposed a market-based system of pollution controls that required power companies to cut mercury pollution by nearly 70% over the next 15 years, but let them decide for themselves how to meet the overall limits.
    (SFC, 12/16/03, p.A5)
2003        Dec 15, The US Navy seized a boat carrying nearly two tons of hashish in the Persian Gulf. It was soon considered as the first hard evidence of al-Qaida links to drug smuggling.
    (AP, 12/19/03)
2003        Dec 15, Charles Cullen (43), a former nurse, was charged with murder after telling prosecutors that he killed 30-40 severely ill patients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey since 1987 by injecting them with drugs. Cullen later pleaded guilty to killing 29 people and attempting to kill six others; he was sentenced to 18 life prison terms.
    (SFC, 12/17/03, p.A3)(WSJ, 4/30/04, p.A1)(SFC, 5/20/04, p.A3)(AP, 12/15/08)
2003        15, The late Sen. Strom Thurmond's family acknowledged Essie Mae Washington-Williams' claim that she was his illegitimate mixed-race daughter.
    (AP, 12/15/04)
2003        Dec 15, In Cleburne, Texas, Joanne Webb, housewife and sales rep for Passion Parties, answered to obscenity charges for selling a vibrator to undercover narcotics officers posing as a dysfunctional married couple.
    (SFC, 12/16/03, p.A2)
2003        Dec 15, Motorola chose Edward Zander, former president of Sun Microsystems, to succeed Christopher Galvin as CEO.
    (WSJ, 1/2/04, p.R12)
2003        Dec 15, The royal army of Bhutan seized a camp near its border with India that they believe housed the headquarters of a major Indian separatist group.
    (AP, 12/16/03)
2003        Dec 15, The IMF extended for 15 months a $34 billion loan agreement with Brazil.
    (WSJ, 12/16/03, p.A15)
2003        Dec 15, Cambodia's prime minister ordered the destruction of the country's surface-to-air missiles to prevent them from falling into the hands of terrorists. Hun Sen issued the order after a meeting in Phnom Penh with U.S. Ambassador Charles Ray.
    (AP, 12/16/03)
2003        Dec 15, At least 25 gunmen crossed from Chechnya into the Russian region of Dagestan, killing at least 3 border guards and seizing hostages in a remote mountain village.
    (AP, 12/15/03)
2003        Dec 15, From China it was reported that Liu Dalin (71), founder and curator of the Chinese Sexual Culture Museum, was moving his collection from Shanghai to Tongli. His 3,700 items covered 6,000 years of human sexuality in the world's most populous nation.
    (AP, 12/15/03)
2003        Dec 15, In northern Colombia rebel leaders said they will release four Israelis and a Briton during the next several days, after holding the foreigners hostage for three months.
    (AP, 12/16/03)
2003        Dec 15, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder salvaged a deal to which he has tied his political future, a plan to spur Germany's economy by cutting taxes, trimming welfare-state benefits and loosening stringent worker protection laws.
    (AP, 12/15/03)
2003        Dec 15, In Iraq a suicide bomber driving a four-wheel drive taxi killed eight Iraqi policemen in an attack on a station in Baghdad's northern outskirts.
    (AP, 12/15/03)
2003        Dec 15, Israeli soldiers shot dead 2 Palestinians in Gaza.
    (WSJ, 12/16/03, p.A1)
2003        Dec 15, In Italy Calisto Tonzi, head of Parmalat SpA, one of the world's biggest dairy firms, resigned. [see Dec 19]
    (Econ, 12/20/03, p.95)
2003        Dec 15, In Pakistan police arrested 10 people suspected of links to the Taliban and al-Qaida in two nighttime raids at Rawalpindi.
    (AP, 12/16/03)
2003        Dec 15, In Peru Pres. Alejandro Toledo, with his popularity dropping, swore in a new Cabinet chief and several ministers. Toledo named congressman Carlos Ferrero to replace Prime Minister Beatriz Merino.
    (AP, 12/15/03)
2003        Dec 15, The UN said it was suspending for a month a disarmament campaign in war-battered Liberia so it can improve a camp for former combatants.
    (AP, 12/15/03)

2004        Dec 15, A US interceptor missile failed to fire in a test flight from the Marshall Islands. It was the 1st test flight for the missile defense system in 2 years.
    (SFC, 12/16/04, p.A1)
2004        Dec 15, Section 404 of the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act came into effect. It required the chief executive and chief financial officers of public companies to appraise internal controls and report any weaknesses within 75 days of the company’s fiscal year.
    (Econ, 12/18/04, p.116)(
2004        Dec 15, Time Warner Inc. agreed to pay more than $500 million to resolve federal securities fraud and accounting investigations of its America Online unit.
    (AP, 12/16/05)
2004        Dec 15, Sprint and Nextel announced a $35 billion merger agreement. The deal left 4 major wireless services in the US.
    (SFC, 12/16/04, p.A1)
2004        Dec 15, Johnson & Johnson agreed to buy Guidant for $23.9 billion in stock and cash.
    (WSJ, 12/16/04, p.A3)
2004        Dec 15, Pauline Gore (92), mother of former Vice President Al Gore, died in Carthage, Tenn.
    (AP, 12/16/05)
2004        Dec 15, In eastern Afghanistan the body of a kidnapped Turkish engineer was found, a day after he was snatched with his driver and interpreter by a band of armed men.
    (AP, 12/15/04)
2004        Dec 15, In Athens, Greece, 2 armed men, believed to be Albanians, hijacked a bus carrying 26 passengers, threatening to blow it up with explosives unless they were taken to the airport and put on a plane to Russia. All hostages were released after an 18-hour standoff.
    (AP, 12/15/04)(SFC, 12/16/04, p.A3)
2004        Dec 15, Iraqi militants said they shot and killed an Italian citizen after he tried to break through a guerrilla roadblock on a highway outside the insurgent stronghold of Ramadi. A document from the Italian Embassy in Beirut seeking an Iraqi visa for Salvatore Santoro called him an aid worker helping Iraqi children.
    (AP, 12/16/04)
2004        Dec 15, A walking, talking child-size robot from Honda Motor Co. managed an easy, although comical, jog in the Japanese automaker's latest quest to imitate human movement.
    (AP, 12/15/04)
2004        Dec 15, Libya said its Central Bank has withdrawn $1 billion of assets which had been frozen for almost two decades in the United States on Washington's orders.
    (Reuters, 12/15/04)
2004        Dec 15, In western Nepal fighting killed at least 20 soldiers and six guerrillas.
    (AP, 12/15/04)

2005        Dec 15, The US government denied permission to Cuba to participate in the inaugural World Baseball Classic to be held in March 2006.
    (SFC, 12/15/05, p.A1)
2005        Dec 15, The futuristic F-22A "Raptor" fighter jet, designed to dominate the skies well into the 21st century, joined the US combat fleet, 20 years after it was conceived to fight Soviet MiGs over Europe.
    (Reuters, 12/16/05)
2005        Dec 15, Adam Kidan (41), a New York businessman charged with fraud alongside prominent Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff in the purchase of a Florida casino cruise line, pleaded guilty on to fraud and conspiracy charges.
    (Reuters, 12/15/05)
2005        Dec 15, US health officials recommended the QuantiFERON-TB Gold, a new, more accurate blood test for tuberculosis, It could replace the skin test used for the past 100 years.
    (AP, 12/16/05)
2005        Dec 15, The US Interior Dept. said it plans to open 20 million acres in 9 Western states to wind farms.
    (WSJ, 12/16/05, p.A1)
2005        Dec 15, Oakland, Ca., police officer Ingo Mayer pulled over a Cadillac and strip-searched two men in public. No lawful reason for the traffic stop was provided. The 2 men were later awarded $105,000 and $100,000 in compensatory damages. Mayer retired on disability as a result of the trial. In 2011 a judge ordered the Mayer to pay $40,000 out of his own pocket to the two men.
