1775 – As troubles with Great Britain increased, colonists in Massachusetts voted to buy military equipment for 15,000 men.
1792 – US Congress passed the Presidential Succession Act.
1794 – Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, Mexican Revolutionary and the leading villain of Texas history, was born in Mexico. As a young military officer, he supported Emperor Agustin de Iturbide, and at one time courted the emperor’s sister. He later rebelled against the government, gained considerable backing. By 1833, he was elevated to president of Mexico in a democratic election. He soon determined, however, that Mexico was not ready for democracy and pronounced himself dictator. Santa Anna was remembered as a particularly ruthless opponent by the Texans. Despite this, he was allowed to return to Mexico after his capture at the Battle of San Jacinto. After his return to Mexico, Santa Anna participated in the Mexican War and in 1853 sold territory to the United States including that area known as the Gadsden Purchase. He was later exiled from Mexico, but allowed to return a few years before his death in 1876.
1828 – The first printing press designed to use the newly invented Cherokee alphabet arrives at New Echota, Georgia. The General Council of the Cherokee Nation had purchased the press with the goal of producing a Cherokee-language newspaper. The press itself, however, would have been useless had it not been for the extraordinary work of a young Cherokee named Sequoyah, who invented a Cherokee alphabet. As a young man, Sequoyah had joined the Cherokee volunteers who fought under Andrew Jackson against the British in the War of 1812. In dealing with the Anglo soldiers and settlers, he became intrigued by their “talking leaves”-printed books that he realized somehow recorded human speech. In a brilliant leap of logic, Sequoyah comprehended the basic nature of symbolic representation of sounds and in 1809 began working on a similar system for the Cherokee language. Ridiculed and misunderstood by most of the Cherokee, Sequoyah made slow progress until he came up with the idea of representing each syllable in the language with a separate written character. By 1821, he had perfected his syllabary of 86 characters, a system that could be mastered in less than week. After obtaining the official endorsement of the Cherokee leadership, Sequoyah’s invention was soon adopted throughout the Cherokee nation. When the Cherokee-language printing press arrived on this day in 1828, the lead type was based on Sequoyah’s syllabary. Within months, the first Indian language newspaper in history appeared in New Echota, Georgia. It was called the Cherokee Phoenix. One of the so-called “five civilized tribes” native to the American Southeast, the Cherokee had long embraced the United States’ program of “civilizing” Indians in the years after the Revolutionary War. In the minds of Americans, Sequoyah’s syllabary further demonstrated the Cherokee desire to modernize and fit into the dominant Anglo world. The Cherokee used their new press to print a bilingual version of republican constitution, and they took many other steps to assimilate Anglo culture and practice while still preserving some aspects of their traditional language and beliefs. Sadly, despite the Cherokee’s sincere efforts to cooperate and assimilate with the Anglo-Americans, their accomplishments did not protect them from the demands of land-hungry Americans. Repeatedly pushed westward in order to make room for Anglo settlers, the Cherokee lost more than 4,000 of their people (nearly a quarter of the nation) in the 1838-39 winter migration to Oklahoma that later became known as the Trail of Tears. Nonetheless, the Cherokee people survived as a nation in their new home, thanks in part to the presence of the unifying written language created by Sequoyah. In recognition of his service, the Cherokee Nation voted Sequoyah an annual allowance in 1841. He died two years later on his farm in Oklahoma. Today, his memory is also preserved in the scientific name for the giant California redwood tree, Sequoia.
1846 – Sarah G. Bagley became the first female telegrapher, taking charge at the newly opened telegraph office in Lowell, Mass.
