Way back when: Today in history
BY GENE CURTIS
Thursday, December 20, 2012
12/20/12 at 3:40 AM
1989 - U.S. invades Panama
American forces invaded Panama in Operation Just Cause, an attempt to arrest dictator Manuel Noriega, a former strong ally of the U.S., and to allow a new president to take office. More than 20,000 troops began the invasion shortly after midnight.
By daybreak, Noriega's headquarters had been burned. Noriega surrendered a few weeks later and was sentenced to 40 years for drug trafficking and racketeering. It was later reduced to 30 years.
1991 - Militant kills daughter
Palestinian militant Zein Isa, a reputed member of the Abu Nidal terrorist organization, and his wife, Maria, were sentenced to death by a St. Louis court for the honor killing of their Americanized youngest daughter, Palestina, 16.
Evidence at the trial included a seven-minute recording during which Isa was heard shouting in Arabic, "Die! Die quickly! Die, my daughter, die" as he stabbed her while her mother held her down.
Isa later was indicted on a charge of conspiring to kill Jews, blow up the Israeli Embassy in Washington and buy weapons and smuggle money to other Abu Nidal members. Isa died of diabetes while awaiting execution; Maria Isa's sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.
1994 - White House shooting
Marcelino Corniel, a homeless man, was shot and mortally wounded in front of the White House by a Park Police officer after Corniel ran across Pennsylvania Avenue brandishing a knife bayonet style.
Witnesses said Corniel, 33, had threatened an officer before another officer shot him. Corniel had complained that homeless were being harassed by police. The shooting came just three days after a 9 mm bullet pierced a State Dining Room window and less than two months after a man sprayed the front of the building with rifle fire.
2007 - Picasso art stolen
Thieves in Sao Paulo used a crowbar and a car jack to break into the Sao Paulo Museum of Art where they stole paintings by Pablo Picasso and other artists worth millions of dollars. Police said they made a few jabs with the crowbar and then slipped a jack under the metal security gate, lifting it high enough to squeeze through just before dawn. Police recovered the Picasso, valued at $50 million, and other paintings about a month later.
Julio Neves, president of Sao Paulo's Museum of Art, displays recovered paintings that were stolen from the museum. AP file