Today in History - December 31

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192        Dec 31, Lucius A.A. Commodus (31), Emperor of Rome (180-192), was murdered. His mistress Marcia, Chamberlain Eclectus, and praetorian prefect Laetus hired the wrestler Narcissus to strangle Commodus after they found their names on an imperial execution list.
    (PCh, 1992, p.42)(MC, 12/31/01)

406        Dec 31, Godagisel, king of the Vandals, died in battle as some 80,000 Vandals attacked over the Rhine at Mainz.
    (MC, 12/31/01)

765        Dec 31, The coffin of Ho-tse Shen-hui was interred in a stupa built in China.
    (MC, 12/31/01)

870        Dec 31, Skirmish at Englefield. Ethelred of Wessex beat back a Danish invasion army.
    (MC, 12/31/01)

1378        Dec 31, Callistus III, [Alfonso the Borgia], Pope (1455-58), was born.
    (MC, 12/31/01)

1384        Dec 31, John Wycliffe, English religious reformer and bible translator, died.
    (MC, 12/31/01)

1492        Dec 31, 100,000 Jews were expelled from Sicily.
    (MC, 12/31/01)

1502        Dec 31, Cesare Borgia (son of Pope Alexander VI) occupied Urbino.
    (MC, 12/31/01)

1514        Dec 31, Andreas Vesalius (d.1564), anatomist, author of “De Humani Corporis Fabrica," was born in Brussels, Belgium
    (NH, 10/96, p.34)(TL-MB, 1988, p.15)(MC, 12/31/01)

1564        Dec 31, Willem of Orange demanded freedom of conscience and religion.
    (MC, 12/31/01)

1600        Dec 31, The British East India Company (d.1874) was chartered by Queen Elizabeth I in London to carry on trade in the East Indies in competition with the Dutch, who controlled nutmeg from the Banda Islands. A company of 218 merchants were granted a monopoly to trade east of the Cape of Good Hope. For its first 20 years the company operated out of the home of its governor, Sir Thomas Smythe.
    (WSJ, 1/11/99, p.R49)(, 12/17/11, p.109)

1687        Dec 31, The 1st Huguenots departed France to the Cape of Good Hope.
    (MC, 12/31/01)

1711        Dec 31, Duke of Marlborough was fired as English army commander.
    (MC, 12/31/01)

1720        Dec 31, Charles Edward Stuart, grandson of James II, known as the Young Pretender and Bonnie Prince Charlie, was born.
    (HN, 12/31/98)

1738        Dec 31, Charles Lord Cornwallis (d.1805), soldier and statesman, was born. "Fire when ready Gridley."
    (MC, 12/31/01)

1745        Dec 31, Bonnie Prince Charlie's army met with de Esk.
    (MC, 12/31/01)

1762        Dec 31, The Mozart family moved from Vienna to Salzburg.
    (MC, 12/31/01)

1775        Dec 31, George Washington ordered recruiting officers to accept free blacks into the army.
    (HN, 12/31/98)
1775        Dec 31, The British repulsed an attack by Continental Army generals Richard Montgomery and Benedict Arnold at Quebec; Montgomery was killed.
    (AP, 12/31/97)

1783        Dec 31, Import of African slaves was banned by all of the Northern American states.
    (MC, 12/31/01)

1805        Dec 31, The French Revolutionary calendar law was abolished. France returned to the Gregorian calendar.
    (K.I.-365D, p.43)(MC, 12/31/01)

1815        Dec 31, George Gordon Meade (d.1872), Union general, was born. He defeated Robert E. Lee at the Battle of Gettysburg.
    (HN, 12/31/99)(MC, 12/31/01)

1841        Dec 31, Alabama became the 1st state to license dental surgeons.
    (MC, 12/31/01)

1852        Dec 31, The richest year of the gold rush ended, with $81.3 million in gold produced.
    (HN, 12/31/98)

1857        Dec 31, Britain's Queen Victoria decided to make Ottawa the capital of Canada.
    (AP, 12/31/97)

1858        Dec 31, Vincas Kudirka (d.1899), author of the Lithuanian national anthem, was born in Vilkaviskis County.
    (LC, 1998, p.30)(LHC, 12/31/02)

1859        Dec 31, Luigi Ricci (54), composer, died.
    (MC, 12/31/01)

1862        Dec 31, President Lincoln signed an act admitting West Virginia to the Union.
    (AP, 12/31/97)
1862        Dec 31, Union General William Rosecrans' army repelled two Confederate attacks at the Battle of Murfreesboro (Stone's River).
    (HN, 12/31/98)
1862        Dec 31, The USS Monitor sank in a storm off Cape Hatteras, NC., while being towed by the Rhode Island. 16 officers and seamen died. In 1973 scientists from North Carolina’s Duke University discovered the deteriorating relic 16 miles from the coast, in 240 feet of water. In 1975 the site was designated the nation’s first marine sanctuary, and it was the first shipwreck to be named a National Historic Landmark in the United States.  In 2002 the turret was raised.
    (SFC, 8/6/02, p.A2)(HNQ, 11/29/02)(ON, 10/08, p.5)

1869        Dec 31, Henri Matisse (d.1954), French artist best known for his paintings "Woman with a Hat" and "The Red Studio," was born. His work included the “Dance II," now at the Hermitage in Moscow. In 1998 Hilary Spurling authored “The Unknown Matisse: A Life of Henri Matisse, Vol 1: 1869-1908."
    (WSJ, 7/5/96, p.A5)(SFEC, 12/13/98, BR p.9)(HN, 12/31/98)

1877        Dec 31, Pres. and Mrs. Hayes celebrated their silver anniversary (technically, a day late) by re-enacting their wedding ceremony in the White House.
    (AP, 12/31/02)

1879        Dec 31, Gilbert and Sullivan's "Pirates of Penzance," premiered in NYC.
    (MC, 12/31/01)
1879        Dec 31, Thomas Edison first publicly demonstrated his electric incandescent light in Menlo Park, N.J.
    (AP, 12/31/97)

1880        Dec 31, George Catlett Marshall, Chief of Staff who led the U.S. Army to victory in World War II and later became Secretary of State for President Harry Truman, was born. He won Nobel Peace Prize in 1953 for the Marshall Plan.
    (WUD, 1994 p.879)(HN, 12/31/98)(MC, 12/31/01)

1882        Dec 31, Leon Michel Gambetta (44), French attorney and premier (1881-82), died.
    (MC, 12/31/01)

1890        Dec 31, Ellis Island, NYC, opened as a US immigration depot.
    (MC, 12/31/01)

1897        Dec 31, Brooklyn, N.Y., spent its last day as a separate entity before becoming part of New York City.
    (AP, 12/31/97)

1899        Dec 31, Silvestre Revueltas, composer (Sensemaya), was born in Santiago, Papasquiaro, Mexico.
    (MC, 12/31/01)
1899        Dec 31, Karl Millocker (57), Austrian conductor and composer, died.
    (MC, 12/31/01)

1904        Dec 31, Nathan Milstein, concert violinist, was born in Odessa, Russia.
    (MC, 12/31/01)

1905        Dec 31, Broadway composer Jule Styne was born in London.
    (AP, 12/31/05)

1907        Dec 31, For 1st time a ball was dropped at Times Square to signal new year.
    (MC, 12/31/01)
1907        Dec 31, Gustav Mahler conducted the Metropolitan Opera.
    (MC, 12/31/01)

1908        Dec 31, Simon Wiesenthal, survivor of the Nazi Holocaust who dedicated his life to tracking down former Nazis, was born.
    (HN, 12/31/98)

1910        Dec 31, US tobacco industry produced 9 billion cigarettes for the year.
    (MC, 12/31/01)
1910        Dec 31, John B. Moisant and Arch Hoxsey, two of America's foremost aviators died in separate plane crashes. Moisant died in a plane crash in New Orleans.
    (HN, 12/31/98)(HN, 7/31/01)

1911        Dec 31, Helene Dutrieu won the Femina aviation cup in Etampes. She set a distance record for women at 158 miles.
    (HN, 12/31/98)

1915        Dec 31, The Germans torpedoed the British liner Persia without any warning; 335 are dead.
    (HN, 12/31/98)

1918        Dec 31, Kid Gleason replaced Pants Rowland as White Sox manager.
    (MC, 12/31/01)
1923        Dec 31, BBC began using the Big Ben chime ID.
    (MC, 12/31/01)
1923        Dec 31, The Sahara was crossed by an automobile for the first time.
    (HN, 12/31/98)

1929        Dec 31, Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians played "Auld Lang Syne" as a New Year’s Eve song for the first time. Scottish poet Robert Burns is credited with writing the song, although a similar poem by Robert Ayton (1570-1638), not to mention even older folk songs, use the same phrase, and may well have inspired Burns. The literal translation means "old long since" which less literally meant "days gone by."
    (, 12/29/06, p.W10)
1929        Dec 31, The DJIA closed the decade at 248.48.
    (WSJ, 4/8/04, p.C4)

1930        Dec 31, Odetta, [Holmes], folk singer (Sanctuary), was born in Birmingham, Ala.
    (MC, 12/31/01)
1930        Dec 31, Pontifical encyclical Casti connubial was against mixed marriages.
    (MC, 12/31/01)
1930        Dec 31, US tobacco industry produced 123 billion cigarettes in this year.
    (MC, 12/31/01)
1930        Dec 31, Brewery heir Adolphus Busch was kidnapped.
    (HN, 12/31/98)

1937        Dec 31, Anthony Hopkins, actor (Elephant Man, QB VII, Magic, Bounty, Silence of the Lambs), was born in Wales.
    (MC, 12/31/01)

1938        Dec 31, Dr. R.N. Harger's "drunkometer," the 1st breath test, was introduced in Indiana.
    (MC, 12/31/01)

1939        Dec 31, The DJIA closed the decade at 150.24.
    (WSJ, 4/8/04, p.C4)

1941        Dec 31, General MacArthur reported that U.S. lines in Manila had been pushed back by the Japanese.
    (HN, 12/31/98)

1942        Dec 31, After five months of battle, Emperor Hirohito allowed the Japanese commanders at Guadalcanal to retreat.
    (HN, 12/31/98)

1943        Dec 31, John Denver, singer (Rocky Mt High), was born in NM.
    (MC, 12/31/01)
1943        Dec 31, Ben Kingsley, actor (Gandhi, Betrayal, Maurice), was born in Scarborough, England.
    (MC, 12/31/01)
1943        Dec 31, NYC's Times Square greeted Frank Sinatra at the Paramount Theater.
    (MC, 12/31/01)

1945        Dec 31, The ratification of the UN Charter was completed.
    (MC, 12/31/01)
1945        Dec 31, Czechoslovakia began forcing the German population of the Sudetenland back to Germany.
    (WSJ, 11/25/96, p.A15)

1946        Dec 31, President Truman officially proclaimed the end of hostilities in  World War II.
    (HN, 12/31/98)(AP, 12/31/97)

1950        Dec 31, Charles Koechlin (b.1867), French composer, teacher and writer on music, died in France. He visited the USA four times to lecture and teach in 1918-19, 1928, 1929 and 1937. On the second and third visits he taught at the University of California, Berkeley.

