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Today’s History Spotlight
Saddam Hussein is executed in Baghdad, Iraq. Hussein ruled as the totalitarian leader of Iraq from 1979-2003, blending Arab Socialism with Arab Nationalism. He played a key role in the 1968 coup that brought the Iraqi Ba’ath Party to power. In August 1990, he led an Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in an attempt to annex the country for oil fields, starting the Gulf War.
What followed was the largest Allied resistance since World War II, thwarting his army and forcing him to retreat six months later. Hussein was captured by US forces during Operation Red Dawn on December 13, 2003. He was tried, convicted of crimes against humanity, and sentenced to death.
What Happened On This Day – December 30
- 2011 Samoa and Tokelau skipped December 30. The South Pacific Ocean Islands changed their time zone and move west of the international dateline to align their time zone with their major trading partners, Australia and New Zealand. In doing so, they skipped December 30 and moved directly from December 29 to December 31. 119 years ago, Samoa had made a similar shift, eastwards of the dateline, to synchronize its time with the United States. Today, Samoa follows West Samoa Time, which is 13 hours ahead of UTC.
- 2004 Highest barometric pressure recorded. At 2 am local time, the atmospheric pressure in Tosontsengel, Mongolia rose to 846.5 hPa (adjusted for height above sea level).
- 1995 Lowest temperature ever recored in the UK. Altnaharra, a small hamlet in northern Scotland, recorded a temperature of −27.2°C (-16.96 degrees Fahrenheit). The temperature had dipped this low once before in the UK – in Braemar, East Scotland on January 10, 1982
- 1947 Last king of Romania steps down. Michael I was forced to abdicate by the Communist Party of Romania. His first reign over the country was in 1927 as a 6-year old, and it lasted only 3 years until 1930. He was then reinstalled in 1940.
Births On This Day – December 30
- 1984 LeBron James – American basketball player
- 1975 Tiger Woods – American golfer
- 1946 Patti Smith – American singer-songwriter, poet
- 1865 Rudyard Kipling – English author, poet, Nobel Prize laureate
- 1853 André Messager – French composer
Deaths On This Day – December 30
- 2009 Abdurrahman Wahid – Indonesian politician, 4th President of Indonesia
- 2006 Saddam Hussein – Iraqi politician, 5th President of Iraq
- 1970 Sonny Liston – American boxer
- 1947 Alfred North Whitehead – English mathematician, philosopher
- 1896 José Rizal – Filipino polymath
The sections “What Happened On This Day,” “Births On This Day,” and “Deaths On This Day” originally appeared at TimeandDate.com and is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.