    (SFC, 11/8/11, p.C3)
2005        Dec 15, In Missouri a breach in a 50-acre reservoir on top of Profit Mountain released a billion-gallon torrent that swept away at least 2 homes and several vehicles. 3 children were critically injured. The reservoir was part of a hydroelectric plant run by AmerenUE.
    (SFC, 12/15/05, p.A3)
2005        Dec 15, James Freed, German-born American architect, died at his home in NYC. His work included the Washington DC Holocaust Museum (1993) and the SF Main Library (1996).
    (SFC, 12/17/05, p.B5)
2005        Dec 15, William Proxmire (b.1915), former Wisconsin Sen. (1957-1989), died in Sykesville, Md.
    (AP, 2/19/98)(SFC, 12/16/05, p.A4)
2005        Dec 15, In southern Afghanistan a US soldier was killed and another wounded in a firefight with insurgents.
    (AP, 12/15/05)
2005        Dec 15, NATO's top operational commander said drugs are a greater security threat in Afghanistan than a Taliban resurgence, despite a rise in attacks blamed on remnants of the hard-line Islamic regime and their al-Qaida allies.
    (AP, 12/15/05)
2005        Dec 15, Argentine Pres. Nestor Kirchner announced that his government would tap the country’s foreign reserves to repay in total its outstanding debt to the IMF. He said a $9.8 billion payment would be made before the end of the year.
    (WSJ, 12/16/05, p.A16)
2005        Dec 15, An emergency sitting of Australia’s parliament passed special laws allowing Sydney police to "lockdown" parts of Sidney to stop racial unrest. The New South Wales (NSW) state parliament also increased the penalty for rioting from 10 to 15 years and doubled the sentence for affray to 10 years.
    (Reuters, 12/15/05)
2005        Dec 15, Australia announced a major program to expand and upgrade its military forces to cope with increasing commitments at home and abroad.
    (AP, 12/15/05)
2005        Dec 15, Dr. Heinrich Gross (90), a psychiatrist who worked at a clinic where the Nazis killed and conducted cruel experiments on thousands of children, died in Vienna. Gross was a leading doctor in Vienna's infamous Am Spiegelgrund clinic.
    (AP, 12/22/05)(SFC, 12/23/05, p.B5)
2005        Dec 15, In China's northeast Patients leapt from the windows of a burning four-story hospital to escape a blaze that killed at least 39 people in Liaoyuan.
    (AP, 12/16/05)
2005        Dec 15, A Croatian court sentenced six ethnic Serbs to between six and 14 years in prison in a retrial over the brutal harassment of Croat prisoners at the outset of Zagreb's 1991-95 war of independence.
    (Reuters, 12/15/05)
2005        Dec 15-2005 Dec 16, Tony Blair’s EU presidency culminated in the summit in Brussels.
    (Econ, 12/10/05, p.13)
2005        Dec 15, European and US officials said the EU has formally protested to Russia about its sale of sophisticated missiles to Iran, saying the diplomatic row reflected disarray on how to pressure Tehran to scale back its suspect nuclear program.
    (AP, 12/15/05)
2005        Dec 15, French counterterrorism agents arrested three people suspected of belonging to a terror group with "indirect links" to al-Qaida in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Agents seized guns, ammunition, dynamite and other weapons in a probe of suspected Islamic militants who officials said use robberies to fund terror groups.
    (AP, 12/15/05)
2005        Dec 15, French and Italian authorities said European police have broken up the biggest-ever illegal immigration ring targeting Britain by arresting dozens of suspects believed to have helped smuggle "thousands" of people into that country.
    (AP, 12/15/05)
2005        Dec 15, Iraqis voted in a historic parliamentary election, with strong turnout reported in Sunni Arab areas and even a shortage of ballots in some precincts. Several explosions rocked Baghdad throughout the day, but the level of violence was low. The Iraqi election commission extended voting in the country by an hour because of the high turnout. Bombs killed three people despite promises by major insurgent groups not to attack polling places. Turnout was estimated at over 67%.
    (AP, 12/15/05)(WSJ, 12/16/05, p.A1)
2005        Dec 15, Italy's defense minister said the country will pull 300 more troops out of Iraq in January, continuing a gradual withdrawal begun earlier this year.
    (AP, 12/15/05)
2005        Dec 15, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev ceremonially opened the taps of a new pipeline carrying oil from one of the region's greatest energy powers to one of its hungriest consumers, China.
    (AP, 12/15/05)
2005        Dec 15, A Mexican judge committed 8 relatives to the psychiatric ward of a prison for the ritualistic slayings of two young family members that shocked Mexico with their brutality. Officials said the parents, grandparents and aunts of a 7-month-old and 13-year-old hacked a baby to death and fatally stoned a teenager earlier this month after they became convinced the girls were demons or possessed by the devil.
    (AP, 12/16/05)
2005        Dec 15, A doctor who provided human eggs for research by cloning pioneer Hwang Woo-suk said in a broadcast that the South Korean scientist admitted that most of the stem cells produced for a key research paper were faked.
    (AP, 12/15/05)
2005        Dec 15, Taiwan said it was building a landing strip on one of the Spratly Islands, whose ownership was contested by Vietnam.
    (Econ, 1/28/06, p.42)
2005        Dec 15, The UN approved the establishment of a Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) under Jan Egeland, coordinator of the UN’s emergency relief.

2006        Dec 15, US Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld bid farewell to the Pentagon in a splashy sendoff featuring lavish praise from President Bush.
    (AP, 12/15/07)
2006        Dec 15, The US military published a new army and marines field manual titled “FM 3-24 Counterinsurgency." It said the American army’s main objective is to protect the population rather than kill the enemy.
    (Econ, 12/23/06, p.42)(Econ, 10/3/09, p.55)
2006        Dec 15, New US rules went into effect governing the reporting of public sector pension assets. A number of US states faced pension asset shortfalls. Taxpayers in Connecticut and Rhode Island faced some $3500 in unfunded liabilities per citizen. California faced $49 billion in unfunded pension liabilities.
    (Econ, 11/18/06, p.36)
2006        Dec 15, Beginning in the 2007 tax year, US taxpayers must provide bank records or other information when claiming deductions for charitable donations of money, the Internal Revenue Service said in newly released guidelines.
    (AP, 12/16/06)
2006        Dec 15, Ten US legislators, the largest congressional delegation in years, arrived in Cuba to push for an end to over 4 decades of hostility.
    (SFC, 12/16/06, p.A6)
2006        Dec 15, A federal judge declared California's execution procedure unconstitutional, extending the state’s execution moratorium. Florida Gov. Jeb Bush suspended all executions there after a bungled execution this week. Florida's death row has 374 inmates. California's is the largest, with more than 650 inmates.
    (AP, 12/16/06)(WSJ, 12/16/06, p.A1)
2006        Dec 15, In Indianapolis health officials closed an Olive Garden restaurant after receiving over 300 calls from people who said they had become ill after eating there.
    (SFC, 12/16/06, p.A3)
2006        Dec 15, About 1.5 million homes and businesses in Washington and Oregon had no power after howling windstorms and heavy rains caused at least three deaths, closed two major bridges and sparked flooding.
    (AP, 12/15/06)
2006        Dec 15, Laura Dickinson (22), was found dead in her dorm room at Ypsilanti’s Eastern Michigan Univ. Officials said she died of asphyxiation with no sign of foul play. In February Orange Taylor III was arrested and charged with her murder and family members learned that she had been raped and killed. In July 3 school administrators including the president were ousted for covering up the rape and murder and received $550,000 in combined severance.
    (SFC, 7/17/07, p.A3)(SFC, 7/19/07, p.A5)
2006        Dec 15, In Brazil 5 Rio de Janeiro state police officers, most from one of the city's most violent neighborhoods, were arrested as they arrived at work as part of a probe into drug trafficking.
    (AP, 12/15/06)
2006        Dec 15, President Michelle Bachelet proposed a shake-up of Chile's widely admired but incomplete private social security system, urging a minimum government pension for 1 million elderly Chileans left out of the current program.
