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Wednesday December 20, 1972
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News stories from Wednesday December 20, 1972

Summaries of the stories the major media outlets considered to be of particular importance on this date:

  • North Vietnam is undergoing the worst aerial bombardment in history as casualties mount on both sides. The U.S. command in South Vietnam said that two more U.S. planes have been shot down. The U.S. destroyer Goldsboro was damaged off the coast of Thanh Hoa; two sailors were killed. North Vietnam claims to have shot down six planes and damaged three ships. The Soviet news agency Tass reported that U.S. bombers have destroyed thousands of homes, mostly in the Hanoi and Haiphong areas. Tass also indicated heavy civilian casualties. Radio Hanoi stated that the Americans bombed a mile long path through the city of Thai Nguyen, hitting 300 homes, a medical station and a nursery; 11 civilians were killed. A Polish cargo ship, trapped by the U.S. mine blockade inside Haiphong Harbor, was reportedly sunk by American planes, killing three crewmen.

    Pentagon spokesman Jerry Friedheim described the military targets of the bombing in North Vietnam. The raids are designed for psychological and military gains. B-52's can't pinpoint targets, so they drop bombs over wide areas. The pilots of smaller bombers are now operating with the fewest restrictions so far in the war.

    There are strong indications that North Vietnam was warned that bombing might resume. The White House says that Hanoi made a tactical decision to stall on peace; nobody knows why or for how long. Perhaps North Vietnam is hoping that Congress will cut off funds for Vietnam as a result of the bombing; perhaps North Vietnam is hoping to cause more trouble between Saigon and Washington; perhaps they are preparing for a new military offensive and need time. Back on December 3, Hanoi schoolchildren were evacuated from schools, possibly in anticipation of renewed bombing. U.S. officials noted that North Vietnam has tied conditions to the release of American POW's, but the U.S. demands an unconditional release. [CBS]

  • General Alexander Haig arrived in Saigon with an ultimatum from President Nixon to President Thieu for the latter to sign the peace agreement or lose all U.S. military aid. Haig is carrying Thieu's reply back to Washington.

    Newsmen are seeking to find out more about the bombings. Reporters complain that information is broadcast by Radio Hanoi before it is broadcast by the U.S. command. North Vietnam may step up the ground war in response to the renewed bombing, but South Vietnam feels confident it can repel the attacks. [CBS]

  • On December 7 North Vietnam allowed two American POW's to be interviewed by an Italian news team. Lt. Craig Hanson said that he hoped the peace talks would lead to a settlement of the war; Capt. Melvin Matsui hoped for the fighting to stop. Both POW's asked the interviewers to tell their families that they are being treated well. [CBS]
  • UPI reports that U.S. military personnel might have unknowingly transported heroin into America in the bodies and caskets of U.S. war dead. It is believed that the heroin was removed in Hawaii. [CBS]
  • In Danbury, Connecticut, Father Philip Berrigan was released after serving three years in jail for a 1968 draft board raid in Catonsville, Maryland. Berrigan, accompanied by his brother Daniel, was greeted by 200 supporters as he left the prison. Two government men in a nearby car watched Berrigan. Berrigan said that the U.S. will stand or fall in South Vietnam with President Thieu, and this policy invites four more years of war. Pete Seeger led off the celebration of Berrigan's release with a song at a restaurant near the prison. [CBS]
  • A sky marshal and a customs agent were wounded at Kennedy Airport after attempting to approach a suspicious character at the boarding gate. The suspect was subdued by police and identified as Robert Dobbelaer of Valley Cottage, New York. Dobbelaer is a former mental patient. [CBS]
  • Former President Harry Truman is still in serious condition; his kidneys are failing. [CBS]
  • President Nixon had his regular physical checkup, and is in excellent health. [CBS]
  • President Nixon is pressuring the National Football League to lift the television blackout for the playoffs so games like the Redskins versus Packers can be seen locally. Attorney General Kleindienst asked NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle to lift the blackout; Rozelle said no. Kleindienst will ask Congress to reexamine football's antitrust exemption. [CBS]
  • A federal appeals court rejected Los Angeles Times Washington Bureau chief John Lawrence's challenge of his contempt citation for refusing to hand over tapes of his interview with a witness in the Watergate case. [CBS]
  • William Ruckelshaus will remain as head of the Environmental Protection Agency. His agency plans to try to drastically reduce auto pollution. [CBS]
  • A man in Hayward, California, answered his door and found Santa Claus there. The man let him in, whereupon Santa produced a badge and arrested him for possession of narcotics. [CBS]

Stock Market Report

Dow Jones Industrial Average: 1004.82 (-4.36, -0.43%)
S&P Composite: 115.95 (-0.39, -0.34%)
Arms Index: 1.06

Total Volume18.49
* in millions of shares

Arms Index is the ratio of volume per declining issue to volume per advancing issue; a figure below 1.0 is bullish.

Market Index Trends
December 19, 19721009.18116.3417.00
December 18, 19721013.25116.9017.54
December 15, 19721027.24118.2618.30
December 14, 19721025.06118.2417.93
December 13, 19721030.48118.5616.54
December 12, 19721033.19118.6617.04
December 11, 19721036.27119.1217.23
December 8, 19721033.19118.8618.03
December 7, 19721033.26118.6019.32
December 6, 19721027.54118.0118.61

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