Return to home192 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.
765 Dec 31, The coffin of
Ho-tse Shen-hui was interred in a stupa built in China.
870 Dec 31, Skirmish at
Englefield. Ethelred of Wessex beat back a Danish invasion army.
1378 Dec 31, Callistus III,
[Alfonso the Borgia], Pope (1455-58), was born.
1384 Dec 31, John Wycliffe,
English religious reformer and bible translator, died.
1492 Dec 31, 100,000 Jews were
expelled from Sicily.
1502 Dec 31, Cesare Borgia (son
of Pope Alexander VI) occupied Urbino.
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,
1564 Dec 31, Willem of Orange
demanded freedom of conscience and religion.
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.
1687 Dec 31, The 1st Huguenots
departed France to the Cape of Good Hope.
1711 Dec 31, Duke of
Marlborough was fired as English army commander.
1720 Dec 31, Charles Edward
Stuart, grandson of James II, known as the Young Pretender and
Bonnie Prince Charlie, was born.
1738 Dec 31, Charles Lord
Cornwallis (d.1805), soldier and statesman, was born. "Fire when
1745 Dec 31, Bonnie Prince
Charlie's army met with de Esk.
1762 Dec 31, The Mozart family
moved from Vienna to Salzburg.
1775 Dec 31, George Washington
ordered recruiting officers to accept free blacks into the army.
1775 Dec 31, The British
repulsed an attack by Continental Army generals Richard Montgomery
and Benedict Arnold at Quebec; Montgomery was killed.
1783 Dec 31, Import of African
slaves was banned by all of the Northern American states.
1805 Dec 31, The French
Revolutionary calendar law was abolished. France returned to the
(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.
1852 Dec 31, The richest year
of the gold rush ended, with $81.3 million in gold produced.
1857 Dec 31, Britain's Queen
Victoria decided to make Ottawa the capital of Canada.
1858 Dec 31, Vincas Kudirka
(d.1899), author of the Lithuanian national anthem, was born in
(LC, 1998, p.30)(LHC, 12/31/02)
1859 Dec 31, Luigi Ricci (54),
1862 Dec 31, President Lincoln
signed an act admitting West Virginia to the Union.
1862 Dec 31, Union General
William Rosecrans' army repelled two Confederate attacks at the
Battle of Murfreesboro (Stone's River).
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,
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:
(WSJ, 7/5/96, p.A5)(SFEC, 12/13/98, BR p.9)(HN,
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.
1879 Dec 31, Gilbert and
Sullivan's "Pirates of Penzance," premiered in NYC.
1879 Dec 31, Thomas Edison
first publicly demonstrated his electric incandescent light in Menlo
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
(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.
1890 Dec 31, Ellis Island, NYC,
opened as a US immigration depot.
1897 Dec 31, Brooklyn, N.Y.,
spent its last day as a separate entity before becoming part of New
1899 Dec 31, Silvestre
Revueltas, composer (Sensemaya), was born in Santiago, Papasquiaro,
1899 Dec 31, Karl Millocker
(57), Austrian conductor and composer, died.
1904 Dec 31, Nathan Milstein,
concert violinist, was born in Odessa, Russia.
1905 Dec 31, Broadway composer
Jule Styne was born in London.
1907 Dec 31, For 1st time a
ball was dropped at Times Square to signal new year.
1907 Dec 31, Gustav Mahler
conducted the Metropolitan Opera.
1908 Dec 31, Simon Wiesenthal,
survivor of the Nazi Holocaust who dedicated his life to tracking
down former Nazis, was born.
1910 Dec 31, US tobacco
industry produced 9 billion cigarettes for the year.
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, Tennessee Coal’s
convict lease contract with Louisiana expired.
(WSJ, 7/16/01, p.A10)
1911 Dec 31, Helene Dutrieu won
the Femina aviation cup in Etampes. She set a distance record for
women at 158 miles.
1915 Dec 31, The Germans
torpedoed the British liner Persia without any warning; 335 are
1918 Dec 31, Kid Gleason
replaced Pants Rowland as White Sox manager.
1923 Dec 31, BBC began using
the Big Ben chime ID.
1923 Dec 31, The Sahara was
crossed by an automobile for the first time.
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."
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auld_Lang_Syne)(WSJ, 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.
1930 Dec 31, Pontifical
encyclical Casti connubial was against mixed marriages.
1930 Dec 31, US tobacco
industry produced 123 billion cigarettes in this year.
1930 Dec 31, Brewery heir
Adolphus Busch was kidnapped.
1937 Dec 31, Anthony Hopkins,
actor (Elephant Man, QB VII, Magic, Bounty, Silence of the Lambs),
was born in Wales.
1938 Dec 31, Dr. R.N. Harger's
"drunkometer," the 1st breath test, was introduced in Indiana.
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
1942 Dec 31, After five months
of battle, Emperor Hirohito allowed the Japanese commanders at
Guadalcanal to retreat.
1943 Dec 31, John Denver,
singer (Rocky Mt High), was born in NM.
