History of 31 December

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  • 1990 – Titleholder Gary Kasparov of the U.S.S.R. won the world chess championship match against his countryman Anatoly Karpov.
  • 1996 – NCR Corp. became an independent company.
  • 1997 – Michael Kennedy, 39-year-old son of the late U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, was killed in a skiing accident on Aspen Mountain in Colorado.
  • 1999 – Russian President Boris Yeltsin resigned. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was designated acting president.
  • 1999 – Five hijackers left the airport where they had been holding 150 hostages on an Indian Airlines plane. They left with two Islamic clerics that they had demanded be freed from an Indian prison. The plane had been hijacked during a flight from Katmandu, Nepal to New Dehli on December 24.
  • 1999 – Sarah Knauss died at the age of 119 years. She was the world’s oldest person. She was born September 24, 1880.
  • 2004 – In Taiwan, the Taipei 101 skyscraper opened to the public.
  • 2009 – Both a blue moon and a lunar eclipse occur.
  • 2010 – Tornadoes touch down in midwestern and southern United States, including Washington County, Arkansas; Greater St. Louis, Sunset Hills, Missouri, Illinois, and Oklahoma, with a few tornadoes in the early hours. A total of 36 tornadoes touched down, resulting in the deaths of nine people and $113 million in damages.
  • 2011 – Samoa and Tokelau skip the day of December 30, 2011 as they jump to the other side of the International Date Line, changing their time zones.
  • 2011 – NASA succeeds in putting the first of two Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory satellites in orbit around the Moon.
  • 2014 – A New Year’s Eve celebration stampede in Shanghai kills at least 36 people and injures 49 others.
  • 2015 – A fire breaks out at the Downtown Address Hotel in Downtown Dubai, United Arab Emirates, located near the Burj Khalifa, two hours before the fireworks display is due to commence. Sixteen injuries were reported; one had a heart attack, another suffered a major injury, and fourteen others with minor injuries.
  • 2018 – Thirty-nine people are killed after a ten-story building collapses in the industrial city of Magnitogorsk, Russia.
  • 2019 – The World Health Organization is informed of cases of pneumonia with an unknown cause, detected in Wuhan. This later turned out to be COVID-19, the cause of the COVID-19 pandemic.

celebrating BIrthday Today

  • 1981 – Jason Campbell, American football player
  • 1981 – Matthew Pavlich, Australian footballer
  • 1981 – Margaret Simpson, Ghanaian heptathlete
  • 1981 – Ricky Whittle, English actor
  • 1982 – Julio DePaula, Dominican baseball player
  • 1982 – Craig Gordon, Scottish footballer
  • 1982 – Luke Schenscher, Australian basketball player
  • 1982 – The Rocket Summer, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer
  • 1984 – Ben Hannant, Australian rugby league player
  • 1984 – Édgar Lugo, Mexican footballer
  • 1984 – Calvin Zola, Congolese footballer
  • 1985 – Jonathan Horton, American gymnast
  • 1985 – Jan Smit, Dutch singer and television host
  • 1986 – Nate Freiman, American baseball player
  • 1986 – Kade Snowden, Australian rugby league player
  • 1987 – Javaris Crittenton, American basketball player
  • 1987 – Danny Holla, Dutch footballer
  • 1987 – Nemanja Nikolić, Hungarian footballer
  • 1990 – Patrick Chan, Canadian figure skater
  • 1991 – Noelle Stevenson, American cartoonist
  • 1992 – Amy Cure, Australian track cyclist
  • 1992 – Karl Kruuda, Estonian racing driver
  • 1995 – Gabby Douglas, American gymnast