1848 – The Communist Manifesto, written by Karl Marx with the assistance of Friedrich Engels, is published in London by a group of German-born revolutionary socialists known as the Communist League. The political pamphlet–arguably the most influential in history–proclaimed that “the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles” and that the inevitable victory of the proletariat, or working class, would put an end to class society forever. Originally published in German as Manifest der Kommunistischen Partei (“Manifesto of the Communist Party”), the work had little immediate impact. Its ideas, however, reverberated with increasing force into the 20th century, and by 1950 nearly half the world’s population lived under Marxist governments. Karl Marx was born in Trier, Prussia, in 1818–the son of a Jewish lawyer who converted to Lutheranism. He studied law and philosophy at the universities of Berlin and Jena and initially was a follower of G.W.F. Hegel, the 19th-century German philosopher who sought a dialectical and all-embracing system of philosophy. In 1842, Marx became editor of the Rheinische Zeitung, a liberal democratic newspaper in Cologne. The newspaper grew considerably under his guidance, but in 1843 the Prussian authorities shut it down for being too outspoken. That year, Marx moved to Paris to co-edit a new political review. Paris was at the time a center for socialist thought, and Marx adopted the more extreme form of socialism known as communism, which called for a revolution by the working class that would tear down the capitalist world. In Paris, Marx befriended Friedrich Engels, a fellow Prussian who shared his views and was to become a lifelong collaborator. In 1845, Marx was expelled from France and settled in Brussels, where he renounced his Prussian nationality and was joined by Engels. During the next two years, Marx and Engels developed their philosophy of communism and became the intellectual leaders of the working-class movement. In 1847, the League of the Just, a secret society made up of revolutionary German workers living in London, asked Marx to join their organization. Marx obliged and with Engels renamed the group the Communist League and planned to unite it with other German worker committees across Europe. The pair were commissioned to draw up a manifesto summarizing the doctrines of the League. Back in Brussels, Marx wrote The Communist Manifesto in January 1848, using as a model a tract Engels wrote for the League in 1847. In early February, Marx sent the work to London, and the League immediately adopted it as their manifesto. Many of the ideas in The Communist Manifesto were not new, but Marx had achieved a powerful synthesis of disparate ideas through his materialistic conception of history. The Manifesto opens with the dramatic words, “A spectre is haunting Europe–the spectre of communism,” and ends by declaring: “The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Workers of the world, unite!” In The Communist Manifesto, Marx predicted imminent revolution in Europe. The pamphlet had hardly cooled after coming off the presses in London when revolution broke out in France on February 22 over the banning of political meetings held by socialists and other opposition groups. Isolated riots led to popular revolt, and on February 24 King Louis-Philippe was forced to abdicate. The revolution spread like brushfire across continental Europe. Marx was in Paris on the invitation of the provincial government when the Belgian government, fearful that the revolutionary tide would soon engulf Belgium, banished him. Later that year, he went to the Rhineland, where he agitated for armed revolt. The bourgeoisie of Europe soon crushed the Revolution of 1848, and Marx would have to wait longer for his revolution. He went to London to live and continued to write with Engels as they further organized the international communist movement. In 1864, Marx helped found the International Workingmen’s Association–known as the First International–and in 1867 published the first volume of his monumental Das Kapital–the foundation work of communist theory. By his death in 1884, communism had become a movement to be reckoned with in Europe. Twenty-three years later, in 1917, Vladimir Lenin, a Marxist, led the world’s first successful communist revolution in Russia.
1861 – Gustavus V. Fox, ex-naval officer now a civilian, reconnoitered Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbor, as directed by President Lincoln, to determine the best means of relieving the Fort. Based on his observations, Fox recommended relieving Sumter by sea.
1862 – Confederate troops under General Henry Hopkins Sibley attack Union troops commanded by Colonel Edward R. S. Canby near Fort Craig in New Mexico Territory. The first major engagement of the war in the far West, the battle produces heavy casualties but no decisive result. This action was part of the broader movement by the Confederates to capture New Mexico and other parts of the West. This would secure territory that the Rebels thought was rightfully theirs but had been denied them by political compromises made before the Civil War. Furthermore, the cash-strapped Confederacy could use western mines to fill their treasury. From San Antonio, the Rebels moved into southern New Mexico (which included Arizona) and captured the towns of Mesilla, Doýa Ana, and Tucson. Sibley, with 3,000 troops, now moved north against the Federal stronghold at Fort Craig on the Rio Grande. At Fort Craig, Canby was determined to make the Confederates lay siege to the post. The Rebels, Canby reasoned, could not wait long before running low on supplies. Canby knew that Sibley did not possess sufficiently heavy artillery to attack the fort. When Sibley arrived near Fort Craig on February 15, he ordered his men to swing east of the fort, cross the Rio Grande, and then capture the Val Verde fords of the Rio Grande. He hoped to cut off Canby’s communication and force the Yankees out into the open. At the fords, five miles north of Fort Craig, a Union detachment attacked part of the Confederate force. They pinned the Texans in a ravine and were on the verge of routing the Rebels when more of Sibley’s men arrived and turned the tide. Sibley’s second in command, Colonel Tom Green, filling in for an ill Sibley, made a bold counterattack against the Union left flank. The Yankees fell back in retreat, and headed back to Fort Craig. The Union suffered 68 killed, 160 wounded, and 35 missing out of 3,100 engaged. The Confederates suffered 31 killed, 154 wounded, and 1 missing out of 2,600 troops. It was a bloody but indecisive battle. Sibley’s men continued up the Rio Grande. Within a few weeks, they captured Albuquerque and Santa Fe before they were stopped at the Battle of Glorieta Pass on March 28.
