Return to home Christmas is the festival
celebrating the birth of Christ and is observed in most countries on
December 25. Christmas is sometimes called Yule (from the
Anglo-Saxon) or Noel (from the French). Christian churches
throughout the world hold special services on Christmas Day to give
thanks for the birth of Christ. In addition to religious
observances, Christmas is a time of merrymaking and feasting. North
American customs are a combination of those of the various European
countries from which the original settlers came. On Christmas Eve
children hang stockings for Santa Claus to fill with gifts. The
Christmas tree, usually an evergreen, was first used in Germany.
Topped with a star or spire and decorated with colored lights and
shiny ornaments, the tree plays an important part in the
celebration. Mistletoe was sacred to the Druids, priests of ancient
Britain and Gaul. The Norse used holly and the Yule log to keep away
evil spirits. Gifts were exchanged during the Roman celebration of
the Saturnalia, a feast to the god Saturn. Gift-giving came to
symbolize the gifts brought to the Christ Child by the Magi. The
most popular Christmas legend however, is that of Santa Claus, whose
name came from Saint Nicholas, the patron saint of children. Many of
the qualities that Santa Claus is known for came from Clement C.
Moore's poem "A Visit From St. Nicholas."
In 354 Pope Liberius decided to
add the Nativity to the Church calendar and selected December 25 to
celebrate it. [see 336]
(WSJ, 12/21/07, p.A19) 1CE Dec 25,
The celebrated birth of Christ in Bethlehem. The birth of Jesus is
celebrated on Dec. 25th because the Romans needed to replace the
pagan holiday called the Feast of the Unconquered Sun. In Ethiopia
Jan 7 is the day that Christmas is celebrated. According to the
gospel of Matthew Joseph soon fled with his family to Egypt
following a decree by Herod that ordered all boys of Bethlehem under
age 2 to be put to death. The gospels of Luke and Matthew are
inconsistent on historical facts. Christ’s birth on this day was
officially set by the Roman Church in 336AD. [see 6-2BCE]
(SFC, 12/4/94, p. S-4)(SFC, 8/2/99, p.A10)(Econ,
274 Dec 25, Emperor Aurelian
imported into Rome the cult of Sol Invictus and made its Dec 25
festival a national holiday.
(WSJ, 12/18/98, p.W15)
336 Dec 25, The first recorded
celebration of Christmas on this day took place in Rome. By this
year Dec 25 was established in the Liturgy of the Roman Church as
the birthday of Jesus. [see 354] The Basilica of St. Anastasia was
built as soon as a year after the Nicaean Council. It probably was
where Christmas was first marked on Dec. 25, part of broader efforts
to link pagan practices to Christian celebrations in the early days
of the new religion. In 2007 Italian archaeologists unveiled an
underground grotto, near St. Anastasia, that they believe ancient
Romans revered as the place where a wolf nursed Rome's legendary
founder Romulus and his twin brother Remus.
(WSJ, 12/18/98, p.W15)(AP, 12/25/99)(AP,
376 Dec 25, In Milan, Ambrose,
the Bishop of Milan, forced the emperor Theodosius to perform public
penance for his massacre.
800 Dec 25, Pope Leo III
crowned Frankish warrior-king Charlemagne as heir of the Roman
emperors at the basilica of St. Peter's at Rome.
(V.D.-H.K.p.105)(Econ, 9/4/10, p.56)
820 Dec 25, Leo V, the
Armenian, Byzantine gen and Emperor (813-20), was murdered.
1066 Dec 25, William the
Conqueror (d.1087), Duke William of Normandy, was crowned king of
England. Under the reign of William I the construction of Windsor
(TLC, 6/25/95)(SFC, 5/25/96, p.A12)(AP,
1223 Dec 25, St. Francis of
Assisi assembled one of the first Nativity scenes, in Greccio,
1621 Dec 25, The governor
William Bradford of New Plymouth prevented newcomers from playing
cards. The queens later depicted on playing cards were said to be:
spades (Pallas), hearts (Judith), diamonds (Rachel), clubs
(HN, 12/25/98)(SFC, 3/20/99, p.B4)(MC, 12/25/01)
1635 Dec 25, Samuel de
Champlain (b.1575), French navigator and founder of Quebec City,
died in Quebec. In 2008 David Hackett Fischer authored “Champlain’s
1642 Dec 25, (OS) Isaac Newton
(d.1727), English physicist, mathematician and scientist, was born
in Woolsthorpe (Grantham), Lincolnshire, England. He enunciated the
laws of motion and the law of gravity [see Jan 4, 1643].
1643 Dec 25, Captain William
Mynors of the Royal Mary, a British East India Company vessel, named
Christmas Island when he sailed past it on Christmas Day.
Sovereignty of the island was transferred to Australia in 1957.
1651 Dec 25, The General Court
of Boston levied a five shilling fine on anyone caught “observing
any such day as Christmas."
1683 Dec 25, Kara Mustapha
(b.~1634), chief of the Ottoman janissaries, appeared before the
grand vizier in Belgrade. He was sentenced to death and executed for
the military loss at Vienna.
1688 Dec 25, English king James
II landed in Ambleteuse, France.
1711 Dec 25, London’s St.
Paul’s Cathedral, designed by Sir Christopher Wren, was declared
officially complete by Parliament. In fact construction was to
continue for several years after that, with the statues on the roof
only being added in the 1720s. In 2008 Leo Hollis authored “The
Phoenix: St Paul’s Cathedral and the Men Who Made Modern London."
1739 Dec 25, Chevalier de
Saint-Georges (1739-1799) was born. He was the first African
American musician to achieve international renown as a classical
composer, violinist and conductor.
1741 Dec 25, Astronomer Anders
Celcius introduced the Centigrade temperature scale.
1745 Dec 25, Prussia and
Austria signed the Treaty of Dresden. This gave much of Silesia to
1761 Dec 25, Elisabeth Petrovna
(~51), tsarina of Russia (1741-62), died.
1776 Dec 25, Gen. George
Washington and his troops crossed the Delaware River for a surprise
attack against 1,400 Hessian forces at Trenton, N.J.
(AP, 12/25/97)(MC, 12/25/01)
1779 Dec 25, A court-martial
was convened against Benedict Arnold. He defended himself
successfully on 6 of 8 charges but was convicted of illegally
issuing a government pass and using government wagons to transport
(ON, 11/01, p.2)
1799 Dec 25, Napoleon’s new
constitution went into effect. It gave him, as First Consul, powers
to promulgate laws, nominate senior officials, control finances and
conduct negotiations with foreign powers.
(ON, 1/02, p.12)
1818 Dec 25, "Silent Night" by
Franz Gruber was performed for the first time, at the Church of St.
Nikolaus in Oberndorff, Austria.
(HFA, '96, p.44)(AP, 12/25/97)
1821 Dec 25, Clara Barton
(d.1912), the founder of the American Red Cross, was born in North
Oxford, Massachusetts. She worked as a volunteer nurse during the
Civil War, distributing food and medical supplies to troops and
earning herself the label "Angel of the Battlefield." She later
served alongside the International Red Cross in Europe--however, she
could not work directly with the organization because she was a
woman. In 1882 she formed an American branch of the Red Cross.
Barton lobbied for the Geneva Convention and she expanded the
mission of the Red Cross to include helping victims of peacetime
disasters. Clara Barton died at her home in Glen Echo, Maryland, on
April 12, 1912, when she was 90 years old.
(HNPD, 12/26/98)(WUD, 1994 p.123)
1832 Dec 25, Charles Darwin
celebrated Christmas in St. Martin at Cape Receiver.
1833 Dec 25, Charles Darwin
celebrated Christmas in Port Desire, Patagonia.
1834 Dec 25, Charles Darwin
celebrated Christmas on Beagle at Tres Montes, Chile.
1835 Dec 25, Charles Darwin
celebrated Christmas in Pahia, New Zealand.
1837 Dec 25, In the Battle of
Okeechobee US forces defeated the Seminole Indians.
1861 Dec 25, Stonewall Jackson
spent Christmas with his wife; their last together.
1862 Dec 25, President and Mrs.
Lincoln visited hospitals in the Washington D.C. area on this
1862 Dec 25, John Hunt Morgan
and his raiders clashed with Union forces near Bear Wallow,
Kentucky. Fighting also occurred at Green’s Chapel.
1865 Dec 25, Evangeline Cory
Booth, Salvation Army general (1904-34), was born.
1868 Dec 25, President Andrew
Johnson granted an unconditional pardon to all persons involved in
the Southern rebellion that resulted in the Civil War.
1870 Dec 25, Rosa Luxemburg
(d.1919), Polish-German revolutionary and founder of the German
Communist Party, was born: "Freedom is always and exclusively
freedom for the one who thinks differently."
(HN, 12/25/98)(AP, 7/6/99)
1870 Dec 25, The Tiber broke
its banks in a terrible flood in Rome.
(Econ, 7/25/05, p.72)
1876 Dec 25, Mohammed Ali
Jinnah (d.1948), founder of Pakistan (1947), gov. (1947-58), was
born in Karachi.