1951        Dec 31, The 1st battery to convert radioactive energy to electrical was announced.
    (MC, 12/31/01)

1952        Dec 31, Hank Williams died at age 29 in the back seat of a Cadillac full of pills and booz on his way to a gig.
    (SSFC, 6/3/01, Par p.8)

1958        Dec 31, Cuba’s dictator Juan Batista fled as Rebels under Fidel Castro marched into Havana.
    (MC, 12/31/01)

1959        Dec 31, Bebe Neuwirth, actress (Lilith-Cheers, Damn Yankees), was born in Princeton, NJ.
    (MC, 12/31/01)
1959        Dec 31, The DJIA closed the decade at 679.36.
    (WSJ, 4/8/04, p.C4)

1961        Dec 31, "lrma La Douce" closed at the Plymouth Theater in NYC after 527 performances.
    (MC, 12/31/01)
1961        Dec 31, Beach Boys played their debut gig under that name. The Beach Boys band was formed with brothers Brian, Carl and Dennis Wilson, cousin Mike Love and friend Al Jardine. Their hit “Surfin" came out the same year.
    (SFC, 7/14/96, DB p.50)(MC, 12/31/01)
1961        Dec 31, The Marshall Plan expired after distributing more than $12 billion in foreign aid.
    (AP, 12/31/97)

1964        Dec 31, Syrian-based al-Fatah guerrillas of Yasser Arafat launched their 1st raid on Israel with the aim of provoking a retaliation and sparking an Arab war against Israel. Fatah, a Palestinian movement for independence, made the first terror attack on Israel and initiated the armed struggle for a state.
    (WSJ, 1/22/98, p.A1)(SFEC, 1/2/00, p.A24)(WSJ, 6/5/02, p.D7)

1965        Dec 31, California became the largest state in population.
    (HN, 12/31/98)

1967        Dec 31, Evel Knievel (1938-2007) failed in his attempt to jump Caesar's Palace Fountain.

1968        Dec 31, The Soviet Union's TU-144, similar in appearance to the Concorde, made its 1st flight. The first Tu-144S production aircraft crashed at the 1973 Paris Air Show.

1969        Dec 31, In Clarksville, Pa., Joseph Yablonski was murdered with his wife and daughter. Yablonski had lost an election for the presidency of the United Mine Workers 3 weeks earlier. [see Jan 5, 1970]
    (SFC, 11/8/99, p.C2)
1969        Dec 31, Salvatore Baccaloni (b.1900), Italian opera basso buffa and actor, died in NYC. His films included “Full of Life" (1957).

1970        Dec 31, Congress authorized the Eisenhower dollar coin.
1970        Dec 31, Paul McCartney filed a lawsuit to dissolve the Beatles’ partnership.
1970        Dec 31, President Allende nationalized the Chilean coal mines.

1972        Dec 31, Roberto Clemente (b.1934), baseball player, died in a plane crash while enroute from Puerto Rico to help earthquake victims in Nicaragua. In 2006 David Maraniss authored “Clemente."
    (WSJ, 4/2/01, p.A20)(WSJ, 4/27/06, p.D7)

1974        Dec 31, US Congress overrode Pres. Ford’s veto of the Freedom of Information Act-strengthening amendments in the Privacy Act of 1974. It was passed in the wake of the Watergate scandal. It allowed ordinary citizens to hold the US government accountable by requesting public documents and records.
    (SSFC, 1/6/02, p.D4)(
1974        Dec 31, Private US citizens were allowed to buy and own gold for the first time in more than 40 years.
    (AP, 12/31/97)

1977        Dec 31, "Bubbling Brown Sugar" closed at ANTA Theater NYC after 766 performances.
1977        Dec 31, Cambodia broke relations with Vietnam.
    (HN, 12/31/98)

1978        Dec 31, John McFall (1918-2006), an 11-term California Democrat, resigned from the US House of Representatives. In October the House had reprimanded him and 2 other California Democratic colleagues, Edward Roybal and Charles Wilson, for the questionable handling of money donated by South Korean businessman Tongsun Park.
    (SFC, 3/15/06, p.B7)
1978        Dec 31, Peter Seeburg, one of 3 Univ. of California scientists who had identified the DNA for human growth hormone earlier in the year, returned to UCSF in a "midnight raid" and remove genetic material. Seeburg had left the university in late 1978 to join Genentech giving up rights to his materials, for which UCSF had filed a patent. In 1990 UCSF filed a patent infringement suit against Genentech.
    (SFC, 5/21/99, p.B2)(
1978        Dec 31, Taiwanese diplomats struck their colors for the final time from the embassy flagpole in Washington, marking the end of diplomatic relations with the United States.
    (AP, 12/31/97)
1978        Dec 31, Nicolau Lobato (b.1946), East Timor guerrilla commander, was killed. Jose Alexandre Gusmao was made the de facto Falintil leader.

1980        Dec 31, A bomb blast wrecked the Jewish-owned Norfolk Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya, killing 16 people and wounding more than 80.
1980        Dec 31, Marshall McLuhan (b.1911), Canadian professor, cultural philosopher and writer, died at age 69. He was the author "Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man." In 1996 a CD-ROM titled "Understanding McLuhan" was released.
    (SFEC, 9/8/96, BR p.8)(V.D.-H.K.p.357)(AP, 12/31/05)

1981        Dec 31, CNN launched Headline News.
1981        Dec 31, The Blue and Gold Fleet discontinued its ferry service between Berkeley and SF due to low usage. The service had operated for 5 months averaging 169 passengers a day.
    (SFC, 12/30/05, p.F2)
1981        Dec 31, In Ghana Lt. Jerry Rawlings, a young fighter pilot, toppled Pres. Hilla Limann.
    (SFEC, 1/25/98, p.A22)

1982        Dec 31, In Poland Martial Law was suspended. It was terminated on July 22, 1983.

1983        Dec 31, In France bombings in the main railroad terminal in Marseilles and on the Paris-Marseilles express train killed 5 people and injured 50. The attack was attributed to Carlos the Jackal, aka Ilich Ramirez Sanchez.
    (SFC,12/11/97, p.C2)(
1983        Dec 31, In Nigeria the military again ousted the civilian government. Gen’l. Muhammadu Buhari (b.1942), a Muslim from the Hausa tribe (Fulani), took power in a coup. He soon launched a “war on indiscipline" and continue to rule for 18 months.
    (, 3/12/11, p.58)

1984        Dec 31, NYC subway gunman Bernhard Goetz surrendered to police in NH.

1985        Dec 31, Singer Rick Nelson (45) and six other people were killed when fire broke out aboard a DC-3 that was taking the group to a New Year's Eve performance in Dallas.
    (AP, 12/31/97)

1986        Dec 31, A fire at the Dupont Plaza Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico, killed 97 and injured 140 people. Three hotel workers later pleaded guilty to charges in connection with the blaze.
    (AP, 12/31/97)

1987        Dec 31, One second was added to the year to compensate for precession of earth's axis.
    (HN, 12/31/98)
1987        Dec 31, Robert Mugabe was sworn in as Zimbabwe's first executive president. Joshua Nkomo rejoined the Zimbabwe government as vice president.
    (AP, 12/31/97)(

1988        Dec 31, President Reagan and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev exchanged New Year's messages in which both leaders expressed optimism about future superpower relations.
    (AP, 12/31/98)

1989        Dec 31, "Me & My Girl," a revival of the 1937 British musical, closed at Marquis Theater, NYC, after 1420 performances.
1989        Dec 31, The Japanese Nikkei Index peaked at 38,915. The DJIA was at 2753.
    (WSJ, 9/5/01, p.C1)
1989        Dec 31, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir fired Science Minister Ezer Weizman, accusing him of meeting with officials of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
    (AP, 12/31/99)

1990        Dec 31, Sci-Fi Channel on cable TV began transmitting.
1990        Dec 31, George Allen, US football coach (LA Rams, Wash Redskins), died.

1991        Dec 31, President Bush arrived in Australia as part of a 12-day Pacific trip.
    (AP, 12/31/01)
1991        Dec 31, Representatives of the government of El Salvador and rebels reached agreement at the United Nations on a peace accord aimed at ending 12 years of civil war.
    (AP, 12/31/01)
1991        Dec 31, This was the last day of existence for the USSR.

1992        Dec 31, President Bush visited Somalia, where he saw firsthand the famine racking the east African nation. He praised U.S. troops that provided relief to the starving population.
    (AP, 12/31/97)
1992        Dec 31, U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali was jeered by Bosnians during a visit to Sarajevo.
    (AP, 12/31/97)
1992        Dec 31, The Nation of Czechoslovakia officially ended with division into two Nations: Slovakia and the Czech Republic in 1992. When the country split, all citizens were deemed to be either Czech or Slovak, based on their parentage. The vast majority of the Romany living in the Czech Republic are of Slovak descent, and they had to apply for Czech citizenship. In 2009 Mary Haimann authored “Czechoslovakia: The State That Failed."
    (HFA, '96, p.44)(SFC, 5/13/96, p.A-8)(Econ, 11/21/09, p.84)

1993        Dec 31, Entertainer Barbra Streisand performed her first paid concert in 22 years, singing to a sellout crowd at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas.
    (AP, 12/31/98)
1993        Dec 31, Scott Douglas (38) beat his wife, Anne Scripps Douglas (b.1946), with a claw hammer in their Bronxville home. She went into a coma and died Jan 6, 1994. Anne Scripps Douglas was the great-great-granddaughter of Detroit News founder James Scripps. Douglas disappeared, though his car was found on the off the Tappan Zee Bridge. His body was found washed up in the Bronx on March 30, 1994. In 2009 Anne Morell Petrillo (38), the daughter of Anne Scripps Douglas from a previous marriage, committed suicide off the Tappan Zee Bridge. 
    (SFC, 9/29/09, p.A9)(
1993        Dec 31, Former IBM chairman Thomas J. Watson died in Greenwich, Conn., at age 79.
    (AP, 12/31/98)
1993        Dec 31, Samuel Morris Steward (b.1909), also known by the pen name Phil Andros, died. He was a novelist and tattoo artist later based in Oakland, California. His “Stud File" ran to more than 4,600 encounters with over 800 men. In 2010 Justin Spring authored “Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward, Professor, Tattoo Artist, and Sexual Renegade."
    (, 8/22/10, p.F1)(Econ, 8/14/10, p.70)
1993        Dec 31, Former Georgian President Zviad Gamsakhurdia (b.1939) died on New Year’s Eve. He had returned to lead an uprising in western Georgia, but the fighting was quickly put down and Gamsakhurdia was surrounded. His body was then taken to Chechnya. In 2007 His body was returned for burial in Georgia.
    (AP, 3/28/07)

1994        Dec 31, John C. Salvi III, accused of killing two receptionists at two Boston-area abortion clinics on Dec 30, was arrested in Norfolk, Va. Salvi, later convicted of murder, committed suicide in prison.
    (AP, 12/31/04)
1994        Dec 31, Bosnian government officials and Bosnian Serb leaders signed a U.N.-brokered cease-fire agreement.
    (AP, 12/31/99)
1994        Dec 31, Russian ground forces launched a ferocious assault on the Chechen capital of Grozny.
    (AP, 12/31/99)

