By The Associated Press
2013-12-13 10:22 AM
Today is Friday, Dec. 20, the 354th day of 2013. There are 11 days left in the year.
Highlights in history on this date:
1192 - Richard I the Lion-heart, king of England, is captured in Vienna.
1582 - The Gregorian calendar is adopted in France.
1694 - Frederick of Brandenburg restores Schweibus to the Holy Roman Empire.
1712 - The Swedes defeat the Danes at Gadebusch, Poland.
1790 - The first successful cotton mill in the United States begins operating in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.
1803 - New Orleans flies the American flag for the first time, signaling a transfer of ownership as the Louisiana Territory is handed over to the United States, which purchased it from France.
1830 - The London conference of Britain, France, Austria, Prussia and Russia agrees with Belgium on separation from Holland.
1852 - British forces annex Pegu, lower Burma, in war with Burmese.
1860 - South Carolina becomes the first U.S. state to secede from the Union.
1879 - Inventor Thomas Edison privately demonstrates his incandescent light in Menlo Park, New Jersey.
1880 - Electric lights are installed throughout Broadway's theater section.
1922 - Fourteen republics merge to form the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
1928 - Britain recognizes the Nanking government (Kuomintang) of China.
1944 - The Cuban Government agrees with importers to establish a flour subsidy to end shortages that have left Havana without bread.
1954 - France sends 20,000 troops to Algeria to put down an independence movement.
1957 - European Nuclear Energy Agency is founded; Elvis Presley receives army draft notice.
1960 - The Viet Cong, the armed wing of the National Liberation Front, is founded in South Vietnam.
1963 - The Berlin Wall opens for the first time to West Berliners, who are allowed one-day visits to relatives in the Eastern sector for the holidays.
1971 - President Aga Khan resigns after Pakistan loses control over East Pakistan, now Bangladesh.
1972 - Gunmen kill eight men and wound five in one of bloodiest days of Northern Ireland conflict.
1973 - Spain's Premier Luis Carrero Blanco is killed when assassins bomb his car in Madrid.
1986 - Up to 30,000 students march for democracy through streets of Shanghai in China's largest demonstration since the Cultural Revolution.
1987 - More than 3,000 people are killed when the Dona Paz, a Philippine passenger ship, collides with the tanker Vector off Mindoro island, setting off a double explosion.
1989 - Some 12,000 U.S. troops arrive in Panama to overthrow the government of Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega.
1990 - Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze resigns suddenly, warning parliament that hard-liners are pushing the country toward dictatorship.
1991 - South Africa's government, the African National Congress and other parties begin talks on rewriting the country's Constitution.
1992 - Welcomed by thousands of cheering Somalis, U.S. Marines and Belgian paratroopers pour ashore in broad daylight and quickly take control of Kismayu's port and airport.
1994 - Mexico lowers the peso's trading floor, triggering a drastic devaluation.
1995 - An American Airlines jetliner carrying 164 people from Miami to Cali, Colombia, crashes into a mountain in the Andes. All but four people are killed.
1996 - Tajik gunmen take 23 people hostage on a highway in Tajikistan, including seven U.N. military observers and two other U.N. employees. They demand freedom for the kidnapped brother of a Tajik warlord.
1997 - Two days after winning the presidential election in South Korea, President Kim Dae-jung pardons former Presidents Chun Doo-hwan and Roh Tae-woo, two ex-military dictators who tried to kill him when he was a dissident.
1998 - Nkem Chukwu of Houston, Texas, becomes the first woman to give birth to eight live babies.
1999 - The Vermont Supreme Court rules that gay couples must be granted the same benefits and protections given married couples of the opposite sex in the first ruling of its kind in the United States.
2001 - Argentine President Fernando de la Rua resigns amid riots sparked by the country's collapsing economy.
2003 - Political opponents of President Hugo Chavez submit to the National Electoral Council petitions with 3.4 million signatures seeking a referendum to recall Chavez.
2004 - A tribunal upholds President Olusegun Obasanjo's victory in Nigeria's first-ever civilian-run vote, held more than a year earlier, saying some balloting fraud had occurred but that the graft wouldn't have changed the results.
2005 - The first full session of Afghanistan's new parliament almost breaks down in an uproar after a woman lawmaker demands that all warlords -- some of whom are lawmakers -- be brought to justice.
2006 - Journalist Gao Qinrong, serving a 13-year jail term in China for reporting about a bogus irrigation project, is released five years early, a decision touted as evidence of the country's willingness to empower the media.
2007 - Russia signs an agreement with Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to build a huge natural gas pipeline along the Caspian Sea.
2008 - Mexico says it has extradited a record 85 criminal suspects to the United States so far for the year.
2009 - China, the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases, lauds the outcome of a historic U.N. climate conference that ended with a nonbinding agreement that urges major polluters to make deeper emissions cuts -- but does not require it.
2010 - North Korea backs off threats to retaliate against South Korea for military drills and reportedly offers concessions on its nuclear program -- signs it is looking to lower the temperature on the Korean peninsula after weeks of soaring tensions.
2011 - Around 10,000 women march through central Cairo demanding Egypt's ruling military step down in an unprecedented show of outrage over soldiers who abused them during a fierce crackdown on activists the past week.
2012 - Cuban parliament president Ricardo Alarcon, one of the most influential people on the island and long its point man for U.S. affairs, apparently is leaving the job he has held for 19 years when the body reconvenes next year with new membership.
Leopold von Ranke, German historian (1795-1886); Branch Rickey, U.S. baseball executive (1881-1965); Sir Robert Gordon Menzies, Australian statesman (1894-1978); W. Eugene Smith, U.S. photojournalist (1918-1978); George Roy Hill, U.S. film director (1922-2002); Kim Young-sam, former president of South Korea (1927--).
Thought For Today:
You can keep the things of bronze and stone and give me one man to remember me just once a year -- Damon Runyon, American writer (1884-1946).