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Sunday, December 14, 1997

  • Today's Events
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  • "I've seen so many terrified children (thrust upon Santa's lap). I don't know how you cannot conceive that that's abusive."

    -- University of Buffalo professor Jim Hoot

    Today's event

  • The South African Truth Commission is due to expire.

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    On the horizon

  • On Monday, December 15, Guyana holds presidential and parliamentary elections.

  • 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 elections.

  • On Friday, December 19, the verdict in the trial of a 75-year-old German charged with participating in a World War II massacre of Jews in Ukraine is expected in a Cologne courtroom.

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    On this day

  • In 1417, Sir John Oldcastle, a leader of the Lollards religious sect, was hanged and burned in Britain. Considered to be the model for Shakespeare's character Falstaff.

  • In 1799, George Washington died. He was the first president of the United States (1789-1797) and showed his leadership in the American Revolution.

  • In 1819, Alabama became the 22nd state of the Union.

  • In 1822, the Congress of Verona, a last meeting of the powers of the Holy Alliance and Britain, ended with Britain preventing a possible intervention in revolutionary Spain.

  • In 1861, Prince Albert, consort and husband of Queen Victoria of England, died of typhoid at Windsor Castle. The grief-stricken queen went into a long period of mourning.

  • In 1900, Max Planck first published his Quantum Theory, that radiant energy comes in small indivisible packets and was not continuous as previously thought.

  • In 1911, Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen and his three companions became the first to reach the South Pole -- 35 days ahead of Capt. Scott.

  • In 1918, women in Britain voted for the first time in a general election and were allowed to stand as candidates. The first to be elected was Irish nationalist Countess Markievicz of Sinn Fein, who could not take her seat because she was in prison.

  • In 1918, "Gianni Schicchi," a one-act opera by Giacomo Puccini, was first performed at New York's Metropolitan opera.

  • In 1918, Sidonio Pais, the President of Portugal, was fatally wounded as he entered Rossio station in Lisbon only weeks after a previous unsuccessful assassination attempt.

  • In 1920, the first fatalities on a scheduled passenger flight occurred when an aircraft crashed into a house killing the two-person crew and two passengers at Cricklewood, London.

  • In 1927, Britain signed a treaty recognizing Iraqi independence and offering support for Iraqi admission to the League of Nations.

  • In 1935, Thomas Masaryk resigned as Czechoslovakia's first president.

  • In 1939, the League of Nations expelled the Soviet Union for aggression against Finland.

  • In 1959, Archbishop Makarios became the first president of the Republic of Cyprus.

  • In 1962, the Mariner II space probe began sending back to Earth man's first information from another planet, Venus.

  • In 1978, the U.N. General Assembly called for an oil embargo against South Africa.

  • In 1993, the European Union established diplomatic relations with South Africa, putting the final touch to a new policy of cooperation after years of isolation.

  • In 1995, leaders from former Yugoslavia signed a Bosnian peace treaty in Paris, formally ending Europe's worst conflict since World War II and opening the way for thousands of NATO troops to move into the shattered country.

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    A federal judge has ruled that a program to reintroduce wolves in the northern Rockies where they had been wiped out in the 1930s is illegal. Learn more about the program at Yellowstone Wolf Report Page .


    Holidays and more

  • U.S. state Alabama marks its anniversary of statehood.

  • Actress Jane Birkin is 51.

  • Former baseball player Bill Buckner is 48.

  • Actress Patty Duke is 51.

  • TV news producer Don Hewitt is 75

  • Actress Dee Wallace Stone is 49.

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    Sources: Associated Press,
    Chase's Calendar of Events 1997, J.P. Morgan

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