1995        Dec 31, Pres. Clinton and Monica Lewinsky engaged in their 3rd sexual encounter. By this time Lewinsky was a member of the staff of the Office of legislative Affairs.
    (SFC, 9/12/98, p.A12)
1995        Dec 31, The first US tanks crossed a pontoon bridge over the Sava River from Croatia to Bosnia to start the deployment of 20,000 US troops under IFOR, the Implementation Force under NATO command.
    (WSJ, 6/11/96, p.A14)
1995        Dec 31, Cartoonist Bill Watterson ended his "Calvin & Hobbes" comic strip.
1995        Dec 31, Bosnian government officials and Bosnian Serb leaders signed a UN-brokered cease-fire agreement.
    (AP, 12/31/00)
1995        Dec 31, Russian ground forces launched a ferocious assault on the Chechen capital of Grozny.
    (AP, 12/31/00)

1996        Dec 31, In China former student leader Li Hai was sentenced to 9 years in prison on charges of prying into state secrets.
    (SFC, 1/1/97, p.C2)
1996        Dec 31, Leftist rebels in Peru released two diplomats, leaving 81 hostages in the besieged Japanese embassy residence in Lima.
    (AP, 12/31/97)
1996        Dec 31, In Syria a New Year’s Eve bomb on a bus killed 9 and injured 44.
    (SFC, 1/3/97, p.A17)

1997        Dec 31, A federal judge in Texas ruled that parts of the 1996 Telecommunications Act are unconstitutional.
    (SFC, 1/1/98, p.A1)
1997        Dec 31, Microsoft bought the Hotmail E-mail service.
1997        Dec 31, Michael L. Kennedy, 39-year-old son of the late US Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, was killed in a ski accident at Aspen, Colo.
    (SFC, 1/1/98, p.A1)(AP, 12/31/98)
1997        Dec 31, Pianist Floyd Cramer died in Nashville, Tenn., at age 64.
    (AP, 12/31/98)
1997        Dec 31, In Sorocaba, Brazil, riot troops stormed a prison where inmates held hundreds of hostages, quickly ending a three-day rebellion without any deaths.
    (SFC, 1/1/98, p.A14)(AP, 12/31/98)
1997        Dec 31, China banned leaded gasoline in the whole Beijing area.
    (SFC, 1/1/98, p.A17)
1997        Dec 31, The US State Dept. reported that Iraq had ordered the summary execution of “hundreds if not thousands" of political detainees in recent weeks. The exiled Iraqi Communist party in London said 1,500 prisoners were killed on Nov 21. The exiled Iraqi National Congress said 800 prisoners were recently executed. A former Dutch foreign minister and UN Human Rights investigator said about 200 were reportedly executed. Iraq denied the charges.
    (SFC, 1/1/98, p.A17)(SFC, 1/2/98, p.A18)
1997        Dec 31, In Kenya projected counts indicated that Moi would win the elections with about 40% of the vote. Former vice-president Mwai Kibaki had about 30%.
    (SFC, 1/1/98, p.A17)
1997        Dec 31, Masked gunmen opened fire at the Clifton Tavern in Belfast and left one man dead and 5 wounded. The Loyalist Volunteer Force admitted killing Eddie Trainor (31) and wounding 5 others.
    (SFC, 1/1/98, p.A16)(SFC, 1/2/98, p.A15)
1997        Dec 31, In Pakistan Rafiz Tarar won the presidential election with 374 votes in the National Assembly. He faced a Jan 12 court hearing on charges of defaming the judiciary last month.
    (SFC, 1/1/98, p.A17)
1997        Dec 31, In Zambia former Pres. Kaunda (73) was released from prison and placed under house arrest.
    (SFC, 1/1/98, p.A18)

1998        Dec 31, In New Orleans a truck loaded with fireworks exploded prior to a New Years Eve show. 2 technicians were killed.
    (SFC, 1/2/99, p.A12)
1998        Dec 31, In Cambodia Hun Sen said he would not oppose a trial of the 2 recently emerged Khmer Rouge defectors. The National Assembly passed a $393.4 million budget that included $133 million for defense and security.
    (SFC, 1/2/99, p.A8)(SFC, 1/2/99, p.C12)
1998        Dec 31, In China the collected villages of Bujun in Sichuan province cast ballots for their own magistrate.
    (SFC, 1/26/99, p.A13)
1998        Dec 31, Europe's leaders proclaimed a new era as 11 nations merged currencies to create the euro, a shared money they said would boost business, underpin unity and strengthen their role in world affairs.
    (AP, 12/31/99)

1999        Dec 31, The $500,000 Anheuser-Busch prize to the first person of team to circle the globe in a balloon expires. An additional $500,000 goes to a charity of the winner’s choice.
    (SFC, 1/1/98, p.A6)
1999        Dec 31, The US was by a 1977 treaty required to give up control of the Panama Canal and withdraw its forces by this date. The treaty also required the US to pay for environmental cleanup.
    (SFC, 10/2/96, p.A8)(SFC, 10/15/98, p.C5)
1999        Dec 31, An arson attack of the genetic research building at Michigan State University caused $3.7 million in damages. Frank Ambrose of Detroit later admitted to the arson and went undercover for investigations of eco-terrorism. In 2008 Ambrose was sentenced to 9 years in prison.
    (WSJ, 10/11/08, p.A7)(, 10/21/08, p.A3)
1999        Dec 31, Elliot L. Richardson (79), former Attorney General, died in Boston.
    (AP, 12/31/04)
1999        Dec 31, In Afghanistan the hijackers of an Indian airline Flight 814 (see Dec 24) released all 150 hostages after India released 3 jailed militants: Maulana Masood Azhar, leader of the Harkat-ul-Ansar rebel group, Omar Sheikh and Mushtaq Zargat, an Indian Kashmiri. 4 hijackers came off the plane and left one dead hijacker behind. The Taliban gave them 10 hours to leave the country.
    (SFC, 1/1/00, p.A19)(SFEC, 1/2/00, p.A25)
1999        Dec 31, Burundian soldiers killed at least 43 people including children in the Kabezi commune in Bujumbura Rural province.
    (SFC, 1/8/00, p.A10)
1999        Dec 31, In Congo Jean-Pierre Bemba said his Congolese Liberation Movement forces had ambushed and killed 80 government troops at Libanda.
    (SFC, 1/1/00, p.D4)
1999        Dec 31, Europe’s leaders proclaimed a new era as eleven nations merged currencies to create the euro, a shared money they said would boost business, underpin unity and strengthen their role in world affairs.
    (AP, 12/31/00)
1999        Dec 31, In Indonesia thousands of residents fled clashes between the Christians and Muslims in the Spice Islands. 350 people had died in 5 days of violence. 5 people were killed at Makariki on Seram Island and security forces imposed a curfew.
    (SFC, 1/1/00, p.D4)
1999        Dec 31, In Iran Supreme Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called for the destruction of Israel during demonstrations for "Al-Quds Day." Al-Quds is the Arabic name for Jerusalem.
    (SFC, 1/1/00, p.D4)
1999        Dec 31, In Lebanon Muslim militants ambushed an army patrol and killed 4 soldiers with 3 wounded in Diniyah. A kidnapped soldier was found dead the next day and a kidnapped Lt. Col. Was missing.
    (SFEC, 1/2/00, p.A27)
1999        Dec 31, Pres. Yeltsin (68) announced his resignation and handed power over to PM Putin. Yeltsin approved a law just before resigning that required presidential candidates to collect 1 million registered signatures to win a place on the next ballet. Putin flew to Chechnya and vowed to pursue terrorists everywhere.
    (SFC, 1/1/00, p.A1)(SFC, 1/3/00, p.A9)(Econ, 3/1/08, p.54)

2000        Dec 31, The US signed a treaty for the creation of the 1st permanent int’l. court, joining most other countries of the world, despite objections by conservatives and the Pentagon.
    (SFC, 1/1/01, p.A1)(AP, 12/31/05)
2000        Dec 31, Former Sen. Alan Cranston died in Los Altos, Calif., at age 86.
    (SFC, 1/1/01, p.A1)(AP, 12/31/01)
2000        Dec 31, Flamenco dancer Jose Greco died in Lancaster, Pa., at age 82.
    (AP, 12/31/01)
2000        Dec 31, In London the Millennium dome opened for its last day.
    (SFC, 12/30/00, p.A8)
2000        Dec 31, In the West Bank Binyamin Kahane, son of Jewish extremist Meir Kahane, and his wife Talia were killed in an ambush by Palestinian gunmen. Israeli military soon after killed Thabet Thabet, a Fatah leader.
    (SFC, 1/1/01, p.A13)
2000        Dec 31, In Malaysia 15 parachutists planned to leap from the Petronas Towers just before midnight and land in the new year.
    (SFC, 12/31/00, p.B2)
2000        Dec 31, In Mexico Pres. Fox ordered a 2nd military base closed in Chiapas. Separately the outgoing Tabasco state Congress named Enrique Priego as acting governor.
    (SFC, 1/1/00, p.A12)
2000        Dec 31, In Pakistan staggered elections for municipal and district councils began. A third of the seats were reserved for women, another third for the poor.
    (SFC, 12/31/00, p.B3)
2000        Dec 31, Six Persian Gulf nations (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates) signed a regional defense pact.
    (SFC, 1/1/01, p.A10)
2000        Dec 31, In St. Lucia machete wielding men stormed the Castries Cathedral, hacked at worshipers and set them ablaze. One nun was killed and 12 people injured. Two suspects identified themselves as Rastafarian foes of corruption in the Catholic Church.
    (SFC, 1/1/01, p.A12)

2001        Dec 31, Notre Dame tapped Tyrone Willingham to be its football coach, replacing George O'Leary, who'd resigned because of misstatements about his academic and athletic achievements on his resume; Willingham became the first black head coach in any sport for the Irish.
    (AP, 12/31/02)
2001        Dec 31, The US designated 6 more entities as suspected terrorist organizations. 5 groups were active in the UK, the 6th was active in Spain. Lashkar-e-Taiba was designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization.
    (SFC, 1/1/02, p.A8)(WSJ, 12/8/08, p.A6)
2001        Dec 31, It was reported that federal pay raises ranged from 4.5 to 5.4% with the largest increase going to workers in San Francisco.
    (SFC, 12/31/01, p.A3)
2001        Dec 31, The US planned to deploy elements of the 101st Airborne Division to replace Marines near Kandahar. US troops moved by helicopter to Helmand province, the region where Mohammed Omar was suspected to be.
    (WSJ, 12/31/01, p.A1)
2001        Dec 31, New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani spent his final day in office praising police, firefighters, and other city employees, and said he had no regrets about returning to private life. In 2005 Fred and Harry Siegel authored “Prince of the City," an account of the Giuliani’s years as mayor of NYC.
    (AP, 12/31/02)(WSJ, 6/23/05, p.D8)
2001        Dec 31, Actress Eileen Heckart died in Norwalk, Conn., at age 82.
    (AP, 12/31/02)
2001        Dec 31, In Caracas, Venezuela, street vendors began selling pre-recorded CDs of banging pots to help drown out the long-winded speeches of Pres. Chavez. Earlier protests included the banging of pots and pans and became known as “cacerolazes." Approval ratings for Chavez had dropped from 80% to just over 50% in recent months.
    (SFC, 1/1/02, p.A2)
2001        Dec 31, Pakistani high command planned to pull some 50,000 troops off the Afghan border and redeploy them along the India border.
    (SFC, 1/1/02, p.A10)
2001        Dec 31, It was reported that Zimbabwe planned to publish the names of nearly 100,000 black citizens to be given portions of some 20 million acres of now farmland owned by whites.
    (WSJ, 12/31/01, p.A1)

