Today in History - December 23

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Festivus, or the “Festival for the Rest of Us" was made famous by an episode of Seinfeld on Dec 18, 1997. It came to be celebrated on Dec 23.
    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Festivus)

1236        Dec 23, Philippus Cancellarius, French theologian and poet (Summa Cum Laude), died.
    (MC, 12/23/01)

1569        Dec 23, St. Philip, metropolitan of Moscow, was martyred by Ivan the Terrible.
    (MC, 12/23/01)

1588        Dec 23, Henri de Guise (37), French leader of Catholic League, was murdered.
    (MC, 12/23/01)

1620        Dec 23, French Huguenots declared war on King Louis XIII.
    (MC, 12/23/01)

1644        Dec 23, Tomas de Torrejon y Velasco, composer, was born.
    (MC, 12/23/01)

1688        Dec 23, English King James II fled to France.
    (MC, 12/23/01)
1688        Dec 23, Jean-Louis Lully (21), composer, died.
    (MC, 12/23/01)

1716        Dec 23, Johann Heinrich Rolle, composer, was born.
    (MC, 12/23/01)

1732        Dec 23, Richard Arkwright (d.1792), English inventor (spinning frame) and industrialist, was born into a poor family in Preston. He amassed one of the first factory fortunes. He invented a water-powered cotton-spinning machine that became the basis for huge cotton mills.
    (WSJ, 1/11/99, p.R4,8)(MC, 12/23/01)

1751        Dec 23, France set plans to tax clergymen.
    (MC, 12/23/01)

1776        Dec 23, Continental Congress negotiated a war loan of $181,500 from France.
    (MC, 12/23/01)
1776        Dec 23, Thomas Paine’s pamphlet, “The American Crisis," which included the line "These are the times that try men's souls…" was read out loud by George Washington to the Continental Army.
    (ON, 6/2011, p.4)

1777        Dec 23, Alexander I, Czar of Russia, was born.
    (HN, 12/23/98)

1779        Dec 23, Benedict Arnold was court-martialed for improper conduct. He followed the time-honored military tradition of using government carts to transport his personal items. He was routinely sentenced to be censured by Gen. Washington- a formality which the thin-skinned Arnold took personally, ultimately leading him to switch allegiance to the British cause.
    (MC, 12/23/01)

1783        Dec 23, George Washington resigned as commander-in-chief of the Army and retired to his home at Mount Vernon, Va.
    (AP, 12/23/97)

1788        Dec 23, Maryland voted to cede a 100-square-mile area for the seat of the national government; about two-thirds of the area became the District of Columbia.
    (AP, 12/23/97)

1790        Dec 23, Jean François Champollion, French founder of Egyptology, was born. He deciphered the Rosetta Stone.
    (HN, 12/23/99)

1793        Dec 23, Thomas Jefferson warned of slave revolts in West Indies.
    (MC, 12/23/01)

1803        Dec 23, Lt. Stephen Decatur, commanding the schooner Enterprise, captured a Barbary ketch, which was entered into the US Navy as the Intrepid.
    (ON, 2/03, p.2)

1805        Dec 23, Joseph Smith Junior (d.1844), principal founder of the Mormon religious movement, was born in Sharon, Vermont.
    (SFC, 4/9/96, A-7)(AP, 12/23/05)

1812        Dec 23, Samuel Smiles (d.1904), doctor and writer, was born in Scotland.  He later authored “Self-Help" 1859), a classic work on self-improvement.
    (Econ, 4/24/04, p.86)

1823        Dec 23, The poem: “A Visit from St. Nicholas," was published. The poem was first published anonymously in the Troy, New York Sentinel, and was reprinted frequently thereafter with no name attached. Authorship was later attributed to Clement Clarke Moore and the poem was included in an anthology of his works. His connection with the verses has been questioned by some. Recent scholarship reveals the original to have been written by Major Henry Livingston (1748-1828). The segment of the poem referring to reindeer reads: Now! Dasher, now! Dancer, now! Prancer, and Vixen, On! Comet, on! Cupid, on! Dunder and Blixem. Rudolph was added following the publication of Robert L. May's Christmas story in 1939.
    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Visit_from_St._Nicholas)(AP, 12/23/97)(AH, 2/05, p.18)

1828        Dec 23, Mathilde Wesendonk, German writer, poet (Tagebuchblatter), was born.
    (MC, 12/23/01)

1834        Dec 23, Joseph Hansom of London received a patent for Hansom cabs. Hansom put his Hansom cabs onto the streets.
    (SFEC, 5/31/98, Z1 p.8)(MC, 12/23/01)

1853        Dec 23, Maria Teresa Carreno, composer, was born.
    (MC, 12/23/01)

1854        Dec 23, The 8.4 Ansei Tokai Quake struck Japan. The epicenter ranged from Suruga Bay to the deep ocean, but destroyed houses as far away as in Edo. The accompanying tsunami caused damage along the entire coast from the Boso Peninsula in modern-day Chiba prefecture to Tosa province (modern-day Kochi prefecture).
    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ansei_Great_Earthquakes)

1861        Dec 23, Lord Lyons, The British minister to America presented a formal complaint to secretary of state, William Seward, regarding the Trent affair.
    (HN, 12/23/98)

1862        Dec 23, Union Gen. Ben "Beast" Butler was proclaimed a "felon, outlaw & common enemy of mankind" by Jefferson Davis.
    (MC, 12/23/01)

1867        Dec 23, Entrepreneur Madam C.J. Walker (d.1919), the first black American woman millionaire, was born Sarah Breedlove to former slaves on a Louisiana cotton plantation. In 1906 she married Charles Joseph Walker, who became her business partner. Madam Walker had developed her own line of hair care products for black women. Business boomed and Madam Walker became well known to black and white Americans as she traveled the country to market her products, speak at conventions and donate to organizations like the NAACP and the YMCA. Her company made economic independence a reality for the many black women she hired. When Madam C.J. Walker died she left thousands of dollars to schools, orphanages, the Tuskegee Institute, retirement homes and other organizations.
    (HNPD, 12/23/98)(SFEC, 2/7/99, Par p.7)

1889        Dec 23, Vincent van Gogh sliced his left ear in reaction to Gauguin’s announcement that he was leaving Arles for Paris.
    (Econ, 11/5/11, p.103)

1893        Dec 23, The Engelbert Humperdinck opera " Haensel und Gretel " was first performed, in Weimar, Germany.
    (AP, 12/23/07)

1896        Dec 23, US Cordage was removed from the Dow Jones and replaced by its successor Standard Rope & Twine Co.
    (WSJ, 5/28/96, p.R45,46)
1896        Dec 23, Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, Sicilian writer (The Leopard), was born.
    (MC, 12/23/01)

1900        Dec 23, The Federal Party, which recognized American sovereignty, was formed in the Philippines.
    (HN, 12/23/98)

1907        Dec 23, The 1st all-steel passenger railroad coach was completed at Altoona, Pa.
    (MC, 12/23/01)

1908        Dec 23, Yousuf Karsh, portrait photographer (Life Magazine), was born.
    (MC, 12/23/01)

1911        Dec 23, Emmanuel Wolf-Ferrari's opera "I Giojelli Della Madonna" was produced in Berlin.
    (MC, 12/23/01)

1912        Dec 23, The 1st "Keystone Kops" film, titled "Hoffmeyer's Legacy," was produced.
    (MC, 12/23/01)
1912        Dec 23, The Aswan Dam in Egypt began operation.
    (MC, 12/23/01)

1913        Dec 23, The Federal Reserve Act (Owen-Glass Act) was signed by Pres. Wilson. It established the decentralized, government-controlled banking system in the US known as the Federal Reserve. It repealed the gold standard and replaced it with a system that ensured that the US dollar would be a better store of value than gold. The goal was to strive for maximum employment and price stability. The act guarded against inflation but allowed deflation. It was the first thorough reorganization of the national banking system since the Civil War. A compromise split monetary policy between politically appointed governors in Washington, DC, and the presidents of 12 regional banks, with boards appointed in part by private bankers.
    (WSJ, 3/7/97, p.A14)(HNQ, 10/16/99)(SSFC, 11/28/04, p.D1)(Econ, 11/28/09, p.37)

1914        Dec 23, San Bruno, Ca., was incorporated following a campaign by the local newspaper, the San Bruno Herald, mainly so the streets could be paved.
    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Bruno,_California)(www.rofo.com/CA/San-Bruno)

1918        Dec 23, Helmut Schmidt, Chancellor of Germany, was born.
    (MC, 12/23/01)
1918        Dec 23, Jose Greco, flamenco dancer (Holiday for Lovers), was born in Italy.
    (MC, 12/23/01)

1919        Dec 23, The 1st hospital ship built to move wounded naval personnel was launched.
    (MC, 12/23/01)
1919        Dec 23, Alice H. Parker patented a gas heating furnace.
    (MC, 12/23/01)
1919        Dec 23, Britain instituted a new constitution for India.
    (HN, 12/23/98)

1920        Dec 23, Ireland was divided into 2 parts, each with its own parliament.
    (MC, 12/23/01)

1921        Dec 23, President Harding freed Socialist Eugene Debs and 23 other political prisoners. Debs, a socialist, had run a campaign for the presidency from jail and got 920,000 votes.
    (HN, 12/23/98)(SFEC, 3/19/00, Z1 p.2)

1926        Dec 23, Robert Bly, American poet, editor, translator (Loving a Woman in 2 Worlds), was born.
    (MC, 12/23/01)

1928        Dec 23, The National Broadcasting Co. (NBC) set up a permanent, coast-to-coast network.
    (AP, 12/23/98)

1931        Dec 23, Wilson Bentley (1865-1931), photographer of snow flakes, died at his farm in Jericho, Vermont. He had just published a book of 2,453 of his finest snow crystal photos.
    (ON, 11/04, p.6)

1933        Dec 23, Akihito, emperor of Japan (1989- ), was born.
    (MC, 12/23/01)
1933        Dec 23, The Pope condemned the Nazi sterilization program.
    (HN, 12/23/98)
1933        Dec 23, Marinus van der Lubbe was sentenced to death for Reichstag "Fire."
    (MC, 12/23/01)

1937        Dec 23, London warned Rome to stop the anti-British propaganda in Palestine.
    (HN, 12/23/98)

1938        Dec 23, John Hammond produced a Carnegie Hall concert titled "From Spirituals to Swing."
    (WSJ, 11/5/99, p.W11)
1938        Dec 23, Margaret Hamilton's costume caught fire in filming of "Wizard of Oz."
    (MC, 12/23/01)

1939        Dec 23, The first Canadian troops arrived in Britain.
    (HN, 12/23/98)
1939        Dec 23, Anthony H.G. Fokker (49), Dutch airplane builder (Spider), died in America.
    (www.obituariestoday.com)

1940        Dec 23, Chiang Kai-shek dissolved all Communist associations in China.
    (HN, 12/23/98)

1941        Dec 23, US Marines and Navy defenders on Wake Island capitulated to a second Japanese invasion. In 1995 Brig. Gen. John F. Kinney co-wrote “Wake Island Pilot: A World War II Memoir."
    (AP, 12/23/97)(HN, 12/23/00)(SFC, 7/11/06, p.B5)
1941        Dec 23, The Japanese occupied Hong Kong.
    (WUD, 1944, p.1683)
1941        Dec 23, The 440-foot tanker Montebello was sunk off the California coast near Cambria by Japanese submarine I-21. The crew of 38 survived. In 1996 it was found that the 4.1 million gallon cargo of crude oil appeared intact.
    (SFC, 11/30/96, p.A19)(SFC, 8/27/10, p.A12)

