By The Associated Press
2013-12-15 09:22 AM
Today is Sunday, Dec. 22, the 356th day of 2013. There are 9 days left in the year.
Highlights in history on this date:
1636 - Archduke Ferdinand, son of the Emperor, is elected leader of the Romans.
1793 - Napoleon Bonaparte, aged 24, is promoted to brigadier general in recognition of his decisive part in the capture of Toulon from British forces.
1807 - U.S. Congress passes the Embargo Act, designed to force peace between Britain and France by cutting off all trade with Europe.
1905 - Insurrection of Moscow workers; Revolution in Persia begins.
1941 - British Prime Minister Winston Churchill arrives in Washington for a wartime conference with U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt.
1942 - U.S. heavy bombers raid Japanese-occupied Rangoon, Burma -- now Myanmar, in World War II.
1944 - During the Battle of the Bulge, the Germans demand the surrender of American troops at Bastogne, Belgium, and Brigadier Gen. Anthony C. McAuliffe reportedly replies, "Nuts!"
1956 - The last Anglo-French forces leave Port Said, Egypt, following the Suez War.
1963 - Greek liner Laconia catches fire and sinks in North Atlantic; 150 people die.
1975 - Pro-Palestinian terrorists end 20-hour siege of Vienna headquarters of OPEC, take hostages and airliner provided by Austria, and begin flight to several Middle East capitals.
1984 - New York City resident Bernhard Goetz shoots four black youths on a Manhattan subway, claiming they were about to rob him.
1985 - Winnie Mandela, defying expulsion order, is arrested by police who drag her from her home in Soweto, South Africa.
1988 - South Africa signs accord at United Nations granting independence to Africa's last colony, which will become black-ruled nation of Namibia; rubber tapper and renowned rain forest defender Chico Mendes is murdered by cattle ranchers in the western Amazon of Brazil.
1989 - Dictator Nicolae Ceausescu is toppled in an uprising. He and his wife Elena flee Bucharest, Romania.
1990 - Lech Walesa is sworn in as Poland's first popularly elected president.
1991 - Twenty-one U.S. sailors drown when an Israeli ferry taking them from shore capsizes; the body of Lt. Col. William R. Higgins, an American hostage murdered by his captors, is found dumped along a highway in Lebanon.
1992 - A Libyan Boeing 727 on a domestic flight crashes, killing all 157 people aboard.
1993 - Alina Fernandez Revuelta, daughter of Cuban President Fidel Castro, leaves Cuba and is granted political asylum in the United States.
1994 - Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi resigns over a bribery scandal after seven months at head of conservative coalition.
1995 - As thousands cheer, Yasser Arafat's wife lights the Christmas tree in Manger Square, ushering in Bethlehem's first Christmas under Palestinian rule.
1996 - In a "Christmas gesture," Tupac Amaru rebels free 225 hostages from the Japanese ambassador's residence in Lima, Peru, but keep 140.
1998 - Israel's Parliament votes overwhelmingly for early elections, signaling the demise of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's ailing hard-line government and effectively freezing the already-troubled peace process with the Palestinians.
2001 - Hamid Karzai, an ethnic Pashtun who leads one of the largest tribes in southern Afghanistan, is sworn in as chairman of a six-month interim government; passengers and crew aboard an American Airlines jet en route to Miami, Florida subdue Briton Richard Reid as he tries to detonate explosives hidden in his shoes.
2002 - North Korea confirms it removed and disabled monitoring devices that had been placed at its Yongbyon nuclear reactor to ensure compliance with a 1994 international agreement.
2003 - The Roman Catholic archdiocese of Boston, Massachusetts pays the 542 plaintiffs who agreed to a sexual abuse settlement with the archdiocese. The archdiocese will sell church property to fund the part of the $85 million settlement not covered by insurers.
2004 - Saudi Arabia announces it is withdrawing its ambassador to Libya in what the kingdom called a measured response to reports Tripoli had plotted to assassinate its crown prince.
2005 - An Istanbul court separately fines an author and a journalist for insulting the state, the latest convictions in Turkey under a law that European Union officials say limits freedom of expression and must be changed.
2006 - The Roman Catholic Church denies a religious funeral for paralyzed Italian author Piergiorgio Welby, who died after a doctor disconnected his respirator saying it would treat his public wish to "end his life." The Vatican calls the controversial case an apparent suicide.
2007 - Guatemalan congressman-elect Marco Antonio Xicay of the conservative Patriotic Party is shot to death by unidentified attackers outside a popular resort in the country.
2008 - Thailand's revered monarch urges the new government to make peace its priority, breaking months of silence about the political turmoil that shut down Bangkok's airports and sparked deadly violence in the streets.
2009 - Assailants gun down the mother, aunt and siblings of a marine killed in a raid that took out one of Mexico's most powerful cartel leaders -- sending a chilling message to troops battling the drug war: You go after us, we wipe out your families.
2010 - Iraq's Christian leaders call off Christmas celebrations amid new al-Qaida threats on the tiny community still terrified from a bloody siege on a Baghdad church.
2011 -- A wave of bombs tears through mostly Shiite neighborhoods of Baghdad, killing at least 69 people and evoking fears that Iraq could dissolve into a new round of sectarian violence now that American troops have left.
2012 -- Egypt's Islamist-backed constitution heads toward approval in a final round of voting, but the deep divisions it has opened up threaten to fuel continued turmoil.
Jean Racine, French dramatist (1639-1699); Thomas Higginson, U.S. abolitionist (1823-1911); Giacomo Puccini, Italian composer (1858-1924); Dame Peggy Ashcroft, English actress (1907-1991); Barbara Billingsley, U.S. actress (1915-2010); Robin Gibb (1949--2012) and twin Maurice Gibb (1949-2003), English-born pop singers; Vanessa Paradis, French singer and model (1972--); Ralph Fiennes, British actor (1962--).
Thought For Today:
Anger makes dull men witty, but it keeps them poor -- attributed to Queen Elizabeth I of England (1533-1603).