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Events, deaths, births, of 16 DEC

[For Dec 16 Julian go to Gregorian date: 1582~1699: Dec 261700s: Dec 271800s: Dec 281900~2099: Dec 29]
On a December 16:
2000 President-elect George W. Bush announces that he has selected the first Black to be US Secretary of State, general Colin Powell.
1996 Underscoring the importance of parents' rights to their children, The US Supreme Court rules that states must let parents appeal orders terminating their parental rights, even when they cannot afford court fees.
1996 Former South Korean President Chun Doo-hwan, condemned to death for a 1979 coup and a deadly military crackdown, had his sentence commuted to life imprisonment.

1996 IBM discontinues most PowerPCs
      IBM announces that it will stop selling computers that used that PowerPC chip and ran Windows NT. IBM, Motorola, and Apple had teamed up to challenge Intel Corporation's dominance in chips and Microsoft's near monopoly on operating systems. However, IBM failed to sell large quantities of PowerPC computers and decided to discontinue most of the line. IBM had already abandoned efforts to develop a version of its operating system, OS/2, to run on the PowerPC. IBM said it would continue making PowerPCs to run IBM's AIX operating system and Apple's Macintosh system.

1993 The imminent passage of NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) stimulates the Dow Industrial Average to a record high of 3710.77.
1992 IBM announces its first layoffs in fifty years: 25'000 employees. It will also dispose of some its mainframe business, which has been losing ground to personal computers.
1992 Israel orders deportation of 415 Palestinians after escalating terrorist activity.
1991 By a vote of 111 to 25, the UN General Assembly rescinded its 1975 resolution equating Zionism with racism.
1988 Political cult leader Lyndon LaRouche convicted of tax, mail fraud
1987 Roh Tae Woo wins Presidential Election in South Korea
1983 Riverside, Cal judge denies cerebral palsy victim Elizabeth Bouviato request to starve herself to death in a county hospital
1982 Reagonomics hurts US economy
      The US economy is adversely affected by Reaganomics, President Ronald Reagan's strategy of tax cuts and spending hikes. And, throughout 1982, the government released a stream of financial statistics which suggested that the situation was only growing worse. In July, the Census Bureau announced that the poverty rate had risen to 14 percent, which marked a rapid-fire 7.4 percent increase over its mark in 1980. That same November, the Labor Department revealed that the cost of living had suffered a 6 percent increase during the past twelve months. And, on December 16, the Federal Reserve released a report indicating that the operating capacity of US factories had plummeted to 67.8 percent, the nation's lowest mark since the indicator was introduced in 1948.
1978 Cleveland, Ohio, becomes the first city in the post-Depression era to default on its loans. Plagued by political sniping between its mayor and city council, as well as an eroding economic base, Cleveland accumulated $14 million in debt to a number of local banks.
1976 The US government halted its swine flu vaccination program following reports of paralysis apparently linked to the vaccine.
1972 North Vietnamese have left peace talks
      Henry Kissinger announces at a news conference in Washington that the North Vietnamese have walked out of the ongoing private negotiations in Paris. President Richard Nixon turned to private negotiations in August 1969 because of the all but total impasse in the official negotiations that had been in session since May 1968. The fact that these private talks were being conducted was not disclosed until January 25, 1972, when Nixon, in response to criticism that his administration had not made its best efforts to end the war, revealed that Kissinger had been conducting secret negotiations with North Vietnamese representatives in Paris. Although Kissinger had been able to make some progress in the private negotiations, the talks failed to achieve what President Nixon regarded as "just and fair agreement to end the war. “
      The central disagreement between Kissinger and the North Vietnamese negotiators was over the question of who would rule South Vietnam after any negotiated cease-fire. The North Vietnamese negotiators, headed by Le Duc Tho, demanded that the government of Nguyen Van Thieu be dissolved, that the South Vietnamese army be disbanded, and that a coalition government be installed, which would then negotiate for a truce. At the same time, the South Vietnamese were making their own demands. Over 100,000 North Vietnamese troops had occupied territory in South Vietnam during the 1972 Easter Offensive. Nguyen Van Thieu demanded that the North Vietnamese recognize Saigon's sovereignty over South Vietnam, which would make the continued presence of the North Vietnamese troops in the south illegal. The North Vietnamese refused Thieu's demands, saying that they would not recognize Thieu's government and walked out of the negotiations.
      Kissinger charged that Hanoi was to blame for the failure to reach an agreement, and asserted that the US would not be blackmailed or stampeded into an agreement. North Vietnam criticized the US for breaking the agreement to maintain silence on the private negotiations. Nixon issued an ultimatum to Hanoi to send its representatives back to the conference table within 72 hours "or else. “ The North Vietnamese rejected Nixon's demand on December 18, and the president gave the order to launch Operation Linebacker II, an intensified bombing campaign of North Vietnam. Over the next 11 days--with the exception of Christmas Day--the "Christmas bombing" continued unabated. In all, roughly tons of bombs over North Vietnam, and Air Force and Navy fighter-bombers added another 5000 tons. On December 28, the North Vietnamese agreed to Nixon's conditions for re-opening the negotiations and the next day, the president called an end to Linebacker II.
