Saturday, December 13, 1997
U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright visits South
On the horizon
On Sunday, December 14, the South African Truth Commission
is due to expire.
On Monday, December 15, Guyana holds presidential and
On Tuesday, December 16, Nelson Mandela is to step down as South
Africa's African National Congress president.
On Wednesday, December 17, the undocking of the Progress
M-36 cargo ship from the Mir space station is scheduled.
On Thursday, December 18, South Korea holds presidential
On this day
In 1250, Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor and King of
Germany and Sicily, died and was succeeded by Conrad IV.
In 1545, the Council of Trent, summoned by Pope Paul III in
May 1542, finally met to discuss doctrinal matters,
especially the rise of Protestantism.
In 1577, Francis Drake began a voyage from Plymouth,
England, in the "Golden Hind" that was to take him around
In 1642, New Zealand was discovered by the Dutch navigator
Abel Tasman. Several of his men were killed in attempting to
land when Maoris interpreted an exchange of trumpet fanfares
as a prelude to battle.
In 1862, in the American Civil War, Gen. Robert E. Lee
with 80,000 Confederates repulsed Gen. Burnside with his
150,000 Federals at the Battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia. After hard
fighting along the Massaponax River, Burnside lost almost
In 1884, the first coin-operated weighing machine was
patented by Percy Everitt.
In 1937, Japanese forces took the Chinese city of Nanking
(Nanjing). Over the following six weeks, in one of the worst
atrocities of World War II, they killed an estimated
200,000 Chinese in what became known as the "Rape of
In 1939, in World War II, the battle of the River Plate
took place off the coast of South America between the
British cruisers Exeter, Ajax and Achilles and the German
battleship Graf Spee.
In 1941, British forces retreated to Hong Kong island as the
invading Japanese army took Kowloon and the New Territories.
In 1967, King Constantine of Greece and his family fled the
country after a counter-coup failed to topple the
In 1979, in Canada, Prime Minister Joe Clark's
7-month-old Progressive Conservative government was
defeated in a vote of no confidence in parliament.
In 1981, the Polish government imposed martial law and took
its strongest step so far to stifle Solidarity's
unprecedented challenge against Communist rule.
In 1983, civilian Turgut Ozal became prime minister of
Turkey after three years of military rule.
In 1991, North and South Korea signed a non-aggression
accord aimed at improving their often rocky ties.
In 1993, the European Community ratified a treaty creating
the world's largest trade bloc, the European Economic Area, to come into
effect on January 1 1994.
In 1995, Chinese dissident Wei Jingsheng, a 1995 Nobel Peace
Prize nominee, was imprisoned for 14 years for subversive
In 1996, ministers and officials from 128 countries adopted
a wide-ranging final declaration at the end of the five-day
World Trade Organization conference in Singapore.
Holidays and more
Malta celebrates Republic Day.
Sri Lanka celebrates Unduwap Full Moon Poya Day and National
Comedian TIm Conway is 64.
Entertainer John Davidson is 56.
Football player Richard Dent is 37.
Singer Ted Nugent is 48.
Actor Christopher Plummer is 68.
Actor Dick Van Dyke is 72.
Sources: Associated Press,
Chase's Calendar of Events 1997, J.P. Morgan