1862 – Confederate Constitution & presidency were declared permanent.
1862 – Flag Officer Farragut formally relieved Flag Officer McKean as Commander, Western Gulf Block¬ading Squadron. As his other ships arrived, he assembled them at the Southeast Pass and sent those whose draft permitted over the bar to conduct the blockade ”in the river.”
1863 – U.S.S. Thomas Freeborn, Lieutenant Commander Samuel Magaw, and U.S.S. Dragon, Acting Master George E. Hill, engaged a Confederate battery below Fort Lowry, Virginia, while reconnoitering the Rappahannock River. Freeborn was struck and one Confederate gun was silenced.
1864 – Battle at Okolona, Mississippi.
1865 – The gunboat fleet of Rear Admiral Porter closed Fort Strong and opened rapid fire “all along the enemy’s line” to support the Army attack ashore as it had throughout the soldiers” steady march up both banks of the Cape Fear River.
1878 – The first telephone directory was issued, by the District Telephone Company of New Haven (New Harbor), Conn. It contained the names of its 50 subscribers.
1885 – The Washington Monument, built in honor of America’s revolutionary hero and first president, is dedicated in Washington, D.C. The 555-foot-high marble obelisk was first proposed in 1783, and Pierre L’Enfant left room for it in his designs for the new U.S. capital. After George Washington’s death in 1799, plans for a memorial for the “father of the country” were discussed, but none were adopted until 1832–the centennial of Washington’s birth. Architect Robert Mills’ hollow Egyptian obelisk design was accepted for the monument, and on July 4, 1848, the cornerstone was laid. Work on the project was interrupted by political quarreling in the 1850s, and construction ceased entirely during the American Civil War. Finally, in 1876, Congress, inspired by the American centennial, passed legislation appropriating $200,000 for completion of the monument. In February 1885, the Washington Monument was formally dedicated, and three years later it was opened to the public, who were permitted to climb to the top of the monument by stairs or elevator. The monument was the tallest structure in the world when completed and remains today, by District of Columbia law, the tallest building in the nation’s capital.
1887 – The 1st US bacteriology laboratory opened in Brooklyn.
1903 – The cornerstone laid for US army war college in Washington, DC.
1920 – Robert S. Johnson, American World War II fighter ace who shot down 27 German planes. Robert S. Johnson was the first fighter pilot of the USAAF – United State Army Air Force – to supplant the 26 victories that Eddie Rickenbacker got in World War I. To the end of the war, he knocked down a German total of 27 airplanes (initially they were 28, but a victory was twenty years after finished the war) He was a member of the 56th Pursuit Group also known as “The Wolf Pack”. He wrote a book called “Thunderbolt”, chronicles of his life during World War II, where he tells that the American fighter pilots, in the beginning of the war, were very bad, and had to learn or die before being able to fight the pilots of the Luftwaffe. Robert Johnson died 27 of December 1998.
1922 – Airship Rome exploded at Hampton Roads, Virginia, and 34 died.
1934 – Nicaraguan patriot Augusto Cesar Sandino was assassinated by National Guard.
1937 – The League of Nations bans foreign national “volunteers” in the Spanish Civil War with little effect.
1940 – The Germans began construction of a concentration camp at Auschwitz. Hans Munch was an SS doctor at the camp and later reported his experiences there in detail for the 1998 TV documentary “People’s Century.”
1943 – A detachment of 15th Panzer Division launches a diversionary attack on Tebessa which is strongly held by the US 1st Armored Division.
