Today in History: 12-13-14

Today is Saturday, Dec. 13, the 347th day of 2014. There are 18 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Dec. 13, 1944, during World War II, the light cruiser USS Nashville was badly damaged in a Japanese
kamikaze attack off Negros Island in the Philippines that claimed 133 lives.
On this date:
In 1642, Dutch navigator Abel Tasman sighted present-day New Zealand.
In 1769, Dartmouth College in New Hampshire received its charter.
In 1862, Union forces led by Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside launched futile attacks against entrenched
Confederate soldiers during the Civil War Battle of Fredericksburg; the soundly defeated Northern troops
withdrew two days later.
In 1918, President Woodrow Wilson arrived in France, becoming the first chief executive to visit Europe
while in office.
In 1937, the Chinese city of Nanjing fell to Japanese forces; what followed was a massacre of war
prisoners, soldiers and citizens. (China maintains as many as 300,000 people died; Japan says the toll
was far less.)
In 1962, the United States launched Relay 1, a communications satellite which retransmitted television,
telephone and digital signals.
In 1981, authorities in Poland imposed martial law in a crackdown on the Solidarity labor movement.
(Martial law formally ended in 1983.)
In 1994, an American Eagle commuter plane crashed short of Raleigh-Durham International Airport in North
Carolina, killing 15 of the 20 people on board.
In 2003, Saddam Hussein was captured by U.S. forces while hiding in a hole under a farmhouse in Adwar,
Iraq, near his hometown of Tikrit.
Ten years ago: A jury in Redwood City, California, recommended the death penalty for Scott Peterson for
the murder of his pregnant wife, Laci. NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe resigned. A Chilean judge
indicted former dictator General Augusto Pinochet on charges of kidnapping nine political dissidents and
killing one of them during his 17-year military regime. (However, Pinochet never faced trial, and died
in 2006 at age 91.)
Five years ago: The Senate passed, 57-35, a $1.1 trillion spending bill with increased budgets for vast
areas of the federal government, including health, education, law enforcement and veterans’ programs. An
attacker hurled a statuette at Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi, striking him in the face and leaving
the stunned 73-year-old leader with a broken nose and two broken teeth. (The attacker, Massimo
Tartaglia, was later found unfit to stand trial.)
One year ago: North Korea’s state-run media announced the execution the day before of North Korean leader
Kim Jong Un’s uncle, portraying Jang Song Thaek as a morally corrupt traitor. Reality TV star Khloe
Kardashian filed for divorce from Lamar Odom after four years of marriage.