    (AP, 12/16/06)
2006        Dec 15, Ecuador recalled its ambassador to Colombia, protesting Bogota's decision to resume aerial coca fumigation along the shared border.
    (AP, 12/15/06)
2006        Dec 15, In Japan PM Shinzo Abe’s government pushed through legislation requiring Japanese schools to encourage patriotism and elevating the Defense Agency to the status of a full ministry for the 1st time since WW II.
    (SFC, 12/16/06, p.A10)
2006        Dec 15, In Kenya 11 African heads of state attending the 2nd International Conference on the Great Lakes Region signed a landmark $2 billion (1.5-billion-euro) security and development pact to forestall fresh violence in the area.
    (AFP, 12/15/06)
2006        Dec 15, In Indonesia a landslide swept over a remote village on Sumatra island before dawn, killing at least 17 people.
    (AP, 12/15/06)
2006        Dec 15, Iranians voted in local council elections that were expected to be a first test of support for hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad since he took office more than a year ago.
    (AP, 12/15/06)
2006        Dec 15, In Iraq gunmen killed a Shiite tribal sheik linked to British forces in a drive-by shooting in the southern city of Basra. Gunmen in Kut opened fire on a civilian near a bus station, killing him.
    (AP, 12/15/06)
2006        Dec 15, In Beirut Mahmoud Komati, deputy chief of Hezbollah's politburo, said that around 250 members of the guerrilla group were killed in the summer war with Israel, the highest toll acknowledged by the Shiite Muslim movement.
    (AP, 12/15/06)
2006        Dec 15, In Mexico Elias Valencia, a suspected head of the Valencia cartel, was arrested along with four other people at a mountain ranch near the town of Aguililla in Michoacan state.
    (AP, 12/17/06)
2006        Dec 15, Gunmen allied with Hamas and Fatah clashed at a West Bank mosque and in Gaza Strip streets.
    (AP, 12/15/06)
2006        Dec 15, In Nigeria armed men who seized control of a Royal Dutch Shell PLC oil complex overnight fled, taking three Nigerian hostages, shooting a man and forcing the oil giant to halt production at the site.
    (AP, 12/15/06)
2006        Dec 15, In Pakistan a man was killed and 10 others injured in riots that sparked during a strike by public transport operators in Karachi.
    (AFP, 12/15/06)
2006        Dec 15, The UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to establish an office to register Palestinian damage claims stemming from Israel's construction of a barrier in the West Bank.
    (AP, 12/16/06)
2006        Dec 15, Russian news agencies reported that Russia will replace single nuclear warheads on some of its strategic missiles with multiple warheads allowing Moscow to modernize its nuclear arsenal while building fewer new missiles and spending less.
    (AP, 12/15/06)
2006        Dec 15, Somalia's president said that peace talks with the country's Islamic movement are no longer an option because the group's leaders have declared war on his government.
    (AP, 12/15/06)
2006        Dec 15, The US and the EU stepped up calls for Sudan to let international troops in to support African Union forces in Darfur amid growing talk of sanctions on Khartoum.
    (AP, 12/15/06)

2007        Dec 15, It was reported that Google is testing a new service called Knol, that enlists selected users to write about the breadth of human knowledge in competition with Wikipedia.
    (SFC, 12/15/07, p.C1)
2007        Dec 15, A winter storm dropped snow from the Plains to the Midwest with as much as a foot of snow in Kansas. Forecasts called for as much as 15 inches for sections of southern Michigan.
    (SSFC, 12/16/07, p.A4)
2007        Dec 15, A rocket landed in a crowd of civilians near Kabul's police headquarters, and a truck full of rockets smuggled into the city under a pile of hay exploded nearby moments later. At least five people were killed.
    (AP, 12/15/07)
2007        Dec 15, Some 20,000 Belgians demonstrated in Brussels against the erosion of their spending power as the country's months-old political crisis begins to hit people's pockets.
    (AP, 12/15/07)
2007        Dec 15, Jean Oviedo (37), a US woman, was shot and killed as she vacationed with her Colombian husband in Bucaramanga, Colombia, in a robbery that netted $200 and a laptop computer.
    (AP, 12/16/07)
2007        Dec 15, In Indonesia 2 weeks of international climate talks marked by bitter disagreements and angry accusations culminated in a last-minute US compromise and an agreement to adopt a blueprint for fighting global warming by 2009.
    (AP, 12/16/07)
2007        Dec 15, Bomb blasts, ambushes and gunfights left 11 people dead across Iraq, including 4 members of US-backed security patrols.
    (SSFC, 12/16/07, p.A15)
2007        Dec 15, Italian authorities said they have captured, Edoardo Contini (52), a fugitive Naples crime boss who built one of the most dangerous cartels.
    (AP, 12/15/07)
2007        Dec 15, In Kashmir one person was killed when police fired on hundreds of students calling for a college to be set up in their town. The protest in Magam township, 30 kilometers (18 miles) west of Srinagar, came a day after the Kashmir government said it would set up 18 new colleges across the insurgency-racked state. Magam was not included.
    (AFP, 12/15/07)
2007        Dec 15, President Pervez Musharraf lifted a six-week-old state of emergency and said in a nationally televised address that he imposed it as a last resort to save Pakistan from destruction from an unspecified conspiracy. In northwest Pakistan a suicide bomber on a bicycle killed at least 2 soldiers and 3 civilians at a checkpoint near the gate of an army school.
    (AP, 12/15/07)
2007        Dec 15, Rashid Rauf, a British suspect in an alleged plot to blow up trans-Atlantic jetliners, escaped after appearing before a judge at a court in Islamabad. Rauf, who is of Pakistani origin, was arrested in August 2006 on a tip from British investigators.
    (AP, 12/16/07)
2007        Dec 15, Pakistan's Health Ministry issuing a statement saying six people had initially tested positive for the virus last month, while the WHO said eight had been reported. International health experts were dispatched to Pakistan to help investigate the cause of South Asia's first outbreak of bird flu in people and determine if the virus could have been transmitted through human contact.
    (AP, 12/16/07)
2007        Dec 15, Hamas marked the 20th anniversary of its founding with a huge rally in Gaza City. Hamas was founded in Gaza after the outbreak of the first Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation.
    (AP, 12/15/07)
2007        Dec 15, Filipino soldiers killed Abdulmibin Sakandal, a suspected Abu Sayyaf militant wanted by Philippine and US authorities for alleged involvement in the 2000 kidnappings of 21 people, including Western tourists.
    (AP, 12/16/07)
2007        Dec 15, Russia's state-controlled gas monopoly said Belarus will pay nearly 20 percent more for Russian gas beginning next year.
    (AP, 12/15/07)
2007        Dec 15, President Robert Mugabe suspended Sobusa Gula-Ndebele, Zimbabwe's attorney general, and appointed a three-member tribunal to investigate allegations that the state's highest law officer abused his powers.
    (AP, 12/15/07)

2008        Dec 15, The US Supreme Court ruled that consumers can sue Altria Group Inc.’s Philip Morris USA unit under state unfair trade laws for its advertising of “light" cigarettes.
    (WSJ, 12/16/08, p.A1)
2008        Dec 15, Pres. –elect Barack Obama announced that he was nominating Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize winning physicist, to be his energy secretary.
    (Econ, 1/10/09, p.69)
2008        Dec 15, California Senator Diane Feinstein (75) was tapped as the chairwoman of the US Senate Intelligence Committee.
    (SFC, 12/16/08, p.A1)
2008        Dec 15, California Governor Schwarzenegger and First Lady Shriver gave introductory speeches broadcast live via video from the California Museum website for the 2008 inductees to the California Hall of Fame. The inductees included Dave Brubeck, Jane Fonda, Theodor Geisel ("Dr. Seuss"), Robert Graham, Quincy Jones, Jack LaLanne, Dorothea Lange, Julia Morgan, Jack Nicholson, Linus Pauling, Leland Stanford and Alice Waters.
