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December 31, 2013

Today in History for Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2014

-- — Highlight in History

On Dec. 31, 1879, Thomas Edison first publicly demonstrated his electric incandescent light in Menlo Park, N.J.

On this date

In 1986, 97 people were killed when fire broke out in the Dupont Plaza Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico. (Three hotel workers later pleaded guilty in connection with the blaze.)

In 1987, Robert Mugabe (moo-GAH’-bay), prime minister of Zimbabwe, was sworn in as the country’s first executive president.

Ten years ago

A car bomb ripped through a crowded restaurant hosting a New Year’s Eve party in Baghdad, Iraq, killing eight Iraqis.

Five years ago

The U.N. Security Council held an emergency meeting on an Arab request for a binding and enforceable resolution condemning Israel and halting its military attacks on Gaza. A man left four gift-wrapped bombs in downtown Aspen, Colo. in a bank-robbery attempt, turning New Year’s Eve celebrations into a mass evacuation. (The man, identified as 72-year-old James Chester Blanning, shot and killed himself.) A woman gave birth aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 59 while en route from Amsterdam to Boston.

One year ago

Racing the clock, the White House reached a New Year’s Eve accord with Senate Republicans to block across-the-board tax increases and spending cuts in government programs due to take effect at midnight. Recreational marijuana clubs opened in Colorado, less than a month after Gov. John Hickenlooper signed into law a constitutional amendment allowing recreational pot use. Seven NFL coaches and five general managers were fired in a flurry of sackings the day after the regular season ended.

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