1971 Pakistan army surrenders to Indian army in Bangladesh.
      Two weeks after the Indian invasion of East Pakistan in support of the independence movement there, 90,000 Pakistani troops surrender to the Indian forces. East Pakistan was subsequently declared the independent nation of Bangladesh. At the end of British rule in the Indian subcontinent in 1947, East Pakistan was declared a possession of Pakistan to the west, despite the fact that the two regions were separated by over 1,000 miles of Indian territory. Although the two Pakistans shared the Islamic religion, significant cultural and racial differences existed between the regions, and by the late 1960s East Pakistan began to call for greater autonomy from West Pakistan. In March 1971, the independence of Bangladesh was proclaimed and West Pakistani forces were called in to suppress the revolt. An estimated one million Bengalis--the largest ethnic group in Bangladesh--were killed by the Pakistani forces during the next several months, while over 10 million more took refuge in India. In December, India, which had provided substantial clandestine aid to the East Pakistani independence movement, launched a massive invasion of the region and routed the West Pakistani occupation forces. In 1974, Pakistan agreed to recognize the independence of Bangladesh.
1970 1st successful landing on Venus (USSR)
1965 US commander in Vietnam requests more troops
      General William Westmoreland, Commander of US Military Assistance Command Vietnam, sends a request for more troops. With nearly 200'000 US military personnel in South Vietnam already, Westmoreland sent Defense Secretary Robert McNamara a message stating that he would need an additional 243'000 men by the end of 1966. Citing a rapidly deteriorating military situation in which the South Vietnamese were losing the equivalent of an infantry battalion (500 soldiers) a week in battle, Westmoreland predicted that he would need a total of 600'000 men by the end of 1967 to defeat the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese. Although the high tide of US troop strength in South Vietnam never reached the 600'000, there were more than 540'000 US soldiers in South Vietnam by 1969.
1962 Constitutional Monarchical Hindu State of Nep l adopts new constitution
1950 US state of emergency, because of Chinese intervention in Korea
      In the wake of the massive Chinese intervention in the Korean War, President Harry S. Truman declares a state of emergency. Proclaiming that "Communist imperialism" threatened the world's people, Truman called upon the American people to help construct an "arsenal of freedom. “
      In November, the stakes in the Korean War dramatically escalated with the intervention of hundreds of thousands of communist Chinese troops. Prior to their arrival on the battlefield, the US forces seemed on the verge of victory in Korea. Just days after General Douglas MacArthur declared an "end the war offensive," however, massive elements of the Chinese army smashed into the American lines and drove the US forces back. The "limited war" in Korea threatened to turn into a widespread conflict. Against this backdrop, Truman issued his state of emergency and the US military-industrial complex went into full preparations for a possible third world war. The president's proclamation vastly expanded his executive powers and gave Mobilization Director Charles E. Wilson nearly unlimited authority to coordinate the country's defense program. Such an increase in government power had not been seen since World War II.
      The Soviet Union, which Truman blamed for most of the current world problems in the course of his speech, blasted the United States for "warmongering. “ Congress, most of America's allies, and the American people appeared to be strongly supportive of the President's tough talk and actions. Truman's speech, and the events preceding it, indicated that the Cold War-so long a battle of words and threats-had become an actual military reality. The Korean War lasted from 1950 to 1953.
1949 Chinese Communist leader Mao Tse-tung is received at the Kremlin in Moscow.
1949 Future SAAB makes its first car
      A Swedish company by the name of Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget produced its first motorcar. In 1965 the concern changed its name to Saab Aktiebolag, and a few years later simply to Saab. The first Saab automobiles were engineered with the precision of fighter planes--the company's other main product. Today Saab is a huge multinational corporation, whose cars are known as safe, reliable, high-performance vehicles. 1979 1979 Oil Prices Climb Higher Libya joined four other OPEC nations in raising the price of crude oil. Since the US bought much of its oil from Libya, the price hike had an almost immediate effect on American gas prices. Gas became costly, and the cost of motoring rose. Heating-oil prices also jumped--a tough blow at the beginning of winter.
1948 James Brunot (who died in October 1984) registers the trademark Scrabble for the Criss-Cross-Words game he had modified after acquiring it from its inventor Alfred Mosher Butts (who died on 04 April 1993).
1944 Battle of the Bulge begins.
      The Germans start the last major offensive of the war, Operation Mist, also known as the Ardennes Offensive and the Battle of the Bulge, an attempt to push the Allied front line west from northern France to northwestern Belgium. The Battle of the Bulge, so-called because the Germans created a "bulge" around the area of the Ardennes forest in pushing through the US Army's defensive line, was the largest fought on the Western front.
      The Germans threw 250'000 soldiers into the initial assault, 14 German infantry divisions guarded by five panzer divisions-against a mere 80'000 Americans. Their assault came in early morning at the weakest part of the Allied line, a 135-km poorly protected stretch of hilly, woody forest (the Allies simply believed the Ardennes too difficult to traverse, and therefore an unlikely location for a German offensive). Between the vulnerability of the thin, isolated US units and the thick fog that prevented Allied air cover from discovering German movement, the Germans were able to push the US troops into retreat.
      One particularly effective German trick was the use of English-speaking German commandos who infiltrated American lines and, using captured US uniforms, trucks, and jeeps, impersonated US military and sabotaged communications. The ploy caused widespread chaos and suspicion among the US troops as to the identity of fellow soldiers--even after the ruse was discovered. Even General Omar Bradley himself had to prove his identity three times--by answering questions about football and Betty Grable--before being allowed to pass a sentry point.
