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Events, deaths, births, of 17 DEC

[For Dec 17 Julian go to Gregorian date: 1582~1699: Dec 271700s: Dec 281800s: Dec 291900~2099: Dec 30]
Raad Rabee treated for woundOn a 17 December:

2003 Raad Rabee, 12, is among the innocent Iraqi bystanders wounded as a US Army 82nd Airborne helicopter strafes “with warning shots” presumed looters gathered in the early hours near a US military supply train, left burning after being attacked with rocket propelled grenades shortly before midnight on 16 December, near the train station in Fallujah, Iraq. Several houses are damaged by the US shooting. [The boy being treated by an Iraqi doctor, later in the day >]

2002 Late in the day, Insurance and finance company Conseco Inc., deep in debt and facing a federal investigation of its accounting practices, files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The 346 million Conseco shales (CNCE) are no longer traded by the exchanges, only over-the-counter, at 4 cents at today's close. They were as low as 1 cent on 15 Oct and 22 Oct 2002, as high as $5.08 on 15 April 2002 and $57.75 on 06 April 1998. Following the announcement of the bankruptcy, they would close at 6 cents on 18 December 2002.
IBC price chart--2002 Interstate Bakeries (IBC) announces earnings of 26 cents a share for the twelve weeks ended 16 November 2002 (they were 41 cents in the same period in 2001). IBC is downgraded by Janney Montgomery Scott from Buy to Hold. On the New York Stock Exchange, 13 million of the 44 million IBC shares are traded, dropping from their previous close of $23.16 to an intraday low of $14.76 and close at $15.00. They had traded as high as $29.22 as recently as 02 July 2002, and as low as $10.81 on 11 December 2000. [5~year price chart >]
2000 Después de una dura batalla legal frente a su oponente demócrata Al Gore, el candidato republicano George W. Bush es finalmente proclamado vencedor de las elecciones a la presidencia de los Estados Unidos.
1999 La secretaria de Estado norteamericana, Madeleine Albrigth, y el canciller alemán, Gerhard Schröder, avalan el acuerdo marco por el que Alemania indemnizará a centenares de miles de personas forzadas a trabajar al servicio del Tercer Reich.
1998 Los lores ingleses, que el pasado mes de noviembre sentenciaron que el ex dictador chileno Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte carecía de inmunidad frente al proceso judicial abierto contra él, deciden anular dicha decisión y dejar el asunto en manos de un nuevo tribunal formado por otros cinco jueces.
1997 El FMI (Fondo Monetario Internacional) aprueba la creación de un nuevo mecanismo denominado "Facilidad de Reserva Suplementaria", para ayudar a países con problemas financieros.
1997 US President Clinton signs the No Electronic Theft Act. The act removed protection from individuals who claimed that they took no direct financial gains from stealing copyrighted works and downloading them from the Internet.
1996 The Red Cross withdraws from Chechnya all but a few of its western staff after six foreign aid workers are killed by masked gunmen.
1996 Kofi Annan is named Secretary General of the United Nations.
1992 US President Bush (Sr.), Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari sign the North American Free Trade Agreement.
1992 Deportación de 400 palestinos de Israel al sur del Líbano, tras el asesinato del sargento Toledano por los terroristas de Hamas.
1991 Official end of Soviet Union announced
      After a long meeting between Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and President of the Russian Federation Boris Yeltsin, a spokesman for the latter announces that the Soviet Union will officially cease to exist on or before New Year's Eve. Yeltsin declared that, "There will be no more red flag.”
      In practice, the Soviet Union had already disintegrated. The various Russian republics had already declared their independence; in a few days they would meet and form the Commonwealth of Independent States. Gorbachev's power was steadily ebbing: a coup attempt the previous August had already nearly toppled him. Yeltsin, on the other hand, was busily planning the takeover of Soviet facilities and the symbolic lowering of the Soviet hammer-and-sickle to be replaced by the flag of Russia.
1989 El PP (Partido Popular) consigue 38 escaños, exactamente la mayoría absoluta, en las elecciones al Parlamento de Galicia, mientras que el PSOE gallego logra 27.
1989 El conservador Fernando Collor de Mello gana las elecciones presidenciales en Brasil.
1987 Gustav Husák, presidente checo, es relevado, a petición propia, de la secretaría general del partido comunista. Le sustituye Milos Jakes.
1986 Davina Thompson becomes the world's first recipient of a heart, lungs and liver transplant.
1981 Red Brigade terrorists kidnap Brigadier General James L. Dozier, the highest-ranking US NATO officer in Italy.
1979 El novelista español Jesús Fernández Santos recibe el Premio Nacional de Novela por su obra Extramuros.
1979 Se produce la fuga de la prisión de Zaragoza de cinco máximos responsables de los GRAPO (Grupos de Resistencia Antifascista Primero de Octubre): Fernando Hierro Chomón, Enrique Cerdán Calixto, Abelardo Collazo Araujo, Juan Martín Luna y Francisco Brotons Beneyto.
1979 Se reúne en Venezuela la OPEP (Organización de Paises Exportadores de Petroleo) con la intención de unificar el precio del barril de petróleo en 24 dólares.
