1562 Dec 19, The French Wars of
Religion between the Huguenots and the Catholics began with the
Battle of Dreux.
1683 Dec 19, Philip V, King of
Spain (1700-24, 24-46), was born in Versailles, France. [see Feb 20]
1686 Dec 19, Robinson Crusoe
left his island after 28 years (as per Defoe).
1732 Dec 19, Benjamin Franklin
began publishing "Poor Richard's Almanack." [see Dec 28]
(AP, 12/19/97)(MC, 12/19/01)
1776 Dec 19, Thomas Paine
published his first "American Crisis" essay, writing: "These are the
times that try men's souls."
(HFA, '96, p.44)(AP, 12/19/97)
1777 Dec 19, Gen. George
Washington led his army of about 11,000 men to Valley Forge, Pa., to
camp for the winter. [see Dec 17]
1778 Dec 19,
Marie-Therese-Charlotte, daughter of King Louis XVI and
Marie-Antoinette, was born.
1779 Dec 19,
Auguste-Gaspard-Louis Desnoyers, engraver, was born in Paris,
1790 Dec 19, Sir William Parry,
England, Arctic explorer, was born.
1793 Dec 19, French troops
recaptured Toulon from the British. Napoleon Bonaparte led the
intense shelling of British positions. This led to his promotion to
(ON, 2/12, p.6)
1813 Dec 19, British forces
captured Fort Niagara during the War of 1812.
1814 Dec 19, Edwin McMasters
Stanton, US Secretary of War (1861-65), was born in Ohio.
1823 Dec 19, Georgia passed the
1st US state birth registration law.
1843 Dec 19, The novella "A
Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens was first published. It recounts
the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, an elderly miser who is visited by
the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley and the
spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come. After their
visits, Scrooge is transformed into a kinder, gentler man. A
Christmas card was also printed about this time, a lithograph by
John Calcott Horsley, and is the first known card to have been
printed and mailed.
1849 Dec 19, Henry Clay Frick
(d.1919), coal and steel magnate, was born in West Overton, Penn.
1851 Dec 19, Joseph Mallord
William Turner (b.1775), English painter and printmaker, died. In
2016 Franny Moyle authored “The Extraordinary Life and Momentous
Times of J.M.W. Turner.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._M._W._Turner)(SFC, 6/20/15, p.E3)
1862 Dec 19, Nathan B. Forrest
tore up the railroads in Grant and Rosecrans' rear, causing
considerable delays in the movement of Union supplies.
1862 Dec 19, Skirmish at
Jackson-Salem Church, Tenn., left 80 casualties.
1871 Dec 19, Albert L. Jones
patented corrugated paper in NYC.
1880 Dec 19, Frank Buckland
(b.1826), English surgeon, zoologist, popular author and natural
historian, died. In 2016 Richard Girling authored “The Man Who Ate
the Zoo: Frank Buckland, Forgotten Hero of Natural History."
1888 Dec 19, Fritz Reiner, US
conductor (Chicago Symphony Orch), was born in Budapest, Hungary.
1890 Dec 19, Start of Sherlock
Holmes "Adventure of Beryl Coronet."
1903 Dec 19, The Williamsburg
suspension bridge opened between Brooklyn and Manhattan.
1903 Dec 19, Heinrich Lienhard
(b.1822), Swiss immigrant to the United States, died in Illinois.
His reminiscences for the years 1822 to 1850 are an important
historical source re California Trail and Sutter's Fort in
California from 1846 to 1850.
1906 Dec 19, H. Allen Smith,
Ill, humorist, author (Low Man on Totem Pole), was born.
1906 Dec 19, Leonid Brezhnev,
Soviet General Secretary of the Communist arty and President of the
Supreme Soviet from 1964 until 1982, was born in the Ukraine.
(HN, 12/19/98)(MC, 12/19/01)
1907 Dec 19, A gas explosion
killed 239 workers in a coal mine in Jacobs Creek, Pa.
(AP, 12/19/97)(MC, 12/19/01)
1908 Dec 19, In Venezuela Gen.
Juan Vicente Gomez (1857-1935) seized power from Pres. Cipriano
Castro, while Castro was in Europe for medical treatment.
1909 Dec 19, U.S. socialist
women denounced suffrage as a movement of the middle class.
1910 Dec 19, Jean Genet,
criminal, novelist, dramatist (The Blacks), was born in Paris,
France. In 1993 Edmund White published “Jean Genet: A Life."
(WUD, 1994, p.590)(SFEC, 10/5/97, Z1 p.3)(MC,
1910 Dec 19, Rayon was 1st
commercially produced by Marcus Hook in Penn.
1911 Dec 19, Onetime race-car
driver Weldon Cooke piloted the homemade Black Diamond airplane over
Mount Tamalpais on a flight from Oakland, Ca., to Marin County.
(SFC, 12/18/11, p.A1)
1915 Dec 19, Edith Piaf,
internationally famous French cabaret singer, was born. She is best
remembered for her songs "La Vie en rose" and "Non, je ne regrette
1915 Dec 19, Alvis Alzheimer
(b.1864), German neurologist (Alzheimer Disease), died.
1918 Dec 19, Robert Ripley
(1890-1949) began his "Champs and Chumps" cartoon series in the NY
Globe. By 1929 the sports series turned into “Ripley’s Believe It or
1919 Dec 19, The Thimble
Theatre cartoon strip, by Elzie Segar (1894-1938) of Chesater, Ill.,
made its debut in the New York Journal and featured the characters
Olive Oyl, Castor Oyl, and Ham Gravy, who were the comic's leads for
about a decade. Segar added Popeye in 1929.
1919 Dec 19, American
Meteorological Society was founded.
1926 Dec 19, Former Lithuanian
Pres. Aleksandras Stulginskis served for a few hours as acting
president, the 5th president of Lithuania, following a coup that
returned Antanas Smetona (1874-1944) to office.
1928 Dec 19, The 1st autogiro
flight was made in the US. It was a predecessor of the helicopter.
1932 Dec 19, The British
Broadcasting Corp. began transmitting overseas with its "Empire
Service" to Australia.
1933 Dec 19, Cicely Tyson,
actress, best remembered for her role in The Autobiography of Ms.
Jane Pittman, was born.
1939 Dec 19, The British
destroyer HMS Hyperion sighted the German liner Columbus about 400
miles off the coast of Virginia. The still neutral American heavy
cruiser Tuscaloosa was also in the area, and silently observed the
two ships. Rather than surrender the ship, her crew scuttled her,
and she burned and sank. Her passengers and crew, 567 men and nine
women, were taken aboard Tuscaloosa as rescued seamen, not as
prisoners of war as they would have been had the British picked them
up. Tuscaloosa took all personnel to New York City. A year later 512
members of the crew were settled on Angel Island in SF Bay. After
the end of war many returned to Germany.
(SSFC, 1/18/15, DB p.46)
1940 Dec 19, Phil Ochs,
anti-war folk singer (Joe Hill, War is Over), was born in El Paso,
1941 Dec 19, US Attorney
General Francis Biddle issued Circular No. 3591 to all federal
prosecutors to drop references to peonage and label such files as
“Involuntary Servitude and Slavery." This was in response to Pres.
Roosevelt’s fear that mistreatment of blacks would be used in
propaganda by Japan and Germany.
(WSJ, 3/29/08, p.W8)
1941 Dec 19, US Office of
Censorship was created to control info about WW II.
1941 Dec 19, Hitler took
complete command of German Army.
1941 Dec 19, Japanese landed on
Hong Kong and clashed with British troops.
1942 Dec 19, British advanced
40 miles into Burma in a drive to oust the Japanese from the colony.
1943 Dec 19, William De Vries,
surgeon-inventor (Symbion artificial heart), was born in Brooklyn.
1944 Dec 19, Richard Leakey,
anthropologist, was born.
1944 Dec 19, During the Battle
of the Bulge, American troops began pulling back from the twin
Belgian cities of Krinkelt and Rocherath in front of the advancing
1944 Dec 19, The French
newspaper Le Monde began publishing. Charles de Gaulle called for
the launch of Le Monde to replace Le Temps, which had become tainted
by collaboration with German invaders.
1945 Dec 19, Congress confirmed
Eleanor Roosevelt as the U.S. delegate to the UN.
1945 Dec 19, Jean Giraudoux'
"La Folle de Chaillot," premiered in Paris.
1946 Dec 19, Noel Coward's
musical "Pacific 1860," premiered in London.
1946 Dec 19, War broke out in
Indochina as troops under Ho Chi Minh launched widespread attacks
against the French. The French retook Hoa Binh with a drop by
airborne forces. They abandoned it in October 1950 in the panic
following Viet Minh victories on Colonial Route 4.
1950 Dec 19, The North Atlantic
Council named General Eisenhower supreme commander of Western
European defense forces of NATO.
1950 Dec 19, Tibet's Dalai Lama
fled a Chinese invasion.
1953 Dec 19, Robert A. Millikan
(85), US physicist (Nobel 1923), died.
1955 Dec 19, Carl Perkins
recorded "Blue Suede Shoes."
1957 Dec 19, The musical play
"The Music Man," starring Robert Preston, with book and songs by
Meredith Willson, opened on Broadway at the Majestic Theater for
1,375 performances. Mason City, Iowa, Willson's home town, unveiled
Music Man Square in 2002
(AP, 12/19/97)(MC, 12/19/01)(SSFC, 3/14/04,
1959 Dec 19, Walter Williams
(117), officially recognized as the last survivor of the 4 million
who fought in the Civil War, died in Houston. He served as forage
master for a Confederate cavalry company. The last survivor of the
Union Army was Albert Woolson. He died on August 2, 1956 at the age
1960 Dec 19, A fire aboard the
USS Constellation, under construction at Brooklyn, killed 50.
1960 Dec 19, Frank Sinatra
recorded “Ring-A-Ding-Ding" in his 1st session with Reprise Records.
1961 Dec 19, The UN General
Assembly adopted Resolutions 1714 (XVI) for the formation of its
World Food Program (WFP).
1962 Dec 19, Transit 5A1, the
1st operational navigational satellite, was launched.
1965 Dec 19, French president
De Gaulle was re-elected. Mitterrand got 45% of the vote.
1966 Dec 19, Alberto "La Bomba"
Tomba, Italian skier (Olympic-gold-1988, 92), was born.
1968 Dec 19, Norman Thomas
(b.1884), founder of the ACLU and Socialist Party leader (1926-55),
1971 Dec 19, Stanley Kubrick's
X-rated "A Clockwork Orange" premiered.
1972 Dec 19, Apollo 17 splashed
down in the Pacific, ending the Apollo program of manned lunar
1974 Dec 19, Nelson A.
Rockefeller was sworn in as the 41st vice president of the United
States after a House vote.
(AP, 12/19/97)(HN, 12/19/98)
1974 Dec 19, Former Pres.
Nixon’s presidential papers were seized by an act of Congress. A
court later ruled that much of the material belonged to Nixon and
that he deserved compensation. In 1998 there was still no settlement
(WSJ, 11/27/98, p.W10)
1975 Dec 19, John Paul Stevens,
appointed by Pres. Gerald Ford, was sworn in as a US Supreme Court
(NW, 7/7/03, p.51)
1977 Dec 19, Pres. Jimmy Carter
signed into law the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). The act
made it a crime for a US citizen to pay bribes to win contracts
abroad. The Lockheed Corp. had bribed Japanese officials for
business contracts and caused a furor that brought down the Tokyo
government and inspired the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in the US.
1978 Dec 19, Jury selection
began in Salem, Ore., in the case of John J. Rideout, accused of
raping his wife, Greta. Rideout was acquitted; the couple divorced
after the trial.
1979 Dec 19, In Iowa Michelle
Martinko (18) was killed. Her body was found the next day inside her
family's car at a Cedar Rapids mall. She had been stabbed in the
face and chest. Investigators later matched a blood sample from the
crime scene with a sample taken from Jerry Burns. On Dec. 19, 2018,
Burns was arrested. He was convicted of first-degree murder in
February, 2020, and sentenced to life in prison on August 7, 2020.
(AP, 2/6/20)(AP, 8/7/20)
1980 Dec 19, Pres. Jimmy Carter
signed legislation to protect Lake Tahoe.
(SFC, 12/16/05, p.F2)
1982 Dec 19, Four bombs
exploded at South Africa's only nuclear power station in
1984 Dec 19, Near Orangeville,
Utah, 27 miners died in a coal mine fire due to a faulty air
compressor at the Wilberg Mine.
(SFC, 9/25/01, p.A14)(AP, 12/19/04)
1984 Dec 19, British PM
Margaret Thatcher and Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang signed an accord
to return Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty on Jul 1, 1997. China
pledged to grant Hong Kong a high degree of autonomy in everything
but foreign affairs and national defense and permit it to retain its
capitalist system for 50 years. This laid the ground for Hong Kong’s
(SFEC, 6/22/97, p.A14)(SFC, 7/1/97, p.A8)(Econ,
7/19/14, p.11)(Econ, 10/10/15, p.42)
1985 Dec 19, In Minneapolis,
Minnesota, Mary Lund became the first woman to receive a Jarvik VII
artificial heart. Lund received a human heart transplant 45 days
later; she died October 14, 1986.
1986 Dec 19, Lawrence E. Walsh
was appointed independent counsel to investigate the Iran-Contra
1986 Dec 19, The Soviet Union
announced it had freed dissident Andrei Sakharov from internal
exile, and pardoned his wife, Yelena Bonner.
1987 Dec 19, The Palestinian
uprising in Israel's occupied territories spread to Arab east
1988 Dec 19, President-elect
Bush nominated New York Congressman Jack Kemp to be his secretary of
Housing and Urban Development.
1988 Dec 19, Israeli Prime
Minister Yitzhak Shamir agreed to a Likud-Labor coalition to govern
the Jewish state.
1988 Dec 19, Polisario Front
fighters opened fire on two DC-7s chartered by USAID to spray for
locusts over Morocco. One crashed, killing all five crew onboard.
1989 Dec 19, Police in
Jacksonville, Fla., disarmed a parcel bomb at the local NAACP
office, the fourth in a series of mail bombs to turn up in the Deep
South. One bomb killed a Savannah, Ga., alderman, and another a
federal judge in Alabama. Walter L. Moody Jr. was convicted in both
1990 Dec 19, Iraq urged its
people to stockpile oil to avoid shortages should war break out, and
Saddam Hussein declared he was “ready to crush any attack."
1991 Dec 19, The failed Bank of
Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) agreed to settle federal
racketeering charges by forfeiting all its U.S. assets.
1991 Dec 19, Patricia Bowman,
who had accused William Kennedy Smith of raping her, told ABC's
"Prime Time Live" she was shocked by his acquittal.
1991 Dec 19, Donna Ann Morrow
(37) was murdered in Menlo Park, Ca., following an argument with her
husband, Joseph Morrow, who fled the country. Her body was found in
2003 in the Santa Cruz Mountains on property that had been owned by
Joseph Morrow. Police tracked Morrow to Manila, where he was
arrested in Jan, 2003. Morrow’s trial began in 2006. In 2007 Morrow
(59) agreed to be sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
(SFC, 12/24/03, p.A14)(SFC, 1/6/06, p.B5)(SFC,
3/7/06, p.B1)(SFC, 9/12/07, p.B4)
1991 Dec 19, Rebel Serbs
declared independence in the Krajina region, which was almost a
third of Croatia. The Republic of Serbian Krajina lasted 4 years
with the hilltop fortress of Knin as the capital.
(SFC, 6/7/96, p.A15)(SFC, 10/16/97, p.A12)(WSJ,
1992 Dec 19, More than 400
suspected Muslim fundamentalists deported by Israel were confined to
a makeshift refugee camp in a "no man's land" in Lebanon because of
the Lebanese government's refusal to accept them.
1993 Dec 19, Israeli Foreign
Minister Shimon Peres and senior PLO officials ended two days of
closed-door talks in Oslo, Norway, in which they sought to break a
deadlock over Palestinian self-rule in the occupied territories.
1994 Dec 19, Former President
Jimmy Carter, on a peace mission to Bosnia-Herzegovina, met with
Bosnian Serb leaders, who offered a four-month cease-fire.
1994 Dec 19, CNN publicly
acknowledged it had disobeyed a judge's order in broadcasting former
Panamanian military ruler Manuel Noriega's prison telephone
1995 Dec 19, The Federal
Reserve cut a key interest rate, turning fears to cheers on Wall
Street a day after the biggest one-day stock plunge in four years.
1995 Dec 19, A gunman opened
fire inside a Bronx, New York, shoe store, killing five people.
1995 Dec 19, Yigal Amir, the
confessed assassin of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, went on
1996 Dec 19, The television
industry unveiled a plan to rate programs using tags such as “TV-G,"
“TV-Y" and “TV-M."
1996 Dec 19, The school board
of Oakland, Calif., voted to recognize Black English, also known as
"ebonics," in a decision that set off a firestorm of controversy.
The board later reversed its stance.
(SFC, 12/20/96, p.A1)(SFC, 12/30/96, p.A17)(SFC,
1/1/97, p.A24)(AP, 12/19/97)
1996 Dec 19, The Pentagon chose
Lawrence Livermore National Labs. for a $1.1 billion super-laser
project. Known as the National Ignition Facility, its goal will be
to ignite a self-sustaining fusion reaction in a controlled lab
(SFC, 12/20/96, p.E1)
1996 Dec 19, Marcello
Mastroianni (72), Italian actor, died in Paris. He appeared in 171
films and had just finished shooting “Journey to the Beginning of
(WSJ, 12/20/96, p.A1)(SFC, 6/20/97, p.A9)(AP,
1996 Dec 19, In Indonesia a new
city was approved in Jonggol, 25 miles southeast of Jakarta. Pres.
