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Sunday, December 20, 1998
It's what I've tried to do for six years. It's what I intend to do for two more until the last hour ofthe last day of my term.
President Clinton, speaking to the nation after impeachment by the House, about keeping the country moving forward
- The first rocket engine firing, or engine burn, for the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) spacecraft is scheduled today. The NEAR is to arrive at asteroid 433 Eros on January 10.
- Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov is scheduled to visit India for talks on political relations and trade.
- On Monday, December 21, the sentencing for a 16-year-old youth who made a plea agreement in the "Scream 2" movie-like stabbing of his ex-girlfriend's parents is scheduled in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin.
- On Tuesday, December 22, the Federal Open Market Committee is scheduled to meet in Washington to review interest rates.
- On Wednesday, December 23, Ukraine President Leonid Kuchma is scheduled to begin two days of talks with Turkmenistan President Saparmurat Niyazov in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. Discussions will likely focus on gas supplies.
- On Thursday, December 24, Pope John Paul II is scheduled to observe the Christmas Eve Midnight Mass at the Vatican City.
- On Friday, December 25, the day will be celebrated as a national holiday in Cuba. The Cuban Communist Party in Havana re-established the holiday 29 years after it was abolished by President Fidel Castro.
The first rocket engine firing for the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) spacecraft is scheduled today. For more info, clickhere.
- Actress Jenny Agutter ("The Snow Goose") is 46.
- Psychic Uri Geller is 52.
- Filmmaker George Hill is 76.
- Actor John Hillerman ("Magnum, PI") is 66.
- Actor Mark Keyloun ("Mike's Murder") is 38.
- Artist David Levine is 72.
- Sociologist William Wilson is 63.
- In 1046, by the Synod at Sutri in Italy, King Henry III dismissed Pope Gregory VI, and four days later Clement II was elected as pope.
- In 1699, Peter the Great announced a reorganization of the Russian calendar, decreeing that the New Year would begin on January 1 and not September 1.
- In 1860, South Carolina became the first state to secede from the American Union; it was not re-admitted until 1868.
- In 1914, in World War I, the first battle of Champagne began with the French attacking German machine gun positions.
- In 1945, Karl Renner was elected the first president of thenew Second Austrian republic.
- In 1948, C. Aubrey Smith, a member of England's national cricket team and a British character actor of stage and screen, died; he was best known for his later films, including "Prisoner of Zenda" and "Four Feathers."
- In 1970, in Poland, communist leader Wladyslaw Gomulka resigned after riots and was replaced by Edward Gierek.
- In 1973, in Spain, General Franco's prime minister and right-hand man, Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco, was assassinated as he rode through a Madrid street.
- In 1987, a collision between the Philippine ferry Dona Paz and a tanker caused the deaths of 4,386 passengers and crew, all but 11 aboard the ferry -- the worst peace-time tragedy at sea. The Dona Paz was licensed to carry just 1,500.
- In 1989, the United States invaded Panama and installed a new government but initially failed in its key objective of seizing strongman Manuel Antonio Noriega.
- In 1990, Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze, a key figure in five years of Soviet reform that helped end the Cold War, resigned.
- In 1995, NATO took over peacekeeping from the U.N. in Yugoslavia and moved quickly to sweep away key roadblocks in Sarajevo.
- In 1995, 163 people aboard an American Airlines passenger jet en route from Miami died when it slammed into a mountain in southwest Colombia and burst into flames. Only four people survived the crash.
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