      The battle raged for three weeks, resulting in a massive loss of American and civilian life. Nazi atrocities abounded, including the murder of 72 American soldiers by SS soldiers in the Ardennes town of Malmedy. By war's end, of the 600'000 GIs involved, almost 20'000 were killed, another 20'000 were captured, and 40'000 were wounded. The United States also suffered its second-largest surrender of troops of the war: More than 7500 members of the 106th Infantry Division capitulated at one time at Schnee Eifel. The devastating ferocity of the conflict also made desertion an issue for the US troops; General Eisenhower felt that he had to make an example of Private Eddie Slovik, the first American executed for desertion since the Civil War.
      The Battle of the Bulge would not end until better weather enabled American aircraft to bomb and strafe German positions.
1941 Sarawak occupied by the Japanese
1940 British make an air raid on Italian Somalia.
1936 Tchang Hieue-leang (= Zhang Xueliang) invite Tchang Kaï-chek à Si-ngnan (= Xian), où ses soldats le séquestrent sans façon pendant une dizaine de jours. Tchang Hieue-leang tente de convaincre le généralissime chinois, dont il est l'un des favoris, de la nécessité de s'allier avec les communistes de Mao Tsé-toung pour mieux lutter contre les envahisseurs japonais. Le généralissime feindra de s'incliner et, malgré l'alliance tactique entre les deux ennemis, les Japonais n'en occuperont pas moins la plus grande partie de la Chine utile après leur ultimatum du 15 Jul 1937.
1930 In Spain, a general strike is called in support of the revolution.
1909 US pressure forces Nicaraguan President Jose Santos Zelaya from office
1908 1st credit union in US formed, Manchester, NH
1907 Great White Fleet sails from Hampton Downs on its World Cruise
1904 Japanese warships quit Port Arthur in order to cut off the Russian Baltic fleet's advance.
1897 1st submarine with an internal combustion engine demonstrated
1864 Battle of Nashville, Tennessee concludes: On the afternoon of December 16, 1864, Union troops led by General George H. Thomas devastated Confederate forces at Nashville, Tennessee. The battle had begun the day before when Thomas initiated an attack after waiting some two weeks for troop reinforcements and favorable weather.
1863 Skirmish at Salem, Virginia
1863 Confederate General Joseph Johnston takes command the Army of Tennessee, replacing Lt. General William Hardee.
1863 Johnston named commander of Reb Army of Tennessee
      Confederate President Jefferson Davis names General Joseph Johnston commander of the Army of Tennessee. Johnston replaced Braxton Bragg, who managed to lose all of Tennessee to the Union during 1863. A Virginia native, Johnston graduated from West Point in 1829 along with Robert E. Lee. Johnston fought in the Black Hawk, Creek, and Seminole wars of the 1830s before serving with distinction in the Mexican War. When Virginia seceded from the Union after the firing on Fort Sumter, Johnston joined his native state and accepted a commission in the Confederate army. He fought at the First Battle of Bull Run and commanded the Army of Northern Virginia during the early stages of the Peninsular Campaign in 1862. When he was wounded at the Battle of Seven Pines on 31 May, Lee replaced Johnston.
      After recovering from his wounds, Johnston was sent to coordinate the operations of the armies the Tennessee and Mississippi regions. Since he did not have a command of his own, Johnston resented this duty. In 1863, Johnston made a futile attempt to relieve John C. Pemberton's army at Vicksburg. He wanted Pemberton to fight his way out of Vicksburg, but Union General Ulysses S. Grant had Pemberton trapped. The surrender of Pemberton's army put additional stress on the already strained relationship between Johnston and President Davis.
      After the campaigns of 1863, however, Davis felt he had little choice but to name Johnston commander of the Army of Tennessee. The Confederates were losing large sections of territory to the Union. Bragg was literally maneuvered right out of Tennessee during the summer, although he engineered a victory at Chickamauga before laying siege to Union troops at Chattanooga. When Grant broke the Confederate hold on Chattanooga in November, Bragg resigned his command.
      Davis reluctantly appointed Johnston to save the situation in the West. Johnston took the field with his army in the spring of 1864, when Union General William T. Sherman began his drive toward Atlanta. Johnston employed a defensive strategy that avoided direct battle with Sherman but which also resulted in lost territory as Johnston slowly backed up to Atlanta. Johnston's command lasted until July 1864, when Davis replaced Johnston after the Army of the Tennessee was backed into Atlanta.
1862 Kingdom of Nepal accepts its constitution
1838 Boers beat Zulu chieftain Dingaan in South Africa
1835 A fire in New York City destroys property estimated to be worth $20'000'000. It lasts two days, ravages 17 blocks, and destroys 674 buildings including the Stock Exchange, Merchants' Exchange, Post Office, and the South Dutch Church.
1826 Republic of Fredonia proclaimed against Mexico by Texas adventurer.
      In an act that foreshadowed the American rebellions to come, Benjamin Edwards rides into Mexican-controlled Nacogdoches, Texas, and proclaims himself the ruler of the Republic of Fredonia.
      The brother of a corrupt backer of an American colony in Texas, Benjamin Edwards made the bold (and perhaps foolish) decision to rebel against the Mexican government while his brother was away in the United States raising money for his colony. Under the empresario system--which was created by the Mexican government in the 1820s to encourage colonization of its northern provinces--men like the Edwards were allowed to settle Anglo families in Texas. However, many of the Anglo settlers retained stronger ties to the United States than to Mexico, and Benjamin Edwards hoped that many former Americans would support his attempt to split from Mexico. Accompanied by a force of about 30 men, Edwards seized a stone fort in Nacogdoches and declared that the new "Republic of Fredonia" was now independent of Mexican control. Edwards claimed his new nation extended from the Sabine River to the Rio Grande River, and would be governed under the principles of "Independence, Liberty, and Justice. “
      In a bid to build up a defense against the Mexican soldiers who were on their way to quell the rebellion, Edwards quickly negotiated an agreement with the Cherokee Indians offering to share Texas in exchange for military aid. Edwards was less successful in winning the support of the local Anglo and Mexican inhabitants of Nacogdoches, in whose name he was supposedly acting. When the Mexican militia approached Nacogdoches six weeks later, Edwards' ill-planned revolution quickly disintegrated and he fled to the United States for sanctuary.