Suharto’s son, Bambang Trihatmodjo, was in charge of the consortium
overseeing the project.
(WSJ, 12/27/96, p.A6)
1996 Dec 19, In Pakistan
Benazir Bhutto’s husband, the former investment minister, was
released from jail, and shortly after charged with the murder of
(WSJ, 12/20/96, p.A1)
1996 Dec 19, Yuli Khariton
(92), the Soviet nuclear scientist who helped develop the Soviet
atomic bomb, died.
(WSJ, 12/20/96, p.A1)
1997 Dec 19, B.B. King, blues
guitarist, gave his electric guitar, “Lucille," to Pope John Paul
after the Vatican’s annual Christmas concert.
(SFC, 12/18/97, p.E5)
1997 Dec 19, The $200 million
James Cameron epic film “Titanic" opened in NYC. It went on make box
(WSJ, 3/18/98, p.B1)(AP, 12/19/98)
1997 Dec 19, In NYC Reginald
Bannerman died after he was struck by a train. He was fleeing a
beating by 6 NYC narcotics detectives, who had been out drinking. He
was dragged and kicked outside a Crown heights nightclub and was
fired upon when he fled onto the tracks of the Steeling St. subway
(SFEC, 12/28/97, p.A13)
1997 Dec 19, In Milwaukee a
postal clerk, Anthony J. De Culit, shot and killed his supervisor, a
co-worker and wounded another and then killed himself.
(SFC, 12/20/97, p.A3)(AP, 12/19/98)
1997 Dec 19, In Indonesia a
Singapore SilkAir operated Boeing 737-300 jet crashed by the Musi
River north of Palembang on its flight from Jakarta to Singapore.
All 104 people on board were feared dead. The 10-month-old plane was
later found to have some fasteners missing. Capt. Tsu Way Ming was
later suspected of having committed suicide due to investment losses
(SFC, 12/20/97, p.A10)(WSJ, 1/8/98, p.1)(WSJ,
7/30/98, p.A1)(AP, 12/19/98)
1997 Dec 19, Masaru Ibuka
(b.1908), co-founder of Japan’s Sony Corp), died at age 89.
1998 Dec 19, President Clinton
was impeached on 2 counts, Articles 1 and 3, by the
Republican-controlled House for perjury and obstruction of justice.
The 42nd chief executive became only the second in history to be
ordered to stand trial in the Senate, where, like Andrew Johnson
before him, he was acquitted.
(SFEC, 12/20/98, p.A1)(AP, 12/19/99)
1998 Dec 19, Rep. Bob
Livingston of Louisiana resigned as speaker-designate of the House.
He had earlier admitted to being unfaithful to his wife.
(SFEC, 12/20/98, p.A1)(AP, 12/18/99)
1998 Dec 19, The US and Britain
ended their attack on Iraq after 4 days of air and missile strikes
in Operation Desert Fox. An early estimate of US defense expenses
was put at $500 million. Some 62 members of the Republican Guard
(SFEC, 12/20/98, p.A1,24)(SFC, 12/22/98,
p.A14)(WSJ, 8/27/99, p.A10)
1998 Dec 19, The Ramadan
holiday began in Saudi Arabia.
(SFC, 12/19/98, p.A21)
1998 Dec 19, In Sierra Leone
rebels overran the eastern diamond city of Koidu and many were
(WSJ, 12/21/98, p.A1)
1998 Dec 19, In Spain Antonio
Ordonez, bullfighter, died at age 66. His career was chronicled in a
(WSJ, 12/21/98, p.A1)
1999 Dec 19, The shuttle
Discovery was launched following 9 delays from Cape Canaveral with 7
astronauts on a mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.
(SFC, 12/20/99, p.A3)
1999 Dec 19, Actor Desmond
Llewelyn (85), who’d starred as the eccentric gadget expert Q in a
string of James Bond films, was killed in a car crash in East
1999 Dec 19, Macao spent its
last day under Portuguese control before being handed back to China,
ending 442 years of colonial rule.
1999 Dec 19, In Maluku
province, Indonesia, a least 5 people were killed in a clash between
Christians and Muslims in Ambon. In Aceh province at least 3
paramilitary police were killed by separatist guerrillas.
(SFC, 12/21/99, p.C8)
1999 Dec 19, In Russia
parliamentary elections were held. The Communist Party led with
over24% of the vote. 4 of the next 5 parties were centrist groups
with Unity at 23.2%.
(SFC, 12/20/99, p.A1)(SFC, 12/22/99, p.C9)
2000 Dec 19, President-elect
Bush met with President Clinton in Washington.
2000 Dec 19, US stocks fell
sharply as the Federal Reserve left the interest rate unchanged at
6.5%. Nasdaq fell 112 to 2,511.
(SFC, 12/20/00, p.B1)
2000 Dec 19, Death claimed jazz
bassist Milt Hinton at age 90.
2000 Dec 19, Death claimed
gospel singer Roebuck “Pops" Staples at age 85.
2000 Dec 19, Death claimed
former New York City Mayor John V. Lindsay at age 79.
2000 Dec 19, Death claimed Rob
Buck (42), lead guitarist for the rock band 10,000 Maniacs.
2000 Dec 19, The U.N. Security
Council voted to impose broad sanctions on Afghanistan Taliban
rulers unless they closed “terrorist" training camps and surrender
U.S. embassy bombing suspect Osama bin Laden.
2000 Dec 19, In Indonesia Pres.
Wahid traveled to Aceh province. He ordered troops to stop targeting
civilians and apologized for failing to stop military abuses.
(SFC, 12/20/00, p.C4)
2000 Dec 19, In Israel Benjamin
Netanyahu dropped from the election race after the Knesset voted not
to disband itself.
(SFC, 12/19/00, p.A16)
2000 Dec 19, In Mexico over
30,000 people were evacuated from the area of the Popocatepetl
volcano as the volcano resumed activity.
(SFC, 12/20/00, p.A1)
2000 Dec 19, It was reported
that 60 Russians had died of hypothermia in Moscow since the weather
turned cold on Oct 10.
(WSJ, 12/19/00, p.A1)
2000 Dec 19, In Moscow Deputy
Mayor Iosif Ordshonikidze was shot and gravely wounded by masked
gunmen near City Hall. He was overseeing construction of the
multi-billion-dollar “Citi" business district.
(SFC, 12/20/00, p.C5)
2000 Dec 19, In Sri Lanka
government soldiers detained 8 Tamil civilians. Their bodies were
later found in a mass grave.
(WSJ, 12/27/00, p.A1)
2000 Dec 19, It was reported
that swiftlet colonies in Thailand were threatened due to the
excessive harvesting of their edible nests for Chinese restaurants.
(SFC, 12/19/00, p.A16)
2000 Dec 19, In Turkey at least
17 people were killed when security forces stormed 20 prisons to end
a 2-month hunger strike.
(SFC, 12/20/00, p.A20)
2001 Dec 19, Comcast Corp.
agreed to buy AT&T Broadband as part of an agreement valued at
(SFC, 12/20/01, p.A1)
2001 Dec 19, The Sep 11 WTC
death toll was reduced to 3,000. In 2002 a revised tally put the
total dead at 2,795. In 2003 the count was reduced to 2,752.
(SFC, 12/20/01, p.A15)(WSJ, 8/20/02, p.A1)(WSJ,
9/9/02, p.A1)(WSJ, 11/4/02, p.A1)(USAT, 10/30/03, p.7A)
2001 Dec 19, The fires that had
burned beneath the ruins of the World Trade Center in New York City
for the previous three months were declared extinguished except for
a few scattered hot spots.
2001 Dec 19-24, Christian
Michael Longo (27) killed his wife and 3 children. The bodies of
Mary Jane Longo and 2-year-old daughter were found in an inlet along
the central Oregon coast a week after the bodies of 2 other Longo
children were found. Longo was arrested in Mexico Jan 13. Longo was
convicted and sentenced to death Apr 16, 2003.
(SFC, 12/31/01, p.A9)(SFC, 1/16/02, p.A3)(SFC,
2001 Dec 19, In Argentina Pres.
de la Rua declared a state of siege as looters ransacked shops and
markets in Buenos Aires and across the north. Domingo Cavallo,
economy minister, resigned.
(SFC, 12/20/01, p.A1,3)(WSJ, 12/20/01, p.A1)(WSJ,
2001 Dec 19, Britain advised
the UN that it would lead a security force in Afghanistan and
contribute 1,500 soldiers to a force of 5,000.
(SFC, 12/20/01, p.A14)
2001 Dec 19, In the Comoros
Islands troops killed 5 of 13 gunmen who posed as American agents
hunting al Qaeda fugitives.
(WSJ, 12/20/01, p.A1)
2001 Dec 19, Al Qaeda prisoners
in Pakistan revolted and 14 were killed. Another 18 escaped.
(WSJ, 12/20/01, p.A1)
2001 Dec 19, In Sri Lanka
rebels declared a one-month truce.
(WSJ, 12/20/01, p.A1)
2002 Dec 19, US Secretary of
State Colin Powell declared Iraq in "material breach" of a U.N.
2002 Dec 19, U.N. weapons
inspectors reported that Iraq's new arms declaration contained
inconsistencies and contradictions and didn't answer key questions
about its nuclear, chemical and biological programs.
2002 Dec 19, Sen. Patty Murray
of Washington told high school students that Osama bin Laden was
popular in poor countries because of his charitable works and
challenged the US to do the same.
(SFC, 12/21/02, p.A3)
2002 Dec 19, Ten US brokerage
firms agreed to pay $1.44 billion in fines to end investigations
over misleading stock recommendations.
(SFC, 12/20/02, p.A1)(SFC, 12/21/02, p.B1)
2002 Dec 19, After a prosecutor
cited new DNA evidence, a judge in New York threw out the
convictions of five young men in a 1989 attack on a Central Park
jogger who had been raped and left for dead.
2002 Dec 19, A tornado in
Newton, Mississippi, hit stores and injured at least 50 people. Gov.
Musgrove declared a local state of emergency.
(WSJ, 12/20/02, p.A1)
2002 Dec 19, In Afghanistan a
grenade attack in Kabul injured 4 people including 2 French
citizens. 2 Afghan interpreters died from their wounds the next day.
(SFC, 12/21/02, p.A9)
2002 Dec 19, In Cambodia some 1
million people participated in the transfer of some remains of
Buddha from Phnom Penh to a new shrine in Oudong.
(SFC, 12/20/02, p.A18)
2002 Dec 19, In India Maoist
rebels killed 18 policemen in an ambush in a dense forest in the
eastern state of Jharkhand.
2002 Dec 19, In the Ivory Coast
rebels captured the city of Man in the coffee-rich west and vowed to
continue their push until they reached the commercial capital, as
French troops prepared to face them.
2002 Dec 19, Suspected
militants killed three young women (21-22) in their homes just days
after posters appeared in India's Jammu and Kashmir state ordering
women to wear a veil.
2002 Dec 19, In South Korea
elections Roh Moo-hyun (56) had 48.9 percent and Lee Hoi-chang 46.6
percent. Turnout among the nation's 35 million eligible voters was
2002 Dec 19, In Pakistan Asif
Ramzi, a member of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, died with 3 others in a covert
bomb-making facility in Karachi.
(SFC, 12/20/02, p.A24)
2002 Dec 19, It was reported
that AIDS in Thailand infected 1 in 60 people and that by 2006 some
50,000 annual deaths would result from AIDS-related causes.
(SFC, 12/19/02, p.A18)
2003 Dec 19, New plans revealed
that the signature NYC skyscraper at the World Trade Center site
will be a 1,776-foot glass tower that twists into the sky, topped by
energy-generating windmills and a spire that evokes the Statue of
Liberty. The plan was produced after months of contentious
negotiations between Daniel Libeskind, who designed the overall
five-building site plan, and David Childs, the lead architect for
the Freedom Tower.
(AP, 12/20/03)(SFC, 12/20/03, p.A1)
2003 Dec 19, U.S. troops
mistakenly shot and killed three Iraqi police officers and wounded
two others, thinking they were bandits.
2003 Dec 19, Hope Lange (70),
film actress, died in Santa Monica.
(SFC, 12/22/03, p.A20)
2003 Dec 19, Les Tremayne (90),
film actor, died.
2003 Dec 19, An Ontario court
ruled that the Canadian government discriminated against same-sex
couples by denying pension benefits to survivors whose partners died
before 1998. Benefits were made retro-active to April 17, 1985.
(SFC, 12/21/03, p.A14)
2003 Dec 19, China said it has
issued rules restricting exports of missile, nuclear and biological
technologies that can be used to make or deliver weapons of mass
2003 Dec 19, Colombia's
attorney general charged the crew of a military helicopter with
involuntary manslaughter for killing 17 civilians with a bomb during
a 1998 clash with rebels.
2003 Dec 19, Fisheries
ministers of the 15 European Union nations reached a compromise deal
to protect dwindling stocks of cod, hake and other species.
2003 Dec 19, German lawmakers
adopted a package of tax cuts and looser employment laws.
(SFC, 12/20/03, p.A3)
2003 Dec 19, Israelis ushered
in the eight-day Hanukkah holiday.
2003 Dec 19, Parmalat SpA, an
Italian food giant, reported a $4.9 billion shortfall. Soon another
$3.6 billion in bonds was also in question. Parmalat planned to file
for bankruptcy protection in what turned into the biggest corporate
fraud in Europe's history. Parmalat employed 36,000 people in 29
countries. Fausto Tonna, former chief financial officer, soon
acknowledged that there was systematic falsification of accounts for
some 15 years. In 2001 an auditor in Brazil had raised an alarm over
financial transactions. The accounting scandal reached $17 billion.
(SFC, 12/24/03, p.B1)(WSJ, 12/26/03, p.C1)(WSJ,
3/29/04, p.A3)(Econ, 8/6/05, p.57)
2003 Dec 19, Japan announced
that it will begin building a missile defense system.
2003 Dec 19, Libyan leader
Moammar Gadhafi, after secret negotiations with the United States
and Britain, agreed to halt his nation's drive to develop nuclear
and chemical weapons and the long-range missiles to deliver them.
Libya admitted to nuclear fuel projects, including possessing
centrifuges and centrifuge parts used in uranium enrichment. Libya
showed American and British inspectors a significant quantity of
mustard agent. Libya acknowledged it intended to acquire equipment
and develop capabilities to create biological weapons. Libya
admitted "elements of the history of its cooperation with North
Korea" to develop extended-range Scud missiles.
(AP, 12/19/03)(AP, 12/20/03)
2003 Dec 19, Wim Sombroek
(b.1934), Dutch soil researcher, died. He was the first modern
investigator of terra preta, Amazonian dark earths, the carbon-rich
soils developed by ancient civilizations in what was once thought to
be a pristine wilderness.
2003 Dec 19, In the Philippines
landslides and floods left least 127 people dead, and dozens were
still missing and feared dead.
(AP, 12/20/03)(AP, 12/21/03)(AP, 12/22/03)
2003 Dec 19, Venezuela's
opposition turned in 3.4 million signatures to demand a recall
referendum on Hugo Chavez' rule.
2003 Dec 19, In Zimbabwe riot
police shut down the printing plant of the only independent daily
newspaper, defying a court order that overturned a government ban.
2004 Dec 19, President George
Bush for the second time was chosen as Time magazine's Person of the
2004 Dec 19, Renata Tebaldi
(82), opera singer, died in San Marino.
2004 Dec 19, A vehicle carrying
a group of suspected Taliban fighters attacked a military checkpoint
in southern Afghanistan, sparking a firefight that left six dead.
2004 Dec 19, Canada’s PM Paul
Martin met Moammar Gadhafi, the latest in a string of world leaders
to visit Tripoli following the Libyan strongman's renunciation of
terrorism. Martin said Canadian construction company SNC-Lavalin has
won a $1 billion contract to help build a major water distribution
system in Libya.
(AP, 12/19/04)(Reuters, 12/19/04)
2004 Dec 19, UN officials said
about 100,000 civilians in eastern Congo have fled a week of
fighting between renegade soldiers and army loyalists, hiding deep
into the forest where humanitarian workers cannot reach them.
2004 Dec 19, Golkar,
Indonesia’s largest party in parliament, removed Akbar Tandjung as
leader and replaced him with Jusuf Kalla, the country’s new
(Econ, 1/1/05, p.29)
2004 Dec 19, The Iranian Red
Crescent Society said heavy rains have caused flash floods that
killed at least 34 people and injured 43 others in southern Iran.
2004 Dec 19, Car bombs rocked
Najaf and Karbala, Iraq's two holiest Shiite cities, killing 67
people and wounding more than 120. In downtown Baghdad dozens of
gunmen carried out a brazen ambush that killed three Iraqi employees
of the organization running next month's elections.
(AP, 12/19/04)(WSJ, 12/21/04, p.A1)
2004 Dec 19, Israel approved
the release of 170 Palestinian prisoners in a goodwill gesture
toward Egypt and the new Palestinian leadership.
2004 Dec 19, It was reported
that Pres. Vicente Fox’s administration had failed thus far to dent
corruption inside Mexico’s 445 prisons and jails.