1979 Budweiser rocket car reaches 1190 km/h (record for wheeled vehicle)
1978 Referendum approves new constitution of Rwanda
1975 John Paul Stevens appointed to the Supreme Court
1975 Lynette Fromme was sentenced to life for attempt on President Ford's life.
1974 El general Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte es nombrado Presidente (dictador) de la República de Chile.
1972 New line of control agreed to in Kashmir between India and Pakistan
1971 Cease-fire between India and Pakistan in Kashmir
1971 Communists gain against Cambodian government forces
      Cambodian government positions in Prak Ham, 60 km north of Phnom Penh, and the 4000-man base at Taing Kauk are the targets of continuous heavy bombardment by communist forces. The communist Khmer Rouge and their North Vietnamese allies were trying to encircle the capital city. Premier Lon Nol took over the government from Prince Norodom Sihanouk in March 1970, and Lon Nol's troops were locked in a desperate battle with the communists. Despite US air support, the Cambodian government troops were under heavy pressure from the communists. The Prak Ham siege was lifted four days later, but the communists continued to encircle Phnom Penh in the face of weakened Cambodian resistance. Meanwhile, antigovernment demonstrations against the Lon Nol regime broke out inside the capital. The government reacted by banning all such protests, as well as political meetings, and by authorizing police searches of private houses.
      Despite the unrest in Phnom Penh and a series of major defeats, Lon Nol managed to retain control of the government. Lon Nol's government troops managed to hold on largely because of US support. However, with the signing of the Paris Peace Accords in January 1973, American forces were withdrawn from Southeast Asia, and Lon Nol's forces soon found themselves fighting alone against the communists.
      The last US airstrikes flown in support of Cambodian forces were in August 1973. Lon Nol and his forces fought on, but with no external support, it was an overwhelming task. On 17 April 1975, Lon Nol's greatly depleted forces surrendered to the Khmer Rouge. During the five years of war, approximately 10 percent of Cambodia's 7 million people died. The victorious Khmer Rouge emptied the cities and forced millions of Cambodians into forced labor camps, murdered hundreds of thousands of real or imagined opponents, and caused hundreds of thousands of deaths from exhaustion, hunger, and disease.
1969 USAF closes Project Blue Book, concluding no evidence of extraterrestrial spaceships behind thousands of UFO sightings.
1969 La Cámara de los Comunes aprueba una ley por la que queda abolida la pena de muerte en el Reino Unido.
1965 Ending an election campaign marked by bitterness and violence, Ferdinand Marcos is declared president of the Philippines.
1965 Largest newspaper--Sunday New York Times at 946 pages ($0.50)
1962 Constitution of Monaco promulgated
India seizes Goa and 2 other Portuguese colonies.
1961 l'Inde occupe Goa.
      Le pandit Nehru s’empare de la dernière possession portugaise en Inde. Dès 1954, l'Inde indépendante avait négocié avec la France la rétrocession de ses comptoirs, Chandernagor, Pondichéry, Karikal, Mahé, Yanaon, dont les écoliers français apprenaient naguère la liste par coeur.
      Le Portugal du dictateur Salazar refuse, lui, de renoncer au port de Goa, à 400 km au sud de Bombay. Son drapeau flotte sur la cité depuis sa conquête, en 1510, par Alfonso de Albuquerque, surnommé le «Mars portugais». Après que Vasco de Gama eût contourné l'Afrique et relié le Portugal à l'Inde, Albuquerque avait sans coup férir occupé plusieurs ports stratégiques de l'océan Indien, d'Ormuz à Malacca. Son entreprise avait été fatale au commerce entre la péninsule arabe et l'Asie des moussons.
      Goa, érigée en capitale de l'empire portugais des Indes orientales, accueillera la dépouille du conquérant et, plus tard, celle de saint François-Xavier, un jésuite qui se consacra à l'évangélisation de l'Insulinde et du Japon. Elle prospèrera à la charnière des mondes hindou, musulman et chrétien jusqu'à l'arrivée des Hollandais en Inde, au milieu du XVIIe siècle.
      C'est par la force (mais sans effusion de sang) que le Premier ministre indien récupère la ville, mettant un terme à la domination européenne sur le sous-continent. Goa est depuis 1987 un État de l'Union indienne et compte un peu plus d'un million d'habitants, dont une moitié de chrétiens.
1955 Miguel Delibes gana el premio de literatura Miguel de Cervantes por su obra Diario de un cazador.
1952 Yugoslavia breaks relations with the Vatican.
1950 Marshal de Lattre de Tassigny appointed to command the French troops in Vietnam.
1949 Birmania reconoce la República Popular de China. Se trata del primer país no comunista que lo hace.
1949 The Czechoslovakian bishops declare that the Communist government's 01 November 1949 law repressing religion is in contradiction to the law of God.
1948 La ONU rechaza la moción de admisión de Israel.
1944 The US Army announced the end of its outrageous policy of excluding Japanese-Americans from the West Coast and that it is releasing them from detention camps
1944 The German Army renews the attack on the Belgian town of Losheimergraben against the defending Americans during the Battle of the Bulge.
