Today in History – Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015

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Today is Thursday, Dec. 17, the 351st day of 2015 There are 14 days left in the year.

Highlights in history on this date:

1531 – Pope Clement VII introduces the Inquisition to Portugal.

1538 – Pope Paul III excommunicates England’s King Henry VIII.

1718 – England declares war on Spain.

1777 – France recognizes United States’ independence.

1788 – The Russian army under Gregory Potemkin takes Ochakov on the Black Sea.

1885 – France acquires control of Madagascar’s foreign relations.

1903 – Orville and Wilbur Wright make the first successful sustained powered flights by a heavier-than-air craft, near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

1908 – The Ottoman Parliament holds first meeting.

1914 – Abbas II is deposed, and Prince Hussein Kemel becomes Khedive of Egypt, over which Britain proclaims a protectorate.

1922 – The last British troops leave the Irish Free State.

1939 – German battleship Graf Spee is scuttled off Uruguay to prevent it from falling into British hands in World War II.

1941 – Japanese troops begin invasion of North Borneo in World War II.

1944 – The U.S. Army announces the end of its policy of excluding Japanese-Americans from the West Coast.

1948 – The Dutch attack Indonesia, invade the republic’s capital of Yogyakarta, and arrest President Sukarno and other leaders.

1957 – The United States successfully test-fires the Atlas intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time.

1961 – A fire sweeps through a circus tent at Niteroi, a suburb of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, killing 323 people, mostly children, and injuring 800. A disgruntled ex-employee admits to starting the fire.

1967 – Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt disappears while swimming at Portsea, Victoria.

1969 – The U.S. Air Force closes its Project “Blue Book” by concluding there was no evidence of extraterrestrial spaceships behind thousands of UFO sightings.

1971 – India and Pakistan end a two-week war in East Pakistan — now Bangladesh.

1975 – Lynette Fromme is sentenced to life in prison for her attempt on the life of U.S. President Gerald Ford.

1985 – Uganda’s military government and its guerrilla rivals sign peace treaty dividing power and ending almost five years of civil war.

1988 – Israeli soldiers shoot and wound at least 18 Palestinians during a protest strike in occupied lands.

1991 – Boris Yeltsin and Mikhail Gorbachev agree to dissolve the Soviet Union and proclaim a new commonwealth on New Year’s Day.

1995 – Elections in Russia give the parliamentary majority to communists and their allies.

1996 – About 20 Tupac Amaru guerrillas seize the Japanese ambassador’s residence in Lima, Peru, take hundreds of diplomats and government officials hostage and demand the release of 300 imprisoned comrades.

2002 – The Congolese government and the country’s main rebel groups sign a peace accord in Pretoria, South Africa, in hopes of ending Congo’s four-year-old civil war.

2007 – A gang-rape victim sentenced to six months in prison and 200 lashes for being alone with a man not related to her is pardoned by the Saudi king after the case sparked rare criticism from the U.S., the kingdom’s top ally.

2008 – The U.N. Security Council votes unanimously to extend the investigation into the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

2011 – Flash floods devastate a southern Philippines region unaccustomed to serious storms, killing more than 400 people while they slept, rousting hundreds of others to their rooftops and turning two coastal cities into muddy, debris-filled waterways.

2013 — The arrest and alleged strip search of an Indian diplomat in New York escalates into a major diplomatic furor as India’s national security adviser called the woman’s treatment “despicable and barbaric.”

2014— The United States and Cuba move to restore diplomatic relations after a half-century of Cold War acrimony.

Today’s Birthdays

Domenico Cimarosa, Italian composer (1749-1801); Ludwig van Beethoven, German composer (1770-1827); Ford Madox Ford, English author (1873-1939); Arthur Fielder, U.S. conductor (1894-1979); Erskine Caldwell, U.S. author (1903-1987); Kerry Packer, Australian media magnate (1937-2005); William Safire, U.S. newspaper columnist (1929–2009); Abbe Lane, U.S singer/actress (1932— );Jane Birkin, British actress/singer (1946— ).

Thought For Today:

You have no idea how big the other fellow’s troubles are … Bertie Charles Forbes, Scottish journalist (1880-1954).

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