      While short-lived and premature, Edwards' Fredonian Rebellion nonetheless reflected the growing tensions between the American colonialists in Texas and their Mexican rulers. Less than a decade later, in 1835, other Texans followed in Edwards' footsteps and staged the far more successful revolution that established the independent Republic of Texas.
1811 Earthquakes rocks the US wilderness
      At the Mississippi River Valley near New Madrid, Missouri, the greatest series of earthquakes in US history begins when a quake of an estimated 8.6 magnitude on the Richter scale rocks the region. Although the earthquake greatly changed the topography of the region, the area was only sparsely inhabited at the time and there were no known fatalities. The earthquake raised and lowered parts of the Mississippi Valley by as much as fifteen feet, changed the course of the Mississippi River, and actually caused the river to momentarily reverse its direction, giving rise to Reelfoot Lake in northwest Tennessee. An 80'000-square-kilometer area was affected, although tremors were felt as far away as the Eastern coast of the United States, where the shock was recorded to have rung church bells. Many people believe it foretells the end of the world, and black slaves rejoice aloud that now their owners are "going to get it. “
      Additional earthquakes and aftershocks continued throughout the winter and into the spring, and of the approximately 2000 seismic vibrations felt during the period, five were estimated to be at an 8.0 or more magnitude. The New Madrid Fault system extends 200 km southward from the area of Charleston, Missouri, to Marked Tree, Arkansas, and crosses through five states--Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Arkansas. An earthquake of about 6.0 magnitude or greater occurs about every eighty years, and the catastrophic upheavals of the type reported in the winter of 1811 to 1812 occur about every five or six hundred years.
1809 Napoléon Bonaparte divorces Empress Joséphine by an act of the French Senate.
1773 The Boston Tea Party.
      In Boston Harbor, a group of Massachusetts colonists disguised as Mohawk Indians board three British tea ships, and dump 342 chests of tea into the harbor. The midnight raid, popularly known as the "Boston Tea Party," was in protest of the British Parliament's Tea Act of 1773, which granted the East India Company a monopoly on the American tea trade by greatly lowering its tea tax. The low tea taxes allowed the East India Company to undercut even tea smuggled out of America, and many colonists viewed the act as another example of taxation without representation. When three tea ships, the Dartmouth, the Eleanor, and the Beaver, arrived in Boston Harbor, the colonists demanded that the tea be returned to England. After Massachusetts Governor Thomas Hutchinson refused, Patriot leader Samuel Adams organized the "tea party" with about sixty members of the "Sons of Liberty. “ The destroyed tea was valued at approximately ten thousand pounds. Parliament, outraged by the Boston Tea Party and other blatant destruction of British property, enacted the Coercive Acts, also known as the Intolerable Acts, the following year. The colonists responded by calling the first Continental Congress to consider a united American resistance against the British
"Tea-Party" à Boston
      Dans le grand port de la colonie anglaise du Massachusetts, Samuel Adams et quelques colons déguisés en Indiens montent sur un vaisseau à l'ancre et jettent sa cargaison de thé à l'eau (343 caisses d'une valeur de 100'000 livres). Cette manifestation d'humeur fait suite à une longue série de malentendus entre la colonie et le gouvernement de Londres (les colons gardent le souvenir du "massacre" du 05 mars 1770, où 5 des leurs furent tués à Boston lors d'une échauffourée). Les colons affichent leur loyauté à la couronne mais se plaignent de ne pas être représentés au Parlement de Westminster. La coupe déborde lorsque celui-ci supprime une modeste taxe sur les importations de thé en Angleterre mais la maintient sur le thé destiné aux colonies d'Amérique. L'arrivée à Boston de trois navires de la Compagnie des Indes chargés de thé incite les colons et les importateurs à passer à l'action. Le roi George III répond à la "Tea-party" par cinq "lois intolérables" qui sanctionnent la colonie et ferment le port de Boston en attendant le remboursement de la cargaison de thé par les habitants. Face à cette décision arbitraire de Londres, toutes les colonies d'Amérique font cause commune avec le Massachusetts. De protestation en algarade, après la fusillade de Lexington, le conflit entre la monarchie anglaise et ses Treize Colonies finira par déboucher sur la déclaration d'Indépendance et la naissance des États-Unis d'Amérique.
1689 English Parliament adopts Bill of Rights after Glorious Revolution
1653 Cromwell becomes Lord Protector (dictator).
      Oliver Cromwell, a leader of the Parliamentarians in the two English civil wars and ruler of England since 1649, is proclaimed "lord protector" of England, Scotland, and Ireland, a title resembling that of the abolished monarchy. When the first English civil war broke out between the Parliamentarians and the king's Royalist forces in 1642, Cromwell formed his formidable Ironsides force, and won an important victory at Marston Moor in 1644. As a leader of the New Model Army in the second English civil war, Cromwell repelled the Royalist invasion of Scotland, and in 1949 brought King Charles I to trial, where he was the leading voice demanding the king's execution. Charles was subsequently beheaded, the monarchy abolished, and Cromwell was named leader of the new republican Commonwealth. By 1651, he had united the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and in 1652 became lord protector after failing in his effort to establish a new parliamentary government. As lord protector, Cromwell established the Puritan Church in England, but also promoted religious tolerance for most other Christian groups and Jews. In 1658, Cromwell died and was succeeded by his son, Richard Cromwell. However, in 1659, Richard was forced to flee to France with the restoration of the monarchy, and his father was posthumously convicted of treason. Oliver Cromwell's body was subsequently disinterred from the tomb of the kings in London's Westminster Abbey, and hung from the gallows at Tyburn.