1943        Dec 23, The 1st telecast of a complete opera (Hansel & Gretel) was made from Schenectady, NY.
    (MC, 12/23/01)
1943        Dec 23, Gen. Montgomery was appointed British commandant for D-day.
    (MC, 12/23/01)

1944        Dec 23, General Dwight D. Eisenhower confirmed the death sentence of Private Eddie Slovik, the only American shot for desertion since the Civil War.
    (HN, 12/23/01)
1944        Dec 23, In Belgium a US B-26 Marauder went down while on a mission to take out a critical rail bridge over the Moselle in Eller, Germany. William Parker Cook (27) and his 5-man crew were among ten planes and dozens of men lost in the mission. In 2006 aviation researchers found the crash site near Allmuthen, Belgium. DNA evidence identified Cook and two other crew members.
    (SFC, 10/20/14, p.A1)

1945        Dec 23, Frederick Ashton's "Cinderella" premiered in London.
    (MC, 12/23/01)

1946        Dec 23, Highest ridership in NYC subway history took place with 8.8 million passengers.
    (MC, 12/23/01)

1947        Dec 23, Truman granted a pardon to 1,523 who had evaded the World War II draft.
    (HN, 12/23/98)
1947        Dec 23, John Bardeen and Walter Brattain of AT&T Bell Labs in Murray Hill, New Jersey, unveiled what was soon to be called the transistor, short for the electrical property known as trans-resistance, which paved the way to a new era of miniaturized electronics. The device was improved by William Schockley as a junction transistor. All 3 received a Nobel Prize in 1956. The events are described in the 1997 book by Michael Riordan and Lillian Hoddeson: “Crystal Fire: The Birth of the Information Age."
    (WSJ, 9/22/95, p.A-7)(SFEC, 8/17/97, BR p.4)(AP, 12/23/97)

1948        Dec 23, Hideki Tojo (64), Japanese Prime Minister and military dictator through World War II, and six other Japanese war leaders were executed by Hanging in Tokyo. In 1998 a film about Gen.’. Tojo was produced titled: “Pride, the Fateful Moment."
    (HFA, ‘96, p.20)(AHD, p.1351)(WSJ, 4/30/98, p.A15)(AP, 12/23/98)

1950        Dec 23, General Walton H. Walker, the commander of the Eighth Army in Korea, was killed in a jeep accident. Lieutenant General Matthew B. Ridgeway was named his successor.
    (HN, 12/23/98)

1951        Dec 23, Benito Lynch (66), Irish-Argentine writer (Palo Verde), died.
    (MC, 12/23/01)

1953        Dec 23, Lavrenti P. Beria (1899-1953), Soviet minister of internal security, was executed.
    (WUD, 1994, p.1684)(MC, 12/23/01)

1954        Dec 23, Dr. Joseph Murray led a team of surgeons at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston in the 1st successful organ transplant. Ronald Herrick donated a kidney to his twin brother, Richard. In 1990 Dr. Murray was warded a Nobel Prize for his work.
    (SFEC, 1/30/00, p.A14)(SFC, 12/3/01, p.A17)(SSFC, 12/19/04, Par p.7)

1961        Dec 23, Fidel Castro announced Cuba he would release 1,113 prisoners from failed 1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion in exchange for $62M worth of food and medical supplies.
    (MC, 12/23/01)

1962        Dec 23, Cuba started returning US prisoners from Bay of Pigs invasion.
    (MC, 12/23/01)

1964        Dec 23, India and Ceylon were hit by a cyclone and 4,850 were killed.
    (MC, 12/23/01)
1964        Dec 23, Rock 'n' Roll Radio- in the guise of Pirate Radio- came to England where one had to listen to the BBC or nothing at all. Pirate Radio was a gallant effort to broadcast commercial radio, which was illegal in Great Britain at that time.
    (MC, 12/23/01)

1967        Dec 23, President Johnson, on his way home from a visit to Southeast Asia, held an unprecedented meeting with Pope Paul VI at the Vatican.
    (AP, 12/23/07)
1967        Dec 23, US Navy SEALs were ambushed during an operation southeast of Saigon.
    (HN, 12/23/98)

1968        Dec 23, The 82 crew members of the US intelligence ship Pueblo were released by North Korea, 11 months after they had been captured.
    (AP, 12/23/97)

1969        Dec 23, US Congress restored the Fed use of credit controls with the Credit Control Act.
    (Econ, 6/1/13, p.75)(http://tinyurl.com/m9zk3db)

1970        Dec 23, In NYC construction workers place the highest steel on the highest building in the world, the World Trade Center.
    (www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2008/12/dayintech_1223)
1970        Dec 23, French journalist Regis Debray (b.1940), arrested in 1967, was freed in Bolivia.
    (www.indopedia.org/1970.html)(www.lrb.co.uk/v30/n03/hard01_.html)

1971        Dec 23, Pres. Nixon signed the National Cancer Act, an initiative that came to be known as the “war on cancer." Dr. David A. Wood (1905-1996) helped draft the National Cancer Act. The act added $100 million to the National Cancer Institute directed by Dr. Carl Baker (1920-2009).
    (http://dtp.nci.nih.gov/timeline/noflash/milestones/M4_Nixon.htm)(WSJ, 5/6/98, p.A1)(Econ, 10/16/04, p.13)(SFC, 11/13/96, p.C3)(SFC, 3/13/09, p.B7)

1972        Dec 23, 16 plane crash victims (Oct 13 flight from Uruguay to Chile) were rescued from the Andes after 70 died. The group survived by collectively making a decision to eat flesh from the bodies of their dead comrades.
    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uruguayan_Air_Force_Flight_571)
1972        Dec 23, A 6.25 earthquake struck Managua, Nicaragua, and over 12,000 were killed.  Pres. Somoza was later believed to have pocketed millions of dollars in foreign aid. The diversion of funds undermined his government and helped pave the way for the 1979 revolution.
    (SFC, 10/15/96, p.A12)(SFEC, 11/8/98, p.A26)(http://tinyurl.com/58jfg)
1972        Dec 23, Charles Atlas (79), [Angelo Siciliano], body builder, died.
    (MC, 12/23/01)

1973        Dec 23, 6 Persian Gulf nations doubled their oil prices.
    (MC, 12/23/01)

1974        Dec 23, The B-1 bomber made its first successful test flight.
    (HN, 12/23/98)
1974        Dec 23, Faidon (Phaedon) Gizikis (1917-1999), Greek Gen'l. and former president (1973-1974), resigned and retired from the army.
    (SFC, 7/29/99, p.C4)(www.turkishdailynews.com.tr/archives.php?id=13481)

1975        Dec 23, Richard S. Welch, the Central Intelligence Agency station chief in Athens, was shot and killed outside his home. The left-wing November 17 urban guerrilla group was responsible. In 2002 Pavlos Serifis was arrested in connection with the murder.
    (AP, 12/23/00)(SFC, 7/5/02, p.A9)

1976        Dec 23, In Japan Takeo Fukuda was chosen as the 8th LDP President and formed his cabinet in the midst of high public expectations for the Party's revitalization and the country's economic recovery.
    (www.jimin.jp/jimin/english/history/chap8.html)

1979        Dec 23, Peggy Guggenheim (b.1898), eccentric American philanthropist, died in Italy. In 2000 playwright Donna Blue Lachman created "The Trouble With Peggy: Pieces of Guggenheim." In 2002 Anton Gill authored "Art Lover: A Biography of Peggy Guggenheim."
    (WSJ, 1/6/00, p.A20)(SSFC, 4/14/02, p.M3)

1980        Dec 23, A state funeral was held in Moscow for former Premier Alexei N. Kosygin, who had died Dec. 18 at age 76.
    (AP, 12/23/97)

1982        Dec 23, Jack Webb (b.1920), actor, producer and director, died of a heart attack. He was best known for his role as  Joe Friday in Dragnet. The original Dragnet starring Jack Webb as Sgt. Friday ran on radio from June 3, 1949 to February 26, 1957 and on television from December 16, 1951 to August 23, 1959, and from January 12, 1967 to April 16, 1970.
    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Webb)

1985        Dec 23, James Vance (20) & Raymond Belknap (18), committed suicide, sparking their families to sue rock group Judas Priest for subliminal messages. Mr. Belknap died instantly. Mr. Vance was seriously injured and lived in pain until his death three years later.
    (http://tinyurl.com/29rwhh)
1985        Dec 23, A small plane (Buchanon Field Airport) crashed into Sunvalley Shopping Mall in Concord, Ca., and 6 people were killed.
    (SFC, 4/15/04, p.B10)

1986        Dec 23, The experimental airplane Voyager, piloted by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, completed the first non-stop, round-the-world flight without refueling as it landed safely at Edwards Air Force Base in California.
    (AP, 12/23/97)

1987        Dec 23, Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, serving a life sentence for the attempted assassination of President Ford in 1975, escaped from the Alderson Federal Prison for Women in West Virginia. She was recaptured two days later.
    (AP, 12/23/97)

1989        Dec 23, Ousted Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife, Elena, were captured as they were attempting to flee their country.
    (AP, 12/23/99)

1990        Dec 23, Saddam Hussein said Israel would be Iraq's 1st target.
    (www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/time90s.html)
1990        Dec 23, Slovenians voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence and their republic’s secession from Yugoslavia.
    (AP, 12/23/00)(www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/3407.htm)

1991        Dec 23, President George H.W. Bush spoke by telephone with Russian President Boris Yeltsin, after which a senior Bush administration official said the United States would extend diplomatic recognition to the Russian republic.
    (AP, 12/23/01)
1991        Dec 23, In Texas the house of Cameron Todd Willingham caught fire in Corsicana and his 3 young daughters were killed in the blaze. Investigators said the burn pattern in the house indicated arson. Willingham maintained his innocence but was convicted, sentenced to death and executed in 2004. Shortly before his execution an arson expert said the initial investigation was based on bad science and that there was no proof of arson.
    (Econ, 10/24/09, p.36)

1992        Dec 23, An American mission to save lives in Somalia lost the first of its own when a U.S. vehicle hit a land mine near Bardera, killing civilian Army employee Lawrence N. Freedman of Fayetteville, N.C.
    (AP, 12/23/97)

1993        Dec 23, President Clinton, under intense political pressure, instructed his attorney to give the Justice Department all records of his investment in an Arkansas real estate partnership linked to a failed savings and loan company.
    (AP, 12/23/98)

1994        Dec 23, US Professional baseball owners imposed a salary cap fiercely opposed by players.
    (AP, 12/23/99)
1994        Dec 23, John Connolly, FBI agent, came to the Winter Hill gang’s headquarters in a Boston liquor store and warned Kevin Weeks of pending FBI arrests for mobsters James Bulger, Stephen Flemmi and Francis Salemme. Connolly was convicted for corruption in 2002 and sentenced to 121 months.
    (SFC, 5/29/02, p.A3)(SFC, 9/17/02, p.A5)
1994        Dec 23, Bosnian Serbs and the Muslim-led government agreed to a week-long truce beginning the next day as they worked on details of a four-month cease-fire.
    (AP, 12/23/99)

1995        Dec 23, The charred bodies of 16 members of a doomsday cult, the Order of the Solar Temple, were found outside Grenoble, France. The same cult lost 53 members in 1994 in ritual killings in Switzerland and Canada.
    (WSJ, 12/26/95, p. A-1)(AP, 12/23/00)
1995         Dec 23, A fire killed 540, including 170 children, in Dabwali, India, 125 miles northwest of New Delhi when a tent ignited during a year-end school party.
    (WSJ, 12/26/95, p. A-1)(AP, 12/23/97)