2002        Dec 31, President Bush told reporters an attack by Saddam Hussein or a terrorist ally "would cripple our economy."
    (AP, 12/31/03)
2002        Dec 31, US executions for the year rose from 66 to71 with 33 in Texas.
    (SSFC, 12/29/02, p.A3)
2002        Dec 31, Australia's asylum seeker detention centers were in turmoil following an attempted mass breakout and riot in a Sydney centre, an armed stand off at another and fires burning in two.
    (Reuters, 12/31/02)
2002        Dec 31, In China a German-designed magnetic-levitation train hit 260 mph on its maiden run between Shanghai and Pudong airport.
    (SFC, 1/1/03, p.A10)
2002        Dec 31, Two U.N. nuclear inspectors expelled by North Korea arrived in China, leaving the communist nation's nuclear program isolated from international scrutiny.
    (AP, 12/31/03)
2002        Dec 31, In Colombia at least 12 people, including eight civilians, were killed in attacks by suspected rebels around the country.
    (AP, 1/1/03)
2002        Dec 31, Mexico City's only English-language newspaper, The News, shut down along with its sister Spanish-language publication, Novedades, after more than 50 years in operation.
    (AP, 12/31/02)
2002        Dec 31, In Mexico illegal fireworks stands ignited in the port city of Veracruz as revelers thronged a marketplace to buy New Year's supplies. The blaze quickly engulfed an entire city block and killed at least 28 people.
    (AP, 1/1/03)
2002        Dec 31, In Puerto Rico police recaptured one of five convicts who escaped from prison when a helicopter swooped into their maximum security compound and spirited them away.
    (AP, 12/31/02)

2003        Dec 31, Neal Batson ended his tenure as bankruptcy examiner of Enron. The 18-month probe had a final tab of $90 million. It included lawyer rates of as much as $600 an hour.
    (WSJ, 3/18/04, p.C1)
2003        Dec 31, Chicago  regained the title of America's murder capital. It finished 2003 with 599 homicides. That was down from 648 a year earlier and the first time since 1967 that the total dipped below 600. Gary, Ind., appeared to finish 2003 with the nation's highest per capita homicide rate for the ninth straight year.
    (AP, 1/1/04)
2003        Dec 31, The JenniCam website, begun by Jennifer Ringley in 1996, shut down. 7 years earlier she installed a Web camera in her Pennsylvania college dorm room and kept it on for 24 hours a day recording every detail of her life.
    (SFC, 12/12/03, p.B4)
2003        Dec 31, China offered to allow Taiwan to fly unlimited numbers of direct charter flights to the mainland in 2004, if the island's government agrees to allow Chinese airlines to do the same the following year.
    (AP, 12/31/03)
2003        Dec 31, In Indonesia a bomb tore through a crowded New Year's concert in Aceh province, killing 10 people, including three children. 45 were wounded.
    (AP, 1/1/04)
2003        Dec 31, In Iraq gunfire erupted in Kirkuk as hundreds of Arabs and Turkmen marched in protest over fears of Kurdish domination in the oil-rich northern city.
    (AP, 12/31/03)(WSJ, 1/2/04, p.A1)
2003        Dec 31, A New Year's Eve car bombing at the upscale Nabil restaurant in Baghdad killed 8 people and injured 35.
    (AP, 1/1/04)(SFC, 1/1/04, p.A1)
2003        Dec 31, Security forces boarded a bus in Macedonia and snatched a German citizen named Khaled el-Masri (b.1963). For the next five months, el-Masri was a ghost. Only a select group of CIA officers knew he had been whisked to a secret prison for interrogation in Afghanistan. He was the wrong guy. El-Masri was dumped in Albania in a remote hillside on May 28, 2004, without explanation or apology. Five months later Germany withdrew warrants for the arrest of 13 CIA agents. In 2012 el-Masri took his case to Europe’s human rights court.
    (, 2/9/11)(SSFC, 3/6/11, p.F6)(SFC, 5/17/12, p.A4)
2003        Dec 31, An avalanche swept down Mount Tasman, one of New Zealand's tallest peaks, killing four climbers and injuring two others.
    (AP, 12/31/03)
2003        Dec 31, In the Philippines a fire sparked by firecrackers swept through an old market in Lucena City, killing at least 14 people who were trapped inside their stalls.
    (AP, 12/31/03)
2003        Dec 31, Vietnam sentenced Nguyen Vu Binh (35) to 7 years in jai and 3 years house arrest for writing an article in 2002 that circulated on the Internet criticizing a border agreement between Vietnam and China.
    (SFC, 12/31/03, p.A3)

2004        Dec 31, The US pledged $350 million in grant aid for tsunami disaster relief. The World Bank committed $250 million. Great Britain offered $95 million.
    (AP, 1/1/05)(SFC, 1/1/05, p.A1)
2004        Dec 31, Bulgarian authorities picked up Suleyman Demirel, one-time owner of Egebank and nephew of former pres. Demirel, and returned him to Turkey for trial. Egebank’s collapse had caused financial losses of $1.2 billion.
    (Econ, 3/19/05, Survey p.10)
2004        Dec 31, Ricardo Palmera (54) became the first leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, to be sent to face prosecution in a U.S. federal court.
    (AP, 1/1/05)
2004        Dec 31, In Colombia suspected Marxist rebels massacred 16 peasants, including women and children, in a remote area in lawless Arauca province.
    (AP, 1/1/05)
2004        Dec 31, Gerard Debreu (b.1921), winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics (1983), died in Paris.
    (SFC, 1/6/05, p.B1)(
2004        Dec 31, Spain's socialist government approved a bill to legalize same-sex marriages.
    (AP, 12/31/04)
2004        Dec 31, Sudanese government and southern rebel officials signed landmark deals on how to implement a series of agreements on ending a 21-year civil war in southern Sudan.
    (AP, 12/31/04)
2004        Dec 31, Thai authorities said more than 2,230 foreigners from 36 nations were confirmed dead from Thailand's southern resorts alone.
    (AP, 12/31/04)(SFC, 1/1/05, p.A1)
2004        Dec 30, Ukrainian PM Viktor Yanukovych resigned, acknowledging that he had little hope of reversing the election victory of his Western-leaning rival, Viktor Yushchenko.
    (AP, 12/31/05)

2005        Dec 31, Dick Clark, in his first television appearance since his stroke in 2004, helped to ring in the new year in Times Square.
    (AP, 12/31/06)
2005        Dec 31, Lee Raymond, CEO of Exxon Mobil, retired. It was later revealed that he received $144,573 for each day he spent as chief from 1993 thru 2005.
    (SFC, 4/15/06, p.C1)(
2005        Dec 31, A powerful storm plowed through Northern California, causing mudslides and widespread flooding and snarling holiday traffic from Sonoma to Monterey.
    (AP, 12/31/05)
2005        Dec 31, Guillermo Martinez (18) died in a Tijuana hospital one day after he was shot by a US Border Patrol agent near a metal wall separating that city from San Diego. On Jan 2 Mexico opened an investigation into the killing saying he was shot while sneaking into California, using the death to draw attention to a contentious US anti-immigration measure. In 2008 the US Dept. of Justice cleared the Border Patrol agent of any wrongdoing.
    (AP, 1/3/06)(SFC, 2/16/08, p.A4)
2005        Dec 31, British subway workers in London walked out in a 24-hour strike timed to cripple the subway system on a night when tens of thousands of revelers were planning to celebrate New Year in the city.
    (AP, 12/31/05)
2005        Dec 31, A first group of UN peacekeepers from Mozambique left Burundi as part of a phased withdrawal of troops that will end in December next year.
    (AFP, 12/31/05)
2005        Dec 31, In Cambodia police arrested two leading human rights activists on defamation charges as the UN human rights body expressed "extreme concern" over the move.
    (AFP, 12/31/05)
2005        Dec 31, In Egypt President Hosni Mubarak swore in a new Cabinet that retained major personalities of the previous government, while adding two more pro-American business figures and installing Egypt's first minister to wear a headscarf. The government of PM Ahmed Nazif included Aisha Abdul Hadi, appointed as labor and immigration minister.
    (AP, 12/31/06)
2005        Dec 31, In Egypt several Sudanese migrants injured when police violently cleared a ramshackle camp died later from their wounds, raising the death toll from the clash to 25. Sudanese refugees began trickling across the border to Israel following the clashes.
    (AP, 12/31/05)(Econ, 8/25/07, p.45)
2005        Dec 31, In Palu, Indonesia, a bomb packed with ball bearings and nails ripped through a meat market crowded with holiday shoppers, killing at least eight people and wounding 45.
    (AP, 12/31/05)
2005        Dec 31, A bomb in Khalis killed 5 members of the Iraqi Islamic Party. Gunmen raided a house south of Baghdad, killing five Sunni family members, and a roadside bomb in the capital killed two policemen. The wave of violence claimed at least 20 lives.
    (AP, 12/31/05)(SSFC, 1/1/06, p.A3)
2005        Dec 31, Al-Qaida in Iraq released 6 kidnapped employees of Sudan's embassy following the Sudanese government's pledge to close its embassy in Baghdad.
    (Reuters, 1/1/06)
2005        Dec 31, Guillermo Martinez (18) died in a Tijuana hospital one day after he was shot by a US Border Patrol agent near a metal wall separating that city from San Diego. On Jan 2 Mexico opened an investigation into the killing saying he was shot while sneaking into California, using the death to draw attention to a contentious US anti-immigration measure.
    (AP, 1/3/06)
2005        Dec 31, Dozens of Palestinian gunmen stormed several government offices in Gaza City and briefly took the Interior Ministry to demand jobs.
    (AP, 12/31/05)
2005        Dec 31, A British aid worker and her parents were whisked out of Gaza after being released by Palestinian gunmen who had abducted them two days earlier.
    (AP, 12/31/05)
2005        Dec 31, El Salvador's 22 penitentiaries, designed to house 7,370 inmates, were packed with more than 12,500 prisoners.
    (AP, 2/2/06)
2005         Dec 31, In Iraq inflation for the year ran at 15%. The official unemployment was 10%, but some believed that it could be more than 20%. The population was around 70 million.
    (WSJ, 6/22/06, p.A12)
2005        Dec 31, Two Palestinians were killed in Israel's first deadly airstrike in a Gaza border area it recently put off-limits, just as a truce that has drastically reduced violence between the two sides formally ended.
    (AP, 1/1/06)
2005        Dec 31, Philippine President Gloria Arroyo announced Indonesia's Lippo Group with local partners is investing some three billion pesos (56.5 million dollars) in a Philippine bank.
    (AP, 12/31/05)
2005        Dec 31, President Vladimir Putin ordered Russia's state-owned natural gas monopoly to supply Ukraine with natural gas at the current price for three months, if the government in Kiev immediately agreed to a big price hike to take effect later.
    (AP, 12/31/05)
2005        Dec 31, Moscow jailed Yevgeny Adamov, Russia's former nuclear minister, on fraud charges after a Swiss court decided to extradite him to Russia instead of the US.
    (WSJ, 1/3/06, p.A1)
2005        Dec 31, In Slovakia 7 tourists from the Czech Republic died in avalanches in the Tatra mountains. A day earlier a German was killed by an avalanche in the Swiss Alps.
    (AFP, 12/31/05)
2005        Dec 31, In Sri Lanka police and soldiers cordoned off five districts in Colombo and detained more than 900 people during door-to-door searches to track down Tamil Tiger rebels.
    (AP, 12/31/05)
2005        Dec 31, Syria's ruling Baath Party stripped former Vice President Abdul-Halim Khaddam of membership and joined parliament in demanding his trial on a charge of high treason. The French Foreign Ministry confirmed Khaddam has been in France for several months but declined to give any details on his whereabouts.
    (AP, 1/1/06)
2005        Dec 31, Yemeni kidnappers released a former German diplomat and his four family members.
    (AP, 12/31/05)