Oliver Cromwell publie une Constitution sous le nom de "Instrument of Government". Ce texte désigne le vainqueur de Charles 1er comme le "lord-protecteur" d'Angleterre, d'Ecosse et d’Irlande. Il consacre dans les faits la dictature personnelle de Cromwell.
1600 Henri IV épouse Marie de Médicis
      Le roi de France se résout à répudier Margot, fille de Catherine de Médicis, qu’il avait épousée le 18 août 1572, peu avant le massacre de la Saint Barthélémy (24 Aug), et n’avait pu lui donner d’héritier. La Reine Margot ne manquait pas d'amants pour la consoler de son amertume. La nouvelle épouse d'Henri IV est une lointaine cousine de l'ancienne régente. Elle est la propre fille du grand-duc de Toscane François 1er. Elle apporte, outre sa beauté, une très grosse dot de 600'000 écus puisée dans la fortune des banquiers florentins. Elle donnera heureusement naissance au futur Louis XIII le 27 septembre de l'année suivante.
1431 Henry VI of England is crowned King of France.
0882 Marinus I begins his reign as Pope
0345 Eusebius (not to be confused with historian Eusebius of Caesarea) becomes bishop of Vercelli, Italy. He was influential in having the Nicene creed restored to the empire.
Deaths which occurred on a December 16:
2002 Stephen Paul Rauen, 15, by a pickup truck driven by a 17-year-old boy, after Rauen jumped on the hood, was thrown to the ground when the driver slammed on the brakes and then dragged under the vehicle for a short distance, in Albuquerque. It was a stunt allegedly inspired by one in “Jackass: the Movie”, though its producers deny that there is anything similar in it.
2001 MaryJane Longo, 34; her children, Madison Longo, 2, Sadie Ann Longo, 3, and Zachery Michael Longo, 4, murdered in their Newport, Oregon, home by her husband Christian Longo, 28, who strangles his wife and asphyxiates their children, then dumps the body in coastal waters, and flees to the Tulum, Mexico, tourist resort, where he starts a new affair, and, on 13 January 2002, is arrested. Christian Longo had a record of extra-marital affair, forgery, stealing. He would be sentenced to death on 16 April 2003, after having admitted killing MaryJane and Madison, in a fit of rage, according to his account, when he returned home and found that his wife had murdered their other two children.
2001 Yakoub Dakidak, senior Hamas military wing activist, killed after nightfall by Israeli troops which had entered Palestiniain Hebron, who say that he was fleeing arrest..
2001 19 elderly and psychiatric patients, by fire in their institutional home, a prefab, near Buccino, Italy, during the night..
2000 Mohammed Fahad Abdel-Ghani, 70, Palestinian, from wounds caused by Israeli gunfire the day before, as he crossed a road near a clash at Ajar, south of Jenin, West Bank. It brought to at least 326 the number of people killed in 12 weeks of the al-Aqsa intifada, including 273 Palestinians, 13 Israeli Arabs and 38 Israeli Jewish soldiers and civilians.
2000 Magomed Ismailov, his wife and two daughers, shot by Russian looters in Alkhan-Kala, Chechnya, during a "cleansing operation".
1985 Paul Castellano, reputef organized-crime boss, shot near a New York City restaurant.
1976 George a goose that lived to 49 years 8 months
1965 W Somerset Maugham, 91, English author ("Of Human Bondage")
1960: 134 persons, as a United Air Lines DC-8 and a TWA Super Constellation collide over New York City.
1947 Gino Rossi, Italian artist born on 06 June 1884.
1944 Alton Glenn Miller, in Norseman small airplane which, in foggy weather, strayed into the English Channel jettison area into which an aborted raid of some 140 Lancaster bombers was unloading its bombs. US composer and trombonist Major Miller, born on 01 March 1904, was the leader of the US Air Force band in Europe and was hitching a flight from England (where he performed his last concert on 12 December 1944) to Paris where he was to lead a Christmas concert for the troops.
1939 Day 17 of Winter War: USSR aggression against Finland. [Talvisodan 17. päivä]
More deaths due to Stalin's desire to grab Finnish territory.
  • Ladoga Karelia: the Finnish defence at Kitelä on the shores of Lake Ladoga is partly broken by the 168th Soviet Division.
  • The Tolvajärvi offensive comes to a halt at Ristisalmi.
  • Eastern Isthmus: Finnish troops successfully repulse several enemy assaults on the River Taipaleenjoki.
  • Salla: the position of the Finnish troops at Pelkosenniemi is getting harder by the minute.
  • Central Isthmus: enemy shelling is pounding the entire length of the 5th Division and 1st Division's defensive sector between Summa and Muolaanjärvi.
  • Employers are forbidden on pain of damages from firing a reservist on account of his being called up to the reserve.
  • General Headquarters confirms as official policy that the fallen are to be sent home for burial. In accordance with the decision of General Headquarters, every effort will be made to send those fallen in battle home for burial.
  • Paris: students demonstrate throughout the day in support of Finland.
