Highlight in History
On March 19, 2003, President George W. Bush ordered the start of war against Iraq. (Because of the time difference, it was early March 20 in Iraq.)
On this date
In 1863, the Confederate cruiser Georgianna, on its maiden voyage, was scuttled off Charleston, S.C., to prevent it from falling into Union hands.
In 1943, gangster Frank Nitti, leader of Al Capone’s Chicago Outfit, shot himself to death in a railroad yard.
In 1945, 724 people were killed when a Japanese dive bomber attacked the carrier USS Franklin off Japan; the ship, however, was saved. Adolf Hitler issued his so-called “Nero Decree,” ordering the destruction of German facilities that could fall into Allied hands.
In 1953, the Academy Awards ceremony was televised for the first time; “The Greatest Show on Earth” was named best picture of 1952.
In 1965, the wreck of the Confederate cruiser Georgianna was discovered by E. Lee Spence, 102 years to the day after it had been scuttled.
Ten years ago
Tobacco farmer Dwight Ware Watson, who claimed to be carrying bombs in a tractor and trailer that he’d driven into a pond on Washington’s National Mall, surrendered after disrupting traffic for two days; there were no explosives. Six men hijacked a Cuban airliner to the Florida Keys to seek asylum in the United States. (The six were later convicted of federal hijacking charges.) Mahmoud Abbas accepted the position of Palestinian prime minister.
Five years ago
Five years after launching the invasion of Iraq, President George W. Bush strongly signaled he wouldn’t order troop withdrawals beyond those already planned because he refused to “jeopardize the hard-fought gains” of the past year. In a new audio message, Osama bin Laden criticized the publication of drawings insulting to the Prophet Muhammad and warned Europeans of a strong reaction to come. Death claimed science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke at age 90 and actor Paul Scofield at age 86.
One year ago
A motorbike assailant opened fire with two handguns in front of a Jewish school in the southern French city of Toulouse, killing a rabbi, his two young sons and a girl. (The gunman, French-born Mohammed Merah, was killed in a gunfight with police after a 32-hour standoff at his apartment.
Highlight in History
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Song, dance, tears for Mandela in South Africa
Themba Radebe spun slowly in a circle.
First he pointed his cellphone camera at a group of children chanting Nelson Mandela’s name as they waved posters of the anti-apartheid champion. Then pivoting to his right, Radebe aimed his camera at a swaying group of adults who sang in Zulu while rocking and clapping.
Icy winter storm shuts down North Texas
Freezing rain and stinging winds slammed the Southwest Friday and made a strangely blank landscape out of normally sun-drenched North Texas: mostly empty highways covered in a sometimes impassable frost, closed schools and businesses, and millions of residents hunkered down for icy conditions expected to last through the weekend.
Today in History for Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013
Today is Saturday, Dec. 7, the 341st day of 2013. There are 24 days left in the year.
Mexico plans how to safely box up recovered cobalt
Officials were engaged Thursday in the delicate task of recovering a stolen shipment of highly radioactive cobalt-60 abandoned in a rural field in central Mexico state.
Prosecutors face tough choices in NYC derailment
While the Metro-North Railroad is already getting hit with multimillion-dollar civil claims over a deadly commuter train derailment, prosecutors will face tough choices when deciding whether to bring criminal charges against the train’s engineer, who told investigators he nodded or fell into a daze at the controls.
Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s peacemaker, dies
Nelson Mandela was a master of forgiveness.
South Africa’s first black president spent nearly a third of his life as a prisoner of apartheid, yet he sought to win over its defeated guardians in a relatively peaceful transition of power that inspired the world.
Today in History for Friday, Dec. 6, 2013
Today is Friday, Dec. 6, the 340th day of 2013. There are 25 days left in the year.
Anti-gov’t mass rally in Ukraine turns violent
A protest by about 300,000 Ukrainians angered by their government’s decision to freeze integration with the West turned violent Sunday, when a group of demonstrators besieged the president’s office and police drove them back with truncheons, tear gas and flash grenades. Dozens of people were injured.
Egypt police clear protesters; constitution agreed
Police fired tear gas to drive hundreds of supporters of Egypt’s ousted Islamist president from Cairo’s famed Tahrir Square on Sunday, as a panel tasked with amending the constitution adopted during his time in office agreed on changes to the text.
NYC train derailment kills 4, hurts more than 60
A New York City commuter train rounding a riverside curve derailed Sunday, killing four people and injuring more than 60 in a crash that threw some riders from toppling cars and swiftly raised questions about whether excessive speed, mechanical problems or human error could have played a role.
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- Song, dance, tears for Mandela in South Africa