1943 Dec 31, Ben Kingsley,
actor (Gandhi, Betrayal, Maurice), was born in Scarborough, England.
1943 Dec 31, NYC's Times Square
greeted Frank Sinatra at the Paramount Theater.
1945 Dec 31, The ratification
of the UN Charter was completed.
1945 Dec 31, Czechoslovakia
began forcing the German population of the Sudetenland back to
(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.
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 the country taking most of the Central Bank’s
reserves of dollars and gold as rebels under Fidel Castro marched
(Econ, 12/3/16, p.18)
1959 Dec 31, Bebe Neuwirth,
actress (Lilith-Cheers, Damn Yankees), was born in Princeton, NJ.
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.
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.
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,
1965 Dec 31, California became
the largest state in population.
1965 Dec 31, In the Central
African Republic Jean-Bedel Bokassa overthrew his cousin, David
Dacko, in a bloodless coup that was said to be backed by the French.
He abolished the 1959 constitution, dissolved the National Assembly
and concentrated power in the presidency.
(SFC, 5/22/96, p.A9)(SFC, 3/20/97, p.A24)
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
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.
1974 Dec 31, Private US
citizens were allowed to buy and own gold for the first time in more
than 40 years.
1977 Dec 31, "Bubbling Brown
Sugar" closed at ANTA Theater NYC after 766 performances.
1977 Dec 31, Cambodia broke
relations with Vietnam.
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.
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.
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,
1981 Dec 31, CNN launched
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
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.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammadu_Buhari)(Econ, 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
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.
1987 Dec 31, One second was
added to the year to compensate for precession of earth's axis.
1987 Dec 31, Robert Mugabe was
sworn in as Zimbabwe's first executive president. Joshua Nkomo
rejoined the Zimbabwe government as vice president.
1988 Dec 31, President Reagan
and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev exchanged New Year's messages
in which both leaders expressed optimism about future superpower
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
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.
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
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
1992 Dec 31, U.N.
Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali was jeered by Bosnians
during a visit to Sarajevo.
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,
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.
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.
1993 Dec 31, Former IBM
chairman Thomas J. Watson died in Greenwich, Conn., at age 79.
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
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.
1994 Dec 31, Bosnian government
officials and Bosnian Serb leaders signed a U.N.-brokered cease-fire
1994 Dec 31, Russian ground
forces launched a ferocious assault on the Chechen capital of
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
(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
1995 Dec 31, Russian ground
forces launched a ferocious assault on the Chechen capital of
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.
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
(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.
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
(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.
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.
1999 Dec 31, Elliot L.
Richardson (79), former Attorney General, died in Boston.
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.
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
(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
(SFC, 1/1/00, p.A1)(SFC, 1/3/00, p.A9)(Econ,
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.
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
(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
(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.
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.
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."
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.
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
2002 Dec 31, In Colombia at
least 12 people, including eight civilians, were killed in attacks
by suspected rebels around the country.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
(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.
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.
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
(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.
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.
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
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
(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
2004 Dec 31, In Colombia
suspected Marxist rebels massacred 16 peasants, including women and
children, in a remote area in lawless Arauca province.
2004 Dec 31, Gerard Debreu
(b.1921), winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics (1983), died in
2004 Dec 31, Spain's socialist
government approved a bill to legalize same-sex marriages.
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
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
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.
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.
2005 Dec 31, A powerful storm
plowed through Northern California, causing mudslides and widespread
flooding and snarling holiday traffic from Sonoma to Monterey.
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
(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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
2005 Dec 31, Dozens of
Palestinian gunmen stormed several government offices in Gaza City
and briefly took the Interior Ministry to demand jobs.
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.
2005 Dec 31, El Salvador's 22
penitentiaries, designed to house 7,370 inmates, were packed with
more than 12,500 prisoners.
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
(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.
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.
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.
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
(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
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.
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.
2005 Dec 31, Yemeni kidnappers
released a former German diplomat and his four family members.
2006 Dec 31, The US Medicare
prescription drug plan went into effect.
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
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.
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
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.
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)(http://tinyurl.com/2oyyok)
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
2006 Dec 31, Zambian President
Levy Mwanawasa rejected IMF directives to introduce more taxes in
his impoverished southern African nation.
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.
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.
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
(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.
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.
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 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.
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.
2007 Dec 31, In southern Egypt
a bus plunged into a canal alongside the Nile River, killing 17
passengers and the driver.
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
(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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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%.
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
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
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
(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
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
(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
(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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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,
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.
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
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.
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
(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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
(http://tinyurl.com/2c6hzrd)(SFC, 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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,
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
(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
(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.
2011 Dec 31, In Bahrain Sayed
Hashim Saeed (15) died after a tear gas canister fired at close
range hit him in the chest.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
2011 Dec 31, In Pakistan a
remote-controlled bomb ripped through a military vehicle killing two
Pakistani soldiers at Boya village in North Waziristan.
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
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.
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."
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
(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
(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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
(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.
