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December 17, 1996 – A day of relative calm in Washington – a day of shock and horror to even the most cynical in Chechnya. In Washington it was learned President Clinton was seeking cuts in Nursing home inspections. The move brought a wave of protest from many Senior Citizen advocates who felt the new rules emasculated the enforcement process, a process that was designed to be resident oriented, and this new turn of events was considered dangerous, flying in the face of quality of care and quality of life problems, which would go unnoticed. The protests did the job, as the Clinton Administration quickly backed away from any follow-through saying it was only a draft and no one saw it going anywhere anytime soon. From what it appeared, leaking the plan allowed the plan to be stopped in its tracks without any bloodshed.
Six Foreign Red Cross workers were massacred as they slept in a hospital compound southwest of the Chechen Capitol of Grozny. It was determined the gunmen entered the compound which housed staff workers and killed them. It was believed they were killed by gunshot although there was some information a grenade may have been tossed into the sleeping area as well, but it had not been confirmed. Most of the victims were women who were working as nurses. Subsequently the ICRC was withdrawing all its personnel from the hospital immediately. A Swiss delegate was also seriously wounded.
And an early Winter snowstorm blanketed the upper Mid-West, from North Dakota to Nebraska. And blizzard conditions were forecast through the following day. All this was making any sort of traveling treacherous at best. Even four-wheel drive vehicles, dependable even in the worst road conditions, were pretty much useless. Most people were arriving at work in Snowmobiles. In Northwest Nebraska, white-out conditions led to an 18 vehicle pileup, including two police cars and a tow-truck sent to the scene.
And that’s what was going on, December 17, 1996 as reported by The CBS World News Roundup.