2008        Dec 15, In Afghanistan a 5-day joint Afghan-NATO operation in Helmand province left 40 militants dead, including the Taliban's leader in that region. Taliban fighters near Lashkar Gah killed two Afghan police officers in a checkpoint attack. One of the attackers also died. A British soldier was killed "as a result of enemy fire" in a separate incident in Helmand. In central Oruzgan province 3 insurgents were killed when a bomb they were planting exploded.
    (AP, 12/15/08)(AP, 12/16/08)
2008        Dec 15, The Association of Southeast Asian Nations moved to forge an EU-style community, signing a charter that makes the bloc a legal entity for the first time and could pave the way for creating a single market within seven years.
    (AP, 12/15/08)
2008        Dec 15, Australia pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least five percent by 2020 to fight climate change, but critics said the plan was a "global embarrassment" and called for deeper reductions.
    (AFP, 12/15/08)
2008        Dec 15, In Belarus nearly 2,000 entrepreneurs rallied Minsk, decrying new regulations that they said are destroying small business in the ex-Soviet republic. New regulations, which take effect Jan 1, included doubling their taxes and forcing them to reregister their businesses.
    (AP, 12/15/08)
2008        Dec 15, A spokeswoman in London said Madonna has settled her divorce with ex-husband Guy Ritchie by parting with at least 50 million pounds ($76 million).
    (AP, 12/16/08)
2008        Dec 15, In China substances commonly used as industrial dyes, insecticides and drain cleaners were included on a list of illegal food additives released as part of a months long government crackdown aimed at improving the country's shoddy food safety record.
    (AP, 12/15/08)
2008        Dec 15, In China the BYD Co. introduced the F3DB, country’s first homegrown electric vehicle for the mass market. The sedan was expected to be priced at about $22,000 and introduced to the US in the second half of 2010.
    (WSJ, 12/13/08, p.B2)
2008        Dec 15, A plane from the Dominican Rep. went missing near the Turks and Caicos Islands that reportedly had 12 people, including 11 migrant workers, on board. Several days after the disappearance, Dominican authorities said Adriano Jimenez, the pilot, was allowed to take off even though he had only a US student pilot's license.
    (AP, 12/16/08)(AP, 12/17/08)(AP, 12/16/09)
2008        Dec 15, In Ecuador former President Leon Febres Cordero (77) died. The colorful, right-wing leader served as president from 1984-1988 and had dominated Ecuadorean politics for almost two decades. He was dubbed the "owner" of the nation by his opponents.
    (AP, 12/15/08)
2008        Dec 15, Europe's biggest bank, London-based HSBC, joined a list of top names in world finance admitting huge potential losses in a suspected pyramid fraud scam run by Wall Street figurehead Bernard Madoff.
    (AP, 12/15/08)
2008        Dec 15, Siemens pleaded guilty to charges of bribery and corruption and agreed to pay fines of $800 million in America and $540 million in Germany, on top of an earlier €201 million. For over 6 years Siemens had paid foreign officials some $805 million to win contracts. By 2015 Siemens paid had some $3 billion on fines and internal investigations.
    (Econ, 12/20/08, p.112)(Econ, 5/9/15, p.14)
2008        Dec 15, Hungary's Constitutional Court annulled a law giving rights to domestic partners because it would diminish the importance of marriage.
    (AP, 12/15/08)
2008        Dec 15, Thousands of Iraqis took to the streets to demand the release of a reporter who threw his shoes at President George W. Bush, as Arabs across many parts of the Middle East hailed the journalist as a hero and praised his insult as a proper send-off to the unpopular US president. A suicide truck bomber killed at least five people at a checkpoint west of Baghdad. A security official said three gunmen killed the imam of a local Sunni mosque in Saadiya, Diyala province. US troops killed three suspected insurgents and detained three others in separate operations targeting al-Qaida networks in northern Iraq. The US military handed over 39 detainees, described as former members of Saddam Hussein's regime, to the government.
    (AP, 12/15/08)(AP, 12/16/08)
2008        Dec 15, Israel released 224 Palestinian prisoners in a gesture to moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and jubilant detainees waving Palestinian flags jumped on the roof of one of the buses carrying them to freedom.
    (AP, 12/15/08)
2008        Dec 15, A Pakistani transporters association said truckers are refusing to haul supplies to NATO and US forces in Afghanistan because of mounting attacks along the main route.
    (AP, 12/15/08)
2008        Dec 15, A Moscow court sentenced seven young Russian men to prison for murdering 19 people in a string of hate attacks. 2 leaders of a skinhead group, also convicted of 12 attempted murders, received 10-year prison sentences.
    (AP, 12/15/08)
2008        Dec 15, Peacekeepers in Sudan said as many as 250 people have died in separate tribal clashes in remote parts of Sudan's south Darfur region over the last week.
    (AP, 12/15/08)
2008        Dec 15, Taiwanese jetliners and cargo ships left for China to open a new era of direct air and shipping services with the mainland, formally ending a nearly six-decade ban on regular links between the rivals.
    (AP, 12/15/08)
2008        Dec 15, In Thailand Abhisit Vejjajiva, a patrician 44-year-old with an Oxford education, was elected the prime minister in a parliamentary vote amid hopes that he can calm the political storms that have battered the country for the past three years. On Feb 24, 2011, Abhisit Vejjajiva publicly acknowledged his dual Thai-British nationality for the first time during a debate in Parliament.
    (AP, 12/15/08)(AP, 2/24/11)
2008        Dec 15, A group of about 200 Turkish intellectuals issued an apology on the Internet for the World War I-era massacres of Armenians in Turkey.
    (AP, 12/16/08)
2008        Dec 15, In southern Yemen tribesmen kidnapped a German aid worker and her parents, demanding the government release imprisoned clan members.
    (AP, 12/15/08)
2008        Dec 15, President Robert Mugabe's government vowed to thwart western efforts to put Zimbabwe on the UN Security Council agenda, saying it was not a threat to international security.
    (AP, 12/15/08)

2009        Dec 15, The White House announced that the government will acquire an underutilized state prison in rural Illinois to be the new home for a limited number of terrorist suspects held at Guantanamo.
    (AP, 12/15/09)
2009        Dec 15, The US government and the window covering industry recalled more than 50 million Roman-style shades and roll-up blinds because of the risk children may be strangled by the cords.
    (AP, 12/15/09)
2009        Dec 15, Donald Eugene Gates (58), in prison for 28 years, was freed after DNA evidence cleared him of charges of rape and murder. His conviction had been based on the testimony of FBI forensic analyst Michael P. Malone, whose work came under fire in 1997, and a hair analysis technique that has been discredited. Gates was given $75 and a bus ticket to Ohio. Gates had been convicted in 1982 of the 1981 rape and murder of Catherine Schilling (21), a Georgetown University student, in Washington's Rock Creek Park. He was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison.
    (SFC, 12/15/09, p.A9)(
2009        Dec 15, Boeing’s new 787 jetliner made its inaugural flight from Everett’s Paine Field, beginning an extensive testing program to obtain FAA certification.
    (SFC, 12/15/09, p.A12)
2009        Dec 15, Oral Roberts (b.1918), preacher, televangelist and founder of the Oral Roberts Univ. in Tulsa, Okla., died in Newport Beach, Ca. The pioneer Oklahoma-based televangelist began broadcasting his revivals by television in 1954.
    (SFC, 12/15/09, p.C5)(Econ, 1/2/10, p.65)(
2009        Dec 15, Afghan President Hamid Karzai opened a 3-day conference on corruption. He used his keynote speech to defend the most senior of his officials. He called for large-scale reform to stamp out the bribery and graft that permeate ministries and state offices. A suicide car bomber blew up his vehicle outside a former vice president's home in the heavily secured main diplomatic and government residential neighborhood of Kabul, killing eight people and wounding dozens. The wreckage of the bomber's car was in flames outside the gate to the Heetal Hotel, a small hotel used by foreigners in the Wazir Akbar Khan district. A roadside bomb killed four police officers near western Herat city. 2 Afghan army soldiers were killed in militant attacks in eastern Laghman province and southern Kandahar province.
