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Sunday, December 28, 1997

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  • "I appeal to everyone ... for God's sake, hold things tight for the next 24, 48 hours, and let's try and see if we can bring to account properly those who are responsible for this chaos."

    -- Ken Maginnis, head of the pro-British Ulster Unionist Force, on the Saturday assassination of a Protestant militant in Northern Ireland.

    Today's events

  • National Football League wild-card playoff games are held.

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    On the horizon

  • On Monday, December 29, Kenya holds presidential and general elections.

  • On Tuesday, December 30, World Universities' Debating Championships will be held in Athens, Greece.

  • On Wednesday, December 31, Luxembourg relinquishes its six-month rotating presidency of the European Union.

  • On Thursday, January 1, Britain assumes presidency of the European Union.

  • On Friday, January 2, World Chess Championship finals begin in Lausanne, Switzerland.

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    On this day

  • In 1694, Queen Mary II, queen of England from 1689, died of smallpox leaving William III to reign on his own.

  • In 1832, John Caldwell Calhoun resigned as U.S. vice-president, one of only two vice presidents in American history to do so.

  • In 1846, Iowa became the 29th of the United States.

  • In 1869, William F. Semple of Mount Vernon, Ohio, became the first person to receive a patent for chewing gum.

  • In 1895, the Lumiere brothers -- Antoine and Louis -- unveiled their Cinematograph in the basement of the Grand Cafe in Paris. Only 33 people paid to see it.

  • In 1908, more than 82,000 people were killed in an earthquake that reduced the Sicilian town of Messina to rubble. A tidal wave that followed caused more devastation.

  • In 1923, Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel, renowned for the tower in Paris that bears his name, died.

  • In 1947, Victor Emmanuel III, king of Italy from 1900-46, died. His reign brought an end to the Italian monarchy.

  • In 1948, months of social unrest and violence in Egypt culminated in the assassination of then-Prime Minister Nokrashy Pasha.

  • In 1972, Palestinian Black September guerrillas captured the Israeli embassy in Bangkok and took six hostages. The next day the hostages were freed and the guerrillas were flown to Cairo.

  • In 1985, after four months of negotiations, a Syrian-brokered cease-fire was reached between Lebanon's Muslim and Christian militias.

  • In 1989, the Czechoslovak parliament elected Alexander Dubcek as its chairman, returning him to public office for the first time since 1968 when the "Prague Spring" liberalization movement he led was put down by Soviet tanks.

  • In 1993, Russian ultra-nationalist leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky was ordered to leave Bulgaria within 24 hours for insulting President Zhelyu Zhelev.

  • In 1994, then-CIA director James Woolsey resigned following criticism of his handling of the Aldrich Ames spy scandal.

  • In 1995, Iran and Russia concluded a 10-year agreement for cooperation in the military, oil, energy and other fields.

  • In 1995, China named the committee responsible for steering Hong Kong through its handover from British rule to China.

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    Denver Pyle, the sagely Uncle Jesse from TV's "The Dukes of Hazzard" and a veteran actor in movie and TV Westerns, died on Christmas Day of lung cancer. He was 77. For more on the Duke boys and Uncle Jessie, try this compilation of "Dukes of Hazzard" links.


    Holidays and more

  • Bangladesh marks Shab-e-Barat.

  • Actor Gerard Depardieu is 49.

  • Actress Tovah Feldshuh is 45.

  • Fashion designer Bernard Lanvin is 62.

  • Comedienne Anna Russell is 86.

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

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