This Day in History - November 20
On this day, 1998, American tobacco companies sign an agreement with 46 US state goverments to settle claims for the reimbursement of Medicaid funds the states had spent treating smoking-related illnesses.Pexels


2004: President Chandrika Kumaratunga declares that Sri Lanka will lift a 28-year moratorium on the death penalty after a high court judge was gunned down at his home.


1789: New Jersey becomes the first US state to ratify the Constitution's Bill of Rights.

1818: Simon Bolivar formally declares Venezuela independent of Spain.

1873: The rival cities of Buda and Pest are united to form the capital of Hungary.

1902: Geo Lefevre and Henri Desgrange create the Tour de France bicycle race.

1917: The Ukrainian Republic is proclaimed.

1945: The International War Crimes Tribunal begins as 24 accused Nazi World War II criminals go on trial in Nuremberg, Germany, before judges representing the victorious Allied powers.

1947: England's Princess Elizabeth and Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten are married in London's Westminster Abbey.

1959: Britain, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland, Austria, Denmark and Sweden meet to form the European Free Trade Association.

1964: The Ecumenical council approves a text offering friendship and mutual respect to non-Christian peoples and specifically denying any special Jewish guilt in the crucifixion of Jesus.

1965: President Sukarno states that he intends to keep Indonesia in an anti-imperialist axis composed of Communist China, Cambodia, North Korea, and North Vietnam.

1969: The Nixon Administration in United States announces a halt to residential use of the pesticide DDT as part of a total phase-out.

1975: Francisco Franco, ruler of Spain since his overthrow of the democratic Government in 1939, dies at age 82.

1977: Egypt's President Anwar Sadat becomes the first Arab leader to speak before the Israeli Parliament, telling them Egypt seeks peace.

1980: A special tribunal begins the two-month trial of "the Gang of Four", led by Jiang Qing, Chairman Mao Tse-tung's wife, for masterminding the 1966-1976 Cultural Revolution in China.

1983: A total 100 million people watch ABC TV movie The Day After about nuclear war.

1990: Saddam Hussein orders another 250,000 Iraqi troops into Kuwait.

1993: A Macedonian jetliner carrying 116 people crashes into a mountain; only one person survives.

1997: Twenty-nine industrialised nations of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) agree to outlaw the bribing of foreign officials.

1998: American tobacco companies sign an agreement with the governments of 46 US states to settle the states' claims for reimbursement of Medicaid funds they had expended to treat smoking-related illnesses; the settlement cost the tobacco manufacturers US$206 billion beyond the US$40 billion they had agreed to pay four other states in 1997.

2001: Colleagues identify the bodies of four international journalists forced from their cars by armed men and killed in an ambush on the road to the Afghan capital, Kabul.

2002: Turkey's broadcasting authority authorises State radio and television to air limited programmes in the once-banned Kurdish language, a step toward meeting EU membership requirements.

2007: More than 3,000 people jailed in Pakistan under emergency rule are released, the latest sign of President General Pervez Musharraf rolling back some of the harsher measures taken against his opponents.

2008: At the first habeus corpus hearing on the US Government's reasons for holding six detainees at the military detention camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Judge Richard J Leon of the Federal District Court in Washington, DC, rules that five of the men have been illegally held for almost seven years and should be released immediately.

2009: The US Department of Labor releases statistics showing that the unemployment rate in October was higher than in September in 29 states, with the highest rate (15.1 per cent) in Michigan, and records set in four states and the District of Columbia; the rate was lower in 13 states, however.

2010: Pope Benedict XVI opens the door on the previously taboo subject of condoms as a way to fight HIV, saying male prostitutes who use condoms may be beginning to act responsibly — a stunning comment for a pontiff who blamed condoms for making the AIDS crisis worse.

2011: Spain's Opposition conservatives sweep commandingly into power and into the hot seat, as voters enduring a 21.5 per cent jobless rate and stagnant economy dump the Socialists — the third time in as many weeks Europe's debt crisis has claimed a government.

2012: The Church of England's governing body blocks a move to permit women to serve as bishops, in a vote so close it fails to settle the question of female leadership and likely condemns the institution to years more debate on the issue.

2014: Nearly five million illegal migrants in the US have the threat of deportation deferred, after President Barack Obama announces sweeping immigration changes.

2015: American civil defence analyst Jonathan Jay Pollard is released from prison, having served 30 years for selling classified information to Israel. More than half of all trees in the Amazon forest are at risk of extinction according to data published in the journal Sciences Advances.

2018: Airbnb bans listings in Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Indian actor Amitabh Bachchan confirms he has paid off the debts of 1,398 farmers worth US$560,000, amid an Indian agricultural crisis. A Mississippi 15-week abortion ban is overturned by a US judge, saying it violated women's constitutional rights. More than 40 religious scholars are killed by a suicide bomber near the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, at an event to mark the birth of the prophet Mohammed.

2019: Oxford Dictionaries' word of the year is "climate emergency". Snakes lived with hind legs for 70 million years (scientific name: Najash rionegrina), according to research from La Buitrera Palaeontological Area, Argentina, and published in the Science Advances journal.

2022: New York state activates the National Guard to assist with a historic snow event around Buffalo, with Orchard Park receiving almost 6 1/5 feet of snowfall. The world's longest-serving president, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, 80, secures re-election in Equatorial Guinea, extending his 43-year rule.


Selma Lagerlöf, Swedish author and Nobel laureate (1858-1940); Albert Kesselring, German general field marshall during World War II (1885-1960); Edwin Powell Hubble, US astronomer (1889-1953); Chester Gould, American cartoonist of Dick Tracy comic strip (1900-1985); Alexandra Danilova, Russian ballerina (1903-1997); Robert F Kennedy, American politician and US attorney general (1925-1968); Goodluck Jonathan, president of Nigeria (1957- ); John Mair, Jamaican Olympian and renowned high school track and field coach (1963- )

— AP/ Jamaica Observer

The bodies of four international journalists killed in ambush en route to the Afghanistan capital of Kabul are identified by colleagues this day, 2001..
According to data published in the journal Sciences Advances on this day, 2015, more than half the Amazon's trees are at risk of extinction..

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