Sunday, July 12, 2020


1793 Royalist sympathizer Charlotte Corday stabbed to death French revolutionary Jean Paul Marat in his bath. She was executed four days later.

1863 The Draft Riots protesting unfair conscription into the Union Army to fight the Civil War erupted in New York City. About 1,000 people died over three days.

1942 The SS and Ukrainian police liquidated the remaining 5,000 Jews living in the Rovno ghetto in western Ukraine. They herded them into freight cars, transported them to the forest near Kostopol, and shot them to death. Einsatzgruppe C and their Ukrainian collaborators massacred 21,000 Jews the previous November. Reichskommissar Eric Koch declared the ghetto judenrein ("clean of Jews") at the end of July.

1955 The last execution of a woman in Britain took place when nightclub owner Ruth Ellis was hanged at HM Prison Holloway in London. On Easter Sunday, 1955, she shot and killed her abusive lover, David Blakely, in what many considered a crime passionel.

1976 The court martial began in the USSR for Valery Sablin, captain of the Soviet destroyer Storozhevoy, who led a failed mutiny in the hope of replacing the Stalinist bureaucracy with a Leninist soviet democracy. He and 26 others were shot for treason. The case inspired Tom Clancy’s thriller The Hunt for Red October.

1977 A 25-hour blackout hit New York City after lightning struck upstate power lines. Widespread rioting and looting followed.

1978 A Soviet court sentenced political dissidents Alexander Ginzburg, Viktoras Piatkus, and Sjtsjaranki to work camps. Ginzburg received an eight-year sentence, but the next year U.S. President Carter negotiated an exchange of two Soviet spies for five Soviet political dissidents and Ginzburg came to America.

1983 The Transvaal Attorney General announced that Eugène Terre'Blanche, leader of the far-right Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB), and three associates would face terrorism charges in South Africa for attempting or planning to overthrow the South African government by violent means. Terre’Blanche and Petrus Johannes Rudolph were granted amnesty by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 1999.

1994 An Oregon judge sentenced Jeff Gillooly to two years in prison for his attack on figure skater Nancy Kerrigan, the rival of his ex-wife Tanya Harding. He was released after six months and changed his name.

2000 South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. worker Russell Eubanks accused soul singer James Brown of assault and kidnapping. Eubanks was responding to a report of a power outage at Brown's home July 3 when the "Godfather of Soul" allegedly attacked him with a steak knife and held him against his will. Police did not have enough evidence to file charges.

2000 In Japan, Yoko Ono filed a lawsuit against Teito Rapid Transit Authority for copyright infringement, claiming the TRTA had no authority to use the likeness of John Lennon on a ticket.

2013 A Florida jury found George Zimmerman not guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

2018 A Missouri jury ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay a record $4.7 billion in damages to more than 20 women in the baby powder cancer case. The company was aware for years that its talc contained cancer-causing asbestos. J&J still faced almost 20,000 lawsuits filed by other victims.

2018 The U.S. Department of Justice charged twelve Russian intelligence officers with cyber-attacks against Democratic officials during the 2016 U.S. election. The hackers were accused of using spear phishing emails and malicious software; they also stole data on half a million voters from a state election board website. The Kremlin denied all accusations against the GRU agents.

Sunday, July 5, 2020


photo credit: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

1415 The Catholic Church burned Czech theologian and church reformer Jan Hus at the stake as a heretic. He sang Psalms as the flames engulfed him.

1535 Sir Thomas More was beheaded for treason—he refused to join Henry VIII's Church of England.

1699 Colonial authorities captured pirate Captain William Kidd in Boston, MA, and deported him back to England.

1892 Three thousand eight hundred striking steelworkers fought a day-long battle with Pinkerton agents hired by Carnegie Steel during the Homestead Strike in Homestead, Pennsylvania. About 700 members of the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers, the nation’s strongest trade union, objected to production demands not in their contract and the remaining workers joined them. State militia troops helped Carnegie restore order. Nine strikers and seven Pinkertons were killed and dozens were left wounded during the confrontation. The strike lost momentum over the next few months and the union lost power, allowing Carnegie to institute longer hours and lower wages.

1905 Officials in Europe and the U.S. exchanged fingerprints for the first time, in the case of John Walker.

1918 Members of Cheka, a Soviet secret police organization, assassinated German ambassador Wilhelm von Mirbach in Moscow, sparking the Left Socialist Revolutionaries uprising in Russia.