    (SFC, 12/15/09, p.A5)(AP, 12/15/09)(Reuters, 12/15/09)(AP, 12/16/09)
2009        Dec 15, Australia said it would push ahead with a mandatory China-style plan to filter the Internet, despite widespread criticism that it will strangle free speech and is doomed to fail. Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said new laws would be introduced to ban access to "refused classification" (RC) sites featuring criminal content such as child sex abuse, bestiality, rape and detailed drug use.
    (AFP, 12/15/09)
2009        Dec 15, Australian scientists reported the discovery of an octopus in Indonesia that collects coconut shells for shelter, unusually sophisticated behavior that the researchers believe is the first evidence of tool use in an invertebrate animal.
    (AP, 12/15/09)
2009        Dec 15, British Airways sought a court injunction to prevent a 12-day strike by cabin crew that would cause havoc for one million travelers over the Christmas and New Year's holidays.
    (AP, 12/15/09)
2009        Dec 15, Ecuador said that it had reached a deal with the EU aimed at ending a long-running dispute between Latin American nations and the EU over tariffs on bananas.
    (AFP, 12/15/09)
2009        Dec 15, In Honduras gunmen attacked the car of a television journalist, killing her pregnant daughter but leaving her uninjured.
    (AP, 12/16/09)
2009        Dec 15, In Kuwait Gulf Arab nations put into force a monetary pact, moving a step closer toward the elusive goal of a single regional currency and greater integration between the mainly oil-rich states. The announcement was made by Kuwait's finance minister came as leaders from the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council nations were wrapping up a two-day summit in which they launched a regional electricity project. The GCC groups Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Bahrain.
    (AP, 12/15/09)
2009        Dec 15, In Iraq car bombs and other explosions ripped through Baghdad and Mosul, killing nine people and highlighting once again the apparent ease with which insurgents can slip past security. 3 car bombs in Baghdad killed 5 people. 2 car bombs in Mosul killed 4 people.
    (AP, 12/15/09)
2009        Dec 15, Disarmed Iranian rebels and their families defied Iraqi police instructions to leave a camp near the border which the government has ordered closed.
    (AP, 12/15/09)
2009        Dec 15, In Italy Massimo Tartaglia, the man who attacked Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, wrote a letter to Berlusconi through his lawyers, saying he was sorry for his act as a judge considered whether he should be transferred to a psychiatric hospital.
    (AP, 12/15/09)
2009        Dec 15, In Italy Dr. Mark Weinberger, a fugitive American doctor, was arrested near the northern border with France. He was found in a tent near Mont Blanc. Weinberger, of Merrillville, Indiana, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Hammond, Indiana, in 2006 on 22 counts of fraud for allegedly scheming to overbill insurance companies for procedures that were either not needed or sometimes never performed. On Dec 24 a court in Turin approved a US extradition request.
    (AP, 12/24/09)
2009        Dec 15, The tiny Pacific island of Nauru recognized the rebel Black Sea region of Abkhazia, throwing its weight behind a Russian drive to win international recognition for Georgia's breakaway territories.
    (Reuters, 12/15/09)
2009        Dec 15, Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu rejected the issuing in Britain of an arrest warrant against Israel's former foreign minister Tzipi Livni for alleged war crimes. She was targeted by Palestinians for her role in last winter's brutal offensive against Hamas in Gaza, when she was foreign minister.
    (AP, 12/15/09)
2009        Dec 15, Mexican authorities found the decapitated bodies of four men in the border city of Tijuana. A grenade attack on a police station in western Mexico wounded a pregnant woman and her 3-year-old daughter. US officials delivered five helicopters to Mexico to help the country in its fight against drug cartels. 7 vehicles were burned in Mexico City. Investigators found evidence linking an animal rights group to homemade bombs that burned the cars.
    (AP, 12/15/09)(AP, 12/16/09)
2009        Dec 15, In Pakistan a suicide car bomb exploded in a market close to the home of a politician in the Punjabi town of Dera Ghazi Khan, killing 33 people and wounding 60 others. Pakistani military killed 49 insurgents in the northwest, widening the net in the lawless tribal belt. At least 18 militants were killed when helicopters pounded Toorikhel town of Orakzai when militants were holding an important meeting. An air offensive in Dagar, a town in the Kurram district, killed 21 militants. 4 more people were killed in air strikes in the town of Sultanzai in Orakzai. US Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, met army chief General Ashfaq Kayani to discuss the new US Afghan war strategy.
    (AP, 12/15/09)(AFP, 12/16/09)(SFC, 12/15/09, p.A4)
2009        Dec 15, In the Philippines at least 9 communist rebels and one army soldier were killed in clashes as troops closed in on a guerrilla encampment in southern Bukidnon province.
    (AP, 12/15/09)
2009        Dec 15, The Philippines' most active volcano oozed lava and shot up plumes of ash, forcing thousands of people to evacuate their homes and face the possibility of a bleak Christmas in a shelter. State volcanologists raised the alert level on the cone-shaped, 8,070-foot (2,460-meter) Mayon volcano overnight to two steps below a major eruption.
    (AP, 12/15/09)
2009        Dec 15, In Sierra Leone a woman barred from running for chief of her district because of her gender said she has appealed for a new election and a place on the ballot. Elizabeth Kumba Simbiqa Torto said she wants a new election because she believes the officials' decision barring her from running in the Dec 5 Kono District election is discriminatory.
    (AP, 12/15/09)
2009        Dec 15, Sudanese officials said up to 48 opposition supporters will face charges for taking part in a banned rally close to parliament calling for democratic reforms.
    (AP, 12/15/09)
2009        Dec 15, Credit Suisse confirmed that it was fined $536 million for helping Iran hide financial transactions.
    (Econ, 2/27/10, p.68)
2009        Dec 15, In Turkey two Kurds were killed in Bulanik after a shop-keeper fired on protesters.
    (Econ, 12/19/09, p.91)
2009        Dec 15, In Venezuela lawmakers loyal to President Hugo Chavez inaugurated a state-run radio station that replaces a previous broadcaster that sandwiched criticism of Venezuela's socialist leader between jazz and salsa music.
    (AP, 12/16/09)
2009        Dec 15, Human Rights Watch issued a report condemning Yemeni security forces for abuses in the country's south, including the killing of at least 11 unarmed protestors during the past two years.
    (AFP, 12/15/09)

2010        Dec 15, The US filed suit for the first time against BP and eight other companies for uncounted billions of dollars in damages from a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the worst in US history.
    (AFP, 12/15/10)
2010        Dec 15, New statistics showed that the IRS has increased the number of returns it audited by nearly 11 percent this year. Wealthy taxpayers and big businesses were most likely to be targeted.
    (AP, 12/15/10)
2010        Dec 15, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg (26) was named Time's "Person of the Year" for 2010, joining the ranks of winners that include heads of state and rock stars as the person the magazine believes most influenced events of the past year.
    (AP, 12/15/10)
2010        Dec 15, In Newark, Ca., Justice Afoa (17), a high school football star, was stabbed to death. In 2012 three gang members were arrested and charged with conspiracy and murder. Rafael Tovar (34) and Daniel Howard (33) killed Afoa to get even for an earlier fight that caused one of the gang members “great embarrassment." Tovar and Howard were later convicted of first-degree murder. On June 30, 2015, Daniela Guzman (21) was convicted of conspiracy to commit assault.
    (SFC, 12/13/12, p.C2)(SFC, 7/2/15, p.D2)
2010        Dec 15, In Las Vegas the new $3.9 billion Cosmopolitan resort opened with 2,995 rooms and 100,000 square feet of casino.
    (SFC, 12/13/10, p.D4)
2010        Dec 15, Blake Edwards (b.1922), American film director, died in Santa Monica, Ca. In 1958 he created the TV series “Peter Gunn." His films included “Breakfast at Tiffany’s" (1961), “10" (1979) and the Pink Panther farces.