1943 – Operation Cleanslate. Troops of the US 43rd Division (commanded by General Hester) occupy Banika and Pavuvu in the Russell Islands. There is no Japanese resistance. By the end of the month about 9000 American troops occupy these islands.
1943 – The USS Spencer, CG, received credit from the U.S. Navy for attacking and sinking the U-225 in the North Atlantic. The British have since recorded that the U-225 was actually destroyed by B-24 Liberator “S” of RAF No. 120 Squadron on 15 February 1943 and they have revised the official British records to reflect this change. The renowned German historian, Professor/Dr. Jurgen Rohwer stated that the Spencer “probably” attacked and sank the U-529 instead, although the Spencer has not received official credit for this sinking.
1944 – Prime Minister General Tojo takes over the office of Chief of the Army General Staff, in place of Field Marshal Sugiyama. The navy minister, Admiral Shimada, also takes an additional office, replacing Admiral Nagano as Chief of Staff.
1944 – Marines with support of naval bombardment and carrier aircraft secure Eniwetok atoll.
1945 – The US 11th Corps completes the capture of the Bataan area of Luzon. Fighting on Corregidor continues, as does the battle for Manila.
1945 – The Bismarck Sea was the last U.S. Navy aircraft carrier to be sunk in combat during World War II. The escort carrier Bismarck Sea was supporting the invasion of Iwo Jima, when about 50 kamikazes attacked the U.S. Navy Task Groups 58.2 and 58.3. Fleet carrier Saratoga was struck by three suicide planes and so badly damaged that the war ended before she returned to service. At 6:45 p.m., two Mitsubishi A6M5 Zeros approached Bismarck Sea, which opened fire with her anti-aircraft guns. One Zero was set on fire, but its suicidal pilot pressed home his attack and crashed into the carrier abreast of the aft elevator, which fell into the hangar deck below. Two minutes later, an internal explosion devastated the ship, and at 7:05 p.m., Captain J.L. Pratt ordered Abandon Ship. Ravaged by further explosions over the next three hours, Bismarck Sea sank at 10 p.m., the last U.S. Navy carrier to go down as a result of enemy action during World War II. Of her crew of 943, 218 officers and men lost their lives.
1946 – Following the close of World War II, the United States took up a new fight, this time against the looming specter of post-war inflation. President Harry Truman countered this fiscal foe by unveiling a series of deflationary measures, including the establishment of the Wage Stabilization Board in 1945. However, the decision to gradually wean the nation off of wartime price controls promised to ignite inflation, thus prompting further efforts by the government to keep the economy in check. On this day in 1946, Truman created the Office of Economic Stabilization (OES), which was charged with keeping a watchful eye over prices, and generally ensuring a smooth transition to a peacetime economy. Truman tabbed Chester Bowles, a veteran New Deal administrator who had previously led the Office of Price Administration, to run the OES. However, Bowles’s tenure quickly turned sour, as lawmakers rolled back his power to govern price controls; duly frustrated, Bowles retired the OES post just four months after taking office.
1947 – Edwin H. Land publicly demonstrated his Polaroid Land camera in NYC. It could produce a black-and-white photograph in 60 seconds. Polaroid Corp. was co-founded by Land and George W. Wheelwright III (d.2001 at 97).
1950 – The United States formally broke relations with Bulgaria.
1951 – The U. S. Eighth Army launched Operation Killer, a counterattack to push Chinese forces north of the Han River in Korea.
1951 – After a two-month detachment to the ROK Army, the 1st ROK Marine Regiment rejoined the U.S. 1st Marine Division.
1953 – An intermittent battle of more than nine hours on T-Bone Hill ultimately forced the U.N. troops to withdraw from this outpost.
1960 – Havana placed all Cuban industry under direct control of the government.
1967 – Writer and historian Bernard B. Fall is killed by a Viet Cong mine while accompanying a U.S. Marine patrol along the seacoast about 14 miles northwest of Hue, on a road known as the “Street Without Joy” (which Fall had used for the title of one of his books about the war). A professor of international relations at Howard University in Washington, D.C., Fall was a French citizen and noted expert on the war in Vietnam. He was killed while gathering material for his eighth book. A U.S. Marine photographer was also killed.