1944 Future baseball legend Jackie Robinson, a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, refused to move to the back of a bus in Camp Hood, Texas, leading to a general court-martial on charges of insubordination and disrespect under the Articles of War. He was fully acquitted.

1944 A carelessly tossed cigarette started a blaze in the big top tent of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in Hartford, Conn. 167 people died trying to escape. The circus paid out almost $5,000,000 to 600 victims and families over the next 10 years.

1981 An Argentine federal court freed former President of Argentina Isabel Peron after five years of house arrest.

1983 The U.S. Supreme Court ruled (Arizona Governing Comm. v. Norris) that retirement plans could not pay women smaller monthly payments solely because of their gender.

1988 In one of the worst offshore oil disasters, an explosion and resulting gas and oil fires destroyed Piper Alpha, an oil platform in the North Sea off the coast of Scotland. 167 men were killed; 61 escaped and survived. The insured loss came to almost two billion dollars, making it one of the costliest man-made catastrophes in history. A Public Inquiry in Scotland found Occidental Petroleum, Piper Alpha's operator, guilty of sustaining inadequate maintenance and safety procedures, but no criminal charges were ever brought against the company.

1989 Abd al-Hadi Rafa Ghanim of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad seized the steering wheel of commuter bus 405 en route from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem and drove it over a cliff, killing 16 passengers. (Yehuda Meshi Zahav, one of the students from a nearby yeshiva who ran to help, later founded ZAKA, an Israeli volunteer rescue service organization.) Ghanim survived and received sixteen life sentences for murder, hijacking, and terrorism.

1997 In Cambodia, co-premier Hun Sen ousted co-premier Norodom Ranariddh. Hun Sen is still prime minister as of 2020.

2000 A Missouri jury awarded former NHL player Tony Twist $24 million for the unauthorized use of his name in the comic book Spawn and the HBO cartoon series. Co-defendant HBO settled with Twist out of court for an undisclosed amount.

2005 A federal judge jailed New York Times reporter Judith Miller after she refused to testify before a grand jury investigating the leak of an undercover CIA operative's name (Valerie Plame).

2010 A California court sentenced actor Lindsay Lohan to 90 days in jail for violating her probation and 90 days in a residential substance-abuse. She served 14 days behind bars.

2013 Boko Harem gunmen attacked a government-run boarding school in Yobe State, Nigeria, killing at least 42 people, mostly students. Yobe governor Ibrahim Geidam closed all secondary schools for the rest of the year and claimed the attack could have been prevented if there had not been a cell phone outage that kept citizens from reporting suspicious persons.

2013 An unattended 74-car freight train loaded with crude oil running at 65 mph derailed near the downtown area of Lac-Mégantic, Quebec. Multiple tank cars erupted in flames. 47 people were killed and the center of town half-destroyed. Most victims had to be identified from DNA samples and dental records.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada found 18 factors that contributed to the disaster, including unresolved mechanical problems, negligent brakemen, insufficient training of employees, a lax safety culture within the train company, and inadequate oversight by Transport Canada.

Jurors acquitted the locomotive engineer, rail traffic controller, and operations manager, each charged with 47 counts of criminal negligence causing death.

2013 A Boeing 777 operating as Asiana Airlines Flight 214 from Korea crashed on its descent to San Francisco International Airport, killing three and injuring 181 of the 307 people on board. An investigation by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board concluded that the flight crew mismanaged the airplane's final approach. Seventy-two passengers reached an undisclosed settlement with Asiana Airlines and Boeing in 2015 but as many as 100 more lawsuits filed in China, South Korea, and the U.S. remain unsettled.

Sunday, June 28, 2020


1804 Members of the Lewis and Clark Expedition court-martialed privates John Collins and Hugh Hall for drinking on duty and stealing whiskey from the supplies. Collins received 100 lashes on his back and Hall received 50.

1903 The British government officially protested Belgian atrocities in the Congo.

1905 Russian troops intervened as riots erupted in ports all over the country, with rioters looting many ships.

1916 A British court sentenced Irish-born diplomat Sir Roger Casement to death for high treason for his part in the Easter Rising.