1996        Dec 23, President Clinton expressed gratitude to the nation's armed forces as he visited Marines at Camp Lejeune, N.C.
    (AP, 12/23/97)
1996        Dec 23, Russian President Boris Yeltsin returned to his office at the Kremlin after a six-month bout with a heart ailment.
    (AP, 12/23/97)
1996        Dec 23, In Zaire a crises government was established under Prime Minister Leon Kengo wa Dondo. Gen’l. Likulia Bolongop was named the new defense minister.
    (SFC, 12/25/96, p.A10)

1997        Dec 23, Woody Allen married Soon-Yi Previn in a small ceremony in Venice, Italy.
    (AP, 12/23/98)
1997        Dec 23, A jury in Denver convicted Terry Nichols for conspiracy and involuntary manslaughter in the Apr 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.
    (SFC, 6/3/97, p.A1)(SFC,12/24/97, p.A4)(AP, 12/23/98)
1997        Dec 23, The FDA approved the first inhaled antibiotic, made by PathoGenesis, to help lung function in patients with cystic fibrosis.
    (WSJ, 12/24/97, p.A1)
1997        Dec 23, US Agriculture Dept estimated that it took $149,820 to raise a child to 18.
    (http://www.usda.gov/news/releases/1997/12/0453)
1997        Dec 23, In France "Carlos the Jackal," aka Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, was convicted in the murder of 2 French agents and a Lebanese informant on Jun 27, 1975. He was sentenced the next day to life in prison.
    (SFC,12/24/97, p.A6)
1997        Dec 23, In Uganda Renu Joshi was murdered, allegedly by electrocution, at her home on Martin Road in Old Kampala. In 2000 Her husband Sharma Kooky, an Indian businessman, was convicted and sentenced to die for her torture and murder. In 2009 his sentenced was changed to life in prison. In 2012 he was set free on humanitarian grounds. An independent report indicated that he did not murder his wife.
    (AP, 3/30/12)(http://allafrica.com/stories/201203300998.html)
1997        Dec 23, For the 1st time a Chanukah candle was officially lit in Vatican City.
    (www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/1997/hanukkah/hanukkah.vatican/index.html)

1998        Dec 23, The US and Russia signed a $625 million food aid pact.
    (WSJ, 12/24/98, p.A1)
1998        Dec 23, In California two days of severe cold caused an estimated $591 million in agricultural damage. Hard hit were the lemon and navel orange crop of the central San Joaquin Valley. Damage estimates later rose to over $700 million.
    (SFC, 12/24/98, p.D1)(SFC, 4/2/99, p.)
1998        Dec 23, Anatoly Rybakov, Russian writer, died in New York at age 87. His work included "Children of Arbat," written in 1966 but not published until 1987. His anti-Stalinist novel, "Leto v Sosnyakakh" (Summer in Sosnyaki) was published in 1964. His first novel was "Kortik" (The Dagger), which established him in 1948 as a writer of adventure stories for children.
    (SFC, 12/24/98, p.B2)
1998        Dec 23, In Angola government forces retook the towns of Vila Nova and Caala.
    (SFC, 12/24/98, p.A12)
1998        Dec 23, In Belgium the top court convicted former NATO chief Willy Claes, French aerospace tycoon Serge Dessault and 2 ex-aides of corruption in the Agusta scandal. All got suspended sentences. Guy Spitaels (1931-2012), a Belgian socialist leader, was also convicted in the bribery scandal linked to the purchase of Italian helicopters for the air force.
    (WSJ, 12/24/98, p.A1)(AP, 8/21/12)
1998        Dec 23, An Indonesian military court charged 11 soldiers with kidnapping dissidents before the ouster of Suharto. Prabowo Subianto, a son-in-law of Suharto led the unit and has since fled to Jordan and become a citizen.
    (WSJ, 12/24/98, p.A1)
1998        Dec 23, In Lebanon Hezbollah guerrillas retaliated against Israel with Katyusha rockets at Kiryat Shemona on Israel's northern border in retaliation for an Israeli air raid a day earlier.
    (SFC, 12/23/98, p.A10)(AP, 12/23/99)
1998        Dec 23, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat freed Hamas spiritual leader Sheik Ahmed Yassin from house arrest, a move denounced by Israel.
    (SFC, 12/24/98, p.A10) (AP, 12/23/99)   
1998        Dec 23, In Turkey Pres. Demirel asked Yalim Erez, the acting trade minister of Kurdish origin, to form a new government.
    (SFC, 12/24/98, p.A12)
1998        Dec 23, In Sri Lanka at least 30 insurgents were killed in Oddusuddan in the heaviest fighting in months.
    (USAT, 12/23/98, p.8A)

1999        Dec 23, President Clinton pardoned Freddie Meeks, a black sailor court-martialed for mutiny during World War Two when he and other sailors refused to load live ammunition following a deadly explosion at the Port Chicago Naval Magazine near San Francisco that had claimed more than 300 lives.
    (AP, 12/23/00)
1999        Dec 23, The Nasdaq composite index briefly crossed 4,000 and closed at a record high for the 58th time in 1999.
    (AP, 12/23/00)
1999        Dec 23, In Keokuk, Iowa, a house fire left 3 children and 3 firemen dead. Dave McNally (48), Jason Bitting (29) and Nate Tuck (39) were caught in a flashover.
    (SFC, 12/24/99, p.A5)
1999        Dec 23, In Greece Avraam Lesperoglou, was arrested in Athens. He was the country's most wanted terrorist and suspected to be a member of the Anti-State Struggle, which killed a public prosecutor in 1985.
    (SFC, 12/25/99, p.A14)
1999        Dec 23, In Ivory Coast soldiers went on a rampage in Abidjan with gunshots and looting in protest over money and perks.
    (SFC, 12/24/99, p.A12)
1999        Dec 23, In Haiti violence began when a customer was killed trying to cash in a winning lottery ticket. 50 tin-roofed shacks were torched in Cite Soleil.
    (SFC, 12/24/99, p.A20)
1999        Dec 23, Italian Premier Massimo D'Alema won parliamentary approval for the 57th government. The Cabinet included 5 new members and 20 holdovers.
    (SFC, 12/24/99, p.A20)
1999        Dec 23, In Sri Lanka fighting broke out at Iyakachchi and at least 101 guerrillas and soldiers were later reported killed.
    (SFC, 12/25/99, p.A14)

2000        Dec 23, Negotiators from Israel and Palestine left Washington without an agreement on critical issues.
    (SSFC, 12/24/00, p.A12)
2000        Dec 23, Actor Billy Barty died in Glendale, Calif., at age 76.
    (AP, 12/23/01)
2000        Dec 23, Victor Borge, musical humorist, died at age 91. His 1953 “Comedy in Music" ran for 849 performances at the Golden Theater on Broadway.
    (SSFC, 12/24/00, p.B5)
2000        Dec 23, The UN voted to reduce US dues and to reallocate costs among the 189 members.
    (SSFC, 12/24/00, p.A1)
2000        Dec 23, In Colombia rebels freed 42 police officers and soldiers.
    (SSFC, 12/24/00, p.B4)
2000        Dec 23, In Niger William Bultemeier, a US Defense Department official, was killed. Staff Sergeant Christopher McNeely, who had run to Bultemeier's aid, survived the shooting but suffered lasting injuries. Alhassane Ould Mohamed and a co-conspirator fled in a US Embassy vehicle after searching Bultemeier and McNeely's pockets. The car was later found in Timbuktu, in neighboring Mali. On Sep 13, 2013, US prosecutors unsealed an indictment against Alhassane Ould Mohamed (42), a Malian man, for the killing and who remained at large.
    (AP, 9/19/13)
2000        Dec 23, In Serbia elections the 18-party Kostunica coalition won 64.5% of the vote and over two-thirds of the seats of the 250-seat parliament. Zoran Djindjic (48) was projected to become prime minister.
    (SSFC, 12/24/00, p.A12)(SFC, 12/25/00, p.A16)

2001        Dec 23, Time magazine named Mayor Rudolph Giuliani as Person of the Year.
    (SFC, 12/24/01, p.A2)
2001        Dec 23, It was reported that Hazrat Ali, an Afghanistan eastern alliance commander, had negotiated a deal to release al Qaeda troops in the Tora Bora region. The new cabinet met in Kabul for the 1st time.
    (SSFC, 12/23/01, p.A20)(SFC, 12/24/01, p.A10)
2001        Dec 23, In Argentina Adolfo Rodriguez Saa, governor of San Luis province, was sworn in as the new interim president until elections on March 3. He said he would not devalue the peso. Saa said he would suspend payment on the foreign debt.
    (SSFC, 12/23/01, p.A13)(SFC, 12/24/01, p.A3)
2001        Dec 23, The Union of Comoros was saved by a new constitution which gave each island its own president.
    (Econ, 3/22/08, p.55)(www.worldstatesmen.org/Comoros.html)
2001        Dec 23, India troops moved closer to the Pakistani border and heavy fire was exchanged. 2 Indian soldiers were killed.
    (SFC, 12/24/01, p.A4)
2001        Dec 23, In Israel Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Ahmen Qureia, speaker of the Palestinian parliament, drafted a new Middle East peace plan that called for Israel to recognized a Palestinian state within 8 weeks.
    (SFC, 12/24/01, p.A1)
2001        Dec 23, Israel barred Yasser Arafat from making his annual Christmas Eve visit to Bethlehem, the traditional birthplace of Jesus.
    (AP, 12/23/02)
2001        Dec 23, In Nigeria Bola Ige (71), justice minister and  attorney general, was shot and killed at his home in Ibadan, Osun state. Pres. Obasanjo sent troops to Ibadan.
    (SFC, 12/25/01, p.A4)
2001        Dec 23, In the Philippines police rescued a Canadian hostage, Pierre Belanger (51), held for 2 months by the Pentagon gang in the village of Buena Vista.
    (SFC, 12/24/01, p.A4)
2001        Dec 23, Sri Lanka's Premier traveled to India to press for greater involvement in peace talks with the Tamil rebels.
    (WSJ, 12/24/01, p.A1)

2002        Dec 23, US Senate Republicans unanimously elected Bill Frist to succeed Trent Lott as their leader in the next Congress.
    (AP, 12/23/03)
2002        Dec 23, More than 100 Gabonese students took over their embassy in Senegal, trapping three diplomats overnight to protest unpaid scholarships.
    (AP, 12/24/02)
2002        Dec 23, Iraqi aircraft shot down a U.S. unmanned surveillance drone over southern Iraq.
    (AP, 12/23/02)
2002        Dec 23, In central Iran a Ukrainian An-140 aircraft, carrying Ukrainian and Russian aerospace scientists from Turkey, flew into a mountainside while preparing to land killing all 46 people on board. Airport officials said pilot "carelessness" caused the plane to crash.
    (AP, 12/24/02)
2002        Dec 23, Israeli troops killed two Hamas activists, including a leading militiaman, as the men rode a tractor near the West Bank town of Jenin.
    (AP, 12/23/02)
2002        Dec 23, North Korea dismantled UN surveillance cameras and broke locks on the Yangbyon reprocessing plant for spent nuclear fuel.
    (SFC, 12/24/02, p.A1)
2002        Dec 23, More air traffic controllers joined a hunger strike in Siberia and other parts of the country as Russia's labor minister rejected their demand for a 30 percent pay increase.
    (AP, 12/23/02)