(SSFC, 12/19/04, p.A21)
2004 Dec 19, Suspected
communist rebels ambushed an army patrol near the Nepalese capital,
killing at least 9 soldiers. 3 rebels were killed in subsequent
2004 Dec 19, A driver lost
control of a bus in a heavy rainstorm in Peru's mountains and the
vehicle plunged 165 feet into a river, killing 49 people on board
and injuring 15.
2004 Dec 19, Russia's
little-known BaikalFinansGroup bought Yuganskneftegaz, the core
production unit of oil giant Yukos, at auction for $9.3 billion US.
(AP, 12/19/04)(Econ, 1/1/05, p.49)
2004 Dec 19, Polling stations
were nearly empty in elections for Turkmenistan's rubber-stamp
parliament, forcing officials to carry ballot boxes door-to-door in
this nation ruled by a former Soviet Communist boss who has been
2005 Dec 19, Pres. Bush in a
news conference said he had legal power to authorize the NSA to tap
domestic calls and called leaking of the spying project to the media
a shameful act.
(WSJ, 12/20/05, p.A1)
2005 Dec 19, US House lawmakers
opened the way for oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife
Refuge and approved $29 billion for hurricane relief during an
all-night session bringing their legislative year to a close. The
budget package included $454.3 billion for defense.
(AP, 12/19/05)(WSJ, 12/19/05, p.A1)
2005 Dec 19, US federal
authorities fined Dutch bank ABN Amro Holding NV $80 million for
violating US money-laundering laws and sanctions against Iran and
Libya. Nearly a decade of violations involved billions in
transactions passing through bank offices in NY and Dubai, UAR.
(WSJ, 12/20/05, p.A3)
2005 Dec 19, US Federal
prosecutors said MSC Ship Management of Hong Kong had agreed to pay
$10.5 million to settle a pollution case.
(WSJ, 12/20/05, p.A1)
2005 Dec 19, Southern
California running back Reggie Bush was named The Associated Press
Player of the Year.
2005 Dec 19, Energy supplier
FPL Group Inc. announced it is buying rival power-plant operator
Constellation Energy Group Inc. for more than $11 billion in stock
in a deal that would create one of the nation's biggest electricity
2005 Dec 19, The US energy
Dept. reported that greenhouse-gas emissions grew 2% over the past
year, well off the pace to hit Kyoto targets.
(WSJ, 12/20/05, p.A1)
2005 Dec 19, In Florida a
58-year-old propeller seaplane, owned by Chalk’s Ocean Airways,
crashed in the water off Miami Beach after taking off for Bimini in
the Bahamas. 20 people were killed. Federal investigators found
longstanding cracks in a wing that fell off.
(AP, 12/20/05)(SFC, 12/20/05, p.A4)(WSJ,
2005 Dec 19, Vincent “The Chin"
Gigante, Mafia king, died at the federal prison in Springfield,
Missouri. He was serving a 12 year sentence following a 1997
conviction for racketeering.
(SFC, 12/20/05, p.B7)
2005 Dec 19, Afghanistan
inaugurated its first popularly elected parliament in more than
three decades, a major step toward democracy following the ouster of
the hardline Taliban.
2005 Dec 19, In Bolivia Evo
Morales, candidate for the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS), won the
presidential elections, a victory that would solidify the
continent's shift toward the political left.
(AP, 12/19/05)(Econ, 5/20/06, p.42)
2005 Dec 19, Chad's army said
its forces had killed about 300 rebels after they launched a failed
offensive on a border town in one of the worst attacks in an
escalating conflict. Chad's foreign minister said the troops then
chased the rebels into Sudan and destroyed their bases across the
2005 Dec 19, A World Bank fund
signed deals to buy pollution credits from two Chinese chemical
companies for $930 million under a plan that lets richer countries
meet commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions by paying for
reductions in poorer economies.
2005 Dec 19, The International
Court of Justice held Uganda responsible for the killing, torture
and cruel treatment of civilians in Congo from August 1998 to July
1999 and ordered reparations. Fighting in the region raged for three
more years and the armies withdrew only in June 2003, despite the
court's order in July 2000 to halt operations and safeguard
2005 Dec 19, In Germany
Ladislav Niznansky (88), a former Nazi commander, was acquitted of
murder in three massacres in Slovakia after a court said there was
no reliable evidence he was involved in the killings. Niznansky, a
former Slovak army captain who at first supported the 1944 revolt,
changed sides after he was captured and took charge of the Slovak
section of a Nazi unit, code-named Edelweiss, that hunted resistance
fighters and Jews. He was convicted of the massacres and sentenced
to death in absentia by Czechoslovakia in 1962.
2005 Dec 19, In Iraq about 24
top former officials in Saddam Hussein's regime, including a
biological weapons expert known as "Dr. Germ," have been released
from jail. A militant group released a video of the purported
killing of American adviser Ronald Allen Schulz. His body and that
of a woman believed to be his Iraqi fiancee were found by the US
military in a grave in September 2008. A suicide car bomb exploded
outside a children's hospital in western Baghdad, killing at least
two civilians and wounding 11, including seven policemen.
(AP, 12/19/05)(AP, 5/23/09)
2005 Dec 19, Violent
demonstrations broke out across Iraq and the oil minister threatened
to resign after the government raised the prices of gasoline and
cooking fuel by up to 9 times.
2005 Dec 19, The US military
said 5 soldiers from an elite U.S. Army unit have been sentenced to
up to six months confinement in cases concerning the abuse of
detainees in Iraq.
2005 Dec 19, The United
Kingdom's first gay couple to win legal recognition under a new
civil partnership law drove past protesters to make their vows
inside Belfast City Hall.
2005 Dec 19, Israel's battered
Likud Party chose Benjamin Netanyahu to run against Ariel Sharon in
March elections, and the former Israeli prime minister pledged to
bring the party back to power.
2005 Dec 19, Antonio Fazio,
embattled Italian central bank chief, resigned.
2005 Dec 19, Japan’s Honda
Motor Co. said it plans to start mass-producing solar cells in 2007,
eyeing growing demand for environmentally friendly energy sources.
2005 Dec 19, Lebanon closed a
military route that crossed its border into Syria, ending nearly 3
decades of unmonitored flow of high-ranking officials and goods
between the two countries.
2005 Dec 19, Fernando Zevallos,
an airline founder who was labeled Peru's drug kingpin by the Bush
administration, was convicted of money laundering and cocaine
trafficking and sentenced to 20 years in prison. The court also
ordered him to pay a fine of $29 million for conspiring with Peru's
Nortenos drug gang to ship 3.3 tons of cocaine to Mexico.
2005 Dec 19, Spanish police
arrested 15 people on suspicion of recruiting and indoctrinating
fighters for Iraq's insurgency.
2005 Dec 19, In Sudan some 500
camel and horse-riding assailants killed 20 civilians and burned
their huts in West Darfur.
2005 Dec 19, In Vietnam Trinh
Huu (53), an Australian of Vietnamese origin, was convicted and
sentenced to death by firing squad for trafficking heroin.
2006 Dec 19, Pres. Bush said he
plans to expand the overall size of the US military.
(SFC, 12/19/06, p.A1)
2006 Dec 19, US and North
Korean financial experts met over Washington's campaign to isolate
the communist country from the international banking system, the key
stumbling block in negotiations over Pyongyang's nuclear program.
2006 Dec 19, Maryland suspended
executions after a state appeals court ruled that lethal injection
procedures didn’t get a proper hearing.
(WSJ, 12/20/06, p.A1)
2006 Dec 19, Harrah’s
Entertainment, the world’s largest casino company, accepted a $17.1
billion offer from Apollo Management LP and Texas Pacific Group. It
was the 4th largest private equity buyout to date.
(SFC, 12/19/06, p.B2)
2006 Dec 19, In Afghanistan
Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Osmani, a top Taliban military commander
described as a close associate of Osama bin Laden and Taliban leader
Mullah Omar was killed, in an airstrike close to the border with
Pakistan. Qari Yousef Ahmadi, a purported Taliban spokesman, denied
that Osmani had been killed, saying the airstrike instead killed
Mullah Abdul Zahir, a group commander, and three other Taliban
2006 Dec 19, Stephen Tame (29)
from Suffolk, England, was awarded more than 3 million pounds in
damages. The devout Christian said an accident at work boosted his
libido and wrecked his marriage as he turned to prostitutes and
2006 Dec 19, In eastern England
a 48-year-old man, who reportedly lives in the red-light district of
Ipswich, was arrested as the 2nd suspect in the recent deaths of
2006 Dec 19, Salvatore Mancuso,
one of Colombia's most feared paramilitary warlords, testified
before a special tribunal. His confession was meant to sharply
reduce his jail time for hundreds of murders and forcing tens of
thousands from their land during a decade-long reign of terror.
2006 Dec 19, Tens of thousands
of Indian tribal people, many carrying bows and arrows, gathered in
the impoverished central state of Chhattisgarh to protest against
Maoist rebel violence. Millions of poor tribal people living in
India's remote forests for generations will receive ownership rights
under a new bill approved by Parliament.
2006 Dec 19, In Indonesia's
Central Java province 10 people, mostly teenagers, were killed and
dozens injured in a stampede at a packed music concert.
2006 Dec 19, Iraqi authorities
executed 13 men by hanging after they were convicted of murder and
kidnapping, lining them up in hoods and green jumpsuits with their
hands bound behind their backs. Gunmen in military uniforms robbed
government accountants as they left a Baghdad bank with bags of cash
in the second such theft in a week. Roadside bombs killed at least
two civilians in the capital. Gunmen in Baghdad killed Mitashar
al-Sudani (60), a veteran Iraqi actor and comedian. He was known for
his stage portrayal of the lighter side of life in Baghdad during
Ottoman rule in the early 1900s.
(AP, 12/19/06)(AP, 12/20/06)
2006 Dec 19, An official report
into Ireland's biggest political scandal said former PM Charles
Haughey received more than $15 million in secret payments and lied
about his knowledge of the funds.
2006 Dec 19, Israeli Prime
Minister Ehud Olmert made a surprise visit to Jordan for talks with
King Abdullah II on ways to revive Mideast peacemaking. A wanted
Palestinian militant was killed and two others were arrested by
Israeli forces in the West Bank city of Nablus. Gunbattles raged in
the streets of Gaza City between the Hamas and Fatah movements,
killing at least four people in factional fighting that shredded a
shaky truce. At least 18 people were wounded, including five
children caught in the crossfire.
2006 Dec 19, Kyrgyzstan’s
President Kurmanbek Bakiyev accepted the resignation of the
government due to a dispute with parliament, adding new tension to
the troubled politics of a country of strategic interest to both
Russia and the United States.
2006 Dec 19, A Libya court
convicted five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor of
deliberately infecting 400 children with HIV and sentenced them to
death, despite scientific evidence the youngsters had the virus
before the medical workers came to Libya. The verdict, which will be
automatically referred to Libya's Supreme Court, drew quick
condemnation from European nations. The six later had their death
sentences commuted, and were transferred to Bulgaria, where they
were pardoned and set free.
(AP, 12/19/06)(AP, 12/19/07)
2006 Dec 19, Officials said
thousands of soldiers sent to seize control of one of Mexico's top
drug-producing regions have discovered widespread cultivation of a
hybrid marijuana plant that is easy to grow and difficult to kill.
2006 Dec 19, Nigeria's former
military ruler General Muhammadu Buhari emerged as the presidential
candidate of one of the country's main opposition parties, All
Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP).
2006 Dec 19, In southwestern
Pakistan a former anti-government tribal chief was killed and six
other men were wounded in a land mine explosion.
2006 Dec 19, The UN evacuated
71 aid workers from the largest refugee camp in Darfur after gunmen
looted their compounds, leaving some 130,000 refugees virtually
without humanitarian help.
2006 Dec 19, Syrian President
Bashar al-Assad said he was ready for dialogue with the United
States but warned Washington against giving Damascus orders.
2006 Dec 19, Thailand’s stock
market experienced a record decline as the government moved to clamp
down on foreign investment. Thailand’s SET index lost 15% of its
value. By the end of the day the government partially lifted its
(WSJ, 12/20/06, p.C1)(SFC, 12/21/06, p.C3)(Econ,
2006 Dec 19, A Turkish court
acquitted Ipek Calislar, a writer of insulting the country's
founder, amid calls from the EU to change repressive laws curbing
freedom of expression. The book was the first comprehensive
biography of Latife Ussaki, who was married to Ataturk for about two
years until he divorced her in 1925.
2006 Dec 19, Dr. Peter Piot,
the head of the UN anti-AIDS agency, said AIDS-stricken Southern
African nations should develop a policy of mass male circumcision to
fight the disease.
2007 Dec 19, Pres. Bush signed
a bill calling for an increase in auto-fuel efficiency, the first in
(WSJ, 12/19/07, p.A1)
2007 Dec 19, The United States
government rejected a request by California for it to be allowed to
introduce tough new vehicle emissions standards, dealing a blow to
the state's hopes of slashing greenhouse gas levels over the next
2007 Dec 19, Time magazine
named Russian President Vladimir Putin its 2007 "Person of the
2007 Dec 19, US researchers
said a highly sensitive microchip may help doctors detect rare
traces of cancer circulating in the bloodstream, offering a way to
better manage treatment.
2007 Dec 19, Lance Cpl. Maria
Frances Lauterbach (20) disappeared, just days after meeting with
military prosecutors to talk about her allegation that Marine Cpl.
Cesar Armando Laurean (21) raped her. Her cell phone was found Dec.
20 near the main gate at Camp Lejeune, NC. On Jan 11 her burned
remains were found in the backyard of Laurean’s home as a nationwide
search for Laurean continued. In 2010 a jury found Laurean guilty of
first degree murder and sentenced him to life in prison.
(AP, 1/12/08)(SFC, 1/12/08, p.A4)(SFC, 8/24/10,
2007 Dec 19, Leaders of
Belgium's feuding Dutch- and French-speaking parties agreed to form
an interim government to run the country in the short term, while a
more permanent solution to the political crisis is sought.
2007 Dec 19, In Chile a retired
general and two former sergeants were fined and sentenced to 10
years in prison for killing a leftist couple shortly after Chile's
1973 military coup. The Santiago Court of Appeals said in a
communique that Gen. Fernando Polanco and Sgts. Luis Fernandez and
Hector Vallejos, all retired, were ordered to pay $600,000 to the
son of the slain couple, Ernesto Lejderman.
2007 Dec 19, In Tianjin, China,
Li Baojin was convicted of taking bribes worth $760,000 from 7
businesses between 1996 and 2006. Li was also convicted of
misappropriating $1.9 million from the Tianjin prosecutor's office.
Li's sentence was suspended for two years. That means his death
sentence will be commuted to life imprisonment if he shows good
behavior for the next two years.
2007 Dec 19, Donors pledged
millions of dollars at a conference in Spain to help Guinea Bissau,
which a top UN official called "under siege" by drug cartels who
might even sway the country's future polls.
2007 Dec 19, In southern
Pakistan an express train crowded with holiday travelers derailed,
killing 40 people and leaving hundreds of terrified survivors to
claw their way out of the wreckage in total darkness. A trailer
truck hit a rickshaw crowded with children going to school in
eastern Pakistan, leaving 14 people dead.
(AP, 12/19/07)(AP, 12/20/07)
2007 Dec 19, A Hamas official
confirmed that Gaza's embattled Hamas leaders are seeking a
cease-fire after months of Israeli attacks and sanctions, going so
far as to make an unprecedented appeal through the Israeli media.
2007 Dec 19, In South Korea
former Hyundai CEO Lee Myung-bak (66) claimed victory in
presidential election as voters overlooked fraud allegations to give
him a landslide win on hopes he will revive the economy. This was
also Myung-bak’s birthday and 37th wedding anniversary.
(AP, 12/19/07)(Econ, 12/15/07, p.49)
2007 Dec 19, The Sri Lanka
military said soldiers killed four separatist Tamil Tiger rebels in
two separate clashes.
2007 Dec 19, Uganda's military
said it had shot dead two Congolese soldiers on the volatile border
between the two countries, after they tried to resist being arrested
on suspicion of raping two teenage girls.
2008 Dec 19, Citing danger to
the national economy, the Bush administration approved an emergency
bailout of the US auto industry, offering $17.4 billion in rescue
loans in exchange for deep concessions from the desperately troubled
carmakers and their workers.
2008 Dec 19, IRS agents
arrested Ausaf Umar Siddiqui (42), vice president of Frye’s
Electronics in San Jose, Ca., for gambling with millions in stolen
money. Since 2005 he had collected over $65 million in kickbacks
from five vendors. In 2011 Siddiqui pleaded guilty to wire fraud and
money laundering. 7 other felony counts were dropped in exchange.
(SFC, 12/24/08, p.A1)(SFC, 9/14/11, p.C3)
2008 Dec 19, California’s Gov.
Schwarzenegger ordered layoffs and mandatory unpaid time off for
(SFC, 12/20/08, p.B1)
2008 Dec 19, Florida’s prison
population topped 100,000, making it the 3rd state to break into six
digits after California and Texas.
(WSJ, 12/20/08, p.A1)
2008 Dec 19, In Atlanta,
Georgia, one worker died and at least 18 others were injured when a
walkway being built collapsed at the Atlanta Botanical Garden.
(SFC, 12/20/08, p.A2)
2008 Dec 19, Three Danish
soldiers and one from the Netherlands were killed in separate
incidents in Afghanistan, losing their lives just as the commitment
of some countries to the fight in Afghanistan begins to wane.
2008 Dec 19, Bahraini security
troops fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse thousands of
protesters demanding Arab governments take action to end the closure
of the Gaza Strip.