    (SFC, 12/17/10, p.D5)
2010        Dec 15, In southern Afghanistan a bicycle bomb killed three children and wounded six civilians near Kandahar City at a temporary camp for pilgrims returning from Mecca. A NATO service member was killed in a blast in the south.
    (AFP, 12/15/10)(AP, 12/15/10)
2010        Dec 15, Australia signed an agreement with Brazil to share knowledge on putting on the Olympics to help preparations with Rio's hosting of the 2016 Games.
    (AFP, 12/16/10)
2010        Dec 15, In New South Wales, Australia, police found seven boxes of chemical glassware used to make drugs when a van was stopped outside the town of Quirindi. A forensic search of the van later found 43 pounds of hidden ecstasy tablets with a street value of about 20 million Australian dollars ($19.7 million).
    (AP, 12/19/10)
2010        Dec 15, In violent seas off Australia’s Christmas Island at least 48 refugees, thought to be from Iran and Iraq, died after their wooden boat shattered before horrified witnesses. 42 survivors, including 9 children were rescued. On January 24, 2011, Australian authorities charged three Indonesian men with people smuggling. Iranian-born Ali Khorram Heydarkhani (40) was detained by Indonesian authorities on January 25 but only sent to Australia after overstaying his visa. On May 12, 2011, he was charged in Sydney with offences relating to the boatpeople disaster.
    (AFP, 12/15/10)(AP, 12/16/10)(AP, 12/20/10)(AP, 1/25/11)(AFP, 5/12/11)
2010        Dec 15, Brazil’s members of Congress voted themselves a 62% pay rise. Many state governments and municipalities soon followed suit.
    (Econ, 1/1/11, p.32)
2010        Dec 15, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's travelled to India to build trust between two Asian powers with increasingly close economic ties despite their ongoing competition for regional influence.
    (AP, 12/15/10)
2010        Dec 15, In southwest China local authorities told state press that Zeng Lingquan, the operator of an unlicensed shelter for disabled people, sold at least 70 mentally ill workers into slavery in recent years. Lingquan was arrested on Dec 13.
    (AFP, 12/15/10)
2010        Dec 15, In China workers blasted through the last part of a tunnel that connects the Tibetan county of Metok to China's major thoroughfare.
    (AP, 12/15/10)
2010        Dec 15, The Costa Rica-based Inter-American Court on Human Rights, part of the Organization of American States (OAS), condemned Brazil for the forced "disappearance" of 62 suspected leftist militants during its military dictatorship and said it should allow prosecutions for abuses committed during the era.
    (Reuters, 12/16/10)
2010        Dec 15, Cuban dissident Guillermo Farinas (48) used a video address at today’s award of the EU's main human rights prize, to call for the release of political prisoners in his homeland and for the government to end attacks on the opposition. Farinas was not allowed by Cuba to travel to receive the prize in Strasbourg, France.
    (AP, 12/15/10)
2010        Dec 15, British-based explorer Tullow Oil PLC led a consortium and started producing 55,000 barrels per day from rigs off Ghana's Atlantic Ocean coast in the Jubilee Field, which was discovered three years ago and holds an estimated 1.8 billion barrels of oil.
    (AP, 12/14/10)
2010        Dec 15, In Greece angry unions triggered a 24-hour strike to protest labor reforms and pay cuts. Protesters clashed with riot police across Athens.
    (SFC, 12/16/10, p.A9)
2010        Dec 15, Hong Kong police said they have dealt a major blow to a notorious triad group, after a territory-wide series of raids rounded up dozens of people, including a suspected gang leader.
    (AP, 12/15/10)
2010        Dec 15, In Iran 2 suicide bomb attacks outside a mosque killed 39 people and wounded more than 100 during a Shi'ite religious ceremony in the southeastern city of Chabahar. Jundollah, a Sunni Muslim rebel group, claimed responsibility for the bombings.
    (Reuters, 12/14/10)
2010        Dec 15, Human Rights Watch said Iranians convicted for same-sex activities are on death row and awaiting hanging, including several who were minors when arrested.
    (AP, 12/15/10)
2010        Dec 15, Iraqi authorities said they have obtained confessions from captured insurgents who claim al-Qaida is planning suicide attacks in the US and Europe during the Christmas season. Hundreds of thousands of Shiites descended on Karbala ahead of the climax of Ashura ceremonies, surrounded by heavy security over fears of attacks. The UN Security Council lifted most of the sanctions imposed on Iraq following its 1990 invasion of Kuwait.
    (AP, 12/15/10)(AFP, 12/15/10)(SFC, 12/16/10, p.A5)
2010        Dec 15, Ireland's parliament approved an €85 billion ($113 billion) EU/IMF bailout package in the face of opposition threats to renegotiate the deal to force losses on some senior bondholders in Irish banks.
    (Reuters, 12/15/10)(Econ, 1/8/11, p.50)
2010        Dec 15, In Japan the city of Tokyo restricted the sale of manga comics and anime films with extreme depictions of rape, incest and other sex crimes, despite industry charges of censorship.
    (AFP, 12/15/10)
2010        Dec 15, In the Indian portion of Kashmir police fired tear gas and swung batons to disperse hundreds of Muslims participating in religious processions. At least six people were injured.
    (AP, 12/15/10)
2010        Dec 15, Ben Zygier (34) reportedly committed suicide in a high-security Israeli jail after being held for months in great secrecy. His body was soon flown from Israel to Melbourne for burial. The Australian man had reportedly been recruited by the Israeli spy agency Mossad. Zygier's crime was to inadvertently reveal the identity of Ziad al-Homsi to a Lebanese man he was trying to turn into a double agent, but who worked for Lebanese intelligence. Al-Homsi had been approached by Mossad in 2007 and flown to China on the pretext of attending a mayoral convention.
    (Reuters, 2/12/13)(AP, 2/19/13)(Reuters, 5/7/13)
2010        Dec 15, Kenya's police commissioner said authorities will act swiftly and firmly against any outbreaks of violence connected to the announcement of suspects by the International Criminal Court's prosecutor. ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo was expected to announce the names of six Kenyan leaders suspected of fanning the flames of violence after the country's December 2007 presidential election. Officials from the UK, Canada, World Bank and UNICEF demanded that the Kenyan government prosecute corrupt officials who stole money earmarked to help send poor children to school.
    (AP, 12/15/10)
2010        Dec 15, Lebanon's army said its military experts have discovered and dismantled two spy cameras planted in the country's mountains by Israel.
    (AP, 12/15/10)
2010        Dec 15, A Martinique court found businessman Alain Despointes (84), guilty of condoning a crime against humanity for praising slavery during a 2009 TV interview and sentenced him to pay a fine of nearly $10,000. He was the first man in Martinique found guilty under a 2001 French law that declared slavery a crime against humanity.
    (AP, 12/15/10)
2010        Dec 15, In Nepal a small passenger plane with 22 people on board went missing while flying over a mountainous region. All people were killed after the plane’s wing apparently clipped a mountaintop.
    (AP, 12/15/10)(AP, 12/16/10)
2010        Dec 15, Scottish engineering firm Weir was fined £3 million for paying illegal kickbacks to Saddam Hussein's Iraqi regime to secure contracts. Weir admitted making payments of £3.1 million to the Iraqi regime through an agent to get contracts worth £35 million between September 2001 and April 2004 to supply spare pumps for drinking water and oil projects.
    (AFP, 12/15/10)
2010        Dec 15, In Spain a man walked into a bar in the town of Olot and shot two men dead with a shotgun. Minutes later, he went to a bank and killed two staff members. The man had a mortgage at the bank for an apartment that was going to be seized for nonpayment.
    (AP, 12/15/10)
2010        Dec 15, Sweden deported 5 Iraqi Christians, part of a group of at least 20 Iraqis, who failed to gain asylum and were flown out of the country. On Dec 17 the UN refugee agency called itself "dismayed" over the deportation and called on countries to take in Iraqis from Baghdad, Kirkuk and three northern provinces that the UN considers unsafe because of repeated attacks, sectarian tensions and human rights violations.