2003        Dec 23, The Bush administration reversed a 2001 Clinton policy and opened some 300,000 acres of Alaska's Tongass National Forest to possible logging or other development. The plan affirmed a Clinton plan from 1997.
    (SFC, 12/24/03, p.A4)
2003        Dec 23, A Virginia jury recommended a sentence of life in prison for Lee Boyd Malvo.
    (AP, 12/23/03)
2003        Dec 23, New York Gov. George Pataki posthumously pardoned comedian Lenny Bruce for his 1964 obscenity conviction.
    (AP, 12/23/04)
2003        Dec 23, A cow, slaughtered in Washington state on Dec 9, was reported to have tested positive for mad cow disease, the 1st such US case. The $2.6 billion beef export industry was hit as 7 nations quickly suspended imports of US beef: Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Taiwan and Australia. The infected Holstein was imported into the United States from Canada about two years ago. A US beef recall soon spread to 8 states and Guam.
    (AP, 12/24/03)(SFC, 12/24/03, p.A1)(AP, 12/27/03)(SFC, 12/29/03, p.A1)
2003        Dec 23, Flooding in central Bolivia killed at least 19 people and left 40 missing, most of them passengers on a bus that was swept away by a swollen river.
    (AP, 12/24/03)
2003        Dec 23, Canada's Supreme Court ruled that marijuana possession would remain a criminal offense even as PM Paul Martin pressed to eliminate jail sentences for people caught with small amounts.
    (SFC, 12/24/03, p.A3)
2003        Dec 23, A blowout occurred at a natural gas field near Chongqing in Kaixian County. Fumes from the gas well in China's southwest killed at least 233 people and forced some 41,000 to flee a 10-square-mile death zone. Technicians capped it Dec 27.
    (AP, 12/25/03)(SFC, 12/27/03, p.A8)(SFC, 12/29/03, p.A3)
2003        Dec 23, In Colombia a bus explosion that killed at least four people and injured more than 30 others was called an accident.
    (AP, 12/24/03)
2003        Dec 23, In Croatia Ivo Sanader (b.1953) began serving as prime minister. He resigned office in 2009.
    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivo_Sanader)
2003        Dec 23, An Israeli raid on the Rafah refugee camp killed 9 Palestinians and left over 40 wounded in the worst violence in the Gaza Strip in two months. Hours earlier Israel lost its first two soldiers in a month of relative calm.
    (AP, 12/23/03)(AP, 12/24/03)
2003        Dec 23, The Dutch National Flu Center said more than 15 of every 10,000 Dutch citizens have flu symptoms, enough to qualify the current outbreak as an epidemic.
    (AP, 12/23/03)
2003        Dec 23, The South Korean Cabinet approved a plan to send 3,000 troops to the northern oil town of Kirkuk as early as April.
    (AP, 12/23/03)
2003        Dec 23, Myanmar's largest guerrilla group said it is committed to peace talks with the military government, but it wants future rounds held in the Thai capital to preserve neutrality.
    (AP, 12/23/03)
2003        Dec 23, Kriangsak Chomanan (b.1917), an army general who became PM of Thailand in 1977 through a series of coups, died at age 87. He helped steer Thailand to democracy.
    (AP, 12/23/03)(Econ, 1/10/04, p.76)
2003        Dec 23, Venezuelan opposition leaders turned in more than a million signatures to demand recall referendums against 26 lawmakers aligned with President Hugo Chavez.
    (AP, 12/24/03)

2004        Dec 23, Former Connecticut Gov. John G. Rowland, driven from office by a corruption scandal, pleaded guilty to a single federal charge that carries a sentence of up to five years in prison. He was later sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison.
    (AP, 12/23/05)
2004        Dec 23, Washington state election officials announced that Democratic candidate Christine Gregoire was the winner in the governor’s race by 130 votes, out of 2.9 million ballots cast, over her Republican opponent Dino Rossi.
    (SFC, 12/24/04, p.A3)(AP, 12/23/05)
2004        Dec 23, The FDA said it approved the Ampli-Chip Cytochrome P450 Genotyping test made by Roche. The test was cleared for use with the Affymetrix GeneChip Microarray.
    (WSJ, 12/24/04, p.A9)
2004        Dec 23, Two men were convicted in Houston for their role in a smuggling attempt that resulted in the deaths of 19 illegal immigrants crammed in a tractor-trailer.
    (AP, 12/23/05)
2004        Dec 23, Afghan Pres. Hamid Karzai chose a new Cabinet, heeding calls to sideline warlords from top positions, including the defense minister, and creating a new post to oversee the fight against opium production.
    (AP, 12/23/04)
2004        Dec 23, In Honduras assailants claiming to be members of a revolutionary group opposed to the death penalty ambushed a bus filled with people bringing home Christmas gifts and killed at least 28 people, including six children, in an escalation of the battle between gangs and the government. On Feb 10, 2005, US Border patrol officials arrested a Honduran gang leader wanted in the massacre. In 2007 a three-judge tribunal found two members of the Mara Salvatrucha gang guilty of killing 28 people in the shooting attack, and acquitted two other men. In 2008 Juan Carlos Miranda (22) and Darwin Alexis Ramirez (23) were accused of being among about 10 gang members. They received sentences totaling 822 years each.
    (AP, 12/24/04)(WSJ, 2/25/05, p.A1)(AP, 2/21/07)(AP, 3/13/08)
2004        Dec 23, P.V. Narasimha Rao (b.1921), India’s former Prime Minister (1991-1996). died. His free-market economic reforms in 1991 launched India's shift from a bankrupt nation hobbled by socialist policies into a regional economic power.
    (AP, 12/23/04)
2004        Dec 23, An Indonesian military helicopter crashed into mountains on Indonesia's Java island, killing 14 soldiers on board.
    (AP, 12/23/04)
2004        Dec 23, US Marines battled insurgents in Fallujah with warplanes dropping bombs and tanks shelling suspected guerrilla positions, causing deaths on both sides. Three U.S. Marines were killed. 24 guerrillas, most of them non-Iraqi Arabs, were killed in battles according to a posting on an Islamic web site the next day. The 1st Fallujah residents were allowed to return. A bomb killed a US soldier in Baghdad.
    (AP, 12/24/04)(SFC, 12/24/04, p.A1)(WSJ, 12/24/04, p.A1)
2004        Dec 23, Mexico's state-owned oil monopoly will be fined as much as $200,000 and could face criminal charges for spilling 5,000 barrels of crude into a river leading to the Gulf of Mexico a day earlier.
    (AP, 12/23/04)
2004        Dec 23, Nepali soldiers killed 22 Maoist rebels in a fierce gun battle in the west of the country.
    (AP, 12/23/04)
2004        Dec 23, Thousands of Palestinians crammed polling stations in West Bank towns to vote in municipal elections, the first in nearly 30 years. Hamas made a strong showing in local elections in the West Bank. Palestinian women won 51 seats in local elections defeating many of their male opponents.
    (AP, 12/24/04)(AP, 12/27/04)
2004        Dec 23, Acevedo Vila, Puerto Rico's congressional envoy, who favors the island's status as a U.S. territory narrowly, won a recount in the governor's race.
    (AP, 12/23/04)
2004        Dec 23, Russia launched an unmanned cargo ship to the int’l. space station.
    (WSJ, 12/24/04, p.A1)

2005        Dec 23, US Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld announced the first of what is likely to be a series of US combat troop drawdowns in Iraq in 2006. The Pentagon said the reductions would be about 7,000 troops.
    (AP, 12/23/05)
2005        Dec 23, In a NYC probe, first reported by the Daily News in October, authorities confirmed this week that investigators found paperwork indicating that bones of British broadcaster Alistair Cooke had been removed and sold by Biomedical Tissue Services, before he was cremated in 2004. Human bone, skin and tendons were allegedly removed from the bodies of hundreds of others without required permission from their families. The Brooklyn case stemmed from a deal struck between Michael Mastromarino (42), a Fort Lee, NJ, dentist who started Biomedical Tissue Services, and Joseph Nicelli (49), an embalmer and funeral parlor operator from Staten Island. In 2006 seven funeral directors pleaded guilty to undisclosed charges and agreed to cooperate with investigators. In 2008 Mastromarino pleaded guilty to hundreds of counts of abusing corpses, forgery, theft and other allegations stemming from the operation, which he ran with 3 Philadelphia funeral directors.
    (AP, 12/23/05)(SFC, 2/24/06, p.A2)(SFC, 10/19/06, p.A7)(SFC, 8/30/08, p.A2)
2005        Dec 23, US fashion company Tommy Hilfiger Corp., whose all-American designs have struggled in its home market, was taken over for 1.6 billion dollars by British private equity group Apax Partners.
    (AP, 12/23/05)
2005        Dec 23, Greenpeace activists said a Japanese whaling fleet is "on the run" as activists chased it across the icy waters of the Southern Ocean near Antarctica. A day earlier activists in small inflatable boats had repeatedly maneuvered into position between target whales and the harpooners, allowing several whales to escape.
    (AP, 12/23/05)
2005        Dec 23, An Azerbaijani Airlines An-140 twin-engine turboprop crashed on the Caspian Sea coast and all 18 passengers and five crew were killed. Equipment failure was suspected.
    (AP, 12/24/05)
2005        Dec 23, A British judge ruled that Alexander Temerko (39), a former executive of Russian oil producer OAO Yukos, may not be extradited to Russia because the case is politically motivated and he would not receive a fair trial.
    (AP, 12/23/05)
2005        Dec 23, Bulgaria and Libya agreed to set up a special fund for AIDS-infected children in Libya, where five Bulgarian nurses face the death penalty after being convicted of causing the infections.
    (AP, 12/23/05)
2005        Dec 23, China’s government announced that it has dismissed two provincial deputy governors and prosecuted 96 officials blamed for six high-profile coal mine accidents that killed a total of 528 people over the past 13 months.
    (AP, 12/23/05)
2005        Dec 23, In China's southwestern city of Chongqing Xu Wanping (44) was sentenced by a court after being convicted of subversion charges. He was convicted and jailed for 12 years for organizing anti-Japanese protests on the mainland.
    (AP, 12/25/05)
2005        Dec 23, In China’s Henan province a blast triggered a fire that swept through a long-distance bus, killing 11 passengers and seriously injuring three. Chinese police later detained the suspected architect of a bus bombing designed to kill his wife.
    (Reuters, 1/4/06)
2005        Dec 23, Yao Wenyuan (74), the last surviving member of the Gang of Four, died. The Gang of Four, reportedly given its name by then-Chinese leader Mao Zedong, directed the purge of moderate party officials and intellectuals during the 1966-1976 Cultural Revolution.
    (AP, 1/6/06)
2005        Dec 23, A French military tribunal opened an investigation into allegations that French peacekeepers facilitated attacks on ethnic minority Tutsis during the 1994 genocide of more than half a million Rwandans.
    (AP, 12/23/05)
2005        Dec 23, In Honduras, official results confirmed that opposition candidate Manuel Zelaya won the presidency in November elections.
    (AP, 12/24/05)
2005        Dec 23, India's parliament voted to expel 11 lawmakers who were caught on camera taking bribes to raise questions in parliament.
    (AP, 12/23/05)
2005        Dec 23, In Iraq large demonstrations broke out across the country to denounce parliamentary elections that protesters say were rigged in favor of the main religious Shiite coalition. Two US soldiers were killed when their vehicle struck a roadside bomb in Baghdad. Insurgents killed 10 Iraqi troops outside Baghdad.
    (AP, 12/23/05)(WSJ, 12/24/05, p.A1)
2005        Dec 23, Two Arab satellite television channels said that a Sudanese diplomat and five other men had been kidnapped in Iraq. A Sudanese Foreign Ministry spokesman appealed for their release in an interview with Qatar-based Al-Jazeera.
    (AP, 12/23/05)
2005        Dec 23, An Italian judge issued EU arrest warrants for 22 purported CIA operatives in connection with the alleged kidnapping of an Egyptian cleric from a Milan street in 2003. the warrants allowed for the arrest of the suspects in any of the 25 EU member countries.
    (AP, 12/23/05)
2005        Dec 23, Police in southern Italy arrested three Algerians on international terrorism charges and accused them of planning attacks in Iraq and Italy.
    (AP, 12/23/05)
2005        Dec 23, In Myanmar at least four government battalions began shelling and attacking villages and internal refugee hide-outs in southern Karenni State and areas of neighboring Karen State, forcing some 3,000 people to flee their homes.
    (AP, 2/21/06)
2005        Dec 23, In the Netherlands a court jailed Frans van Anraat (63), a Dutch businessman, for 15 years after finding him guilty of complicity in war crimes for selling chemicals to Iraq used to carry out gas attacks, but acquitted him of genocide charges.
    (Reuters, 12/23/05)
2005        Dec 23, In Pakistan Nazir Ahmed (40), angry that his eldest step-daughter allegedly committed adultery, slit her throat as she slept, then killed his 3 daughters in the village of Gago Mandi in eastern Punjab province.
    (AP, 12/24/05)(SFC, 12/29/05, p.A8)
2005        Dec 23, Lech Kaczynski was sworn in as Poland's new president, completing the rise to power of conservative leaders who pledged to fight corruption, boost the economy and distance the country from its communist past.
    (AP, 12/23/05)
2005        Dec 23, An unmanned Russian cargo ship arrived at the international space station bearing supplies, chocolates and gifts from the families of the American and Russian crewmen.
    (AP, 12/23/05)
2005        Dec 23, South Korean researcher Hwang Woo-suk resigned from his university after the school said he fabricated stem-cell research that had raised hopes of new cures for hard-to-treat diseases.
    (AP, 12/23/05)
2005        Dec 23, Powerful land mine blasts blew up a bus carrying Sri Lankan sailors, killing 15 and injuring at least 15 others. Tamil separatist rebels were suspected in the attack amid an escalation of violence that is threatening to return the South Asian nation to civil war.
    (AFP, 12/23/05)