1970 – National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger begins secret peace talks with North Vietnamese representative Le Duc Tho, the fifth-ranking member of the Hanoi Politburo, at a villa outside Paris. Le Duc Tho stated that the North Vietnamese position continued to require an unconditional U.S. withdrawal on a fixed date and the abandonment of the Thieu government as a precondition for further progress, which stalled the negotiations. The North Vietnamese rejected Kissinger’s proposals for a mutual withdrawal of military forces, the neutralization of Cambodia, and a mixed electoral commission to supervise elections in South Vietnam. The other two meetings, in which there was a similar lack of progress, were held on March 16 and April 4.
1970 – Pathet Lao conquered Xieng Khuang and Muong Suy.
1972 – In an amazing turn of events, President Richard Nixon takes a dramatic first step toward normalizing relations with the communist People’s Republic of China (PRC) by traveling to Beijing for a week of talks. Nixon’s historic visit began the slow process of the re-establishing diplomatic relations between the United States and communist China.Still mired in the unpopular and frustrating Vietnam War in 1971, Nixon surprised the American people by announcing a planned trip to the PRC in 1972. The United States had never stopped formally recognizing the PRC after Mao Zedong’s successful communist revolution of 1949. In fact, the two nations had been bitter enemies. PRC and U.S. troops fought in Korea during the early-1950s, and Chinese aid and advisors supported North Vietnam in its war against the United States. Nixon seemed an unlikely candidate to thaw those chilly relations. During the 1940s and 1950s, he had been a vocal cold warrior and had condemned the Democratic administration of Harry S. Truman for “losing” China to the communists in 1949. The situation had changed dramatically since that time, though. In Vietnam, the Soviets, not the Chinese, had become the most significant supporters of the North Vietnamese regime. And the war in Vietnam was not going well. The American people were impatient for an end to the conflict, and it was becoming increasingly apparent that the United States might not be able to save its ally, South Vietnam, from its communist aggressors. The American fear of a monolithic communist bloc had been modified, as a war of words-and occasional border conflicts-erupted between the Soviet Union and the PRC in the 1960s. Nixon, and National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger saw a unique opportunity in these circumstances–diplomatic overtures to the PRC might make the Soviet Union more malleable to U.S. policy requests (such as pressuring the North Vietnamese to sign a peace treaty acceptable to the United States). In fact, Nixon was scheduled to travel to meet Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev shortly after completing his visit to China. Nixon’s trip to China, therefore, was a move calculated to drive an even deeper wedge between the two most significant communist powers. The United States could use closer diplomatic relations with China as leverage in dealing with the Soviets, particularly on the issue of Vietnam. In addition, the United States might be able to make use of the Chinese as a counterweight to North Vietnam. Despite their claims of socialist solidarity, the PRC and North Vietnam were, at best, strongly suspicious allies. As historian Walter LaFeber said, “Instead of using Vietnam to contain China, Nixon concluded that he had better use China to contain Vietnam.” For its part, the PRC was desirous of another ally in its increasingly tense relationship with the Soviet Union and certainly welcomed the possibility of increased U.S.-China trade.
1974 – A report claimed that the use of defoliants by the U.S. had scarred Vietnam for century. Defoliation was meant to save lives by denying the enemy cover.
1975 – Former Attorney General John N. Mitchell and former White House aides H.R. Haldeman and John D. Ehrlichman were sentenced to 2 1/2 to 8 years in prison for their roles in the Watergate cover-up.
1986 – Larry Wu-tai Chin, the first American found guilty of spying for China, killed himself in his Virginia jail cell. Larry Wu-Tai Chin had been an intelligence officer in the CIA’s Foreign Broadcast Information Service. During his career, he held a Top Secret clearance and had access to a wide range of intelligence information. Born in Peking, Chin was recruited by communist intelligence agents while a college student in the early 1940s. Later he became a naturalized US citizen, worked for the US Army Liaison Office in China in 1943, and joined the CIA in 1952. He provided the Chinese with many of the CIA’s Top Secret reports on the Far East written over the past 20 years. Chin smuggled classified documents from his office and, between 1976 and 1982, gave photographs of these materials to Chinese couriers at frequent meetings in Toronto, Hong Kong and London. He met with Chinese agents in the Far East as recently as March 1985. Chin may have received as much as $1 million for his complicity. Chin retired at 1981 at 63. Four years later on November 22, 1985 Chin was arrested o and accused of having carried out a 33-year career of espionage on behalf of the People’s Republic of China. He was indicted on 17 counts of espionage-related and income tax violations. At his trial which began on February 4, 1986, Chin admitted providing the Chinese with information over a period of 11 years, but for the purpose of reconciliation between China and the United States. On February 8, 1986, Chin was convicted by a Federal jury on all counts. Sentencing had been set for March 17, 1986.