    (AP, 12/17/10)
2010        Dec 15, Jordanian engineer Maath Mohammed Kamal Alia (45) was arrested in Yemen on suspicion of throwing a bomb at a US Embassy vehicle.
    (AP, 12/22/10)

2011        Dec 15, Christopher Hitchens (62), the author, writer and Vanity Fair contributing editor, died in Houston. He had been battling esophageal cancer since early 2010. His final essays, under the title: “Mortality," were published in 2012.
    (AP, 12/15/11)(SSFC, 9/9/12, p.F3)
2011        Dec 15, In San Francisco a caller told police that there was a body in a second-floor room of the Broadway Hotel at 2048 Polk St. near Broadway. The medical examiner concluded the man was the victim of a homicide. Friends at the Broadway Hotel identified the man as Robert Slivoski (68).
    (SFC, 12/17/11, p.C5)(
2011        Dec 15, Australia’s independent Remuneration Tribunal recommended pay hikes for most politicians and public servants. PM Julia Gillard was recommended for a bumper 31 percent rise to take her salary past that of US President Barack Obama.
    (AFP, 12/15/11)
2011        Dec 15, Bahraini security forces used tear gas and stun grenades to try to disperse hundreds of anti-government protesters attempting to march along a highway leading to the island kingdom's capital. Police arrested prominent human rights blogger Zainab al-Khawaja (28). A video posted online showed her being roughed up, handcuffed and dragged away. Zainab al-Khawaja was released on Dec 20.
    (AP, 12/15/11)(AFP, 12/16/11)(AP, 12/21/11)
2011        Dec 15, A Colombian judge sentenced three construction moguls to more than seven years in prison each for embezzlement in a kickback scandal that also involved Bogota’s ex-mayor Samuel Moreno. Each of the four was also fined $5 million.
    (AP, 12/16/11)
2011        Dec 15, Khadzhimurad Kamalov (46), the founder of a newspaper critical of authorities in the restive province of Dagestan in Russia's North Caucasus, died after he was gunned down in a hail of bullets outside his office. Kamalov founded the independent weekly paper Chernovik (Rough Draft) in 2003 and remained its publisher until his killing.
    (AP, 12/16/11)
2011        Dec 15, Dominican Republic authorities said they have arrested two Europeans and 15 local police officers for alleged involvement in a cocaine shipment seized at an airport. The arrests were tied to a one-ton cargo of cocaine set on a flight to Antwerp, Belgium.
    (AP, 12/16/11)
2011        Dec 15, Egyptians headed to the polls again in a phased election to choose the first post-revolution parliament, as liberals faced an uphill battle to compete with Islamist parties.
    (AFP, 12/15/11)
2011        Dec 15, A French court convicted former Pres. Jacques Chirac (79) of embezzling government money while he was mayor of Paris (1977-1995) and handed him a 2-year suspended sentence.
    (SFC, 12/16/11, p.A7)
2011        Dec 15, A French court convicted Carlos the Jackal (62), already serving a life sentence for a triple murder in 1975, was convicted of instigating four bombings in France in 1982-1983 that killed 11 people. He was sentenced to another life term in prison.
    (SFC, 12/16/11, p.A7)
2011        Dec 15, The director of Hungary's state news service was fired and the editor-in-chief reassigned due to the censorship of images in a newscast of a former head of Hungary's Supreme Court. On Dec 10 three television employees began holding a hunger strike seeking the dismissal of managers they say are responsible for censorship and restricting news coverage in state-owned media.
    (AP, 12/16/11)
2011        Dec 15, Iceland formally recognized the Palestinian state at a ceremony in Reykjavik, becoming one of the few Western European countries and NATO members to do so.
    (AFP, 12/15/11)
2011        Dec 15, Indian officials said at least 143 people have died after consuming toxic home-made liquor in West Bengal state. Police arrested 10 suspected bootleggers. Khonra Badshah, the suspected kingpin behind the illegal liquor racket that left 172 people dead, surrendered to police on Jan 16.
    (AP, 12/15/11)(AFP, 1/16/12)
2011        Dec 15, US officials formally shut down the war in Iraq after nearly nine years, 4,500 American dead and 100,000 Iraqi dead. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the conflict was worth the American sacrifice because it set Iraq on a path to democracy.
    (AP, 12/15/11)
2011        Dec 15, Suspected Israeli vandals set fire to a mosque in the West Bank and defaced it with Hebrew graffiti a day after a similar arson attack on a Jerusalem mosque. Suspicion fell on Jewish extremists widely assumed to be behind stepped-up violence against Palestinians and the Israeli military.
    (AP, 12/15/11)
2011        Dec 15, Italian police intercepted another letter bomb at the offices of the tax collection agency.
    (AP, 12/15/11)
2011        Dec 15, In northern Nigeria assailants shot dead three officers after attacking a boarding school near the city of Kano. Gunmen attacked people gathered outside a shop in the city of Maiduguri. The drive-by assailants were carrying Kalashnikov rifles under their flowing robes and left 5 people dead. Authorities blamed the radical Boko Haram Muslim sect.
    (AP, 12/16/11)(AP, 12/17/11)
2011        Dec 15, Papua New Guinea politics were deadlocked, with two men claiming to be prime minister, two governments saying they hold power, rival police chiefs maintaining the peace — and no one sure who actually was in charge.
    (AP, 12/15/11)
2011        Dec 15, In Saudi Arabia 35 Ethiopian Christians, 29 of them women, were arrested  after police raided a private prayer gathering. They later faced deportation for "illicit mingling."
    (AFP, 1/31/12)
2011        Dec 15, Sri Lankan authorities agreed to restore access to a news website that had been blocked with four others for more than a month over alleged insults and character assassination.
    (AP, 12/15/11)
2011        Dec 15, Syrian army defectors reportedly killed at least 27 government forces in clashes in the southern province of Daraa. Human Rights Watch issued a report alleging that dozens of Syrian military commanders and officials authorized or gave direct orders for widespread killings, torture, and illegal arrests during the wave of anti-government protests.
    (AP, 12/15/11)
2011        Dec 15, A Thai activist was sentenced to 15 years in prison for insulting the king in the third case in a month involving the strict law against defaming the monarchy that is increasingly being criticized as an infringement on free speech. Daranee Charnchoengsilpakul, nicknamed "Da Torpedo" for her aggressive speaking style, has been detained since July 2008 after speaking at a rally using impolite language that was recorded by police.
    (AP, 12/15/11)
2011        Dec 15, Tunisia reopened its Ras Jidr crossing with Libya after Tripoli took steps to prevent the kind of incidents that led to the border's closure two weeks ago.
    (AFP, 12/16/11)
2011        Dec 15, Venezuela handed Maximiliano Bonilla Orozco (aka "Valenciano"), a top Colombian drug trafficking suspect to US authorities, deporting him to face charges of shipping tons of cocaine to the United States.
    (AP, 12/15/11)
2011        Dec 15, Air Zimbabwe chairman Jonathan Kadzura said the government has raised $1.5 million (1.2 million euros) to pay off the national airline's debt and have an impounded airplane released in London.
    (AFP, 12/15/11)

2012        Dec 15, Alabama police shot and killed an assailant armed with an AK-47 assault rifle following a pursuit after 3 people were killed at a trailer home in Cleburne County.
    (SSFC, 12/16/12, p.A12)
2012        Dec 15, In Indiana Von. I. Meyer (60) of Cedar Lake, was arrested after prosecutors filed formal charges of felony intimidation, domestic battery and resisting law enforcement against him. He had allegedly threatened to "kill as many people as he could" at an elementary school near his home. Officers found 47 guns and ammunition hidden throughout his home.
    (AP, 12/16/12)
2012        Dec 15, Congo's Pres. Joseph Kabila vowed reforms to unify the country and appease his opponents as he faces growing criticism and the threat of renewed rebel violence in the country's east.