2006        Dec 23, A review process directed by the Pentagon cleared 46 detainees at the Guantanamo prison camp for transfer this year to their home countries.
    (AP, 12/23/06)
2006        Dec 23, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (59) broke his leg while skiing with his family in Sun Valley, Idaho.
    (AP, 12/24/06)
2006        Dec 23, Carl Blaze (born Carlos Rivera), a popular NYC hip-hop disc jockey, died after being shot at least 13 times on Dec 7. Blaze (30) was shot outside an apartment building near Manhattan's Inwood section, and his $20,000 diamond chain was stolen.
    (AP, 12/24/06)
2006        Dec 23, Robert Stafford (1913), former governor of Vermont (1958-1960) and US Senator (1971-1989), died. In 1988 the US Congress renamed the Federal Guaranteed Student Loan Program as the Robert T. Stafford Student Loan Program.
    (SSFC, 12/24/06, p.D7)
2006        Dec 23, In Brazil El Al Yoram (35), an Israeli man known as the "King of Ecstasy" and alleged to be one of the world's foremost traffickers of the drug, was arrested in Rio de Janeiro. Yoram left the US in 2004 and had been hiding in Uruguay, where he was arrested in 2005 but fled from jail.
    (AP, 12/23/06)
2006        Dec 23, In southern Colombia leftist rebels ambushed an army patrol and killed 14 soldiers from a unit that rushed to the area after being warned of a possible guerrilla takeover of a remote hamlet.
    (AP, 12/23/06)
2006        Dec 23, Two road accidents in France within hours of each other left four people dead in central Paris and some 24 injured in a 60-vehicle pileup on a foggy highway near Bordeaux.
    (AP, 12/24/06)
2006        Dec 23, In Indonesia 12 people were dead and dozens remain missing while more than 70,000 have fled their homes as floods swept the island of Sumatra.
    (AP, 12/23/06)
2006        Dec 23, Shiite lawmakers said Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq's most revered Shiite cleric, withheld support for a US-backed plan to build a coalition across sectarian lines. US-led forces killed one person and detained nine other suspects in a raid on a militant hideout in Ramadi. 1st Lt. Hussein Jabir, An Iraqi military intelligence officer, was slain in a drive-by shooting in Diwaniyah. A roadside bomb killed 3 American soldiers in Baghdad and a suicide bomber killed at least 7 Iraqi policemen north of the capital.
    (AP, 12/23/06)(AP, 12/24/06)
2006        Dec 23, Israeli PM Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas held the first Israeli-Palestinian summit in 22 months. Israel agreed to release $100 million in frozen funds to Palestinian Pres. Mahmoud Abbas and to ease West Bank travel restrictions.
    (SSFC, 12/24/06, p.A21)(AP, 12/23/07)
2006        Dec 23, Officials in Malaysia said 7 people had died and more than 90,000 displaced during the last week as the country recorded heavy rainfall.
    (AP, 12/23/06)
2006        Dec 23, A spokesman for Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said long queues for gasoline were “just in the spirit of the season." An explosion occurred near the headquarters of Rivers State government in the oil capital of Port Harcourt, moments after militants said they were about to detonate two car bombs in the region.
    (Reuters, 12/23/06)(AFP, 12/23/06)
2006        Dec 23, The North Korean army's chief of staff vowed to take strong countermeasures against US sanctions.
    (AP, 12/23/06)
2006        Dec 23, Assailants fired on the car of a senior Palestinian security official, wounding him, a bodyguard and a girl in intensifying factional fighting in the Gaza Strip.
    (AP, 12/23/06)
2006        Dec 23, A bus plunged into a river in Peru's central mountains, killing at least nine people and leaving four missing.
    (AP, 12/24/06)
2006        Dec 23, Somalia's Islamic militants called on foreign Muslim fighters to join their holy war against Ethiopian troops after days of fighting killed hundreds of people and threatened to engulf the region.
    (AP, 12/23/06)
2006        Dec 23, The UN Security Council voted unanimously to impose sanctions on Iran for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment. The Security Council resolution ordered all countries to stop supplying Iran with materials and technology that could contribute to its nuclear and missile programs. It also froze the Iranian assets of 10 key companies and 12 individuals related to those programs. Iran denounced the sanctions. China’s endorsement was an important symbolic act.
    (AP, 12/24/06)(Econ, 1/13/07, p.37)

2007        Dec 23, High wind and ice coated power lines blacked out tens of thousands of people in the Midwest. The storm was blamed for at least 22 deaths. At least 8 people in Minnesota, 5 in Wisconsin, 3 each in Indiana and Wyoming and one each in Michigan, Texas and Kansas were killed in traffic accidents.
    (AP, 12/23/07)(WSJ, 12/24/07, p.A1)(SFC, 12/25/07, p.A11)
2007        Dec 23, In Afghanistan echoing pledges by the leaders of France and Australia, Italian PM Romano Prodi emphasized his county's long-term commitment in a meeting with President Hamid Karzai. Afghan intelligence agents detained a 50-year-old foreign woman carrying a suicide vest in eastern Afghanistan. A roadside explosion killed one policeman and wounded three others in Kunar province. Police clashed with Taliban militants in the Gelan district of central Ghazni province, killing a local insurgent leader and two of his bodyguards. Another booby-trapped body was discovered in Kandahar province.
    (AP, 12/23/07)(AP, 12/24/07)
2007        Dec 23, Aloisio Lorscheider (b.1924), one of Latin America's most influential cardinals, died in Sao Paulo, Brazil, after a lengthy hospitalization.
    (AP, 12/23/07)
2007        Dec 23, Oscar Peterson (b.1925), jazz pianist, died at his home in Mississauga, Canada. His flying fingers, hard-driving swing and melodic improvisations made him one of the world's most famous and influential jazz pianists in a career that spanned seven decades.
    (AP, 12/25/07)
2007        Dec 23, India's main Hindu nationalist party swept to an impressive election victory in the western state of Gujarat after a bitter campaign fought in the shadow of deadly 2002 anti-Muslim riots that still scar the state. Chief minister Narendra Modi led the BJP to carry 117 of 182 seats. Modi represented the most anti-Muslim wing of the BJP.
    (AP, 12/23/07)(Econ, 1/5/08, p.36)(Econ, 8/2/08, p.44)
2007        Dec 23, A roadside bomb targeting an Iraqi army patrol in Baghdad killed two civilians, as attacks claimed the lives of at least five people.
    (AP, 12/23/07)
2007        Dec 23, A Cabinet minister said Israel has plans to build an additional 740 apartments in disputed east Jerusalem and the West Bank in 2008, enraging Palestinians who say such construction undermines nascent peace talks.
    (AP, 12/23/07)
2007        Dec 23, Media reported that Malawi has asked Libya to close its mission in Lilongwe. The Mutharika administration had suspicions that Libya funds Muluzi's United Democratic Front, which is seeking to unseat Mutharika in elections in 2009.
    (AFP, 12/23/07)
2007        Dec 23, Nepal's major political parties agreed to abolish the world's last Hindu monarchy as part of a deal to bring former communist rebels back into the government.
    (AP, 12/24/07)
2007        Dec 23, A suicide bomber killed four Pakistani soldiers and five civilians in an attack on a military convoy in the northwest Swat Valley.
    (Reuters, 12/23/07)
2007        Dec 23, Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry said police have arrested 28 men for allegedly planning to attack holy sites around Mecca and Medina during the recently finished Muslim hajj.
    (AP, 12/23/07)
2007        Dec 23, In Somalia a first contingent of 100 Burundian peacekeepers deployed in the capital, joining 1,800 Ugandan troops in an African Union force, AMISOM, that is still well short of the personnel strength needed to help restore order. Insurgents armed with rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles attacked an Ethiopian army base in northern Mogadishu, triggering a deadly nighttime clash that sent stray mortar rounds crashing into homes. At least five Somalis were killed and eight wounded in the crossfire.
    (AP, 12/23/07)(AFP, 10/22/11)
2007        Dec 23, In Thailand allies of deposed PM Thaksin Shinawatra appeared to emerge as victors in the post-coup election but failed to secure an absolute majority in parliament. Thaksinites won 233 seats, 8 short of a majority in the 480-seat lower house.
    (AP, 12/23/07)(Econ, 1/5/08, p.33)
2007        Dec 23, Turkish fighter jets bombed Kurdish rebel targets in northern Iraq.
    (AP, 12/23/07)
2007        Dec 23, Uzbeks cast ballots in a tightly controlled presidential vote. Authoritarian President Islam Karimov won a new term in office with 88.1 percent of the votes in an election dismissed by critics as a sham.
    (AP, 12/24/07)