  • 1937 Glyn Warren Philpot, British painter of portraits and subject pictures, born on 05 October 1884. — He was trained in London and Paris and quickly established himself as a successful society portraitist in the years before the First World War; elected A.R.A., 1915 and full R.A., 1923. In 1931-2, Philpot made the courageous step of embracing modernist influences in his art, producing a body of work marked by a new simplicity of form and technique. — Glyn Philpot by Sir Oswald Birley (1920, 100x75cm)
    1922 Gabriel Narutowicz 1st President of Polish Republic assassinated
    1920 Over 200'000 in Chinese earthquake
          One of the deadliest earthquakes in history hits the Gansu province of mid-western China, causing massive landslides and the deaths of over 200'000 people. The earthquake, which measures an 8.5 magnitude on the Richter scale, affects an area of some 65'000 square kilometers, including ten major cities. The great devastation caused by this notorious earthquake was due largely to poor soil conditions throughout the Gansu province, and by the fact that for almost three hundred years there had been no recorded earthquakes in the region to stabilize gradual changes to the landscape.
    1916 Grigori Rasputin, a Russian monk with great influence over the tsar, is murdered by a group of noblemen.
    1907 Fritz Beinke, German artist born on 23 April 1842.
    1890 Sitting Bull, 56.
    Crow Foot (Sitting Bull's son), 17
    Black Bird, 43.
    Catch the Bear, 44.
    Spotted Horn Bull, 56.
    Brave Thunder, No. 1, 46.
    Little Assiniboine, 44.
    Chase Wounded, 24 [Wounded is his name, he was killed].
    James Little Eagle, Fourth Sergeant of Police.
    Paul Afraid-of-Soldiers, Private of Police.
    John Armstrong, Special Police.
    David Hawkman, Special Police.
    An Account of Sitting Bull's Death by James McLaughlin, Indian Agent at Standing Rock Reservation (dated 12 January 1891) reports the above deaths in the fight that resulted from the attempt to arrest Sitting Bull by 39 Indian policemen directed by the agent. (The report says it happened early on 16 December, Britannica has 15 December). In addition:
    Henry Bull Head, First Lieutenant of Police, died 82 hour after the fight (he is the one who shot Sitting Bull dead).
    Charles Shave Head, First Sergeant of Police, died 25 hours after the fight.
    Strike the Kettle, wounded, now at Fort Sully, a prisoner.
    Alexander Middle, Private of Police, wounded, recovering.
    Brave Thunder, No. 2, wounded, recovering rapidly.
    Bull Ghost, wounded, entirely recovered.
         In South Dakota, Sitting Bull, a leader of the Hunkpapa Teton Sioux, is killed by Indian police at his home in a remote corner of the Standing Rock Reservation, allegedly while resisting arrest. Sitting Bull, born in the Grand River Valley in what is now South Dakota, gained early recognition in his Sioux tribe as a capable warrior and a man of vision. In 1864, he fought against the US army forces under General Alfred Sully at Killdeer Mountain, and shortly thereafter dedicated himself to Sioux resistance against ineffectual US-Indian treaties and forced Indian internment on reservations. Sitting Bull soon gained a following in not only his own tribe, but in the Cheyenne and Arapaho Native-American groups as well. In 1873, in what would serve as a preview for the infamous Battle of Little Bighorn three years later, an Indian military coalition featuring the leadership of Sitting Bull skirmished briefly with Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer. Sitting Bull was not a strategic leader in the US defeat at Little Bighorn, but his spiritual influence inspired Crazy Horse and the other victorious Indian military leaders. Sitting Bull subsequently fled to Canada, but in 1881 returned to the US and surrendered. He was held as a prisoner of war at Fort Randall in South Dakota territory for two years, and then was permitted to live on Standing Rock Reservation straddling North and South Dakota territory. In 1885, he traveled for a season with Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West show, before returning to Standing Rock.
          The spiritual proclamations of Sitting Bull influenced the rise of the "Ghost Dance," an Indian religious movement that proclaimed that the white people would disappear and that the dead Indians and buffalo would return. By 1890, his support of the religion had brought him into disfavor with government officials, and on 15 December 1890, forty-three Indian police burst into Sitting Bull's house in the Grand River area of South Dakota, and took him at gunpoint. There is confusion as to what happened next. By some accounts, the leader of the police was shot and immediately turned and gunned down Sitting Bull, while others maintain that the police were instructed by Major James McLaughlin, director of the Standing Rock Sioux Agency, to shoot the chief at any sign of resistance. Whatever the true details, Sitting Bull was fatally shot and died within hours. Subsequently, the Indian police hastily buried his body at Fort Yates within the Standing Rock Reservation.
         After many years of successfully resisting white efforts to destroy him and the Sioux people, the great Sioux chief and holy man Sitting Bull is killed by Indian police at the Standing Rock reservation in South Dakota.
          One of the most famous Native Americans of the 19th century, Sitting Bull (Tatanka Iyotake) was a fierce enemy of Anglo-Americans from a young age. Deeply devoted to the traditional ways, Sitting Bull believed that contact with non-Indians undermined the strength and identity of the Sioux and would lead to their ultimate decline. However, Sitting Bull's tactics were generally more defensive than aggressive, especially as he grew older and became a Sioux leader. Fundamentally, Sitting Bull and those associated with his tribe wished only to be left alone to pursue their traditional ways, but the Anglo settlers' growing interest in the land and the resulting confinement of Indians to government-controlled reservations inevitably led to conflicts. Sitting Bull's refusal to follow an 1875 order to bring his people to the Sioux reservation directly led to the famous Battle of the Little Bighorn, during which the Sioux and Cheyenne wiped out five troops of Custer's 7th Cavalry.