2006        Dec 31, The US Medicare prescription drug plan went into effect.
    (AP, 1/1/07)
2006        Dec 31, Colorado Gov. Bill Owens and Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius declared statewide emergencies after a winter storm dumped as much as 3-feet of snow across much of the Plains. Snowdrifts reached 10 feet and 12 people died in 4 states.
    (SFC, 1/1/07, p.A5)(WSJ, 1/2/07, p.A1)
2006        Dec 31, American teenager Farris Hassan, who'd traveled alone to Iraq to experience the lives of its people, returned home to Florida after three weeks in the Middle East.
    (AP, 1/1/07)
2006        Dec 31, In San Francisco members of the Baker’s Dozen, a choral group from Yale, were assaulted on 15th Ave. near Lake Street. Police went under criticism for not making any arrests.
    (SFC, 1/13/07, p.A8)
2006        Dec 31, The International Federation of Journalists announced that the year 2006 was the deadliest for journalists and media workers worldwide, with at least 155 murders and unexplained deaths.
    (AP, 12/31/06)
2006        Dec 31, Scientists reported that they have used genetic engineering techniques to produce the first cattle that may be biologically incapable of getting Mad Cow disease.
    (SFC, 1/1/07, p.A2)
2006        Dec 31, Seymour Martin Lipset (1922), renowned social scientist, died in Virginia. His books included “Political Man" (1960). Lipset had served as a political sociologist and senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and as the Hazel Professor of Public Policy at George Mason University.
    (SSFC, 1/7/07, p.B6)(
2006        Dec 31, Belarus agreed to a more than doubling of the price it pays for Russian gas, signing what it called an "unfortunate" deal two minutes before a midnight New Year's Eve deadline expired.
    (AFP, 1/1/07)
2006        Dec 31, The British Nuclear Group closed two nuclear power stations after 40 years of service. Dungeness A and Sizewell A were the oldest commercial nuclear plants in the world.
    (AP, 12/31/06)(WSJ, 1/2/06, p.A1)
2006        Dec 31, In Bulgaria 2 Chernobyl-era nuclear energy units were shut down at Kozloduy as an accession to Bulgaria’s joining the EU. This led to a cut in energy exports and to soaring energy prices in the Balkans.
    (Econ, 2/10/07, p.51)(
2006        Dec 31, In Ecuador the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act, a package of trade benefits with the US offered in exchange for cooperation in counter-drug activities expired, but was extended for six months.
    (AP, 5/7/07)
2006        Dec 31, Indonesian rescue boats picked up some 177 exhausted survivors from the Senopati Nusantara, an Indonesian ferry that sank in the Java Sea, but they also recovered dozens of bodies and around 400 people remained missing.
    (AP, 12/31/06)
2006        Dec 31, Japanese media reported that Japanese courts had sentenced 44 people to death in 2006, the largest number in at least 26 years, amid a toughening of sentences for violent crimes.
    (AP, 1/1/07)
2006        Dec 31, Saddam Hussein was buried in the Ouja, the village of his birth, 24 hours after his execution. The death toll for Americans killed in the Iraq war reached 3,000 as President Bush struggled to salvage a military campaign that has scant public support.
    (AP, 12/31/06)(AP, 1/1/07)
2006        Dec 31, Fighting erupted on the outskirts of the last remaining stronghold of Somalia's militant Islamic movement, as thousands of residents streamed from the area ahead of the feared battle with Ethiopian-backed government troops.
    (AP, 12/31/06)
2006        Dec 31, In Thailand 6 bomb blasts rocked Bangkok on New Years Eve and 3 more just after midnight. 3 people were killed 38 wounded. The city cancelled its major New Year's Eve celebrations just as revelers had begun to gather ahead of the countdown.
    (AP, 1/1/07)
2006        Dec 31, Over a thousand Turks spent the first day of the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha in emergency wards after stabbing themselves or suffering other injuries while sacrificing startled animals.
    (AP, 12/31/06)
2006        Dec 31, Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa rejected IMF directives to introduce more taxes in his impoverished southern African nation.
    (AP, 1/1/07)

2007        Dec 31, President George W. Bush signed into a law a measure aimed at allowing states, local governments, mutual funds and pension funds to divest from Sudan businesses, particularly its oil sectors.
    (Reuters, 12/31/07)
2007        Dec 30, In Ohio a drunken driver went about four miles down a highway in the wrong direction before his pickup truck slammed into a minivan, killing a woman and four children and injuring three others. All 8 had been visiting family in Michigan and were returning to Maryland.
    (AP, 12/31/07)
2007        Dec 31, In San Francisco Albert Collins (30) shielded his daughter (9) from gunfire in the Sunnydale public housing project and was killed becoming the city’s 98th homicide victim.
    (SSFC, 1/6/08, p.B1)
2007        Dec 31, Oakland, Ca., police officers shot and killed Andrew Moppin-Buckskin (20) at 47th and Int’l. Blvd. after he ran from his car following a traffic stop. In 2010 a federal judge tossed out a lawsuit filed by the family of Moppin-Buckskin.
    (SSFC, 1/17/10, p.C2)
2007        Dec 31, The International Federation of Journalists said at least 134 media workers were killed on assignment this year, most of them in Iraq, which has become the most dangerous place for journalists since the start of the US-led war there.
    (AP, 12/31/07)
2007        Dec 31, In California murders for 2007 in the Florence-Firestone neighborhood of Los Angeles held at 19 as of Dec 24. Murders there had dropped from 43 in 2005 to 19 in 2006. In a murderous quest aimed at "cleansing" their turf of snitches and rival gangsters, members of Florencia 13, or F13, one of Los Angeles County's most vicious Latino gangs sometimes killed people just because of their race.
    (AP, 12/31/07)
2007        Dec 31, In southern Afghanistan a roadside bomb killed a NATO soldier and wounded four others. In Helmand province, a roadside bomb exploded against a police vehicle driving through Musa Qala, killing two officers. Taliban militants killed more than 925 Afghan police this year, and large swaths of the country remained outside government control. More than 6,500 people, mostly militants, died in 2007, according to an Associated Press count based on figures from Afghan and Western officials. Also in 2007, 110 US soldiers were killed in the country, the highest American toll since the 2001 invasion. US military deaths, suicide bombings and opium production hit record highs in 2007.
    (AP, 12/31/07)
2007        Dec 31, Canada’s PM Stephen Harper said a one percentage-point cut to the country's consumption tax will be effective January 1, 2008.
    (AP, 12/31/07)
2007        Dec 31, A Venezuelan-led mission to rescue three hostages, including a 3-year old boy, from leftist rebels in Colombia's jungles fell apart as the guerrillas accused Colombia's military of sabotaging the promised handoff.
    (AP, 1/1/08)
2007        Dec 31, In southern Egypt a bus plunged into a canal alongside the Nile River, killing 17 passengers and the driver.
    (AP, 12/31/07)
2007        Dec 31, A suicide bomber drove a truck rigged with explosives into a checkpoint manned by members of a US-backed security volunteer group in a town north of Baghdad, killing at least 12 people. Another three people were missing following the explosion in the town of Mishada, 20 miles north of the capital. A female suicide bomber detonated herself near a police patrol, wounding five policemen and four civilians in the town of Baqouba. In the town of Khalis gunmen traded fire with police and Awakening Council members, leaving one council member and one policeman dead. A roadside bomb targeting a patrol near the Iranian border killed two Iraqi soldiers and injured another four. According to Iraqi health, defense and interior ministries, 16,232 civilians, 432 soldiers and about 1,300 policeman died this year compared to 12,371 civilians, 603 soldiers and 1,224 policeman killed in 2006. 2007 was the deadliest year for the US military since the 2003 invasion, with 899 troops killed.
    (AP, 12/31/07)(AP, 1/1/08)
2007        Dec 31, The number of people killed in Israeli-Palestinian violence dropped dramatically this year. A report from an Israeli human rights group said Israeli forces killed 373 Palestinians during 2007, a 45 percent drop from the previous year. Palestinians killed 13 Israelis in the same period.
    (SFC, 12/31/07, p.A3)
2007        Dec 31, Kenyan police battled thousands of opposition supporters enraged over President Mwai Kibaki's allegedly fraudulent re-election, firing tear gas and live ammunition as the death toll from the violence rose to 103.
    (AP, 12/31/07)
2007        Dec 31, In Nepal 4 former communist rebels were sworn in as Cabinet ministers, ending a political crisis that began when the ex-guerrillas walked out of a coalition government three-months ago.
    (AP, 12/31/07)
2007        Dec 31, North Korea failed to meet a year-end deadline to declare all its nuclear programs under an aid-for-disarmament deal, prompting disappointed reactions from South Korea, the United States and Japan.
    (AP, 12/31/07)
2007        Dec 31, A newly released video of Benazir Bhutto's assassination and an inconclusive medical report raised new doubts about the official explanation of her death and were likely to intensify calls for an independent, international investigation.
    (AP, 12/31/07)
2007        Dec 31, Palestinian pilgrims broke windows and burned mattresses and blankets in temporary camps to protest Egypt's refusal to let them return to Gaza through a crossing controlled by Hamas. A Palestinian woman (67) died of a heart attack when she was caught amid scuffles. The standoff over the pilgrims began Dec 29, when some 3,060 Palestinians returning from the hajj in Saudi Arabia arrived by ferry at the Egyptian Red Sea port of Nuweiba in southern Sinai, heading back to Gaza.
    (AP, 12/31/07)
2007        Dec 31, In Sudan the African Union transferred authority to a new joint peacekeeping force with the UN in Darfur. An AU official said Ethiopia and Egypt will each send 850 troops early in the new year to serve with a joint UN-AU force in the Darfur region.
    (AP, 12/31/07)(Reuters, 12/31/07)
2007        Dec 31, Syria’s state-run media called on the US to begin a direct dialogue, a day after an influential US senator said Washington could "bridge the gap" between Israel and Syria.
    (AP, 12/31/07)
2007        Dec 31, In Thailand a bomb attack wounded 27 people in Sungai Kolok, a tourist town where people had gathered to celebrate the New Year.
    (AP, 12/31/07)
2007        Dec 31, President Hugo Chavez granted amnesty to many opponents accused of supporting a failed 2002 coup that briefly drove him from power. Chavez said he signed an amnesty decree that would also pardon others accused of attempting to overthrow his government in recent years.
    (AP, 1/1/08)