2013 Dec 31, In San Francisco
Uber driver Syed Muzaffar of Union City fatally struck Sophia Liu
(6) at a crosswalk on Polk Street near the Civic Center. In 2018
Muzaffar was found guilty of manslaughter.
(SFC, 8/3/18, p.D1)
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.
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.
2013 Dec 31, A cyclone ripped
across northwest Australia, closing ports and threatening mining
operations in the sparsely populated Pilbara region.
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.
2013 Dec 31, In Egypt unknown
assailants attacked a natural gas pipeline in the Sinai.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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)
2014 Dec 31, Former American
school teacher Michael R. Vucic (41) was extradited to the US from
Bosnia to face prosecution in Illinois on sexual assault charges
dating back to 2012.
2014 Dec 31, Nazih al-Ragye
(aka Abu Anas Al-Liby), a suspected al Qaeda figure, died in New
York just days ahead of his scheduled trial. Al-Liby (50) was
alleged to have planned the 1998 bombings of the US embassies in
Tanzania and Kenya.
2014 Dec 31, In Arizona a
helicopter leased by the Cochise County sheriff’s department crashed
and killed two civilians as it returned from a trip to Phoenix for
(SFC, 1/2/15, p.A5)
2014 Dec 31, Police in Oakland,
Ca., arrested 29 people during new Year’s Eve police brutality
protests. The arrests represented about one fourth of those who
(SFC, 1/2/15, p.D5)
2014 Dec 31, Edward Herrmann
(71), American stage and screen actor, died in Los Angeles. He won a
Tony Award in 1976 for his performance in “Mrs. Warren’s
Profession." His work in films included “Reds" (1981) and “The Wolf
of Wall Street" (2013).
(SFC, 1/1/15, p.D3)
2014 Dec 31, Faustas Strolia
(b.1931), Lithuanian composer, musician and teacher, died in Oak
2014 Dec 31, A Minnesota judge
ordered Norway to pay Ellen Ewald $170,594, double her lost wages,
plus $100,000 for emotional distress, for violating equal-pay laws.
She had been paid $30,000 less than a male counterpart. Norway has
had a diplomatic presence in Minnesota since 1906. The state is home
to nearly 900,000 people of Norwegian descent.
2014 Dec 31, In southern
Afghanistan at least 28 people, many of them women and children,
were killed when rockets fired by Afghan army soldiers hit a wedding
party in Helmand province. Two Afghan soliders were soon arrested in
connection with the deaths.
(AP, 1/1/15)(SFC, 1/3/15, p.A2)
2014 Dec 31, In southern China
a gas explosion at an auto parts factory killed 17 people and
injured 33 others in Foshan city.
2014 Dec 31, In China a
stampede during New Year's celebrations in Shanghai's historic
waterfront area killed 36 people in the worst disaster to hit one of
China's showcase cities in recent years.
2014 Dec 31, In France a 50
percent tax paid by employers on income earned above one million
euros ($1.22 million) ended today. Socialist President Francois
Hollande's 75% super tax had been rejected by a court and re-written
2014 Dec 31, Hong Kong
authorities began destroying 15,000 chickens at a poultry market and
suspended imports from mainland China after some birds were found to
be infected with the H7N9 strain of bird flu.
(AP, 12/31/14)(SSFC, 1/3/15, p.A2)
2014 Dec 31, Indian and
Pakistani troops exchanged fire near the border that divides the
disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, leaving one dead on the Indian
side and two wounded on the Pakistani side.
2014 Dec 31, Off the coast of
India a fishing boat stocked with explosives blew up. India later
said 4 men on the boat blew it up themselves as Indian coast guard
officers approached on New Year's Eve. Senior coast guard officer
B.K. Loshali was later removed from his post after he contradicted
the government saying coast guard personnel had destroyed the
Pakistani "terror boat".
2014 Dec 31, Israeli police
arrested Palestinian girl Malak al-Khatib (14) on her way home from
school. A military court sentenced her in late January to two months
as part of a plea bargain in which she admitted to picking up a
stone to throw at Israeli cars. On Feb 14 she insisted after serving
a 45-day sentence that she had been unjustly imprisoned, saying she
was forced to sign a paper in Hebrew, which she does not understand.
2014 Dec 31, Some 970 mostly
Syrian migrants arrived in Italy on the Blue Sky M cargo ship after
apparently being abandoned by its crew in the Adriatic Sea.
2014 Dec 31, Kurdish Iraqi
forces launched a large-scale offensive to push Islamic State group
extremists from an area outside the militant-held northern city of
Mosul. US Central Command said that the international coalition it
leads had conducted seven airstrikes against militants' positions in
Syria and three in Iraq.
2014 Dec 31, Kurdish Iraqi
forces launched a large-scale offensive to push Islamic State group
extremists from an area outside the militant-held northern city of
Mosul. The United States and its allies staged 29 air strikes on
Islamic State targets in Syria and Iraq.