1943 US forces invade Japanese-held New Britain Island in New Guinea. Morotai: Stepping stone to the Philippines.
1941 German troops led by Rommel begin retreating in North Africa
1941 Routinarian Pearl Harbor commander fired
      Rear Admiral Husband E. Kimmel is relieved of his command of the US Pacific Fleet as part of a shake-up of officers in the wake of the Pearl Harbor disaster.
      Admiral Kimmel had enjoyed a successful military career, beginning in 1915 as an aide to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He served admirably on battleships in World War I, winning command of several in the interwar period. At the outbreak of World War II, Kimmel had already attained the rank of rear admiral and was commanding the cruiser forces at Pearl Harbor. In January 1941, he was promoted to commander of the Pacific Fleet, replacing James Richardson, who FDR relieved of duty after Richardson objected to basing the fleet at Pearl Harbor.
      If Kimmel had a weakness, it was that he was a creature of habit, of routine. He knew only what had been done before, and lacked imagination-and therefore insight-regarding the unprecedented. So, even as word was out that Japan was likely to make a first strike against the United States as the negotiations in Washington floundered, Kimmel took no extraordinary actions at Pearl Harbor. In fact, he believed that a sneak attack was more likely at Wake Island or Midway Island, and requested from Lieutenant General Walter Short, Commander of the Army at Pearl Harbor, extra antiaircraft artillery for support there (none could be spared).
      Kimmel's predictability was extremely easy to read by Japanese military observers and made his fleet highly vulnerable. As a result, Kimmel was held accountable, to a certain degree, for the absolute devastation wrought on December 7. Although he had no more reason than anyone else to believe Pearl Harbor was a possible Japanese target, a scapegoat had to be found to appease public outrage. He avoided a probable court-martial when he requested early retirement. When Admiral Kimmel's Story, an "as told to" autobiography, was published in 1955, Kimmel made it plain that he believed FDR sacrificed him--and his career--to take suspicion off himself; Kimmel believed Roosevelt knew Pearl Harbor was going to be bombed, although no evidence has ever been adduced to support his allegation
1939 In the Battle of River Plate near Montevideo, Uruguay, the British trap the German pocket battleship Graf Spee. German Captain Langsdorf sinks his ship believing that resistance is hopeless.
1938 Italy declares the 1935 pact with France invalid, because ratifications had not been exchanged. France denies the argument.
1927 US Secretary of State Kellogg suggests a worldwide pact renouncing war..
1925 Colonel William "Billy" Mitchell court-martial for insubordination
1920 British Empire receives League of Nations mandate to Nauru
1920 Japan receives League of Nations mandate over Pacific islands
1920 South Africa receives League of Nations mandate over SW Africa.
1919 It does not happen, contrary to what seismologist and meteorologist Albert Porta had predicted, that the (very approximate) alignment of six planets would “cause a magnetic current that would pierce the sun, cause great explosions of flaming gas, and eventually engulf the Earth.”
1917 Russian Orthodox Church expropriated by Bolsheviks
      Confiscation of the property of the Russian Orthodox Church and abolition of religious instruction in schools are decreed by the Bolshevik government
      Since the reign of Peter the Great in the 18th century, the Russian Church had been governed by a Holy Synod appointed by the tsars, who were expected to be the defenders of Orthodoxy. With the death of the last tsar, a movement arose within the church whose supporters saw this separation of the state from the church as an opportunity for major changes. The traditional elements, however, looked to the reintroduction of the patriarchal system as an important stabilizing element, and elected Patriarch Tikhon.
     Communism, believing religion to be "the opium of the people”, was eager to stamp it out in "Holy Russia.” As first the Bolsheviks and later the Communists began to consolidate their power, and they began to impose restrictions on the church. On this day they confiscate all church lands, cancel state subsidies for the church, decreed marriage a civil ordinance, and nationalize the schools, thus effectively abolishing all religious instruction. Patriarch Tikhon remonstrated, "Think what you are doing, you madmen! Stop your bloody outrages! Your acts are not merely cruel, they are the works of Satan, for which you will burn in hell fire in the life hereafter and will be cursed by future generations in this life.”
      It was not long before the patriarch was arrested by the Communists and later died, some say, under suspicious circumstances. There was much martyrs' blood shed over the ensuing years. But, amazingly, in 1927. Patriarch Sergius stated that there was no persecution of religion in Russia and declared loyalty to the government. By 1938 the Communists had closed 70'000 Russian Orthodox churches and chapels and all monasteries and seminaries. 280 bishops and at least 45'000 priests had perished.
1914 Jews are expelled from Tel Aviv by Turkish authorities.
1912 Empiezan en Londres las negociaciones de paz sobre la guerra de los Balcanes.
1903: Orville Wright makes first heavier-than-air powered and controled flight a short-range flightat Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, not counting that of Clément Ader in 1890  Eole (which lacked controls). The Wrights flights were done in secret until 1908, while Alberto Santos-Dumont made his public 220 m heavier-than-air flight on 12 November 1906.