2008        Dec 31, US mortgage lender Freddie Mac said interest rates on the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dropped to an average of 5.10% for the week ending this day, down from the previous week's 5.14%.
    (AP, 12/31/08)
2008        Dec 31, In Aspen, Colorado, James Chester Blanning (72), walked into two downtown banks afternoon and left gift-wrapped bombs made of gasoline and cell phone components. He had skied competitively as a teen but had grown bitter about his hometown. His bombs caused the evacuation of a 16-block area, which lasted until 4 a.m. Police found Blanning dead in his Jeep Cherokee a few hours later in a rural area east of Aspen.
    (AP, 1/2/09)
2008        Dec 31, SF ended the year with 98 homicides. In Milwaukee, Wisc., the total number of homicides dropped 32%, from 105 in 2007 to 71 in 2008, the lowest number since 1985. Detroit had 344 slayings, a 13% drop from the 396 in 2007; Philadelphia's 332 killings were a 15% drop from the 392 in 2007; and the 234 homicides in Baltimore were 17% less than the 392 the year before. Cleveland recorded 102 homicides in 2008, down from a 13-year high of 134 in 2007. Homicides in New York rose 5.2%, to 522 from 496 the year before. Slayings in Los Angeles were down to 376 in 2008 compared to 400 the prior year. Preliminary data in Chicago showed 508 homicides were reported in 2008, the first time the city had more than 500 murders since 2003 and about 15% more than the 442 homicides reported in 2007. Washington, D.C., ended 2008 with 186 homicides, up from 181 in 2007.
    (SFC, 1/2/09, p.1)(AP, 1/3/09)
2008        Dec 31, Donald Westlake (1933), American mystery author, died while vacationing in Mexico. He authored over 90 books and a number of screenplays.
    (SFC, 1/2/09, p.B6)
2008        Dec 31, In Afghanistan Taliban militants attacked a district governor's compound in southern Helmand province, killing 20 police guards and fatally shooting the mother of one as she pleaded unsuccessfully for her son's life. Two foreign soldiers helping to fight the extremists were killed in separate incidents. US-led forces killed eight armed Taliban militants in Zabul province.
    (AFP, 1/1/09)(AP, 1/1/09)
2008        Dec 31, In Brazil Christian Wolffer (70), owner of the Wolffer Estate winery, bled to death after suffering two deep cuts on his back while swimming on New Year's Eve near the colonial town of Paraty, about 150 kilometers (100 miles) west of Rio de Janeiro. A man suspected of piloting a motorboat that struck and killed Wolffer was detained on Jan 4.
    (AP, 1/4/09)
2008        Dec 31, It was reported that China has delayed plans to start the central section of its massive South-to-North water diversion project by 4 years due to environmental concerns.
    (WSJ, 12/31/08, p.A4)
2008        Dec 31, China’s state-run Xinhua news agency reported that a pair of Chinese forestry executives cheated thousands of investors out of 160 million dollars by selling off "timber lands" in a barren desert region. Chairman Chen Xianggui of Inner Mongolia's Wanli Afforestation Co. was sentenced to 11 years in prison by a court in the region while general manager Liu Yanying received nine years for the pyramid scheme.
    (AFP, 12/31/08)
2008        Dec 31, Tian Wenhua, former chairwoman of the Sanlu Group, one of China’s biggest dairy producers, pleaded guilty to selling fake and substandard milk powder.
    (SFC, 1/1/09, p.A3)
2008        Dec 31, In Denmark a gunman shot and wounded two Israelis working at the Rosengaard mall in Odense. Police son arrested a 27-year-old Dane born in Lebanon of Palestinian parents.
    (AP, 1/1/09)(AP, 1/2/09)
2008        Dec 31, India's president signed an anti-terror bill into law to boost police powers in the wake of a bloody attack on the country's financial capital.
    (AP, 12/31/08)
2008        Dec 31, In Iraq Oil Minister Hussein al-Shahristani kicked off the country's second postwar bidding round, naming 11 oil and gas fields or groups of fields as eligible for development proposals. 8 people were killed in four bombings in the north. At least 314 US soldiers died in 2008, down from 904 in 2007.
    (AP, 12/31/08)(AP, 1/1/09)
2008        Dec 31, Israel rejected international pressure for a two-day cease-fire with Hamas and sent warplanes to demolish smuggling tunnels that are the lifeline of Gaza's Islamic rulers. Gaza officials said the five days of airstrikes have killed 390, including 200 uniformed members of Hamas security forces.
    (AP, 12/31/08)
2008        Dec 31, Mexico sent 10 alleged drug smugglers to the United States, capping an already record year for extraditions between the two countries. 2 Canadian tourists were hospitalized with gunshot wounds after assailants opened fire at a nightclub in the resort town of Cabo San Lucas.
    (AP, 1/1/09)
2008        Dec 31, In Pakistan tanks, artillery and helicopter gunships continued their attacks in the Khyber Pass. Over the last two days, security forces destroyed 19 suspected militant compounds and arrested 28 Pakistanis. Government troops reportedly killed three militants in the operation to secure the major supply route to US and NATO troops in Afghanistan.
    (AP, 12/31/08)
2008        Dec 31, A senior Pakistani government official said Zarar Shah, a militant arrested in Pakistan, has confessed involvement in the Mumbai terror attacks and is giving investigators details of the plot. Shah and another suspect, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, were said to be cooperating with investigators.
    (AP, 12/31/08)
2008        Dec 31, In Bangkok, Thailand, a New Year's Eve fire erupted at the Santika nightclub. Before the revelry was over, 62 people were killed and more than 200 injured after they tried to flee what swiftly became a charred, gutted ruin in a glitzy Bangkok entertainment area.
    (AP, 1/1/09)(AP, 1/4/09)
2008        Dec 31, The UN Security Council held an emergency meeting on an Arab request for a binding and enforceable resolution condemning Israel and halting its military attacks on Gaza. The US immediately called the draft resolution circulated by Libya on behalf of the 22-member Arab League "unacceptable" and "unbalanced" and because it makes no mention of halting the Hamas rocket attacks that led to the Israeli offensive.
    (AP, 1/1/09)
2008        Dec 31, The Vatican announced that it will no longer automatically adopt new Italian laws as its own, citing the vast number of laws Italy churns out, many of which are in odds with Catholic doctrine.
    (AP, 12/31/08)

2009        Dec 31, US District Judge Ricardo Urbina dismissed the case against the Blackwater guards accused of the shooting in a crowded Baghdad intersection on Sep 16, 2007.
    (AP, 1/1/10)
2009        Dec 31, The Montana Supreme Court said that nothing in state law prevents patients from seeking physician assisted suicide, making Montana the third state to allow the procedure.
    (SFC, 1/1/10, p.A5)
2009        Dec 31, Revelers ringing in 2010 will be treated to a so-called blue moon. According to popular definition, a blue moon is the second full moon in a month.
    (AP, 12/31/09)
2009        Dec 31, In St. George, Utah, a trailer at an RV park containing some 19 pet pythons caught fire. 11 of the snakes survived.
    (SFC, 1/2/10, p.A4)
2009        Dec 31, Afghan police said militants beheaded 6 Afghans for cooperating with government authorities. The men were killed near the provincial capital of Tarin Kot. A seventh victim was being treated for serious neck wounds. A US service member died in eastern Afghanistan of injuries not related to battle. A British soldier was killed in an explosion in Helmand province.
    (AP, 12/31/09)(AP, 1/1/10)
2009        Dec 31, In Australia residents returned to survey the wreckage after Western Australia's worst wildfire in 50 years engulfed 38 homes in an isolated rural community.
    (AFP, 12/31/09)
2009        Dec 31, In Finland Ibrahim Shkupolli (43) shot himself at his home in Espoo after going on a rampage that killed his ex-girlfriend, then four other people at a local shopping mall where she also worked.
    (AP, 12/31/09)
2009        Dec 31, Hundreds of demonstrators rallied on opposite sides of an Israeli-Gaza border crossing to protest the blockade of the seaside territory imposed by Egypt and Israel. Gaza's Hamas parliament approved a government budget of $540 million for 2010, suggesting that a tight border blockade isn't stopping the cash flow to the Islamic militants. The Hamas government has about 32,000 people on its payroll, including civil servants and members of the security forces. About $30 million of the budget would go to Arab residents of Jerusalem and Islamic sites in the city.
    (AP, 12/31/09)(AP, 1/2/10)
2009        Dec 31, Lithuania began shutting down its the 2nd Ignalina nuclear reactor. It was  scheduled to be disconnected from the power grid an hour before midnight. The 1st reactor was shut down in 2004.
    (AP, 12/22/09)(AP, 12/31/09)
2009        Dec 31, A Malaysian court ruled that a Catholic weekly, the Herald, had a constitutional right to use the word Allah to refer to God, striking down a government ban as illegal. On Jan 6, the High Court suspended its ruling following an appeal by the government and with the consent of the Catholic church.
    (AP, 12/31/09)(Econ, 1/16/10, p.44)
2009        Dec 31, In Mexico Roberto Salcedo (33), an assistant principal and Southern California school board member, was killed while he and his wife were visiting relatives in Gomez Palacio.
    (AP, 1/31/10)
2009        Dec 31, In Myanmar Freelance reporter Hla Hla Win (25) was sentenced by a court in Pakokku for an alleged violation of the country's Electronics Act. She was arrested in September after visiting a Buddhist monastery in the northern town of Pakokku. The jailed reporter had worked with the Myanmar exile broadcaster Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), based in Oslo, Norway. A man accompanying her was sentenced to 26 years in jail.
    (AFP, 1/6/10)
2009        Dec 31, In northwest Pakistan a suspected US missile strike near Mir Ali hit a house and killed 3 people. In 2010 a Pakistani tribesman sought 500 million dollars in compensation from the CIA after his son and brother were killed in the drone attack. In 2015 a judge ordered criminal charges to be filed against former acting general counsel John Rizzo and ex-station chief Jonathan Bank.
    (AP, 1/1/10)(AFP, 11/29/10)(SFC, 4/8/15, p.A3)
2009        Dec 31, Moscow police detained dozens of people at an anti-Kremlin protest, including Lyudmila Alexeyeva (82), a prominent rights activist. The New Year's Eve protest is a repeat of actions held on the 31st of July, August and October. The timing is a nod to the 31st Article of the Russian constitution, which guarantees the right of assembly.
    (AP, 12/31/09)
2009        Dec 31, South Korea’s Pres. Lee Myung-bak pardoned former Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee, who was convicted of tax evasion on Apr 17, 2008. Pres. Lee Myung-bak said the country needed Mr. Lee’s help to win South Korea’s bid for the 2018 Winter Olympics.
    (Econ, 1/30/10, p.74)
2009        Dec 31, In Sudan 17 people were killed when armed civilians ambushed south Sudanese soldiers trying to disarm tribes following heavy fighting in the semi-autonomous region.
    (AP, 1/6/10)
2009        Dec 31, The Ugandan government said it was investigating the breakaway Catholic Apostolic National Church in Uganda and would ban it if found to be illegal. 20 renegade Catholic priests, who are either married or want to marry, have broken from the mainstream Roman Catholic Church and formed a new church where celibacy is not required. Vatican officials said the priests were now considered "outside" the Catholic Church and would likely be excommunicated.
    (AP, 12/31/09)