(Reuters, 1/1/15)(AP, 12/31/14)
2014 Dec 31, In Morocco some
800 African migrants tried to storm the border fences separating
Spain's North African enclave of Melilla in the second such attempt
in two days. 54 migrants managed to make it across.
2014 Dec 31, In northeastern
Nigeria a woman suicide bomber was killed as she tried to enter a
military barracks in Bolari. Suspected Boko Haram gunmen kidnapped
40 boys and young men in a remote village in northeastern Borno
(AFP, 12/31/14)(AP, 1/2/15)
2014 Dec 31, Palestinian
President Mahmoud Abbas signed on to 20 international agreements,
including the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court
(ICC), as a new avenue for action against Israel after the UN
Security Council rejected a resolution on ending the occupation.
(AFP, 12/31/14)(Reuters, 1/1/15)
2014 Dec 31, Hamas civil
servants went on strike after the Palestinian government said it
would rehire thousands of Gaza staff who were laid off when the
Islamist movement seized power in 2007.
2014 Dec 31, In the southern
Philippines a bomb exploded at the entrance of a town market packed
with New Year's Eve shoppers n North Cotabato province, killing 4
people and wounding at least 30 others.
2014 Dec 31, Saudi authorities
beheaded a Pakistani man convicted of smuggling "large quantities"
of heroin. An Associated Press tally showed 83 people have been
beheaded in Saudi Arabia in 2014.
2014 Dec 31, In eastern Ukraine
a widespread electricity outage hit Luhansk, the second-largest city
in the separatist east. The leader of the rebels who control it
claimed that's due to Ukrainian sabotage.
2014 Dec 31, The World
Health Organization said the number of reported Ebola deaths in West
Africa has risen to 7,905.
2014 Dec 31, In central Yemen a
suicide bomber killed at least 49 people when he blew himself up at
a cultural center where students were celebrating the Prophet
Mohammad's birthday. 70 people were wounded.
(Reuters, 12/31/14)(AFP, 1/1/15)
2015 Dec 31, The United States
and its allies conducted 24 air strikes against Islamic State in
2015 Dec 31, In Arizona retired
California police officer Frank Pascua (52) was shot and killed in
the parking lot of the Gila River Casino in Phoenix. Suspect John
Campos Sr. (47) was arrested the next day.
(SSFC, 1/3/16, p.A8)
2015 Dec 31, The largest
container ship to visit the US passed under the Golden Gate Bridge
in San Francisco before arriving at the Port of Oakland. The nearly
quarter-mile-long megaship named the Benjamin Franklin can hold up
to 18,000 20-foot shipping containers.
2015 Dec 31, Natalie Cole
(b.1950), Grammy-winning daughter of Nat King Cole, died in Los
Angeles of complications from health issues.
(SFC, 1/2/16, p.A7)
2015 Dec 31, Wayne Rogers, TV
actor who played Trapper John on MASH (1972-1975), died in Los
Angeles from complications of pneumonia.
(SFC, 1/2/16, p.A7)
2015 Dec 31, Midwest
floodwaters began receding. Three days of torrential rain, that had
begun on Dec 26 across a wide swath of Missouri and Illinois, left
25 people dead.
(SFC, 1/1/16, p.A7)(Econ, 1/9/16, p.25)
2015 Dec 31, General Electric
announced that it had won a contract worth nearly $1 billion from
the Saudi Electricity Company to build and supply a power plant in
northern Saudi Arabia.
2015 Dec 31, A court in
Bangladesh sentenced two people to death and six others to prison
for killing atheist blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider in 2013, the first
verdicts since suspected Islamist militants began targeting secular
2015 Dec 31, Brazilian
President Dilma Rousseff signed the so-called LDO law overruling
more than 50 amendments made by lawmakers in the nation's budget
guidelines law for this year, including reductions to her flagship
social program and a ban on state foreign financing for some
2015 Dec 31, Ursula Gauthier,
the China correspondent for France's L'Obs news magazine, left
Beijing. She was obliged to leave for criticizing government policy
in violence-wracked Xinjiang. She had questioned official
comparisons between global Islamist violence and unrest in the
homeland of the mainly Muslim Uighur ethnic minority.
2015 Dec 31, Democratic
Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila pardoned nine members of
the Bundu Dia Kongo (BDK) separatist group as he pursues a policy of
national dialogue ahead of elections later this year.
2015 Dec 31, In Egypt a couple
and their 3 children, including a five-year-old girl, were killed
when shelling hit their house in Rafah, North Sinai. It was unclear
who fired the projectile.
2015 Dec 31, In Egypt a small
ferry boat sank late today in the Nile Delta province of Kafr
el-Sheikh. At least 15 people were killed and two remained missing.
2015 Dec 31, In southern
Ethiopia a hand grenade attack killed two students and injured six
at Dilla University in the SNNPR region.
2015 Dec 31, In Germany dozens
of apparently coordinated sexual assaults took place against women
on New Year's Eve in the western city of Cologne. "Arab-looking men"
were blamed. The port city of Hamburg also reported around 10
similar attacks against women on New Year's Eve. By Jan 19 the
number of complaints had risen to over 800.