1893 Dec 25, Robert Leroy
Ripley, artist, author and radio broadcaster (Believe It or Not),
was born in Santa Rosa, Calif.
1896 Dec 25, "Stars &
Stripes Forever" was written by John Philip Sousa.
1899 Dec 25, Humphrey Bogart,
actor (“Here's looking at you, kid" in Casablanca), was born in NYC.
[see Jan 23, 1899]
1907 Dec 25, Cab Calloway, band
leader and first Jazz singer to sell a million records, was born.
1912 Dec 25, Italy landed
troops in Albania to protect its interests during a revolt there.
1913 Dec 25, In San Francisco
the St. Francis of Assisi church on Vallejo Street re-opened
following fire damage from 1906.
(SSFC, 3/25/12, DB p.41)
1914 Dec 25, German and British
troops declared an unofficial truce to celebrate Christmas during
World War I.
1914 Dec 25, The British Royal
Navy Air Force attempted to bomb the German Zeppelin shed at
Cuxhaven. Fog obscured the mission and the bombs were dropped on
other sites, i.e. a seaplane base on Langeoog Island, the light
cruisers Stralsund and Graudenz and the city of Wilhemshaven. An
audacious British air attack on a Zeppelin base in northern Germany
caught the Germans with their defenses down.
(AH, 1/97)(HN, 3/22/97)
1915 Dec 25, At the war front
near Laventie, France, British and German soldiers exchanged
greetings, cigarettes and engaged in a short game of free-for-all
(SFC, 8/3/01, p.D5)
1918 Dec 25, Anwar Sadat
(d.1981), president of Egypt, was born. "There can be hope only for
a society which acts as one big family, and not as many separate
ones." He shared a Nobel Peace Prize in 1978.
(AP, 5/9/98)(HN, 12/25/98)
1918 Dec 25, Revolt erupted in
1924 Dec 25, Rod Serling
(d.1975), writer and host (Twilight Zone, Night Gallery), was born
in Syracuse, NY. He was also the author of "Requiem for a
Heavyweight." He was remembered in the PBS production titled:
"Submitted for Your Approval," first broadcast on 11/29/95.
(WSJ, 11/27/95, p.A-14)(Internet)
1925 Dec 25, Carlos Castaneda,
author of “The Teachings of Don Juan," was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil
or Cajamarca, Peru. He lied about the statistical details of his
(SFC, 6/19/98, p.A2)
1925 Dec 25, U.S. troops under
Admiral Latimer disarmed Nicaraguan insurgents in support of the
1926 Dec 25, Hirohito became
emperor of Japan, succeeding his father, Emperor Yoshihito (Hirohito
was formally enthroned almost two years later). This marked the
beginning of the Showa Period (1926-1989).
(AP, 12/25/97)(Jap. Enc., BLDM, p. 216)
1927 Dec 25, Mexican congress
opened land to foreign investors, reversing the 1917 ban enacted to
preserve the domestic economy.
1930 Dec 25, Theodor Noldeke
(b.1836), German professor, died in Karlsruhe, Germany. He is
generally recognized as the father of Western Qur'anic criticism. In
1857 a Paris academy offered a prize for the best critical history
of the Quran and Noldeke won.
1931 Dec 25, New York's
Metropolitan Opera broadcast an entire opera over radio for the
first time: "Hansel und Gretel" by Engelbert Humperdinck.
1935 Dec 25, Albert Joost (57),
SF Bay lighthouse keeper, died of injuries from a fire at the
Southampton lighthouse between Angel Island and Richmond harbor.
1939 Dec 25, Finnish troops
entered Soviet territory.
1941 Dec 25, The USS President
Coolidge, a luxury liner repurposed for medical transport, arrived
in San Francisco with 125 men wounded in the Dec 7 attack at Pearl
(SFC, 12/7/13, p.C4)
1941 Dec 25, Free French
occupied the French Islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon off the
1941 Dec 25, Japan announced
the surrender of the British-Canadian garrison at Hong Kong. Major
John Crawford (d.1997) and some 1,975 Canadian soldiers were
captured and incarcerated at the Sham Shui Po prison camp at Kowloon
for 44 months.
(G&M, 7/30/97, p.A24)(HN, 12/25/02)(AP,
1941 Dec 25, In northwestern
Lithuania some 400 young Jewish women were killed by Lithuanian
(WSJ, 1/19/08, p.W8)
1944 Dec 25, Prime Minister
Winston Churchill went to Athens to seek an end to the Greek civil
1946 Dec 25, Jimmy Buffett,
singer and writer, was born in Pascagoula, Miss. He recorded
“Margaritaville" in 1977.
(SSFC, 4/28/02, Par p.22)
1946 Dec 25, Comedian W.C.
Fields (b.1879) died in Pasadena, Calif., at age 66/67.
(SFEC, 11/3/96, DB p.56)(AP, 12/25/97)(MC,
1946 Dec 25, Chiang Kai-shek
offered a new Chinese constitution in Nanking pledging universal
1949 Dec 25, Sissy Spacek,
(Carrie, Badlands, Coal Miner's Daughter), was born in Quitman, Tx.
1950 Dec 25, Scottish
nationalists stole the Stone of Scone from the British coronation
throne in Westminster Abbey. The 485 pound stone was recovered in
1955 Dec 25, In Iran Navvab
Safavi (b.1923), a firebrand cleric, was tried and executed. He was
responsible for founding of the Fadayan-e Islam group and with them
the assassination of several leading Iranians.
1957 Dec 25, Frederick Law
Olmsted (87), US architect (Central Park, NYC), died.
1957 Dec 25, Ramdane Abane
(b.1920), Algerian Berber revolutionary leader, was assassinated in
1961 Dec 25, Rheinhold
Ruedenberg (b.1883), MIT electrical engineer, died. He patented the
principle of electron-microscope imaging in 1931 for Siemens and
1962 Dec 25, The Bay of Pigs
captives who were ransomed, vowed to return and topple Castro.
1964 Dec 25, A flood wiped out
the town of Klamath in northern California as the Eel River
overflowed its banks. The Douglas Memorial Bridge across the Klamath
River was made useless. Flooding on the Ell, Klamath and other
rivers left 19 people dead.
(SFEC, 12/5/99, p.T5)(SSFC, 1/25/15, p.D6)
1965 Dec 25, Entertainer Chris
Noel gave her first performance for the USO at two hospitals in
1965 Dec 25, Sherman Poppen
invented the “Snurfer," the first snowboard by screwing together two
pairs of children’s skis.
(Hem., 12/96, p.82)
1970 Dec 25, Federico Fellini’s
“The Clowns," part documentary and part fantasy, was released in
Italy for television and the next day as a film.
(SFC, 1/12/15, p.A6)(TVM, 1977, p.139)
1973 Dec 25, Skylab astronauts
took a seven hour walk in space and photographed the comet Kohoutek.
1974 Dec 25, The category 4
Cyclone Tracy reduced 90% of Darwin, Australia, to rubble. 65 people
died including 49 in the city and 16 at sea.
1976 Dec 25, Some 100 Moslems,
returning from a pilgrimage to Mecca, died when their boat, the
Egyptian SS Patria, sank in the Red Sea.
1977 Dec 25, Israeli PM
Menachem Begin met Egyptian Pres. Sadat (1918-1981) in Egypt.
1977 Dec 25, Comedian Sir
Charles Chaplin died in Corsier-sur-Vevey, Switzerland at age 88. In
2006 Richard Schickel edited “The Essential Chaplin."
(AP, 4/16/00)(WSJ, 6/23/06, p.W6)
1978 Dec 25, Guards at the SF
De Young Museum discovered that 4 Renaissance paintings had been
stolen. In 1999 3 of the works, including Rembrandt's "Portrait of a
Rabbi," were recovered in NYC. "Harbor Scene" by William van de
Velde was still missing.
(SFC, 11/11/99, p.A1,13)(SFC, 2/10/00,
p.A27)(SFC, 12/19/03, p.E2)
1978 Dec 25, Vietnam invaded
Cambodia and drove the Khmer Rouge into sanctuaries along the Thai
border, finally ending the mass genocide depicted in the 1984 film
"The Killing Fields." It was the first full-scale war between the
two countries since 1917. 400 people were killed in initial clashes.
(NG, 5/85, p.574-5)(WSJ, 2/27/96, p.A-1)(SFC,
6/14/97, p.A15)(SFC, 4/30/98, p.A11)
1979 Dec 25, Large numbers of
Soviet airborne forces joined stationed ground troops and began to
land in Kabul, Afghanistan.
1979 Dec 25, Egypt began a
major restoration of the Sphinx.