1946 British authorities arrested more than 2,700 Jews in Palestine in an attempt to end alleged terrorism.

1967 A British court found Keith Richards guilty of allowing his property to be used for the smoking of marijuana and sentenced him to one year in jail and imposed a fine. It found Mick Jagger guilty of illegal possession of pep pills and sentenced him to three months in jail. Neither rocker served time for the offenses.

1972 The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Furman v. Georgia the death penalty could constitute "cruel and unusual punishment," prompting some states to revise their capital punishment laws.

1992 A divided U. S. Supreme Court ruled that women have a constitutional right to abortion, but the justices also weakened the right as defined in the Roe v. Wade decision.

1995 The Sampoong Department store in Seoul, South Korea collapsed, killing 502 people and injuring 937. During construction, owner Lee Joon changed the original plans numerous times (such as adding an ill-advised fifth floor) and fired engineers who warned of structural dangers. Investigations revealed the foundation was poorly laid, the landfill it was built on was unstable, builders used a substandard concrete mix of cement and sea water and poorly enforced concrete for walls and ceilings, failed to use enough reinforcement bars in the concrete, and built floor slabs directly onto columns that were too few and too narrow. Lee Joon was found guilty of criminal negligence and served 7 years. His son and the store's CEO received 7 years for accidental homicide and corruption; two city administrators served sentences for bribery, and other officials, company executives, and construction personnel were jailed.

Lee Joon and the store's CEO offered their entire wealth to compensate the victims' families and ended up paying out $300 million in 3,293 cases.

1999 Los Angeles police arrested teen idol Leif Garret during a sting operation. He pled guilty to drug possession and avoided jail time by agreeing to a stint in rehab.

2006 The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-3 that President George W. Bush's plan to try Guantanamo Bay detainees in military tribunals violated U.S. and international law.

2009 Financier Bernard Madoff received a 150-year sentence for his multibillion-dollar fraud.

2011 The state of Nevada passed the first law permitting the operation of autonomous cars on public roads.

Sunday, June 21, 2020


photo credit: Britannica

1611 The crew of famed explorer Henry Hudson mutinied during his voyage to find a northwest passage. Thirteen starving and homesick crewmen put Hudson, his son, and seven others off the Discovery; the stranded men were never heard from again. After the ship returned to England, the crew was arrested for mutiny but none was punished for it—or for murder.

1633 The Inquisition sentenced Galileo to life in prison for teaching that the Earth revolves around the Sun. The sentence was reduced the following day to house arrest for life.

1772 The Court of King’s Bench ruled in Somerset v Stewart that slavery is unsupported by English common law.

1839 Cherokee tribesmen assassinated tribal leaders Major Ridge, John Ridge, and Elias Boudinot for signing the Treaty of New Echota, which had led to the Trail of Tears.

1870 The U.S. Congress created the Department of Justice.

1897 Indian revolutionaries Mahadeo Vinayak Ranade and the three Chapekar brothers assassinated British colonial officers Charles Walter Rand and Lt. Charles Egerton Ayerst in Pune, Maharashtra, India "for atrocities committed on the people of Pune under the guise of plague eradication." The killers were later caught and hanged.

1953 A Brooklyn newspaper delivery boy dropped a nickel he was given as change. It broke open and revealed microfilm from a Soviet spy.

1964 In Grove Press, Inc. v. Gerstein, the U.S. Supreme Court voted that the book Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller was not obscene and could not be banned in the U.S.

1977 Former U.S. Attorney General John N. Mitchell began serving a sentence for his role in the Watergate cover-up.

1981 Mark David Chapman pleaded guilty to killing rock musician John Lennon.

1992 The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that hate-crime laws that ban cross-burning and similar expressions of racial bias violate free-speech rights (R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul).

1998 In Pennsylvania Bd. Of Probation and Parole v. Scott, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that evidence illegally obtained by authorities could be used at revocation hearings for a convicted criminal's parole.

1999 The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that persons with remediable handicaps cannot claim discrimination in employment under the Americans with Disability Act (Olmstead v. L.C.).

2004 A Belgian court gave convicted child molester and murderer Marc Dutroux the maximum sentence—life in prison—for the kidnap, rape, and murder of young girls.

2011 Federal authorities found and arrested legendary Boston crime boss James "Whitey" Bulger in Santa Monica, Calif.

Sunday, June 14, 2020


photo credit: Historic UK

1381 King Richard II's forces crushed the Peasants’ Revolt in London. Sir William Walworth, the Lord Mayor of London, struck down insurgent leader Wat Tyler with his sword as the 14-year-old king looked on.

