Way back when: Today in history
BY GENE CURTIS
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
12/19/12 at 3:26 AM
1974 - Rockefeller sworn in
Nelson A. Rockefeller was sworn in as vice president by Chief Justice Warren Burger about two hours after his appointment to that position was approved by the House of Representatives. Rockefeller, 66, was nominated by President Gerald R. Ford, the only other person to hold that office without being elected, who became president in August when Richard Nixon resigned. Ford had been nominated as vice president by Nixon under the 25th Amendment after Spiro Agnew resigned in 1973.
1984 - China to run Hong Kong
Hong Kong, a British colony since 1841 during the opium wars, will return to Chinese sovereignty on July 1, 1997, under provisions of an accord signed by British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang. Beijing pledged to retain post-colonial Hong Kong's economic and social systems until 2047 and give its residents a large degree of autonomy.
2000 - 'At first it was pretty'
The Popocatepetl volcano, 40 miles outside Mexico City, spewed ash and rock in its most spectacular eruption in 1,200 years, filling nearby valleys with lava. "At first it was pretty. It lit up like a Christmas tree," a farmer said. "Then the fear hit." The volcano has emitted sporadic plumes of ash and vapor since it awoke in 1994 from nearly 70 years of slumber - but nothing like this eruption. Many of the residents near the mountain known locally as "Popo" had ignored warnings to leave until the shower of incandescent rocks and ash began, leaving towns deserted.
2008 - Rescue loans approved
A $17.4 billion rescue package of loans for General Motors and Chrysler was signed by President George W. Bush to keep the ailing auto makers from probable bankruptcy. Bush said the loans, with $13.4 billion to be available within a month, would give automakers three months to institute plans to restructure into viable companies "which we believe they are capable of doing." If they fail to produce a plan by March 31, the automakers would be required to repay the loans, which they would find difficult. Allowing the auto companies to collapse is not a responsible course, Bush said. Ford Motor Co. has said it does not need immediate help.
The Popocatepetl volcano spews fumes and ashes in Mexico in 2000. AP file