2008 Dec 19, The lower chamber
of Czech parliament failed to extend a mandate for the deployment of
the country's troops in Afghanistan, Iraq and other foreign missions
for next year, meaning the soldiers will leave soon.
2008 Dec 19, Egypt's
communications ministry says Internet cables in the Mediterranean
Sea have been cut, causing massive Internet outages.
2008 Dec 19, France’s finance
ministry unveiled a package of financial aid from the EU and others
totaling $10.7 billion to help Latvia.
(WSJ, 12/20/08, p.A8)
2008 Dec 19, Masked youths
attacked the French Institute in Athens with firebombs Friday, while
Greek union members and university professors geared up for new
anti-government rallies outside Parliament.
2008 Dec 19, In Lebanon
thousands of Hezbollah supporters protested the Israeli blockade on
the Gaza Strip.
2008 Dec 19, In Mexico 3 gunmen
were killed following a shootout with army troops in the southern
state of Guerrero.
2008 Dec 19, In northern Mexico
a small plane carrying government officials and television reporters
crashed in northern Mexico and all five people on board are in
serious condition. The plane was carrying state water commission
chief Rafael Reyes, his assistant and two TV Azteca reporters. They
were hospitalized along with the pilot.
2008 Dec 19, In Nigeria's Niger
Delta gunmen in speedboats attacked three oil services ships and
kidnapped at least two Russians in separate incidents. The pair
escaped on foot from a militant camp on Feb 15 and were found by
naval personnel on patrol on Feb 19.
(AP, 12/20/08)(AP, 2/19/09)
2008 Dec 19, Militants in
Pakistan launched rockets at two trucks returning from delivering
fuel to US-led forces in Afghanistan, killing three people along a
critical and increasingly dangerous supply route. 3 people died in
Rawalpindi when a building collapsed after it was ravaged by a fire
for several hours.
2008 Dec 19, Federal agents in
Puerto Rico arrested three island police officers accused of
providing security for drug traffickers.
2008 Dec 19, Russia’s PM
Vladimir Putin said that new tariffs were designed to prop up demand
for Russian-made cars and secure jobs in the ailing Russian auto
industry. The tariff hike would send prices for used foreign-made
cars up 50 percent, while prices for new foreign-made cars could
jump up to 15 percent.
2008 Dec 19, South Korea Friday
completed its troop pullout from Iraq, ending a four-year mission to
help reconstruct the war-torn nation.
2008 Dec 19, Sri Lankan fighter
jets and attack helicopters bombed rebel bunkers and a flotilla of
boats in the northern war zone Friday as government troops breached
another section of the Tamil Tigers defense fortifications.
2008 Dec 19, St. Kitts and
Nevis, staged its first hanging in a decade. Charles Elroy Laplace,
condemned in 2006 for killing his wife in a knife attack, was hanged
as a small crowd held a vigil outside the brick prison walls in
2008 Dec 19, President Robert
Mugabe declared that "Zimbabwe is mine" and vowed never to surrender
to calls to step down, as his political rival threatened to quit
stalled unity government talks.
2008 Dec 19, Mediators said
Yemeni kidnappers have released their three German hostages after
the Yemeni government agreed to meet some of their conditions,
including paying a ransom and releasing some tribesmen from prison.
2009 Dec 19, Sen. Ben Nelson of
Nebraska agreed to provide the 60th and deciding vote for sweeping
health care legislation in the Senate, capping a year of struggle
and a final burst of deadline bargaining on President Barack Obama's
top domestic priority.
2009 Dec 19, Afghan President
Hamid Karzai unveiled his choice of cabinet, reflecting a need to
please all his backers from warlords to Washington and commit to
clean government. Out of the 23 nominations, only one woman was put
forward, to head the Ministry for Women's Affairs.
(AFP, 12/19/09)(AP, 12/20/09)
2009 Dec 19, Four passenger
trains broke down in the Channel Tunnel between Britain and France,
stranding more than 2,000 passengers for hours, many without
heating, light or water. Fatigued passengers arrived in London 10
hours late after a long night trapped on trains. The problem began
because of the abrupt temperature change when trains traveled
through extremely cold air in France and then entered the warm
2009 Dec 19, Cambodia sent back
to China 20 Uighur Muslims who had fled China after deadly ethnic
rioting and sought asylum in Cambodia, even though rights groups
feared they faced persecution and possibly execution there. 2 other
Uighurs who had been with the group were missing.
2009 Dec 19, In Denmark the
13-day UN climate conference ended. It narrowly escaped collapse by
agreeing to recognize a political accord brokered by President
Barack Obama with China and other emerging powers. A plan to protect
the world's biologically rich tropical forests was shelved after
world leaders failed to agree on a binding deal to reduce greenhouse
gas emissions. A small group of nations blocked the Copenhagen
Accord, because it lacks specific targets for reducing carbon
emissions. After a break, the conference president gaveled the
decision to "take note" of the agreement instead of formally
approving it. Experts said that clears the way for the accord to
become operational in practice even though it has not been formally
approved by the conference. Several developing countries, including
Bolivia, Cuba, Sudan and Venezuela, bitterly protested the deal and
said it is unacceptable because it lacks specific targets for
reducing carbon emissions.
(AP, 12/19/09)(SSFC, 12/20/09, p.A1)
2009 Dec 19, The European Union
opened its borders unrestricted to more than ten million Serbs,
Montenegrins and Macedonians after nearly 20 years, a major boost
for the troubled region's hopes for closer ties with the 27-nation
2009 Dec 19, In Georgia a woman
and her 8-year-old daughter were killed when a World War II memorial
was intentionally blown up in Kutaisi. The 46-meter (150-foot)
concrete and bronze war memorial stood on the proposed site for a
new parliament building.
2009 Dec 19, Hundreds of
supporters of a slain Papuan rebel leader Kelly Kwalik pelted
Indonesian police with stones as tensions flared ahead of the
2009 Dec 19, Iran's hard-line
judiciary acknowledged for the first time that at least 3 prisoners
detained after June's disputed presidential election were beaten to
death by their jailers. The judiciary said 12 officials at Kahrizak
prison were charged, three of them with murder.
2009 Dec 19, An Iraqi official
said a mass grave discovered in northeast Iraq contains dozens of
bodies, mostly of women and children, believed killed during a
crackdown against Kurds by former dictator Saddam Hussein. The grave
was originally found nearly two years ago west of Kirkuk, though its
discovery was only made public this week after forensic pathologists
began examining it.
2009 Dec 19, Iraqi troops
massed near an oil well on the border in a standoff with Iranian
forces that seized control of the site in a sudden flare up of
tension between the two uneasy neighbors.
2009 Dec 19-2009 Dec 20, In
Israel parts of a 2000 interview were broadcast on Channel 2 TV over
the weekend describing how forensic pathologists in the 1990s
harvested organs from dead bodies, including Palestinians, without
permission of their families. The Israeli military confirmed that
the practice took place and said it had stopped in 2000.
2009 Dec 19, Lebanon's PM Saad
Hariri, who has blamed neighboring Syria for the assassination of
his father, visited Damascus for the first time since the 2005
killing, a trip that a close associate said was extremely difficult
for him to make.
2009 Dec 19, In eastern
Mauritania an Italian, Sergio Cicala and his wife, Philopene Kabore,
were missing and their car was found abandoned, near the border with
Mali. On Dec 21 police arrested Abderrahmane Ould Imidou, a man
presumed to have kidnapped the two Italians.
(Reuters, 12/19/09)(AP, 12/22/09)
2009 Dec 19, Mexican
authorities announced that Salomon Tagle, a suspect in the
high-profile 2005 kidnapping of businessman Hugo Alberto Wallace,
has been taken into custody in Mexico. Tagle was expelled from the
Dominican Republic flown to Mexico, where he was taken into custody
on kidnapping charges. Wallace’s mother, Maria Isabel Miranda,
frustrated with investigators' lack of progress in her son's case,
had launched her own probe and a public campaign to press for
2009 Dec 19, Nigerian militants
said they had carried out their first attack on an oil pipeline
since an amnesty offer because the absence of Pres. Yar'Adua was
delaying peace talks. A truck carrying bags of cement crushed and
killed at least 55 people when the driver lost control and ran into
a crowd on a road in Dekina, in central Kogi state.
(Reuters, 12/19/09)(AFP, 12/20/09)
2009 Dec 19, A 6.4-magnitude
quake was centered off the eastern coast of Taiwan. 14 people were
injured and with minor damage in Taipei as well as near the
2010 Dec 19, In northern
Afghanistan troops shot dead rebels at an army recruitment center in
Kunduz to end a day-long siege following 2 attacks by militants that
killed at least 13 security personnel. In Kabul two suicide bombers
targeted an army bus, killing five military personal. One civilian
was killed and four children were wounded when their vehicle was
struck by a roadside bomb in Panjwayi district, in Kandahar
2010 Dec 19, Belarus held
elections. Authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko expressed
confidence that he would win a fourth term. Opposition leaders and
rights activists reported that more than 30 people campaigning
against the president had been detained. The country's election
commission declared that Lukashenko got almost 80% of the vote in a
preliminary count, handing him a fourth term in office.
(AP, 12/19/10)(AP, 12/20/10)
2010 Dec 19, A Dubai court
sentenced Mark Arnold (42), a Briton, charged with killing Kelly
Winter, his South African ex-lover, to life in prison. Winter (36)
disappeared in August 2008 following a quarrel with Arnold.
Prosecutors charged him with clubbing her to death with a baseball
bat and dumping her body with weights in the sea. Her body was never
found. Life in prison equals 25 years in the United Arab Emirates.
2010 Dec 19, Europe saw little
respite from the Arctic conditions that have closed airports and
disrupted travel on the weekend before Christmas.
2010 Dec 19, The Guatemalan
military declared a state of siege in a northern province that
authorities say has been overtaken by Mexican drug traffickers.
2010 Dec 19, Iran levied up to
a five-fold hike in fuel prices as the government started scrapping
subsidies as part of a long-awaited economic overhaul, despite
initial resistance by conservatives. Thousands of truck drivers
nationwide stopped working because they were not allowed to increase
(AFP, 12/19/10)(SFC, 12/25/10, p.A5)
2010 Dec 19, Israel's cabinet
decided to limit stipends paid to full-time ultra-Orthodox Jewish
seminary students after the payments sparked widespread protests
among university students.
2010 Dec 19, Ivory Coast state
television left no doubt who's in control of the media: Laurent
Gbagbo was shown taking the oath of office with no mention that the
United Nations says he lost the presidential election and should
step down. The UN warned against attacks on its personnel in Ivory
Coast and said it would stay.
2010 Dec 19, In Mexico a
massive oil pipeline explosion lay waste to parts of in San Martin
Texmelucan, incinerating people, cars, houses and trees as gushing
crude turned streets into flaming rivers. At least 29 people were
killed, 14 of them children. Authorities blamed oil thieves after
investigators found a hole in the pipeline and equipment for
extracting crude. On Jan 10 a police officer died of his injuries
bringing the death toll to 30.
(AP, 12/19/10)(AP, 12/22/10)(AP, 1/10/11)
2010 Dec 19, Palestinian
President Mahmoud Abbas hosted dozens of Israeli legislators and
activists, and urged them to relay a simple message to the Israeli
public — he is serious about negotiating a peace deal and that the
Palestinians will never again resort to violence.
2010 Dec 19, In the northern
Philippines a fire rapidly swept through a 5-storey budget hotel in
Tuguegarao burning to death 15 people, several crammed in bathrooms
where they fled in panic. Nine of the victims were nursing students
in town to take a licensing exam. The death toll rose to 16 after
one person died in a hospital
(AP, 12/19/10)(AP, 12/20/10)
2010 Dec 19, In Somalia a
merger was announced between al-Shabab and Hizbul Islam. Analysts
and fighters said the weak, UN-backed government could face an
increase in attacks from Islamist insurgents after the two largest
groups dropped their running feud and merged.
2010 Dec 19, Sudan's President
Omar al-Bashir said the country would adopt an Islamic constitution
if the south split away in a referendum due next month, in a speech
in which he also defended police filmed flogging a woman.
2010 Dec 19, The UN Security
Council held an emergency meeting on rising tensions on the Korean
2011 Dec 19, Fierce winds and
snow that caused fatal road accidents and shuttered highways in
Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Texas and Utah. The storm was blamed
for at least six deaths.
2011 Dec 19, NYC Mayor Michael
R. Bloomberg said Cornell University has chosen by New York City to
build a technology campus on Roosevelt Island with a grant of
city-owned land and $100 million. Charles Feeney of the Duty Free
Shopping Group donated $350 million.
(Econ, 1/7/12, p.26)(http://tinyurl.com/cz9lz8z)
2011 Dec 19, In, Webster,
Pennsylvania, police shot and killed Eli Franklin Myers (58) during
a standoff hours after he killed East Washington officer John David
Dryer during a traffic stop.
(SFC, 12/20/11, p.A8)
2011 Dec 19, Members of an
Australian class action lawsuit, who blame a German pharmaceutical
company's anti-morning sickness drug, Thalidomide, for causing birth
defects, won the right to have their case heard in their own
country. The class action against Grunenthal is open to Australians
born between Jan. 1, 1958, and Dec. 31, 1970, who were injured after
their mothers took thalidomide while pregnant.
2011 Dec 19, Belarus police
arrested dozens of regime opponents who tried to stage a banned
vigil in Minsk. Australian filmmaker Kitty Green (27) was detained
while covering a topless protest outside the offices of the
Belarussian KGB security services to mark Lukashenko's disputed
re-election a year ago. Three members of the radical Femen group
were also seized by KGB security agents who forced them to strip
naked in a forest and threatened to torch them.
2011 Dec 19, In Brazil a
juvenile court judge in the northeastern state of Alagoas sentenced
three priests for sexually abusing minors for years. Monsignor Luiz
Marques Barbosa was sentenced to 21 years in prison, while Monsignor
Raimundo Gomes and priest Edilson Duarte were given 16 years and
four months in prison.
2011 Dec 19, In northern Brazil
say a woman gave birth to conjoined twin boys with one body and two
heads at the Santa Casa de Misericodia Hospital in Belem.
2011 Dec 19, In Denmark the
Copenhagen City Court ruled that Marcel Lychau Hansen had strangled
73-year-old Edith Louise Andrup in 1987 and 40-year-old Lene
Buchardt Rasmussen three years later. The court also found him
guilty of raping three teenagers and a 23-year-old woman in 1995 and
two women in 2005 and 2010, respectively.
2011 Dec 19, Egyptian soldiers
in riot gear swept through Cairo's Tahrir Square and opened fire on
protesters demanding an immediate end to military rule. The Health
Ministry said at least three people were killed, bringing the death
toll for four days of clashes to 14.
2011 Dec 19, Gabon's ruling
party, the Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG), claimed it had won 114
out of parliament's 120 seats in a legislative election largely
boycotted by the opposition but given a clean bill of health by
2011 Dec 19, The Air Berlin
group, Germany's 2nd-largest airline, said United Arab Emirates
airline, Etihad, is to pay 72.9 million euros ($95 million) to
become its biggest shareholder.
2011 Dec 19, Guinean officials
indefinitely postponed legislative elections initially set for
December 29 to meet opposition demands for a role in planning the
polls to prevent fraud.
2011 Dec 19, Iraqi officials
said judges have barred Sunni Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi from
2011 Dec 19, In Kenya a police
officer was killed and two others seriously wounded after a
suspected landmine attack on their patrol vehicle in the northern
Dadaab refugee camp.
2011 Dec 19, Mauritania said it
has signed an agreement with French oil group Total to explore for
oil at sea and to extract any oil discovered.
2011 Dec 19, Mexican
prosecutors announced they have found another clandestine grave
holding 10 bodies in the northern state of Durango, bringing to 14
the number of such burial sites found in the state this year.
Soldiers found the 10 bodies last week in a field on the outskirts
of the state capital. Prosecutors also said two mutilated bodies
were found scattered in the plaza of Pueblo Viejo, Morelos state,
while a boy was killed around the same time in what police say may
have been a related crime. Mexico's tax service announced that
authorities had found 480 drums containing almost 100 metric tons of
precursor chemicals used to make methamphetamines at the Pacific
coast port of Lazaro Cardenas, Michoacan state.
2011 Dec 19, Morocco’s Islamist
al-Adl wal-Ihsane (Justice and Charity) group said they were ending
their role in the weekly protests that have taken place since
February, because the movement had been taken over by elements that
wanted to limit the demands for change.
2011 Dec 19, In Nepal a second
general strike in three days brought much of the country to a halt
as protestors blocked roads and torched cars over the prison killing
of a senior opposition party activist. Shiva Poudel, chairman of a
party youth wing, was critically injured when a group of inmates
attacked him in a prison in the southern district of Chitwan on
December 6 and he died in Kathmandu on Dec 17.
2011 Dec 19, Nigeria launched a
communications satellite into space to replace one that failed in
2008. The satellite was launched from Xichang in southwest China.
2011 Dec 19, Hundreds of
furious Pakistanis blocked off the Islamabad airport highway,
demonstrating against debilitating gas shortages and pelting police
with stones. A second angry crowd torched tires in Islamabad and
twin city Rawalpindi, throwing stones at police and private vehicles
over gas rationing that has left thousands of homes without heat for
hours at a time.
