Today is Sunday, Dec. 19, the 353rd day of 2010. There are 12 days left in the year.
1547 – Great Britain passes a vagabond law.
1793 – A young Napoleon Bonaparte takes Toulon, France, from the British and Spanish in his first major military victory.
1795 – Austria signs armistice with France.
1842 – The United States recognizes independence of Hawaii.
1843 – Charles Dickens’ classic Yuletide tale, “A Christmas Carol,” is first published in England.
1885 – Germany’s dispute with Spain over Caroline Islands in Pacific is settled in favor of Spain.
1907 – A coal mine explosion in Jacobs Creek, Pennsylvania, kills 239 workers.
1909 – A civil war starts in Honduras.
1915 – British troops begin withdrawal from Suvla and Anzac troops from Gallipoli during Turkish campaign in World War I.
1932 – The British Broadcasting Corp. begins transmitting overseas with its “Empire Service” to Australia.
1941 – German dictator Adolf Hitler dismisses his chief of staff and takes personal command of the German army after military setbacks.
1946 – War breaks out in Indochina as troops under Ho Chi Minh launch widespread attacks against the French.
1951 – The New Treaty of Friendship is signed between Oman and Britain, recognizing full independence of the sultanate.
1955 – Sudan’s Parliament declares independence.
1961 – Goa and two other Portuguese-controlled enclaves on India’s west coast fall to forces of the Indian government.
1962 – Senegal’s President Leopold Senghor takes charge of government in Dakar after ouster of the West African nation’s premier.
1966 – U.N. General Assembly endorses a draft treaty banning the use of mass destruction weapons in space.
1972 – Apollo 17 spacecraft splashes down on target in Pacific Ocean, ending U.S. Apollo program of landing men on Moon.
1978 – Indian Parliament ousts former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi from her newly elected seat and orders her jailed for contempt and breach of privilege.
1984 – Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher of Britain and Zhao Ziyang of China sign a joint declaration spelling out the terms for Hong Kong’s return to Chinese sovereignty on July 1, 1997.
1985 – Muslim gunmen kidnap 10 Christians in Beirut, Lebanon, stepping up the campaign of terror.
1990 – Albanian authorities formally recognize the country’s first noncommunist party.
1992 – Taiwan holds its first full legislative elections after retiring hundreds of lawmakers who were elected in China in 1949 and stayed in office.
1994 – Russian helicopters and airplanes bomb Grozny, capital of the breakaway Chechnya region.
1995 – The first Russian soldiers arrive in Bosnia for a NATO-led peacekeeping mission.
1996 – Former Indian Prime Minister Narasimha Rao steps down from his last government post after corruption charges.
1998 – As U.S. forces bomb Iraq, the U.S. House of Representatives impeaches President Bill Clinton for obstructing justice and lying under oath about his affair with Monica Lewinsky.
1999 – Survivors wander through streets covered with rocks and mud as the death toll from massive mudslides and flooding in Venezuela surpasses 5,000.
2001- Jobless Argentines unleash their anger over a deep economic tailspin in a burst of looting and violence that targets supermarkets and shops on the fringes of Buenos Aires.
2002 – U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell says Iraq is in “material breach” of U.N. Security Council resolutions for alleged omissions in a declaration of its weapons programs.
2003 – Libya agrees to abandon its programs pursuing internationally banned weapons, including chemical, biological and nuclear weapons as well as long-range missiles. It agrees to respect the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
2004 – Car bombs rock Iraq’s two holiest Shiite cities, killing at least 62 people and wounding more than 120, while in downtown Baghdad dozens of gunmen carry out a brazen ambush, pulling out three election officials and executing them on the pavement in the middle of morning traffic.
2005 – Uganda’s main opposition leader pleads not guilty to treason charges in a trial supporters claim is being staged to keep him out of 2006 presidential elections.
2006 – A Libyan court convicts five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor and condemns them to death for infecting 400 children with HIV. Nearly seven months later, they are allowed to return to Bulgaria.
2007 – Former Hyundai CEO Lee Myung-bak claims victory Wednesday in South Korea’s presidential election, as voters overlook fraud allegations in hopes he will revive the economy.
2008 – The Pentagon formally approves war crimes charges against Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a Guantanamo detainee accused of masterminding the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole.
2009 – After months of denials, Iran acknowledges that at least three people detained in the country’s postelection turmoil were beaten to death by their jailers.
Su Tung-p’o, Chinese poet (1036-1101); Sir Ralph Richardson, British actor (1902-1983); Leonid I. Brezhnev, Soviet Communist Party chief (1906-1982); Jean Genet, French writer (1910-1986); Edith Piaf, French singer (1915-1963); Robert Urich, U.S. actor (1946-2002); Richard E. Leakey, Kenyan paleontologist (1944–); Jennifer Beals, U.S. actress (1963–); Jake Gyllenhaal, U.S. actor (1980–); Lady Sovereign, British rapper (1985–).
And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God Bless Us, Every One! and#8212; the closing line of “A Christmas Carol,” by Charles Dickens (1812-1870).
and#8212; Copyright 2010 The Associated Press
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