2010        Dec 31, San Francisco was chosen to host the next America’s Cup in 2013.
    (SFC, 1/1/11, p.A1)
2010        Dec 31, In Arkansas a tornado killed 3 people in the hamlet of Cincinnati. A storm spawned by the same weather left 3 people dead near Rolla, Missouri. A 4th person, injured in Rolla, died the next day.
    (SFC, 1/1/11, p.A6)(SSFC, 1/2/11, p.A11)
2010        Dec 31, The body of John Wheeler III (66), a national defense consultant, was found in a load of trash at a landfill in Wilmington, Delaware. He was last seen alive a day earlier in Wilmington.
    (, 1/5/11, p.A4)
2010        Dec 31, In western Virginia a small aircraft collided with a medical helicopter in the air, killing two people on the plane.
    (AP, 12/31/10)
2010        Dec 31, Afghan forces conducted an overnight raid in two compounds in Tahar province killing a Taliban district chief in a gunfight that also left an Afghan policeman and a border guard dead, NATO said insurgents attacks claimed the lives of two coalition service members. Coalition forces killed Abdul Hai, a Taliban leader in Kunduz.
    (AP, 12/31/10)(AP, 1/2/11)
2010        Dec 31, In Argentina thieves dug a 100-foot-long (30m) ventilated and lit tunnel from a neighboring building into a Buenos Aires bank and spent the weekend opening and emptying between 130 and 140 of the branch's 1,408 boxes. The robbery wasn't discovered until the bank opened on Jan 3.
    (AP, 1/4/11)
2010        Dec 31, In Australia floodwater rose across a vast area in the northeast, inundating 22 towns, forcing 200,000 residents out of their homes, and closing a major sugar export port.
    (AP, 12/31/10)
2010        Dec 31, Belarus declared that Europe's top rights watchdog would no longer be able to work in the country, after the OSCE condemned the conduct of this month's presidential election.
    (AP, 12/31/10)
2010        Dec 31, Brazil's president granted political asylum to Italian fugitive Cesare Battisti, but the case must still be heard by the nation's Supreme Court.
    (AP, 12/31/10)
2010        Dec 31, Britain said it no longer recognized the ambassador appointed by Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo who is refusing to step down after elections widely viewed as having been won by his rival Alassane Ouattara. Britain said it would give support at the UN for the use of force to oust Ivory Coast's incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo if West African nations sought backing for a military intervention.
    (AFP, 12/31/10)(Reuters, 12/31/10)
2010        Dec 31, The Jakarta-based Legal Aid Foundation said in a new report that law enforcement officials from police to prison wardens routinely torture Indonesian suspects and convicts to extract confessions or obtain information.
    (AP, 12/31/10)
2010        Dec 31, Mexico's federal police said that the once-fearsome La Familia drug cartel has been "completely dismembered" and has broken down into small groups that commit robberies to pay their members. The half-naked body of a woman who had escaped from prison officials while facing kidnapping charges was found hanging by the neck from an overpass in Monterey. 5 inmates, including a Colombian man sentenced to more than 20 years for smuggling a ton of cocaine into Mexico aboard a boat, escaped a prison in Cancun.
    (AP, 12/31/10)(AP, 1/5/11)
2010        Dec 31, Nigerian police said they have arrested Bunu Wasili (55), a man suspected to be a leader and financier of Boko Haram, along with 91 others. The radical Muslim sect was responsible for dozens of recent killings in northern Nigeria. A New Year's Eve bombing in Abuja killed 4 people.
    (AP, 12/31/10)(Reuters, 1/1/10)
2010        Dec 31, In Pakistan violence flared as police and protesters clashed during a mass protest strike that closed businesses across the country over a bid to end the death penalty for blasphemy. A US missile strike killed 8 suspected militants in North Waziristan. A bomb blew up outside a district police headquarters in the town of Lakki Marwat in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, killing a bystander and wounding two other people. A second bomb targeting a NATO supply convoy in the border town of Chaman set one fuel tanker on fire and wounded a passer-by. The Pakistani Taliban released 23 tribesmen it had kidnapped and held captive for three weeks. They were released after being tried by a Taliban court and being submerged in cold water as punishment.
    (AFP, 12/31/10)(AP, 12/31/10)
2010        Dec 31, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas laid the first stone of what will become a Palestinian embassy in Brazil, the most important Latin American country to recognize a sovereign Palestinian state.
    (AFP, 12/31/10)
2010        Dec 31, In the Philippines Councilman Reynaldo Dagsa was shot dead in Manila. A photograph identified one gunmen, who was captured Jan 3 along with an accomplice. One suspect was a car thief who was out on bail and likely sought revenge against Dagsa for ordering his arrest last year. The main shooter, Arnel Buenaflor, was captured on Jan 6 in a boarding house in Aurora township.
    (AP, 1/4/11)(AP, 1/7/11)
2010        Dec 31, In Russia Boris Nemtsov, a former deputy Russian prime minister during Boris Yeltsin's presidency, was among 68 people arrested at an unsanctioned rally in Moscow. He and other protesters had gathered on the opposite side of a square from an authorized protest. On Jan 2 he was sentenced to 15 days in jail for failure to follow police orders. Nemtsov was released on Jan 15. A female suicide bomber was killed on the outskirts of Moscow by a bomb that was to have been deployed in the city's central Manezh Square where Muscovites throng for holiday celebrations. A 2nd female suicide bomber was arrested and sentenced to 10 years in jail in May, 2012. On Nov 28, 2012, Ilyas Saidov of Dagestan, who brought the suicide belts, was sentenced to 15 years in jail.
    (AP, 1/3/11)(AP, 1/15/11)(AP, 2/3/11(AP, 11/28/12)
2010        Dec 31, In Russia 13 villages remained without power following a freezing rain that caused trees and power lines to snap. Power was cut off to 789 villages and towns with a total of 400,000 inhabitants in the region around Moscow.
    (AP, 1/1/10)
2010        Dec 31, Rwandan police said they are working with counterparts in Dhaka to deport 64 Bangladeshi victims of human trafficking, after the arrest in Kigali of their suspected trafficker. Abdul Sattar Miah was arrested Dec 27 in a hotel in Kigali, in possession of the passports of his presumed victims.
    (AFP, 12/31/10)
2010        Dec 31, The FV Vega 5, hijacked by Somali pirates, was spotted near the Mozambique coast, approximately 200 nautical miles southwest of the Comoros islands. It was seen towing what looked to be a pirate attack skiff and did not respond to any calls.
    (AP, 1/1/10)
2010        Dec 31, In South Africa thousands of Zimbabwean immigrants crowded outside immigration offices as a deadline approached for them to obtain permits or face deportation.
    (AP, 12/31/10)

2011        Dec 31, President Barack Obama signed a wide-ranging defense bill into law despite having "serious reservations" about provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation and prosecution of suspected terrorists. The bill also applies penalties against Iran's central bank in an effort to hamper Tehran's ability to fund its nuclear enrichment program.
    (AP, 1/1/12)
2011        Dec 31, The US ended import tariffs and tax credits that have long sheltered ethanol distilled from corn in the US from the same stuff made from sugarcane in Brazil.
    (Econ, 1/7/12, p.57)
2011        Dec 31, A NASA spacecraft, the Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory, slipped into orbit around the moon. A 2nd Grail probe was expected to enter orbit the next day. Both were launched last September aboard the same rocket to measure lunar gravity.
    (SSFC, 1/1/12, p.A10)
2011        Dec 31, Police in Beebe, Arkansas, said dozens of blackbirds had fallen dead, prompting officers to ban residents from shooting fireworks. Thousands of dead blackbirds rained down on the town in central Arkansas last New Year's Eve after revelers set off fireworks.
    (AP, 1/1/12)
2011        Dec 31, In NYC dozens of Occupy Wall Street protesters were arrested as they tore down barricades surrounding Zucotti park just before midnight.
    (SFC, 1/2/12, p.A4)
2011        Dec 31, Debra Cook, a former defender of Scientology, wrote an explosive e-mail to the organization’s 12,000 members saying chairman David Miscavige is mismanaging its finances and breaking internal rules.
    (Econ, 1/7/12, p.54)
2011        Dec 31, Basel 2.5, a new set of int’l. rules charging banks higher capital for risks in their trading books, took effect in most European and major world financial jurisdictions.
    (Econ, 1/7/12, p.69)
2011        Dec 31, Afghan child bride, Sahar Gul (15), spoke of how she was tortured by her mother-in-law who locked her in a toilet for six months, beat her, pulled out her fingernails and burned her with cigarettes. She was found in the basement of her husband's house in the northeastern Baghlan province late Dec 26. On May 5, 2012, her in-laws were sentenced to 10 years in prison for torture, abuse and human rights violations.
    (AP, 12/31/11)(AP, 5/5/12)
2011        Dec 31, In Algeria three Islamist militants were killed in the northeastern region of Tizi Ouzou, the scene of frequent attacks by groups affiliated to AQIM.
    (AP, 1/3/12)
2011        Dec 31, In Bahrain Sayed Hashim Saeed (15) died after a tear gas canister fired at close range hit him in the chest.
    (AP, 1/1/12)
2011        Dec 31, Britain's biggest cosmetic surgery chain revealed that rupture rates on allegedly faulty French-made breast implants are seven times higher than previously thought.
    (AFP, 1/1/12)
2011        Dec 31, Chilean authorities said an Israeli tourist has been detained on suspicion of causing a forest fire that has burned more than 42 square miles (11,000 hectares) in the Torres del Paine national park. In 2012 Rotem Singer (23) agreed to pay $10,000 and raise other money to buy 50,000 native trees to replant the park.
    (AP, 12/31/11)(SFC, 2/10/12, p.A2)
2011        Dec 31, In China a bus driver who contracted the bird flu virus died Shenzhen. This was the nation's first reported human case of the deadly disease in 18 months.
    (AFP, 12/31/11)
2011        Dec 31, Ethiopian troops captured Beledweyne, a rebel-held town in central Somalia, leaving at least 18 people dead.
    (Reuters, 12/31/11)(AFP, 12/31/12)
2011        Dec 31, In France Leon Kengo (76), CongoDRC Senate chief, was attacked at the Gare du Nord train station "by bands of those who call themselves 'fighters' close to Etienne Tshisekedi." According to initial reports, Kengo had some teeth knocked out, was trampled underfoot, and rolled on the ground.
    (AFP, 1/1/12)
2011        Dec 31, Georgia’s defense ministry said a Georgian soldier has been killed in Afghanistan, the 11th from the ex-Soviet state to die serving alongside NATO-led forces fighting the Taliban.
    (AFP, 12/31/11)
2011        Dec 31, Iran said it has proposed a new round of talks on its nuclear program with six world powers that have been trying for years to persuade Tehran to freeze aspects of its atomic work that could provide a possible pathway to weapons production.
    (AP, 12/31/11)
2011        Dec 31, In Japan Makoto Hirata (46), a senior member of the doomsday cult behind the 1995 nerve gas attack on Tokyo's subways, surrendered to police. Akemi Saito, also a member of Aum Shinrikyo, was arrested on Jan 10, 2012, for helping him evade police for nearly 17 years. On Jan 20 Hirata was indicted for his role in the abduction and confinement of a follower's relative in 1995.
    (AP, 1/10/12)(AP, 1/20/12)
2011        Dec 31, In Kenya 5 people were killed in a New Year's Eve hand grenade attack and shooting in a bar in the eastern town of Garissa near the border with Somalia. The assailants were described as four men dressed in military uniform.
    (AFP, 1/1/12)
2011        Dec 31, Nigeria's president Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in parts of the nation, after a recent slew of deadly attacks blamed on a radical Muslim sect killed dozens of people.
    (AP, 12/31/11)
2011        Dec 31, In Pakistan a remote-controlled bomb ripped through a military vehicle killing two Pakistani soldiers at Boya village in North Waziristan.
    (AFP, 12/31/11)
2011        Dec 31, Russian police detained 60 opposition activists to prevent them from protesting on a central Moscow square against the Kremlin's stifling of democratic freedoms.
    (AP, 12/31/11)
2011        Dec 31, In Syria at least six people were killed in attacks on protests, including one in Damascus. Syria's state-run TV said Arab League observers visited the southern city of Daraa and the restive central city of Homs.
    (AP, 12/31/11)
2011        Dec 31, In Yemen Islamist militants fired into the air to halt a peace march by thousands of Yemenis who were demanding an end to fighting that has forced them to flee their homes in the south. Pres. Saleh reversed his decision to leave the country.
    (AP, 12/31/11)(AP, 1/1/12)