2008        Dec 23, President George W. Bush granted pardons to 14 individuals and commuted the prison sentences of two others convicted of misdeeds ranging from drug offenses to tax evasion, from wildlife violations to bank embezzlement. One pardon, that of Isaac Robert Toussie, was reversed the next day after it was learned that Toussie's father had donated tens of thousands of dollars to the Republican Party a few months ago.
    (SFC, 12/24/08, p.A3)(AP, 12/25/08)
2008        Dec 23, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, said it will pay as much as $640 million to settle 63 lawsuits over wage-and-hour violations, ending years of dispute.
    (AP, 12/24/08)
2008        Dec 23, It was reported that Wal-Mart has offered $2.8 billion to buy a majority stake in Distribucion y Servicio D&S, a Chile-based grocer.
    (WSJ, 12/23/08, p.C10)
2008        Dec 23, In Phoenix, Arizona, Joe Sauceda Gallegos (36) beat 2 boys, ages 7 and 10, with an aluminum baseball bat. On Apr 4, 2012, Gallegos was sentenced to 2 life terms in prison, after pleading guilty to 2 counts of 1st degree murder.
    (SFC, 12/25/08, p.A4)(SFC, 4/5/12, p.A8) 
2008        Dec 23, In NYC police found the body of investor Rene-Thierry Magon de la Villehuchet (65) at his Madison Avenue office. He had grown increasingly subdued after the Madoff scandal broke and apparently swallowed sleeping pills and slashed his wrists with a box cutter. His investment fund had lost $1.4 billion with Bernard Madoff.
    (AP, 12/24/08)(SFC, 12/24/08, p.C3)
2008        Dec 23, A court in northeast Bangladesh sentenced three Islamic militants to death and two others to life in prison for a 2004 grenade attack that wounded a British diplomat and killed three other people.
    (AP, 12/23/08)
2008        Dec 23, Bangladeshi authorities said a new outbreak of bird flu had been detected at a village in the north of the country as they struggled to contain the disease.
    (AP, 12/23/08)
2008        Dec 23, Brazil and France signed an arms deal that could lead to Latin America's first nuclear submarine.
    (AP, 12/23/08)
2008        Dec 23, El Salvador’s President Tony Saca announced he will withdraw Salvadoran troops from Iraq after Dec. 31, pulling out the only remaining soldiers from Latin America.
    (AP, 12/23/08)
2008        Dec 23, Germany filed suit at the World Court asking Italy to stop its legal system from awarding damages to victims of Nazi war crimes.
    (AP, 12/24/08)
2008        Dec 23,  In Guinea a military-led group seized control of the airwaves and declared a coup after the death of the mineral-rich West African country's longtime dictator, but PM Ahmed Tidiane Souare insisted he remained in charge.
    (AP, 12/23/08)
2008        Dec 23, Iraq’s parliament voted to allow non-US foreign troops to stay in the country into 2009 after a power struggle ended in the speaker’s resignation.
    (WSJ, 12/24/08, p.A1)
2008        Dec 23, The director of an Irish security company was forced to steal euro1.2 million ($1.7 million) from his own company and deliver it to an armed gang that had kidnapped his wife and daughter.
    (AP, 12/23/08)
2008        Dec 23, Israeli forces killed three Hamas militants on the Gaza border.
    (AP, 12/24/08)
2008        Dec 23, Kosovo threatened to ban products coming from Serbia if Belgrade does not reverse its policy of blocking goods that carry a customs stamp from its former province.
    (AP, 12/23/08)
2008        Dec 23, Mexican authorities in southern Chiapas state said 8 bodies were found stuffed in plastic garbage bags and dumped on a rural road near the Guatemalan border in an area plagued by drug violence.
    (AP, 12/24/08)
2008        Dec 23, In the southern Philippines members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front attacked villages in the Sultan Kudarat township, killing 9 civilians.
    (SFC, 12/27/08, p.A6)
2008        Dec 23, The World Bank finalized a loan of 975 million euros (1.34 billion dollars) for Poland to support economic reform plans, in a measure not directly related to the global economic crisis.
    (AP, 12/23/08)

2009        Dec 23, The White House said President Obama has removed Madagascar, Guinea and Niger from a list of African countries receiving trade benefits, but reinstated Mauritania. The US froze most aid to Niger and imposed travel bans on some officials in response to President Mamadou Tandja's moves to extend his rule over the impoverished West African nation.
    (AFP, 12/23/09)(Reuters, 12/23/09)
2009        Dec 23, US auto giant Ford said it had agreed the main terms for selling its Swedish brand Volvo Cars to Chinese carmaker Geely, in a deal set to underline China's growing economic clout.
    (AFP, 12/23/09)
2009        Dec 23, In Alaska a 123-foot tug boat hit Bligh Reef, the same reef that damaged the Exxon Valdez in 1989. Over the next few days 49,000 gallons of diesel fuel were salvaged from the tug. It was unknown ho much fuel was spilled.
    (SSFC, 12/27/09, p.A10)
2009        Dec 23, In Afghanistan Mohammad Yunos Shirnagha, a lawmaker from northern Baghlan province, was killed as he returned home in an early morning shootout between his bodyguards and police officers. In Helmand province a bomb killed three civilians and wounded five people, including a soldier. A Taliban commander responsible for several roadside bomb attacks was killed in a clash with Afghan and international forces in Zurmat district of Paktia province in the southeast. A Canadian soldier was killed in a roadside bomb attack.
    (AP, 12/23/09)(AP, 12/24/09)
2009        Dec 23, Australian officials said residents were "fleeing for their lives" as savage wildfires blazed out of control in South Australia, with several homes destroyed and more under threat.
    (AFP, 12/23/09)
2009        Dec 23, Britain banned several drugs known as "legal highs" amid mounting public concern about their health risks. Substances including chemical solvent GBL, often used by nightclub-goers, and BZP, a stimulant similar to amphetamine, are now illegal, as are herbal smoking products containing man-made chemicals such as "Spice."
    (AFP, 12/23/09)
2009        Dec 23, China sentenced Phurbu Tsering Rinpoche (53), a respected Tibetan lama, to 8 1/2 years in jail for illegal land occupation and ammunition possession, possibly the first senior Buddhist leader tried on serious charges linked to riots in 2008 in the Tibetan capital. He was arrested May 18, 2008, just days after more than 80 nuns in Ganzi held a demonstration against an official campaign to impose "patriotic re-education" on their convents.
    (AP, 12/31/09)
2009        Dec 23, In China the Balinghe River bridge opened in Guizhou province. It was the 3rd highest road bridge in the world and featured the 2nd longest span length with a distance between towers of 3,570 feet.
     (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baling_River_Bridge)
2009        Dec 23, Thousands of Eurostar passengers anxious to get away for Christmas battled for train places out of London as heavy rains and freezing conditions sparked yet more travel chaos across Europe.
    (AFP, 12/23/09)
2009        Dec 23, Georgia's Foreign Ministry reached a deal with Russia to open a border crossing that has been closed for three years. The two sides agreed during Swiss-brokered talks that the Verkhny Lars transit point will open in March.
    (AP, 12/24/09)
2009        Dec 23, Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the Nobel-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said India had to curb its high-polluting coal consumption in the near future or risk burning through its reserves.
    (AFP, 12/23/09)   
2009        Dec 23, In Iran security forces in Isfahan clashed with opposition protesters gathered for a memorial for Iran's most senior dissident cleric, beating men and women and firing tear gas.
    (AP, 12/23/09)
2009        Dec 23, In northern Iraq a bomb targeting the Mar Toma Church (Church of St. Thomas) killed 2 men and damaged the historic building in Mosul, a day before Christmas Eve services that will be heavily guarded for fear of more attacks on the country's Christian minority. Gunmen stormed a checkpoint in Abu Ghraib, west of Baghdad, killing four Iraqi police officers. A bomb planted on a minibus killed two people and injured five in a Shiite neighborhood in north Baghdad. In East Baghdad a bomb struck Shiite pilgrims marching toward Karbala killing 3 people. Saud al-Essawi, a Sunni Arab candidate for Iraqi parliamentary elections, and his two bodyguards were killed when a magnetic "sticky bomb" attached to his car exploded in Fallujah. Another bomb in Fallujah targeted an Anbar University professor but missed and killed the man's brother.
    (AP, 12/23/09)(AFP, 12/23/09)(SFC, 12/24/09, p.A3)
2009        Dec 23, Greece planned to adopt a crisis budget in a bid to bring order to its chaotic public finances and restore its badly dented credibility with foreign investors and the EU.
    (AFP, 12/23/09)
2009        Dec 23, In Italy an unusually high tide flooded most of Venice, forcing tourists and residents to wade through knee-high waters or take to improvised, elevated boardwalks set up in St. Mark's Square and other landmarks.
    (AP, 12/23/09)
2009        Dec 23, Italian carmaker Fiat became a majority owner of Serbian car manufacturer Zastava with a 67% stake.
    (Econ, 1/2/10, p.39)(http://tinyurl.com/yd2lccd)
2009        Dec 23, Japanese whalers and militant conservationists clashed in the Antarctic Ocean over two days, with weapons including water cannon, blinding lasers and bottles of rancid acid.
    (AP, 12/23/09)
2009        Dec 23, It was reported that Lebanon's drug-producing heartland is back in business with a resurgence of marijuana and poppy fields, challenging the country's underpowered security forces and adding another dimension to Israel's war with Hezbollah militants.
    (AP, 12/23/09)
2009        Dec 23, A Mexican military Bell 212 helicopter crashed in the Pacific coast state of Guerrero, killing an air force sergeant and seriously injuring two soldiers. US officials recently delivered five Bell helicopters of a different model to Mexico as part of the "Merida Initiative" for aiding the Mexican campaign to curb drug trafficking.
    (AP, 12/23/09)
2009        Dec 23, In northern Nigeria a truck packed with cattle and people collided with a car, killing 18 people and injuring 22 others in the town of Talata Mafara.
    (AFP, 12/24/09)
2009        Dec 23, In Pakistan the Taliban blew up a girls' school overnight in the Khyber district, where troops are fighting against militants in the tribal region bordering Afghanistan.
    (AFP, 12/23/09)
2009        Dec 23, In northern Peru a 60-year-old woman was trampled to death by a surging crowd at a Christmas giveaway in Chimbote.
    (AP, 12/23/09)
2009        Dec 23, Nestle, the Swiss-based food giant, said Zimbabwean government officials and police had made an "unannounced visit" to the plant on Dec 19, forcing staff to take delivery of a tanker of milk from non-contracted suppliers. "Since under such circumstances normal operations and the safety of employees are no longer guaranteed, Nestle decided to temporarily shut down the factory."
    (AFP, 12/23/09)
2009        Dec 23, The UN Security Council voted to renew the mandate of peacekeeping forces in Congo by 5 months instead of the usual year amid plans to overhaul their role in the war-torn country.
    (Reuters, 12/23/09)
2009        Dec 23, The UN Security Council imposed an arms embargo on Eritrea and pledged to slap financial and travel restrictions on its leaders for arming Islamist militants in Somalia.
    (SFC, 12/24/09, p.A2)

