Today in History – Friday, Dec. 18, 2015


Today is Friday, Dec. 18, the 352nd day of 2015. There are 13 days left in the year.

Highlights in history on this date:

1559 – Queen Elizabeth I sends aid to Scots.

1792 – Thomas Paine is tried in England in his absence for publishing “The Rights Of Man.”

1865 – Slavery is officially abolished in the United States.

1890 – Frederick Lugard occupies Uganda for the British East Africa Company.

1903 – The U.S.-Panama treaty places Canal Zone in United States’ hands in perpetuity for annual rent.

1927 – Chiang Kai-Shek overthrows the Hankow government in China.

1940 – Adolf Hitler signs a secret directive ordering preparations for a Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. Operation Barbarossa is launched in June 1941.

1948 – Dutch renew offensive in Indonesia and capture the Sukarno government.

1956 – Japan is admitted to United Nations.

1957 – The Shippingport Atomic Power Station in Pennsylvania, the first civilian nuclear facility to generate electricity in the United States, goes into operation.

1958 – The first communications satellite broadcast is made in the United States.

1969 – Britain’s Parliament abolishes the death penalty for murder.

1970 – Divorce law goes into effect in Italy despite opposition by Roman Catholic Church.

1972 – The United States begins the heaviest bombing of North Vietnam during the Vietnam War. The bombardment ends 12 days later.

1973 – Syria refuses to attend Middle East peace talks in Geneva.

1979 – Hundreds of Salvadoran troops storm two ranches and a slaughterhouse in El Salvador, killing 35 persons occupying the sites.

1987 – Ivan F. Boesky is sentenced to three years in prison for plotting Wall Street’s biggest insider-trading scandal.

1990 – The Taj Mahal reopens after being closed to tourists due to sectarian violence that took 11 lives in three days of fighting in the Indian city of Agra.

1991 – Inkatha leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi withdraws from negotiations on ending apartheid in South Africa.

1992 – Ruling party leader Kim Young-sam accepts victory as South Korea’s first civilian president after 32 years of military rule.

1994 – Former Communists win Bulgarian elections.

1995 – Risking the wrath of animal rights activists worldwide, Canada says it will increase its seal harvest quota by 34 percent, allowing 250,000 harp seals to be killed.

1999 – Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga is blinded in her right eye in one of two separatist Tamil Tiger rebel suicide bombings. The bombs kill 33 people and injure 137.

2001 – A U.S. District Judge vacates the death sentence of Mumia Abu-Jamal, the former journalist and Black Panther convicted in the 1981 shooting of a Philadelphia police officer. Abu Jamal’s case is a cause-celebre for leftists and death penalty opponents worldwide.

2006 – Chief prosecutor in ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s trial presents memos from Hussein’s office approving chemical attacks against Kurdish villages, the most serious evidence against him in his genocide trial.

2007 – Ukraine’s parliament elects the fiery Yulia Tymoshenko prime minister by the narrowest possible margin, in a striking political comeback likely to strengthen Ukraine’s ties to the West and aggravate tensions with Russia.

2009 – President Barack Obama says the United States, China and several other countries reached an “unprecedented breakthrough” to curb greenhouse gas emissions after a frenzied day of diplomacy at the U.N. climate talks in Copenhagen.

2011 – The last U.S. soldiers roll out of Iraq across the border into neighboring Kuwait, marking the end of a bitterly divisive war.

2014 — Many Cubans hope restoration of diplomatic ties with the U.S. will mean access to things taken for granted elsewhere and lift a struggling socialist economy where staples like meat, cooking oil and toilet paper are often hard to come by.

Today’s Birthdays:

Elizabeth Petrovina, Empress of Russia (1709-1762); Carl Maria von Weber, German composer (1786-1826); Robert Moses, U.S. public works planner (1888-1981); Ossie Davis, U.S. actor (1917-2005); Stephen Biko, South African anti-apartheid activist (1946-1977); Keith Richards, English rock musician (1943–); Steven Spielberg, U.S. film director (1946–); Brad Pitt, U.S. actor (1963–); Katie Holmes, U.S. actress (1978–); Christina Aguilera, U.S. pop singer (1980–).

Thought For Today:

The only thing we have to fear on this planet is man — Carl Jung, Swiss psychologist (1875-1961).

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