Sunday, December 28, 1997
National Football League wild-card playoff games are held.
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
On Friday, January 2, World Chess Championship finals begin in Lausanne, Switzerland.
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
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
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.
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.
Sources: Associated Press,
Chase's Calendar of Events 1997, J.P. Morgan