(AFP, 1/4/16)(SFC, 1/20/16, p.A2)
2015 Dec 31, In Guatemala a
fight at an overcrowded prison in Puerto Barrios, killed at least 8
prisoners and wounded 20.
2015 Dec 31, Officials said
Israel's Education Ministry has ruled against the inclusion of a
novel about a romance between an Israeli woman and a Palestinian man
in the Hebrew high school curriculum because it feared it could
raise tensions among pupils. The plot of Dorit Rabinyan's novel
"Borderlife" takes place in New York.
2015 Dec 31, Israeli troops
shot and killed a Palestinian who rammed them with his car in the
occupied West Bank, as a wave of violence approached its fourth
2015 Dec 31, Ivory Coast's
President Alassane Ouattara announced in his New Year's address that
he had reduced the sentences of 3,100 prisoners held over bloody
2015 Dec 31, Rights campaigners
said a Mauritanian court has remanded in custody two men accused of
keeping women and children as slaves, during a crackdown on the
deeply rooted practice.
2015 Dec 31, The Russian
finance ministry said it will file a lawsuit against Ukraine after
Kiev failed to repay a $3 billion Eurobond and $75 million of
interest due today.
2015 Dec 31, In southwestern
Saudi Arabia 3 civilians including two children were killed in
cross-border missile attacks from Yemen on a residential area.
2015 Dec 31, In Sweden at least
15 young women were reportedly groped by groups of men on New Year's
Eve in the city of Kalmar.
2015 Dec 31, In Turkey hundreds
of flights were cancelled from Istanbul's two main airports after
the city was hit by a picturesque but troublesome snowfall.
2015 Dec 31, Electricity from
Ukraine to the Russia-annexed Crimean peninsula was cut again after
the collapse of a power pylon.
2015 Dec 31, In Yemen a
drive-by shooting killed top pro-government militia leader Ahmed
al-Idrisi and five of his companions in the southern city of Aden,
just hours after he reluctantly handed over control of the city's
strategic port to government troops.
(AP, 12/31/15)(AP, 1/3/16)
2016 Dec 31, In southern
California “MASH" actor William Christopher (84) died in Pasadena.
He played the role of Father Francis Mulcahy on the TV series.
(SFC, 1/2/17, p.A4)
2016 Dec 31, David Meltzer
(b.1937), poet and musician, died at his home in Oakland, Ca. His
books included more than 40 volumes of poetry and the non-fiction
works such as “Reading Jazz" (1993).
(SFC, 1/3/17, p.A4)
2016 Dec 31, In Chicago
hundreds of people marched carrying crosses for each of 762 people
slain in the city this year.
(SSFC, 1/1/17, p.A7)(SFC, 1/2/17, p.A4)
2016 Dec 31, In Texas a federal
judge granted a temporary injunction that stope federal health
officials from enforcing rules that are intended to ban
discrimination by doctors and hospitals against transgender people.
(SSFC, 1/1/17, p.A8)
2016 Dec 31, In Texas three
people were killed when two small planes collided near McKinney.
(SFC, 1/2/17, p.A4)
2016 Dec 31, In Bangladesh
Manzurul Islam Liton, a national legislator from PM Sheikh Hasina's
Awami League party, was shot at his home in Gaibandha district.
2016 Dec 31, In Brazil a gunman
stormed a house party and killed 13 people and himself late today
during New Year celebrations in the southeastern city of Campinas.
The shooter was believed to have been angry over a separation from
his former wife, who was among those killed. The couple's 8-year-old
son also died.
(Reuters, 1/1/17)(SFC, 1/2/17, p.A2)
2016 Dec 31, In southern
England the RMT union launched a three-day strike on Southern Rail,
which runs commuter services from the south coast into London, as
part of a long-running dispute over plans to downgrade the role of
the train guard.
2016 Dec 31, Chinese media
reported that Gao Baoyu, the chairman of China's Ying Kou Port
Group, was sentenced to 14 years in prison for accepting around 26.8
million yuan (3.13 million pounds) in bribes. China’s corruption
watchdog said it has recovered 2.3 billion yuan ($331.27 million) in
losses from graft in the first 11 months of this year from across
more than 70 different regions and countries.
2016 Dec 31, China’s official
Xinhua news agency reported that 16 people, including two surgeons,
have been jailed for between two and five years for trafficking in
human organs, a practice still widespread in the country.
2016 Dec 31, Colombia's
National Liberation Army, which has been fighting the government for
more than five decades, freed businessman Octavio Figueroa. He had
been held since March.
2016 Dec 31, An Egyptian
appeals court upheld an agreement to give control of two islands in
the Red Sea to Saudi Arabia.
2016 Dec 31, In Egypt an
explosion targeting a security vehicle in the Sinai peninsula killed
one junior officer and one soldier and injured another soldier.
2016 Dec 31, Gambian President
Yahya Jammeh accused the West African regional bloc ECOWAS of
declaring war after demanding that he stand down following his
defeat at the ballot box.