          After the Battle of the Little Bighorn, Sitting Bull and his followers fled to Canada for four years. Faced with mass starvation among his people, Sitting Bull finally returned to the United States and surrendered in 1883. Sitting Bull was assigned to the Standing Rock reservation in present-day South Dakota, where he maintained considerable power despite the best efforts of the Indian bureau agents to undermine his influence. When the apocalyptic spiritual revival movement known as the Ghost Dance began to grow in popularity among the Sioux in 1890, Indian agents feared it might lead to an Indian uprising. Wrongly believing that Sitting Bull was the driving force behind the Ghost Dance, agent James McLaughlin sent Indian police to arrest the chief at his small cabin on the Grand River.
          The Indian police rousted the naked chief from his bed at 6:00 in the morning, hoping to spirit him away before his guards and neighbors knew what had happened. When the fifty-nine-year-old chief refused to go quietly, a crowd gathered and a few hotheaded young men threatened the Indian police. Someone fired a shot that hit one of the Indian police; they retaliated by shooting Sitting Bull in the chest and head. The great chief was killed instantly. Before the ensuing gunfight ended, twelve other Indians were dead and three were wounded.
          The man who had nobly resisted the encroachment of whites and their culture for nearly three decades was buried in a far corner of the post cemetery at Fort Yates. Two weeks later, the army brutally suppressed the Ghost Dance movement with the massacre of a band of Sioux at Wounded Knee, the final act in the long and tragic history of the US genocide of the Plains Indians.
    1872 John Frederick Kensett, US American Hudson River School painter, specialized in landscapes, born on 23 March 1816. — more with links to images.
    1866 Claude Anthelme Honoré Trimolet, French artist born on 16 May 1798.
    1800 Guy Head, British artist born in 1753. — more with links to images.
    1693 Jacques Rousseau, French artist born in 1630.
    1698 Simone Pignone, Italian artist born in 1614.
    1631 Some 4000 in eruption of Mount Vesuvius, which destroys 6 villages
    0882 John VIII, Pope. He was forced to pay tribute to the Saracens. He crowned three emperors, beginning with Charles le Chauve, continuing through Louis le Bègue and concluding with Charles the Fat.
    Zaraí and mom in 2002Zaraí triumphs, dad signsBirths which occurred on a December 16:

    1987 Zaraí Toledo Orozco, to unmarried Lucrecia Orozco [< Zarai and mom in 2002] who had conceived her with economist Alejandro Toledo, whom she had met in a Lima piano bar. Toledo was married to Eliane Karp, a Belgian-American consultant with whom they had a daughter, but the marriage had run into trouble (which was resolved later and the marriage continued).
    [< Zaraí and mom in 2002]
          Lucrecia and, when she became old enough, Zaraí would try to get Toledo to admit paternity, but he would refuse until 17 October 2002 when, elected president of Peru 16 months earlier, he would give in to an outraged public opinion.
    [Zaraí triumphant as dad signs admission of paternity, 17 Oct 2002 >]

    1936 Morris Dees, 65, civil rights attorney.

    1928 Philip K Dick US, writer (Blade Runner)
    1917 Sir Arthur C. Clarke
          A radar instructor in World War II, Clarke began publishing science fiction stories while in the service. In 1945, at the age of twenty-eight, he wrote an article predicting the advent of communications satellites that would broadcast television and radio all over the world. A mere twenty years later, the first communications satellites were launched. Clarke's prolific science fiction writings include Islands in the Sky, Rendez-vous with Rama, 2010, Childhood's End, and 2001: A Space Odyssey, which was made into a successful film by director Stanley Kubrick in 1968. Clarke was knighted in 1998.
    1910 Egill Jacobsen, Danish artist.
    1906 Leonid Brezhnev (Russian leader of the Communist Party)
    1901 Margaret Mead, in Philadelphia, she would become an anthropologist, author, lecturer (e.g. on air pollution, hunger, mental hygiene, sex, women's careers, population control, primitive art, the family, nutrition, city planning, military service, tribal customs, alcoholism, child development, architecture, drugs, civil liberties, etc.) , and social critic. According to the American Museum of Natural History, with which she was associated for most of her professional life, she was "a specialist in education and culture; relationship between character structure and social forms; personality and culture; cultural aspects of problems of nutrition; mental health; family life; ecology; ekistics; transnational relations; national character; cultural change, and cultural building." They could have added feminism, atomic politics, etc., etc. Mead died on 15 November 1978. She became well known from her first book, Coming of Age in Samoa (1928), in which she described the values of adolescent lovemaking in Samoan society and suggested that, in our modern society, adolescent conflicts arise from excessively strict sexual norms. She studied seven other cultures: Manua, Arapesh, Mundugumor, Tchambuli, Iatmul, Balinese, US; and wrote Growing Up in New Guinea, Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies, Balinese Character, New Lives for Old, And Keep Your Powder Dry: An Anthropologist Looks at America (1942), Male and Female: A Study of Sexes in a Changing World (1949).