1994 – With Bosnian Serbs complying with a NATO ultimatum to remove heavy guns near Sarajevo, President Clinton promised renewed efforts to help “reinvigorate the peace process.”
1996 – The Space Telescope Science Institute announced that photographs from the Hubble Space Telescope confirmed the existence of a “black hole” equal to the mass of two billion suns in a galaxy some 30 million light-years away.
1997 – The space shuttle Discovery returned to earth after a mission to upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope.
1997 – There was a bombing at an Atlanta lesbian nightclub that injured five people. It was similar to the previous recent bombings at an abortion clinic and at the Olympics. Eric Rudolph was later charged with the bombing. He was arrested May 31, 2003.
1998 – U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan began formal talks with Iraqi officials in the standoff over weapons inspections.
1999 – US and British warplanes attacked a missile base and 2 military communication sites after Iraqi jets violated the no-fly zone.
2000 – It was reported that the US FBI planned to open an office in Budapest in March at the request of the Hungarian government in order to help break up Russian gangs. The FBI would hire 10 Hungarian agents to work alongside 5 US agents.
2000 – In Mitrovica, Kosovo, some 10-25,000 ethnic Albanians clashed with NATO-led troops, who kept them from crossing to the Serb section of town.
2002 – Pres. Bush met with Pres. Zemin in Beijing and both agreed to work on the reunification of North and South Korea. They disagreed over controls on exports of missile technology. Pres. Bush answered questions in a live broadcast and reaffirmed the US right to protect Taiwan.
2002 – It was acknowledged that WSJ reporter Daniel Pearl was dead after a video was received that showed an assailant slash his throat. On May 30, Pearl’s wife in Paris gave birth to a baby boy, Adam D. Pearl.
2002 – A US CH-47E Chinook helicopter with 10 soldiers crashed into the Mindanao Sea in the Philippines. 3 bodies were found by local fishermen.
2002 – Forty American military personnel arrive in Tbilisi, capital of the former Soviet republic of Georgia, marking the first deployment of U.S. combat forces in the Caucasus region. The troops, including U.S. Special Forces, are scheduled to train nearly 200 Georgian soldiers in light-infantry tactics to counter terrorist threats in the Pankisi Gorge.
2003 – UN officials say that chief weapons inspector, Hans Blix has ordered the destruction of dozens of Iraqi missiles with ranges that violated UN limits. General Amer al-Saadi, science adviser to Saddam Hussein says they are considering the demand and will “come up with a decision quite soon”.
2003 – US Navy is boarding an average of six vessels a day as it steps up patrols in international waters searching for Iraqi weapons. UNMOVIC had previously announced that there were reports suggesting that Iraqi weapons had been smuggled abroad in recent months.
2003 – NATO announces that AWACS surveillance planes will fly to the Turkish airforce base in the next few days.
2003 – It was reported that Iraq had recently begun shipping large quantities of oil through its Khor al Amaya port.
2005 – The new Atomic Testing Museum opened in Las Vegas. (http://www.ntshf.org)
2008 – The United States Navy shoots down USA 193, a spy satellite in a decaying orbit, over the Pacific Ocean. USA-193, also known as NRO launch 21 (NROL-21 or simply L-21), was an U.S. military spy satellite launched on December 14, 2006. It was the first launch conducted by the United Launch Alliance. Owned by the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), the craft’s precise function and purpose were classified. The satellite malfunctioned shortly after deployment, and was intentionally destroyed 14 months later by a modified, SM-3 missile fired from the warship USS Lake Erie, stationed west of Hawaii. The event highlighted growing distrust between the U.S. and China, and was viewed by some to be part of a wider “space race” involving the U.S., China, and Russia.
2012 – US General John R. Allen, the head of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan commissions an inquiry into allegations that Qurans were burnt at an American Air Force base as Afghans protest.
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