2010        Dec 23, The US Treasury Department defended its issuance of special licenses for American companies to do business with Iran and other blacklisted nations, in response to a New York Times report on deals made despite sanctions and trade embargoes. An examination by the newspaper found the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control has made nearly 10,000 exceptions to U.S. sanctions rules over the past decade.
    (Reuters, 12/24/10)
2010        Dec 23, The US population reportedly grew 9.7% over the previous decade to 308.7 million as the US Census Bureau began releasing data.
    (SFC, 12/24/10, p.A6)
2010        Dec 23, In central Florida Kenneth Stephens Jr. (35), a blast team supervisor, was trapped underwater and feared dead after ground gave way at a limerock mine in Bushnell.
    (SFC, 12/24/10, p.A6)
2010        Dec 23, In Afghanistan a suicide bomber killed an Afghan policeman and wounded five civilians in Kunduz. A blast in Ghazni killed a man suspected of being either a suicide bomber or of trying to plant a bomb under a truck. A NATO helicopter opened fire on a convoy of cars heading to an event hosted by the head of a local council in Faryab province, killing a police officer and the brother of a lawmaker. It was reported that US-donated medicines and pharmaceutical supplies meant to keep the new Afghan army and police healthy have been disappearing before reaching Afghan military hospitals and clinics.
    (AFP, 12/23/10)(AP, 12/23/10)
2010        Dec 23, In Australia Melbourne men Wissam Mahmoud Fattal (34), Nayef El Sayed (26), both of Lebanese descent, and Somali-origin Saney Edow Aweys (27) were found guilty of conspiring to plan a terrorist act, which carries a possible life term. Two other men, Somali-origin Abdirahman Mohamud Ahmed (26) and Yacqub Khayre (23) were found not guilty after the three-month trial.
    (AP, 12/23/10)
2010        Dec 23, Anglo-Australian resources giant Rio Tinto made a 3.9 billion US dollar offer for Australia's Riversdale, sparking speculation of a bidding war for its African steel-making coal with Indian and other rivals.
    (AP, 12/23/10)
2010        Dec 23, Human Rights Watch said The United States and Britain should immediately stop supporting the Bangladeshi Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), an anti-crime force blamed for killing hundreds of suspects without trial, if there is no visible effort to reform it.
    (AP, 12/23/10)
2010        Dec 23, China's capital announced that it will sharply limit new vehicle registrations to try to ease massive traffic jams that are rapidly turning Beijing's streets into parking lots.
    (AP, 12/23/10) 
2010        Dec 23, China said it will boost further its already expanding economic ties with Africa, which reached a record two-way volume of more than $100 billion this year.
    (AP, 12/23/10)
2010        Dec 23, In southwestern Colombia a landslide caused by weeks of rains buried 4-5 houses killing at least 12 people. The government and Red Cross said the year's heavy rains have killed at least 312 people in the country.
    (AP, 12/24/10)(Econ, 1/15/11, p.40)
2010        Dec 23, It was reported that the first pill designed to curb a person’s urge to have more than a few drinks of alcohol was undergoing tests in Europe. The drug (nalmafene) was developed by H. Lundbeck A/S in Valby, Denmark.
    (SFC, 12/23/10, p.A2)
2010        Dec 23, The EU and the US jointly threatened to review ties with Belarus following an opposition crackdown after elections that kept President Alexander Lukashenko in power.
    (AFP, 12/23/10)
2010        Dec 23, Greece's governing Socialists won a key budget vote in Parliament, calling for deeper austerity measures in the crisis-hit country and promising to avoid default despite a soaring national debt.
    (AP, 12/23/10)
2010        Dec 23, Hungary’s lawmakers approved new budget plans and pledged to get the budget deficit below 3 percent of national income next year. Fitch Ratings said the measures proposed, particularly on pensions, could actually worsen the public finances in coming years.
    (AP, 12/23/10)
2010        Dec 23, Indian official data showed that food price inflation has returned to double-digits, fuelled by surging onion prices, adding to pressure on the scandal-hit Congress government.
    (AFP, 12/23/10)
2010        Dec 23, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad joined regional leaders for a summit on economic cooperation in Istanbul, just a month ahead of nuclear talks with world powers.
    (AFP, 12/23/10)
2010        Dec 23, In Iraq police patrol discovered the body of Barbaros Mohammed Habeeb, a member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani's party, in the disputed northern oil hub of Kirkuk. Security forces, searching for a young woman on suspicion she had ties to al-Qaida, raided her father's home outside Baqouba. During questioning Najim al-Anbaky told police he had killed his daughter, Shahlaa, a month earlier because he found out she intended to blow herself up in a suicide attack.
    (AFP, 12/23/10)(AP, 12/24/10)
2010        Dec 23, The Irish government gained court approval to nationalize Allied Irish Banks, the fourth bank taken over by Ireland amid a financial crisis brought on by speculative real estate lending.
    (AP, 12/23/10)
2010        Dec 23, Israel's Peace Now movement said Israeli settlers have illegally begun work on at least 100 homes in the occupied West Bank since the end of a freeze on settlement construction.
    (AFP, 12/23/10)
2010        Dec 23, The UN said at least 173 people have been killed in the Ivory Coast and 90 others tortured or treated inhumanely because of post-election violence. The UN General Assembly formally recognized Alassane Ouattara as the winner of the Nov. 28 runoff vote and rescinded the credentials of the Ivory Coast UN ambassador, a supporter of Laurent Gbagbo.
    (AP, 12/23/10)(AP, 12/24/10)
2010        Dec 23, In Kazakhstan a forum of 900 people in Ust-Kamenogorsk put forward an initiative to extend via referendum the president’s term in office until 2020 and to cancel the next presidential election, due in 2012. On Dec 29 it was backed by the country’s one-party parliament and waited for the signature of Pres. Nazarbayev.
    (Econ, 1/8/11, p.40)
2010        Dec 23, Nigeria said it has signed loan deals with China worth 900 million dollars that will be used to finance rail and communication projects in Africa's most populous nation.
    (AFP, 12/23/10)
2010        Dec 23, In South Africa serial killer Thozamile Taki (36) was convicted of murdering 13 women and dumping their bodies in sugarcane plantations around the country. The bodies of the women had decomposed in the fields when they were found in 2007. On Jan 19 Taki received the maximum 13 life sentences. He was also sentenced to 208 years for robbery charges.
    (AP, 12/23/10)(AP, 1/19/11)
2010        Dec 23, In western Sudan Darfur's main rebel groups fought alongside each other for the first time in years as they clashed with government forces. Rights group Amnesty International said that a Sudanese court had sentenced high profile rights activist Mudawi Ibrahim to one year in jail for embezzlement despite an earlier acquittal which found no fraud within his aid agency, SUDO, one of many shut down last year.
    (AFP, 12/23/10)(Reuters, 12/24/10)
2010        Dec 23, In Venezuela police and soldiers fired water cannons and plastic bullets as thousands of students protested against a law passed by Venezuela's congress that increases the government's powers over the country's universities.
    (AP, 12/23/10)

2011        Dec 23, President Barack Obama signed a $1 trillion-plus 2012 spending bill that sets the day-to-day budgets of 10 Cabinet agencies.
    (AP, 12/24/11)
2011        Dec 23, A US federal judge barred high profile Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio from detaining people simply for being in the country illegally, in a ruling that faulted the local lawman for enforcing federal immigration law.
    (Reuters, 12/24/11)
2011        Dec 23, The US Justice Dept. rejected South Carolina’s law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls.
    (SFC, 12/24/11, p.A8)
2011        Dec 23, Police used pepper spray to break up fights among pushing and shoving customers waiting outside a Seattle area mall to buy the first Nike retro Air Jordan basketball shoes as they went on sale in Tukwila.
    (AP, 12/23/11)
2011        Dec 23, Afghanistan's leading human rights activist, Nader Nadery (36), said that President Hamid Karzai has fired him and two others from the government's own rights commission. The claim came as the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission was working on a landmark report about abuses in the country. Karzai's spokesman said Nadery’s five year term was over and the president did not renew his term.
    (AFP, 12/23/11)
2011        Dec 23, The Afghan Interior Ministry said three civilians have died in an explosion of a truck in the south of the country. The truck appeared to have been transporting a bomb through a town in Takhta Pul district in Kandahar province. An explosion at a coal mine in Baghlan province killed 11 miners. They were all working at the site without government permission.
    (AP, 12/23/11)(AP, 12/24/11)
2011        Dec 23, Bahrain’s security forces firing rubber bullets and tear gas attacked the headquarters of the main Shiite opposition party in Manama after the group challenged a new government ban on its weekly protests. Authorities banned the weekly Friday protests for the first time since emergency laws were lifted in June.
    (AP, 12/23/11)
2011        Dec 23, In China police fired tear gas at hundreds of people and detained a team of Hong Kong journalists in the southern town of Haimen, the scene of violent protests earlier this week. Activist Chen Wei (42) was sentenced to nine years in prison on subversion charges.
    (AFP, 12/23/11)(AP, 12/24/11)
2011        Dec 23, In China Huang Guang, a local forestry official, poisoned a cat meat hotpot shared with billionaire Long Liyuan, who made his fortune running a forestry company in wealthy Guangdong province. On Jan 2 Yangjiang city authorities reported the arrest of Guang.
    (AFP, 1/4/12)
2011        Dec 23, Colombian crime boss Jose Lopez Montero (40), alias "Caracho", surrendered in the city of Villavicencio. A total of 283 other members of his group also turned themselves in over the last 2 days. More than 200 members of the crime ring were soon freed because there were no charges pending against them.
    (AP, 12/23/11)(AP, 12/26/11)
2011        Dec 23, In Colombia a fuel pipeline exploded in the central province of Risaralda, killing at least 7 people, injuring 45 others and destroying homes.
    (AP, 12/23/11)
2011        Dec 23, DR Congo police banned a swearing-in ceremony for opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi. Police fired tear gas at supporters of the opposition leader who had gathered near a stadium to see him inaugurating himself as president, three days after President Joseph Kabila was sworn in for a second term. Tshisekedi took the oath on a Bible at his home.
    (AFP, 12/23/11)(AP, 12/23/11)(AFP, 12/24/11)
2011        Dec 23, Cuba's supreme governing body pardoned 2,900 prisoners, including some convicted of political crimes, though no mention was made of Alan Gross, a jailed American whose case has become a sticking point between Havana and Washington.
    (AP, 12/23/11)
2011        Dec 23, Several thousand Egyptians rallied in Cairo's central Tahrir Square to denounce violence against protesters, especially outraged by images of women protesters dragged by their hair, beaten and kicked by troops. Thousands turned out for rival protests in Cairo, exposing the widening rifts among Egyptians over the ruling military's handling of transition from Hosni Mubarak's rule.
    (AP, 12/23/11)(AFP, 12/23/11)
2011        Dec 23, It was reported that a herpes virus has decimated oysters along its coast for a 4th straight season. 70-80% of France’s young stock have died this year.
    (SFC, 12/23/11, p.A4)
2011        Dec 23, Hungary’s police detained former PM Ferenc Gyurcsany and several other opposition politicians who were protesting against the government outside Parliament. Government lawmakers were in the process of approving several contentious laws, including a new central bank law that has drawn criticism from the European Union.
    (AP, 12/23/11)
2011        Dec 23, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made a visit to Armenia that saw the Islamic republic and its small Christian neighbor sign a series of agreements to boost ties.
    (AFP, 12/23/11)
2011        Dec 23, Mexico said that it seized 229 metric tons of precursor chemicals used to make methamphetamine, the third such huge seizure this month at the Pacific port of Lazaro Cardenas, all of which were bound for a port in Guatemala. Special military forces seized computer files and other data when they detained Felipe Cabrera Sarabia, the security chief of the Sinaloa drug cartel. The attorney general's office in Veracruz said it had found 10 bodies in an area along the border with Tamaulipas after receiving a tip.
    (AP, 12/23/11)(AP, 12/26/11)
2011        Dec 23, The International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague freed Rwandan rebel Callixte Mbarushimana and returned him to France after dismissing murder and rape charges against him. He spent 11 months in detention and was the first war crimes suspect to be arrested and freed without trial since the court began work in 2002.
    (AP, 12/23/11)
2011        Dec 23, New Zealand's Christchurch was rocked by a fresh series of powerful earthquakes, sending terrified people fleeing into the streets 10 months after a devastating quake claimed 181 lives. Two shallow quakes of magnitude 5.8 and 5.9 and a series of aftershocks struck as malls were packed with afternoon Christmas shoppers.
    (AFP, 12/23/11)
2011        Dec 23, In Nigeria a fresh round of explosions and gunfire hit the city of Damaturu as authorities battled suspected members of Islamist sect Boko Haram, a day after unrest killed six people.
    (AFP, 12/23/11)
2011        Dec 23, The Pakistani army rejected key findings from a US investigation into American airstrikes last month that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers and said the report was unlikely to repair the severely damaged relationship between the two countries.
    (AP, 12/23/11)(AFP, 1/5/12)
2011        Dec 23, A Russian Soyuz spacecraft arrived at the Int’l. Space Station delivering a Russian, an American and a Dutchman, restoring the permanent crew to six.
    (SFC, 12/24/11, p.A2)
2011        Dec 23, In central Somalia a resident of a refugee camp at Mataban shot and killed three aid workers, including two workers with the UN's World Food Program.
    (AP, 12/23/11)
2011        Dec 23, The Sudanese army killed the leader of the main Darfur rebel group in fighting. Khalil Ibrahim, who led the Darfur-based Justice and Equality Movement, or JEM, was killed during a military offensive in North Kordofan state to retaliate for a deadly rebel attack there a day earlier. Ibrahim and several associates were killed in Wad Banda.
    (AP, 12/25/11)(AP, 1/26/12)
2011        Dec 23, In Syria twin suicide car bomb blasts ripped through an upscale Damascus district, killing 44 people. The blasts went off outside the main headquarters of the General Intelligence Agency and a branch of the military intelligence. Activists reported anti-government protests in several locations across Syria after Friday prayers during which security force shot dead at least eight people, mostly in the restive central province of Homs. 4 people were found dumped on the streets in Houla, also in Homs province.
    (AP, 12/23/11)(AP, 12/24/11)
2011        Dec 23, Turkey responded to French genocide allegations with a charge of its own, accusing France of committing genocide during its colonial occupation of Algeria. He alleged that beginning in 1945, about 15 percent of the population of Algeria was massacred by the French. He also said Algerians were burned in ovens. Most historians contend the Ottoman killings of up to 1.5 million Armenians constituted the first genocide of the 20th century.
    (AP, 12/23/11)