2012        Dec 31, Working with Congress against a midnight deadline, President Obama said that a deal to avert the "fiscal cliff" was in sight but not yet finalized. The emerging deal would raise tax rates on family income over $450,000 and individual income over $400,000 a year, increase the estate tax rate and extend unemployment benefits for one year. The Senate voted 89-8 to approve a last-minute deal to avert income tax hikes on all but the richest Americans and stall painful spending cuts as part of a hard-fought compromise to avoid the economically toxic “fiscal cliff."
    (AP, 12/31/12)
2012        Dec 31, Outgoing North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue issued pardons to the Wilmington 10, a group wrongly convicted in the 1971 firebombing of a Wilmington grocery store. A federal appeals had thrown out their convictions in 1980.
    (SFC, 1/1/13, p.A4)
2012        Dec 31, A Texas state judge ruled that Texas can cut off funding to Planned Parenthood’s family planning programs for poor women if they advocate for abortion rights.
    (SFC, 1/1/13, p.A4)
2012        Dec 31, In Angola 10 people, including four children, died in a stampede during a New Year’s Eve religious gathering at a sports stadium in Luanda.
    (AP, 1/2/13)
2012        Dec 31, The Seleka rebels in the Central African Republic rejected appeals for them to halt their advances and to negotiate to form a coalition government. Seleka means alliance in the local Sango language.
    (AP, 12/31/12)
2012        Dec 31, In Colombia 5 men and 4 women were shot to death on a farm outside Medellin. Rival drug traffickers were believed to be involved.
    (SFC, 1/1/13, p.A2)
2012        Dec 31, Gunmen drove into Cairo's Tahrir Square before dawnand fired at an anti-government sit-in, seriously wounding a protester who had been jailed and tortured by former military rulers after he witnessed the killing of another activist.
    (AP, 12/31/12)
2012        Dec 31, Greece’s coalition government called for the indictment of former Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou for allegedly removing the names of 3 of his relatives from a list of Swiss bank account holders whose tax records were to be re-examined. Papaconstantinou said the names were removed without his knowledge.
    (SFC, 1/1/13, p.A2)
2012        Dec 31, In Iraq insurgents launched a wave of attacks across the country, primarily targeting Shiite communities and pilgrims and killing at least 36 people. 4 policemen were killed in the northern city of Kirkuk while trying to defuse a bomb the center of the city. Another a policeman was killed when a bomb hit a police convoy in the town of Tuz Khormato.
    (AP, 12/31/12)(Econ, 1/5/12, p.35)
2012        Dec 31, Pakistan released eight members of the Afghan Taliban from prison, including the former justice minister under the Taliban, in a bid to boost the peace process in neighboring Afghanistan.
    (AP, 12/31/12)
2012        Dec 31, Pakistani intelligence officials found the bodies of 9 militants dumped in the North Waziristan tribal region. The dead men were linked to the Pakistani Taliban.
    (AP, 12/31/12)
2012        Dec 31, The West Bank Deputy Health Minister said an outbreak of the H1N1 swine flu has killed 9 people.
    (SFC, 1/1/13, p.A2)
2012        Dec 31, About 25 people reportedly were arrested in Moscow on New Year's Eve for trying to hold an unsanctioned protest. For about two years, activists have tried to rally on the 31st of each month with that many days, a reference to Article 31 of the Russian constitution that guarantees free assembly.
    (AP, 12/31/12)
2012        Dec 31, Residents of Saudi Arabia, where booze and New Year's celebrations are banned, flooded into neighboring Bahrain in search of festivities to ring in 2013.
    (AP, 1/1/13)
2012        Dec 31, Syrian rebels blew up a natural gas pipeline in the country's oil-rich east. The blast, some 30 km (18 miles) north of Deir el-Zour, caused the loss of around 1.5 million cubic meters of gas.
    (AP, 12/31/12)

2013        Dec 31, President Obama’s besieged Affordable Care Act suffered another setback with a US Supreme Court justice issuing a temporary injunction late today preventing enforcement of the law’s contraception mandate against a group of Roman Catholic nuns who provide care to low-income elderly patients.
    (SFC, 1/2/14, p.2)
2013        Dec 31, US officials said Slovakia has accepted three Uighur prisoners from Guantanamo Bay who had posed a difficult resettlement challenge.
    (AP, 12/31/13)
2013        Dec 31, Utah officials said an unprecedented wintertime outbreak of West Nile virus has killed more than two dozen bald eagles in the state and thousands of water birds around the Great Salt Lake.
    (Reuters, 12/31/13)
2013        Dec 31, In northern Afghanistan gunshots erupted during a rally in Samangan province where a group was protesting the selection of candidates for the 2014 elections, killing 2 people and wounding eight.
    (AP, 12/31/13)
2013        Dec 31, A cyclone ripped across northwest Australia, closing ports and threatening mining operations in the sparsely populated Pilbara region.
    (Reuters, 12/31/13)
2013        Dec 31, In the Central African Republic Christian militiamen attacked an army base in Bangui, as French and African soldiers struggled to contain sectarian violence. Thousands of angry people flooded the runway of the international airport in Bangui, shouting slogans against Michel Djotodia, the nation's Muslim president, who grabbed power in a coup nine months ago.
    (AFP, 12/31/13)(AP, 12/31/13)
2013        Dec 31, In China six herders who tried to defend grazing land from expropriation by a forestry firm were sentenced in the resource-rich Inner Mongolia region. The case has sparked protests.
    (Reuters, 1/5/14)
2013        Dec 31, In Egypt unknown assailants attacked a natural gas pipeline in the Sinai.
    (Reuters, 12/31/13)
2013        Dec 31, In India a pregnant girl (16) died in Kolkata following severe burn injuries. She had been raped two times On Oct 25-26 and ended up in a hospital on Dec 23 with sever burn injuries. Her family said she was set on fire by associates of those who had gang raped her.
    (AP, 1/7/14)
2013        Dec 31, In Indonesia more than 19,000 people were displaced by the Mount Sinabung volcano on Sumatra that has been erupting for months and shot lava into the air nine times overnight.
    (AFP, 12/31/13)
2013        Dec 31, Indonesian police shot dead six suspected terrorists and arrested another in a New Year's Eve raid near Jakarta that broke out into an hours-long gun battle.
    (AFP, 12/31/13)
2013        Dec 31, A senior Iranian official said six world powers and Iran have made good progress in expert talks in Geneva on how to roll out last month's landmark nuclear deal which obliges Tehran to suspend its most sensitive atom work.
    (AP, 12/31/13)
2013        Dec 31, In Iraq clashes between security forces and gunmen killed four more people in Ramadi, a day after the closure of a sprawling anti-government protest site.
    (AFP, 12/31/13)
2013        Dec 31, Israel freed 26 Palestinian prisoners, days before US Secretary of State John Kerry was due back in the Middle East to press the two sides to reach a framework peace deal. This release was the third of four groups to go free.
    (Reuters, 12/31/13)
2013        Dec 31, A Jordanian security official said British resident Mudar Zahran, a Jordanian-Palestinian critic of Jordan's monarchy, has been charged with incitement and insulting the king after calling for revolt on social media.
    (AFP, 12/31/13)
2013        Dec 31, Myanmar freed five prisoners and more were expected to be released next week as part of a pledge by the country's president to free all political prisoners by the end of 2013.
    (AP, 12/31/13)
2013        Dec 31, Marathon talks between the leaders of Northern Ireland's Catholic and Protestant communities broke down without agreement to ease tensions that have led to one of the worst years of rioting in the British province for a decade.
    (Reuters, 12/31/13)
2013        Dec 31, South Sudan's warring factions agreed to attend peace talks in Ethiopia. Government troops fought renegade forces loyal to former VP Riek Machar as well as a pro-Machar tribal militia known as the "White Army," as rebels tried to retake Bor.
    (AP, 12/31/13)
2013        Dec 31, In Syria a missile struck a bus in a rebel-held area of Aleppo, setting it on fire and killing at least 10 people. State media reported that a rebel-fired mortar shell killed 3 people in Homs. ISIS fighters returned the torture-marked corpse of a doctor-cum-commander with Ahrar al-Sham, a Salafist rebel group which had hitherto been an ally.
    (AP, 12/31/13)(Econ, 1/11/14, p.39)
2013        Dec 31, In Turkey another lawmaker from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) announced his resignation amid a high-level bribery and corruption probe. Hasan Hami Yildirim had criticised the government forfor exerting pressure on the judiciary over the corruption.
    (AFP, 12/31/13)
2013        Dec 31, In southern Yemen armed men including a suicide bomber tried to storm police headquarters in Aden. Two guards were killed and at least 6 people wounded. Two suspects were arrested.
    (Reuters, 12/31/13)(AP, 12/31/13)

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