2011 Dec 19, A teenage
Pakistani woman told of her terror as her husband chopped off her
nose and lips in a furious marital row, and threatened to kill
herself unless the police brought him to justice. Salma Bibi (17)
said her husband, Ghulam Qadir (22), subjected her to a beating,
then bound her hands and feet with rope and hacked into her face
with a razor in a remote village in the southwestern province
2011 Dec 19, Peruvian migration
officials gave paroled American Lori Berenson (42) a document, three
days after barring her exit, clearing her to leave the country with
her toddler son to spend the holidays with her family in New York
City. Berenson said she fully intended to return to Peru by the
court-ordered deadline of Jan 11.
2011 Dec 19, In the southern
Philippines the death toll from devastating flash floods rose to 927
and was expected to climb higher as relief workers recovered more
bodies from Mindanao.
2011 Dec 19, Saudi billionaire
Prince Walid bin Talal and his Kingdom Holding Company announced a
combined investment of $300 million in the social networking site
2011 Dec 19, South Sudanese
rebel chief George Athor was killed in a clash with soldiers of the
newly independent nation.
2011 Dec 19, Sudan’s parliament
raised taxes on the Internet, mobile phone calls and other
telecommunications in a bid to help cover lost oil income from South
2011 Dec 19, Sweden’s Saab
Automobile filed for bankruptcy, giving up a desperate struggle to
stay in business after previous owner General Motors Co. blocked
takeover attempts by Chinese investors.
2011 Dec 19, Syria signed an
Arab League initiative that will allow Arab observers into the
country, as part of an effort to end the nation's increasingly
bloody 9-month-old crisis.
2011 Dec 19, Tunisia’s
President Moncef Marzouki said that Tunisia's Jews are full citizens
and those that had left were welcome to return. His comments came
almost two weeks after Israeli deputy PM Silvan Shalom called on the
country's remaining Jews to emigrate to Israel.
2011 Dec 19, A Turkish news
agency reported that security forces may have killed as many as 20
Kurdish separatist rebels in the country's southeast.
2011 Dec 19, The UN General
Assembly approved a resolution denouncing human rights violations in
Iran in an 89-30 vote. There were 64 abstentions.
(SFC, 12/19/11, p.A2)
2011 Dec 19, In Yemen fresh
fighting between suspected Al-Qaeda militants and army troops in
Abyan province killed 4 soldiers and 16 al-Qaida-linked militants.
2012 Dec 19, Pres. Obama said
Vice President Joe Biden will lead an effort to craft policies to
reduce gun violence. Obama laid out a plan to reduce gun violence
amid calls for action after the massacre of 26 people including 20
children in a Connecticut elementary school.
2012 Dec 19, Four US State
Department officials resigned under pressure, less than a day after
a damning report blamed management failures for a lack of security
at the US diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.
2012 Dec 19, In Las Vegas
Olivia Culpo (20), a student at Boston University, became the new
Miss Universe, defeating dozens of contestants from six continents.
An American had not won the Miss Universe title since Brook Lee won
2012 Dec 19, A new Gallup poll
said seven of the world’s 10 countries with the most upbeat
attitudes are in Latin America with Panama and Paraguay at the top.
The people least likely to report positive emotions lived in
(SFC, 12/20/12, p.A2)
2012 Dec 19, Argentina's
cash-strapped state energy company signed a partnership deal with
Chevron Corp. for a "massive development" of the South American
country's vast nonconventional oil and gas resources.
2012 Dec 19, Bolivian
authorities ordered the arrest of magistrate Ariel Rocha in a
widening scandal triggered by American Jacob Ostreicher’s report of
being fleeced and extorted by corrupt prosecutors.
(SFC, 12/20/12, p.A2)
2012 Dec 19, The Bank of
England said that new governor Mark Carney, currently governor of
the Bank of Canada, will receive a 250,000 pound a year housing
allowance in addition to his 624,000 pound salary.
2012 Dec 19, British oil
company BP said it is selling its stake in a South China Sea gas
field to Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company for $308
million in cash.
2012 Dec 19, The
British-appointed governor of the Cayman Islands named Julianna
O’Connor as the territory’s new premier.
(SFC, 12/20/12, p.A2)
2012 Dec 19, The Cook Islands
designated a 756,000 square mile shark sanctuary.
(SFC, 12/19/12, p.A5)
2012 Dec 19, Ecuador's Central
Bank President Pedro Delgado resigned after acknowledging that he
presented a fake academic degree 22 years ago, a scandal that
prompted the country's leader to call for him to face justice.
Delgado, who is a cousin of Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa,
apologized to the nation.
2012 Dec 19, Former German
Defense Minister Peter Struck (69), a vehement opponent of the 2003
US-led invasion of Iraq, died following a heart attack.
2012 Dec 19, In Iraq the Sunni
chief of Finance Minister Rafia al-Issawi's protection force was
arrested on the strength of confessions made by some suspects. The
chief reportedly confessed that he took part in terrorist attacks. 9
other bodyguards of al-Issawi were arrested and under investigation.
The next day Al-Issawi angrily denounced the arrests.
2012 Dec 19, A Jerusalem
municipal official said Israel is pressing forward with construction
in a new east Jerusalem settlement, part of a series of new building
plans that have drawn worldwide rebuke, including from its closest
ally, the United States.
2012 Dec 19, In Israel Amnon
Lipkin-Shahak (68), a former Israeli military chief who later became
a Cabinet minister, died after a long battle with cancer. He oversaw
a 16-day military campaign, codenamed "Grapes of Wrath," against
Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon in 1996.
2012 Dec 19, In Kazakhstan a
Soyuz spacecraft carrying an American, a Russian and a Canadian
lifted off for the Int’l. Space Station for a 2-day journey and
(SFC, 12/20/12, p.A2)
2012 Dec 19, In northern
Nigeria more than 30 assailants stormed a house, killing two people
and kidnapping French engineer Francis Collomp in the town of Rimi,
Katsina state. On Nov 17, 2013, Collomp was reported freed.
(AP, 12/20/12)(Reuters, 11/17/13)
2012 Dec 19, Norwegian energy
company Statoil ASA said it has bought 70,000 acres of land rich in
gas and liquid gas in West Virginia and Ohio.
2012 Dec 19, In Pakistan gunmen
shot dead a woman working on UN backed polio vaccination efforts and
her driver in the northwestern town of Charsadda. Earlier in the day
gunmen shot a polio worker in the head in the city of Peshawar,
wounding him critically. The recent killings prompted the UN's
public health arm to suspend work on the vaccination drive in two of
Pakistan's four provinces.
2012 Dec 19, Senegal's national
assembly adopted a much-anticipated law, which creates a special
tribunal to try ex-Chadian dictator Hissene Habre. This was the
first step in ending 22 years of impunity that began when the
deposed former president fled to Senegal, leaving behind a country
strewn with mass graves.
2012 Dec 19, South Africa said
at least 633 rhinoceros have been killed this year alone as a
poaching epidemic continues to threaten the animals.
2012 Dec 19, Ruling-party
candidate Park Geun-hye (Bahk guhn-hae) was elected South Korean
president, becoming the country's first female leader despite her
past as the daughter of a divisive dictator.
2012 Dec 19, Switzerland's UBS
AG agreed to pay some $1.5 billion in fines to international
regulators following a probe into the rigging of a key global
2012 Dec 19, Syrian state media
said government forces are carrying out a broad offensive against
rebels in the suburbs of Damascus, as the UN appealed for a billion
dollars to support rising numbers of Syrian refugees.
2012 Dec 19, Yemen Pres. Abed
Rabu Mansour Hadi ordered a shakeup of the country’s Defense
Ministry, removing the powerful son, relatives and aides of ousted
leader Ali Abdullah Saleh.
(SFC, 12/20/12, p.A2)
2013 Dec 19, The California
Public Utilities Commission fined Pacific Gas & Electric more
than $14 million for the utility’s “delay and obfuscation" in
revealing that its records for a natural gas pipeline in San Carlos
failed to show potentially risky welds.
(SFC, 12/20/13, p.A1)
2013 Dec 19, In San Francisco
nudism activist Gypsy Taub (44) married Jaymz Smith (20) and both
promptly went naked in front of City Hall.
(SFC, 12/20/13, p.D1)
2013 Dec 19, In Fresno, Ca.,
four teenage boys shot and injured teacher Steven Guerrero after he
fought back during an attempted robbery at Edison High School. Four
Norteno gang members, ages 16-17, were soon arrested.
(SSFC, 12/22/13, p.A9)(SFC, 12/26/13, p.A8)
2013 Dec 19, In New Jersey a
Chinese citizen, the admitted ringleader of an international
smuggling operation that trafficked in $4.5 million worth of
rhinoceros horns, ivory cups and trinkets, pleaded guilty in federal
2013 Dec 19, New Mexico’s
Supreme Court legalized gay marriages in the state.
(Econ, 1/4/14, p.21)
2013 Dec 19, The NYC Council
voted to ban electronic cigarettes in indoor public places.
(SFC, 12/21/13, p.A6)
2013 Dec 19, Al Goldstein (77),
the publisher of Screw magazine, died at a Brooklyn hospice. He and
Jim Buckley co-founded the magazine in 1968 and it continued to
(SFC, 12/20/13, p.D9)
2013 Dec 19, Former NBA star
Dennis Rodman arrived in North Korea to help train the national team
and renew his friendship with the North's young leader, Kim Jong Un.
2013 Dec 19, A jury at London's
Old Bailey criminal court decided unanimously that Michael Adebolajo
(29) and Michael Adebowale (22) were guilty of murdering Lee Rigby
(25), an Afghan war veteran, on May 22 but not guilty of the
attempted murder of a police officer.
2013 Dec 19, Hunks of plaster
and dust rained down on a packed audience when the ceiling of
London’s Apollo Theater partially collapsed. More than 75 people
were injured — seven seriously.
(AP, 12/20/13)(SFC, 12/20/13, p.A5)
2013 Dec 19, Cuba announced it
will allow unrestricted car imports for the first time in half a
century, marking the end of an era that made icons of the island's
vintage automobiles. Cubans soon found that imported cars were
priced far beyond what an average salary could afford.
(AFP, 12/19/13)(Econ, 1/11/14, p.30)
2013 Dec 19, Danish lawmakers
approved sending a cargo ship and a warship to pick up Syria's most
dangerous chemical weapons.
2013 Dec 19, An Egyptian court
acquitted former leader Hosni Mubarak's two sons and his last prime
minister, Ahmed Shafik, of corruption charges.
2013 Dec 19, The European Space
Agency launched its star-surveying satellite Gaia into space, hoping
to produce the most accurate three-dimensional map of the Milky Way
and to better understand the evolution of our galaxy.
2013 Dec 19, German media and
officials in Berlin said about 200 cars stolen in Germany have been
tracked down in Tajikistan, where most are now driven by family and
friends of President Emomali Rakhmon.
2013 Dec 19, Honduras President
Porfirio Lobo fired Gen. Juan Carlos Bonilla, the national police
chief, who has long faced accusations he ran death squads when he
was a lower-level officer and whose force has been hit with frequent
2013 Dec 19, In Iraq suicide
bombings targeting Shiite pilgrims around Baghdad on their way to
Karbala and other violence across the country killed at least 36
(AP, 12/19/13)(AFP, 12/20/13)
2013 Dec 19, Iraq received 75
Hellfire air-to-ground missiles from the US to help combat
operations against the country’s branch of al-Qaida.
(SFC, 12/26/13, p.A2)
2013 Dec 19, The Israeli
military killed a Palestinian gunman during an arrest raid in the
2013 Dec 19, The Tokyo governor
who helped his city secure the 2020 Olympics resigned after
revelations that he received 50 million yen ($480,200) from a
2013 Dec 19, In Mexico Gen.
Jesus Gutierrez Rebollo (79), a drug czar disgraced by his arrest
and conviction for aiding a powerful drug cartel, died after a long
bout of prostate cancer.
2013 Dec 19, Russia’s President
Vladimir Putin said he will pardon jailed oil tycoon Mikhail
Khodorkovsky. The move, along with an amnesty for the two jailed
members of the Pussy Riot punk band and the 30-member crew of a
Greenpeace ship, appears designed to assuage international criticism
of Russia's rights record ahead of February's Winter Olympics in
2013 Dec 19, Saudi Arabia’s
Al-Hayat newspaper reported that a Saudi court has jailed a man for
15 years after convicting him of recruiting 14 nationals to join
Al-Qaeda's affiliate in neighbouring Yemen.
2013 Dec 19, South Africa's
government dismissed criticisms that a $21 million state-funded
security upgrade of Pres. Jacob Zuma's private home was extravagant.
The upgrades included a swimming pool, chicken coop and cattle pen.
2013 Dec 19, South Africa’s
environmental ministry said the country has lost nearly 1,000 rhinos
this year in a poaching surge to feed the black-market demand for
2013 Dec 19, South Sudan said
that the government no longer controls Bor, the capital of Jonglei,
its largest and most populous state. Two UN peacekeepers from India
were killed and a third wounded when a UN base was overrun by armed
youths in Jonglei State. Two dozen Dinka officials were killed
during the attack in Akobo.
(AP, 12/19/13)(AP, 12/20/13)(Reuters,
12/20/13)(Econ, 1/4/14, p.36)
2013 Dec 19, Spanish police
searched the headquarters of the ruling People's Party (PP) for 14
hours as part of a corruption investigation that earlier this year
threatened to destabilize the government of PM Rajoy.
2013 Dec 19, Amnesty Int’l.
accused an al-Qaida-linked rebel group that controls large parts of
northern Syria of running secret prisons in which torture and
summary killings are common.
2013 Dec 19, The last Sudanese
prisoners to be released from US detention at Guantanamo Bay arrived
home, as US President Barack Obama tried to speed up repatriations
and close the controversial facility. Mohammed Noor Uthman (51) and
Ibrahim Othman Ibrahim Idris (52) were both considered by the US
military to be members of Al-Qaeda.
2013 Dec 19, Togo freed two
Indian sailors imprisoned since July after India appealed to
President Faure Gnassingbe for their release on compassionate
2013 Dec 19, In Turkey
Istanbul's most senior police official was dismissed, days after
police launched raids that detained dozens of people.
2013 Dec 19, In Turkmenistan
official election results said the ruling party won the most seats
in the Dec 15 legislative elections, while a new party set up to
diversify politics in the ultra-controlled state won its first-ever
2013 Dec 19, A UN panel probing
war crimes in Syria reported that people around the country are
systematically vanishing without a trace as part of a widespread
campaign of terror against civilians.
2013 Dec 19, A 52-year-old
Italian man set himself on fire in St. Peter's Square in the Vatican
and suffered serious burns.
2014 Dec 19, President Barack
Obama signed a bill deepening US-Israeli cooperation. The US-Israel
Strategic Partnership Act increases the value of emergency US
weaponry kept in Israel by $200 million, to a total of $1.8 billion.
2014 Dec 19, The United States
imposed sanctions on Russian-controlled Crimea as Ukraine announced
the loss of five soldiers ahead of peace talks meant to end a war
against Russian-backed insurgents.
2014 Dec 19, The US-led
coalition conducted 11 air strikes against Islamic State militants
in Iraq and 4 in Syria.
2014 Dec 19, The US FBI
formally accused North Korea of hacking of Sony Pictures.
2014 Dec 19, A federal judge
restored US Endangered Species Act protections to gray wolves in the
western Great Lakes. Federal wildlife biologists counted nearly
4,400 wolves in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin when the animals
were removed from the federal endangered and threatened species list
in 2012. Estimates this year suggest the region is home to 3,748
wolves, a decline mostly due to hunting and trapping.
2014 Dec 19, The US
Environmental Protection Agency issued rules on labeling coal ash, a
byproduct of coal-based power production containing toxic materials
such as arsenic and lead, as non-hazardous waste.
2014 Dec 19, US health
officials warned consumers to avoid prepackaged caramel apples after
they were linked to 4 deaths in which people were sickened with
listeria. At least 28 more were known sickened in ten states.
(SFC, 12/20/14, p.A5)
2014 Dec 19, Sony Pictures said
it is looking for alternatives to release "The Interview" after it
scrapped the Christmas Day theatrical opening of the screwball
comedy at the center of a cyber-attack on the studio blamed on North
2014 Dec 19, Google sued to
block what it calls overly broad demands by Mississippi in its
investigation of online contraband sales, after accusing the state’s
attorney general of doing Hollywood’s bidding.
(SFC, 12/20/14, p.D1)
2014 Dec 19, In Afghanistan
Taliban insurgents fired several mortar rounds in Dawlar Shah
district, Laghman province. One woman was killed and two women and
six children were wounded.
2014 Dec 19, In northern
Australia the bodies of 8 children, aged 2-14 years, and a wounded
woman, Mersane Warria (37), were discovered in a home in Cairns,
Queensland state. On Dec 21 Warria was charged with eight counts of
murder. She was the mother of seven of them; the eighth was her
(AP, 12/19/14)(AP, 12/21/14)
2014 Dec 19, Belarus imposed a
30 percent fee on currency exchange transactions in an effort to
contain panic that has spilled over from neighboring Russia.
2014 Dec 19, In Brazil a
federal investigation into a kickback scheme at state-owned
Petrobras ensnared 30 executives. In Sao Paulo prosecutors accused
33 businessmen of running a “cartel" to profit from the city’s
(SFC, 12/20/14, p.A2)
2014 Dec 19, In Bulgaria a
powerful explosion at an ammunition plant in the southeast killed
one worker and wounded four others near the village of Maglizh.
