Today in History – Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015

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Today is Tuesday, Dec. 15, the 349th day of 2015. There are 16 days left in the year.

Highlights in history on this date:

1640 – The Duke of Braganca is crowned John IV, the first king of Portugal after 60 years of Spanish rule.

1711 – The plague breaks out in Copenhagen.

1791 – Sweden’s King Gustavus III offers to head the crusade against France.

1806 – Napoleon Bonaparte enters Warsaw, Poland.

1890 – Chief Sitting Bull of the Sioux is killed during an attempt to arrest him by reservation police in the U.S. state of South Dakota.

1916 – The French defeat Germans in Battle of Verdun during World War I.

1939 – The motion picture “Gone With the Wind” premieres in Atlanta.

1944 – The plane carrying American bandleader Glenn Miller, a U.S. Army Major, disappears over the English Channel, probably the victim of bombs jettisoned from British bombers returning from an unsuccessful raid.

1952 – China rejects India’s plan for Korean armistice.

1957 – The United Nations rejects Greece’s proposal that Cyprus is entitled to self-determination.

1961 – Former Nazi Adolf Eichmann is sentenced to death in Jerusalem.

1970 – Soviet spacecraft starts sending messages from planet Venus.

1978 – U.S. President Jimmy Carter announces he would grant diplomatic recognition to Communist China on New Year’s Day and sever official relations with Taiwan.

1979 – The deposed Shah of Iran flies from the United States to “temporary” exile in Panama.

1986 – Rival ethnic groups battle in Karachi and set hundreds of homes and shops ablaze in the city’s worst rioting since Pakistan’s independence 39 years earlier.

1989 – A popular uprising begins, resulting in the downfall of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.

1991 – A ferry hits a reef and sinks off the Egyptian port of Safaga, killing nearly 500 people.

191993 – Offering the Irish Republican Army a chance that “might never come their way again,” British and Irish leaders sign a complex framework for negotiating peace in Northern Ireland.

1994 – The Swedish government decides not to salvage the bodies from the ferry Estonia, which sank in the Baltic, killing 800 people. The decision is opposed by the victims’ relatives.

1999 – Venezuelans overwhelmingly approve a new constitution that eliminates the Senate and vastly increases the power of President Hugo Chavez, allowing him to stay in office for up to 13 years.

2004 – The ex-Iraqi general known as “Chemical Ali,” who is accused of using chemical weapons attacks to kill thousands of Kurds, is announced as the first detained former Saddam Hussein regime figure to stand trial.

2005 – The U.N. reluctantly withdraws peacekeeping staff from Eritrea, saying it faced an unprecedented crisis in its monitoring of the cold peace between Eritrea and Ethiopia.

2008 – Three African armies have launched an offensive against Ugandan rebels based in eastern Congo in an attempt to end one of the continent’s longest and most brutal wars.

2010 – Police detain more than 1,000 people in Moscow and several other Russian cities after weekend rioting in the capital between racist hooligans and mostly Muslim ethnic minorities left dozens injured.

2011 – Former President Jacques Chirac is convicted of corruption related to his 18-year term as mayor of Paris, becoming France’s first leader to be convicted of crime since the end of World War II.

2013 – Chile’s once and future leader Michelle Bachelet easily wins a presidential runoff election, returning center-left parties to power by promising profound changes in response to years of street protests.

2014 — Police in Sydney, Australia storm a cafe where an Iranian-born gunman had been holding 17 workers and customers hostage in a barrage that leaves two hostages and the gunman, rocking a nation that prided itself on peace to the core.

Today’s Birthdays:

Nero, Roman emperor (AD 37- AD 68); Henri Becquerel, French chemist (1852-1908); Gustave Eiffel, French engineer (1832-1923); Maxwell Anderson, U.S. playwright (1888-1959); J. Paul Getty, U.S. oil tycoon (1892-1976); Tim Conway, U.S. comedian/actor (1933–); Don Johnson, U.S. actor (1949–); Julie Taymor, U.S. director (1952–).

Thought For Today:

History is the record of an encounter between character and circumstances — Donald Creighton, Canadian historian (1902-1979).

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