    Tempered Élan1900 Victor S Pritchett literary critic/author (Myth Makers)
    1899 Sir Noel Coward, actor, director, composer, playwright: Private Lives, In Which We Serve -- 1942 Academy Award.
    1887 Johann Radon, mathematician.
    1882 Zoltan Kodaly Kecskemet Hungary, composer (Psalmus Hungaricus)
    1866 (04 December Julian) Vasiliy Vasilyevich Kandinsky, Russian Expressionist painter who died in Neuilly-sur-Seine on 13 December 1944. — article about Kandinsky: Towards Abstraction — (Tempered Élan, 1944 – thumbnail >) MORE ON KANDINSKY AT ART “4” DECEMBER with links to images.
    1863 George Santayana Spain, philosopher/poet/humanist (Last Puritan)
    1832 Jules Worms, French artist who died on 25 November 1924.
    1804 Viktor Bunyakovsky, mathematician.
    1775 Jane Austen, novelist
          Austen was the seventh of eight children born to a clergyman in Steventon, a country village in Hampshire, England. She was very close to her older sister, Cassandra, who remained her faithful editor and critic throughout her life. The girls had five years of formal schooling, then studied with their father. Jane read voraciously and began writing stories as young as age 12, completing an early novella at age 14.
          Austen's quiet, happy world was disrupted when her father retired to Bath in 1801. Jane hated the resort town but amused herself by making close observations of ridiculous society manners. After her father's death in1805, Jane, her mother, and sister lived with one of her brothers until 1808, when another brother provided them a permanent home at Chawton Cottage, in Hampshire. Jane concealed her writing from most of her acquaintances, slipping her writing paper under a blotter when someone entered the room. Though she avoided society, she was charming, intelligent, and funny, and had several admirers. She actually accepted the marriage proposal of a well-off friend of her family's, but the next day withdrew her acceptance, having decided she could only marry for love.
         Jane Austen published Sense and Sensibility anonymously on 30 October 1811. A small circle of people, including the Price Regent, learned Austen's identity, but most of the British public knew only that the popular book had been written "by a Lady. “ She published several more novels before her death, including Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), and Emma (1815). She died at age 42, of what today is thought to be Addison's disease.
  • Complete on-line works
  • Emma
  • Emma
  • Emma
  • Emma (zipped PDF)
  • Lady Susan
  • Lady Susan
  • The Watsons
  • Mansfield Park
  • Mansfield Park
  • Mansfield Park
  • Northanger Abbey
  • Northanger Abbey
  • Northanger Abbey
  • Persuasion
  • Persuasion
  • Love and Freindship (sic)
  • Love and Freindship and Other Early Works
  • The Plan of a Novel According to Hints from Various Quarters
  • Pride and Prejudice
  • Pride and Prejudice
  • Pride and Prejudice (zipped PDF)
  • Sense and Sensibility
  • Letters of Jane Austen
  • 1770 Ludwig van Beethoven, in Bonn Germany, one of the greatest composers ( although totally deaf by then, lead orchestra in premiere performance of his Ninth Symphony, which includes the Ode to Joy). The idol of the Schroeder character in the Peanuts comics.
    1751 Franz Schüz (or Schütz), German artist who died on 14 May 1781.
    1668 Constantyn Netscher, Dutch artist who died on 27 May 1723.
    1597 Pieter Deneyn (or de Neyn), Dutch artist who died on 16 March 1639.
    1534 Hans Bol, Flemish draftsman, illuminator, painter who died on 20 November 1593. MORE ON BOL AT ART “4” DECEMBER with
    links to images.
    1485 Catherine of Aragon 1st of the 6 wives of Henry VIII, who bore him five children.
    Holidays Bahrain : National Day / Bangladesh : Victory Day (1971) / Mexico : Posadas Days/Lodgings / Namibia, South Africa: Day of the Covenant / Nepal : Constitution Day (1962) / Pretoria, South Africa : Foretrekkers' Day / South Africa : Dingaan's Day (1838)

    Religious Observances: Old RC: St Eusebius, bishop of Vercelli, martyr / Sainte Adélaïde, ou Alice, est une princesse bourguignonne veuve du roi d'Italie Lothaire et puis mariée à l'empereur d'Allemagne Otton 1er le Grand en 962. Veuve de nouveau, elle gouverna l'empire avant de mourir à l'âge de 68 ans, au monastère de Seltz, en Alsace, le 16 décembre 999, après une carrière extrêmement riche en péripéries. Elle est canonisée par le pape Urbain II en 1097.

    DICTIONNAIRE TICRANIEN: souhait: caché par les buissons.
    Thought for the day: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” — George Santayana
    “When forced to choose between two evils, try the new one.”
    “Between two evils, hide between a rock and a hard place.”
    “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
    “Those who cannot remember the past, cannot remember the future either.”
    “Those who cannot repeat the past are condemned to remember it.”
    “Those who cannot forget past evils should forgive.”
    “Those who cannot forgive or forget past evils keep suffering from them in the present.”
    “Those who forget cannot forgive.”
    “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
    “Between two evils, abstain.”
    “Mankind is caught between two evils: remembering the past and repeating it.”
    “Between two evils, try to get them to fight each other.”
    “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
    “Those who cannot digest a repast are condemned to excrete it.”
    “Between two evils, fight the one you know how to beat.”
    “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
    “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” —
    Arthur C. Clarke (born 16 Dec 1917).
    “Those who cannot distinguish technology from magic are condemned to repeat the past.”
    updated Tuesday 16-Dec-2003 1:22 UT
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    Who do you think is the most powerful person in the world today?
    George W. Bush
    Bill Gates
    Pope John Paul II
    Saddam Hussein
    Jesus Christ
    Warren Buffett
    Vladimir Putin
    Vicente Fox
    Sandra Day O'Connor
    Osama bin Laden
    none of the above