The Wright brothers' airplane, the Flyer, was a biplane with a 12-horsepower (9-kw) gasoline engine. The wings, which measured 12.30 m from tip to tip, were wooden frames covered with cotton cloth. The pilot would lie in the middle of the lower wing. The engine was mounted to the pilot's right. It turned two wooden propellers attached behind the wings. Instead of wheels, the plane had wooden runners. the Flyer
     Most important of all, the Flyer had the successful control system that the brothers had developed for their gliders. A main feature of this system was a device for twisting the wing tips to preserve balance in flight. The device consisted of a wire strung from each wing tip to a "cradle" that fitted around the pilot's hips. By moving the hips, the pilot could twist one wing tip or the other in order to maintain the plane's balance and control while in flight.
      On 17 December 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright launched the plane from an 18-meter rail on a sand flat. The first flight, at 10:35, with Orville as pilot, covered about 36 meters and lasted 12 seconds (speed about 11 km/h). Wilbur, on the fourth and longest flight of the day, flew 260 meters in 59 seconds (speed 15.8 km/h).
     Orville and Wilbur Wright grew up in Dayton, Ohio, and developed an interest in aviation after learning of the glider flights of the German engineer Otto Lilienthal in the 1890s. Unlike their older brothers, Orville and Wilbur did not attend college, but they possessed extraordinary technical ability and a sophisticated approach to solving problems in mechanical design. They built printing presses and in 1892 opened a bicycle sales and repair shop. Soon, they were building their own bicycles, and this experience, combined with profits from their various businesses, allowed them to pursue actively their dream of building the world's first airplane.
      After exhaustively researching other engineers' efforts to build a heavier-than-air, controlled aircraft, the Wright brothers wrote the US Weather Bureau inquiring about a suitable place to conduct glider tests. They settled on Kitty Hawk, an isolated village on North Carolina's Outer Banks, which offered steady winds and sand dunes from which to glide and land softly. Their first glider, tested in 1900, performed poorly, but a new design, tested in 1901, was more successful. Later that year, they built a wind tunnel where they tested nearly 200 wings and airframes of different shapes and designs. The brothers' systematic experimentations paid off--they flew hundreds of successful flights in their 1902 glider at Kill Devils Hills near Kitty Hawk. Their biplane glider featured a steering system, based on a movable rudder, that solved the problem of controlled flight. They were now ready for powered flight.
      In Dayton, they designed a 12-horsepower internal combustion engine with the assistance of machinist Charles Taylor and built a new aircraft to house it. They transported their aircraft in pieces to Kitty Hawk in the autumn of 1903, assembled it, made a few further tests, and on December 14 Orville made the first attempt at powered flight. The engine stalled during take-off and the plane was damaged, and they spent three days repairing it. Then at 10:35 on 17 December, in front of five witnesses, the aircraft ran down a monorail track and into the air, staying aloft for 12 seconds and flying 36 meters (less than 11 km/h). The modern aviation age was born. Three more tests were made that day, with Wilbur and Orville alternately flying the airplane. Wilbur flew the last flight, covering 260 meters in 59 seconds (a speed of less than 16 km/h).
      During the next few years, the Wright brothers further developed their airplanes but kept a low profile about their successes in order to secure patents and contracts for their flying machines. By 1905, their aircraft could perform complex maneuvers and remain aloft for up to 39 minutes at a time. In 1908, they traveled to France and made their first public flights, arousing widespread public excitement. In 1909, the US Army's Signal Corps purchased an especially constructed plane, and the brothers founded the Wright Company to build and market their aircraft. After Wilbur Wright [16 Apr 1867 – 30 May 1912] died of typhoid fever; Orville Wright [19 Aug 1871 – 30 Jan 1948] continued to make contributions to aviation. The historic Wright brothers' aircraft of 1903 is on permanent display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC.
— Primer vuelo tripulado con avión de motor: Orville Wright, el menor de los hermanos Wright, se eleva en un biplano a 36 metros durante 59 minutos en la localidad de Kitty Hawk, en el estado norteamericano de Carolina del Norte.
Sammy's sugar-plum1900 First prize of 100'000 francs is offered for communications with extraterrestrials. Martians excluded--considered too easy.
1898 Harper's Weekly publishes this cartoon by Henry Brevoort Eddy [>] about the annexation of Hawaii by the US.
1885 España y Alemania firman el protocolo que pone fin al litigio sobre las islas Carolinas.
1875 Violent bread riots in Montreal.
1862 General US Grant issues order #11, expelling Jews from Tennessee.
1862 Grant expels the Jews.
      Union General Ulysses S. Grant lashes out at cotton speculators when he expels all Jews from his department in the west. At the time, Grant was trying to capture Vicksburg, Mississippi, the last major Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi River. Grant's army now effectively controlled much territory in western Tennessee, northern Mississippi, and parts of Kentucky and Arkansas. As in other parts of the South, Grant was dealing with thousands of escaped slaves. John Eaton, a chaplain, devised a program through which the freed slaves picked cotton from abandoned fields and received part of the proceeds when it was sold by the government.