1979 Dec 25, In Tong-du-cheon,
Korea, two US soldiers, David Medina and Reinaldo Roa, approached an
MP station under cover of darkness. Medina and Roa had earlier been
arrested for beating up an elderly Korean store owner. They tossed a
hand-grenade through the front door and several MPs were injured by
shrapnel and other debris. In the ensuing confusion, the suspects
escaped. Roa and Medina were later caught after they bragged about
1980 Dec 25, The paintings "La
route" (Bend of the road) by Paul Cezanne, "La tete de jeune fille
au Ruban bleu" (Portrait of a Lady) by Auguste Renoir, and "Le cri"
(The cry) by Paul Gauguin were among nearly 2 dozen stolen from the
Argentine National Fine Arts Museum in Buenos Aires. The art works
were located at a Paris gallery in 2002, where they had been brought
by a Taiwanese man claiming to represent a Chinese investor. The
investor said he bought them from a Brazilian senator who said he
inherited them from his family.
1987 Dec 25, Authorities
recaptured Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, who had escaped two days
earlier from the federal prison in Alderson, W.V., where she was
serving a life sentence for her attempt on the life of President
1987 Dec 25, Antoni Imiela
pounced on Sheila Jankowitz near her home in Forest Hill, southeast
London. The attack preceded a series of rapes across south-east
England in 2001 and 2002 for which the ex-railway worker was given
seven life sentences in 2004. In 2012 the 'M25 Rapist' was sentenced
12 years more for raping Jankowitz.
1989 Dec 25, Billy Martin
(b.1928), former baseball manager, died in a truck crash in Fenton,
1989 Dec 25, In Canada a 6.3
earthquake, the Ungava event, struck northern Quebec and was later
attributed to retreating ice sheets from 10,000 years earlier.
(WSJ, 6/9/06, p.A11)
1989 Dec 25, The Bank of Japan
raised interest rates to slow the heated economy.
(Econ, 7/22/06, p.66)
1989 Dec 25, Ousted Romanian
President Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife, Elena, were executed
following a popular uprising. His regime had mobilized some 700,000
informants to keep tabs on the population of 23 million people.
(SFC, 12/27/96, p.B1)(AP, 12/25/97)(SSFC,
1990 Dec 25, Soviet President
Mikhail S. Gorbachev won sweeping new powers from the Congress of
1990 Dec 25, Romania’s former
monarch, King Michael, arrived on his first visit to his homeland
since Communist rulers forced him to abdicate four decades earlier.
He was deported by the new Bucharest government less than 12 hours
1991 Dec 25, Soviet President
Mikhail S. Gorbachev went on television to announce his resignation
as the eighth and final leader of a Communist superpower that had
already gone out of existence. He was ousted as Soviet leader Boris
Yeltsin established his position.
(TMC, 1994, p.1991)(SFC, 12/3/97, p.C6)(AP,
1992 Dec 25, U.S. Marines
delivered wheat to a refugee camp in Bardera, Somalia, setting off a
small riot among the Somalis; American and French troops also took
control of Hoddur.
1993 Dec 25, Full-fledged
Christmas celebrations returned to Bethlehem for the first time
since the Palestinian uprising began six years earlier.
1993 Dec 25, In London, an
unidentified 59-year-old woman who'd been implanted with donated
eggs gave birth to twins in a case that sparked controversy.
1994 Dec 25, Pope John Paul II,
in his traditional "Urbi et Orbi" message, bemoaned "selfishness and
violence" around the world.
1994 Dec 25, A Palestinian
suicide bomber blew himself up on a bus in Jerusalem and wounded 12
Israelis. Hamas took responsibility.
(WSJ, 3/6/96, p. A-15)(G&M, 7/31/97,
1995 Dec 25, The Mt. Moriah
Baptist Church in Hillsborough, N.C., burned down. Arson was
suspected and investigations by the FBI and ATF were later begun.
(SFC, 6/11/96, p.A16)
1995 Dec 25, Dean Martin
(b.1917), singer, comedian, actor, died at age 78 in Beverly Hills,
Ca. In 1998 Brian Gunn published “Rat Pack Confidential: Frank,
Dean, Sammy, Peter, Joey & the Last Great Show Biz Party," a
biography of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter
Lawford and Joey Bishop.
(WSJ, 12/26/95, p. A-1)(AP, 12/25/97)(SFC,
5/16/98, p.A1)(SFEC, 7/5/98, BR p.5)
1995 Dec 25, An ailing Pope
John Paul the Second cut short his traditional Christmas greetings,
telling crowds he was fighting to regain his health.
1995 Dec 25, In South Africa
supporters of the Zulu nationalist Inkatha Freedom Party carried out
a Christmas massacre where 18 supporters of the African National
Congress (ANC) were killed in the KwaZulu-Natal province. 600
members of Inkatha, a Zulu nationalist group, were responsible. In
1998 5 of the 13 men convicted in the massacre were freed from
(WSJ, 12/26/95, p. A-1)(SFC, 12/23/98, p.C2)
1996 Dec 25, Croatian Serbs
attacked Croats who had been bused in to their former hometown in
Eastern Slavonia for Christmas services.
(WSJ, 12/26/96, p.A1)
1996 Dec 25, In Gabon officials
said that Pres. Bongo’s ruling party swept 47 of 55 parliamentary
seats in elections last week.
(SFC, 12/26/96, p.B4)
1996 Dec 25, In Malaysia
tropical storm Greg killed at least 163 people in the northern
Borneo state of Sabah.
(WSJ, 12/27/96, p.A1)(SFC, 12/30/96, p.A8)
1996 Dec 25, Some 280 migrants
from India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka were suspected of having drowned
in the Mediterranean while being transshipped in the Malta-Sicily
channel. At least 283 people died while on the illegal voyage from
Alexandria to Italy.
(SFEC, 1/5/97, p.A13)(Econ., 4/25/15, p.21)
1996 Dec 25, Peruvians held
candles high and prayed outside the Japanese ambassador's residence,
where leftist rebels freed one hostage for health reasons, but
continued to hold more than 100 others.
1996 Dec 25, In Serbia Pres.
Milosevic banned street demonstrations.
(SFC, 12/26/96, p.A1)
1997 Dec 25, Richard Bliss, a
field technician for Qualcomm Inc. accused of spying in Russia,
arrived in San Diego after Russian authorities were persuaded to let
him return home. Russia said its investigation of Bliss continues.
1997 Dec 25, Comedian Jerry
Seinfeld announced plans to fold his highly successful NBC sitcom
"Seinfeld" at the end of the season.
1997 Dec 25, In Algeria
Interior Minister Mustapha Benmansour announced that the ruling
National Democratic Rally won 80 of 96 contested seats.
1997 Dec 25, A gale hit Britain
and Ireland with 100 mph winds and 4 people were killed. A French
fishing vessel was feared to have sunk off Wales.
(WSJ, 12/26/97, p.A1)
1997 Dec 25, From the Ivory
Coast it was reported that early marriages in sub-Saharan Africa
were still very common. Islamic law allows the marriage of girls as
soon as they can conceive.
1997 Dec 25, A Russian Proton-K
rocket failed 6 hours after launch and dumped the $100 million
ASIASAT-3 satellite made by Hughes Space and Comm. Int’l. for Asia
Satellite Telecom. into a useless orbit. Engineers in May, 1998,
planned to use gravity assist to send the satellite around the moon
and back to a usable orbit.
(SFC,12/26/97, p.B2)(SFC, 4/30/98, p.A7)
1997 Dec 25, In Sri Lanka
fighting erupted in the north and at least 17 people were killed.
1997 Dec 25, In Zambia former
president Kenneth Kaunda was confined to prison for 28 days on
suspicion of being linked to the Oct 27 coup attempt.
1998 Dec 25, Seven days into
their journey , American millionaire Steve Fossett, British mogul
Richard Branson and Per Lindstrom of Sweden set down their ICO
Global Challenger balloon in the Pacific near Honolulu. This ended
their latest effort to circumnavigate the world.
(SFC, 12/26/98, p.A1)(AP, 12/25/99)
1998 Dec 25, A storm snapped
power lines in Virginia and left thousands without power as cold
weather hit across the South.
(SFC, 12/28/98, p.A9)
1998 Dec 25, Belarus Pres.
Lukashenko and Russian Pres. Boris Yeltsin declared an agreement to
begin unifying their currencies and economies next year.
(SFC, 12/26/98, p.A1)
1998 Dec 25, In Lima, Peru, a
tear gas bomb caused a stampede in a disco and 9 young people,
13-21, were crushed to death. The bomb was said to have been thrown
by members of a youth gang.
(SFC, 12/26/98, p.A14)
1998 Dec 25, In Sierra Leone
Sam Bockarie of the Revolutionary United Front said that his rebels
would march into Freetown on New Year's Day unless the government
agreed to terms that included the release of Foday Sankoh. Rebels
had captured Makeni and were battling for Kenema.
(SFC, 12/26/98, p.A14)
1998 Dec 25, In Serbia US
diplomats in Kosovo persuaded army officers to pull back some of
(SFC, 12/26/98, p.A8)
1999 Dec 25, Space shuttle
“Discovery’s" astronauts finished their repair job on the Hubble
(SFEC, 12/26/99, p.A17)(AP, 12/25/00)
1999 Dec 25, Erik de Mul, the
UN Afghan coordinator reached Kandahar, Afghanistan, and began
negotiations with Sikh hijackers.
