On This Day: Kim Jong Il becomes leader of North Korea

On Oct. 8, 1997, Kim Jong Il, officially inherited his father's title of general secretary of the Communist Party.
By UPI Staff  |  Updated Oct. 8, 2017 at 8:23 AM
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Oct. 8 (UPI) -- On this date in history:

In 1871, a massive Chicago fire destroyed more than 17,000 buildings, killed more than 300 people and left 100,000 homeless.

In 1912, Montenegro declares war against the Ottoman Empire, starting the First Balkan War. "Irreconcilable differences between the great powers...now loom up as the most serious menace in the Balkan situation."

In 1918, Sgt. Alvin York of Tennessee became a World War I hero by single-handedly capturing a hill as part of the Meuse-Argonne offensive in France, killing 20 enemy soldiers and capturing 132 others.

In 1956, Don Larsen of the New York Yankees pitched the only perfect game in a World Series, beating the Brooklyn Dodgers 2-0 in Game 5.

File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI

In 1969, the Days of Rage demonstrations, organized by the Weather Underground, kick off in Chicago. Diana -- The Making of a Terrorist, is UPI's Pulitzer winning profile of Diana Oughton, a member of the Weather Underground.

In 1982, Poland bans all labor unions, including Solidarity.

In 1982, Cats opens on Broadway, delighting fans from around the world for nearly 18 years before closing on September 10, 2000.

File Photo by Ezio Petersen/UPI

In 1991, a U.S. federal judge in Anchorage approved a $1 billion settlement against Exxon for the Valdez oil spill.

In 1993, the U.S. Justice Department, in its report on the 51-day siege at the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas, concluded the cult had caused the fire that destroyed the compound and killed at least 75 people.

In 1997, three years after the death of longtime North Korean ruler Kim Il Sung, his son, Kim Jong Il, officially inherited his father's title of general secretary of the Communist Party.

In 2003, about $19 billion in peach-colored, redesigned $20 bills made their official debut across the United States.

In 2004, for the first time the Nobel Peace Prize went to an African woman, Dr. Wangari Maathai, an environmental activist from Kenya.

In 2005, tens of thousands of people were killed by a 7.6-magnitude earthquake in Pakistan. Most of the victims were in the Kashmir region, others in India. The death toll in what became known as the Kashmir earthquake was eventually set at about 79,000, with more than 100,000 people injured and the number of displaced estimated in the millions.

In 2014, the first person in the United States diagnosed with Ebola during an outbreak that year dies. Thomas Eric Duncan caught the disease while traveling to West Africa.

In 2011, the head of the U.S. Energy Department's loan program, Jonathan Silver, resigned amid a fiscal firestorm over Solyndra, a solar energy company that filed for bankruptcy after receiving a $535 million federal loan guarantee.

U.S. President Barack Obama tours the Solyndra solar panel company with Solyndra executive vice president Ben Bierman (R) and CEO Chris Gronet (L) in Fremont, Calif., on May 26, 2010. On October 8, 2011, Jonathan Silver, head of the U.S. Energy Department's loan program, resigned after Solyndra filed for bankruptcy after receiving a $535 million federal loan guarantee. File Photo by Paul Chinn/Pool
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