2016 Dec 31, In Germany police
detained hundreds of North African men in Cologne in an effort to
prevent a repeat of sexual assaults during New year’s festivities
there a year ago.
(SFC, 1/2/17, p.A2)
2016 Dec 31, In India several
women were groped and assaulted by a mob in the Bangalore central
business district as they celebrated New Year's Eve. The assaults
spurred women's rights activists to demand that police investigate.
2016 Dec 31, In Iraq three
bombs killed 29 people in Baghdad as fighting intensified in the
northern city of Mosul, where Iraqi government forces are trying to
rout Islamic State militants from their last major stronghold in the
2016 Dec 31, In northeastern
Nigeria one person was seriously injured when a suicide bomber aged
around 10 blew herself up in a New Year's Eve attack in Maiduguri.
2016 Dec 31, In Poland Daniel
R. and another Pole took two bottles of a beverage from the Prince
Kebab restaurant in Elk, without paying. In the ensuing brawl, a
26-year-old Tunisian cook stabbed Daniel R. twice with his knife.
2016 Dec 31, A South Korean
court issued an arrest warrant for Moon Hyung-pyo, the head of the
national pension fund, the world's third largest, in a corruption
scandal that has led to President Park Geun-hye's impeachment.
2016 Dec 31, In South Korea
large crowds gathered to join another rally demanding the ouster of
impeached President Park Geun-hye, who's determined to restore her
powers through a court trial.
2016 Dec 31, Sudanese President
Omar Hassan al-Bashir announced a one-month extension of his
unilateral ceasefire in fighting with rebels in the country's war
2016 Dec 31, Syrian rebel
groups threatened to abandon a two-day-old truce if violations
continued, and urged the UN Security Council not to endorse the deal
until the Syrian government and its ally Russia had shown they would
2016 Dec 31, Venezuela's
government freed former presidential candidate Manuel Rosales along
with five other activists who were jailed during anti-government
protests in 2014.
2017 Dec 31, In the SF Bay Area
CHP Officer Andrew Camilleri was killed when a driver crashed into
his patrol car on I-880. His partner Officer Jonathan Velasquez was
injured. Mohammed Abraar Ali (22) of Hayward was arrested and faced
five felony accounts including second-degree murder and driving
under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
(SFC, 1/3/18, p.D1)
2017 Dec 31, In Colorado
Matthew Riehl (37) fired more than 100 rounds at sheriff’s deputies
killing one and injuring four others before being fatally shot
himself at Highlands Ranch, a Denver suburb.
(SFC, 1/1/18, p.A4)
2017 Dec 31, In New Jersey a
teenager (16) fatally shot his parents, sister and a family friend
just before midnight in Long Branch.
(SFC, 1/2/18, p.A5)
2017 Dec 31, In eastern
Afghanistan a bombing targeted the funeral of a local official,
killing at least 18 people in Jalalabad, Nangarhar province.
2017 Dec 31, In Australia the
chief executive of British catering giant Compass Group Plc and four
members of his family were killed when the seaplane they were flying
in crashed into the Hawkesbury River in Sydney. All six people on
board were killed.
(AP, 12/31/17)(Reuters, 1/1/18)
2017 Dec 31, In Britain an
estimated 1,400 cars were destroyed in a huge fire that raged
through a multi-story parking garage in the northern English city of
2017 Dec 31, It was reported
that hundreds of people have fled their villages in northeastern
Central African Rep. following fresh violence between armed groups.
2017 Dec 31, China's complete
ban on ivory trade went into effect, a major step forward in
Beijing's efforts to rein in what was once the world's largest
market for illegal ivory.
2017 Dec 31, Congolese security
forces shot dead two man in Kinshasa and injured several others in a
bloody crackdown on Catholic worshippers who gathered at churches
across the country to demand President Joseph Kabila leave power.
Security forces killed at least seven people and at least one
policeman died amid violence as more than a thousand people
demonstrated in the capital.
(AFP, 12/31/17)(Reuters, 12/31/17)(AP, 12/31/17)
2017 Dec 31, In Costa Rica a
Nature Air's pilot training director died in an air crash near the
Punta Islita beach town west of the capital, San Jose. The co-pilot
was also killed, along with 10 US citizens including a family of
five from New York. On January 12 Costa Rica's civil aviation agency
suspended local airline Nature Air.
(AP, 1/1/18)(Reuters, 1/12/18)
2017 Dec 31, In Egypt a gunman
on New Years’ eve killed two Coptic Christian brothers in an attack
on a liquor store in Giza province on New Years’ eve.
2017 Dec 31, French authorities
said heavy snow overnight stranded 4,000 travelers heading for
resorts in the French Alps and killed one skier in an avalanche.
2017 Dec 31, Greece dismissed
Turkish anger over its decision to grant asylum to a soldier who
Ankara accuses of involvement in the abortive coup against President
Tayyip Erdogan in July 2016. The soldier was one of eight who fled
after the July 15 coup attempt.
