This Day in History - December 17

Monday, December 17, 2018

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Today is the 351st day of 2018. There are 14 days left in the year


2005: Anti-globalisation protesters in Hong Kong armed with bamboo sticks rush police and try to storm the convention centre where trade accord negotiations are being held. At least 41 people are injured and 900 detained after the worst street violence in Hong Kong in decades.


1777: France recognises the US's independence.

1885: France acquires control of Madagascar's foreign relations.

1903: Orville and Wilbur Wright make the first successful sustained-powered flights by a heavier-than-air craft, near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

1908: The Ottoman Parliament holds first meeting.

1922: The last British troops leave the Irish Free State.

1944: The US Army announces the end of its policy of excluding Japanese-Americans from the West Coast.

1948: The Dutch attack Indonesia, invade the republic's capital of Yogyakarta and arrest President Sukarno and other leaders.

1957: The US successfully test-fires the Atlas intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time.

1961: A fire sweeps through a circus tent at Niteroi, a suburb of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, killing 323 people, mostly children, and injuring 800. A disgruntled ex-employee admits to starting the fire.

1967: Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt disappears while swimming at Portsea, Victoria.

1971: India and Pakistan end a two-week war in East Pakistan — now Bangladesh.

1985: Uganda's military Government and its guerrilla rivals sign peace treaty dividing power and ending almost five years of civil war.

1989: A number of people are killed by Romanian security forces as a pro-democracy demonstration turns violent.

1990: Tens of thousands of students and workers strike across Romania, calling for Government's resignation as they commemorate the first anniversary of the uprising that ousted Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.

1991: Boris Yeltsin and Mikhail Gorbachev agree to dissolve the Soviet Union and proclaim a new commonwealth on New Year's Day.

1992: Egyptian officials fight to save one of Cairo's picturesque and historic quarters, the early Christian mecca at Babylon, that was rattled by an October earthquake.

1995: Elections in Russia give the parliamentary majority to communists and their allies.

1996: About 20 Tupac Amaru guerrillas seize the Japanese ambassador's residence in Lima, Peru, take hundreds of diplomats and government officials hostage and demand the release of 300 imprisoned comrades.

1997: Thirty-four countries sign a treaty aimed at eradicating bribery in international business.

2002: The Congolese Government and the country's main rebel groups sign a peace accord in Pretoria, South Africa, in hopes of ending Congo's four-year-old civil war.

2003: The US and four Central American nations — Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua — reach a free trade agreement. CAFTA calls for eliminating tariffs on all industrial goods over 10 years and phasing out most agricultural trade barriers over 18 years.

2007: A gang-rape victim sentenced to six months in prison and 200 lashes for being alone with a man not related to her is pardoned by the Saudi king after the case sparked rare criticism from the US, the kingdom's top ally.

2008: The UN Security Council votes unanimously to extend the investigation into the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

2009: Scientists have witnessed the eruption of the deepest submarine volcano ever discovered, capturing for the first time video of fiery bubbles of molten lava as they exploded 4,000 feet (1,220 metres) beneath the surface of the Pacific Ocean in what researchers are calling a major geological discovery.

2010: Three American missile attacks kill 54 alleged militants close to the Afghan border, an unusually high number of victims that includes commanders of a Taliban-allied group that were holding a meeting.

2011: Flash floods devastate a southern Philippines region unaccustomed to serious storms, killing more than 400 people while they slept, rousting hundreds of others to their rooftops and turning two coastal cities into muddy, debris-filled waterways that were strewn with overturned vehicles and toppled trees.


Domenico Cimarosa, Italian composer (1749-1801); Ludwig van Beethoven, German composer (1770-1827); Ford Madox Ford, English author (1873-1939); Arthur Fielder, US conductor (1894-1979); Erskine Caldwell, US author (1903-1987); Kerry Packer, Australian media magnate (1937-2005); William Safire, US newspaper columnist (1929-2009)

— AP

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