      Grant also had to deal with numerous speculators who followed his army in search of cotton. Cotton supplies were very short in the North, and these speculators could buy bales in the captured territories and sell it quickly for a good profit. In December, Grant's father arrived for a visit with two friends from Cincinnati. Grant soon realized that the friends, who were Jews, were speculators hoping to gain access to captured cotton. Grant was furious and fired off his notorious Order No. 11: "The Jews, as a class violating every regulation of trade established by the Treasury Department and also department orders, are hereby expelled from the department within twenty-four hours from receipt of this order."
      The fallout from his action was swift. Among 30 Jewish families expelled from Paducah, Kentucky, was Cesar Kaskel, who rallied support in Congress against the order. Shortly after the uproar, President Lincoln ordered Grant to rescind the order. Grant later admitted to his wife that the criticism of his hasty action was well deserved. As Julia Grant put it, the general had “no right to make an order against any special sect.”
1861 The Stonewall Brigade begins to dismantle Dam No. 5 of the C&O Canal.
1821 Kentucky abolishes debtors prisons
1819 Congress of Angostura establishes Columbia's independence from Spain — Se proclama la República de la Gran Colombia, que abarcaba los territorios de las posteriores Colombia y Venezuela.
1798 1st impeachment trial against a US senator (Wm Blount, TN) begins
1791 NYC traffic regulation creates the first 1-way street
1790 Aztec calendar stone discovered in Mexico City
1777 France recognizes independence of English colonies in America.
1617 Felipe III publica en Madrid una real cédula por la que divide la gobernación del Paraguay en dos: la del Guairá y la de Buenos Aires o Río de la Plata.
1571 Comienza en Salamanca el proceso de la Inquisición contra fray Luis de León.
1559 Matthew Parker is made Archbishop of Canterbury and supports Reformation under Elizabeth I of England. On the legitimacy of his consecration supposedly hangs the validity of Anglicanism. In implementing Elizabeth's policies, he was harsh with Puritans and other dissenters.
1538 Pope Paul III excommunicates England's King Henry VIII.
1500 Cristóbal Colón es recibido por los Reyes Católicos tras regresar de América cargado de cadenas y recupera la confianza del regio matrimonio.
1399 Tamerlane's Mongols destroy army of Mahmud Tughluk, Sultan of Delhi, at Panipat.
0283 St Gaius begins his reign as Pope
destroyed minibusDeaths which occurred on a 17 December:
2003 All three crew members of a Ukrainian Soviet-era Mi-8 military helicopter which crashes at 12:00 in Ozarychi, Ukraine.
2003 At least 10 Iraqis, including two suicide bombers in a tanker truck which crashes into a minibus as it speeds toward the police station in the poor al-Bayaa district of southwestern Baghdad, Iraq. 20 persons are injured. [later: the minibus and a US soldier >]
2003 Bayan Jassem, Iraki Kurd girl, born on 18 November 2003 in Dakuk, near Kirkuk, Iraq, whose mother is Iman Majia and father is Abdullah. The baby was born with transposition of the great arteries to the heart. All that kept her alive was a little duct, which could not stay open long, giving her a life expectancy of two weeks. There was nowhere she could be treated in Iraq. But she was discovered on 19 November by a US Army cardiologist who runs a weekly clinic for children in Kirkuk. The baby and her parents were taken to the Save a Child's Heart project at the Wolfson Medical Center in Holon, Israel, where an 11-hour corrective operation was performed on Bayan on 26 November. However she developed bleeding in her lungs and other complications that led to a multiple failure of vital functions.
2002 Ten members of Algerian security forces, in an ambush by Islamic militants in the Zaccar mountains. Algeria's Islamic insurgency has claimed an estimated 120'000 lives since it started in 1992 after the army canceled legislative elections that an Islamic party was sure to win.
2002 Giovanni Intra, born in New Zealand in 1968, co-founder in 1998 (with artist Steve Hanson) of China Art Objects Galleries (name from a discarded sign, no relation to content) in Los Angeles.
2001 Pvt. James Carl Rogers, from Swansea, South Wales, serving with the Royal Regiment of Wales, based on a peacekeeping mission in Pristina, Kosovo, since mid-November 2001, shot once in the head by his own weapon, apparently by accident.
2001 Mohammad Jamaan Hanidak, 13, shot in the chest by Israeli troops in Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, while standing outside his house holding a plastic toy rifle. Mahmoud Fadel Hanidak, 12, is also shot and, taken to the hospital, is declared clinically dead.
2001 Munjed Mohammad Khaled Salaman, 22, and Muntasar Abu Mustafa, 18, shot at about noon by an Israeli tank stationed at the entrance of the Rafidiah neighborhood in Nablus, while they were standing at a phone booth. They were both members of the PA's naval police force — which also conducts operations in the landlocked West Bank — and that they were patrolling the area in order to keep Palestinian gunmen from approaching or opening fire on Israeli troops.
2001 Yakub Idkidakh, 28, a senior activist in Hamas's military wing (name reported as Yaaqoub Fathi Dkedik by Wafa Palestinian news agency). Israeli soldiers come to his house in the Palestinian-controlled portion of Hebron early in the morning to arrest him, but shoot him when he tries to flee. Israelis say that Idkidakh was involved in planning both ordinary and suicide bombings, both in Israel and in the territories. Hamas vows to avenge his death despite Arafat's call to cease terrorist operations.