2017 Dec 31, In Greece a
homeowner found a young tourist couple dead in the house they were
renting on the western island of Kefalonia. Initial indications
pointed to a double suicide.
2017 Dec 31, Five Indian
soldiers and three suspected militants were killed after rebels
stormed a paramilitary camp in disputed Kashmir, triggering a
daylong battle. Separately, Indian and Pakistani soldiers traded
gunfire along the highly militarized line dividing Kashmir between
the two rivals, killing an Indian soldier.
2017 Dec 31, India’s movie
superstar Rajinikanth said he is entering politics in Tamil Nadu
state with a plan to launch his own party, calling it his duty.
2017 Dec 31, Iran blocked
access to Instagram and the popular Telegram messaging app used by
activists to organize and publicize the protests now roiling the
Islamic Republic. The free Telegram app, created by Russian national
Pavel Durov, was used by an estimated 40 million Iranians.
2017 Dec 31, Iran warned of a
tough crackdown against demonstrators who pose one of the most
audacious challenges to its clerical leaders since nationwide
pro-reform unrest jolted the Islamist theocracy in 2009. In apparent
response to the protests The government backed down on plans to
raise fuel prices and promised to increase cash handouts to the poor
and create more jobs in coming years. 10 people were killed in
widespread anti-government protests across the country in cities
including Kermanshah, Khorramabad and Shahinshahr.
(Reuters, 12/31/17)(AFP, 1/1/18)
2017 Dec 31, Israel’s ruling
Likud Party's central committee unanimously endorsed a resolution
calling for the annexation of Israeli West Bank settlements.
2017 Dec 31, In central Kenya
36 people were killed and 11 injured early today in a head-on
collision between a bus and a lorry on the Nakuru-Eldoret highway.
2017 Dec 31, In Nigeria a new
report said at least 5,247 Muslims have been killed in Adamawa state
over the past four years because of Boko Haram.
(SFC, 1/1/18, p.A2)
2017 Dec 31, Russia’s President
Vladimir Putin signed a law doubling the penalty for false reports
of impending explosions or fire to a possible 10 years in prison.
2017 Dec 31, South Korean
authorities said they have seized a Panama-flagged oil tanker
suspected of evading international sanctions by trading with North
Korea. The 5,100-ton KOTI was detained two weeks ago at the South's
port of Pyeongtaek-Dangjin and its crew were being investigated over
the alleged ship-to-ship transfers.
2017 Dec 31, In Syria rebels
supported by an al-Qaida-linked cell renewed their assault against
pro-government forces that have been holding a vast pocket of the
Damascus suburbs under siege. A second front between many of the
same groups saw fresh fighting in the northwest, along the border
between Idlib and Hama provinces. 21 soldiers and 26 rebels and
al-Qaida fighters were reported killed in two days of clashes.
2017 Dec 31, In Syria a Russian
Mi-24 helicopter crashed on New Year's Eve killing both pilots
following a technical fault.
2017 Dec 31, In western Syria
two Russian service personnel were killed in a mortar attack on the
2017 Dec 31, Turkish
authorities, fearing an attack over the New Year, detained 20
suspected IS members in Istanbul, 15 of them foreigners, who are
believed to have spent time in Syria or Iraq. Three Syrians, an
Iraqi and a Russian Chechen were detained in Ankara.
2017 Dec 31, In Venezuela
Alexandra Colopoy (18) was reportedly gunned down by National Guard
First Sergeant David Rebolledo. The soldier shot and killed the
pregnant woman an incident that local media described as a melee
over scarce pork. Rebolledo was soon arrested.
2018 Dec 31, The International
Federation of Journalists said in an annual report that 94
journalists and media workers died in targeted killings, bomb
attacks and conflict crossfire this year, 12 more than in 2017.
2018 Dec 31, Afghan special
forces launched a new offensive against the Islamic State group in
eastern Nangarhar province, killing 27 militants. Meanwhile, Taliban
attacks in the north killed 15 members of the country's security
2018 Dec 31, Bahraini prominent
activist Nabeel Rajab lost his appeal and was handed down a
five-year jail term. He had been jailed for criticizing his
country's rulers on social media.
2018 Dec 31, The mayor of the
northwestern Bosnian town of Banja Luka canceled New Year
celebrations for security reasons after protesters demanding the
truth about a student's death prevented a public concert taking
place the previous evening.
2018 Dec 31, British police
arrested 39 people early today on suspicion of attempted murder
following a stabbing in west London.
2018 Dec 31, In Britain a
triple stabbing at a Manchester railway station on New Year's Eve
injured three people. It was soon treated as "a terrorist
investigation." Counter-terrorism police arrested a 25-year-old man.
2018 Dec 31, Burkina Faso said
it is declaring a state of emergency in provinces grappling with
jihadist violence. Gunmen on motorbikes attacked the village of
Yirgou in Barsalogo district, killing seven people, including the
(AP, 12/31/18)(Reuters, 1/4/19)
2018 Dec 31, Dubai's stock
market ended 2018 with a 25-percent annual loss, the worst year
since the global financial crisis a decade ago, as the real estate
and tourism sectors struggled.
