Return to homeFestivus, 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.
Dec 23, Philippus Cancellarius, French theologian and poet (Summa
Cum Laude), died.
1569 Dec 23, St. Philip,
metropolitan of Moscow, was martyred by Ivan the Terrible.
1588 Dec 23, Henri de Guise
(37), French leader of Catholic League, was murdered.
1620 Dec 23, French Huguenots
declared war on King Louis XIII.
1644 Dec 23, Tomas de Torrejon
y Velasco, composer, was born.
1688 Dec 23, English King James
II fled to France.
1688 Dec 23, Jean-Louis Lully
(21), composer, died.
1716 Dec 23, Johann Heinrich
Rolle, composer, was born.
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.
1776 Dec 23, Continental
Congress negotiated a war loan of $181,500 from France.
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.
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.
1783 Dec 23, George Washington
resigned as commander-in-chief of the Army and retired to his home
at Mount Vernon, Va.
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.
1790 Dec 23, Jean François
Champollion, French founder of Egyptology, was born. He deciphered
the Rosetta Stone.
1793 Dec 23, Thomas Jefferson
warned of slave revolts in West Indies.
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.
12/23/97)(AH, 2/05, p.18)
1828 Dec 23, Mathilde
Wesendonk, German writer, poet (Tagebuchblatter), was born.
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.
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).
1861 Dec 23, Lord Lyons, The
British minister to America presented a formal complaint to
secretary of state, William Seward, regarding the Trent affair.
1862 Dec 23, Union Gen. Ben
"Beast" Butler was proclaimed a "felon, outlaw & common enemy of
mankind" by Jefferson Davis.
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
(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
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.
1900 Dec 23, The Federal Party,
which recognized American sovereignty, was formed in the
1907 Dec 23, The 1st all-steel
passenger railroad coach was completed at Altoona, Pa.
1908 Dec 23, Yousuf Karsh,
portrait photographer (Life Magazine), was born.
1911 Dec 23, Emmanuel
Wolf-Ferrari's opera "I Giojelli Della Madonna" was produced in
1912 Dec 23, The 1st "Keystone
Kops" film, titled "Hoffmeyer's Legacy," was produced.
1912 Dec 23, The Aswan Dam in
Egypt began operation.
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.
1918 Dec 23, Helmut Schmidt,
Chancellor of Germany, was born.
1918 Dec 23, Jose Greco,
flamenco dancer (Holiday for Lovers), was born in Italy.
1919 Dec 23, The 1st hospital
ship built to move wounded naval personnel was launched.
1919 Dec 23, Alice H. Parker
patented a gas heating furnace.
1919 Dec 23, Britain instituted
a new constitution for India.
1920 Dec 23, Ireland was
divided into 2 parts, each with its own parliament.
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
(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
1928 Dec 23, The National
Broadcasting Co. (NBC) set up a permanent, coast-to-coast network.
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.
1933 Dec 23, The Pope condemned
the Nazi sterilization program.
1933 Dec 23, Marinus van der
Lubbe was sentenced to death for Reichstag "Fire."
1937 Dec 23, London warned Rome
to stop the anti-British propaganda in Palestine.
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."
1939 Dec 23, The first Canadian
troops arrived in Britain.
1939 Dec 23, Anthony H.G.
Fokker (49), Dutch airplane builder (Spider), died in America.
1940 Dec 23, Chiang Kai-shek
dissolved all Communist associations in China.
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
(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,
1943 Dec 23, Gen. Montgomery
was appointed British commandant for D-day.
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.
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
(SFC, 10/20/14, p.A1)
1945 Dec 23, Frederick Ashton's
"Cinderella" premiered in London.
1946 Dec 23, Highest ridership
in NYC subway history took place with 8.8 million passengers.
1947 Dec 23, Truman granted a
pardon to 1,523 who had evaded the World War II draft.
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
(WSJ, 9/22/95, p.A-7)(SFEC, 8/17/97, BR p.4)(AP,
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,
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
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
1962 Dec 23, Cuba started
returning US prisoners from Bay of Pigs invasion.
1964 Dec 23, India and Ceylon
were hit by a cyclone and 4,850 were killed.
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.
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.
1967 Dec 23, US Navy SEALs were
ambushed during an operation southeast of Saigon.
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.
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.
1970 Dec 23, French journalist
Regis Debray (b.1940), arrested in 1967, was freed in Bolivia.