2001 Two guards and two passers-by, at the Port-au-Prince National Palace, as a commando attacks it in an apparent failed coup attempt.
2000: 3 children, 2 women, and 6 men, by gunmen in Chipaque, 16 km south of Bogotá. According to the government, the gunmen are rebels of the "Revolutionary Armed Forces" of Colombia. Right-wing paramilitary gunmen have also committed numerous civilian massacres. During the first eight months of 2000, 1,389 people were slain in 314 massacres in Colombia, according to human rights monitors.
2000 Chu Congrui, 30, her death is notified by police to her family in Tiande (Jilin province, China), who find bruises on her body and blood around her ears, signs that she had died from severe police beatings. She was under arrest since 1 December for participating in a Falun Gong protest on Tiananmen Square.
2000 Luis Claramunt, pintor español.
1987 Bernard Cardinal Alfrink, 87, cardinal of Ultrecht Netherlands
1987 Marguerite Yourcenard, 84, author (Memoirs of Hadrien)
1950 At least 44 shipyard workers as Polish soldiers, on orders from defense minister General Wojciech Jaruzelski, shoot into crowd protesting food-price increases, in the Baltic coast cities of Gdynia, Gdansk, Szczecin and Elblag. More than 1000 are injured. Jaruzelski would be Poland's communist ruler from 1981 until the regime's demise in 1989. In November 2001 Jaruzelski, now 78, would be tried in a Warsaw court for the massacre.
1940 Stott, mathematician.
1939 German pocket battleship Graf Spee
scuttled by its crew off Uruguay
1939 Day 18 of Winter War: USSR aggression against Finland. [Talvisodan 18. päivä]
More deaths due to Stalin's desire to grab Finnish territory.
  • Central Isthmus: this morning Soviet infantry and tanks launched their first major offensive at Summa. The tanks penetrate the Finnish positions, but the infantry are held at the front line.
  • Eastern Isthmus: at 08:15 Soviet troops continue the offensive at Taipale. The attempted breakthrough is thwarted mainly by Finnish artillery fire.
  • Northern Finland: fighting to retake the parish village at Suomussalmi continues.
  • Petsamo: the vanguard of the Russian regiment overcomes the Finnish holding detachment near Porojärvi. Detachment Pennanen retreats to the River Kornettijoki, 120 km south of Petsamo. The fighting disperses into skirmishes between patrols.
  • Ladoga Karelia: Finland is forced to send 17-19-year-old schoolboys into battle at Salmi.
  • Mursula: the Finnish force fighting at Mursula on the shores of Lake Ladoga lose 26% of its strength and has to retreat. 32 Finnish soldiers are dead or missing. The enemy loses 300 men.
  • Helsinki: Isoviha ('The Great Wrath'), directed by Kalle Kaarna, receives its premiere screening in Helsinki. Starring Hilkka Helinä, Kalevi Mykkänen and Santeri Karilo, Isoviha was banned during the negotiations on the eve of the war, and the version screened now is still partly censored.

  • Neuvosto-joukkojen suurhyökkäys jatkuu Taipaleessa
  •  Summassa alkaa aamulla neuvostopanssareiden ja jalkaväen ensimmäinen suurhyökkäys.Panssarit pääsevät asemiin, mutta jalkaväki pysäytetään etulinjaan.
  • Taipaleessa jatkuu neuvosto-joukkojen suurhyökkäys klo 8.15 alkaen.Hyökkäysyritys torjutaan pääasiassa tykistötulella.
  • Petsamossa venäläisrykmentin kärki lyö viivyttävän suomalaisosaston Porojärven tasalla.
  • Suomussalmella jatkuvat taistelut kirkonkylän takaisin valtaamiseksi.
  • Osasto Pennanen vetäytyy Kornettijoelle 120 km Petsamosta etelään.Taistelut laantuvat partiosodaksi.
  • Salmin lohkolla taisteluun on jouduttu lähettämään 17-19 vuotiaita koulupoikia.
  • Suomalaisjoukot menettävät Mursulan taistelussa Laatokan rannalla 26% vahvuudestaan ja joutuvat perääntymään. 32 suomalaista kaatuu tai katoaa. Vihollinen menettää 300 miestä.
  • Kalle Kaarnan ohjaaman elokuvan Isoviha kantaesitys on Helsingissä.Elokuvan pääosissa ovat Hilkka Helinä, Kalevi Mykkänen ja Santeri Karilo.Elokuvaa sensuroidaan jonkin verran, ja se on ollut sotaa edeltäneiden neuvottelujen ajan kokonaan kielletty.
  • 1935 Juan Vicente Gómez, presidente venezolano.
    1927 All 34 aboard US sub 'S-4' as it sinks after collision.
    1909 Leopold II king of the Belgians.
    1907 William Thomson (Lord Kelvin), 83, mathematician. — físico británico, uno de los fundadores de la termodinámica y precursor de la teoría electromagnética.