2014 Dec 19, In Central African
Republic violence broke out when mainly Christian anti-balaka
militias launched an attack against rebels of the largely Muslim
former Seleka alliance and Peul in the central region of Bambari. At
least 12 people were killed in that attack.
2014 Dec 19, In China
Shanghai-based lawyer Zhang Peihong said he was notified by
prosecutors in northeastern Yanbian prefecture of the arrest of
Peter Hahn (74), a Korean-American Christian who ran a vocational
school for Chinese and Korean youth for more than a decade in the
border town of Tumen.
2014 Dec 19, A Beijing court
sentenced a former employee of the Forbidden City to be executed for
stabbing two of his supervisors to death on the museum's grounds.
Zheng Zhibiao had argued at his trial in early December that he had
been concerned over a lack of protection of artifacts held at the
former palace of China's emperors.
2014 Dec 19, A Beijing court
ordered a psychological clinic to pay compensation to a homosexual
man for administering electric shocks in an attempt to make him
heterosexual, an unprecedented ruling on so-called conversion
2014 Dec 19, China said it
would build an 867-km rail network in Thailand and buy two million
tons of its rice. Premier Li Keqiang was attending a two-day summit
of leaders of Mekong River region countries.
2014 Dec 19, In Colombia a
clash between the army and FARC rebels left 5 soldiers dead and five
wounded. On Dec 26 FARC released captured soldier Carlos Becerra
2014 Dec 19, The Dominican
Republic approved a law that for the first time decriminalizes
abortions if the mother's life is at risk.
2014 Dec 19, The pilot of the
Ethiopian attack helicopter forced his co-pilot and technician to
land in Eritrean territory. The helicopter was conducting a routine
training flight when it disappeared.
2014 Dec 19, A Hong Kong jury
found Thomas Kwok, a billionaire property developer and a former top
government official, guilty of corruption after a high profile trial
that amplified anger at the city's elite.
2014 Dec 19, In eastern
Indonesia the Mount Gamalama volcano on Ternate island in North
Maluku province erupted, spewing towering clouds of hot ash into the
air and leaving four hikers injured and one missing when they
scrambled to safety.
2014 Dec 19, In Iraq Kurdish
forces pressed their biggest offensive against the Islamic State
group so far, buoyed by US reports that jihadist supremo Abu Bakr
al-Baghdadi's top aide in Iraq has been killed. Bombings killed 11
people in Baghdad.
2014 Dec 19, A rocket fired
from Gaza hit southern Israel. It fell on open ground without
causing casualties or damage.
2014 Dec 19, Israel was asked
by the UN General Assembly to compensate Lebanon for $856.4 million
in oil spill damages it caused during its 2006 war with Hezbollah.
The US, Australia, Canada and Israel were among the six states that
voted against the UN text.
2014 Dec 19, Italian police
seized construction companies, apartments, villas and a yacht
belonging to Cristiano Guarnera, a businessman who authorities
allege consorted with a Mafia-like gang in Rome with ties to local
2014 Dec 19, Japanese
researcher Haruko Obokata said in a statement that she was leaving
the Riken Center for Developmental Biology after the lab concluded
the stem cells she said she had created probably never existed. The
center said it had stopped trying to match Obokata's results.
2014 Dec 19, Kenya's President
Uhuru Kenyatta signed into law a contentious bill saying it will
help the country fight terrorism, but which critics say will be used
to crush dissent by curbing civil liberties.
2014 Dec 19, Madagascar's
president and four of his predecessors met for the first time in a
bid to foster a national reconciliation process in the Indian Ocean
island blighted by political crises.
2014 Dec 19, Moroccan
authorities said 9 migrants, including 3 infants, have drowned off
the coast near Tangiers. 21 people were rescued.
(SFC, 12/20/14, p.A2)
2014 Dec 19, Mozambican
authorities said 5 people have died in floods in the capital Maputo,
after days of torrential rain.
2014 Dec 19, Pakistani
warplanes and ground forces killed at least 77 militants overnight
in a northwestern tribal region near the Afghan border.
2014 Dec 19, Pakistani
authorities hanged two convicted militants in the first executions
following the reinstatement of the death penalty in the wake of this
week's Peshawar school massacre.
2014 Dec 19, A Moscow court
extended a term of house arrest for Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny on
trial for stealing more than 30 million rubles (£317,743), charges
he dismisses as part of a campaign by President Vladimir Putin to
stifle dissent. Oleg Navalny was sentenced to 3½ years in jail for
defrauding a cosmetics company in a verdict which was largely seen
as retribution for the political ambitions of his brother, who got a
suspended sentence in the same trial.
(Reuters, 12/19/14)(AP, 8/3/16)
2014 Dec 19, A Turkish court
kept Hidayet Karaca, head of Samanyolu Television, and three other
people in custody pending trial on accusations of belonging to a
2014 Dec 19, In Yemen a
suspected Al-Qaeda bomb attack killed 3 soldiers and wounded five
others in Seyun, Hadramawt province.
2015 Dec 19, In California 5
people died when their single-engine plane crashed south of
(SFC, 12/21/15, p.C2)
2015 Dec 19, In Connecticut
German conductor Kurt Masur (b.1927) died. He is credited with
helping prevent violence after the collapse of communism in East
Germany and later reinvigorated the New York Philharmonic during an
11-year stint as music director.
2015 Dec 19, An off-duty
Baltimore policeman shot and killed a man he says appeared to be
holding him at gunpoint in the suburbs of Linthicum Heights.
Detectives surveyed the crime scene and realized the would-be robber
was wielding a toy gun.
2015 Dec 19, The leaders of
Armenia and Azerbaijan met in Switzerland to discuss their
long-running dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh.
2015 Dec 19, In Canada Dennis
Oland (47), the son of a wealthy Canadian brewer, was found guilty
of murdering his father following a long and sensational trial in
the eastern province of New Brunswick. Richard Oland (69), part of
the family that owns Moosehead Breweries, was found dead in a pool
of blood in his office on July 7, 2011.
2015 Dec 19, Ten of Chile's
airports remained closed as striking workers tied to the civil
aviation authority and officials failed to reach an agreement.
2015 Dec 19, Beijing was
enveloped in eye-watering, throat-irritating smog as the second red
alert of the month went into effect.
2015 Dec 19, In China Spain's
Mireia Lalaguna Royo (23) was named the winner of the Miss World
2015 competition in the southern island resort of Sanya.
2015 Dec 19, Human Rights Watch
said at least 75 people have been killed during weeks of protests in
Ethiopia, which have seen soldiers and police firing on
demonstrators protesting a government plan to incorporate some rural
areas into the capital city, Addis Ababa.
(AFP, 12/19/15)(SFC, 12/24/15, p.A4)
2015 Dec 19, In France an
attack plot targeting representatives of state forces was foiled and
two men were arrested in the region of Orleans, southwest of Paris.
2015 Dec 19, In Iran residents
of Tehran were warned to stay at home as a thick smog of pollution
hung in the air.
2015 Dec 19, An Israeli air
strike killed Samir Qantar, a Hezbollah militant leader, in
Damascus. Kantar, a Lebanese who was convicted of carrying out one
of the most notorious attacks in Israeli history, had spent nearly
three decades in an Israeli prison.
(Reuters, 12/20/15)(AP, 12/20/15)
2015 Dec 19, In Japan about 20
anti-Christmas protesters calling themselves "Losers with Women"
marched through Tokyo's streets, bashing the upcoming holiday as a
capitalist ploy that also discriminates against singletons.
2015 Dec 19, Libyan medical
sources said at least 14 people have been killed and 25 wounded
during clashes between armed groups loyal to official government and
Islamist groups. The fighting had erupted Dec 17 and was ongoing in
the eastern town of Ajdabiya.
2015 Dec 19, Niger said nine
military officers involved in allegedly planning an attempted coup
have been arrested and will face a military tribunal.
2015 Dec 19, Nigeria said its
military has commuted the death sentences handed to 66 soldiers for
mutiny over claims they refused to fight Boko Haram Islamists.
Instead, each soldier will serve a 10-year prison term.
2015 Dec 19, In Nigeria Boko
Haram gunmen launched a dawn raid on Buratai, Borno state, the
hometown of the army chief, triggering a fierce gunbattle with
2015 Dec 19, In Norway a man
was killed when an avalanche hit the town of Longyearbyen, the
biggest settlement on the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard. The
avalanche engulfed about 10 houses in the town, which has some 2,000
2015 Dec 19, A Palestinian man
(20) stabbed three Israelis in the central city of Raanana,
seriously wounding one of them, before being shot and then arrested
by Israeli security forces.
2015 Dec 19, In the Philippines
heavy rains pummeled the entire country, flooding more areas as the
government declared a "state of national calamity".
2015 Dec 19, In Poland
thousands of people took part in demonstrations across the country
to protest moves by the new right-wing government to neutralize the
Constitutional Tribunal as a check on its power.
2015 Dec 19, Polish police
seized a record amount of cocaine worth around $27 million that
arrived via Belgium in a shipment of bananas from Colombia.
2015 Dec 19, In Saudi Arabia
shelling from Yemen killed a Saudi citizen and two Indian workers.
2015 Dec 19, In Somalia a gun
attack on a government official in Mogadishu was followed shortly
afterwards by a car bombing that left at least 4 people killed and
2015 Dec 19, Karin Soder (87),
Sweden’s first female foreign minister (1976-1978) and party leader
(1985-1987), died in Stockholm.
2015 Dec 19, Turkey said 69
Kurdish insurgents and two Turkish soldiers have been killed in four
days of fighting across the southeast as security forces ramp up
operations against the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
2015 Dec 19, Turkey said it
would "continue" to pull its troops out of northern Iraq after US
President Barack Obama urged President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to do so
in order to de-escalate tensions with Baghdad over the deployment.
2015 Dec 19, Turkish media
reported that 18 people drowned overnight when their boat sank in
the Aegean Sea as it was heading for the Greek island of Kalymnos.
2015 Dec 19, Yemeni negotiators
in Switzerland taking part in UN-sponsored peace talks agreed to
form a committee to oversee a fragile ceasefire after fresh fighting
imperiled their efforts to end Yemen's civil war. Yemeni security
officials said clashes in Hajjah Province near the Saudi border
between rebel-allied units and pro-government Yemeni forces have
killed more than 75 over the past three days.
(Reuters, 12/19/15)(AP, 12/19/15)
2016 Dec 19, The White House
said Pres. Obama has pardoned 78 people and shortened the sentences
of 153 others convicted of federal crimes. This was the greatest
number of clemencies by any president in a single day.
(SFC, 12/20/16, p.A6)
2016 Dec 19, The US Interior
Department finalized a contentious rule to protect streams and
forests from the impact of coal mining, one of the Obama
administration's last major environmental regulations that the
incoming Trump administration is likely to target.
2016 Dec 19, Glendon Scott
Crawford (52) of Galway, NY, was sentenced to 30 years in prison
followed by a lifetime of supervised release for trying to produce a
weapon of mass destruction to kill Muslims.
(SFC, 12/20/16, p.A6)
2016 Dec 19, In Afghanistan
armed men in northern Kunduz province stopped a convoy of vehicles
from the International Committee of the Red Cross and snatched the
only foreigner, a Spanish citizen, leaving the Afghans behind. The
ICRC worker was reported released on Jan 15.
(AP, 12/20/16)(AP, 1/15/17)
2016 Dec 19, In Brazil a judge
ruled that former Pres. Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will face a fifth
corruption trial, as charges pile up against the man seen as a
front-runner to win the 2018 presidential election.
2016 Dec 19, British postal
workers began what could become the longest strike in the Post
Office's 300-year history as part of a wave of industrial action
that is also threatening Christmas travel chaos.
2016 Dec 19, China and Norway
announced the resumption of diplomatic relations during a surprise
visit to Beijing by Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende. This
came six years after Beijing froze ties with Oslo over the awarding
of the Nobel Peace Prize to a Chinese dissident.
2016 Dec 19, In eastern Congo
DRC a South African soldier on a United Nations mission was killed
in a rebel attack on their positions, the final day of President
Joseph Kabila's mandated time in office. Four Mai Mai militiamen
were killed in the fire-fight and two were captured.
2016 Dec 19, In Congo DRC an
announcement just before midnight of the appointment of a new
government -- but with President Kabila still in ultimate control --
triggered cries of "treason", "provocation" and "confrontation".
2016 Dec 19, Czech President
Milos Zeman blocked a bill limiting politicians' business interests,
returning to parliament a law that would clip the wings of
billionaire Finance Minister Andrej Babis if it came into effect.
2016 Dec 19, The European Union
extended economic sanctions against Russia by six months after
completing the legislative process for a decision endorsed last week
by national leaders at an EU summit.
2016 Dec 19, A draft report
released by a European Parliament probe accused France, Italy and
Spain of trying to slow down the introduction of tougher auto
emissions tests despite knowing that the old ones were causing more
2016 Dec 19, In France
Christine Lagarde, the International Monetary Fund's managing
director, was convicted without punishment of negligence by a
special French court for her role in a contentious and generous
arbitration award in 2008 to tycoon Bernard Tapie in 2008 over the
botched sale of sportswear maker Adidas in the 1990s.
2016 Dec 19, In Germany a truck
attack on a crowded Christmas market in West Berlin killed 12 people
and injured 48. A migrant (23) from Pakistan was arrested, but he
was released the next day for lack of evidence. Lukasz Urban (37), a
Polish driver from the western village of Roznowo, near the border
with Germany, was found dead in the cabin of the truck that was
hijacked and driven into the crowd. He was seemingly stabbed and
shot to death in the cabin of his truck.
(Reuters, 12/20/16)(AP, 12/20/16)(AVP, 12/21/16)
2016 Dec 19, In India five men
were sentenced to death by an Indian court for their role in two
deadly bombings in February 2013 in the city of Hyderabad. They
included Yasin Bhatkal, the co-founder of the outlawed Indian
Mujahideen Islamist group accused of involvement in a series of
2016 Dec 19, Human Rights Watch
said nearly 600 people have died in Indian police custody from
2009-2015, many of them after being tortured.
2016 Dec 19, Israeli
authorities placed billionaire businessman Beny Steinmetz (60) under
house arrest over allegations of bribery and corruption in Guinea
linked to his mining company, BSG Resources (BSGR). Asher Avidan, a
top associate of Steinmetz, was also arrested in connection with the
international investigation into suspected bribery of an official in
(Reuters, 12/19/16)(AP, 12/20/16)
2016 Dec 19, An Italian court
convicted an Italian woman and her Albanian husband in absentia on
terrorism charges for traveling to Syria to join the Islamic State
group. This was the first trial in Italy involving foreign fighters
operating inside the war zone.
2016 Dec 19, Moldovan MPs
approved raising the retirement age to 63 years from the current
level of 57 for women and 62 for men, a reform that is part of a
three-year-old assistance program agreed with the International
2016 Dec 19, Pakistani movie
theaters began screening Bollywood films again, ending an 11-week
boycott in response to political and military tensions with India.
2016 Dec 19, Polish President
Andrzej Duda scrambled to defuse a political crisis as opposition
lawmakers occupied parliament for a fourth day of anti-government
2016 Dec 19, In Puerto Rico
eight people were shot outside a popular restaurant in San Juan. One
person died of his wounds on Dec 21.
2016 Dec 19, Senegal police
arrested Lieutenant Aboubacar "Toumba" Diakite, a Guinean soldier
linked to a Sep 28, 2009, massacre in Conakry where at least 150
people were killed and dozens of women raped.
2016 Dec 19, Serbia said that
it will purchase six Russian MiG-29 combat jets in a move likely to
add to tensions in the Balkans amid Moscow's apparent efforts to
prevent the volatile European region from joining Western
2016 Dec 19, In South Africa
the last board member at state broadcaster, the SABC, quit after a
parliamentary investigation into the board's failure to look into
allegations of misspending and censorship. Professor Mbulaheni
Maguvhe had been the sole board member following the resignation of
his colleagues this year in the wake of a string of scandals. A
court ruled earlier this month that former SABC chief operating
officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng, who introduced a ban on airing violent
protest footage, should not hold any position at the broadcaster and
barred him from entering the premises.
2016 Dec 19, In South Korea
high-profile North Korean defector Thae Yong Ho told South Korean
lawmakers that he fled because of disillusionment with what he
describes as a "tyrannical reign of terror" by leader Kim Jong Un.
2016 Dec 19, In Syria thousands
were evacuated from the last rebel-held enclave of the Aleppo after
a deal was reached to allow people to leave two besieged
pro-government villages in nearby Idlib province.
2016 Dec 19, Thailand’s Defense
Ministry website went temporarily offline as hackers protested the
Dec 16 passage of a bill restricting internet freedom. They have
been attacking Thai government computer servers, temporarily
disabling public access and reportedly copying restricted documents.
2016 Dec 19, In Turkey Russian
ambassador Andrey Karlov was shot and killed by Mevlut Mert Altintas
(22) at an art gallery in Ankara. Altintas, who had worked for
Ankara riot police, was killed minutes later by Turkish special
forces. Turkish authorities later alleged that Karlov's killer had
links to Fethullah Gulen, a US-based Muslim cleric, accused of
masterminding the failed July 2016 coup. On Nov 23, 2018, a Turkish
prosecutor charged 28 suspects including US-based Muslim preacher
Fethullah Gulen, over the murder of the Russian ambassador.