2012        Dec 23, Egypt's opposition called for an investigation into allegations of vote fraud in the referendum on a deeply divisive Islamist-backed constitution after the Muslim Brotherhood, the main group backing the charter, claimed it passed with a 64 percent "yes" vote.
    (AP, 12/23/12)
2012        Dec 23, Guatemala federal prosecutor Irma Yolanda Olivares, who worked in one of the prosecutor's regional officers, was slain along with an official working for a government social service agency and five others in an attack near the Mexican border. Drug traffickers were blamed.
    (AP, 12/24/12)
2012        Dec 23, In India police in New Delhi used tear gas and water cannons for a second day in a high-security zone to break up protests by thousands of people demonstrating against the gang rape and beating of a 23-year-old student on a bus.
    (AP, 12/23/12)
2012        Dec 23, In Iraq thousands of protesters demonstrated in the western Sunni heartland following the arrest of bodyguards assigned to Finance Minister Rafia al-Issaw, briefly blocking the main highway linking Baghdad with neighboring Jordan and Syria.
    (AP, 12/23/12)
2012        Dec 23, Israeli forces fired at and seriously wounded two men east of Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip.
    (AP, 12/23/12)
2012        Dec 23, In Mali Islamist extremists destroyed four mausoleums in Timbuktu. Residents said the destruction of the graves is the rebels' reaction to the recent UN resolution calling for an international military intervention.
    (AP, 12/23/12)
2012        Dec 23, Gunmen attacked a supply tug boat off the coast of Nigeria's oil-rich southern delta, kidnapping 4 sailors, including 3 Italians. All 4 sailors were reported freed on Jan 9.
    (AP, 12/24/12)(AP, 1/9/13)
2012        Dec 23, Puntland forces, after a two-week seige, captured back the Panamanian-flagged MV Iceburg 1 and rescued 22 hostages who had been held by pirates since May 29, 2010. The hijackers had killed a Yemeni sailor who tried to escape. The pirates near the coastal village of Gara’ad escaped.
    (SFC, 12/24/12, p.A2)(AP, 12/29/12)
2012        Dec 23, Syrian activists said a government airstrike on a bakery in a rebel-held town in Halfaya killed more than 60 people. The attack coincided with the start of a two-day visit by Lakhdar Brahimi, who represents the UN And the Arab League, to meet with top Syrian officials. 6 Syrian rebels reportedly died in two neighborhoods after inhaling white smoke that came out of shells fired by government troops in the area.
    (AP, 12/23/12)(AP, 12/25/12)

2013        Dec 23, Yuseef Lateef (93), grammy-winning jazz musician and composer, died at his home in Shutesbury, Massachusetts.
    (SFC, 12/26/13, p.D2)
2013        Dec 23, In Mississippi a bank robber killed Tupelo police officer Kevin Stauffer (38) and injured another as he escaped. In Dec 28 Arizona police in Phoenix shot and killed Mario Edward Garnett (40) following an attempted bank robbery. He is believed to be the same man accused in the Dec 23 killing of Tupelo police officer Kevin Stauffer. 
    (SFC, 12/25/13, p.A7)(SFC, 12/30/13, p.A6)
2013        Dec 23, A federal judge ordered Ohio authorities to recognize same-sex marriages on death certificates.
    (SFC, 12/24/13, p.A5)
2013        Dec 23, Over 390,000 homes and businesses were without power in Michigan, New York and northern New England. In Maine over 78,000 people were without power. The weekend storm left at least 11 people dead.
    (SFC, 12/24/13, p.A5)
2013        Dec 23, In Afghanistan two NATO service members were killed in separate attacks in the east and south. One was a British soldier killed by enemy fire.
    (AP, 12/23/13)(AP, 12/24/13)
2013        Dec 23, A Bahrain court acquitted two police officers accused of torturing doctors who were detained while treating wounded Shiite protesters in 2011. Sheikha Noura bint Ibrahim al-Khalifa (29), a Bahraini princess, was one of the two police officers acquitted.
    (AP, 12/23/13)(Reuters, 12/27/13)
2013        Dec 23, In Belgium Andras Pandy (86), a serial killers dubbed the "Devil's Pastor", died overnight in a jail in northwestern Bruges.
    (AFP, 12/23/13)
2013        Dec 23, Britain's disgraced former Europe minister Denis MacShane (65) was jailed for six months after admitting he falsely claimed thousands of pounds in parliamentary expenses.
    (AFP, 12/23/13)
2013        Dec 23, British retailer Marks & Spencer faced criticism after it emerged that it allows Muslim staff to refuse to sell customers pork and alcohol.
    (AFP, 12/23/13)
2013        Dec 22, In Central African Republic former Seleka rebels and their Muslim supporters blocked a route near Bangui's airport to protest against French troops conducting a disarmament operation, accusing them of killing 3 fighters in clashes. An African Union peacekeeper from the Republic of Congo was killed by the anti-balaka, a Christian militia.
    (AFP, 12/22/13)(AP, 12/24/13)
2013        Dec 23, China's ruling Communist Party told the already tightly monitored state media that they should not be reporting on "wrong points of view" and instead cover positive stories that promote "socialist values."
    (Reuters, 12/23/13)
2013        Dec 23, In Dubai Shezanne Cassim (29), a US citizen man detained for months, and seven co-defendants were fined and sentenced to jail after being convicted in connection to a satirical video about youth culture. Officials charged that the film spoofing would-be Dubai "gangstas" ran afoul of a 2012 cybercrimes law.
    (AP, 12/23/13)
2013        Dec 23, Dubai media reported that police have made a record drug seizure of some 4.6 million Captagon pills, an amphetamine-like stimulant, worth more than $31 million (23 million euros).
    (AFP, 12/23/13)
2013        Dec 23, In Egypt more than 450 imprisoned Muslim Brotherhood members launched a hunger strike to protest their "inhuman treatment" after being jailed following the military's overthrow of Pres. Morsi.
    (AFP, 12/23/13)
2013        Dec 23, The European Union banned the export of arms and the sending of mercenaries to Central African Republic.
    (Reuters, 12/23/13)
2013        Dec 23, India's anti-corruption crusader Arvind Kejriwal announced he would head a state government for New Delhi in a stunning breakthrough for his fledgling party just months before a general election.
    (AP, 12/23/13)
2013        Dec 23, In Iraq suicide bombers in Tikrit assaulted a television station headquarters, killing 5 journalists in the latest in a series of attacks against the media. Two of the bombers blew themselves up and security forces killed the other two when they stormed the building. Other violence in the country killed 17 people.
    (AFP, 12/23/13)
2013        Dec 23, Kuwait's Cabinet resigned ahead of a reshuffle and plans by some legislators to submit a number of ministers to parliamentary grilling.
    (AP, 12/23/13)
2013        Dec 23, Libya's interim parliament voted to extend the country's post-revolutionary transition, giving itself an extra year to oversee the writing of a constitution and the holding of new elections.
    (AP, 12/23/13)
2013        Dec 23, The Moroccan-flagged fuel tanker "Silver" hit rocks near the Atlantic port of Tan Tan during a storm, and there were fears of an ecological disaster. Over the next two weeks the cargo was offloaded to fuel trucks.
    (AP, 1/5/14)
2013        Dec 23, Nigeria's military reportedly killed at least 50 Islamist rebels fleeing towards Cameroon in a battle in which 15 of its own soldiers and five civilians also died.
    (Reuters, 12/24/13)
2013        Dec 23, Nearly half Pakistan's lawmakers reported they paid no taxes, according to a study released today, findings that may endanger billions of dollars in IMF and other loans and aid that shore up a faltering economy.
    (Reuters, 12/23/13)
2013        Dec 23, Residents of Pakistan's ethnic Pashtun region of North Waziristan accused government troops of killing dozens of civilians during a military operation against Taliban insurgents. Military officials said more than 30 militants, most of them ethnic Uzbeks, had been killed in a military operation that began after a December 18 suicide bomb attack.
    (Reuters, 12/23/13)
2013        Dec 23, Police in the Philippine capital banned the wearing of caps and sunglasses in shopping malls to stop criminals concealing their identity from security cameras.
    (AFP, 12/23/13)
2013        Dec 23, In Russia two jailed members of the punk band Pussy Riot were released following an amnesty law that both described as a Kremlin public relations stunt ahead of the Winter Olympics.
    (AP, 12/23/13)
2013        Dec 23, Russia said it has sent 25 armored trucks and 50 other vehicles to Syria to help transport toxins that are to be destroyed under an international agreement to rid the nation of its chemical arsenal.
    (Reuters, 12/23/13)
2013        Dec 23, Russia bought $3 billion worth of Ukrainian bonds, the first batch of a promised $15 billion, in a bid to support its neighbor's economy.
    (AP, 12/24/13)
2013        Dec 23, Russia’s Mikhail Kalashnikov (b.1919), the designer of the AK-47 assault rifle, died in Izhevsk, the capital of the Udmurtia republic.
    (AP, 12/23/13)(SFC, 12/25/13, p.D4)
2013        Dec 23, A Saudi court sentenced a citizen to 30 years in prison for leading demonstrations in 2011 against a crackdown on Shiite Muslims in neighboring Bahrain.
    (AP, 12/23/13)
2013        Dec 23, South Sudan's government said it will start a major offensive to retake two strategic towns controlled by rebels loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar, deepening fears that the conflict is provoking broader ethnic bloodletting. Some 3,000 foreigners were trapped in Bor as the city experienced bouts of heavy machine gun fire.
    (Reuters, 12/23/13)(AP, 12/23/13)
2013        Dec 23, Syrian government forces widened a northern bombing campaign striking Azaz and killing 15 people.
    (SFC, 12/24/13, p.A2)
2013        Dec 23, In Thailand anti-government protesters determined to unseat PM Shinawatra surrounded a Bangkok sports stadium in an unsuccessful attempt to block political parties from registering for February elections.
    (AP, 12/23/13)
2013        Dec 23, President Jose Mujica of Uruguay quietly signed into law the government's plan to create a regulated, legal market for marijuana. Bureaucrats now have until April 9 to write the fine print for regulating every aspect of the marijuana market, from growing to selling in a network of pharmacies.
    (AP, 12/25/13)
2013        Dec 23, Yemeni political parties signed a document pledging a "just solution" that would grant some autonomy to the south in the face of secessionist demands.
    (AFP, 12/24/13)
 2013        Dec 23, Zambia's defense minister Geoffrey Mwamba resigned after admitting that he met a traditional leader who is blackballed by the country's president.
    (AFP, 12/23/13)

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