1648 Midwife Margaret Jones was hanged in Boston for witchcraft in the first such execution for the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

1904 More than 1,000 people on an annual church outing burned to death or drowned when fire erupted aboard the steamboat General Slocum in New York City's East River. Fire hoses and life preservers were rotten and lifeboats were inaccessible; the crew had never practiced a fire drill. Eight employees of the Knickerbocker Steamship Company were indicted although only the captain served any time for criminal negligence.

1917 Great Britain pledged the release of all the Irish captured during the Easter Rebellion of 1916; the last of the republican prisoners were released a year later.

1970 In Los Angeles, jury selection began in the trial of Charles Manson for the Tate-LaBianca murders.

1972 Police in Langenhagen captured Ulrike Meinhof, co-founder of the Red Army Faction, a West German far-left militant group. For several years Meinhof had participated in a range of terrorist activities including bombings, robbery, kidnapping, and shootings.

1983 In City of Akron v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health, the U.S. Supreme Court reinforced its position on abortion by striking down state and local restriction on abortions. It declared unconstitutional the requirement that abortions after the first trimester be performed in a hospital, that an unmarried minor under 15 must obtain parental consent or a judicial bypass, that the mother must wait 24 hours, that a doctor must inform the patient of the stage of fetal development, the supposed health risks of abortion and the availability of adoption and live birth resources, and that the fetal remains be disposed of "in a human and sanitary manner."
In 1992 the case was overruled by the plurality in Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

1985 Soviet Lithuanian national Bronius Maigys attacked Rembrandt's painting Danaë in the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. Maigys threw sulfuric acid on the canvas and cut it twice with a knife. He was judged insane and spent eight years in an asylum; it took experts twelve years to repair the damage.

1986 Pravda, the Communist Party newspaper, reported that the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant dismissed plant director Viktor Bryukhanov and chief engineer Nikolai Fomin for not following safety protocols during the April 26 nuclear accident. At least 26 people died, hundreds were hospitalized, and more than 100,000 people evacuated from contaminated areas in the Ukraine and Belarus. Six former officials and technicians of the plant were found guilty of violating safety regulations and sentenced to up to 10 years in labor camps.

1992 In United States v. Alvarez-Machain, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a criminal suspect kidnapped from a foreign country could be prosecuted in a U.S. court.

1995 During his murder trial, O.J. Simpson struggled to put on a pair of gloves that prosecutors claimed were worn by the killer of Simpson's ex-wife, Nicole, and her friend, Ronald Goldman. Police found one bloody glove at the murder scene and one at Simpson’s estate.

2003 After five weeks of testimony and ten days of deliberation, a Houston jury convicted accounting firm Arthur Andersen of obstruction of justice for shredding documents related to its audit of energy giant Enron. Although the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously overturned the conviction in 2005, the accounting firm did not survive.

2006 In Hudson v. Michigan, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that even when police violate the knock-and-announce requirement, subsequently discovered evidence may still be admitted at trial.

Sunday, June 7, 2020


photo credit:

793 Vikings in longships plundered St. Cuthbert's monastery on the island of Lindisfarne off the northeast coast of England. They massacred the monks indiscriminately and stole irreplaceable relics, gold and silver devotional objects, and precious manuscripts.

1405 King Henry IV ordered the beheading of Archbishop of York Richard le Scrope and Thomas Mowbray, 4th Earl of Norfolk, for their participation in the Northern Rising against him.

1789 Virginia congressman James Madison proposed a Bill of Rights to the Constitution in the U.S. House of Representatives.

1921 For the second time in a month, Manhattan police arrested Babe Ruth arrested for speeding—he was driving 26 mph. The Sultan of Swat was fined $100 and spent the next day in jail.

1929 Venezuelan rebel Rafael Urbina led the taking of Fort Amsterdam in Curaçao and the kidnapping of the Dutch governor, Leonardus Albert Fruytier, in another doomed attempt to overthrow dictatorial President Juan Vicente Gómez.

1953 The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that restaurants in the District of Columbia could not refuse to serve blacks.

