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Today is Thursday, December 31, 366th and last day of 2020.

Today’s highlight in history

On December 31, 2019, the Wuhan City Health Commission in central China announced that experts were investigating an outbreak of respiratory disease and that most of the victims had visited a seafood market in the city; the statement said 27 people have fallen ill with a strain of viral pneumonia and seven are in serious condition.

In 1775, during the War of Independence, the British repelled an attack by generals of the Continental Army Richard Montgomery and Benedict arnold in Quebec; Montgomery was killed.

In 1857, the British Queen victoria decided to make Ottawa the capital of Canada.

In 1862, the president Abraham Lincoln signed enabling legislation paving the way for the Western Counties of Virginias to become the State of West Virginia, which took place in June 1863.

In 1879, Thomas edison first publicly demonstrated its electric incandescent light by illuminating about 40 bulbs in its laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey.

In 1904, Times Square in New York City saw its first New Years celebration, with around 200,000 people in attendance.

In 1951, the Marshall Plan expired after distributing over $ 12 billion in foreign aid.

In 1972, Major League baseball player Roberto Clemente, 38, was killed when a plane he chartered and was traveling to provide relief in earthquake-devastated Nicaragua crashed shortly after takeoff from Puerto Rico.

In 1974, private U.S. citizens were allowed to buy and own gold for the first time in over 40 years.

In 1978, Taiwanese diplomats last marked their colors from the embassy pole in Washington, DC, marking the end of diplomatic relations with the United States.

In 1986, 97 people were killed when a fire broke out in the Dupont Plaza Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico. (Three hotel employees subsequently pleaded guilty to the fire.)

In 1999 the Russian president Boris Yeltsin announced his resignation (he was replaced by Vladimir Poutine).

In 2001, the mayor of New York Rudolph Giuliani spent his last day at the office praising the police, firefighters and other city workers in the aftermath of 9/11, and said he had no regrets about returning to his privacy .

Unusually warm-fueled tornadoes hit the south and Midwest, killing a total of eight people in Arkansas and Missouri.

The Belgian authorities have announced the arrest of a 10th person in connection with the bloodbath of November 2015 in Paris. A huge blaze engulfed a 63-story luxury hotel in Dubai as officials held a massive New Year’s Eve fireworks display (no serious injuries were reported). Claimed death singer Natalie Cole at 65; actor Wayne rogers at 82; and actor Beth howland at 74.

Dozens of Iraqi Shiite militiamen and their supporters broke into the grounds of the American embassy in Baghdad and set fire to a reception area; the crowd was angry at the deadly US airstrikes against the Iranian-backed militia.

Pope Francis slapped the hand of a magnet that had grabbed him and pulled him towards her as he strolled through St. Peter’s Square to admire the Vatican Nativity scene; the pontiff apologized a day later for his bad example. Former President of Nissan Carlos ghosn, who had skipped bail while awaiting trial in Japan on allegations of financial misconduct, surfaced in Lebanon, claiming he fled to avoid political persecution. Wall Street ended its best year since 2013; the S&P 500 climbed 28.9% in 2019, with tech stocks leading the gains.

Actor Sir Anthony Hopkins, 83.

Actor Sir Ben Kingsley, 77.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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