2018 Dec 31, In Egypt Amal
Fathi (34), arrested in May over a video she posted online in which
she spoke out against sexual harassment, lost her appeal and was
handed a two-year prison term, as well as a fine of 10,000 Egyptian
2018 Dec 31, A French court
authorized Central Africa Republic soccer executive and alleged
militia leader Patrice-Edouard Ngaissona to be handed over to the
Hague war crimes tribunal.
2018 Dec 31, Indian troops
fired at Pakistani forces across the two countries' line of control
in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, killing a woman and
wounding nine civilians.
2018 Dec 31, In Indonesia
rescuers recovered six more bodies buried under tons of mud from a
landslide that crashed onto a hilly village on the main island of
Java, bringing the death toll to 15. At least 20 people were missing
after landslides during heavy rain buried 30 houses in Sukabumi
regency, West Java.
(AP, 1/1/19)(Reuters, 1/1/19)
2018 Dec 31, In Iran security
forces clashed with students in Tehran in the third day of protests
over a deadly bus crash, adding to officials' fears that rising
public unrest could threaten national security.
2018 Dec 31, Iran's
intelligence ministry said it had arrested 11 "economic disruptors"
who misappropriated some $400 million earmarked for essential goods
and smuggled the money out of the country.
2018 Dec 31, Iraqi fighter jets
struck an Islamic State position inside Syria, a day after the
Syrian government authorized its neighbor to target the militants at
2018 Dec 31, An Israeli court
sentenced Palestinian Jamil Tamimi (59) to 18 years imprisonment for
stabbing to death Hannah Bladon (21), a British woman in Jerusalem
on April 14, 2017. A plea bargain acknowledged that Tamimi is
2018 Dec 31, Italy's ruling
5-Star Movement expelled four parliamentarians from the party in an
effort to instill discipline in its ranks. The decision means the
ruling coalition, made up of 5-Star and the League, has just 167
seats in the 320-seat Senate.
2018 Dec 31, The self-styled
Libyan National Army freed 19 people who were kidnapped by Islamic
State group militants during attacks in central Libya.
2018 Dec 31, A Palestinian
court sentenced Issam Akel (55) from east Jerusalem to life in
prison with hard labor for trying to sell property in the Old City
to an Israeli group.
2018 Dec 31, A Panamanian car
carrier heading from Japan to Hawaii caught fire. Nearby merchant
vessels rescued 16 crew members. Three were found dead in the water
and two were missing.
(SFC, 1/3/19, p.A6)
2018 Dec 31, Peru's attorney
general dismissed a team investigating the far-reaching Odebrecht
corruption scandal, setting off street protests in cities across the
2018 Dec 31, in the southern
Philippines a remotely controlled bomb, blamed by security forces on
a small pro-Islamic State militant group, killed two people and
wounded dozens at a shopping mall in Cotabato city.
2018 Dec 31, A Russian
apartment block partially collapsed in an explosion, killing at
least four people in Magnitogorsk. Russian rescue crews soon pulled
two more bodies from the rubble of a collapsed apartment building,
bringing the death toll to nine. By Jan. 2 the number of confirmed
dead rose to 22 and 19 remained missing. The number of dead from the
gas explosion jumped to 39 on Jan. 3 as rescuers finished searching
for bodies in the rubble of the partially collapsed building.
(Reuters, 12/31/18)(AP, 1/1/19)(AP, 1/2/19)(AFP,
2018 Dec 31, Spanish police
said they have seized 3.25 metric tons (3.64 short tons) of hashish
in two operations against drug trafficking across the Strait of
Gibraltar. Police made 42 arrests and broke up what they believed to
be one of most important drug smuggling gangs operating between
Spain and North Africa.
2018 Dec 31, Sudanese riot
police fired tear gas at demonstrators in Khartoum, dispersing
protesters who had planned to march on the presidential palace
following deadly anti-government rallies. President Omar al-Bashir
ordered an investigation into "recent events" after two weeks of
violent protests against his 29-year autocratic rule, as he seeks to
placate popular anger over worsening economic conditions. Al-Bashir
sought to defuse the anger, promising better days ahead and pledging
more "transparency, effectiveness and justice in all our national
institutions" in an address to the nation marking the anniversary of
Sudan's independence 63 years ago.
(AFP, 12/31/18)(AP, 1/1/19)
2018 Dec 31, The UAE's Federal
Supreme Court upheld a 10-year sentence for human rights activist
Ahmed Mansoor (49).
2018 Dec 31, The UN food agency
threatened to suspend some aid shipments to Yemen if the Houthi
rebels do not investigate and stop theft and fraud in food
distribution. The suspension would affect some 3 million people.
2018 Dec 31, The Vatican
spokesman and his deputy resigned over disagreements on strategy,
ending a year of upheaval in the Holy See's communications
2018 Dec 31, Zambian President
Edgar Lungu sacked the army commander and his deputy, a rare firing
of the top military brass in the country.