(Reuters, 12/20/16)(AP, 4/2/18)(AFP, 11/23/18)
2016 Dec 19, The UN Security
Council approved the deployment of UN monitors to Aleppo as the
evacuation of fighters and civilians from the last remaining
opposition stronghold in the northern city resumed after days of
2017 Dec 19, Pres. Donald
Trump's administration publicly blamed North Korea for a "careless
and reckless" ransomware attack that infected hundreds of thousands
of computers worldwide in May and crippled parts of Britain's
National Health Service. Britain said North Korea's Lazarus hacking
group was behind the 'WannaCry" cyber attack.
(AP, 12/19/17)(Reuters, 12/19/17)
2017 Dec 19, The US House
Office of Compliance released statistics showing that taxpayers paid
more than $342,000 to settle workplace discrimination disputes at
House lawmakers’ offices between 2008 and 2012. This included nearly
$175,000 for weight settlements related to sexual harassment and sex
(SFC, 12/20/17, p.A6)
2017 Dec 19, In California
firefighters halted the spread of the so-called Thomas fire at
272,000 acres (110,100 hectares) and carved containment lines around
60 percent of its perimeter, up from 55 percent.
2017 Dec 19, In Massachusetts
David Wright (28) was sentenced by a judge in Boston to 28 years in
prison for conspiring with his uncle and a Rhode Island man to kill
blogger Pamela Geller on behalf of the Islamic State terror group.
In 2020 Wright was sentenced for a second time and ordered to
served 30 years in prison.
(SFC, 12/20/17, p.A5)(AP, 9/28/20)
2017 Dec 19, Argentina's
Congress passed a reform to the pension system early today, after
days of demonstrations by the bill's opponents and violent clashes
between protesters and police gripped the South American country.
2017 Dec 19, Bangladesh and
Myanmar set up a joint working group to oversee the repatriation of
Rohingya Muslims who fled violence in Myanmar, but the start of
their return is likely to be delayed.
2017 Dec 19, The Chinese
government criticized US President Donald Trump's decision to label
Beijing a strategic rival and called on Washington to "abandon a
Cold War mentality" and accept China's rise.
2017 Dec 19, China released
plans to start a giant market to trade credits for the right to emit
planet-warming greenhouse gases. The emissions was hoped to give
power companies a financial incentive to operate more cleanly.
(SFC, 12/20/17, p.C1)
2017 Dec 19, The prime
ministers of Croatia and Slovenia failed to break a deadlock over an
international arbitration ruling in a long-standing border dispute
that has led to tensions between the two neighboring European Union
2017 Dec 19, A political crisis
loomed in East Timor after a coalition of opposition parties
rejected the new government's policy program for a second time.
2017 Dec 19, In Egypt a missile
attack targeted the el-Arish airport in the northern Sinai Peninsula
during an unpublicized visit to the facility by the defense and
interior ministers. An officer was killed and two others were
wounded in the attack, which also damaged a helicopter. An Islamic
State affiliate soon claimed responsibility.
2017 Dec 19, An Egyptian
military court sentenced army Col. Ahmed Konsowa (42) to six years
in prison after he announced his intention to run against President
Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi in next year's elections.
2017 Dec 19, European police
said Slovenian and Croatian security have busted an international
crime syndicate involved in sports corruption, illegal betting and
trying to fix soccer matches in several countries including Serbia,
Macedonia and the Czech Republic. 11 people were arrested.
2017 Dec 19, German authorities
arrested an Afghan man (21) accused of being a member of the
Taliban. Jabar N. told investigators he left Afghanistan via Iran,
Turkey and Greece in the summer of 2015.
2017 Dec 19, Greece’s Hellenic
Food Authority issued an announcement calling on consumers in Athens
and the northern city of Thessaloniki not to buy 1.5 liter bottles
of Coca-Cola and Coca-Cola Light, 1 liter cartons of Delta brand
milk and packages of Yfantis processed sausage from Dec. 20-25. This
followed a threat by members of a group calling itself "Blackgreen
Arsonists" to contaminate certain packaged food products with
hydrochloric acid during the Christmas period.
2017 Dec 19, Honduras President
Juan Orlando Hernandez declared himself re-elected despite calls by
his opponent and the Organization of American States (OAS) for a
fresh vote amid allegations of fraud and deadly protests over last
month's disputed election. Opposition candidate Salvador Nasralla
called on United States not to recognize the election results.
2017 Dec 19, Iran sentenced
Hamid Baghaei, a former vice president, to 63 years in prison over
misuse of public funds while in office. Baghaei was Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad's vice president in charge of executive affairs.
2017 Dec 19, In Iraq three
people were killed and more than 80 wounded as Kurdish protesters,
angered by years of austerity and unpaid public sector salaries,
took to the streets in a second day of violent unrest amid tensions
2017 Dec 19, Police in southern
Italy said they have arrested seven people on charges of trafficking
Nigerian women for prostitution.
2017 Dec 19, Japan's Cabinet
approved a plan to purchase a set of costly land-based US missile
combat systems to increase the country's defense capabilities amid
escalating threats from North Korea.
2017 Dec 19, The CEO of
Japanese automaker Subaru said he and all other executives would
return part of their pay until next March following an inspection
scandal at the company.
2017 Dec 19, In Kashmir a woman
was killed during anti-India protests following a gunbattle that
killed two rebels.
2017 Dec 19, In Mexico Gumaro
Perez (34), a reporter and alleged cartel operator, was shot dead
while attending a Christmas party at his 6-year-old son's school in
Acayucan, purportedly by gunmen from a rival gang.
2017 Dec 19, In southern Mexico
a bus carrying cruise ship passengers to the ruins at Chacchoben
flipped on a narrow highway in Quintana Roo state and killed 12
(SFC, 12/20/17, p.A3)
2017 Dec 19, Pakistan's
government detailed plans to seize control of charities and
financial assets linked to Islamist leader Hafiz Saeed, who
Washington has designated a terrorist. This was not made public
until Jan. 1, 2018.
2017 Dec 19, Pakistan's
government detailed plans to seize control of charities and
financial assets linked to Islamist leader Hafiz Saeed, who
Washington has designated a terrorist. This was not made public
until Jan., 2018.
2017 Dec 19, In Romania dozens
of judges and prosecutors staged another protest against lawmakers
who are currently passing laws that they say will stymie the legal
system. Romanian lawmakers voted to enact judicial changes that
critics say will undermine graft investigations by weakening the
(AP, 12/19/17)(Reuters, 12/19/17)
2017 Dec 19, In Saudi Arabia a
security officer and one of the kidnappers of Muslim judge Sheikh
Mohammed al-Jirani were killed in a clash. A second kidnapper was
arrested. Al-Jirani disappeared last December from outside his home
in the Qatif region. The judge's body was found in the remote
farming district of Awamiya.
(Reuters, 12/25/17)(AFP, 12/25/17)
2017 Dec 19, The Saudi-led
coalition fighting Yemen's Shiite rebels said it intercepted a
missile fired over southern Riyadh, which the rebels said was
targeting a "top leadership" meeting at the royal palace in the
kingdom's capital, Riyadh.
2017 Dec 19, In South Africa
convicted Dutch arms dealer Guus Kouwenhoven (75), who supplied arms
that fuelled Liberia's bloody civil war, was released by a South
African court on bail of $78,000.
2017 Dec 19, South Korean
Researchers said a series of recent cyber attacks has netted North
Korean hackers millions of dollars in virtual currencies like
bitcoin, with more attacks expected as international sanctions drive
the country to seek new sources of cash. Bitcoin was trading at over
$19,104 per bitcoin at one point today, up from less than $1,000 at
the beginning of 2017. Youbit, a bitcoin exchange, announced it had
suffered another cyber attack that cost it 17 percent of its assets,
forcing the exchange to halt operations and file for bankruptcy.
2017 Dec 19, Uganda's
parliament abruptly adjourned a debate over extending President
Yoweri Museveni's decades in power after a lawmaker said soldiers
had entered the building and members of parliament scuffled with
2017 Dec 19, The UN Security
Council voted to renew cross-border aid deliveries to Syria's
opposition-held areas for one year, but Russia abstained and said
the relief operation should wind down.
2017 Dec 19, The UN human
rights office said it has verified the killings of 136 Yemeni
civilians and other non-combatants in airstrikes carried out over 11
days this month by a Saudi-led military coalition batting Yemen's
2018 Dec 19, President Donald
Trump declared victory against the militant group in Syria and
hinted that a withdrawal could be imminent.
2018 Dec 19, The US Treasury
Dept. sanctioned 15 Russians over hacking, interference in US
elections and a nerve agent attack in England.
(SFC, 12/20/18, p.A6)
2018 Dec 19, US stocks fell
after the Federal Reserve raised interest rates for a 4th time this
year to a range of 2.25 to 2.5 percent. The market finished at its
lowest point since September 2017. The DJIA fell to 23,323.
(SFC, 12/20/18, p.D1)
2018 Dec 19, An annual report
by the NY-based Committee to Protect Journalists said the number of
journalists killed worldwide in retaliation for their work nearly
doubled this year. It found that 34 journalists were killed in
retaliation for their work as of Dec. 14, while at least 53 were
2018 Dec 19, The robotic arm of
the Mars Insight lander removed a seismometer from the spacecraft
deck and set it on the ground to monitor earthquakes.
(SFC, 12/21/18, p.A8)
2018 Dec 19, Illinois Attorney
General Lisa Madigan issued a blistering report about clergy sexual
abuse, saying the Catholic dioceses of the state have not released
the names of at least 500 clergy accused of sexually abusing
(SFC, 12/20/18, p.A6)
2018 Dec 19, The Baltimore Sun
reported that Clarence Shipley Jr. (47) was exonerated and released
this week after being imprisoned for 27 years for the 1991 death of
Kevin Smith (29) in a false witness testimony. New witnesses
identified the killer as a man who died in 2005.
(SFC, 12/20/18, p.A6)
2018 Dec 19, Facebook announced
its third and biggest purge of military-linked accounts in Myanmar,
where critics have charged that the social network did too little to
block inflammatory material that fueled communal hatred and
violence, particularly against the country's Muslim Rohingya
2018 Dec 19, Albania's Foreign
Ministry said two Iranian diplomats had been expelled for "violating
their diplomatic status" following talks with other countries,
2018 Dec 19, It was reported
that Britain's GlaxoSmithKline and US-based Pfizer are merging their
health care divisions, creating a market leader in "over the
counter" health care products like pain relievers and vitamins with
combined sales of 9.8 billion pounds ($12.7 billion). GSK will own
68 percent of the joint venture.
2018 Dec 19, Britain's
Financial Conduct Authority said Santander's UK banking division has
been fined £32.8 million for failing to process accounts and
investments of deceased customers.
2018 Dec 19, A Canadian
government official said third Canadian has been detained in China
but the incident does not appear to be linked to the arrest of two
other citizens over the last week.
2018 Dec 19, The Norwegian
Refugee Council said that more than 430,000 people have fled
violence in Cameroon's restive English-speaking regions and are
hiding in rural areas with few resources.
2018 Dec 19, In CongoDRC Andre
Kimbuta, the governor Kinshasa, cancelled all political rallies in
the capital for the 21 candidates vying for the presidency in the
Dec. 23 elections.
2018 Dec 19, In Cyprus Jordan's
foreign affairs minister said his country is seeking closer ties
with Greece and Cyprus as part of a strategy to bolster regional
peace and security and promote economic cooperation.
2018 Dec 19, It was reported
that ten former employees of the Estonian branch of Danske Bank have
been detained in connection with a probe into a major money
laundering scandal that allegedly involved money from Russia and
former Soviet states.
2018 Dec 19, The European Union
said it is investigating a cyber hack of its diplomatic
communications, allegedly by Chinese hackers, that revealed EU
concern about US Donald Trump, Russia and Iran.
2018 Dec 19, The EU moved
closer to banning single-use straws, plates, cutlery and cotton
swabs after officials from EU member states and the European
Parliament said they're following recommendations by its executive
branch designed to reduce marine pollution.
2018 Dec 19, France's human
rights ombudsman reported that undocumented migrants living in
makeshift camps in northern France have been subjected to an
"unprecedented" violation of their basic rights over the past three
2018 Dec 19, Chancellor Angela
Merkel's cabinet passed new immigration laws to make it easier for
lower-skilled foreigners to seek work in Germany and offer rejected
asylum seekers who can't be deported a path to residency.
2018 Dec 19, German weekly Der
Spiegel said Claas Relotius (33), one of its star reporters, has
left the publication after committing journalistic fraud "on a grand
scale" over a number of years. He resigned after admitting to
2018 Dec 19, The Greek Supreme
Court ordered the extradition to France of Russian Alexander Vinnik,
who headed the Bitcoin exchange BTC-e, on suspicion of money
2018 Dec 19, In India Swaroop
Raj (35), an assistant vice president at Genpact India, committed
suicide following accusations of sexual misconduct.
2018 Dec 19, Italian PM
Giuseppe Conte heralded a budget deal with the European Commission,
saying the long-awaited accord allowed his government to honor its
main commitments and boost the economy.
2018 Dec 19, SoftBank Group
Corp.'s Japanese mobile subsidiary suffered a bitter debut on the
Tokyo Stock Exchange, slumping 15 percent, hurt by a recent service
outage and concerns about the use of parts from Chinese telecom
2018 Dec 19, Kuwait's Supreme
Constitutional Court paved the way for two convicted lawmakers to be
deprived of their seats by stripping parliament's final say in a
politically stormy case.
2018 Dec 19, Police in
Lithuania said one Russian and several Lithuanians have been
detained, suspected of being part of a ring spying for Russia. Those
arrested included Valery Ivanov, a former anti-independence leader
in the early 1990s, and Algirdas Paleckis, a former lawmaker and
leader of the Lithuania's Socialist People's Front.
2018 Dec 19, Madagascar voted
in a two-man contest between former presidents Andry Rajoelina and
Marc Ravalomanana, who have waited years to come face-to-face in a
fiercely personal battle for power in the Indian Ocean island.
2018 Dec 19, It was reported
that Nepal's government has stopped eight Italian contractors from
leaving the Himalayan country in an effort to complete a critical
but much delayed water supply project for the capital.
2018 Dec 19, In the southern
Philippines communist guerrillas abducted two soldiers and at least
a dozen militiamen and seized several rifles in an attack on an army
base near Sibagat town, Agusan del Sur province.
2018 Dec 19, Romanian stocks
dived after the government unveiled a surprise package to slash the
budget deficit by raising 10 billion lei ($2.45 billion) of extra
revenue, including through a tax on banks.
2018 Dec 19, Russia's top
domestic security agency said it has killed suspected members of the
Islamic State group plotting a terror attack. FSB commandos tracked
down the IS members in the city of Stavropol in southwestern Russia.
2018 Dec 19, In Somalia
lawmakers in the volatile South West state elected Abdiasis Hassan
Mohamed, the federal government's preferred candidate, as its leader
after Mukhtar Robow, a popular former al Shabaab leader, was
barred from running in the vote seen as test of the country's
2018 Dec 19, The UN's World
Food Program (WFP) said it will cut food aid next year to about
190,000 poor Palestinians in Gaza and the occupied West Bank due a
shortage of funds.
2018 Dec 19, Vatican officials
said Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Los Angeles
auxiliary bishop, Monsignor Alexander Salazar (69), following
allegations of misconduct with a minor in the 1990s.
(SFC, 12/20/18, p.A4)
2018 Dec 19, In Yemen the
Saudi-led coalition bombed the air base next to Sanaa's
international airport as a local cease-fire held around the Red Sea
port city of Hodeida.
2019 Dec 19, President Donald
Trump lashed out at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after she threw
uncertainty into the impeachment process by refusing to say,
repeatedly, when or whether she would send two impeachment articles
to the Republican-controlled Senate for a trial.
2019 Dec 19, The Trump
administration finalized us biofuel blending requirements for 2020,
leaving a key part of the rule unchanged from an earlier proposal
that the corn lobby had criticized as inadequate to help struggling
2019 Dec 19, President Donald
Trump railed behind closed doors about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's
decision to delay sending articles of impeachment to the
Republican-controlled Senate, putting an expected trial in limbo.
2019 Dec 19, The US House
overwhelmingly approved the renegotiated deal intended to replace
the North American Free Trade Agreement, handing President Trump a
bipartisan victory a day after impeaching him. The 385-41 vote came
after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) secured concessions,
including strict labor standards and environmental provisions.
2019 Dec 19, The US Senate
passed the $1.4 trillion spending deal needed to prevent a partial
government shutdown when current funding expires at midnight Dec.
2019 Dec 19, The sixth debate
for Democrats seeking their party's nomination to challenge
President Donald Trump in the November 2020 election was held in Los
Angeles. Opinion polls showed the race up for grabs, with Mayor
Buttigieg of Indiana taking the lead in Iowa and former VP Joe
Biden, US Senator Bernie Sanders and Warren fighting for the top in
2019 Dec 19, The US Food and
Drug Administration for the first time approved a vaccine for the
prevention of the deadly Ebola virus disease. Ervebo, a single-dose,
injectable vaccine is manufactured by American pharmaceutical
2019 Dec 19, Stanford Univ.
researchers revealed that yellow mealworms can break down plastic
and poop out chemicals added to plastic.
(SSFC, 12/22/19, p.B1)
2019 Dec 19, In Connecticut
Camille Schrier (24) of Virginia was crowned Miss America after she
wowed judges with science experiment.
(Good Morning America, 12/20/19)
2019 Dec 19, Election officials
in the US state of Georgia restored some 22,000 voters after purging
308,753 from voter rolls on Dec. 16, citing an error in the way
their voting history had been screened.
