Return to home37CE 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
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
(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.
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.
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
1883 Dec 15, William A. Hinton,
developer of the “Hinton Test" for diagnosing syphilis, was born.
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.
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).
1899 Dec 15, In South Africa
the Boars defeated the British at the Battle of Colenso.
1903 Dec 15, The British
Parliament placed a 15-year ban on whale fishing in Norway.
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
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
(Econ, 12/17/11, p.85)
1920 Dec 15, China won a place
on the League Council; Austria was admitted.
1924 Dec 15, Soviets warned the
U.S. against repeated entry of ships into the territorial waters of
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.
1938 Dec 15, Groundbreaking
ceremonies for the Jefferson Memorial took place in Washington, D.C.
1939 Dec 15, The motion picture
"Gone With the Wind" had its world premiere in Atlanta.
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.
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.
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,
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.
1947 Dec 15, Arthur Machen
(b.1863), Welsh author of classic horror stories, died.
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.
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
(SFEC, 5/24/98, DB p.38)(SFC, 3/19/10,
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
(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
1965 Dec 15, The U.S. dropped
12 tons of bombs on an industrial center near Haiphong.
1965 Dec 15, Two U.S. manned
spacecraft, Gemini 6 and Gemini 7, maneuvered to within 10 feet of
each other while in orbit.
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,
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."
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.
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.
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
(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.
1978 Dec 15, Cleveland became
the first major US city since the Great Depression to default on its
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
(http://tinyurl.com/oktgl)(Econ, 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.
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.
1990 Dec 15, European Community
leaders wrapped up a historic summit in Rome committed to creating a
politically unified federation.
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.
1991 Dec 15, Six Democratic
presidential hopefuls criticized President Bush's handling of the
economy during a debate on NBC TV.
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
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.
1992 Dec 15, IBM announced it
would eliminate 25,000 more employees in the coming year.
1993 Dec 15, US Defense
Secretary Les Aspin announced his resignation, citing "personal
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.
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.
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.
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,
1995 Dec 15, French rail
workers voted to end a three-week-old strike.
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.
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.
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.
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
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).
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
(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
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.
1997 Dec 15, In the UAR a
Russian Tu-154 charter flight from Tajikistan crashed 9 miles from
Sharjah and 85 people were killed.
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
(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
(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
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.
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
(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.
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
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
(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,
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
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.
(www.wsws.org/en/articles/2001/12/bun-d21.html)(SFC, 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
(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.
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.
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
2002 Dec 15, Japan won golf's
World Cup for the first time in 45 years.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
(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)(http://tinyurl.com/q24ar)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
2004 Dec 15, In western Nepal
fighting killed at least 20 soldiers and six guerrillas.
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.
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
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.
2005 Dec 15, The US Interior
Dept. said it plans to open 20 million acres in 9 Western states to
(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
(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.
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
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.
2005 Dec 15, Australia
announced a major program to expand and upgrade its military forces
to cope with increasing commitments at home and abroad.
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
(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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
(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
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
(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.
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.
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
2006 Dec 15, Ecuador recalled
its ambassador to Colombia, protesting Bogota's decision to resume
aerial coca fumigation along the shared border.
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.
2006 Dec 15, In Indonesia a
landslide swept over a remote village on Sumatra island before dawn,
killing at least 17 people.
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.
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.
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.
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.
2006 Dec 15, Gunmen allied with
Hamas and Fatah clashed at a West Bank mosque and in Gaza Strip
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
2007 Dec 15, Russia's
state-controlled gas monopoly said Belarus will pay nearly 20
percent more for Russian gas beginning next year.
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.
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
(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
(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
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
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
2008 Dec 15, In southern Yemen
tribesmen kidnapped a German aid worker and her parents, demanding
the government release imprisoned clan members.
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
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.
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.
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
(SFC, 12/15/09, p.A9)(http://tinyurl.com/y8smuur)
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,
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,
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.
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.
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.
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
2009 Dec 15, In Honduras gunmen
attacked the car of a television journalist, killing her pregnant
daughter but leaving her uninjured.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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,
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
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.
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.
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
2009 Dec 15, Credit Suisse
confirmed that it was fined $536 million for helping Iran hide
(Econ, 2/27/10, p.68)
2009 Dec 15, In Turkey two
Kurds were killed in Bulanik after a shop-keeper fired on
(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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
(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.
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).
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
(AFP, 12/15/10)(AP, 12/16/10)(AP, 12/20/10)(AP,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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,
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.
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.
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
(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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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)(http://tinyurl.com/brjrprw)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
2011 Dec 15, Italian police
intercepted another letter bomb at the offices of the tax collection
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
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."
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
(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
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.
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
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
(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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
2013 Dec 15, In Yemen
assailants stabbed a Japanese diplomat five times after dragging him
from his car in Sanaa.