(SFEC, 12/26/99, p.A1)
1999 Dec 25, A Cuban airplane,
Russian-made YAK-42, crashed just before landing in the northern
Venezuelan state of Carabobo and all 22 people onboard were killed.
(SFEC, 12/26/99, p.D6)(WSJ, 12/27/99, p.A1)
1999 Dec 25, Russian forces
launched an attack on Grozny led by 700 pro-Moscow Chechen
(SFEC, 12/26/99, p.A1)
2000 Dec 25, Pres. Clinton laid
down a new set of proposals for peace between Israelis and
Palestinians. The proposals included a Palestinian concession for
some 3.7 million refugees to give up the right of return and for
Israelis to cede sovereignty over the Temple Mount.
(SFC, 12/26/00, p.A1)(SFC, 12/27/00, p.A14)
2000 Dec 25, In central China
as many as 309 young people were killed at an unlicensed disco fire
in Louyang city.
(SFC, 12/26/00, p.C6)(AP, 12/25/01)
2000 Dec 25, In Colombia Pres.
Pastrana announced a draft for an agreement with the ELN to pull
government troops from areas in Bolivar state.
(SFC, 12/26/00, p.C2)
2000 Dec 25, In Kashmir a
car bomb went off in Indian controlled Srinagar and 8 people were
killed with 23 injured. The Pakistan-based rebel groups Jamaat-ul
Mujahedeen and Jaish-e-Mohammad claimed responsibility.
(SFC, 12/26/00, p.C4)(WSJ, 12/26/00, p.A1)
2000 Dec 25, In Pakistan bombs
exploded in 4 cities. 36 people were injured in Lahore.
(SFC, 12/26/00, p.C4)
2000 Dec 25, In Russian
regional governor elections Roman Abramovitch (34), head of the
Sibneft oil company, won in Chukotka and Vladimir Shamanov won in
Ulyanovsk. Chukotka is the Russian region across from Alaska.
(WSJ, 12/26/00, p.A1)(WSJ, 6/13/01, p.A1)
2001 Dec 25, From
Mazar-e-Sharif to Kandahar in Afghanistan and the USS Theodore
Roosevelt in the Arabian Sea, American forces celebrated Christmas
with carols, touch football and turkey dinners.
2001 Dec 25, India and Pakistan
armies exchanged artillery fire in the mountains of Kashmir.
(SFC, 12/26/01, p.A1)
2001 Dec 25, Arab gunmen
ambushed Israeli troops along the Jordan border. One Israeli soldier
was killed along with 2 of the gunmen. Israel lifted a blockade
(SFC, 12/26/01, p.A3)(WSJ, 12/26/01, p.A1)
2001 Dec 25, Burundi Maj. Gen.
Gahiro reported that 515 Hutu rebels and 28 soldiers had been killed
in the Tenga region since Nov 26. He said fighting the area was
liberated but that fighting continued.
(SFC, 12/26/01, p.A8)
2001 Dec 25, Salman Raduyev, a
Chechen warlord, was sentenced by a Russian court to life in prison
for terrorism and murder.
(SFC, 12/26/01, p.A4)
2001 Dec 25, Grigory Pasko
(39), Russian military journalist, was sentenced to 4 years in
prison plus credit for time served for passing state secrets to
Japan. He had reported on the Russian navy practice of ocean-dumping
old weapons and nuclear waste. In 2002 the Supreme Court struck down
the 1996 military secrecy order used to convict Pasko. In 2002 a
military court upheld the verdict.
(SFC, 12/26/01, p.A5)(SFC, 2/13/02, p.A16)(SFC,
2001 Dec 25, In his traditional
"Urbi et Orbi" message, Pope John Paul II turned his thoughts at
Christmas to children — Palestinian, Israeli, American, Afghan and
African — declaring that humanity's hope depends on helping them.
2002 Dec 25, Andrew Whittaker
of Hurricane, W. Va., won the Powerball lottery ticket for $314.9
(SFC, 12/30/02, p.A2)
2002 Dec 25, Katie Hnida became
the first woman to play in a Division I football game when she
attempted an extra point following a New Mexico touchdown in the Las
Vegas Bowl. Hnida, a walk-on junior, had her kick blocked but by
then she had already made history in the 27-13 loss to UCLA.
2002 Dec 25, A US winter
storm left up to 3 feet of snow across the Northeast. The storm
claimed 23 people in its weeklong march across the country.
(WSJ, 12/26/02, p.A1)(AP, 12/25/03)
2002 Dec 25, In Chechnya 28
guerrillas laid down their weapons in Grozny. A pro-Russian party
leader and at least 4 Russians were killed in the last 24 hrs.
(SFC, 12/25/02, p.A17)
2002 Dec 25, Israeli troops
killed a member of the militant Hamas group and arrested another in
the West Bank city of Nablus.
2002 Dec 25, Russian air
traffic controllers reached an agreement on wage increases paving
the way for an end to a hunger strike that disrupted air travel.
2002 Dec 25, In Pakistan a
grenade killed a girl and two other worshippers at a church in the
village of Chianwala, about 40 miles northwest of Lahore.
(AP, 12/25/02)(WSJ, 12/26/02, p.A1)
2002 Dec 25, Pope John Paul II
delivered a Christmas message in which he said war had to be and
could be avoided even in a world made fearful by terrorism.
2003 Dec 25, Near San
Bernadino, Ca., 16 people were killed at a youth camp after
mudslides, triggered by heavy rain, swept down the San Gabriel
Mountains recently scorched by wildfire. 2 of the 14 people killed
were at a KOA campground near Devore.
(SFC, 12/27/03, p.A1)(SFC, 12/29/03, p.A1)(AP,
2003 Dec 25, Florida's Gov. Jeb
Bush dedicated a faith-based prison.
(WSJ, 12/26/03, p.A1)
2003 Dec 25, In Schenectady,
NY, 2 home fires left 5 people dead. At least 4 people in one
fire were killed by shotgun blasts.
(SFC, 12/26/03, p.A5)
2003 Dec 25, A small plane
crashed after takeoff at the North Las Vegas and 6 family members
(SSFC, 12/28/03, p.A3)
2003 Dec 25, A passenger plane
bound for Beirut crashed into the sea shortly after takeoff from the
west African nation of Benin and at least 138 people, mostly
Lebanese, were killed. Some 35 people survived.
(AP, 12/25/03)(SFC, 12/26/03, p.A3)(AP, 12/27/03)
2003 Dec 25, The British Beagle
2 spacecraft landed on Mars. The 73-pound lander was launched by the
European Space Agency June 2. Contact with the Charles Darwin probe
was lost on Dec 26 after it separated from its European Space Agency
Mars Express mother ship on Dec 19. The mother ship went into orbit
for a planned 2 years of photography. In 2015 scientists found the
probe on the surface of Mars.
(SFC, 12/25/03, p.A1)(SFC, 12/26/03, p.A2)(SFC,
12/27/03, p.A2)(AFP, 1/16/15)
2003 Dec 25, China announced
steps to reduce overexpansion.
(SFC, 12/26/03, p.A3)
2003 Dec 25, A strong
earthquake shook the border of Costa Rica and Panama, killing an
infant and leaving dozens of others with mainly minor injuries.
2003 Dec 25, Guinea's ailing
President Lansana Conte was declared the victor in presidential
elections boycotted by the opposition, securing a landslide victory
with over 95 percent of the vote, according to provisional results.
2003 Dec 25, In Iraq leaders of
Sunni Muslim groups agreed to form a State Council for the Sunnis in
order to speak with a unified voice during the transition to Iraqi
(SFC, 12/26/03, p.A9)
2003 Dec 25, Israeli troops
shot and killed a Palestinian man carrying explosives toward a
Jewish settlement in Gaza.
2003 Dec 25, Israeli helicopter
gunships killed a senior Islamic militant and at least four other
people in a missile strike on a car in Gaza City.
2003 Dec 25, A suicide bombing
killed four Israelis near a bus stop outside Tel Aviv. The victims
were identified as 3 soldiers and a 17-year-old Israeli girl. At
least 13 other people were wounded. The PFLP identified the bomber
as Said Hanani (18) from the village of Beit Furik.
(AP, 12/26/03)(SFC, 12/26/03, p.A1)
2003 Dec 25, In Pakistan
bombers set off 2 massive blasts near Pres. Pervez Musharraf's
motorcade, killing 15 people in the 2nd assassination attempt
against Musharraf in 11 days. The president was unhurt, but at least
46 other people were wounded.
(AP, 12/25/03)(SFC, 12/26/03, p.A1)
2004 Dec 25, President Bush
urged Americans to help the neediest among them by volunteering to
care for the sick, the elderly and the poor in a Christmas Day call
2004 Dec 25, Algeria's Energy
Minister Chakib Khelil said exports of oil and gas will bring in
over 31 billion dollars (24 billion euros) in 2004.
2004 Dec 25, In southern China
villagers of Da Lang battled police in a riot after security forces
beat a resident to death.