    1890 Charles Shave Head, First Sergeant of Police, dies in the morning, 25 hours after being injured in the fight that resulted from the attempt to arrest Sitting Bull by 39 Indian policemen directed by James McLaughlin, Indian Agent at Standing Rock Reservation.
         An Account of Sitting Bull's Death by McLaughlin (dated 12 January 1891): http://www.pbs.org/weta/thewest/wpages/wpgs680/sbarrest.htm (The report says the arrest attempt was early on 16 December, Britannica has 15 December)
    1881 Lewis Henry Morgan, estadounidense, fundador de la antropología como ciencia.
    1853 Anstice, mathematician.
    1830 Simon Bolivar, 47, hero of independence from Spain, president of Colombia. — general, dirigente de la independencia de las Repúblicas de Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Perú, Bolivia y Panamá, muere en los alrededores de Santa Marta (Venezuela).
    1813 Antoine Auguste Parmentier, farmacéutico francés, impulsor del consumo de la patata.
    1806 Thomas Beach, British artist born in 1738. MORE ON BEACH AT ART “4” DECEMBER with links to images.
    1794 François Nicolas Vincent, político francés.
    1765 Ercole Graziani II, Italian artist born in 1688. — more
    1686 Liéve Pieterszoon Verschuur (or Verschuir), Dutch artist born in 1630.
    Births which occurred on a 17 December:
    1970 Benedictine [St Bernard]; becomes heaviest known dog (137 kg)
    1946 Eugene Levy Hamilton Canada, comedian/writer (SCTV)
    1946 The European Federalists Union is established in Paris.
    1944 Jack Chalker US, writer (Charon: A Dragon at the Gate)
    1940 Adolfo Canepa, político, abogado y matemático británico.
    1938 Tala, de Gabriela Mistral, se publica.
    1910 Joaquín Pérez Villanueva, historiador español.
    1908 Willard Frank Libby, US chemist who won a Nobel Prize (1960) for his part in creating the carbon-14 method of dating ancient findings.
    1903 Erskine Caldwell, US author (Tobacco Road, God's Little Acre)
    1900 Cartwright, mathematician.
    1898 Efraim Martínez, pintor colombiano.
    1895 Anti-Saloon League of America formed, Washington, DC
    1881 Jan Sluyters, Dutch artist who died is 1957. — more
    1875 Henri Émilien Rousseau, French Orientalist painter and illustrator who died on 28 March 1933. — Not to be confused with “le Douanier” Henri Rousseau [1844-1910] MORE ON ROUSSEAU AT ART “4” DECEMBER with links to images.
    1874 William Lyon Mackenzie King (L), 10th Canadian PM (1921-30, 1935-48)
    1873 Ford Madox Ford England, novelist/editor (The Inheritors)
    1863 Padé, mathematician.
    1859 Paul César Helleu, French artist who died on 23 March 1927.
    1859 Ettore Tito, Italian artist who died in 1941.
    1843 A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is published.
          The "social conversion" of Ebenezer Scrooge on Christmas Eve may be seen as a literary symbol (based on the For the first Christmas night) of the human potential released through spiritual conversion
          Charles Dickens had become one of the most popular writers in England nearly with the publication of his first novel, The Pickwick Papers. The short sketches, which Dickens published under the pseudonym "Boz," were originally commissioned as captions for humorous drawings.
          Dickens was born in 1812 and attended school in Portsmouth. His father, a clerk in the navy pay office, was thrown in debtors' prison in 1824, and 12-year-old Charles was sent to work in a factory. The miserable treatment of children and the institution of the debtors' jail became topics of several of Dickens' novels. In his late teens, Dickens became a reporter and started publishing humorous short stories when he was 21.
          In 1836, a collection of his stories was published: Sketches by Boz, later known as The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club. The same year, he married Catherine Hogarth, with whom he would have nine children. The short sketches in his collection were originally commissioned as captions for humorous drawings by caricature artist Robert Seymour, but Dickens' whimsical stories about the kindly Samuel Pickwick and his fellow club members soon became popular in their own right. Only 400 copies were printed of the first installment, but by the 15th episode 40'000 copies were printed. When the stories were published in book form in 1837, Dickens quickly became the most popular author of the day.
          In 1838, Dickens published Oliver Twist, followed by Nicholas Nickleby (1839). In 1841, Dickens published two more novels, then spent five months in the US, where he was hailed as a literary hero.
          Dickens churned out major novels every year or two, usually serialized in his own circular. Among his most important works are David Copperfield (1850), Great Expectations (1861), and A Tale of Two Cities (1859). Beginning in 1850, he published his own weekly circular of fiction, poetry, and essays called Household Words. In 1858, Dickens separated from his wife and began a long affair with a young actress. In the late 1850s, he began a series of public readings, which became immensely popular. He died in 1870 at the age of 58, with his last novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, still unfinished.
