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On This Day: Soviet Union first to test supersonic airliner

On Dec. 31, 1968, the Soviet Union tested its supersonic airliner, the TU-144, months before the Anglo-French Concorde.

By UPI Staff
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On This Day: Soviet Union first to test supersonic airliner
On December 31, 1968, the Soviet Union tested its supersonic airliner, the TU-144, months before the Anglo-French Concorde. File Photo by {link:P.L THILL/Wikimedia: "https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:1973_06_Bourget_TU144_(13).jpg}

Dec. 31 (UPI) -- On this date in history:

In 1862, the Union ironclad ship USS Monitor sank off Cape Hatteras, N.C., during a storm. Sixteen members of the crew were lost.

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In 1879, Thomas Edison gave the first public demonstration of his incandescent lamp -- in Menlo Park, N.J.

In 1929, Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians did their first New Year's Eve broadcast from the Roosevelt Grill in New York City.

In 1947, America's favorite Western movie couple, singing cowboy Roy Rogers and co-star Dale Evans, were married.

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In 1968, the Soviet Union tested its supersonic airliner, the TU-144, months before the Anglo-French Concorde.

In 1972, Pittsburgh Pirates great Roberto Clemente and four other people died in a cargo plane crash en route to deliver supplies to earthquake-stricken Nicaragua. The plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean shortly after takeoff from Puerto Rico.

In 1983, the court-ordered breakup of the American Telephone and Telegraph Co. took effect.

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In 1983, a bloodless military coup overthrew Nigerian President Shehu Shagari's government, replacing him with Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari.

In 1985, fire broke out on a chartered DC-3 aircraft and it crashed in northeastern Texas, killing rock singer Rick Nelson, his fiancee and five band members.

In 1988, the Chicago Bears defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 20-12 in the so-called "Fog Bowl," when thick fog shrouded Chicago's Soldier Field.

In 1994, Russian forces launched a full air and ground attack on Grozny, the capital city of the rebel republic of Chechnya.

In 1997, the Algerian government announced that more than 400 people had been massacred by Islamic extremists during the last nine days of December.

In 1999, Panama assumed full control of the Panama Canal.

In 1999, Boris Yeltsin resigned as president of Russia, leaving Vladimir Putin acting president.

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In 2004, authorities in Buenos Aires reported at least 175 deaths and hundreds of injuries in a fire at a crowded nightclub. A government official said, "Only two exits were open; the others were tied up with wire. These young people were doomed in a death trap."

In 2006, Romania and Bulgaria joined the European Union, increasing its membership to 27 countries.

In 2014, Beji Caid Essebsi becomes Tunisia's first freely elected president. The country's Parliament ousted him 18 months later with a vote of no confidence.

In 2017, the Cleveland Browns became the second team to go winless for the entire season after a 28-24 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

File Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI

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