    (AP, 12/15/12)
2012        Dec 15, Egyptians lined up to vote on a draft constitution after weeks of turmoil that have left them deeply divided between Islamist supporters of the charter and those who fear it will usher in religious rule. Some 1,500 Egyptian women blocked a main road in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, claiming a judge prevented them from voting on the draft constitution because they weren't veiled. A 64% majority approved the draft constitution.
    (AP, 12/15/12)(Econ, 7/13/13, SR p.15)
2012        Dec 15, A Nigerian navy helicopter crashed in Bayelsa state in the Niger Delta. The governor of Kaduna state, Patrick Yakowa, died in the crash, along with five other people including former national security adviser, General Andrew Azazi.
    (AP, 12/15/12)
2012        Dec 15, In Pakistan suicide bombers armed with rockets attacked the military side of a Pakistani airport in the northwestern city of Peshawar, killing four civilians and wounding more than 30. Five militants were killed.
    (AP, 12/15/12)
2012        Dec 15, In Russia thousands of opposition supporters gathered in central Moscow for an unauthorized rally to mark a year of a wave of massive protests against Vladimir Putin and the government. Police dispersed the rally after 2 ½ hours.
    (AP, 12/15/12)
2012        Dec 15, Thai social activist Sombath Somphone (60) disappeared in Vientiane, Laos. A colleague later said that police had taken Somphone into custody.
    (SFC, 12/19/12, p.A3)
2012        Dec 15, A UN court in Germany ordered the immediate release of Argentina’s ARA Libertad training ship, which was seized in Ghana on Aug 2. The UN's International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea said warships enjoy immunity under international law and seizing the ship was "a source of conflict that may endanger friendly relations among states."
    (AP, 12/15/12)
2012        Dec 15, In Ukraine Kharkiv Judge Volodymyr Trofimov (58), his wife, son and the son's girlfriend were found dead in Trofimov's apartment. All the bodies had been decapitated and the heads were missing. This was Judge's Day in Ukraine.
    (AP, 12/17/12)
2012        Dec 15, Yemen's military prosecutors said a military tribunal has sentenced 93 soldiers and officers of the elite Republican Guard to 3-7 years prison for resisting authorities and mutiny for trying to occupy the Defense Ministry in August.
    (AP, 12/15/12)

2013        Dec 15, In California a wildfire erupted in a scenic stretch of the central coastline late today. It destroyed at least 15 homes in Big Sur and forced many residents to evacuate.
    (Reuters, 12/16/13)
2013        Dec 15, Jacob Ostreicher, a New York businessman, snuck across the Peruvian border and flew to the United States from Lima. He had been under house arrest for alleged money laundering and connections to drug traffickers related to his purchase of a rice farm in 2008.
    (Reuters, 12/18/13)
2013        Dec 15, In New Jersey a man was shot in front of his wife outside The Mall at Short Hills Assailants drove off in his Range Rover, which was found the next day. On Dec 21 police said 4 men have been arrested on charges of murder in the carjacking.
    (SSFC, 12/22/13, p.A9)
2013        Dec 15, In Ohio Jerrod Metsker (24) was arrested for the murder of Reann Murphy (9). The girl was last seen playing a day earlier at a mobile home park where she lived in Smithville. Her body was found about 5 hours after she was reported missing.
    (SFC, 12/16/13, p.A6)
2013        Dec 15, Filmstar Joan Fontaine (b.1917), the younger sister of actress Olivia de Havilland, died in Carmel, Ca. Her films included “Rebecca" (1940) and “Suspicion" (1941).
    (SFC, 12/16/13, p.A7)
2013        Dec 15, In Bangladesh 6 more people were today killed and 7 overnight in continuing protests sparked by the execution of top Islamist leader Abdul Quader Molla. PM Sheikh Hasina warned of strong action against the rioters.
    (AFP, 12/15/13)
2013        Dec 15, Chileans voted in a runoff election. President Michelle Bachelet won 62 percent of the vote in a runoff against the center-right's candidate, Evelyn Matthei.
    (Reuters, 12/15/13)(AP, 12/16/13)
2013        Dec 15, In China 16 people, including 2 police officers, were killed in a clash in the Xinjiang region, home to the mostly Muslim Uighur minority.
    (AFP, 12/16/13)
2013        Dec 15, Colombia's FARC rebels begin a 30-day unilateral ceasefire as peace talks continue with the government to try to end Latin America's longest insurgency.
    (AFP, 12/15/13)
2013        Dec 15, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius confirmed that 19 armed Islamists had been killed in a French-led military operation this week targeting Al Qaeda-linked rebels in restive northern Mali.
    (AFP, 12/15/13)
2013        Dec 15, In northern Iraq gunmen in Mosul murdered Nawras al-Nuaimi, a female TV presenter, making her the sixth journalist to be killed in the country since October.
    (AFP, 12/15/13)
2013        Dec 15, Ireland formally exited its three-year bailout program, becoming the first eurozone nation to do so, but authorities warned of further austerity to ensure economic recovery.
    (AFP, 12/15/13)   
2013        Dec 15, Israeli soldier Sgt Shlomi Cohen (31) was killed by a Lebanese soldier along the border. Israeli troops searching the area fired towards two suspects who were standing on the other side of the border, hitting one of them.
    (AFP, 12/16/13)
2013        Dec 15, Prominent Pakistani Shi'ite Muslim cleric Allama Nasir Abbas was shot dead in Lahore in what Taliban militants said was a reprisal attack for the killing of Sunni Muslims a month ago. He was the  leader of Tehreek Nifaz Fiqah-e-Jafaria, a banned Shi'ite organization.
    (Reuters, 12/16/13)
2013        Dec 15, In the Philippines a gang of hammer-wielding robbers looted a jewelry store at a popular suburban Manila shopping mall. The suspects were believed to have used baseball caps to hide their identities.
    (AFP, 12/23/13)
2013        Dec 15, The Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) held a party congress. President Paul Kagame was re-elected to head the ruling party by an overwhelming majority of 99.5 percent.
    (AFP, 12/16/13)
2013        Dec 15, In South Sudan violence erupted when the presidential guard attempted to disarm fellow guard members who belong to the Nuer ethnic group.
    (AP, 12/19/13)
2013        Dec 15, Swedish police arrested 28 people after a group of neo-Nazis attacked an anti-Nazi demonstration in a Stockholm suburb.
    (SFC, 12/16/13, p.A2)
2013        Dec 15, Syrian government helicopters pounded the neighborhoods of Haidariya, Ard al-Hamra and Sukhour with barrel bombs filled with explosives. Aircraft dropped barrel bombs on the contested northern city of Aleppo. The airstrikes killed at least 76 people.
    (AFP, 12/15/13)(AP, 12/16/13)
2013        Dec 15, Thailand's military offered to help the politically polarized country hold a "fair and clean" election next year, suggesting the armed forces may play a role in a vote aimed at ending protests seeking to topple the government.
    (Reuters, 12/15/13)
2013        Dec 15, Turkmenistan held its first multi-party legislative elections, but with no opposition to trouble the dominance of President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov. Amnesty Int’l. called it a sham.
    (AFP, 12/15/13)(SFC, 12/16/13, p.A2)
2013        Dec 15, In Ukraine about 200,000 anti-government protesters converged on the central square of Kiev in a dramatic show of morale after nearly four weeks of daily protests. The EU said it has suspended association talks with Ukraine until it receives a firmer commitment from Yanukovych that Ukraine was serious about the deal.
    (AP, 12/15/13)(AFP, 12/15/13)
2013        Dec 15, The first UN aid flight from Iraq landed in northeastern Syria with badly needed supplies, after a winter storm delayed it for several days.
    (AFP, 12/15/13)
2013        Dec 15, Yemen's parliament, dominated by the party of ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh and the Islamist Islah party, voted in favor of halting US drone attacks. Experts say lawmakers have limited powers and their vote is unlikely to impact Washington's bid to crush Al-Qaeda militants.
    (AFP, 12/167/13)
2013        Dec 15, In Yemen assailants stabbed a Japanese diplomat five times after dragging him from his car in Sanaa.
    (AFP, 12/15/13)

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