(SFC, 12/20/19, p.A6)
2019 Dec 19, Ward Just
(b.1935), American journalist and novelist, died in Plymouth, Mass.
His books included: "To What End: Report from Vietnam" (1968), "In
the City of Fear"(1982), "Echo House" (1997) and "American Romantic"
(SSFC, 12/22/19, p.B9)
2019 Dec 19, The Washington
state Supreme Court ruled that the Public Records Act fully applies
to state lawmakers. The case was sparked by a September 2017 lawsuit
filed by a media coalition, led by The Associated Press, that sought
sexual harassment reports, calendar entries and other documents.
2019 Dec 19, It was reported
that Novartis AG has secured Medicaid coverage for a pricey new
sickle cell disease therapy in two US states just weeks after
winning US approval, following an early campaign to convince local
officials of its value.
2019 Dec 19, The Arab League
condemned Brazil’s opening of a trade office in the contested city
of Jerusalem, warning the move will “seriously damage" Brazil’s
political and economic interests in the Arab world.
2019 Dec 19, Australia's most
populous state of New South Wales declared a seven-day state of
emergency as oppressive conditions fanned around 100 wildfires. Two
volunteer firefighters were killed late today when a tree fell and
caused their vehicle to roll off the road.
(AP, 12/19/19)(SFC, 12/21/19, p.A4)
2019 Dec 19, In Canada an
Ottawa judge dismissed all 19 charges against former Taliban hostage
Joshua Boyle, who was charged with sexual assault of his estranged
wife, Caitlan Coleman. Mr Boyle and Ms Coleman were kidnapped in
October 2012 while backpacking in Afghanistan. They spent five years
in captivity, during which their three children were born.
(The Telegraph, 12/20/19)
2019 Dec 19, Chinese leader Xi
Jinping met with Macao’s new chief executive amid celebrations of
the 20th anniversary of the former Portuguese colony’s handover to
2019 Dec 19, The EU’s top court
ruled that Oriol Junqueras, one of nine pro-independence leaders
jailed in Spain, is entitled to parliamentary immunity because he
was elected as an MEP in May.
(The Telegraph, 12/19/19)
2019 Dec 19, Germany's
parliament passed a resolution calling for a national ban on the
activities of Hezbollah and for the Lebanese militant group to be
put on the European Union's terrorist list.
2019 Dec 19, India's police
detained several hundred protesters in some of the biggest cities as
they defied bans on assembly that authorities imposed to stop
widespread demonstrations against a new citizenship law that
opponents say threatens the country's secular democracy.
2019 Dec 19, Lebanon's Pres.
Michel Aoun asked Hassan Diab, a university professor and a
Hezbollah-backed former minister, to form a new government.
2019 Dec 19, Speaking in
Malaysia the president of sanctions-hit Iran called for Muslim
countries to cooperate in fighting US "economic terrorism" at the
opening of a summit aimed at tackling the Islamic world's woes.
Pres. Rouhani also said his country's nuclear experts are testing a
new type of advanced centrifuges.
(AFP, 12/19/19)(AP, 12/19/19)
2019 Dec 19, In the Netherlands
an appeals court overturned a local ordinance banning catcalls in
the port city of Rotterdam. The court ruled that only Parliament has
the power to criminalize such behavior because doing so amounts to a
possible infringement of the freedom of expression.
(SFC, 12/20/19, p.A2)
2019 Dec 19, Pakistan's foreign
minister said that he has written to the United Nations this month,
warning the world body of what he says are actions by New Delhi to
position missile launchers in the Indian-controlled Kashmir.
2019 Dec 19, Palestinian
militants in the Gaza Strip fired a rocket toward southern Israel
early today and Israeli aircraft responded with airstrikes in the
2019 Dec 19, Dozens of
Palestinians protested outside an Israeli military court in the
occupied West Bank calling for the release of a prisoner who has
been on a partial hunger strike for nearly three months.
2019 Dec 19, A Philippine court
found key members of a powerful political clan guilty of a 2009
massacre in a southern province that left 57 people dead, including
32 media workers, in a brazen execution-style attack that horrified
2019 Dec 19, In Russia an
officer of the Federal Security Service (FSB) was killed in a
shooting near its Moscow headquarters. The attack killed two of the
agency’s employees. The attacker, identified as Moscow resident
Evgeny Manyurov (39), was killed.
(AP, 12/19/19)(The Telegraph,
2019 Dec 19, Amnesty
International urged Sudan's new transitional government to deliver
on popular demands for sweeping change as the country marked the
first anniversary of mass protests that led to the ouster of former
president and longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir.
2019 Dec 19, Turkey denied
accusations that a militant Palestinian group is using its territory
to plan attacks against Israel.
2019 Dec 19, Yemen's warring
parties agreed to create humanitarian corridors in the key port city
of Hodeida, which remains the main entry point for food and aid in a
country witnessing the world's worst humanitarian crisis.
2020 Dec 19, President Donald
Trump suggested without evidence that China, not Russia, may be
behind the cyber espionage operation against the US and tried to
minimize its impact.
2020 Dec 19, The US Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said it was monitoring reports
of allergic reactions to the COVID-19 vaccination and made
recommendations on how people with histories of allergies should
proceed. The agency said anyone who had a severe reaction to a
COVID-19 vaccine should not get the second dose.
2020 Dec 19, The Army general
in charge of getting COVID-19 vaccines distributed across the United
States apologized after many governors said they had been shorted on
anticipated shipments. Gen. Gustave Perna said he made mistakes by
citing numbers of doses that he believed would be ready for
2020 Dec 19, The US Federal
Aviation Administration (FAA) said it had approved the use of the
Moderna COVID-19 vaccine by pilots and air traffic controllers.
2020 Dec 19, The US State
Department said it is halting work at two consulates in Russia,
citing safety and security issues at the facilities where operations
had been curtailed over COVID-19.
2020 Dec 19, It was reported
that a record 621 people died of drug overdoses in San Francisco so
far this year, a staggering number that far outpaces the 173 deaths
from COVID-19 the city has seen thus far.
2020 Dec 19, California to
date had 1,804,417 cases of coronavirus and 22,441 deaths. The SF
Bay Area had 216,480 cases and 2,269 deaths. Total cases nationwide
reached over 17,631,293 with the death toll at
2020 Dec 19, Apple Inc said it
has temporarily shut all of its 53 stores in California because of a
coronavirus outbreak and 16 stores in the United Kingdom following
restrictions introduced by the government in London.
2020 Dec 19, Apple Inc placed
supplier Wistron Corp on probation, saying it would not award the
Taiwanese contract manufacturer new business until it addressed the
way workers were treated at its southern India plant.
2020 Dec 19, Global coronavirus
infections surpassed the 75 million mark, as several nations around
the world begin vaccinating against the virus.
2020 Dec 19, In Armenia both
opponents and supporters of PM Nikol Pashinyan rallied as the nation
paid tribute to the thousands who died in fighting with Azerbaijan
over the region of Nagorno-Karabakh. Critics demanded that the
leader resign and tried to pelt him with eggs.
2020 Dec 19, In Australia a
quarter million people in Sydney's northern beach suburbs were
ordered into a strict lockdown until Christmas Eve to help contain a
coronavirus cluster with authorities fearing it may spread across
Australia's most populous city.
2020 Dec 19, Brazilian
President Jair Bolsonaro, who has refused to take any coronavirus
vaccine, said that he did not think the world's rush for a vaccine
was justified because the pandemic is in his view coming to an end.
Brazil registered 50,177 new cases, bringing the total to 7,213,155.
Deaths rose by 706 to 186,356.
2020 Dec 19, British PM Boris
Johnson imposed tighter coronavirus controls on millions of people
in England and drastically scaled back plans to ease restrictions
over Christmas, seeking to curb a new more infectious strain of the
2020 Dec 19, England's Chief
Medical Officer Chris Whitty said a new strain of COVID-19
identified in the United Kingdom can spread more quickly and urgent
work is under way to confirm that it does not cause a higher
2020 Dec 19, In the Central
African Rep. the three main rebel groups announced that they had
formed an alliance called the Coalition of Patriots for Change
(CPC), accusing President Touadéra of trying to rig the 27 December
election. Authorities said forces loyal to former president François
Bozizé were near the city of Bossembélé and planned to march on
Bangui. Spokesman Christian Guenebem said Bozize was in his house in
(BBC, 12/19/20)(BBC, 12/20/20)
2020 Dec 19, A German court
ruled that automaker Tesla has to stop clearing trees on some parts
of the site outside Berlin where it is building the company's first
electric car factory in Europe.
2020 Dec 19, Germany's daily
Rheinische Post reported that authorities have broken up an
international crime ring that duped elderly people into handing over
their money and valuables to criminals posing as police officers.
German police busted a call center in the southwestern Turkish city
of Izmir where suspects allegedly phoned retirees in Germany and
talked them into handing over their valuables to fake officers. 38
people were arrested earlier this month and 48 locations were
searched in addition to the call center.
2020 Dec 19, Germany organized
the return of three women and 12 children from camps in northeastern
Syria for humanitarian reasons.
2020 Dec 19, India reported
25,152 new infections and 347 deaths in the past 24 hours. The virus
has so far killed 145,136 people in the country. India took 30 days
to add the last million cases, the second slowest since the start of
2020 Dec 19, Iraq's Central
Bank announced it will devalue the Iraqi dinar by over 20 percent in
response to a severe liquidity crisis brought on by low oil prices,
a measure that has sparked public outrage as the government
struggles to cover its expenses.
2020 Dec 19, Italy announced
sweeping travel restrictions and bans on large family gatherings,
becoming the latest European nation to introduce some form of
(The Telegraph, 12/19/20)
2020 Dec 19, The Economist
selected Malawi as "country of the year."
(Econ., 12/19/20, p.18)
2020 Dec 19, Malaysia said it
has secured coronavirus vaccine from AstraZeneca PLC, on the heels
of news it will receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in February as
it grapples with a surge in infections.
2020 Dec 19, In Nigeria 84
schoolchildren were seized by gunmen late today as they returned
home to Mahuta village after taking part in a religious ceremony.
The children were soon released following a gun battle between the
abductors, security forces and local vigilantes.
2020 Dec 19, In Russia the
number of COVID-19 deaths surpassed 50,000 as the country continued
to fight stubbornly high numbers of new infections daily. 585 people
died from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, taking the country's
official death toll to 50,347. The country also recorded 28,209 new
infections, bringing the national tally to 2,819,429.
2020 Dec 19, In Sudan protests
in Khartoum and across the country demanded a faster pace to
democratic reforms, in demonstrations that marked the two-year
anniversary of the uprising that led to the military’s ouster of
strongman Omar al-Bashir.
2020 Dec 19, Thailand reported
548 new coronavirus cases, the highest daily tally in a country that
had largely brought the pandemic under control. Most of the cases
were connected to a shrimp market in Samut Sakhon province, near
2020 Dec 19, In southern Turkey
a fire broke out at an intensive care unit treating COVID-19
patients after an oxygen cylinder exploded, killing nine people at
the privately-run Sanko University Hospital unit in Gaziantep.
2021 Dec 19, US Senator Joe
Manchin, a West Virginia moderate Democrat who is key to President
Joe Biden's hopes of passing a $1.75 trillion domestic investment
bill, said he would not support the package.
2021 Dec 19, Total US COVID-19
cases reached over 50,796,445 with the death toll at 806,343.
2021 Dec 19, Sally Ann Howes
(91), an English-born grande dame of American and British musical
comedy, died Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. She captivated children as
Truly Scrumptious in “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang," the 1968 film
featuring a magic jalopy that floats and flies into fantasy
(NY Times, 12/22/21)
2021 Dec 19, Kentucky Gov. Andy
Beshear said the death toll from the Dec. 10 tornadoes left 78
people killed in the state and that those missing have been
accounted for. Officials in Tennessee reported a 5th death from the
storm leaving a total 92 people confirmed dead. Kentucky's death
toll was later revised to 77.
(SSFC, 12/19/21, p.A12)(Reuters, 12/27/21)
2021 Dec 19, The Interfax news
agency reported that Facebook has paid 17 million rubles ($229,643)
in fines owed in Russia for failing to delete content Moscow deems
2021 Dec 19, Distributor Sony
Corp "Spider-Man: No Way Home" racked up roughly $253 million in US
and Canadian ticket sales over the weekend, crushing pandemic
records and ranking as the third-biggest domestic debut in Hollywood
2021 Dec 19, A light plane
crashed into waters off Australia's east coast this morning, killing
all four people on board including two children.
2021 Dec 19, In Belgium
thousands of peaceful protesters demonstrated in Brussels for a
third time against reinforced COVID-19 restrictions imposed by the
Belgian government to counter a spike in infections as the omicron
variant sweeps across Europe.
2021 Dec 19, PM Boris Johnson
was left reeling after his Brexit minister resigned, ending a
difficult week during which his Conservative party suffered a
humiliating defeat in a local by-election and his own MPs rebelled
over new coronavirus curbs. Johnson announced the appointment of
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss to become the country's lead negotiator
with the EU.
(AFP, 12/19/21)(AP, 12/19/21)
2021 Dec 19, Britain reported
more than 12,000 further confirmed cases of the fast-spreading
Omicron variant of the coronavirus. The UK reported 82,886 new
COVID-19 cases and 45 deaths within 28 days of a positive test.
2021 Dec 19, Sky News reported
that GlaxoSmithKline Plc has picked former Chief Executive Officer
of Tesco Plc Dave Lewis to head GSK's consumer healthcare unit,
which is being spun off into a standalone business.
2021 Dec 19, Carlos Marín (53),
a Spanish baritone, died Manchester, England. He rocketed to
international fame after the impresario Simon Cowell chose him to be
a member of Il Divo, the multinational quartet whose slick pop music
delivered in operatic style sold millions of records and filled
(NY Times, 12/20/21)
2021 Dec 19, Chileans headed to
the polls to vote in the Andean nation's most divisive presidential
election in decades, with two candidates offering starkly different
visions for the future from pensions and privatization to human
rights. Gabriel Boric (35), a former student protest leader allied
to the Communist Party, faced ultra-conservative Jose Antonio Kast
(55), a law-and-order candidate and defender of former dictator
Augusto Pinochet. Chileans elected Gabriel Boric as their next
(Reuters, 12/19/21)(NY Times, 12/20/21)
2021 Dec 19, Chinese tennis
star Peng Shuai (35) said that she had never accused anyone of
sexually assaulting her, and that a social media post she had made
early last month had been misunderstood. After that post, she was
absent from public view for nearly three weeks.
2021 Dec 19, Justice Minister
Eric Dupond-Moretti said France will make it easier for citizens to
take their mother's name once they are adults.
2021 Dec 19, German Defence
Minister Christine Lambrecht said NATO will discuss Russia's
security proposals but it will not let Moscow dictate the alliance's
2021 Dec 19, Hong Kong
government efforts and last-ditch campaigning by candidates
struggled to boost turnout in an overhauled legislative election,
the first under a sweeping new security law. Only candidates
screened by the government as "patriots" could run. Pro-Beijing
candidates swept to victory in the legislative election that critics
described as undemocratic. Turnout hit a record low amid a crackdown
on the city's freedoms by China.
(Reuters, 12/19/21)(Reuters, 12/20/21)
2021 Dec 19, Indonesia's Semeru
volcano on Java island erupted early spewing a two km (1.24 miles)
high ash column, prompting authorities to warn people to stay away
from the eruption range.
2021 Dec 19, State TV reported
that Iran has detected its first case of infection by the new
omicron variant of the coronavirus.
2021 Dec 19, Dutch urban
centers were largely deserted as the country began a snap lockdown
that, aimed at stemming an expected COVID-19 surge caused by the
fast-spreading Omicron variant, left people's Christmas plans in
2021 Dec 19, Pakistan's PM
Imran Khan warned of chaos if the worsening emergency in Afghanistan
was not urgently addressed. Islamic countries pledged to set up a
humanitarian trust fund for Afghanistan as, with millions facing
hunger and a harsh winter setting in.
2021 Dec 19, Poles marched in
cities across the country to defend a US-owned television network
that is being targeted by the country's right-wing government and to
protect media freedoms in a European Union nation where democratic
norms are eroding.
2021 Dec 19, A Russian court
handed the retired father of one of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei
Navalny's allies a three-year suspended sentence, in a corruption
case that critics say is without merit. Yury Zhdanov (67) spent
several months in pre-trial detention, but was released from custody
2021 Dec 19, In Spain thousands
of people dressed as Santa Claus took part in a charity run through
Madrid to raise money for people affected by a three-month volcanic
eruption on the Spanish island of La Palma.
2021 Dec 19, In Sudan hundreds
of thousands of people marched to the presidential palace in
Khartoum in protest at the Oct. 25 military coup, drawing volleys of
tear gas and stun grenades from security forces. One man was shot
dead in the protests.
(Reuters, 12/19/21)(Reuters, 12/20/21)
2021 Dec 19, It was reported
that that Swedish scientists have found evidence that microbes in
the soil and sea are evolving to eat plastic.
2021 Dec 19, A senior Thai
official said Thailand has sent over 600 Myanmar refugees who fled
fighting between the military and ethnic rebels back across the
2021 Dec 19, The UAE announced
that it will no longer censor films released in cinemas, the
country's latest effort to boost its brand as a liberal hub
attractive to foreigners.
2021 Dec 19, United Nations
human rights envoy Tom Andrews warned that a decision by Bangladesh
to close schools for Rohingya refugees risks leaving a generation of
children "practically uneducated".