  • American Notes for General Circulation: 1 (1842)
  • American Notes for General Circulation: 2 (1842)
  • American Notes for General Circulation (1874)
  • Barnaby Rudge (PDF)
  • Barnaby Rudge
  • Barnaby Rudge (zipped PDF)
  • A Child's History of England
  • A Christmas Carol
  • A Christmas Carol (PDF)
  • A Christmas Carol (zipped PDF)
  • A Christmas Carol: The Reading Version
  • David Copperfield
  • David Copperfield (zipped PDF)
  • Dombey and Son (PDF)
  • Great Expectations
  • Great Expectations (PDF)
  • Great Expectations (zipped PDF)
  • The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain
  • The Lazy Tour of Two Idle Apprentices
  • Letters of Charles Dickens to Wilkie Collins
  • The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit (PDF)
  • The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit (zipped PDF)
  • The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby
  • The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby (zipped PDF)
  • The Old Curiosity Shop
  • The Old Curiosity Shop
  • The Old Curiosity Shop (zipped PDF)
  • The Perils of Certain English Prisoners
  • Bleak House
  • Bleak House
  • Bleak House (zipped PDF)
  • Little Dorrit
  • Little Dorrit (PDF)
  • Little Dorrit (zipped PDF)
  • Hard Times
  • Hard Times
  • Hard Times (zipped PDF)
  • The Chimes
  • The Chimes
  • The Battle of Life
  • The Holly Tree
  • Hunted Down
  • The Lamplighter
  • The Cricket on the Hearth
  • Doctor Marigold
  • The Life of Our Lord
  • Mugby Junction
  • A Message from the Sea
  • Mrs. Lirriper's Legacy
  • Mrs. Lirriper's Lodgings
  • To Be Read at Dusk
  • Tom Tiddler's Ground
  • Pictures from Italy
  • Reprinted Pieces
  • Sketches by Boz
  • Somebody's Luggage
  • Mudfog and Other Sketches
  • Master Humphrey's Clock
  • The Mystery of Edwin Drood
  • The Mystery of Edwin Drood
  • Oliver Twist
  • Oliver Twist (PDF)
  • Oliver Twist (zipped PDF)
  • Our Mutual Friend
  • Our Mutual Friend (PDF)
  • The Pickwick Papers
  • The Pickwick Papers
  • The Pickwick Papers (zipped PDF)
  • The Seven Poor Travellers
  • Sketches of Young Couples
  • Sketches of Young Gentlemen
  • Speeches, Literary and Social
  • Sunday Under Three Heads
  • A Tale of Two Cities
  • A Tale of Two Cities
  • A Tale of Two Cities
  • A Tale of Two Cities (zipped PDF)
  • The Uncommercial Traveller
  • The Wreck of the Golden Mary
    co-author of:
  • No Thoroughfare
  • No Thoroughfare
    editor of:
  • A House to Let
  • 1842 Sophus Lie, mathematician.
    1835 Casorati, mathematician.
    1830 Jules de Goncourt France, novelist (Germinie).
    1824 Thomas Starr King New York, Unitarian clergyman (Christianity and Humanity).
    1819 Jean Baptiste van Moer, Belgian artist who died on 06 December 1884.
    1810 Francisco Serrano y Domínguez, militar y político, regente de España.
    1807 John Greenleaf Whittier US, poet (Snow-bound), abolitionist, reformer, and founder of the Liberal Party.
    1797 Joseph Henry, US physicist who died on 13 May 1878. He discovered electromagnetic induction one year before Michael Faraday [22 Sep 1791 – 25 Aug 1867], who in 1831 was the first to publish his results and hence is usually given the credit. In 1893 the unit of electric inductive resistance was named the henry (The magnetic flux of 1 volt second through a circuit per volt of current flowing in the circuit that is producing the magnetic field).
    1778 Sir Humphrey Davy, English chemist who discovered several chemical elements and the anesthetic effect of laughing gas.
    1770 Ludwig van Beethoven, músico alemán.
    1749 Domenico Cimarosa, compositor italiano.
    1706 Gabrielle du Châtelet, mathematician.
    1667 Jean-Baptiste Bosschaert, Flemish artist who died in 1746.
    Holidays Bhutan: Ascension to the throne of the 1st King/National Day / Columbia: Independence Day (1819) / US: Pan American Aviation Day/Wright Brothers Day (1903) / Venezuela: Bolivar Day (1830)

    Religious Observances Christian : Fiesta of the Virgin of the Lonely / Santos Alfonso, Cristóbal, Florián, Justiniano, Lázaro y Roque; santas Vivina y Yolanda. / Saint Lazare est le frère de Marthe et Marie, deux suivantes du Christ. Cet habitant aisé de Béthanie, une ville proche de Jérusalem, est présenté dans l'Evangile de Jean comme un ami de Jésus. Affecté par sa mort inopinée, le Christ le ressuscite, accomplissant par amitié le plus grand de ses miracles.

    DICTIONNAIRE TICRANIEN: sourdine: celui qui entend mal est en train de manger son repas du soir.
    Thoughts for the day : “Every human being comes equipped with a brain at no extra cost.” [but not with an owner's manual, so that few, if any, ever learn how to use their brain to the fullest]
    “Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits.” — Thomas Edison. [he wants us to wait faster?]
    updated Wednesday 17-Dec-2003 22:41 UT
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