1956 American airman Edward C. Clarke shot and killed Technical Sergeant Richard B. Fitzgibbon Jr. in Saigon, Viet Nam, over a reprimand Clarke received earlier in the day, making Fitzgibbon the first American casualty of the Viet Nam War.

1968 Authorities in London arrested James Earl Ray, the suspected assassin of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

1978 A jury in Clark County, Nevada, ruled that the Howard Hughes "Mormon will" was a forgery.

1984 The Australian state of New South Wales declared homosexuality legal.

1987 Fawn Hall, secretary to national security aide Oliver L. North, testified at the Iran-Contra hearings, saying she had helped to shred some documents.

1987 The Labour government of New Zealand passed legislation against nuclear weapons and nuclear-powered vessels in New Zealand, making it the only nation to legislate against nuclear power.

1988 The judge in the Iran-Contra conspiracy case ruled that Oliver North, John Poindexter, Richard Secord, and Albert Hakim had to be tried separately.

1994 A New York judge sentenced mass murderer Joel Rifkin to 203 years in prison for the murders of nine women. He confessed to killing eight more.

1998 The U.S. Federal Trade Commission brought an antitrust complaint against semiconductor giant Intel Corp., alleging it used its dominance in the microprocessor market to withhold key information from certain customers and competitors. Intel chips ran about 90 percent of the world's personal computers and it held an 80 percent market share in worldwide chip sales.

1998 Car maker Honda agreed to pay $17.1 million in civil fines for disconnecting anti-pollution devices in 1.6 million cars.

2001 Janitor Mamoru Takuma killed eight children aged 6-8 and injured fifteen others, including two teachers, in a mass stabbing at the Ikeda Elementary school in the Osaka Prefecture of Japan. He was wrestled down by staff within minutes. Takuma had a long history of psychological issues and was diagnosed with paranoid personality disorder. Found guilty of multiple counts of murder, Takuma was executed by hanging only a year later.

2001 The "International Committee for Art and Peace" stole Marc Chagall’s painting Study for 'Over Vitebsk from the Jewish Museum in New York City. The 8x10 painting was valued at about $1 million. The ICAP announced it would return the painting after the Israelis and Palestinians made peace but effected its return in February 2002 by mailing it to a nonexistent address in St. Paul, Minn. It was redirected back to a postal center in Topeka Kansas where an alert employee checked for stolen art on the internet and called the FBI.

2008 Factory worker Tomohiro Katō rented a truck and plowed into a crowd in the Akihabara shopping quarter in Tokyo, Japan, killing three pedestrians. Then he jumped out of the truck and went on a stabbing spree, attacking at least twelve people with a dagger, killing four and injuring eight. Police cornered him in a narrow alley after a brief chase; with a gun pointed at him, Katō dropped his knife. The Tokyo District Court sentenced him to death in 2011.

2009 A North Korean court sentenced two American journalists to twelve years of "reform through labour" for illegally entering the country. Laura Ling and Euna Lee were filming a report about North Korean refugees attempting to cross the narrow Tumen river into China when North Korean guards, objecting to being filmed, came and dragged them across the river from the Chinese side. In 2009, the North Korean government pardoned them after intervention by former U.S. President Bill Clinton.

2017 The Kansas Department of Corrections freed Richard Anthony Jones after 17 years of incarceration for robbery after his lookalike was discovered. Without admitting another man committed the crime, in 2018 the state agreed to pay him $1.1 million in compensation and give him a "certificate of innocence.”

2018 WhatsApp rumors of child kidnappers in India prompted a mob in Assam to beat two men to death and injure seven others, one critically. An angry crowd of 1500 in Chandgaon village in Vaijapur, Taluka, cornered Bharat Sonavne and Shivaji Shinde in a nearby farm and attacked them with wooden sticks after receiving fake messages on social media about the presence of a "gang of robbers.” Police booked more than 400 villagers on charges of murder and attempt to murder but made no arrests.
The same day, villagers in Karbi Anglong brutally beat Abhijeet Nath and Nilotpal Das with bamboo poles and wood before torturing them to death. The two friends were returning from a picnic spot where they recorded the sounds of twilight. The mob suspected them of being child lifters. Police arrested fifteen. Unfounded rumors circulated by WhatsApp lead to the deaths of at least 31 innocent citizens in May-June.