(SFC, 12/27/04, p.A3)
2004 Dec 25, President Fidel
Castro said a 100-million-barrel crude oil deposit had been
discovered off Cuba by Canadian firms. Cuba imports about half the
petroleum it needs.
2004 Dec 25, Video footage
aired on Turkish television showed a Turkish ship owner saying he
and a ship captain were being held hostage in Iraq and that
kidnappers demanded a $25 million ransom.
2004 Dec 25, The Sudanese
government said it has readied 13 planes for fighting swarms of
desert locusts, poised to enter the country from Egypt.
2005 Dec 25, In Brazil Djalma
Costa Ferreira (68) hit his wife, Benvinda Matos Costa, several
times with the sledgehammer following a Christmas party at the house
of one of their sons, because he believed she had cheated on him and
wanted to spend all his money. In 2010 he was convicted of murder
and sentenced to nearly 23 years in prison.
2005 Dec 25, In China a fire at
an unlicensed bar killed at least 26 people and injured eight in
Zhongstan, which abuts Macau west of Hong Kong.
2005 Dec 25, In Bogota,
Colombia, Jordan Paez (6) fell into a coverless manhole and was
killed. A record 10,000 manhole covers were stolen there in 2005.
2005 Dec 25-2005 Dec 26, Some
3,500 Congolese troops backed by 600 UN Indian peacekeepers battled
Ugandan rebels near Congo's eastern city of Beni, leaving 35 rebels
and one Indian UN soldier dead.
(AP, 12/26/05)(AFP, 12/26/05)
2005 Dec 25, Iran denied that
it received a proposal to move its uranium enrichment facilities to
Russian soil, a compromise Europe is seeking to resolve a standoff
over Iran's nuclear program.
2005 Dec 25, Bombs struck Iraqi
police and army patrols and destroyed an American tank in Baghdad as
fresh street protests over election results kept up tension that has
soured the mood after a peaceful ballot 10 days ago. 2 US soldiers
were killed by bombs. A suicide bomber killed 5 Iraqi soldiers in
Baghdad. Bombings and gun attacks killed 11 more people in Baghdad,
Kirkuk, Mosul and Jbala.
(Reuters, 12/25/05)(SFC, 12/26/05, p.A9)
2005 Dec 25, In northern Japan
an express train traveling through strong winter winds derailed in
Yamagata prefecture, killing 5 people and injuring more than 30.
Heavy snowfall and blizzards have lead to the deaths of eight other
people and disrupted traffic for hundreds of thousands of holiday
travelers across Japan.
(AP, 12/26/05)(AP, 12/27/05)
2005 Dec 25, Libya's Supreme
Court scrapped death sentences against five Bulgarian nurses and a
Palestinian doctor and ordered a retrial of the cases which have
harmed Tripoli's efforts to build ties with the West.
2005 Dec 25, In Somalia
warlords and civilians installed a council to govern Mogadishu, an
action that further fragments the nation but could bring the capital
under the control of a single group after 14 years of anarchy.
2005 Dec 25, In Sri Lanka
gunmen shot and killed Joseph Pararajasingham (71), a pro-rebel
legislator during midnight Christmas Mass. He represented the Tamil
National Alliance, a proxy party of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil
Eelam, the rebel group that wants to create a homeland for Sri
Lanka's 3.2 million ethnic Tamil minority.
2006 Dec 25, Birgit Nilsson
(b.1918), Swedish opera singer, died. Her prodigious voice,
unrivaled stamina and thrilling high notes made her the greatest
Wagnerian soprano of the post-World War II era.
(AP, 1/11/06)(SFC, 1/12/06, p.A2)
2005 Dec 25, Pope Benedict the
16th marked his first Christmas as pope, calling for concrete
actions to back up “signs of hope" in the Middle East and urging
peace in Darfur, Sudan and the Korean peninsula.
2006 Dec 25, James Brown
(b.1928), the dynamic "Godfather of Soul," died early Christmas. His
revolutionary rhythms, rough voice and flashing footwork influenced
generations of musicians from rock to rap. His 1965 song “I Got You
(I Feel Good)" is considered one of the all-time greatest in rock’s
(AP, 12/25/06)(SFC, 12/26/06, p.A7)
2006 Dec 25, Chad's President
Idriss Deby Itno and rebel leader Mahamat Nour Abdulkerim arrived in
N'Djamena after signing a peace deal in Libya. One of the current
rebel leaders, Timane Erdimi, dismissed the significance of the deal
with Nour's FUC, some of whose men went off to join a coalition led
by the Rally of Democratic Forces (RAFD) headed by Erdimi and his
twin brother Tom. Deby's government is also up against the Union of
Forces for Democracy and Development (UFDD), led by former defense
minister Mahamat Nouri, and the Chadian National Concord movement
led by Hassan Saleh al-Djinedi.
2006 Dec 25, Ethiopian fighter
jets bombed Somalia's main airport, the first direct attack on the
city that serves as the headquarters of an Islamic movement
attempting to wrest power from the internationally recognized
2006 Dec 25, In southern Iraq
British troops killed 7 gunmen in a raid on a renegade police unit,
and a car bomb that exploded next to an open-air market in Baghdad
killed 9 civilians and wounded 11. In another part of eastern
Baghdad, a suicide bomber exploded in a minibus, killing three
people and injuring 19. A suicide bomber killed 3 policemen at
checkpoint at a university entrance in Ramadi. Police in Baghdad
found 40 bodies, apparent victims of sectarian violence. 3 US
soldiers were killed.
(AP, 12/25/06)(AP, 12/26/06)(WSJ, 12/26/06, p.A1)
2006 Dec 25, Four Japanese
inmates on death row were hanged, the first executions to take place
in Japan since September 2005.
2006 Dec 25, A fire blamed on
illegally sold firecrackers swept through a department store in the
central Philippines on Christmas Day, killing 24 people who took
refuge in a restroom.
2006 Dec 25, Russian security
forces killed a suspected militant holed up in an apartment building
in the southern province of Karachayevo-Cherkessia.
2006 Dec 25, Pope Benedict XVI
used his Christmas Day address to call for a peaceful resolution of
conflicts worldwide and appealed for greater caring of the poor, the
exploited and all who suffer.
2007 Dec 25, In southern
California a pack of pit bulls surrounded Kelly Caldwell (45) and
mauled her to death. Barstow police shot and killed 2 of the dogs.
2007 Dec 25, A Siberian tiger
named Tatiana (4) escaped its enclosure at the San Francisco Zoo,
killing Carlos Sousa (17) of San Jose and mauling two others. The
same animal had chewed a keeper’s arm during an attack last
December. Police later reported that one of the three victims of the
tiger attack was intoxicated and admitted to yelling and waving at
the animal while standing atop the railing of the big cat enclosure.
(AP, 12/26/07)(SFC, 12/26/07, p.A1)(SFC,
12/27/07, p.A1)(AP, 1/18/08)
2007 Dec 25, In King County,
Washington, six people, 3 generations of one family, were killed.
Carnation police the next day arrested Michele Kristen Anderson (29)
and Joseph McEnroe (29), the property owners' daughter and her
(AP, 12/27/07)(SFC, 12/28/07, p.A5)
2007 Dec 25, Afghan officials
said 2 European diplomats who went to one of Afghanistan's most
volatile regions have been asked to leave Afghanistan.
2007 Dec 25, Actress Pat
Kirkwood (b.1921), once a star of British musical theater, died.
(AP, 12/26/07)(SFC, 12/29/07, p.B5)
2007 Dec 25, Some 600
protesters marched in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh to call
for speedier trials for the former leaders of Khmer Rouge regime.
2007 Dec 25, In Colombia an
elite anti-kidnapping force in Neiva rescued a 9-year old boy, who
was snatched seven months ago by leftist rebels. Captors had
demanded a $50,000 ransom for his safe return, an amount his family
was unable to pay.
2007 Dec 25, In Egypt dozens of
Palestinian security men affiliated to Fatah staged a mass break-out
from the camp where they have been held in Rafah. Egyptian police
were able to recapture 40 of them, transferring them to police
stations in the coastal town of Arish.
2007 Dec 25, In eastern India
Hindu extremists attacked Christians celebrating Christmas,
ransacking and burning at least six village churches. One person was
killed in the violence.
2007 Dec 25, In Iraq a suicide
truck bomb exploded outside a residential complex belonging to a
state-run oil company in Beiji, home to Iraq's largest refinery,
killing 25 people and wounding 80. In Baqouba 10 people were killed
and five people were wounded in a suicide bombing targeting a
funeral procession for two members of an Awakening Council group.
2007 Dec 25, Mobs in Kenya's
opposition heartland beat up and killed at least 3 policemen accused
of taking part in a plan to rig Dec 26 elections in favor of
President Mwai Kibaki.
2007 Dec 25, In western Nepal a
steel footbridge collapsed when its suspension cables snapped,
sending scores of people into the river below. At least 15 people
were confirmed dead and over 50 were missing and dozens injured.
