By The Associated Press
2013-12-16 09:22 AM
Today is Monday, Dec. 23, the 357th day of 2013. There are 8 days left in the year.
Highlights in history on this date:
1588 - Henry, Duke of Guise and leader of militant Catholics who wanted a Spanish princess on the French throne, is assassinated on King Henry III's orders at Blois, France.
1601 - Irish rebels Tyronne and O'Donnell are routed near Kinsdale by British forces.
1698 - George Lewis becomes Elector of Hanover on death of Ernest Augustus.
1728 - Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI and Frederick William of Prussia sign Treaty of Berlin.
1783 - George Washington resigns as commander in chief of the U.S. Army and retires to his home at Mount Vernon, Virginia.
1832 - The French take Antwerp, forcing Holland to recognize Belgium's independence.
1861 - Sultan of Turkey agrees to unification of Moldavia and Wallachia as Romania.
1876 - The first constitution in a Muslim country is passed in Turkey, but power remains largely in the hands of the sultan.
1920 - French and British approve convention fixing boundaries of Syria and Palestine.
1941 - U.S. forces on Wake Island in the Pacific surrender to Japanese in World War II.
1947 - The transistor is invented at the Bell Telephone Laboratories in New Jersey. This made equipment miniaturization possible and ushered in a tidal wave of electronic miracles including the personal computer.
1950 - A treaty in which Vietnam becomes a sovereign nation within the French Union is signed in Saigon.
1968 - Eighty-two crew members of the U.S. intelligence ship Pueblo are released by North Korea, 11 months after they were captured.
1972 - Earthquake strikes Managua, Nicaragua, killing 10,000.
1977 - Eight French nationals kidnapped in May by guerrillas fighting for the independence of the former Spanish Sahara, are handed over to U.N. Secretary General Kurt Waldheim in Algiers.
1986 - The experimental U.S. airplane, Voyager, lands in California's Mojave Desert after becoming the first aircraft to circumnavigate the globe nonstop without refueling.
1989 - United States sends 2,000 reinforcement troops to Panama to combat unexpectedly stiff resistance from Panamanian troops loyal to ousted General Manuel Antonio Noriega.
1990 - Slovenes vote overwhelmingly in favor of secession from Yugoslavia.
1993 - The Rhine sweeps to its greatest height in 67 years, flooding Cologne's old town and menacing the new Parliament building in Bonn. The death toll in European flooding reaches six.
1994 - Bosnia's Serbs and the Muslim-led government agree to a cease-fire in their war.
1995 - A fire in Dabwali, India, kills 540 people, including 170 children, during a year-end party being held near a children's school.
1996 - Tajikistan's President Emomali Rakhmonov and the top opposition leader Sayed Abdullo Nuri sign a cease-fire agreement aimed at ending the four-year civil war.
1997 - Gunmen charge into a village of rebel sympathizers in Chiapas, Mexico, and kill 45 people, including 15 children.
1998 - South Korean police use water cannon and tear gas to evict a group of monks from the Chogye temple, after the monks threw firebombs and rocks at them. The clash ends a 40-day standoff between rival monks at the spiritual home to eight million Buddhists.
2000 - U.S. and British warplanes in Baghdad strike targets in southern Iraq. Iraqi officials say the attack killed one person and injured two others. The U.S. Central Command headquarters reports that the warplanes, patrolling the no-fly zone in southern Iraq, attacked a radar system and anti-aircraft sites with precision-guided weapons.
2001 - San Luis Governor Adolfo Rodriguez Saa takes over as interim president of Argentina, immediately halting payments on the nation's $132 billion debt. He resigns a week later saying "an attitude of pettiness and haggling" within his Justicialist party has left him unable to govern.
2003 - An explosion at a natural gas field near Chongqing in Sichuan province of China kills at least 198 people. The explosion reportedly occurred when a pocket of natural gas and hydrogen sulfide was accidentally drilled open.
2005 - South Korean scientist Hwang Woo-suk resigns from his university after he was found to have faked stem-cell breakthroughs that kindled worldwide optimism of revolutionary cures for disease.
2006 - U.N. Security Council votes unanimously to impose the first set of sanctions on Iran for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment amid suspicions Tehran wants to build nuclear weapons.
2007 - The world's last Hindu monarchy is to be swept aside under an agreement signed between Nepal's former communist rebels and its major political parties that sets the stage for the country to become a republic.
2008 - A pair of pandas leave China on a long-awaited goodwill journey to their new home in Taiwan in the latest move symbolizing the warming ties between the rivals.
2009 -- President Barack Obama's commitment to close the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, by next month may be delayed until 2011 because it will take months for the government to buy a prison in the state of Illinois and upgrade it to hold suspected terrorists.
2010 -- A Romanian television engineer apparently distraught that budget cuts had reduced benefits for his autistic teenage son dives more than 20 feet (about seven meters) from a balcony onto the floor of Romania's parliament, then shouts "Freedom!" as emergency workers take him out on a stretcher.
2011 -- Two car bombers blow themselves up outside the heavily guarded compounds of Syria's intelligence agencies, killing at least 44 people and wounding dozens more in a brazen attack on the powerful security directorates.
2012 -- Egypt's opposition says it will keep fighting the Islamist-backed constitution after the Muslim Brotherhood, the main group supporting the charter, claims it passed with a 64 percent "yes" vote in a referendum.
James Gibbs, Scottish architect (1682-1754); Richard Arkwright, English inventor (1732-1792); Sarah Breedlove Walker, U.S. philanthropist (1867-1919); Joseph Smith, U.S. founder of the Mormon Church (1805-1844); Jose Greco, Spanish dancer-choreographer (1918-2000); Silvia, queen of Sweden (1944--); Akihito, emperor of Japan (1933--); Eddie Vedder, U.S. musician (1964--).
Thought For Today:
Christmas is the season when you buy this year's gifts with next year's money -- Anonymous.