Sunday, May 31, 2020


"Council of Blood" photo credit: wikipedia

193 The Roman Senate sent a soldier to assassinate Roman Emperor Didius Julianus 66 days into his reign and his rival Severus took over. Julianus had bought the throne in an auction from the Praetorian Guard, which had assassinated the previous emperor.

1568 In Brussels, the Duke of Alva oversaw the decapitation of 22 noblemen condemned by his “Council of Blood,” a tribunal that condemned without trial those suspected of heresy and rebellion.

1660 The Massachusetts Bay Colony hanged Mary Dyer for defying a law banning Quakers from the Puritan colony. She was one of four executed Quakers known as the “Boston martyrs.”

 1862 The African Slave Trade Treaty Act, a bilateral agreement between the U.S. and England, abolished the slave trade in all U.S. possessions.

1877 U.S. President Hayes authorized troops to pursue bandits into Mexico.

1896 The mechanic of motorcar enthusiast Baron de Zuylen de Nyevelt stole his boss's Peugeot in Paris. It was the first recorded automobile theft.

1921 A white mob attacked the predominantly black Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa, Oklahoma, looting and burning homes and businesses over an area of 35 square blocks known as “Black Wall Street, the wealthiest black community in the U.S. at the time. The day before, a black teenager was arrested and held for assaulting a white woman—he’d accidentally stepped on her foot getting into an elevator—and chaos broke out after the sheriff turned away a lynch mob. Hundreds of blacks were shot, dragged, beaten, and burned. Over two days as many as 300 people were killed, 800 injured, and 10,000 made homeless before National Guard troops arrived. No one was convicted for the violence or damages, no reparations ever paid, and the incident was largely omitted from local, state, and national history books.

1962 Israel executed S.S. officer Adolf Eichmann after finding him guilty of war crimes.

1963 Alabama Governor George Wallace vowed to defy an injunction that ordered the integration of the University of Alabama.

1965 France outlawed the use of performance-enhancing drugs in bicycle racing.

1972 West German police arrested Andreas Baader, leader of the terrorist group Red Army Faction, after a shootout.

1974 Bundy victim Brenda Ball disappeared from Burien, Washington. She was last seen in the parking lot of the Flame Tavern speaking to a man with his arm in a sling.

1977 The Soviet Union formally charged Jewish human rights advocate Anatoly Shcharansky with treason and espionage. He was imprisoned until 1986.

1978 The U.S. reported the finding of wiretaps in the American embassy in Moscow.

1996 Sheriff Junior Kilburn of Lee County, Kentucky arrested actor-activist Woody Harrelson after he symbolically planted four hemp seeds to challenge the state law which did not distinguish between industrial hemp and marijuana.

2001 Crown Prince Dipendra of Nepal shot and killed his father, mother, sister, brother, and five other members of the royal family before shooting himself. In a coma, Dipendra was king for three days before he died.

2007 The Michigan Department of Corrections released Jack Kevorkian from prison after he served eight years of his 10- to 25-year prison term for the 1998 second-degree murder of Thomas Youk.

2009 General Motors filed for Chapter 11, becoming the largest U.S. industrial company to enter bankruptcy protection. The filing reported $82.29 billion in assets and $172.81 billion in debt.

2009 Air France Flight 447, an Airbus A330 carrying 228 people from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, crashed into the Atlantic Ocean with the loss of everyone on board. Investigations concluded the pilots were not properly trained in the procedures to follow when faulty airspeed measurements caused the autopilot to disconnect and the aircraft stalled. Prosecutors considered charging both Airbus and Air France with manslaughter and negligence but ultimately did not; lawsuits filed by the families for compensation are languishing in the French courts.

2009 Abdulhakim Muhammad shot and killed Pvt. William Andrew Long and wounded Pvt. Quinton I. Ezeagwula outside an Army recruitment center in Little Rock, Arkansas. Muhammad claimed that American military actions against Muslims justify the slaying of Americans. The gunman plead guilty to capital murder, attempted capital murder, and gun charges and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

2018 Israeli Defense Forces on the Gaza border shot and killed Rouzan al-Najjar, a 22-year-old Palestinian volunteer medic, as she tried to help evacuate the wounded during the 2018 Gaza border protests. The event sparked widespread condemnation because al-Najjar was clearly a medical worker and not a threat to the Israelis: she was shot after she and other medics, walking with their hands up and wearing white vests, approached the border fence in order to treat a wounded demonstrator.