(AP, 12/25/07)(AP, 12/26/07)
2007 Dec 25, In Panama the
bodies of Michael Klein (37), a California hedge fund manager, his
daughter Talia Klein (13) and pilot Edwin Lasso (23) were found in
an uninhabited region known as Las Ovejas on the slope of the Baru
volcano. Francesca Lewis (12) survived the Dec 23 crash, but cold,
wet weather prevented authorities from evacuating her immediately.
(AP, 12/26/07)(SFC, 12/26/07, p.A4)
2007 Dec 25, Russia's military
successfully test-fired a new intercontinental ballistic missile
capable of carrying multiple nuclear warheads, a weapon intended to
replace aging Soviet-era missiles.
2007 Dec 25, Oleg Ugnivenko, a
spokesman for the regional branch of Russia's Emergency Situations
Ministry, said more than 600,000 chickens on the Gulyai-Borisovskaya
farm in the Rostov-on-Don region have been destroyed to prevent the
virus from spreading.
2007 Dec 25, A South Korean
ship carrying 2,000 tons of nitric acid sank on its way to Taiwan
and 14 sailors were feared drowned. One sailor was rescued.
2007 Dec 25, Deposed PM Thaksin
Shinawatra said he was planning to return home from exile and might
advise the victorious party in last weekend's elections, sparking
fears of another year of intense political conflict in Thailand.
2008 Dec 25, Eartha Kitt (81),
singer, dancer and actress, died in NYC. The self-proclaimed "sex
kitten" attracted fans with her sultry voice and catlike purr even
as she neared 80.
2008 Dec 25, In Idaho Robert
Aragon let his son Bear (12) and daughter Sage (11) attempt to walk
some 10 miles home in freezing conditions, after their car broke
down along an isolated rural highway. Bear survived but Sage died of
hypothermia. In Oct 2009 a jury acquitted Aragon of involuntary
2008 Dec 25, In southern
Afghanistan US coalition forces killed 11 Taliban militants,
including the leader of a bomb-making cell, during an operation in
2008 Dec 25, Police in northern
Bangladesh arrested three suspected militants tied to the Jumatul
Mujahedeen Bangladesh, a banned Islamic group, and seized a large
cache of bomb-making materials. The arrests were made in separate
raids over the last 24 hours.
2008 Dec 25, Chinese state
media reported that 59 people in Tibet have been detained on charges
that they sought to foment unrest by spreading ethnic hatred and by
downloading and selling banned songs from the Internet.
(SFC, 12/26/08, p.A16)
2008 Dec 25, A German military
helicopter chased away pirates who were trying to board an Egyptian
ship off the coast of Somalia. One of the ship's crew was shot in
2008 Dec 25, In Guinea coup
leader Capt. Moussa Camara solidified his grip as PM Ahmed Tidiane
Souare and other government leaders surrendered and stepped down.
(SFC, 12/26/08, p.A21)
2008 Dec 25, Iraq's Christians,
a scant minority in this overwhelmingly Muslim country, quietly
celebrated Christmas with a present from the government, which
declared it an official holiday for the first time. A bombing
outside a restaurant frequented by police killed four people and
wounded 25 others in Baghdad’s Shiite neighborhood of Shula. An
American soldier was killed in a rocket or mortar attack near the
northern city of Mosul.
2008 Dec 25, Israel moved
closer to invading Gaza, saying it had wrapped up preparations for a
broad offensive after Palestinian militants fired about 100 rockets
and mortar shells across the border in two days.
2008 Dec 25, Japan and Vietnam
signed an economic partnership pact with a promise to cut tariffs on
some 92% of goods and services traded between the two nations within
2008 Dec 25, Lebanese army
officers discovered seven rockets set up with timers that were on
the verge of firing near the border with Israel.
2008 Dec 25, The Marshall
Islands declared a state of emergency after severe flooding, that
occurred from Dec. 9 to Dec. 15, forced more than 600 people from
2008 Dec 25, In Mexico, at
least four people were killed in a gun battle between suspected drug
traffickers in a remote mountain area of Sinaloa.
2008 Dec 25, In Peru five
nightclubbers are dead after a tear gas grenade was detonated in the
middle of a crowded disco in Juliaca.
2008 Dec 25, Zimbabwe police
ignored a court order to allow the release to hospital of a rights
activist and several opposition figures accused of recruiting
2009 Dec 25, An attempted
bombing took place as Northwest Airlines Flight 253 from Amsterdam
prepared to land in Detroit just before noon. Law enforcement
officials identified the suspect as Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (23),
a Nigerian man, who claimed to be acting on orders from al-Qaida to
blow up the airliner with a bomb sewed into his underwear.
Abdulmutallab later told US investigators he had received training
and instructions from al-Qaida operatives in Yemen. On Oct 12, 2011,
Abdulmutallab pleaded guilty to all federal counts against him.
(AP, 12/26/09)(AFP, 12/29/09)(AP, 1/2/10)(SFC,
2009 Dec 25, In Maryland law
enforcement found the body of Sarah H. Foxwell (11) near the
Delaware state line three days after she was last seen at her home.
Thomas J. Leggs Jr. (30), a known sex offender and former boyfriend
of the girl's aunt, was charged on Dec 23 in Sarah's kidnapping.
2009 Dec 25, Vic Chestnutt
(b.1964), singer and songwriter, died in Athens, Georgia, following
an intentional overdose. He had been paralyzed in a 1983 car
accident, but retained limited use of his arms and hands.
(SSFC, 12/27/09, p.C8)
2009 Dec 25, In southern
Afghanistan an American service member was killed in an attack in
Kandahar. A joint force in Khost province captured several
militants, including a known operative of the Jalaluddin Haqqani
militant network, which is linked to al-Qaida. The Taliban released
a 36-minute video in which Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl denounced the American
military effort in Afghanistan. Bergdahl went missing on June 30,
(AP, 12/26/09)(SFC, 12/26/09, p.A3)(SFC,
2009 Dec 25, A Chinese court
sentenced Liu Xiaobo, a prominent dissident, to 11 years, the
longest term ever handed down for subversion charges, according to
rights groups that say it signals the government will take an
increasingly hard line against activists in the year ahead.
2009 Dec 25, In Iraq a roadside
bomb killed 6 Shiite Muslim pilgrims in a procession marking the
ten-day Shiite festival of Ashoura, which ends Dec 27.
(AP, 12/25/09)(SFC, 12/26/09, p.A5)
2009 Dec 25, Mexican
authorities in the state of Chihuahua found the bullet-riddled
bodies of six members of the same family in a mountainous area.
Esther Chavez (73), a women's rights activist who first drew
attention to the brutal slayings of women in the border city of
Ciudad Juarez, died. She was the founder of Casa Amiga, a shelter
for female victims of violence in Ciudad Juarez.
(AP, 12/26/09)(AP, 12/27/09)
2009 Dec 25, Robert Park, a
28-year-old Korean-American, crossed the frozen Tumen River into
North Korea from China on Christmas Day to urge Kim Jong Il to
release political prisoners and shut down the "concentration camps"
where they are held.
2009 Dec 25, In Norway Knut
Magne Haugland (92), the last of six crew members who crossed the
Pacific Ocean in 1947 on board the balsa wood raft Kon-Tiki, died in
2010 Dec 25, Benin said three
West African presidents will fly to Ivory Coast to tell incumbent
leader Laurent Gbagbo to quit or face force, a sign of mounting
regional determination to force him out.
2010 Dec 25, In London Kristy
Bamu (15) died after days of abuses in a Congolese exorcism ritual
by his sister Magalie (29) and her partner, football coach Eric
Bikubi (28). Bikubi and Magalie were found guilty of murder in 2012.
Bikubi was sentenced to at least 30 years in prison and Bamu a
minimum of 25 years.
2010 Dec 25, China’s state
media said police are offering cash and other rewards to encourage
the country's millions of Internet users to help solve criminal
investigations. China announced a 25-basis point increase in
benchmark one-year interest rates, providing much-needed reassurance
that it was determined to rein in price pressures.
(AFP, 12/25/10)(Reuters, 12/27/10)
2010 Dec 25, In China village
leader Qian Yunhui (53) was killed under the wheel of a truck in
Yueqing, Zhejiang province. On Jan 4 police charged the driver, Fei
Liangyu, with accidental death. Thousands of netizens accused local
government officials of killing Qian to silence his six-year
campaign against fixed elections and illegal land expropriation,
which was quickly denied by local authorities. On Feb 1, 2011, Fei
was sentenced to three and a half years' imprisonment.
2010 Dec 25, In Colombia a 120
helicopter-borne commandos raided the camp of drug lord Pedro
Oliverio Guerrero, head of the so-called Popular Revolutionary
Anti-Terrorist Army of Colombia. Officials on Dec 29 confirmed that
they had found the body of Guerrero, also know as "The Knife," near
Puerto Alvira in Meta province. 2 police officers also died in the
(AP, 12/30/10)(SFC, 12/30/10, p.A5)
2010 Dec 25, Guatemala captured
4 suspected drug traffickers on top of 18 arrested over the past
week, as well as automatic weapons and small planes in a
country-wide sweep to crack down on Mexican cartels smuggling drugs
through Central America.
