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Monday, December 29, 1997

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  • "The death penalty is for all intents and purposes dead in this case."

    -- Denver trial attorney Scott Robinson on the possibility of Terry Nichols receiving the death penalty.

    Today's events

  • Kenya holds presidential and general elections.

  • The jury considering the fate of Terry Nichols returns to hear testimony of victims and witnesses for Nichols before they decide whether he should get the death penalty for conspiring to blow up the federal building in Oklahoma City.

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    On the horizon

  • 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 1170, Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, was murdered by four knights acting on the orders of England's King Henry II.

  • In 1845, Texas became the 28th state to join the union.

  • In 1859, the first iron-hulled armored warship, Britain's HMS Warrior, was launched.

  • In 1874, Alfonso XII, son of the deposed Queen Isabella, was proclaimed king of Spain.

  • In 1890, more than 200 Sioux men, women and children were massacred by U.S. troops at Wounded Knee, South Dakota.

  • In 1911, Sun Yat Sen became the first president of the Chinese Republic.

  • In 1914, the battle of Sarikamis began between Turkey and Russia. Although superior in numbers, the Turks were defeated in five days of fighting, losing 77,000 men.

  • In 1937, the constitution of the Republic of Ireland came into effect.

  • In 1940, German aircraft dropped thousands of incendiary bombs on the center of London, causing the worst fire damage since the great fire of 1666. St Paul's Cathedral survived but eight other Wren churches along with the Guildhall and Old Bailey were badly damaged.

  • In 1944, Soviet tanks entered Budapest in World War II.

  • In 1952, the first transistor hearing aid was marketed in the United States.

  • In 1965, North Vietnamese President Ho Chi Minh rejected unconditional peace talks offered by the United States.

  • In 1972, 16 survivors from an Andes plane crash were rescued more than three months after the plane they were traveling on went down. Those rescued later revealed they had survived by eating passengers who were killed in the crash.

  • In 1981, U.S. President Ronald Reagan announced economic sanctions to be imposed against the Soviet Union because of its alleged role in the imposition of martial law in Poland.

  • In 1986, Harold Macmillan, prime minister of Britain from 1957-63, died.

  • In 1989, playwright Vaclav Havel, jailed for five years for his human rights activities and long denounced in the Communist media as an enemy of the state, was sworn in as president of Czechoslovakia.

  • In 1992, President Daniel arap Moi won Kenya's first multi-party elections in 26 years.

  • In 1992, the Yugoslav parliament voted to oust Prime Minister Milan Panic from office.

  • In 1995, French air force cargo plane landed at the Bosnian city of Mostar, becoming the first aircraft to do so since 1992.

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    New York City celebrates its 100th birthday Thursday. To learn more about the city's history, click on and visit New York's 100th Anniversary page


    Holidays and more

  • Costa Rica celebrates National Holiday.

  • Nepal marks His Majesty the King's Birthday.

  • Actress Mary Tyler Moore is 61.

  • Actor Jon Voight is 59.

  • Actor Ted Danson is 50.

  • Actor Ed Flanders is 63.

  • Novelist William Gaddis is 75.

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

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