Today in History – Dec. 16

Published: December 6, 2013

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THE CANADIAN PRESS

Today in History for Dec. 16:

On this date:

In 1653, Oliver Cromwell became lord protector of England, Scotland and Ireland.

In 1770, German composer Ludvig Van Beethoven, universally recognized as one of the greatest composers in history, was born in Bonn.

In 1773, the event known as the Boston Tea Party occurred. To protest a British tax on tea, angry colonists disguised themselves as Indians, boarded three ships and dumped 340 chests filled with tea into Boston harbour.

In 1775, British novelist Jane Austen was born. Her works include “Pride and Prejudice” and “Sense and Sensibility.”

In 1895, the Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps was organized.

In 1900, the first North American credit union was founded in Levis, Que., by Alphonse Desjardins. “La Caisse Populaire de Levis” opened for business the following Jan. 23.

In 1901, Dawson City, Yukon, was incorporated.

In 1916, the monk who wielded powerful influence over the Russian imperial court, Gregori Rasputin, was murdered by a group of young nobles.

In 1944, the “Battle of the Bulge” began during the Second World War. German forces launched a surprise attack against Allied forces in Belgium (the Allies were eventually able to beat the Germans back).

In 1949, an amendment to the British North America Act, giving the Canadian Parliament power to amend the Constitution on federal matters, was passed by the British Parliament. The amendment did not apply to areas of the Constitution under provincial jurisdiction.

In 1953, royal assent was given to a bill to establish the Department of Northern Affairs and National Resources.

In 1954, the first synthetic diamond was produced at General Electric Research in the United States.

In 1960, two passenger planes, one belonging to United Airlines and the other to TWA, collided over New York City killing all 134 people aboard both aircraft.

In 1964, British-American poet-dramatist T.S. Eliot died at 76.

In 1976, the federal and provincial governments halted vaccination programs against swine flu following reports of paralysis apparently linked to the vaccine. The move followed an announcement the same day from the United States that similar vaccinations were stopped because of possible links with a paralytic condition known as Guillain-Barre syndrome.

In 1980, Kentucky Fried Chicken king Colonel Harland Sanders died at age 90. He was probably the world’s best-known human trademark.

In 1986, the New Democrats got their first Member of Parliament from Quebec when independent MP Robert Toupin joined their ranks.

In 1990, Jean-Bertrand Aristide was elected president by a landslide in the first successful free election held in Haiti since its independence from France 186 years earlier. He was overthrown in a military coup in September, 1991 but international pressure forced the country’s leaders to allow him to return to power several years later. Arisitide was again ousted from power and fled Haiti in February, 2003.

In 1991, the Canadian government agreed to create a third territory in the North called Nunavut. (It officially became a territory on April 1, 1999.)

In 1991, Kazakhstan declared its independence from Russia.

In 1991, the UN General Assembly rescinded a resolution equating Zionism with racism. The Arab-sponsored resolution of Nov. 10, 1975, had declared “Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination.”

In 1994, Via Rail’s Atlantic train rolled into Saint John, N.B., for the last time as service to inland cities in southern Quebec and New Brunswick was cut.

In 1996, Prime Minister Jean Chretien apologized for an election promise to scrap the GST.

In 1997, the Canadian Senate voted to strip Senator Andrew Thompson, who had attended only three per cent of the chamber’s sittings since 1990, of his office, secretary, telephone and most travel privileges. He resigned from the upper chamber in March, 1998.

In 1997, Lillian Disney, widow of Walt Disney, and a patron of the arts, died at age 98.

In 1997, nearly 700 children in Japan suffered seizures and convulsions after watching a cartoon show that used brilliant flashing lights.

In 2000, U.S. President-elect George W. Bush selected Colin Powell to become the first African-American secretary of state.

In 2002, Prime Minister Jean Chretien formally signed the Kyoto ratification document. It made Canada the 98th country to ratify the Kyoto accord, which commits countries to reduce their output of the heat-trapping greenhouse gases believed to cause global warming.

In 2003, Robert Stanfield, former Nova Scotia premier and federal Progressive Conservative leader, died at age 89.

In 2004, the Supreme Court in the Northwest Territories awarded $10 million in damages to the families of nine miners killed in the 1992 bombing at the Giant Mine outside Yellowknife during a strike.

In 2006, Archbishop Thomas Collins was appointed the new spiritual leader of the Archdiocese of Toronto, replacing the retiring Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic. (In 2012, Collins was elevated to the position of Cardinal.)

In 2008, the U.S. Federal Reserve cut its target rate for overnight loans between banks to a range of zero to 0.25 per cent and pledged to use “all available tools” to heal the American economy.

In 2008, the N.L. government seized the hydro assets and resources of AbitibiBowater Inc., less than two weeks after the company announced the closure of its money-losing Grand Falls-Windsor newsprint mill.

In 2009, newly appointed Toronto Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos traded ace starter Roy Halladay to the defending World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies.

In 2010, marking the occasion with bright red suspenders, Larry King pulled the curtain down on his CNN talk show after 25 years. He had conducted some 50,000 interviews in a broadcasting career where he worked for decades in radio before joining CNN in 1985. He recorded more than 6,000 shows for CNN. British talk-show host and “America’s Got Talent” judge Piers Morgan took over the 9 p.m. Eastern time slot in January.

In 2011, the Senate passed legislation to redistribute federal ridings from 308 to 338 to reflect population growth. Ontario received 15 more, Alberta and B.C. six, and Quebec three. The new ridings would be in place by 2015.

In 2011, a long-awaited report found thousands of children suffered sexual abuse in Dutch Catholic institutions over the past 65 years, and church officials knew about the abuse but failed to stop it or help victims because they feared sparking scandals.

In 2012, a 23-year-old woman was gang-raped and severely beaten on a moving bus in New Delhi. She died two weeks later in a Singapore hospital after being sent there for medical treatment. Six men were arrested and charges were upgraded to include murder. Her horrific ordeal set off protests and sparked a national debate about the treatment of women across India. (One adult suspect was found dead in his jail cell in March 2013 in an apparent suicide. In August, a juvenile suspect was convicted and sentenced to the maximum three years in a reform home. The next month, the four remaining adult suspects were convicted and sentenced to hang.)

—-

(The Canadian Press)

11:08ET 06-12-13

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