2010 Dec 25, In India a rocket
carrying a GSAT-5P communications satellite exploded just after
takeoff from the Sriharikota space center in Andhra Pradesh state.
(SSFC, 12/26/10, p.A5)
2010 Dec 25, In northern India
a bus collided head-on with a van that was carrying mourners
returning from a funeral, killing 35 people.
2010 Dec 25, In Iran a
convicted drug trafficker has been hanged in the northern city of
Sari after being convicted of keeping, carrying and selling the
narcotic drug crack.
2010 Dec 25, In southern
Lebanon Ghandi Sahmarani, the leader of an Al-Qaeda splinter group,
was found shot dead execution-style in Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian
2010 Dec 25, In Mexico 2 more
murder victims were shot in Ciudad Juarez.
2010 Dec 25, Nigeria’s
President Goodluck Jonathan handed out $1 billion from the nation’s
“excess crude account" to government officials for Christmas
(Econ, 1/22/11, p.58)
2010 Dec 25, In Pakistan a
burqa-clad, female, suicide bomber attacked a crowd of people as
hundreds from the Salarzai tribe headed toward a food distribution
center in the Bajaur region on the Afghan border. 45 people were
killed. The Salarzais are a major regional anti-Taliban tribe, which
has been backing army operations against the militants. The bombing
forced the World Food Program to shut down operations in the Bajur
(AP, 12/25/10)(Reuters, 12/26/10)(SFC, 12/27/10,
2010 Dec 25, In the southern
Philippines a bomb exploded during Christmas Day Mass at a chapel
inside a police camp on Jolo island, wounding 6 people. The next day
Pres. Aquino said that investigators had identified a suspect and a
possible "terror plot" in the bombing.
(AP, 12/25/10)(AFP, 12/27/10)
2010 Dec 25, Somali pirates in
the Arabian Sea hijacked the MV Thor Nexus, a Thai-owned cargo ship
with 27 crew members. Suspected Somali pirates attacked the
Taiwanese ship FV Shiuh Fu No. 1, some 120 nautical miles off the
northeastern tip of Madagascar. All communication was lost and there
were strong indications that it may have been seized with its 26
(AP, 12/25/10)(AP, 12/30/10)
2010 Dec 25, Former Venezuelan
President Carlos Andres Perez (88) died in Miami. His popularity
soared with his country's oil-based economy, but later faced riots,
a severe economic downturn and impeachment in his homeland. Perez
governed Venezuela from 1974-79 and again from 1989-93 and denied
(AP, 12/25/10)(Econ, 1/8/11, p.86)
2011 Dec 25, The United States
reached a deal to sell $3.48 billion worth of missiles and related
technology to the United Arab Emirates, as part of a massive buildup
of defense technology among friendly Mideast nations near Iran. The
deal was made public on Dec 30.
2011 Dec 25, The loose-knit
hacking movement "Anonymous" claimed to have stolen thousands of
credit card numbers and other personal information belonging to
clients of US-based security think tank Stratfor.
2011 Dec 25, In Detroit,
Michigan, the bodies of 2 women were found in a burning car trunk.
Two other women were found dead in a car trunk on Dec 19. Three of
the four women had promoted themselves as escorts through the same
website. In May, 2012, James Brown was charged with moving the
bodies and arson.
(SFC, 12/27/11, p.A7)(SSFC, 5/6/12, p.A9)
2011 Dec 25, In Texas 7 people
were shot to death in a suburban apartment. A man in a Santa Claus
suit shot 6 relatives and himself. They had apparently opened their
Christmas gifts and started cleaning up the wrapping paper when they
were killed in Grapevine, a suburb of Fort Worth.
(AP, 12/25/11)(SFC, 12/27/11, p.A7)
2011 Dec 25, In northeastern
Afghanistan a suicide bomber attacked a funeral, killing at least 19
people including an MP and wounding dozens of others in Takhar
province. In eastern Afghanistan an ISAF service member died after
an insurgent attack. Afghan security forces over the last 24 hours
killed 30 armed insurgents in various operations around the country
in which a number of weapons were found.
2011 Dec 25, Anti-whaling
activists intercepted Japan's harpoon fleet far north of Antarctic
waters, with the help of a military-style drone.
2011 Dec 25, China and Japan
announced an agreement to let Japan buy Chinese sovereign debt. No
sum or timetable was disclosed.
(Econ, 12/31/11, p.59)
2011 Dec 25, An Egyptian
investigative judge ordered the release today of Alaa Abdel-Fattah
(30), a prominent blogger detained on Oct 30 by the ruling military,
which had accused him of attacking soldiers during deadly clashes in
2011 Dec 25, The Iraqi
government and the UN announced an agreement to relocate several
thousand Iranian exiles living in Camp Ashraf in northeastern Iraq.
2011 Dec 25, Sori Yanagi (96),
the pioneer of Japan's industrial design, died. His designs for
stools and kitchen pots brought the simplicity and purity of
Japanese decor into the everyday.
2011 Dec 25, Mexican soldiers
discovered 13 bodies in an abandoned truck in Tamaulipas state along
with a message that they were killed in a war between rival drug
cartels in the eastern state of Veracruz.
2011 Dec 25, In Nigeria an
explosion, claimed by Muslim extremists, ripped through a Catholic
church during Mass killing at least 35 people at the St. Theresa
Catholic Church in Madalla, near the capital, Abuja. The toll soon
rose to 44 as more people died of their injuries. In Jos a second
explosion struck near a Mountain of Fire and Miracles Church. Gunmen
later opened fire on police guarding the area, killing one police
officer. 2 explosions struck the northeastern city of Damaturu. The
bomber targeted a senior military commander and killed three
officers in the attack.
(AP, 12/25/11)(AFP, 12/26/11)(AFP, 12/30/11)
2011 Dec 25, In Pakistan over
100,000 people rallied in support of Imran Khan (59), a
cricket hero turned politician, in the port city of Karachi,
boosting his image as a rising political force.
2011 Dec 25, Prominent Russian
opposition activist Sergei Udaltsov, leader of the Left Front, had
barely half an hour of freedom before being sentenced to 10 more
days in jail, making it the 14th time this year he's been detained.
2011 Dec 25, Russian and
Japanese rescue vessels and a helicopter searched for five people
missing in a fierce storm off Russia's east coast after a
Cambodia-flagged fishing ship, the Ginga, sank early in the day. 3
bodies were recovered from the icy waters of the La Perouse Strait,
between the Sea of Okhotsk and the Sea of Japan.
2011 Dec 25, In South Sudan a
group calling itself the Nuer Youth White Army issued a statement
vowing to "wipe out the entire Murle tribe on the face of the earth
as the only solution to guarantee long-term security of Nuer's
2011 Dec 25, In Sri Lanka
British tourist and Red Cross aid worker Khuram Shaikh (32) was
murdered and his Russian girlfriend raped at the southern tourist
resort of Tangalle. In 2014 Sampath Vidanapathirana, a ruling party
politician, and three others were convicted and sentenced to 20
years in prison.
(SFC, 7/19/14, p.A2)
2011 Dec 25, Sudanese riot
police and university students battled in central Khartoum after
students staged an exam boycott.
2011 Dec 25, The Vinalines
Queen disappeared on Christmas Day after passing the island of Luzon
in the Philippines. The Vietnamese ship had capsized, apparently
without sending a distress signal. A Vietnamese seaman survived five
days floating in open ocean with only a life jacket for protection
after his cargo ship sank and all his 22 crew mates died. The ship
was carrying more than 54,000 tons of nickel ore and was traveling
from Indonesia to China when it lost contact. Global ship owners
association Intercargo issued a statement in December 2010 warning
of the hazards of transporting nickel ore which, it said, may
liquefy and cause a ship to list if not loaded to international
2011 Dec 25, In Yemen tens of
thousands of people demonstrated in Sanaa against the deaths of
protesters and demanding the resignation of Vice President Hadi for
failing to bring the killers to justice.
2011 Dec 25, In Zimbabwe a
pleasure boat capsized at Lake Chivero, drowning 11 of 19 people,
most of them children.
2012 Dec 25, Chicago mobster
Frank Calabrese Sr. (75) died at a federal prison in North Carolina.
He was among 5 men convicted in September 2007 at the Family Secrets
(SFC, 12/27/12, p.A13)
2012 Dec 25, Argentina's coast
guard cutter Thompson fired warning shots at two Chinese trawlers,
blocking their escape into international waters. Ten tons of squid
were found in the holds of the Lu Rong Yu 6177 and 6178 after they
were hauled into port.
2012 Dec 25, The British
Antarctic Survey (BAS), an ambitious plan to search for minute forms
of life in an ancient lake beneath Antarctica's ice, was suspended
because of technical problems.
2012 Dec 25, In China 72
prominent Chinese scholars and lawyers released a petition urging
the country's new Communist Party leaders to undertake moderate
political reforms including separating the party from government.