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).
5/6/98, p.A1)(Econ, 10/16/04, p.13)(SFC, 11/13/96, p.C3)(SFC,
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.
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,
1972 Dec 23, Charles Atlas
(79), [Angelo Siciliano], body builder, died.
1973 Dec 23, 6 Persian Gulf
nations doubled their oil prices.
1974 Dec 23, The B-1 bomber
made its first successful test flight.
1974 Dec 23, Faidon (Phaedon)
Gizikis (1917-1999), Greek Gen'l. and former president (1973-1974),
resigned and retired from the army.
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.
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.
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,
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.
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.
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.
1989 Dec 23, Ousted Romanian
President Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife, Elena, were captured as
they were attempting to flee their country.
1990 Dec 23, Saddam Hussein
said Israel would be Iraq's 1st target.
1990 Dec 23, Slovenians voted
overwhelmingly in favor of independence and their republic’s
secession from Yugoslavia.
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.
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
(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.
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.
1994 Dec 23, US Professional
baseball owners imposed a salary cap fiercely opposed by players.
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.
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.
1996 Dec 23, Russian President
Boris Yeltsin returned to his office at the Kremlin after a
six-month bout with a heart ailment.
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.
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,
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.
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.
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.
1997 Dec 23, For the 1st time a
Chanukah candle was officially lit in Vatican City.
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
(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
(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,
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.
1999 Dec 23, The Nasdaq
composite index briefly crossed 4,000 and closed at a record high
for the 58th time in 1999.
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
(SSFC, 12/24/00, p.A12)
2000 Dec 23, Actor Billy Barty
died in Glendale, Calif., at age 76.
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.
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
(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
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.
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
(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.
2002 Dec 23, More than 100
Gabonese students took over their embassy in Senegal, trapping three
diplomats overnight to protest unpaid scholarships.
2002 Dec 23, Iraqi aircraft
shot down a U.S. unmanned surveillance drone over southern Iraq.
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.
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.
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.
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
(SFC, 12/24/03, p.A4)
2003 Dec 23, A Virginia jury
recommended a sentence of life in prison for Lee Boyd Malvo.
2003 Dec 23, New York Gov.
George Pataki posthumously pardoned comedian Lenny Bruce for his
1964 obscenity conviction.
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.
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,
2003 Dec 23, In Colombia a bus
explosion that killed at least four people and injured more than 30
others was called an accident.
2003 Dec 23, In Croatia Ivo
Sanader (b.1953) began serving as prime minister. He resigned office
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
(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.
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.
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.
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
(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.
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.
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
(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
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.
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,
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
2004 Dec 23, An Indonesian
military helicopter crashed into mountains on Indonesia's Java
island, killing 14 soldiers on board.
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,
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.
2004 Dec 23, Nepali soldiers
killed 22 Maoist rebels in a fierce gun battle in the west of the
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
(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.
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.
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
(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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
2005 Dec 23, In Honduras,
official results confirmed that opposition candidate Manuel Zelaya
won the presidency in November elections.
2005 Dec 23, India's parliament
voted to expel 11 lawmakers who were caught on camera taking bribes
to raise questions in parliament.
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
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.
2005 Dec 23, Police in southern
Italy arrested three Algerians on international terrorism charges
and accused them of planning attacks in Iraq and Italy.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
2006 Dec 23, California Gov.
Arnold Schwarzenegger (59) broke his leg while skiing with his
family in Sun Valley, Idaho.
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.
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
(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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
2006 Dec 23, A bus plunged into
a river in Peru's central mountains, killing at least nine people
and leaving four missing.
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.
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
(AP, 12/23/07)(WSJ, 12/24/07, p.A1)(SFC,
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
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.
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,
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
(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.
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
(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.
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
2008 Dec 23, Brazil and France
signed an arms deal that could lead to Latin America's first nuclear
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.
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.
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
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.
2008 Dec 23, Israeli forces
killed three Hamas militants on the Gaza border.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
(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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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."
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.
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
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
(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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
(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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
(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.
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.
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.
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
(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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
2012 Dec 23, Israeli forces
fired at and seriously wounded two men east of Deir al-Balah in the
central Gaza Strip.
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.
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
(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
(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
(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.
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
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.
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."
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.
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).
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.
2013 Dec 23, The European Union
banned the export of arms and the sending of mercenaries to Central
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
(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.
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
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
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