(AP, 12/26/12)(Econ, 1/5/12, p.32)
2012 Dec 25, An Iranian
semi-official news agency said there has been another cyberattack by
the sophisticated computer worm Stuxnet, this time on the industries
in the country's south.
2012 Dec 25, An Iraqi-Kurd
official said the northern Kurdish region has suspended oil exports
over a payment dispute with baghdad.
(SFC, 12/26/12, p.A5)
2012 Dec 25, Kazakhstan's
acting border service chief Col. Turganbek Stambekov was among 27
people killed in a military plane crash, a Russian-made An-72, near
the southern city of Shymkent. He was appointed in June to deal with
the aftermath of a mass killing involving a conscript.
2012 Dec 25, In Myanmar an Air
Bagan flight packed with Christmas tourists crash-landed on a road
in central Shan state, killing 2 people and injuring 11, including 4
(AP, 12/25/12)(AP, 12/26/12)
2012 Dec 25, In southern
Pakistan gunmen wounded a prominent Sunni cleric and killed his
three guards and his driver in an apparently sectarian attack in
2012 Dec 25, In Pakistan
Shahzeb Khan (20) was allegedly gunned down overnight by a pair of
young men from two of the wealthiest families in Karachi. His death
sparked an unusual outcry and highlighted a growing trend of
citizens using social media to hold the country's rich and powerful
2012 Dec 25, In the Philippines
a Christmas Day fire killed a veterinarian and 6 members of his
family in Quezon City. Another blaze left as many as 2,000 people
homeless when it hit a residential area in San Juan City.
(AP, 12/25/12)(SSFC, 12/30/12, p.A6)
2012 Dec 25, Sudan reportedly
launched attacks in the border area with South Sudan killing at
least five people. Antonov warplanes bombed the village of Werguet,
in Northern Bahr el Ghazal state, while ground forces working with
"militiamen" attacked nearby Kiir Adem.
2012 Dec 25, Syrian rebels
fully captured Harem, a northern town near the Turkish border, after
weeks of siege and heavy fighting. In the Damascus suburb of
Jaramana, opposition gunmen ambushed and wounded the head of
military intelligence in the area. He died of his wounds. Maj. Gen.
Abdul-Aziz Jassem al-Shallal, the head of Syria's military police,
appeared in a video aired on Al Arabiya TV saying he is joining "the
(AP, 12/25/12)(AP, 12/26/12)
2012 Dec 25, In Yemen gunmen on
motorbikes shot dead two army officers in Sanaa. Clashes between the
military and tribal fighters loyal to al-Qaida in northeastern Marib
province killed three soldiers and 11 tribesmen over the last 24
2012 Dec 25, Zimbabwe state
radio said 18 people headed home for the holidays died when their
open truck veered off a mountain road and plunged into a ravine in
the northeastern Honde Valley region.
2013 Dec 25, In Arizona police
found Aniarael Macias (13) dead at the home of Connie Villa (35) in
Casa Grande. Villa had tried to poison her three other children and
had just stabbed her ex-husband who called 911 as he drove to a
hospital. Connie Villa was arrested on Dec 29 after being released
from a hospital.
(SFC, 12/31/13, p.A5)
2013 Dec 25, United Van Lines
released its 37th annual migration study. New Jersey repeated as the
state with the highest outbound moves. Migration out of Michigan
slowed to a virtual halt after 16 straight years of outbound moves.
(AP, 12/25/13)(SFC, 12/26/13, p.A8)
2013 Dec 25, In Irvington, NJ,
3 men were killed at Slick’s Go Go Bar when a man tried to enter
with a gun. On Jan 12, 2014, Anthony Fields (19) of Newark, the
suspected gunman, was arrested in Florida.
(SFC, 12/26/13, p.A8)(SFC, 1/13/14, p.A4)
2013 Dec 25, Attacks in
Afghanistan killed at least 6 people. The US Embassy in Kabul was
hit by indirect fire before dawn but no Americans were hurt.
2013 Dec 25, In Argentina an
attack by a school of palometas, a carnivorous type of piranha,
injured 70 people bathing in the Parana River in Rosario, including
seven children who lost parts of their fingers or toes.
2013 Dec 25, In Brazil angry
farmers, convinced that Tenharim tribesmen in Amazonas state had
kidnapped three local men nine days earlier, torched several
Tenharim huts and the offices of the federal indigenous affairs
agency, as well as several of its vehicles and river boats.
2013 Dec 25, Tens of thousands
of Britons remained without electricity after torrential rainfall
flooded homes and hurricane-force winds battered the country.
2013 Dec 25, In the Central
African Republic a spokesman for MISCA, the peacekeeping force, said
Chadian troops will be redeployed from Bangui amid charges they were
siding with a former rebel group. 5 Chadian peacekeepers died in
clashes in Bangui.
(AFP, 12/25/13)(AFP, 12/26/13)
2013 Dec 25, China's ruling
Communist Party unveiled a five-year plan to fight pervasive graft,
with particular attention on corruption that triggers protests or
happens in the course of economic reforms.
2013 Dec 25, Chinese media
reported the arrest of Chu Jian, a vice president of a prestigious
university, for "suspected economic problems." He was appointed in
2005 as vice president of Zhejiang University in the eastern city of
2013 Dec 25, In eastern
CongoDRC at least 40 civilians were killed by the Ugandan ADF-NALU
rebel group attack on a village in North Kivu province. A special UN
force in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo used helicopters to
fire on the rebels and help government troops retake the town of
(AFP, 12/25/13)(Reuters, 12/26/13)
2013 Dec 25, Egypt’s PM Hazem
el-Beblawi designated the Muslim Brotherhood a "terrorist"
organization after multiple explosions at the security headquarters
in Mansoura killed 16 and injured more than 100. The
al-Qaida-inspired group Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, or the Champions of
Jerusalem, said it had carried out the attack.
(AP, 12/25/13)(Reuters, 12/26/13)
2013 Dec 25, In Ethiopia Asfaw
Berhanu, a former contributor to the private paper The Reporter, was
convicted of charges stemming from a news story he wrote saying
three government officials had been removed from their posts. An
Ethiopian court sentenced him to two years and nine months in jail.
2013 Dec 25, Powerful winds and
torrential rain swept southern France, grounding flights and cutting
off power to tens of thousands of homes.
2013 Dec 25, A boat capsized
off the Turks and Caicos islands and 17 Haitian suspected illegal
migrants died. 33 people were rescued.
(AFP, 12/25/13)(SFC, 12/26/13, p.A2)
2013 Dec 25, Hundreds of
Indonesian Christians held a Christmas service in front of the
presidential palace in Jakarta to protest at the closure of their
churches due to pressure by Muslim hardliners.
2013 Dec 25, In Iraq at least
34 people were killed in three bombings in Christian areas of
Baghdad, including a car bomb that exploded as worshippers were
leaving a Christmas service. Attacks killed at least 44 people
across the country.
(Reuters, 12/25/13)(AFP, 12/25/13)
2013 Dec 25, In Pakistan a
suspected American drone fired two missiles just before midnight at
a home in North Waziristan, killing at least three foreign
2013 Dec 25, Russia's Supreme
Court said it will review two convictions against former oil tycoon
Mikhail Khodorkovsky, including a ruling the Kremlin critic said was
preventing him from returning to Russia despite a presidential
2013 Dec 25, Russia’s Pres.
Putin announced $2 billion in loans to Belarus next year following
talks with Belarus Pres. Alexander Lukashenko.
(SFC, 12/26/13, p.A2)
2013 Dec 25, Greenpeace said
Russian investigators have dropped charges against all but one of
the 30 crew, who were accused of hooliganism following a protest
outside a Russian oil rig in the Arctic. Cristian d'Alessandro of
Italy failed to get his criminal case closed due to the lack of an
interpreter and will have to visit the St. Petersburg branch of
Russia's Investigative Committee again Dec 26.
2013 Dec 25, South Sudan's army
battled rebel forces in Malakal while troops flushed out insurgents
in Bor after its recapture.
2013 Dec 25, Syria’s government
signed a major oil and gas exploration deal with a Russian company
in Damascus, which will allow for exploration in a section of Syrian
2013 Dec 25, Thailand's PM
Yingluck Shinawatra proposed a "national reform council" to seek a
way out of the political crisis gripping the kingdom, following
weeks of mass street protests against her government.
2013 Dec 25, In Turkey three
Cabinet ministers resigned, days after their sons were taken into
custody in a sweeping corruption and bribery scandal that has
targeted PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan's allies in one of the worst
political crises of his more than 10 years in power.
2013 Dec 25, Ukrainian
opposition activist and journalist Tetyana Chornovil (34), known for
her investigations into corruption among senior state officials, was
beaten up by unknown attackers. Chornovil was assaulted near Kiev
hours after an article she wrote on the assets of top government
officials was published. Opposition activists quickly gathered
outside the Interior Ministry in Kiev and demanded the resignation
of Interior Minister Vitali Zakharchenko.
(Reuters, 12/25/13)(SFC, 12/26/13, p.A3)